Thursday, May 24, 2012

Childhood Obesity

I know I'm getting old when my friends (okay facebook friends), start having babies on purpose. Or get pregnant, and can't audition for "Teen Mom" anymore. I always say that I hate kids (pretty sure I'm emotionally damaged from not worth the 15 bucks), but my 'antichrist' attitude has changed over time from 'I hate kids' to 'I hate parents', to recently, 'Ugh that's so mean...okay, I hate parents that feed their children crap'.

Childhood obesity has more than TRIPLED in the last 30 years. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period. What the HELL America. This is not only disgusting, it is devastating. Because of our choices over the last 30 years, we are now the first generation expected to die before our parents. Our life expectancy is 10 years shorter because of the food landscape today.

Since I'm a visual learner, let me show you an example. Let's put some faces to statistics that, unfortunately, we've become so used to.

This is Brittany. She lives in West Virginia which last year, was named the most unhealthy state in America. Brittany is 16 years old. Because of the food that she has eaten, Brittany has 6 years to live. She is literally eating her liver to death. At this rate, her body is unable to keep up and will give out in SIX short years.
This is Stacy Edwards and her two children. Justin is 12 years old. He weighs 250 pounds. Katie is 4 years old. She's obese before she's even started elementary school.

If you feel no sympathy for these people, let me try and get you angry:
Think about smoking. Smoking costs WAY less than obesity now. Obesity costs us Americans 10 percent of our health care bills. $150 BILLION dollars a year. In ten years, it's set to double. $300 billion dollars a year. And let's be honest America, we don't have that kind of money layin' around.

We spend our lives being paranoid about death. Murder, homicide, abductions, etc. It's in all the papers, on the news, and even on milk cartons (probably flavored milk...DAMMIT guys). We cope with this unnerving, irrational, fear by going through Del Taco because fuck it, we're going to die anyways right? Well, look at how well that's working out for us.
Heart disease, all cancers, and stroke are the top three causes of death in the United States. And then there's diabetes in red also. Oh yeah and the reason they're in red? Because they're diet related diseases. AKA, completely preventable. Look at homicide all tiny at the bottom. We need to seriously reevaluate our choices.

Obviously, obesity is a huge problem. Pun intended. So why choose to post on childhood obesity specifically? Because we have to break this chain. The last three generations of people have been so terribly unhealthy. If we continue this pattern, of feeding ourselves and our children the way the majority of America eats, we are doomed. Doomed for more heart disease, more cancer, more strokes, more Type II diabetes, more deaths.

Feeding your children processed, sugar filled, unhealthy, junk, is a direct form of child abuse. Think about that. You are setting your child up to crave those foods and in turn, you are setting them up for chronic disease. YOU control the type of foods your child likes. If you feed your children nutritiously dense, healthy, WHOLE foods, they will be hard wired to crave those foods. Alternatively, if you feed them chicken nuggets, cookies, soda, pizza, etc., they will be hard wired to crave those foods. Furthermore, (oh I'm on a roll now guys), let's talk about being pregnant for a second. It all starts there. I have never been pregnant but I have heard from every other girl that has been, that the cravings are insane. And sometimes, you just gotta give in. SOMETIMES ladies! If you're eating fast food for every meal, Doritos, Cheetos, nacho cheese from 7-11, slurpees, Twinkies, and pizza because "you can because you're pregnant", you're already abusing your unborn child. You're already setting that child up to crave these things!

Now, I'm not a barbarian. I'm not saying my future child will never eat dinosaur chicken nuggets or get a cookie cake for his/her birthday. But there is a HUGE difference between special occasion food, and making this your child's daily diet. So let's talk about some solutions.

1. Educate Your Children

I watched a video of Jamie Oliver holding up produce to a class of kindergarteners, and none of the children could identify an eggplant, a beet, a tomato, or a head of cauliflower. Scary. If kids don't know what things are, they won't eat it. And if you think I'm wrong, you're wrong.


This is huge. (That's what she said). I realized today while researching my topic, I was never allowed to buy lunch from school. I never really questioned it, my lunch was just always on the kitchen counter in the morning. Cafeteria food IS fast food. Maybe not McDonalds or Taco Bell, but it is highly processed, preserved, sugary, salty, greasy, finger food. Most schools don't even allow forks or knives because they're considered 'dangerous'. (Lol). So we are forced to feed our children food that they can eat with their hands. Burgers, pizza, burritos, sloppy joes, chicken nuggets, french fries and chimichangas. And then to wash it all down, they serve them flavored milk. I'm not even going to get into that because you can read my rant on flavored milk HERE.

3. Cook For Your Family

I know you're busy. I get it. We're all busy. Let me answer your prayers. It's called a Crock Pot. GET ONE. Then go HERE (I even Googled for you) and explore. Healthy crock pot breakfasts, lunch, dinners, and desserts. Welcome!

4. Stop Buying Your Kids Video Games

Also, you stop playing them too. Get up, and go play. When was the last time you played anything outside? When was the last time you saw your kid play anything other than Call of Duty? Teach them how to throw a football...boy or girl! There is something sexy about seeing a girl throw a football, teach her now, she'll thank you later.

5. Don't Use Food as a Reward

Pretty self explanatory. Your child is not a dog. And when they accomplish something in the future, they'll turn to food. Take your little girl to go get her nails done or your little boy to the batting cages.

There's obviously a fine line between being obsessive about what you and your child eat, and being mindful. So, be mindful, be happy, be healthy.

Ps- Whilst writing this I ate 4 pieces of dark chocolate. Keepin' it real over here. x

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Expecto Patronum

If you haven't 'liked' me on facebook yet, click THIS. Or wait until you read this post, then scroll back up. Our facebook page rules. Recipes, articles, new posts, suggestion box, yeah! Okay. Anyways--

Oh man guys, it has been a rough couple weeks since I've been back from Spain. I wish I could be one of those perma-vacotioners you know? No job, no schedule, no problems, sangria, sangria, sangria...what was I saying? But I knew eventually I'd have to come back and face my real life here. And it was waiting for me, guns a-blazing. Without getting into the hairy, intimate details of the shit show I've created for myself here, I will say this. I am working very very very hard right now on the most important relationship of my life. And that relationship is with myself. Cliche? For sure. But I'm a 21 year old girl living in Southern California with an eating disorder. Cliches are CLEARLY my thing. And yes, I do love the movie 'Mean Girls'.

Anyways, in addition to re-reading my post on Emotional Eating (I may or may not have destroyed some Dominos twice in the last two weeks...along with a pint of Cherry Garcia Ben & Jerry's...and washed it down with alcohol...lots and lots of alcohol) I have been doing a lot of reading. Now, I like to fancy myself as a pretty well read person. Catcher in the Rye, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal Farm...totally into it. And yeah I did read all of those in high school. But the last two weeks, I have been ALL about Harry Potter. If you know me in real life, this is no surprise to you. I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. An epic, uber, nooby nerd, if I may.

I love the Harry Potter series for SO many reasons. First of all, they're awesome. Second of all, there are some serious life lessons in there. So here's what I've learned, and here's what's getting me through these tough times right now.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Under no circumstance will I let my past define who I am now, and who I will be in the future. What's done is done and it's what I will do from here that matters. 
You can sit and dwell in the darkness, or be thankful you have the ability to turn on the light. 
Siriusly guys. 

I saved this quote for last because it has a different meaning to me now then it did when I first read The Deathly Hallows. Your thoughts and words are the most powerful tools you possess. They can inflict the most painful wounds, and also heal them. 

As someone who struggles every day with a mental illness, I will tell you right now, it is the most frustrating, infuriating, painful, thing when someone belittles your thoughts. Or tells you that you're crazy. Or tells you that you are unstable and making poor choices because of what's going on inside of your head. Don't let anyone tell you that. Because even though they may or may not be coming from a place of love, your thoughts are real. They are yours. And even if they are irrational, they affect you more than anyone else ever will. What you think, you become. 

First, we change our thoughts. Only then, can our thoughts change us. Happy Thursday :) x

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hola from Madrid!

Hi Happy Life, Healthy Life-ers! If you 'like' me on facebook, you know I've been in Madrid, Spain, for the past week! My best friend Lauren is studying abroad here and I came to visit her. It has been a crazy, amazing experience and I am so sad to leave. Before I left, I naturally had MAD anxiety about the food situation here. One, because I've never been and fear the unknown and two, because Lauren told me it is carb central and there is practically nothing healthy. I had three goals this trip. To have fun and really experience life here in Spain without feeling guilty about food, two--stay on top of my work out schedule, and three, try and dress nicely the majority of days I'm here. Because if you know me, you know how much I would LOVE to go out in my sweats, running shoes, and dirty old headband every day. So, without further ado, here's how it went :)

First off, I had a 13 hour flight. 6 hours from Los Angeles to New York, and 7 from New York to Madrid. I ate a delicious, huge breakfast before my flight (oatmeal with peanut butter, greek yogurt, and an apple), and right before my flight I had a protein bar. Passed out, woke up, and wandered through JFK Airport for some food. And be still my beating heart here's what I found-
Real ingredients...I recognized them all. So happy.

Once I got to Madrid, checked into the hotel, I was starving. I am convinced that room service is God's gift to mankind...I wish I had it everywhere. And by everywhere I mean at my house.
Lobster salad? Yes please. 
Passed out early. Woke up the next morning at 6:30 AM. Horrible. With nothing else to do...I decided to make good on goal number two and go to the gym.
Whole gym to myself...happy camper!
Room service had this amazing breakfast called the "Fitness Breakfast" which was amazing and perfect. It was an egg white omelet, a box of all bran cereal, and half a grapefruit not pictured because I devoured it every morning before I could photograph it.
After breakfast every morning, we got showered, dressed and took the metro to Starbucks (I know, we're so so so American).
Skinny Vanilla Latte...mmm
We walked around Madrid everyday and worked up quite an appetite. My absolute favorite lunch place was a place called Maoz Vegetarian. Apparently it's a chain, but I had never been there before, so I have been three times so far. I just can't get enough I mean look at this-
Ugh amazing. Lettuce, carrots, cous cous, garbanzo beans, roasted cauliflower and falafel.
Added some tzatziki sauce and mixed it up :)

The days I couldn't make it to the gym were not lazy days at all. We walked EVERYWHERE. Including Europe's largest flea market, El Rastro :)
At El Rastro is where I finally got my first real Spanish dining experience. And by that I mean we went to a hole in the wall restaurant, where no one spoke english, and I had no idea what I was ordering. I recognized the word "pollo" as chicken (thanks annoying El Pollo Loco commercials), and "ensalada verde" and green salad. I couldn't have gotten luckier. My food was AMAZINGLY delicious and fresh.
Apparently, all green salads come with tuna here. That's what Lauren said. Same with vegetable sandwiches. Tuna isn't considered 'meat' to the Spanish!
Pollo Asado. Clearly I forgot to take a picture before I devoured most of it.
Another amazing form of out of the gym exercise were these stairs in the metro stations. Literally kicked my booty!
There's Lauren on the escalator ;)
Later than night we went to Plaza Mayor...another famous spot!
Pretty walk over 

Plaza Mayor

One of the days we went to this crazy place called Mercado San Miguel.

 Hands down my favorite place here. It will become very clear when you see the pictures. This mercado was just a huge, indoor, market with TONS of stands selling tapas (appetizers), wine, beer, juice, fruit, vegetables, sweets, pastries, just anything you could possibly want. The best part was that it was cheap, and each tapas was about two bites. So I bought one, Lauren bought one, we took a bite, and switched. It was the perfect late lunch. Here was our haul...enjoy the food porn.

French bread with caramelized onions, garlic, and brie cheese. 

Merengue Cupcakes

Raspberry and caramel macaroons

Tomato, mozzarella and pesto kebob, and some sort of chicken tomato onion kebob 

French bread with FRESH mozzarella, arugala, and balsamic vinegar

French bread with fresh mozzarella, olive oil, blueberry jam, and walnuts

And literally the most amazing frozen yogurt I've ever had. Lauren's had apple pie on it, mine had Nutella crunch. MMM

After that we walked down to a bar called "100 Montaditos" and got sangria in a beer mug for 2 Euros! Obviously this was my cheat day :)
Came back to room, siesta timed, and then ordered more room service. I'm legit nervous to see my bill but I just love it.
More wine
Greek salad with grilled chicken
 We also went to Retiro Park, which is apparently famous and I could see why. It was absolutely beautiful and SO much to see we couldn't even walk to entire thing. It was so peaceful and relaxing.

Last night, we went bar hopping and it was CRAZY because Madrid won the world cup! I unfortunately didn't take pictures. But I can tell you there were 1 Euro tequila shots and a 24 hour pizza place...and I can also tell you I woke up at 4 PM and am going to the gym now :)

It has been a very happy, relatively healthy, and very balanced trip. Exactly what I needed. I am proud of myself for not having even ONE food freak out, and striking a good balance with my exercise habits. Hopefully all future trips are as great as this one :) Ciao! x