Stop Being Stupid
Last Friday night, as a houseguest, I witnessed the following:
A loving grandmother, whose cooking options were limited due to the recent demise of her stove, fed dinner to an 18-month old, a 4-year old, and a 12-year old. Cereal came out first. Cheerios and something along the lines of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Cow’s milk (especially for the baby — good god, what is she, a calf?). Orange juice — oh goody, liquid sugar! And (blessedly), a salad with black olives.
As soon as the new stovetop was working, Grandmother heated water for Kraft mac n’ cheese. She usually makes it from scratch, she told me, as if that excused shoveling gut-damaging pasta down the children’s unsuspecting throats. It seems the grandchildren regularly visit on Fridays, so they always have dessert and “kid food.”
“Kid food,” apparently, is what one feeds to little brats whose parents have been too lazy to feed them real, healthful food. Or maybe the parents just assume that kids “won’t” eat healthful food, so there’s no point trying. Or maybe Grandmother just wants to make the little children smile. Whatever the case, surely anybody in their right mind (even if their only health information comes from quacks like Dr. Oz and the USDA) knows that cheesy hotdogs and macaroni isn’t going to build healthy individuals.
Think the easy, cheap food choices don’t matter? (After all, they’re young and resilient!) Just look at the eldest grandchild. She has fat rolls and weighs more than I do. Her belly hangs over her waistband and bulges out beneath the hem of her shirt. She has more than one chin. She is clearly metabolically deranged and insulin resistant. Type II diabetes nips at her heels. She is twelve years old.
Does anybody else feel sorry for this kid? Does anybody else wish that, when exposed to information about how to effect better heath through proper nutrition, the adults in her life would listen? Does anybody really believe that feeding her even a single swallow of muffin or juice or cereal isn’t killing her? Her situation is dire, folks. Without major nutritional changes, this kid is doomed to a short and painful life. And how many years will it be before her young cousins exhibit similar symptoms?
Oh, I know this isn’t all Grandmother’s fault. She doesn’t provide most of the kids’ meals. But really, are “treats” that kill really treats? Are they okay because they kill slowly, over decades rather than minutes? Is “just a little” french toast drenched in sweet pancake batter and topped with powdered sugar acceptable because it’s…What? Saturday morning? Company is here? We have a new oven? Am I missing something that would make this decision appropriate?
Grains create holes in the lining of the small intestine. The more you eat, the worse it is, but even small amounts cause some damage (worse in some people than others). These holes permit foreign or incompletely digested substances to enter the body. There, they aggravate the immune system, resulting in inflammation and allergies, and they contribute to autoimmune conditions ranging from eczema and rheumatoid arthritis to acid reflux and IBS to Parkinson’s and MS.
Whole grains also feature phytates in their bran. These substances bind the minerals in the grain (and whatever is consumed with it), making them unavailable for use by the body. So, while it is true that “healthy whole grains” contain some nutrition, your body can’t use it. It may as well not be there. (Get your fiber from a butternut squash, dummy.)
Finally, grains represent a calorie and carbohydrate dense, nutrient poor, food source. Sure, they’re cheap and yummy and will make you feel good as their morphene-like compounds reach the pleasure centers in your brain, but they’ll also send your blood sugar skyward, demanding the release of insulin to bring it back into a safe range by storing it in the tissues…bodyfat tissues, unless you just completed a substantial amount of high intensity exercise. As a result, you get a blood sugar crash (and cravings for more carbohydrate) about 2 hours later. Over time, excessive carb intake and resultant excessive insulin release leads to insulin resistance, type II diabetes, obesity, systemic inflammation, and high triglyceride levels. Enter cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune conditions. Hooray! Just what we want for the grandkids we adore.
So…remind me why anyone would want to feed a child cereal, pasta, and toast. Anybody? Anybody???
And if your answer was “it’s all they’ll eat,” just shut the hell up and spare me the whining. Cut the crap. Grow a backbone. When they get sufficiently hungry, they’ll eat real food. Until then, at least you won’t be killing them with stabs and scoops of their spoons and forks.
Pass it on.