Ring the Dinner Bell: Time to Think

Posted: July 7, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Submitted by: Jaime Pollard-Smith, Co-Owner & Coach at CrossFit Jane

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“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” -Dr. Seuss
As a CrossFit affiliate owner and coach, I often hear the question, “Is CrossFit dangerous?” What disturbs me about this question is that I do not hear people asking:

“Is diabetes dangerous?”

“Is heart disease dangerous?”

“Is childhood obesity dangerous?”

“Is Alzheimer’s disease dangerous?”

When I walk into a local grocery store, I see far more danger than when I walk into my CrossFit affiliate. I fear low-fat, chemicals, antibiotics, GMOs, sugar and processed fake food, not barbells and pull-up rigs. Each time I pass a mom with a grocery cart full of Capri Suns, chips and vitamin-fortified cereals, I want to scream “DANGER!” When we now have scientific evidence to prove that sugar is more addictive than cocaine, how can we possibly not see the danger in feeding it to our children in almost everything they eat?

I recently went to see the documentary “Fed Up.” It contains some great information about our current state of health and the connection to our food choices. The film discusses the way we demonized tobacco and cigarettes in this country by adding labels and ended the advertising geared towards youth. The idea is presented that if we do the same for foods containing sugar, we can have a positive impact on the foods that Americans choose to purchase every single day to feed their family.

When we are confronted with the alarming rise in diabetes and heart disease in our country, and the fact that an increasing number of children are now developing Type 2 Diabetes, which was once called “Adult Onset Diabetes,” our only option is to get really, really radical and…THINK. Think about every food purchase you make. Think about where your food came from: the ground or a factory. Think about how the animals you are eating were raised: caged with thousands of others or roaming free in a natural habitat. Think about all the ingredients listed on a product: are there less than three and you can pronounce them all. Think about the fact that if something expires one year from now, it might not be real food. Think about how your body feels when it eats certain items: french fries leave me feeling sluggish and bloated. Think about how a food is marketed as “heart-healthy” and “low-fat,” yet contains chemicals your body will not recognize as food. I often tell my kids if they have to tell me how good they are being, they are probably not being that good. The same theory applies for food. I don’t need that bundle of bright green crisp kale to tell me it is nutrient dense. It is showing, not telling.

As consumers we need to think. It does not matter how many labels or warnings the government issues about food products, we need to think for ourselves and be proactive with each purchase we make. Every time we put food into our body, we are making a choice to either make ourselves better or make ourselves worse.

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Parents have a responsibility to encourage their children to think about food as well. Last week at breakfast, I asked my kids, ages 6 and 8, to read the ingredients on their organic coconut yogurt. They started to read coconut milk, sugar, ummmmm. “What happened?” I asked them, “Did you forget how to read?” They giggled and said they did not know how to read the strange words. My youngest thoughtfully explained, “If we can’t read it, we probably shouldn’t eat it.” And it is that simple. Perhaps a label warning of the dangers of sugar might have deterred her from eating the yogurt, but a simple look at the ingredients informed her that if she didn’t recognize the ingredients, her body would not recognize them either. We decided we would no longer purchase the “heart healthy” organic coconut milk yogurt.

I hope that we will all begin to see the real and present danger around us each time we are faced with choices for our food. Hippocrates advised that we treat food as our medicine and medicine as our food. I can only imagine if he walked into a present-day grocery store and saw the shelves stocked with non-perishable, chemical-laden food impostors he would be quite disappointed. Stop and think before you eat or drink. Read labels. Purchase real food from a local farmer’s market or farmer. If these options are not available, then the simple rule is to stay on the perimeter of the store where fresh, perishable, real food exists, (not the middle aisles where chemicals live). Take your children shopping with you and discuss your food choices. It is so much easier to say no in the grocery store than it is in your own pantry. Do not buy the junk. Think. Stare danger in the face and say, “I won’t buy it.”

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