I watched in horror this morning while a dietician laid out a diet plan to prevent childhood obesity on the PBS program "A Place of Our Own".
It was basically:
Limit protein to 1-2 (1 1/2oz.) servings per day of lean protein like fish
6-7 servings of starch (1 serving being one piece of bread)
3-4 cups of NONFAT milk
No mention of acceptable fats at all
I was too busy yelling at the TV, "That's how I got fat!" to hear what they had to say about fruit and veggies.
The last I time I had checked in with CW sources about what kids were supposed to eat, 2% milk was all the rage. My favorite line from the movie "Fathead" was "We feed our kids skim milk while their brains are still growing and then wonder why they can't sit still?" And that was during the 2% milk recommendations.
I'm just wondering if anyone else has encountered recommendations like this from their pediatricians, or schools, or other kids parents? And how you responded? I don't believe in pushing my dietary ideals on others, but I'm not sure how to smack down terrible advice like that without short-cutting to "eating saturated fat doesn't make kids fat" or "nutritionally paleo is where it is at". Both of those usually just get me "deer in the headlights stares". I'm looking for the playground equivalent of the "paleo elevator speech".
My "Paleo elevator speech" usually goes something like this...
"So for almost a million years human beings lived in the wild right, you know, 'hunting and gethering'. Well they're out there, hunting animals and eating the entire thing. They're going for the organs, cracking the bones to get at the marrow, basically getting as much fat as they can because they're working hard and its the most efficient source of calories. Along the way, they're also picking up fruits and vegetables, whatever's edible and in season, and it's all fresh, organic, and prepared in the ways handed down from generation to generation.
Then, all of the sudden, some people figure out how to grow crops and BOOM, the human population explodes, we get art, and science, and technology and all of this stuff that we have today, but we also start to get sick. We have "diseases of civilization", heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and we have problems with our bones and teeth, you can actually see the moment we adopted agriculture in the fossil record because people got smaller and sicker right off the bat, and that was with whole-grains!
Of course it's really crazy now with all of the chemicals and flavors and colors and high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. There's stuff in our food that we've NEVER eaten before and we've even got genetically modified plants and animals to deal with.
So, the idea is to get back to square one. Put foods into our bodies that we are designed to eat. Basically its fruits, vegetables, meats, some nuts and seeds, the occasional starchy tuber and that's it! It might seem really hard to live without bread, but after a while you feel so good you won't even miss it. I've got some great books and websites that you can check out if you're interested."
Ok, so it's more like a 60s elevator speech, but I have a pretty impressive track record and just about everyone I've talked to has at least taken me up on the "more information" offer if not tried paleo or become a full on paleo ambassador themselves.
My 3 year old daughter is a little on the pudgy side, but im not worried about it. She is in the 90% for weight, but only the 20% for height, but my husband and I are both of above average height, so Im confident that as long as she stays active and keeps eating healthy food, she will shoot up and lose her toddler pudge (sob!).
Still though, at her last checkup, our pedi, who I LOVE and ADORE, told us to switch to skim milk. These are the things that kill me about it:
I dont think he would have said that if she was a boy.
He didnt ask about any of the OTHER foods she eats, or what a typical food-day looks like for her. he jumped right to the milk thing, and didnt ask about how many french fries and chicken nuggets she eats.
He talked to me about it right in front of her, and that pissed me off a bit.
I just nod and smile, and go home and continue doing what I do- she gets whole milk but I do limit it to 16oz a day. The rest of the time she likes seltzer water with a lime in it. :)
We have some other friends with the oposite problem- their son is thin and doesnt eat anything ever. Their doctor actually told them to start taking him to McDonalds. Seriously. no matter how ignorant a pedi is of our idea of good nutrition, I cant believe in this day and age doctors are telling parents to take their kids to McDonalds more often.
Shit. I don't normally get angry about this stuff but it's just so ridiculous, I can hardly believe it. My mom's a doctor and reading this stuff makes me realise how lucky we were growing up. She told us that we shouldn't eat too much O6 as soon as we were old enough to understand the concept (all of us have always been ridiculous science and math nerds so that's not so far-fetched) and refused to buy low-fat dairy or things labelled "cheese product" instead of just "cheese". She would often comment on how unhealthy most of her vegetarian/vegan patients were and that she would urge them to consider that it wasn't really an appropriate diet for humans, especially if they were actually carbivore vegetarians who refused to eat vegetables. And she refused to allow soda in the house, and as a result none of us ever drink it in adulthood. Sure, we ate grains but it was way better than the diet most of her colleagues would have recommended. Too bad most medical professionals don't educate themselves much more beyond the small amount of training given on nutrition in med school.
We have several vegans and a lot of vegetarians at my kids' school and what strikes me is that none of us criticize each other, rather, we discuss food policy issues and all believe in the same the same common denominator: "Do what's right for the kids". I don't know one vegetarian parent there that feeds their kids over-processed vegetarian food. In fact, those are the kids who always get leftovers in their lunch boxes. Sure they eat tofu but mostly, whole/clean foods like eggplant, pumpkin and the vegetarian kids eat fish and sushi.
Many of the parents are open to unconventional ways of feeding kids (meaning, not USDA recommendations). I know the vegetarians believe in the raw milk and they are coming around to higher fats. Some are vegans for religious reasons (Buddhists) but often times, they don't force it on their kids.
I find that discussing nutrition, rather than being preachy is the way to develop a good back and forth. Some parents are very interested in the science. So while you may be upset about the content of that show, it could be a great way to open up dialogue with other parents.
I am amazed, but not really. This is "the" advice being given these days.
I think this is the cause of the current health epidemic... it is like an alcoholic trying to become sober by drinking more. Eat less fat, eat more starch, oh you're not thinner? Eat even less fat, even more starch... still not thin? Here try these medications...
What is interesting to me is the psychology of it. The doctor is recommending what they have been trained to, and would probably get in a lot of trouble for saying otherwise. The patient listens to the doctor because they're supposed to, and assume that any shortcomings are their own fault (maybe that steak I had last week made me gain 3 pounds...). Doubting either the doctor or the status quo is not acceptable to either person.
Its not your imagination at all. I was at a friend's house last night and they have a newborn. On their fridge I saw something called "My Pyramid for Mommies" or something like that. Basically what you just said, but aimed at mothers that have recently given birth. I try not to be preachy, especially since these were friends of friends, so all I could do is shake my head and say "no thank you" to the vegetarian chili.
i pretty sure its the parents fault and not the guidelines, after all unless the kids shop for the food the parents bought it right. lets face it, parents are too freaking tired after all the stress of work and the fear of loosing ones job to come home and prepare real food. if anything people eat to reward themselves for all the misery dumped upon them from others that are in the same damned situation. people today are medicating themselves with food the way our grandparents did with tobacco and booze. (let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine) and so, i eat paleo :)
Saw an article last week where parents were scolding doctors for failing to point out that the parents' kids were obese. People! There are ways to find out if your kids are too fat. Rolls of corpulence visible at midsection: significant red flag. "My kid has started to waddle, should I be concerned?" Truth be told, many parents don't recognize obesity in their kids because the parents don't recognize it in the mirror.
"They were once an industrious, creative people. Then they got lazy, fat, and stupid." Some future historian will write a 100,000 word book about our age, and it will come down to those two sentences.
However, I do not despair. Natural selection rules. Homo Sapiens Healthy: new subspecies yet to emerge in decisive numbers?
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