I normally try to write about food, nutrition and health and leave news and politics well enough alone, but this article made me so mad that I just had to share with you!
Apparently, the administration at one Chicago public school has decided that they should ban children from bringing homemade lunches. Administrators were quoted as saying that this would be a “healthier” choice for the students and hopefully a step in the right direction for the obesity epidemic.
There are so many things that frustrate me about this that I barely know where to begin! I would disagree with it on principle anyway, but it would be one thing if these kids were getting proteins, fresh veggies and enough good fats, but of course not! According to the article:
Every lunch must contain whole grains, only reduced-fat salad dressings and mayonnaise are offered as condiments, and the meals must feature a different vegetable each day. Meal providers also must reduce sodium content by 5 percent annually. About 86 percent of the district’s students qualify for free or reduced price school lunches because their families live close to the poverty line.
Besides the fact that they are completely usurping parental authority, they are feeding kids grains (filled with lectins, glutens, phytic acid etc), and low-fat fare. Perhaps they missed all the research linking a low-fat diet with impaired mental growth and increased obesity in children.
They also apparently forgot or ignored the fact that fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does!
Nutrition aside though, the part that makes me the most upset about this story is that school administrators think that they have the right, and even the obligation, to overrule the parents RIGHT to feed their children what they want to.
I write this blog because I truly believe that eating healthy real food is the healthiest way to eat and can/will lead to health improvements and better quality of life. That being said, I will adamantly defend the right of others to choose to eat donuts, cheetos and ding dongs to their heart’s content.
Though I strongly disagree with the nutritional aspect of eating chips, fast food and other processed fare, I can show that by simply not eating that stuff myself or feeding it to my family. I defend the right of others to eat junk, and I would hope that they would defend my right to eat the foods I want to (and consider healthy).
If parents think that the cafeteria food at Little Village Academy in Chicago is healthy, they can choose to let their kids eat it. If not, they should be able to make the decision to send healthier options with their kids.
Yes, certainly, people are overweight, but they still have the right to decide what and when they eat! It is not the place of the schools, and especially not the federal government, to regulate what food are healthy.
What worries me is that this isolated story from Chicago seems to be part of a growing worldwide trend, with recent reports of Denmark placing a tax on saturated fats.
On a nationwide level, First Lady Michelle Obama wants to start tracking your child’s BMI level, whether you want her to or not. Aside from the fact that BMI is based on weight and height and does not factor in muscle or fat ratios, (Michael Jordan is considered “obese” by these standards! and I would guess our first lady is too… care to volunteer your numbers Mrs. Obama?) it is not her place, or the governments to monitor my child’s fat percentage!
The new USDA Dietary Guidelines are going to further lower fat in school lunches and make America fatter by recommending more of the stuff that is making us fat to begin with: sugars, carbs and processed foods.
Other lawmakers want to ban McDonald’s happy meal toys because they might cause children to choose unhealthy food options. First of all, if you have chosen to eat and feed your children at McDonald’s, healthy options don’t abound anyway. Secondly, last time I checked, our kids aren’t paying for these foods themselves. If you want your kids to be healthier… you CHOOSE not to feed them that junk… you don’t need government regulations to do so!
In the effort to apparently avoid any amount of personal responsibility, we (as parents) have given the government and local schools way too much leeway in making decisions for our kids!
It is time that we stand up and refuse, without question, to let schools or government make health decisions for our kids. I realize that in some cases, students at this Chicago school will get better nutrition from a school lunch than the food their parents would send… that doesn’t matter! It is still the right of the parent to choose what to feed the child.
I feed my children coconut oil by the spoonful and cook their eggs in tons of “arterycloggingsaturatedfat” (butter). Some people would disagree with these choices, and can show this by not feeding this to their own kids. If others think that granola and skim milk is the healthiest choice, go for it!
The problem comes in when we start letting government or school regulate these things, because if we give them the power to regulate one way, they also have the power to regulate the other way.
Though this story comes from a state I will never live in, in a school my kids will never attend, the administration of this school will be getting a letter from me. Should you also feel so inclined, the school is located at:
2620 S Lawndale Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60623
Phone: (773) 534-1880
Here is their website, and the Principal’s name is Elsa Carmona.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make my kids a high fat lunch that doesn’t include any foods cooked in vegetable oils or any skim milk. In fact, I might even use butter, bacon and*gasp* salt!
What is your take on this
fascist takeover of parental rights issue? Agree or disagree with me? Sound off below!