The Challenge with Standard American Diet- part 3

The Challenge of the Standard American Diet is in a System

This is Part III of a series on The Value of What We Feed Our Children

When a child belongs to the State, the only allowable diet is the recommended diet of our land, which is the Standard American Diet, aka SAD.

SAD Diet systems and childrenOur family can share the experiences we have had with the FosterCare System which covers 500,000 children in the U.S., however the concerns are expressed throughout many systems of; children, criminals, elderly, and orphans.

We have a guideline known as the Standard American Diet, but in a private home, there are deviations made to accomodate the foods that we like and/ or the foods that give us energy and health. Basically, you have a choice in what you eat.  But children; they eat only what is provided. Now, I want you to think of all government facilities and contracted government establishments such as; schools, orphanages, hospitals, prisons, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, daycare, and more. Can you see the impact?

The Standard American Diet is far reaching.

What scares me is that as we travel abroad, there are many countries who are following America’s lead! Bravo to the nations that are saying “NO to GMO, we want to see if it is safe first!” {Italy, Spain, Germany, Argentina,…} America is great for enterprise, corporations, and entrepreneurialship; but food should always belong to farmers.  

When we started to farm a little bit of land, we went to meet Joel Salatin.

Then this Ted Talk from Dan Barber moved our family education on sustainable farming (16 minute mark is the home run).

Oddly enough, it appears the Standard American diet is related to the unnatural farming practices (e.g., feeding chicken to fish). And it applies to our life experience through the hospital system with a foster son. See THIS on how the Standard American Diet affects the Fostering System.

Food Education

Our very first foster child had cancer and lived in the hospital for one to two weeks out of a month; so we get to see a few systems (hospital, foster care, welfare) and the way each one works. We worked out an arrangement where the biological parents could stay the nights with him in the hospital. Conversely, we would stay with our shared son during the day from 9am-6pm while the bio-parents look for jobs and get their lives in order. 

Upon arrival in the morning – No matter how much we plead for a special, healthy diet – our little shared-son would have:

bags of cheetos, 

powdered or chocolate donuts, 

canned vitamin milk,

sodas,

genetically modified foods,

pesticide-sprayed vegetables from tin cans and more.

These are a few of the allowable and recommended foods of the Standard American Diet. These foods are SO commonly provided that no one even questions the legitimacy of the food. Repeatedly I would appeal to the hospital staff for a special diet; real butter, not margarine, no fat-free snacks, no sodas, no processed cheetos, etc…these nutrient-depleting foods should not be in a growing 2-year old boy’s diet. Especially one recovering from chemotherapy which obliterates cancer and other cells.

The dietician is college-trained to advise each patient on the best diet for their illness and situation. And this is the diet written…”anything the patient can eat [within this Standard American Diet].” There are no restrictions for a cancer patient who can swallow and has all bodily functions working.

This is the Standard American Diet and it’s SAD

The pun works and many dieticians recognize this. First, the diet is based on a foundation of breads and grains. Source  When this was written, there were about 26 nutrients in a texturally dense bread. Today around 20 of the nutrients are extracted from the breads in order to help the food last a long time on the shelf.

Secondly, there is an effort to reduce the amount of fats in our diet, yet we are getting more obese. Source. Something isn’t working. Therefore in a system environment, these breads make up a large part of the menu and there are very little vegetables consumed. Read here and notice that it doesn’t look so bad on the surface.

However, when I speak to administrators, it is expressed that they are required to have a specific supply of  “canned” foods instead of fresh foods for “safety”. Additionally, the foods that are most affordable, because these farms are subsidized, provides produce laden with pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Basically, there are many foreign chemicals and metals added to the food. Next, we over cook this and soak it in a salty brine and seal it into a can where the food can lose most of its nutrients.

Application

So looking myopically into our world, we have a 2 year old boy with cancer, receiving chemotherapy (toxins injected directly into the bloodstream via ports, in order to kill cell tissues which includes the cells that are cancerous).  We just want the child to eat, but we forget that what is eaten is very important. Translate this over to our; elderly in homes, criminals in prisons, toddlers in daycare, mental home residents, and many sick people in the hospital. These folks are in a system because there are issues. It is possible that many of these folks mirror the rest of us who have; gluten intolerance, celiac, ADHD, autism, allergies, etc…

Therefore, we need to modify/qualify the foundation of our Standard American Diet to include less processed foods, more vegetables, more good fats (butter, coconut oil), and wild-caught foods.

I’m appealing for change because our foster children are really sick and our elderly and criminals deserve a better diet to have a chance for recovering to a better state or place of transition. The reports of our current statistics are not good. More on this hereSource: Center for Disease Control and prevention 2003, and Center for Disease Control Report 2011

There is Hope! How did we do it?

In the hospital, we bring salads every day and eat a nutritious salad while drinking water. On our “unprepared” days, we would order stir fry vegetables, salads, and fruits. Our oncology team tells us they are amazed at how healthy our guy looks when we return for the next round of chemotherapy.  

We share because we know there is HOPE. We want to encourage you that it is possible to work around the systems. Take lunches, pack nutritious whole foods. It certainly is not subsidized by any program, but we realized quickly that it is beneficial to pay for good food. Refuse the deals on food-like products and work hard to find a way to eat whole foods. If you are in a financial restraint be creative! Volunteer with a local farmer.  Share bulk orders and create a co-op.

We refuse the deals on food-like products and work hard to find a way to eat whole foods. If you are in a financial restraint as we are from time to time -be creative! Volunteer with a local farmer, buy at local farmer markets, and avoid the grocery store mark up, share bulk orders and create a co-op.

Standard American Diet in a System

Happy Eating. If you can, reach out and donate healthy foods to a local orphanage of community that services a system.

You can also donate to Real Food Recovery Foundation via paypal; we are a charitable nonprofit organization-you can deduct all donations. Just please give your information so that I may thank you. 100% of our proceeds go to local orphanages as a garden, local farm food, and healthier real food snack options. You can view some of it on our instagram account here: Real Food Recovery

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Mandy

Mandy is the force behind the advocacy portal Real Food Recovery. Since losing a 4 yr old to cancer while fostering to adopt, Mandy founded a nonprofit organization recovering children at-risk using real food, real discussion, and encouragement. As a Wife, Mom of birth, foster, and adopted children, author, Nutritional Therapist, & NRT, Mandy shares simple food tips while volunteering in a local Orphanage to create a model for change. Connect with Mandy through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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