Tuesday, 9 September 2014

FED UP with Sugar!?
Forget “Hooked on Phonics;” Get Kids “Hooked on Healthy Food”

Video: FED UP – Official Trailer

Everybody's got their poison, and mine is sugar.
- Derrick Rose

Not alcohol, cigarettes, or what we typically think of as drugs. Like so many others in the industrialized world I’ve picked my poison—sugar—and it’s 100% legal and available EVERYWHERE, in just about EVERYTHING. In fact, this particular poison is nearly impossible to avoid. 

Did I really pick my poison? Or was I picked? And just how much of a “poison” is sugar, anyway? The new documentary film, “FED UP” explores America’s addiction to sugar, and the epidemics it is causing in young people; the first generation, it is said, whose life expectancy will be lower than that of previous generations.

One of the rather vivid arguments the film makes is that sugar “lights up” the same area of the brain as cocaine. If that is so, then in terms of addiction, sugar can be considered the most widely used drug on the planet.

Image: Screenshot from FED UP Official Trailer – Brain response to sugar and cocaine

“So what?” You might be asking yourself: “so a few cavities and some kids who grow up as adults with a sweet tooth aside, what possible harm can come from this pure white sweetener which made all our childhoods that much more bearable?” Well, it’s not quite that simple.

For the record: I am a sugar addict. Like most people, I turn to carb-laden, starchy, fatty, and sugary comfort foods for—well—comfort. I am on a diet free of gluten, corn, soy and cow-dairy (for medical reasons), and yet I still find a way to satisfy my cravings for starchy/sweet foods.

If you cannot get out to the theatres to see FED UP anytime soon, you can watch an episode of CBC’s the fifth estate exposing “The Secrets of Sugar,” below, which pretty much summarizes much of the current scientific and medical basis for “the war on sugar,” as well as the economic and political pushback against any efforts to reduce consumption.

Video: The Secrets of Sugar - the fifth estate - CBC News

So what can be done?

Well, since the issue here seems to be first and foremost the effects of sugar on children and their long-term health, there is an immediate message of prevention and education. With an educational component, one might have expected this blog on Genesis Eco Fund’s Blog, but not so: it’s not that kind of “education” that’s needed.

What’s needed is some good old-fashioned child rearing, like the kind we got from our parents—like the kind being shown in the following CBC news report on the importance of getting kids hooked on healthy food early in life.

Image Video-Link: Getting kids hooked on healthy food early is crucial, researchers say 
Source: CBC News The National Sep 2 2014 Child Nutrition

Right now, children’s addiction to sugar is being institutionalized on an industrial scale (especially in the United States where school breakfast and lunch programs are inundated with industrial food: cheap sugar-laden products whose primary ingredients—like carbs and starches—convert to sugar in the body; let’s not even mention the unhealthy fats and “flavor enhancers” like MSG).

But wait a second: I was brought up pretty well. We did have lots of carbs, mind you—but 30 and 40 years ago there was no talk of the dangers of carbs, yet…not like today. Well, maybe that explains why my mom now has Type-II diabetes.

Still, my mom prepared home-cooked meals. I suppose we ate at places like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken on occasion. And we did drink a fair amount of juice (which nowadays they say is almost as bad as soda pop). But there’s more to this than just “instilling healthy lifestyles.”

Kyboshing Comfort-Seeking

Make no mistake: sugar is “comfort food.” Like any drug, sugar makes children feel good; not only that, the “crash” you feel after the “high,” has a sedative, relaxing effect (if slightly depressing).

We reach for the snacks partially because our bodies are addicted to them and craving them, biologically—as Dr. Mark Hyman argues in his book “The Blood Sugar Solution: 10-Day Detox Diet,” discussed in an article on NYDailyNews.com—but there’s more to it than that.

There is a neuropsychological connection. When we are nervous, for instance, we like to crunch starchy food (like popcorn in the theatre). Chocolate and sweets likewise become more attractive to us when we “need something.” Maybe it’s the “warm fuzzy feeling” sugar gives us, like a warm hug.

In my own experience, I find that meditating or mantralizing has a powerful effect on my ability to curb cravings for sugar. In addition, being in the company of an ecosystem likewise relieves cravings, since I feel good without turning to comfort food.

PeapodLife advocates a more healthy, wholesome and comfortable environment: one with high-order rainforest ecosystems. No matter how well you try to eat, or what kind of lifestyle and nutrition regimen you try to stick to, what good is it if you’re surrounded by an environment which causes stress?

In a stressful environment, you’re just going to find yourself fighting your own cravings for comfort—sugar and related unhealthy choices.

In a calming, soothing, relaxing and invigorating environment, you crave neither the warm and fuzzies, nor the power-drink rush, nor the post-sugar-high crash. You are already balanced, content and happy.

At PeapodLife, this is what we feel is so important: allowing children the opportunity to experience the power of nature to provide the comfort and support in a safe and positive way—mutually symbiotic relationship. The ecosystem provides the ongoing nurturing we once received from our parents, and in many ways, is what we seek when we turn to sugar.

We surround ourselves with toxic environments and impressions, causing all kinds of stress and anxiety, in a society which shuns open displays of affection, compassion, empathy, etc. in certain “serious” circumstances, and we wonder why we turn to sugar!?

We subject children to unnatural, mechanical institutionalized education and indoctrination programs, standardized testing, etc., television, video games, iPads, the digitization of their lives, and we wonder why when they seek warmth and comfort they turn to “the quick fix” of sugar?

It’s time to bring nature back into our lives, and let the ecosystem begin the healing, the comforting; only then will our cravings for sugar be under control. 

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