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Ingredient Elitism

October 17, 2014

Ingredient ElitismEducate Yourself. Do it for something bigger than you.

I consider myself very fortunate to have friends that send me texts with pictures like this one. I love nothing more than knowing in my heart that maybe, just maybe, my obsession with the health of my children (and their friends) has actually rubbed off on someone else. One family at a time, that’s all it takes to change the world, and I still believe I can do it; yet there is still resistance, and a lot of it!

Why is it that “vegetarians” are still treated as though they are from another planet? Some liken it to elitism, especially when it comes to being educated about specific ingredients in the foods we consume on a daily basis, while others equate those who lead a plant-based lifestyle to tree-hugging, sixties-era hippies. I don’t think it’s either of those, and under ordinary circumstances any of the aforementioned connotations simply wouldn’t bother me at all. Until…my children’s emotional well-being enters the picture. My 7 year old recently told me that she was made fun of at school for being a vegetarian, and this really hurt. Could a room full of 7-year olds have any background on elitism or hippies? Doubtful, yes, but what it clearly illustrates to me is the sheer lack of education surrounding healthy eating habits, in part, due to our school cafeteria serving chocolate chip muffins and fruit roll-ups for breakfast while still maintaining their position that we need to feed our children breakfast. Yes, yes they do need breakfast…but for goodness sake, not the kind that contains artificial colors and flavors and 600 calories!

Tell me, how is it that the Baltimore Public School System can serve whole, vegetal foods from a local farm in their school cafeteria, and we live within an hours drive to nearly 75 organic farms but we still haul in packaged food from the middle of America to serve our kids? How is it that the USDA seemingly regulates what can be served in school cafeterias (this is what my local Director of Food Services tells me) yet within those guidelines, she is still making choices that don’t equate to healthful selections? We, the parents, need to unite together to stand up for the fight against unhealthy food in our schools, because nobody else cares about our children as much as we do. It’s a true grass-roots effort my friends, because those greedy food manufacturers would rather continue to take your money than care whether your child is becoming obese at a young age. Children are supposed to be running, jumping, playing, and laughing, not worrying about whether the choices in their school cafeteria are healthy or not. Children trust us, their parents, and the next most influential people in their little lives…the teachers and school staff. The school is supposed to be a caring, trusting environment, but how do we explain that what is being served in the school cafeteria is not in their best interest? Why has the school succeeded on so many levels but FAILS miserably on one of the most important?

Children need to eat well to feel good. If you want them to absorb massive amounts of information, pay attention, have respect, and grow up to be a caring, contributing members of society, they first need to feel good! Feeling good breads all kinds of positive emotions.

Ingredient ElitismIt’s a known fact, all across the country teenagers are pushing their parents to become more educated and open about eating less processed foods, and more vegetarian and vegan options; even they can clearly see what goes on in their cafeteria on a daily basis. This greedy mentality hurts our elementary students, more than we know, because lets face it, kids in elementary school are influenced by other kids, by what they wear, what they say, and what they see in the cafeteria line or what they see packed in their lunch. Since when does a peanut butter and MARSHMALLOW sandwich constitute a healthy lunch? Marshmallow. In other words, pure sugar. We wonder why more children every day are diagnosed with avoidable, preventable diseases…diseases that are reversible simply by making healthier food choices. Lets get it straight, if you don’t buy it, your child can’t eat it. Make a commitment now, just a little at a time, and you’ll see how you and your family can reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Start by putting the junk food back on the grocery store shelf. Instead of handing out candy at the class party on Halloween, why not try handing out something like this?

Want to learn more about my commitment to teaching kids and families to eat healthy? Click here to check out The Plant Pledge!

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