A letter to my kids – to be opened when you’re adults
As I approach completion of my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® I have learned to fit out. Fitting out means I have come to terms with the fact that my beliefs about nutrition and wellness are not mainstream and for it, I stand out. I don’t fit in with the crowd that thinks that taking pills to cover up the symptoms of their lifestyle is the normal thing to do, or that feeding their kids junk is OK because everyone else does it and it’s convenient. I don’t fit in with the masses that think that trying to live a healthy life by eating clean, whole foods is extremist. And I am OK with that. I will stay true to my beliefs and my quest to educate those around me: I will fit out by being authentic.
Children, however, want to desperately fit in. They don’t want to be different, and this is where parenting comes in. As I teach my children, now 7 and 6, the importance of staying true to themselves and knowing their own value independently of other’s opinion, I decided to write this letter for them to read when they’re adults and can understand the value of health. I want to share this with you in hopes that it inspires you to lead your children by walking alongside of them.
Dear Mia and Drew:
It is 2016 and here’s a quick look at the current state of health in the nation from Chef Anne Cooper:
- Cancer is the leading cause of death for children under 15.
- 1 out of 3 kids born after the year 2000 will experience diabetes in their lifetime.
- 50% of Americans are expected to contract cancer.
- Child obesity has tripled in the last 25 years.
- In the last 20 years there has been a 400% increase in the rate of allergies, 300% asthma, 400% ADHD and 1,500% Autism.
- US Agriculture uses 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides per year. That’s 5 pounds for every American.
- We are drowning in sugar: 33% of Americans have non-alcoholic fatty liver.
- The United States ranks 51st in life expectancy at birth – next to Guam and Bahrain.
As you may probably now see, I can’t in good conscience allow the most precious people in my life to become part of these statistics. This is the reason why I will get up in the morning before 5:00 a.m. to prepare your lunches for school before going to work. I understand next year you want school lunches like the rest of the kids, but I am not like the rest of the moms. I know you want to eat sugar by the boatloads like the kids around you do, but I know how sugar, and not fat, is at the center of most preventable chronic diseases. But you have to admit: I do take you to DQ more often than I would like to! I will continue to work as hard as I have to in order to provide you with home-cooked meals made with 100% love and where possible avoid pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOS), chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, unhealthy fats and added sugars.
I will continue to walk that line where you might think I am un-cool and occasionally give in to the simple pleasures kids enjoy in processed stuff that hardly can be called food. I will do this in hopes that you create sustainable habits that will serve you the rest of your life. I will do this to provide you with the tools to make your own informed choices when you’re not at home. I will do this to help you understand balance and live by the 90-10 rule where 10% of the time you eat stuff you normally wouldn’t and enjoy it. I will relentlessly continue to instill in you a sense of responsibility so you know that you are responsible for your own health and that there will be no one to blame when dis-ease strikes. And hopefully, through you, I will create a ripple effect in the world. Los amo de aquí a las estrellas. Mami