Fit Girl Series – BIG FAT LIARS!!!

thegirlrevolution.com, eat this not that

Healthy Peanut Butter Sandwich: whole wheat bread, unprocessed honey (for allergies), home made fruit jelly, cinnamon, ground flax seed and organic peanut butter

America’s kids are fat.

Parents are taking the blame. Aren’t parents ultimately responsible for their kids’ health?

But, this nice and tidy excuse rubs me the wrong way. It rubs me in the same way that the pornification of girls’ Halloween costumes rubs me. Parents don’t make the costumes. Parents don’t pose girls provocatively on the cover of costume packaging and parents don’t spend millions and millions of dollars exploiting children’s natural sexuality by marketing these costumes to girls on the Internet, television, movies, school prizes, books, etc. Why are parents putting up with this craptastic behavior? Why are parents giving marketers free access to their kids?

We have a childhood obesity epidemic in this country for several complex reasons, not the least of which is that food manufacturers and marketers are BIG FAT LIARS!!!

Let’s apply the same logic to our kids’ food. Parents don’t make the food. Parents don’t add high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils to the food. Parents don’t invent 17 different Latin versions of the word “sugar.” Parents don’t stick Hannah Montana, Barney, Dora, or High School Musical on packaging from yogurt to cereal to cheese sticks to macaroni and cheese to drink mixes to juice boxes to bread . . . every ding dabbed thing you can buy in the grocery store including milk. Parents don’t use misleading words on packaging making people believe they are buying “whole wheat” noodles when they are buying the same flour noodles.

There’s even an Institute of Medicine Study, Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity to prove culpability stating, “Food and beverage marketing targeted to children ages 12 and under leads them to request and consume high-calorie, low-nutrient products.”

Why are parents and consumers putting up with this craptastic behavior? Why are parents giving marketers free access to their kids?

Parents should hold manufacturers responsible for the detrimental affects their tactics are having on society. Capitalism does not excuse craptastic and exploitive behavior.

Parents buy the food that’s available. They make the choices based on their economics. They make the choices wading through intentional lying on labels.

It’s not your mother’s motherhood. In your mother’s day milk was milk and wheat bread was wheat bread. It was healthy for kids. Period.

If parents are going into the grocery store with the same health information and expectations their parents had in the 1970s their children can easily come out inadvertently fat. Ask me how I know.

Parents today need a PhD in nutrition and a masters degree in marketing and consumer economics to know they are feeding their kids healthy food. Seriously. Dr. Mehmet Oz’s advice, both on Oprah and in You, The Owners Manual, not to buy food where high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils is in the top five ingredients sounds reasonable and simple enough – until you realize it’s in the salad dressing, peanut butter, noodles, whole wheat bread, cereal, granola bars and every single other thing in your shopping cart except maybe the mustard and pickles.

Parents literally spend hours in the grocery store reading the labels trying to discern heath fact from marketing lie. Parents wrestle – trying to figure out what is actually in the food. Parents face a battle at the grocery store often between health and economics.

Do I feed my kids the healthy peanut butter or the peanut butter I can afford?  That Peter Pan can in the picture has 6 pounds in it for $7.50. It also has high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil in it. My kids and I eat it for breakfast and lunch.

The healthy one that has only organic peanuts and salt and is $30 for 6 pounds. That’s not an insignificant difference, especially when you multiply it by all the items in your grocery cart.

Your grocery bill – already a significant portion of the family income – could literally quadruple.

This is one significant way parents try to do “everything right” – but their kids end up clinically overweight.

I just bought Eat This, Not That! after seeing it on Oprah, because I need for my choices to be simpler and the whole ordeal is too confusing to me.

I will vote with my dollar – as we capitalists must do.

Still, I’m not letting marketers off that easy. I’m pissed now. I’m taking broader action by participating in Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to put a stop to many of the marketing practices of these BIG FAT LIARS! Look up the fact sheet on  childhood obesity and marketing. Join me.

Empowering Girls: Halloween Costume Contest

Fit Girl Series: Obese Teens on Oprah

Fit Girl Series: Weight = Moral Failure

Fit Family = Fit Girl

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Share and Enjoy

27 comments ↓

#1 Jenn on 02.02.09 at 10:48 am

I’m glad to see you embracing organic and unprocessed food! I remember in the past you kind of made fun of people for spending more for it, and said you didn’t think it made a difference. I’d love to hear what changed your mind.

#2 Ellen G on 02.02.09 at 10:50 am

IF you have one near you, Trader Joe’s is a great source of cheaper, less proccessed food. There are very few items in mine that have HFCS. It’s a reasonable way to get non-organic food that’s minimally proccessed.

Ellen G’s last blog post..Movie Day!

#3 Tracee on 02.02.09 at 10:59 am

I live in Rural Texas. I don’t have any easily accessible organic choices. By health food store – I mean I have a tiny little store with very little selection with a really big markup. I’m playing with the idea of ordering more foods – like peanut butter on the Internet. It’s cost prohibitive.

I went to a Whole Foods on vacation – just to see what the big hoopla was about. I remember Trader Joes from other places I’ve lived.

Even the local food growers in my area – like roadside stands and farmers markets use pesticides and chemicals.

#4 Tracee on 02.02.09 at 11:11 am

Jenn, a really significant change would be economic ability.

Lots of people pretend organic versus not organic is a moral or a simple choice.

It’s more of an an economic choice. We made a significant amount of money less when I wrote about early puberty and organic food the first time. It was simply not within my economic means to consider being “picky” about what I fed my kids. I certainly didn’t put organic food above shelter on our hierarchy of needs.

I still think “organic” is a huge marketing label that won’t necessarily mean lower weight in kids.

I’m much more interested in whether our food has high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils -which result in weight gain- than whether the sugar is organic. I’m more concerned with making sure there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables than with making sure they are organic. It’s an economic luxury to have both. Some day.

Also education. In my own quest to drop weight and my daughter being declared technically “overweight” has made me invest a great deal of time and energy in learning about what is in our food.

#5 Punditdad on 02.02.09 at 4:47 pm

I think the other thing to consider is portion size. I wouldn’t consider the peanut butter all that terrible but it depends on what portion size we eat. The size of our food has gotten huge and so has the amount of calories we consume. A burger from a fast food place has all the calories you need in one day. Personally I encourage my daughter and our family to eat more complex carbs and more protein. No white stuff like white bread, white rice and such since they break down in to simple sugars more easily. BTW, lv the new site!!!!!!

Punditdad’s last blog post..A SAHD Sad Cell

#6 Jen on 02.02.09 at 5:18 pm

My advice…eat lower on the food chain, buy organic when/if you can, eat foods as close to how God made them(ie: if your peanut butter has more than two ingredients don’t buy it.)

It really doesn’t cost more money to eat healthier foods. It cost TIME because coking from scratch takes longer to prepare than heat-n-eat prepackaged food.

Some things are better if purchased organic. Check out the dirty dozen:

1. Meat: beef, pork, and poultry
The EPA reports that meat is contaminated with higher levels of pesticides than any plant food. Many chemical pesticides are fat-soluble and accumulate in fatty tissue of animals.

2. Dairy: milk, cheese and butter
For similar reasons to meat, the fat in dairy products pose a high risk for contamination of pesticides as animals concentrate pesticides and chemicals in their milk and meat. Growth hormones and antibiotics are also a serious concern and invariably found in commercial milk, cheese and butter.

3. Strawberries
Strawberries are the most heavily dosed crops with pesticides in America. On average, 300 pounds of pesticides are applied to every acre of strawberries (compared to an average of 25 pounds per acre for other foods).

4. Apples
With 36 different chemicals detected in FDA testing, half of which are neurotoxins (meaning they cause brain damage), apples are almost as contaminated as strawberries. Peeling non-organic apples reduces but does not eliminate the danger of ingesting these chemicals. Go organic, especially for children.

5. Tomatoes
More than 30 pesticides are standard regimen to spray on conventionally grown tomatoes. The thin skin does not protect chemicals from infiltrating the whole tomato. Bummer.

6. Potatoes
Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in America and rank among the most laden with pesticides. Fungicides added to soil where potatoes are grown is another story and reason to go organic.

7. Spinach (and other greens including lettuce)
The FDA found spinach to be one of the most frequently contaminated crops with some of the most potent pesticides used on food.

8. Coffee
Most coffee is grown is countries where there are little to no standards to regulate the use of chemicals and pesticides on food. Purchasing “Fair Trade” coffee is further assurance that the premium price paid for this treasured beverage supports farms and workers with more equanimity and reward.

9. Peaches and Nectarines
45 different pesticides are regularly applied to succulent, delicious peaches and nectarines in conventional orchards. The thin skin does not protect the fruit from the dangers of these poisons.

10. Grapes (especially imported grapes)
Because grapes are a delicate fruit, they are sprayed multiple times during different stages of growth. The thin skin does not offer much protection to the 35 different pesticides used as a standard in conventional vineyards. Imported grapes are even more heavily treated that domestically grown grapes. Several of the most poisonous pesticides banned in the U.S. are still used on grapes grown abroad.

11. Celery
At least 29 different chemicals are applied directly to conventionally grown celery as it grows, which cannot be washed off because celery does not have any protective skin.

12. Bell Peppers (Red & Green)
Bell peppers are one of the most heavily sprayed foods, with standard use of 39 pesticides. The thin skin of peppers does not offer much protection from spraying.

Jen’s last blog post..Wal-mart Update

#7 Tracee on 02.02.09 at 6:26 pm

“It really doesn’t cost more money to eat healthier foods.”

$7.50 vs. $30 for the single peanut butter choice.

It costs more to eat healthy – especially if you’re going by the organic list above. By my estimation if my family eats organically I can add $1-$2 to every item in my cart.

I still have to believe, and hope I’m not wrong, in light of the childhood obesity epidemic that eating all those foods above unorganically is healthier than not eating them.

#8 Jessica Bern on 02.03.09 at 12:52 am

going to the store is a nightmare. I stick to the “fresh food” sections. They say, to stay in the perimeter of the store that the closer you get to the middle, the crappier the food

#9 Jen on 02.03.09 at 9:08 am

Well, I agree. There are just certain things that we don’t eat fresh that are organic because they cost too much. BUT the hfs I frequent has excellent prices on a huge amount of frozen organic veggies. Sams has several huge bags of organic veggies for a great price. I just changed the way we eat to suit the higher cost of organic. Cut back on dairy. Eat less PB.

Seriously, the hydrogenated oils are bad, bad news. If you change what you eat, you can eat organically and not blow your budget. It just takes some planning. Organic oats are inexpensive, as well as bulk beans, flour, grains. The organic apples from the bulk bins are actually CHEAPER than the big bag from sams.

FYI: we aren’t 100% organic. But we are 100% no hydrogenated oil.

We do what we can do. With all the GMO’s and fake food products out there, it IS frustrating/confusing about what is good/bad. The grocery store is a major source of anxiety every week for me. I think I’ll start an online service where you pick the healthy meals you want to eat, and then you magically receive all your supplies in the mail :)

Jen’s last blog post..Wal-mart Update

#10 Tracee on 02.03.09 at 10:19 am

I would totally freaking sign up for that service – there’s your business!

#11 Fit Girl Series - Eat This, Not That! — The Girl Revolution on 02.03.09 at 11:21 am

[...] ← Fit Girl Series – BIG FAT LIARS!!! [...]

#12 Jennifer on 02.03.09 at 8:04 pm

I agree with Jen, eating organically grown food can be as cheap or cheaper than conventional. You make it work by looking at your grocery bill overall instead of item by item. Savings here can pay for organic there. But you’ve definitely got a challenge if you live in rural TX.

The dirty dozen list I’ve seen is strictly produce. Apples are on the list and organic apples are pretty common and fairly affordable. We eat lots of apples because they are inexpensive, store well, and can be used in cooking so there’s less waste. Grapes are also on the list. Organic grapes can run about $10 per pound. They don’t last long and they can’t really be turned into much, so even though my daughter loves them, we don’t buy grapes. Potatoes are on that list too. I read that potato farmers don’t go into their fields for 4-5 days after spraying. They also often keep a small organic plot for personal use. I buy organic potatoes.

The way I started our switch was to determine what I wanted and what I didn’t want in our food. I didn’t require everything to be organic, just free of artificial sweeteners (including hfcs), hormones, antibiotics, trans fats, etc. Once I had that list I started making changes step by step based on what we ate the most of. I paid for each step by making other changes. I kept better track of prices and sales, planned meals ahead, reduced waste, bought cheaper cuts of meat and used less meat. Stew instead of steak. I also chose to prepare things myself instead of buying convenience foods. I now make my own bread, yogurt, baked goods, and chocolate syrup. The only organic ingredient I use is milk but the food is much simpler and tastier.

Since I started the process, my grocery bill has gone down significantly, even taking in account the recent increase in prices. Yes, I could do all these things with conventional foods and have an even cheaper grocery bill, but my husband and I make a conscious choice to spend more on food to buy good food. We spend less in other areas to make up for this. I know that’s an economic choice not everyone can make. At the end of the day, you do the best you can with what you have.

#13 Staci on 02.03.09 at 9:56 pm

Tracee, have you looked into any CSAs in your area? CSAs are when you buy a share of crops on a farm, paying in advance to cover the costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary, therefore sharing the risks and benefits of food production.

We get 18 weeks of organic vegetables and fruit for about $200. Here is one I found that might be near you:

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/M20604

But that won’t help with peanut butter. Is it crazy to consider making your own?

#14 Staci on 02.03.09 at 10:35 pm

http://blog.al.com/frugalmom/2008/10/make_your_own_peanut_butter.html

#15 Tracee on 02.04.09 at 8:12 am

Actually, I am planning to make my own peanut butter now that you mention it. There’s actually a peanut butter farm about 30 minutes away. I plan on taking the kids and buying a bag of unprocessed peanuts. I researched peanut butter makers and it turns out you simply need a blender. I do not know if its an organic farm.

I’m definately going to look up that CSA idea. I spend way more than $200 on fruit. I call my kids “fruititarians.”

Thanks for the tips.

#16 Staci on 02.04.09 at 10:23 am

Great idea on taking the kids, and making it a fun thing to do together! Win-win.

#17 Tracee on 02.04.09 at 10:27 am

From Ashley:

I don’t do the organic peanut butter – but I do buy the “natural” peanut butter – less than 2 percent sugar..at least it’s better than nothing. And we eat a TON of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, good lord! It’s literally our staple.

#18 GRACE on 02.06.09 at 11:57 pm

i AGREE AND DISAGREE BOTH WITH THE ORIGINAL POST DERCRYING THE LIES PERPETUATED BY FOOD MANUFACTURERS, HOWEVER THE POST BY JEN OFFERING A FOOD SERVICE THAT DELIVERS HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES AND WAS POUNCED UPON BY TRACEE IS AT THE CRUX OF THE MATTER FOR ME. HISTORICALLY, WE CAN DATE THE EMERGENCE OF THESE FOOD PRODUCTS TO THE FACT THAT MORE AND MORE WOMEN WERE ENTERING THE WORK FORCE LEAVING LESS TIME FOR FOOD PREPARATION, THE FOOD VALUES OF A TV IN THE 70′S IS NO BETTER THAN TODAY’S. IN ESSENCE AS A WORKING MOM AND A FIFTY YEAR OLD I WILL BLAME THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION THAT ENCOURAGED WOMEN TO FLEE THEIR MARRIAGES AND THEIR FAMILIES AND BE EVERYTHING INCLUDING A CAREER WOMAN TO DEMAND FROM THESE VERY MANUFACTURERS THE CONVENIENCE THAT HAS CREATED A MARKET FOR THESE FOOD ITEMS. COAXING CHILDREN WITH PRETTY LABELS WAS AROUND IN THE FIFTIES AND EARLIER. HOW OLD ARE YOU JEN? HOW MUCH MARKET RESEARCH HAVE YOU DONE? i AGREE WITH THE ORGANIC ARGUEMNT BEING ECONOMIC IN FACT. MY SINGLE CO WORKER ONLY BUYS ORGANIC. SHE DOESN’T OWN AN HOME, HAVE CHILDREN , PAY TUITION, BUY SHOES OR CLOTHES ETC FOR ANYNE BUT HERSLEF. OF COURSE SHE CAN AFFORD TO EAT THAT WAY.

#19 Fit Girl Series - Friends, Strangers With Candy — The Girl Revolution on 02.11.09 at 7:28 am

[...] Fit Girl Series: BIG FAT LIARS! [...]

#20 stitch on 02.12.09 at 10:33 am

I kinda agree with your points with the girls, but about this… children DO NOT pick unhealthy food, certainly do not pay it, and most importantly they CANNOT choose their lifestyle YET (exercise and stuff ). so responsibility goes 90 % parents 10% THE REST.
“Parents don’t stick Hannah Montana, Barney, Dora, or High School Musical on packaging from yogurt to cereal to cheese sticks to macaroni and cheese to drink mixes to juice boxes to bread”

WHO CARES ??? parents knows this food unhealthy, child “demands it” and the last word goes to …

#21 Tracee Sioux on 02.12.09 at 12:39 pm

I don’t buy that cartoonized food. Period.

There is just as much lying – or more – going on in adult foods marketed as “health foods.” Ever tried to determine how much whole wheat is actually in the “whole wheat noodles?” In most of them – the answer is almost none. F them. It’s a waste of my time and resources to stand there and try to sort through the lying on packaging. They market trash food as health food. I’m pissed off about it.

Tracee Sioux’s last blog post..Fit Girl Series – Friends, Strangers With Candy

#22 Fit Girl Series: Accept Your Body — The Girl Revolution on 02.17.09 at 7:08 am

[...] Fit Girl Series: BIG FAT LIARS! [...]

#23 Fit Girl Series: We Did It! — The Girl Revolution on 03.09.09 at 7:19 am

[...] Fit Girl Series: BIG FAT LIARS! [...]

#24 Fit Girl Series: Who’s Body Is It Anyway? — The Girl Revolution on 05.11.09 at 7:52 am

[...] Fit Girl Series: BIG FAT LIARS! [...]

#25 that girl on 05.12.09 at 7:43 am

Tracee – y’all should try that jif natural..I think that’s it..it has less than 2% of sugar, molasses, etc..and only like 5 ingredients total..it’s in the white jar and it’s cheaper than regular jif at my wal-mart.

that girl’s last blog post..Enough dammit!

#26 Obesity Thunder Bay Website Fights Childhood Obesity — The Girl Revolution on 01.25.10 at 1:36 pm

[...] Fit Girl Series: BIG FAT LIARS! [...]

#27 Fit Girl Series: Ainsley Won 5K! - Tracee Sioux, Law of Attraction Coach — Tracee Sioux, Law of Attraction Coach on 11.21.13 at 4:03 pm

[…] Fit Girl Series: BIG FAT LIARS! […]

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge