Guardians of Nutrition?

What’s this pink stuff doing on our healthy eating blog? Here’s the better question: Why’s this pink stuff being fed to our kids–and dogs?

“Here you go, Junior!”  That’s what a fellow traveler said as he set a big bowl of soft frozen dessert in front of Junior.  Nothing too unusual there, right?  Except that Junior is a dog, just barely beyond puppy stage.

If you’re like me, you’re wondering, “Why the heck is someone feeding sugar coated chemical mix to a dog?”  And in fact, when it was placed in front of Junior, the dog gave his master a one-ear-up quizzical look, as if to say, “Am I really supposed to eat this?”  But his master gave the thumbs up, so he went ahead and lapped it up.

This all took place as we pulled into a coffee shop that doubled as an ice cream joint.  By the time we had gone inside, gotten our tea and were returning to our car, master and dog had licked up every last bit of their desserts.  As everyone climbed back into their vehicles and drove off, I couldn’t help but ponder what had just transpired.

Here is a dog, completely dependent on his master for not just food but nourishment, and here is what he’s given:

Sugar, Dextrose, Corn Syrup Solids, Partially  Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Maltodextrin, Guar and Xanthan Gums, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Yellow 5, Yellow 6.  (From the website of Unified Enterprises corporation, sellers of soft frozen desserts and equipment.)

Really?  Even the dog sensed that something was amiss about what his master was feeding him.  But he’s a dog and dogs do what their masters say.

So do kids.

If it bugs you, like it did me, to see sugar-coated chemicals fed to a dog, you can’t help but take the next logical step and wonder, “Why the heck do we feed the stuff to our kids?”  Like dogs, children are completely dependent on their parents not just for food but for the nourishment that ensures proper development of body, mind and spirit.  A child will eat whatever mom and dad put before him, placing complete faith in their knowledge, wisdom and care.

While no parent knowingly breaks the sacred trust we hold as nurturers, what do you make of manufacturers who mold sugar, flavorings, bad fats and toxic colorings into food-shaped products and convince us to feed them to our children?  Something seems really wrong about this part of our food culture.

It is appropriate–and vital–to demand more of our food manufacturers.  But ultimately, it’s the job of we parents to be smarter than food manufacturers, to figure out what is truly nourishing for our children’s’ bodies, and to be courageous enough to feed them well, despite the tidal wave of marketing aimed at undermining us.

To a new culture of eating healthful foods good for our kids and the planet they will inherit!

Confused about what’s truly healthful for kids?  Want to get on the same wholesome eating page with your child?  Join our  Parent/Young Adult Cooking Classes, a 4-week series at the East Boulder Recreation Center.  Together, make and take home a delicious and healthful meals and learn a new, nurturing way to eat.  More info and to register.

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