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February 28, 2013

The Problem with How Kids Eat


If there's one thing that couldn't bother me more it's the way the kids eat in this country. Not only are kids putting tons of crap in their body, but their doing it without even knowing. A lot of this is probably all surprising to hear from a 15 year old because honestly, I don't think many other kids my age care or are even aware. There's a lot of things that I feel contribute to why kids are eating the way they are and are not making a change to eat healthy. In this post I'll talk about what I feel contributes to why kids my age eat the way they do and what I think it eventually will lead to in time. Hopefully this will give you a different look at things from how I see them as a 15 year old.

What I see every day:
Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and living on a gluten-free diet, I've looked at food and the way people eat in a whole new way. I can't help to always look at other people's cart when at the grocery store and be judgmental. I look and see all the pizzas, frozen meals, ice-cream, and struggle to find even the slightest hint of green. It honestly makes me just want to grab the person and give them a seminar about all the crap they are throwing in their body without even knowing what it is. But where would that get me.. with seeing how 99% of all kids eat at school today, it really drives me crazy. When looking in a school cafeteria, trying to find the color green on someones table is like trying to play "Where's Waldo" but with a leaf a lettuce. Most kids don't know what they are putting in their bodies or simply just don't care. I would love to say the schools are at least doing something about it and it's only the kids fault, but we all know that's not true. I'm a sophomore in High school and can say out of all the classes I've taken, I've maybe had one 2 month lesson on the basics of food and nutrition. Schools are not at all teaching enough about what we are putting in our bodies but I can't say I'm surprised, especially with how the school lunches look now.

Lack of education:
The biggest problem is obviously the lack of education with kids and parents. When you're a kid, you learn what food to like from what's put in front of you at the dinner table. You don't have money to go buy your own food and decide what you want for dinner. That's your parents job! So if the parents are buying fast food and bringing home pizza's for dinner every night, what do you think the kids are going to do when that time comes where they're old enough to buy their own food? Obviously follow what his parents did. Many parents just simply don't care or take the time to even consider what they are buying. So, if this cycle is starting now in my generation, think about what it's going to be like in the next few. A majority of the people in America do not eat the way we all do, and if something doesn't change to educate parents and my generation, then I feel only bad things will happen in time.

Parents can't afford it:
When I was younger just living with my mom and I, money was tight. We couldn't afford the natural whole meals that we eat today on a gluten-free diet. I used to be the kid that ate pizzas and chicken nuggets and all those nasty foods. Not because we chose to, but simply because it was the only option we had. Sometimes it really isn't the parents fault, but it's just because of money. Parents aren't going to care about nutrition or what's really in their food if they don't have a choice. For my mom it was much more important to have poor food than no food at all. Your kid is the most important thing to you, so if it comes down to if your kid will even eat tonight, your going to buy what you can, even though it may not be the best. So with that you have to think if you can get 5 mini pizzas for $5, or a bag of lettuce for pretty much the same price, you're going to buy what gets you the most food on the table. That's all that really matters to most parents in America and I can't really say I blame them.

The pricing is all backwards:
Now a days it's get more food for your money, not better. Endless buffets, jumbo sized fountain drinks, and extra large everything has become the norm in our time. You would think if restaurants are starting to sell larger quantities of their food it would become more expensive to make. But it's the exact opposite. Many people like you and I know that most of the time when a company is offering a large quantity for a low price, something usually doesn't add up. The company is obviously cutting corners somewhere to make it with the cheapest ingredients possible and put the most money in their pockets. But I guarantee you most American's don't see it that way. When they see a $5 all you can eat buffet they think, "Wow! All this food for such a low price?!? What a deal!" But when I see it I think, "Wow! A quicker way to shorten how long I'll live?!? I'm in!" (Not really of course..lol) The bottom line is that the way food is priced in America is completely backwards and twisted where all the big brand companies get all the money. People are forced to buy the cheap food now and pay for it later in their medical bills, sadly that may never change..

So what do I think this will lead too?
Right now I think it's pretty obvious that our food quality is going downhill. With pretty much every category of food being affected, it's hard to believe things will ever go back to the way they were. Fruits and vegetables are genetically modified, hormones are added to animals, and chemicals are placed in our food from things we don't even know. All these things have only been introduced to our bodies over the last 50 years and are not meant to even be in there in the first place. A lot of these things are only just beginning. GMO foods have been proven to lead to long term health affects that many don't consider. If you want to avoid GMO ingredients then good luck, because the government doesn't require companies to label them anyways. With obesity in children at an all time high, I can only think this will continue as next generation kids will have more disorder, diseases, and health problems. Often times I feel helpless to ever make an impact in changing how kids eat. But I guess all I can do is educate and tell other kids / parents what I know to at least try and help make a difference in their lives.

Final thoughts:
All that we can do now is self educate ourselves. Everything I've learned and written about on this blog has simply come from self education and what I've learned from my mom. If we do teach ourselves about GMO's and the other crazy ingredients we put in our body, we will know how to eat right and what to teach our kids! To be honest, I would probably be eating like every other kid in America if I didn't Celiac Disease. It's pretty sad to think healthy eating has only come to a majority of the people that don't do it by choice. Many kids and teenagers will probably not take on self educating themselves or take their diet seriously. That's why I feel like it has to start from you, the parents, for kids to ever care about what and how they eat each day.


My post on how I feel about Trusting Products Labeled Gluten-free..

9 comments:

Molly (Sprue Story) said...

Nice post, Taylor. When I think about what I used to eat on a daily basis in high school...ice cream for lunch, chips for a doing-homework snack, everything else deep fried...Shudder. Naturally I never had a single stomach problem to speak of back then, though! If I had I'm sure I would have changed my ways earlier. :)

(Not that I'm sooooo old myself, at 23, but I think it's really cool that you're so proactive about managing your health and spreading awareness at 15. Go you!)

Taylor Miller said...

Thanks Molly! I think pretty much every kid eats like how you did when you were my age, even I used to a couple of years ago! I also checked out your blog and really like the whole voice of it. Very simple but gets your message across in a unique way. Idk how to describe it but I like it a lot. Thanks again for the compliments and for commenting!

Jess M. said...

Taylor,
You are truly wise beyond your years. Thank you for writing about this and getting the message out. The lack of insight and awareness of the effects of nutrition on overall health is astounding. The more of us who speak out, the better! The GMO stuff is especially frightening.
Jess

Taylor Miller said...

Thanks so much Jess! It's definitely a topic I fee really passionate about and really think needs to be more aware. I honestly think it's one of the biggest problems in America and is just getting worse..I'm glad you liked the post and I appreciate the complements:)

Molly said...

Thank you for your nice words, too! Appreciate it.

Belinda Kittel said...

You are one switched on little Dude! Keep on keeping on buddy, the world needs people like you if things are ever going to change, nutritionally speaking. I'm heaps impressed, good one! Namaste :)

Taylor Miller said...

Thank you! If only more kids would realize the change that needs to be made and help try and make a difference with me. Only in good time!

Lori said...

I agree 100 percent with your words. It costs much more to eat healthy but what a great investment! My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with celiacs a year ago and our family eats much healthier now because of her diagnosis. It is eye opening when you start to read labels! I am a grocery cart examiner now too :-)

Taylor Miller said...

Haha, I always wondered if I was the only one who eyed other peoples cart. I'm glad your daughter has been better and you all eat healthier now! It's definitely a good investment and always worth it in the end.

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