Ah, the wisdom of the Lorax. Of course he is referring to the environment in this quote, but it applies to so many other things as well – including our health.
When I read this quote, I think about the state of our food supply. In my opinion, it’s a crime.
One afternoon my son complained that he was too skinny. We had a discussion about how things have changed since I was young. Back then, kids were very lean with rare exception – but now 1/3 of all kids are obese and at least half are overweight and unhealthy.
My husband recently asked me if I’d noticed just how many kids were fat and unhealthy these days. “Yes, I have.”
It’s an epidemic, and you don’t have to look to news reports to see it. It is evident all around us. I look at my son’s classmates and it saddens me how many are overweight at such a young age. And worse – how many people now think that is normal and even healthy.
Babies and young children are not predisposed to overeat. They listen to their instincts and stop eating when they have had enough. So why is this happening? A number of factors:
- Overabundance and availability of high-calorie, nutrient-poor processed foods engineered to make us “addicted” to and overeat them
- Truly addictive foods made from wheat, dairy and sugar in overwhelming supply
- Marketing messages enticing us and taking advantage of our hardwired preferences
- Foods that alter our hormones to increase hunger and store fat
- Caregivers taking the easy way out by giving in to children’s pleas for these foodstuffs
I see these over-fed, under-nourished, obese, suffering children and feel so sad for them – that they have to live their lives this way due to greed, misinformation and bad technology. Despite high levels of obesity, our culture is very prejudiced against fat people. It affects everything in life. I’ve told friends (based on my own experience) that when you are obese, you are invisible at best and at worst people are cruel. I came across a photo blog Pictures of People Who Mock Me that really shows this experience poignantly.
Yes, change is hard. I have addressed the question of why people do not initiate and/or sustain lifestyle changes in this post on transformation. And I recently came across another blog post from the Minimalists that also accurately describes the challenges of lifestyle change. It’s hard. People judge. They question. They shun. It’s like you are holding a mirror up for them – showing them what they want but have not achieved.
But consider the alternative – the status quo. Is that really what we want for ourselves and our children? To become a (bad) health statistic?
As one of my Paleo heroes (Diane Sanfilippo) has been known to say:
Nothing changes if nothing changes.