I was a bad mother…. It is a confession, which I am sure that many of you are surprised to hear. I didn’t know I was a bad mother until I read last week’s newspaper. In it I learned that someone in the government had decided that obese children should be taken from their parents. The article went on to say that parents who gave their children junk food, and who did not monitor their children’s diets, were the cause of the children’s obesity, and therefore did not deserve to care for their children.
As a health practitioner, I understand the consequences for obesity. I know that being overweight causes a plethora of health issues, including but not limited to obesity. I applaud the government for caring about our children’s health, but am a bit concerned at the extent they are proposing to go in order to do it. As a mom, I was responsible for preparing the family meals. We did not eat a perfect diet, but I did choose good wholesome food, most of the time. When my children were in their teen years, their father died. This is when I became a bad mother. I no longer cooked wholesome foods. In my grief-stricken state, I settled (yes, that’s what I did, settled) for what was easy. Both of my wonderful children were scholar athletes, and we had a very long school day. I hate to confess that many mornings we ate donuts on the way to school, and pizza after the games. Why? I am sure I hear you asking? Because it was easy. I did not have to think about shopping and it was cheap!
As I read the newspaper, I thought of the clients that I see. When I ask them about their diets, they tell me that yes, they do eat fast food, and no, they are not particularly cognizant of what an organic vegetable is. As a result, I see a good many clients who are overweight. Their children are overweight as well.
Now, I applaud the government for understanding that obesity is a major contributing factor to disease. I understand that under the current administration’s health care plan, the government thinks it has a duty to monitor the children’s diet so that it (the government) does not have a large bill to pay when these said obese children hit their adult years. However, I believe that taking the children away from their parents is an extreme measure. The parents may not KNOW that they are unfit. I know I didn’t. Why is there so much obesity these days? It comes down to greed.
If you have been reading the current science news, you may have heard of some new words that have entered into our language: GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, soy, and all those other ingredients that we cannot pronounce. The list is almost endless. These ingredients are genetically modified into a substance that tastes good, is addictive, but has almost no nutritional value. We eat this food, develop a taste for it, but the body doesn’t get the message that we have eaten. We call these ‘empty calories’.
This means that when we eat these foods, the body does not recognize that we have eaten, feels like it is nutritionally deprived (which is it) and we stay hungry. I am sure that everyone has had the feeling of hunger about an hour after he has eaten fast foods. This is the symptom that the body sends out to tell you that you need nutrients.
This is the kind of information that parents need. If parents knew what fast food was doing to their families, they would not depend on it for the majority of their meals. Instead of taking heavy children away from their parents, maybe the government could spend some dollars educating the public. Good idea, right?
It will never happen. Unfortunately, our government is cash strapped. After all, we just slashed our education budgets. What we could do, however, is to tax the corporations who make the ingredients that our bodies do not recognize as food. This would cause those suppliers to pass on that tax to the fast food establishments, and voila’ the foods with the empty calories would no longer be cheap. If they are not cheap, they will lose some of their appeal. Making toxic food choices expensive is much better than taking children away from their parents.
Remember, I was a bad mom. I was a bad mom because I did not have the energy (due to grief issues) to feel like cooking a nutritious meal. Imagine my emotional state, had I had to deal with CPS for offering my children bad food choices.
Life is hard enough at times. Threatening to take children away from their parents is not the answer. The answer lies in a roll-back on the part of the FDA for allowing heinous ingredients to be labeled as ‘food.’ Let’s get these toxic addictive substances off the shelves and into the trash where they belong.
Until next time,