Child Obesity Linked to Working Moms and Corporations

Wow. I can’t believe the mom-o-sphere hasn’t been up in arms about this latest “study.”

And before we go any further, just to set the record straight – I’m a mother. I’m a blogger. But I don’t consider myself a mommy blogger. No disrespect to any mommy bloggers out there, I just don’t put myself into that category. So when I say “mommy bloggers,” I’m not talking about myself, per se. I prefer to observe a group, as opposed to being part of a group, then I can be more objective (and vocal) in my opinions without being boiled alive.

If that makes any sense.

Anyway, here’s a snippet of the article:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The more mothers work during their children’s lifetimes, the more likely their kids are to be overweight or obese, according to a US study published on Friday.

Researchers from American University in Washington, Cornell University in New York state and the University of Chicago studied data on more than 900 elementary- and middle-school-aged children in 10 US cities.

They found that the total number of years the children’s mothers worked had a cumulative influence on their children’s body mass index (BMI) — the weight to height ratio used to measure if a person is overweight or obese.

The researchers were unable to clearly explain the findings but theorized that because working mothers have little time to shop for healthy food and prepare meals, they and their children eat more fast- and packaged foods, which tend to be high in fat and calories.

I wish the article had linked to the study, I would like to see the data on this “conclusion.”

Though I can sort of buy it. I mean, working parents are pressed for time. And fast food is fast and convenient. And when you have a 1001 things to do when you get home at night, cooking is low priority. And the kids are hungry. And probably whining … and offering healthy choices is a lot of extra work AND expensive.

I’m guilty of doing this from time-to-time. Kevin and I will get home and THE LAST thing we feel like doing is cooking dinner and then cleaning up afterward. So, we’ll go out and grab some Wendy’s (or some other fast food) just so we’ll have more time to relax and do the things we need to do.

We’ll all crunched for time, we all cut corners whenever we can. There’s nothing wrong with that. I guess the problem starts when that’s ALL we do – when we consistently go for the unhealthy shortcuts and skip the healthier options. Eating healthy is not really that hard – if we make a conscious effort to do so and plan ahead.

Dr. Laura’s blog is what first drew my attention to this. Here is what she had to say on the matter:

The most important part of this study is the part that gets people mad. Well, it gets moms mad. Children’s chances of becoming fat rises the longer mothers work outside the home. Weight problems among children have soared in the past 3 decades as more women have joined the workforce.

But the main problem children have is the inattention of their mothers, because their mothers are burning the candle from one end to the other and all along the middle. Because women have been bullied by the feminist mentality, they no longer believe being a mother and a wife and a homemaker is an adequate thing for anybody to do.

So they have full-time jobs, kids and a husband. They can’t adequately take care of their kids to make sure they exercise and eat right. …

What studies like this show is how important you are to the well-being and health of your children

As usual, Dr. Laura doesn’t mince words. I’m sure that working mothers out there aren’t purposefully feeding their children fatty foods out of neglect, but convenience and cost are definitely factors. I can totally understand WHY working moms resort to these types of food, but I wonder if they’re really thinking about the long-term repercussions of doing so.

(And just for the record, and just to keep things fair and balanced – I’m sure there are a lot of working moms that break their backs to make sure their kids are eating right and getting enough exercise. I’m also sure there are some stay-at-home moms that feed their kids a lot of crap, too. Everyone has their reasons, everyone has to do the best they can do. My point is to try and raise awareness about making healthier choices for our childrens’ sakes, if for no other reason).

One of the reasons I think this article hits a nerve for a lot of people is that once again, parents feel like their parenting skills are being questioned. It’s like watching a caged animal being backed into a corner – they get vicious and defensive. And once again, some people will do, or say anything, to get out of being held accountable.

Which sort of leads me to the other thing I wanted to talk about…

How some people think it’s the big-bad corporations’ fault that people, in general, are obese because of the food they sell.


(RSS readers – another video that won’t show up in your readers. My apologizes. Click over to watch it).

Where to start….

Yes. Some companies offer fatty foods. They do so because they want to make a profit. It’s the reason companies exist. They do not exist to better mankind, they exist to make a buck. And when they’re successful at making that buck, they expand and employ people.

Jobs make an economy strong.

Should they offer these types of fatty foods? Well why not? People buy them. If people stopped buying them, they would stop making them because they would be losing money. Again with the profit margin thing.

Personally, I think it’s sort of sick that they sell these heart attacks waiting to happen food types and it makes me uncomfortable when I see obese people inhaling these fatty foods. But guys, no one is forcing them to eat that stuff.

No one is twisting people’s arms to buy these fatty foods. No one is holding a gun to people’s heads to consume these fatty foods. Is it sad that they make unwise choices? Absolutely. But it’s their choice. They have the freedom to make that choice and they will have to deal with the consequences of making that bad choice.

(Pst – moderation is KEY).

I’m not sure how it’s the corporations’ fault that people make bad choices.

Once again, blaming corporations is much easier than owning up to our own weakness. Pointing fingers is a heck of a lot easier than exercising will power and simply refusing to eat the junk that’s offered.

But again, let’s be fair. It’s also equally sad that healthy food is not more affordable.

Do I wish the food industry wasn’t so off balanced (and dare I say, corrupt?). Yes. Do I wish people would start demanding that healthy food be made more affordable and available? Yes. And I think we’re starting to make strides in that direction. But do I think we should blame and/or punish big industries for people making bad choices? No. Just don’t buy their products. Get them where it hurts, in their profit margin. They will soon get the hint.

Once again, it’s about taking responsibility for our choices. Once again, society is scrambling to blame someone else.

I’d be discouraged by all of the finger pointing, but I honestly think people are starting to wake up to these tactics.

Finally.

Cooking Italian-Style Chicken Strips

This is Jazz, my youngest son, and he’s eating a dish that he cooked for us the other night.

I know, judging by his expression, that he appears not to like what he cooked, but actually, he was trying (keyword: trying) to appear cool in his approval.

I’m thinking he failed.

Anyway, he made this recipe in cooking class and he was dying to try it out on us.

Actually, Dude took the same cooking class and …

What’s that? How in the world did I coax my very manly teenage boys to take a cooking class?

You mean aside from my threats of getting out of the car when I drop them off in the morning, wave and yell so loudly that our neighbors in the next county can hear me, “Have a good day, boys! Mommy loves you!”?

Er … nothing. They WANTED to take the class. I didn’t have to do anything.

Granted, it sounded more fun than a lot of the other class choices, but still, cooking class – for my teenage boys. I was quite thrilled, if you want the truth. I mean come on, EVERYONE needs to know how to cook for themselves, right? I mean, I’m quite sure I’ll be over at their apartments every day making sure they drink more water than soda, brush their teeth and to pick up their dirty (stinky) socks, I can’t possibly make their meals too, now can I? I mean, I need to draw the line somewhere, don’t I?

(Okay fine, I’ll be cooking their meals, too. Whatever).

Anyway, where was I … oh yeah. Voluntarily taking a cooking class. Actually, the boys don’t mind taking classes they feel will benefit them in “real” life (because going to school to learn proper English and how to calculate distance is not real life, don’t you know). And this cooking class was definitely in that “real-life” category.

I’m proud to say that both boys quite enjoyed their cooking class (and when I asked them if there were a lot of boys in their cooking classes, thinking that maybe the REAL reason they wanted to take the cooking class was because it would be chock full of cute girls and they wanted to take advantage of the 50:1 girl-to-boy ratio, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were quite a few boys taking the class. Of course, they could have been lying to me but let’s humor my disillusions, shall we?).

In fact, Jazz enjoyed his class SO much that he wanted to try one of his favorite recipes from the class out on us.

So, last Thursday night was Jazz’s night to cook for us. I asked him what he needed, I put those items on our grocery list, I bought those items for him, and he cooked for us.

We had to monkey rig the breading a bit – there simply wasn’t enough to coat the number of strips we made, but it turned out really good and we’ll definitely be adding it to our recipe rotation list. (Kevin made a database of recipes and printed it out so when it comes time to plan the next week’s menu, all I have to do is take out that list and POW, instant no brainer. I like no brainers).

Here is the recipe for Italian-Style Chicken Strips if you want to try it out for yourself:

Italian-Style Chicken Strips

Prep: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Serves 4

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (by the way, don’t waste your money buying bread crumbs, just toast some bread, then take a fork and scrape off the crumbs).
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 cup corn meal (we had to add this just to make more breading. It worked nicely).
1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into strips
1 cup Olive oil
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
Spaghetti noodles (enough to feed four [or more] people).

One
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Two
Combine bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper in a bowl. Give it a good stir.

Three
Cut chicken into 1/2 inch strips. Place in breading mixture, coat chicken completely.

Four
Place chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle Olive oil over chicken strips.

Five
Bake 9 minutes. Turn pieces over and bake another 9 to 11 minutes until cooked completely through.

Six
Serve with spaghetti noodles, pour spaghetti sauce over chicken strips and noodles.

Seven
Praise your child immensely and try and talk your child into cooking for you more often. Momma needs more blogging material.

Enjoy!!

Fasting Facts

Fasting is a natural practice done to promote healing. Taking a break from food allows for a re-balancing within the body.

So I read more about fasting …

I’ll admit, some of it sounds a little hocus-pocus to me, but I think there are definite benefits from fasting. Here is a bit of the information that I found (you can find a lot more information at allaboutfasting.com).

What are the benefits of fasting:

When we cease the over-indulgence that has become so common in our modern world, even for a short while, our lives and our priorities become clearer.

Fasting will:

1. rest the digestive system (BINGO! And the biggest reason I would even consider fasting).
2. allow for cleansing and detoxification of the body (!!)
3. create a break in eating patterns, while shining a spotlight on them
4. promote greater mental clarity (I have my doubts about this)
5. cleanse and heal “stuck” emotional patterns (sounds a little new age to me – however, if you feel better physically, I’m sure the emotional is not far behind)
6. lead to a feeling of physical lightness, increasing energy level (I could definitely use more energy)
7. promote an inner stillness, enhancing spiritual connection

Apparently, fasting initiates the body’s own healing mechanisms. In fact, this site claims that when someone fasts, they can often times experience flu-like symptoms because the body works overtime to rid itself of toxins. I can buy this because your body goes through something similar when you start an exercise program. Have you ever exercised after a long period of being lazy and felt more sick than good? It’s because your body is burning fat, which traps viruses and when it burns, the toxins release thereby causing your body to go into protective mode, fighting off the released viruses. I’m sure fasting does something similar, at least, that makes sense to me.

When we overindulge, our bodies are overwhelmed and it creates a burden on the body. When this happens, the body goes into survival mode and concentrates on the areas of the body that need attention first, shoving less important issues to the side. When you fast, the body can concentrate on those less important issues and work on healing/fixing them.

Interesting.

During fasting, we rest our system from the constant onslaught of food stuffs. We usually think of food as giving us energy, so it can be a new way of thinking to understand how the food we eat actually requires energy. Digesting, assimilating and metabolizing–these activities require a great deal of energy. It is estimated that 65% of the body’s energy must be directed to the digestive organs after a heavy meal.

Free up this energy and it can be diverted to healing and recuperation. It can detox and repair cells, tissues and organs, eliminating foreign toxins as well as the natural metabolic wastes (which are also toxins) produced even by our healthy cells.

And this is what the body will do during a fast. It will take advantage of that time and energy to do some housecleaning. The overloaded, overworked system, unable to properly handle all the toxins, has been storing any excesses in the tissues where they can be dealt with later. This is one of the great health benefits of fasting in that it offers this opportunity to play “catch up”.

Fasting itself isn’t necessarily a “cure” for anything. What it does is “set the stage” or create the environment in which healing can occur. Our bodies know how to heal themselves. We just have to “get out of the way”, and this means on all levels of our being. Fasting has a way of rebalancing us on all those levels.

Interesting. Oh wait, I already said that.

It warns that people who are anemic should not fast. Hmm … I am anemic, but not severely. I think if I build up my iron reserves before starting the fast I should be okay. I will also have to wean myself off caffeine before starting as well to save myself from the killer caffeine-withdrawal headache. (Which are pretty killer for me).

Oops. Just read that people recovering from surgeries should not fast. Rats. That would be me. I’ll have to wait a few more weeks at least before I attempt this. But that’s okay, that will give me more time to properly prepare myself. Because a person who is prepared to fast will often suffer less than a person who hasn’t prepared.

There are different types of fasting:

Fruit Fasting – A popular form of fasting is fruit fasting, ingesting only fresh, raw fruits. This is a good fast for beginners, especially the one-day fruit fast. It offers some choices as to the fruit to use, and like all fasts, you can create your own specific routine.

A fruit fast, like any of the fasting methods, will create an environment for your body to heal. You will experience an internal cleansing as the body’s systems begin the housekeeping they’ve been unable to do before. Toxins stored in the tissues will have an opportunity to be flushed out.

This detox will come with symptoms resembling the flu. Headaches, nausea, diarrhea, sore throat, coughing, fatigue, body odor, body aches, and sinus discharge are all considered normal reactions during a fast. If you find yourself with any of these side effects, take heart! and know they are a sign that your body is healing.

Does the sugar content of fruit concern you? Don’t let it. Fructose, the sugar in fruit, is slowly broken down and converted by the body through several complex processes, into sucrose and glycogen, supplying energy over a long period of time. Fruit is actually recommended for many with sugar-metabolizing disorders, such as hypoglycemia.

A fruit fast is actually what they recommend for one-day fasters and/or beginners. I’d probably stick with apples, though there are many more fruits you could choose from. They recommend four apples for the day – one for each meal and one for a snack. I could easily do this for one day and this is probably the one I’ll start first. I’d then like to go on and try the juice fast. You can read more about the healing effects of a juice fast here. (This will also give me some time to shop deals on juicers).

There’s a rice fast, I’ve never heard of this one. (Who am I kidding, I’ve never heard of 95% of this stuff) and “a brown rice fast can alleviate many digestive troubles.” Hmmm, I may have to try this one, too.

There is also a water fast and a master cleanse fast, but I’m not really that interested in those.

I think I’m going to have to try this over the weekend as I will have the time to simply rest, which is what is recommended. (They actually recommend taking naps – I can do that!) I’ll try a one-day fast to begin with and possibly work my way up to a two, or even a three day fast, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m really curious to find out how my body reacts to eating nothing but apples and drinking two quarts of lemon-flavored water.

Be careful not to fast too frequently; allow your body sufficient time to rebuild nutritional reserves. Two days per week is too frequent, as is one week every month. Recommended fasting times for regular, occasional “maintenance” and rebalancing are one day per week and/or 3 days per month and/or 10 days yearly.

I’m thinking two days per month might be better for me, but again, we’ll just have to see how my body reacts.

I’m excited to try this. I’m not looking forward to the detox symptoms, but I’ll prepare and hopefully it won’t be that bad. I’m most excited to see how this affects my digestive tract. If I can keep it cleaned out, then I shouldn’t have any problems. Right? At least, in theory. We’ll see how it works out when I actually start one.

In the meantime, hide your candy. ;)

P.S. By the way, things are quietening down again. I think it was just gas yesterday. I just picked at my food all day so my intestines wouldn’t have to work as hard. There is definitely a learning curve to this experience.

Cooking Southwest Chicken Burgers

I have to take a moment to brag on my husband (yes honey, I do). Not only is the man a BRILLIANT accountant, and a ROCKIN’ guitar player, the man CAN COOK.

In fact, he’s been cooking a lot lately. And it’s a good thing because I think our can opener is wearing out on me. (Ha! You think I’m kidding, don’t you).

But the thing is, as with everything my husband does, he puts 150% of his energy into whatever he’s focused on at the moment, and right now? He’s focused on cooking. (Well, cooking and his business). Not only cooking, but cooking new (and strange?) foods.

This week, we are having chicken burgers, southwest breakfast and meatballs (not in the same recipe though …?), not spaghetti and meatballs, but just meatballs, with mashed potatoes.

I don’t help. In fact, I stay out of his way. I only assist with preparing ingredients, sauces or whatever he might need to be mixed and/or added while he’s concentrating on the main ingredient of the moment. I also wash the 1001 dishes he dirties up as he’s cooking.

The man is not afraid to use every conceivable kitchen tool he can to obtain perfection.

He cooked us Southwest Chicken Burgers last night. It was an interesting concoction of ground chicken, jalapeno peppers, avocado and salsa.

chicken Burgers

Jazz promptly scraped off the avocado and salsa (which I knew he would), but Dude actually tried it as is. (He later scraped off the avocado. Oh well, they don’t know until they try, right?)

Did we like it? Welllllll ….. we didn’t hate it. We’ll definitely put it in our recipe rotation, but I doubt we have it very often. However, it’s worth trying so I thought I would give you the recipe so you could try it for yourself.

Southwest Chicken Burgers

Prep: 20 minutes | Grill: 13 minutes | Makes: 4 servings

3 Tablespoons finely chopped green pepper
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound uncooked ground chicken
1 cup shredded Monterey-Jack cheese w/ jalapeno peppers (if desired)
4 Kaiser-rolls (or large hamburger buns – toasted is best)
1 medium avocado, seeded, peeled and sliced.
Bottled salsa (optional)

One
In a large bowl combine sweet pepper, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Add ground chicken, mix well. Shape chicken mixture into four 3/4 inch thick patties. (Which is rather hard to do as the mixture doesn’t want to stick. But it firms up while it cooks).

Two
Grill burgers (we used our George Foreman grill, but you could use a grill-grill too, only be careful the mixture doesn’t seep between the grill bars) for 14 to 18 minutes or until no longer pink (165 degrees), turning once halfway through grilling.

Three
Sprinkle each burger with cheese. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes more or until cheese melts.

Four
Serve burgers on rolls/buns. If desired, top with avocado and salsa. (Also, toast the buns. TASTY!)

We made a note to actually make guacamole next time and skip the salsa. Though the salsa was good, we think guacamole will be better.

Enjoy!

(I daresay there will be more recipe posts in the future. He has sticky notes on a ton of pages in many of our cookbooks. Stay tuned).