When my son was diagnosed with autism, I dove head first into researching diet and nutrition and how that can affect children’s development. I watched the film “Food, Inc.” and it basically changed my life and how I looked at food. I highly recommend everyone watch this movie. Gone are the days of lush green rolling hills and “Old MacDonald” on his farm. Factory farming has become the name of the game. A factory farm usually houses thousands of animals raised for food and treats them with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and maximize their growth and food output. Animals are crowded together and forced to stand in piles of their own feces while being fed grain full of antibiotics. The government knows this and what’s their solution? Chlorine baths and radiation. Those steaks that you grilled last weekend–dipped in chlorine and irradiated in order to kill the bacteria that is on the meat that the antibiotics couldn’t kill. Is it any wonder that antibiotic resistant diseases are on the rise? Americans are becoming fat, lazy, and apathetic due in a large part to the food that we eat. Children are being diagnosed with asthma, ADHD, autism and developmental disorders at an alarming rate. Unless we take a stand, it’s only going to get worse.
I was honestly astounded by my own ignorance in relation to food before autism came into our lives. I tried to eat “healthy”, maybe a salad once or twice a week, thinking I was doing pretty well. Not until my husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and my son with autism did I truly understand the relationship between food and our own immune system and overall health. How can we expect our bodies to run efficiently, or even our children’s brains to function properly without the proper nutrition to fuel them? I couldn’t believe the state of the food supply and how much it was damaging our families own health. Once I became educated, I never looked back.
Many parents with newly diagnosed children feel overwhelmed at the enormous amount of therapies out there, some with a hefty price tag attached. My recommendation to any parent as a first step on the road to health and wellness is diet, diet, diet. Piling on supplements to an inflamed, malnourished body isn’t going to provide real healing. Starting a diet is not just cutting out gluten and casein either. Swapping out gluten cupcakes for their gluten free counterpart isn’t going to make much of a difference in the long run. Parents need to provide their children a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables and healthy protein and fats. You need to cut out the “fast food” and provide nourishing REAL food. I’ve seen children respond so remarkably to a whole food diet, many of their issues have either disappeared or become greatly reduced on a whole food organic diet.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, the giant food corporations are trying to keep the consumer from knowing what is truly in their food. GMOs are becoming more and more prevalent in our food supply. President Obama has passed legislation greenlighting the approval for more GMOs to enter our food supply. As consumers, we have a right to know what’s in our food and standing up to this profit over people approach. What can you do?
1. Find your local farmers and get to know them. A great place to start is by visiting a Farmers Market. There is so much going on and so many different things for sale. It’s such a boost to small business and a way to support your local community. And it’s not just a place for buying vegetables. Our local market has started wine tasting (organic of course!) and activities for the kids. Many places now accept government assistance checks (food stamps, EBT, etc.). My local market last year created a program where every dollar doubled in value to 2 dollars when using any of the government programs.
2. Think about buying a CSA (community supported agriculture) from a local farm. Basically, a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. Different places offer different types of shares ranging from small to large, one season or 4 seasons. The money from these shares go directly to the farm. My local farm offers a program where if you volunteer to work on the farm for 4 hours once a week, they will give you a share that week for free! They also have drop off points throughout the city and suburbs for people who can’t travel the distance to the farm.
3. Unleash your inner farming Diva and start a garden in your backyard. Last year I discovered the joy of square foot gardening. No digging, no weeding, no intensive labor. You basically just plant the seeds and remember to water and you’re good to go! Google it and you’ll get lots of helpful hints about how to make your own. This is a great way to teach kids the value of growing wholesome fresh food and they’ll be more willing to eat new things if they grew it themselves.
4. Continue to work with your local government officials and educate them about the dangers of GMOs in the food supply. Do not buy from companies that use GMOs or give money to suppress the labeling of food as genetically modified. It’s time we sent a clear message to these companies and let’s face it, they will only change once their bottom line is affected.
5. Register for our eConference and learn all about food, the dangers of GMOs and learn some great cooking tips along the way! The best part is you can watch online for a whole year! Not to mention there will be some awesome giveaways during the conference as well. Click here to Register Now!