Food & Drink Magazine

Food Education

By Chuck Underwood @brandnewvegan
food education

Photo by Matt McGee courtesy of Flickr

I had this post in mind as I read about the little 3yr old girl in Texas who was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.

Yes,  3 years old.

She weighed 77 pounds and her height, weight, and BMI were in the top 5% for children her age.  The entire family had poor eating habits, and ate lots of calories and fat.

77 pounds?!  At 3 yrs old?  I just can’t imagine.  And I kept thinking to myself – one day we’re going to have to teach people how to eat again – because apparently we have forgotten.

What is so different now – in 2015 – compared to the past?  I grew up in the ’70’s and sure some people were overweight, a few obese maybe  – but nowhere near the scale of people we have today.

Back in 1962, the year I was born, less than 1% of the population had Type II Diabetes, today that number is closer to 12%, and if trends continue  – by 2050 experts say 1 out of every 3 Americans will have it.

What happened?

As Dr. McDougall is so fond of saying –


Look around you.  Hardly any of us eat real food anymore.

We buy food like ‘substances’ from a drive thru or already cooked in the grocery store or restaurant -usually with tons of salt, fat, and sugar.  That’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner for many people.

In fact, I don’t think it would be so far-fetched to say many of us don’t even know what real food is anymore.  

Just the other day I had to explain to the grocery checker that she was holding a sweet potato – not a regular potato.

And later I read on my Facebook Group where a lady was getting her blood drawn, and in response to the low cholesterol count on her chart she commented that she does not eat meat.

But you have to eat meat, and even fruits and veggies have cholesterol.
No I don’t eat anything that used to be an animal.
But you eat chicken and fish right?  Chickens and fish aren’t animals, you buy chicken in the store and fish comes in cans….

I am not kidding.  And from a medical professional at that.

SAD Food Facts

It’s a shame that food education isn’t taught in schools.  It should be.

Because apparently what is teaching us today are corporate mega-businesses and their advertising.

Did you know that …

  • Children today often recognize the McDonald’s logo long before they recognize their own name?
  • American children now get about one-quarter of their total vegetable servings in the form of potato chips and french fries.
  • This year Americans will spend over $110 billion on fast food—more than they’ll spend on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music combined.
  • Every day about one-quarter of the U.S. population eats fast food.
  •  The golden arches are now more widely recognized than the Christian cross.

(Facts from Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation)

This is what we call the Standard American Diet – and it is SAD!

Whether it’s intentional or not (and there are conspiracy theories galore) these corporate mega-giants are dumbing down our society – making us forget what REAL food really is.

And it’s not just hurting our IQ – it’s hurting our health.

Which is why we seriously need to start educating people, as young as possible.

Real Food Education


What can we possibly do against corporate mega-giants like the Beef Industry or McDonalds?

Well we can vote – and remember we vote every time we go to the grocery store.

We vote with our dollars… ….

Don’t Buy It!  

If enough of us were to stop going to Fast Food Restaurants, or buying the processed crap in the grocery stores – those corporate bigwigs would have no other choice than to pay attention.  After all it’s their bottom line that would be affected.

WE can do that.

  1. Stop buying fast food
  2. Stop buying processed junk food
  3. Start buying more real fruits and vegetables
  4. Teach your kids what the vegetables are and where they come from
  5. Grow some seedlings in the windowsill or in a pot outside – let them see for themselves how to grow real food
  6. Make your own french fries – from real potatoes – without the chemicals or oil
  7. Learn how to cook different veggies
  8. Have fruit slices already cut up for the little ones to nibble on
  9. Get creative with shapes and figures (we are going to do this with my grandson) Let them see how fun real foods can be.

Somehow people have got the  impression that real food, especially plant-based foods are dull and boring.

We may not have the corporate clown or the happy meals, but we DO have our health.  And that is more important than all the advertising dollars combined.

Food education starts at home.  We CAN change this.  We CAN make a difference.  Let’s do it.


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