Health Held Hostage: Step towards reclaiming My Health (Part I of III)

I carefully watched as she pinched her finger and a mound of blood pooled. I couldn’t help thinking, why did she make a boo-boo? And then it got worse! She put the blood in a device that gave her numbers and then got a needle like the doctors have, pulled medicine in it, and then pushed the needle in her skin. She gave herself a shot! Why would anyone want to do that!? Why is she hurting herself? And what’s more, she did this every day and more than once!! Those were some early thoughts and memories from childhood. I was around 2 or 3 years old and my grandmother would watch me before, and, sometimes after preschool. That was when I first learned about Type II Diabetes. And over the next 13 year I would watch as my grandmother’s body deteriorated due to complications caused by Type II Diabetes. She had open-heart surgery, kidney failure, dialysis, congestive heart failure; eventually losing her struggle at 63 years young, just mere months before her husband retired and they could finally take that trip to Hawaii to celebrate 40+ years of marriage and raising their 7 children together. She was a fun, vibrant individual, she had a contagious laugh, sloppy kisses, and hugs that made your soul feel safe; she had a way of making whomever she was speaking with feel like the most important person in the world. I so treasured every moment I spent with her. I just wish our memories could have had a different setting/backdrop, like at beach or road trip, as opposed to hospital rooms, dialysis, and towards the end, hospice.  For the first 16 years of my life I witnessed what my grandmother ate but it wasn’t until 15+ years later that I made the direct correlation of her diet with her rapidly deteriorating health.

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It wasn’t until I was living her life, as a mom, as a wife, with so many responsibilities and obligations, pressure, and lure of the convenience foods. I am sure most women, wives, mothers/parents can relate to the fact that it is impossible to do it all, the laundry, dishes, work, housework, children’s homework, chauffer kids to practices, games, clubs, etc. and still have 3 square homemade meals.  Something has to give and thanks to the food industry “we’ve got you covered moms” slogans and ease of convenience we can easily outsource meals.

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But what we are actually outsourcing, without realizing it, due to the hypnotic tactics of the same individuals who so creatively got us hooked on tobacco (Tobacco Giant Phillip Morris owns Kraft (Oscar Mayer, Jell-O, Post cereals, Maxwell House, Kool-Aid, Tombstone pizza) and Nabisco (Oreo, Ritz, Snackwells) http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Tobacco-Giant-Philip-Morris-Buying-Nabisco-2751987.php ) , is our family’s health!

After drinking the “Kool-Aid”, so-to-speak (no pun intended) for so long, it can be difficult to differentiate the truth amongst all the Sudo Health Slang. And let me tell you, I bought into it all! The ‘no fat’, ‘fat free’, ‘fortified with fiber’, ‘added fiber’, ‘low fat’, etc.

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I honestly thought by purchasing items that were fat free and/or low fat that I was doing something good for my family and myself. I never lost the baby weight from my first child and just packed it on with each additional pregnancy, thus I needed to lost weight and doesn’t it make sense to purchase food with no fat if you want to lose fat? Turns out a lot of those foods which contained no fat were actually drowning in sugar!! (Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10668189/Low-fat-foods-stuffed-with-harmful-levels-of-sugar.html ) And,” since fructose molecule is not a natural part of metabolism and humans do not produce it. In fact, very few cells in the body can make use of it except liver cells. When we eat a lot of sugar, most of the fructose gets metabolized by the liver. There it gets turned into fat, which is then secreted into the blood”. (Source: 4 Ways Sugar Makes You Fat https://authoritynutrition.com/4-ways-sugar-makes-you-fat/ ) At this point in my research the lightbulb goes off in my brain and the connection between my grandmother’s obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high fructose foods is made….and that was the first step towards reclaiming the health I had allowed The Food Industry to hijack.

What I did…over the course of 3 years I made small modification here and there to my family’s diet and lifestyle. The key is to take it slow; there is no magic pill, shake, etc. just adjustments here and there that will have you reclaiming your health. Food is medicine, food is your preventative health care, your livelihood, no one else should lose a family member due to Type II Diabetes….we, as parents put so much time, energy, effort, and love into raising our children we should be able to witness the fruits of our labor and watch them flourish, thrive, and watch them become parents.

Here are some actions I started taking 3 years ago to help my family and myself (I was a size 18 after giving birth to my first child and am now down to a size 10! I have more energy than ever before, I no longer have that foggy feeling, my mind is clear, my skin, hair, nails look awesome….it’s amazing and I want everyone to feel this good, which is why I am sharing my journey with you).

Tips to Take Action:

  1. Removed cereal from house-I started making breakfast. Scrambled eggs, omelet, hardboiled egg, leftovers from the night before, basically whatever the kids would eat, but cereal, it was no longer welcomed into our home. cerealThis one was a struggle; it took a good 6 months for the kids to conquer their cereal detox. (Interesting Read: Trisodium Phosphate currently used as an industrial paint thinner is used inside children’s breakfast cereal- http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-food/trisodium-phosphate-paint-thinner-in-consumer-products-kids-cereals.php )
  2. Stopped watching television in the evening-this gave us more time to prep lunches for the next day & it made me a much more patient mom in the evenings, I had no idea what kind of a hold a television program had over me. As we continued we started reading and saying the Rosary in the evening too….funny how people say they don’t have time- you need to make it a priority and you WILL find the time, promise!
  3. Removed Cable from the Home– you are probably thinking what does that have to do with food? A lot actually! See, we removed cable and purchased an antenna that only works on occasion (drives my husband nuts) which basically forced us to only watch Netflix, which is commercial free, thus the children aren’t being bombarded with commercials about toys and food, especially food. Junk Food request went down exponentially!!
  4. Start reading nutrition labels and only purchase items with 5 or less ingredients– this one was tricky, and I totally caved a few hundred times and bought items with 10 or so, but at least it got me in the habit of looking at the ingredients and surprisingly eliminating a lot of preservatives and additives from our diet.
  5. 1/3 of the cart needs to be fruits and vegetables– this was probably the hardest, even harder than giving up watching cable television. I struggled with this one as a mom because I didn’t want to waste food. We used to actually have fruits and veggies expire/go bad….fast forward 3 years and strawberries, bananas, & mini peppers are lucky if they make it to day 2 after grocery shopping. I found that I had to be the model, I had to model to the children how delicious fruits and veggies can be….and they can be convenient (this is often a big issue too), the key is to wash and prep, slice, cut as soon as you get home so children can just grab and go.

 

To be continued…….

 

5 Tips for Packing Healthy Lunches your kids will actually eat!

Whether you are packing lunches for school, a road trip, a picnic in the park, or a fun filled day at the zoo the struggle is the same & very real! Getting your children to eat healthy is like trying to rearrange the stripes on a Zebra!

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Educate– Educate the kiddos on nutritious foods!! If at all possible take the kiddos with you to the store.  Teach them how to read food labels:

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Simplicity is your best friend here. Focus on products with short, pronounceable ingredients and look for these labels: organic, antibiotic-free, non-GMO!

Look out for sodium. Small amounts of sodium are necessary for keeping proper body fluid balance but too much can contribute to high blood pressure. Almost all foods naturally contain small amounts of sodium but many processed foods contain greater amounts.

Watch the sugar content! Fruits naturally contain simple sugars but also contain fiber, water, and vitamins, which make them a healthy choice. Snack foods, candy and soda, on the other hand, often have large amounts of added sugars. And when it comes to drinks, water is the best option.

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Select foods high in protein. The body, muscles, skin, and the immune system are made up of protein. Foods high in protein include eggs, meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, soybeans, and dried beans. Anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of the calories that kids consume each day should come from protein.

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Want some help?

Take the kiddos to Imagination Station’s Eat it Up! Exhibit! It is the perfect & fun way to help educate your kiddos on nutrition!

Also, check out Heather Stouffer, CEO of Mom Made Foods, she is a huge advocate of watching food labels…watch her video ‘5 tips for reading food labels’ HERE .

Kids Pick– Let the children select the food they enjoy.  Bottom line, if you pack broccoli and your son hates it, he won’t eat it. Let your kids weigh in on what they want to pack in their lunches, and offer them a few healthy choices so they feel like they’re in control.

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Think Outside the Sandwich! – A sandwich is not a requirement for a lunch, think outside the sandwich! Try turkey and cheese roll-ups, sushi, meatballs, deviled eggs, veggies or fruit with dipping sauce (hummus, peanut butter, ranch, etc.)

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Portion control- Double check the nutrition labels and make certain children are only consuming one serving size, if not less, most serving sizes are for adults, not children.  Some company’s do offer a child size, like Stonyfield, the adult size has 23 grams of sugar and the children’s size has half the amount. It is vital that children watch their portion sizes.

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Bacteria & Germs – Be safe. Pack lunches properly to ensure food safety and freshness. Invest in a reusable ice-pack; Rubbermaid makes this awesome blue ice that keeps ALL containers cool.

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Always wash their hands before she eats.

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Heed these 5 tips and watch the magic happen!

What is your biggest issue with kids lunches?