Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Are We Feeding Our Kids?

Deep in the heart of every mother is a fear that something may go wrong with the health of their child, and threaten their life.

It is a gut fear, held deeply, hidden mostly, until some little health problem happens to your child, fear pops to the surface, and suddenly the gut wrenching comes over you.

You contain it, of course. Mothers do that – they hide from themselves and others the fear for their child that comes out of nowhere. There are moments when a health or hurt crisis unfolds, when you remain calm, and clear, and do the very best that anyone can do.

Yet, in the quiet moments, when reflection is finally allowed, you know it could have been far worse – and the fear – the "thank goodness it didn't get worse" floods in, forcing tears out. Thankfulness. Gratitude.

The deep connection a mother has with their child, especially very young ones, when every squeak and squeal has a meaning, is an indelible impression that never leaves you, even in the deepest of sleep.

Food Allergies Are Endemic
For some mothers there are moments when something very small quickly becomes so big – when your child eats something and suddenly there is a life-threatening event unfolding, when every second counts, and every fear must be put aside to make a series of very right decisions to save your child.

Every day this scene unfolds hundreds of times in our country. Food allergies are endemic. Kids are increasingly at risk.

Food allergies are quickly spreading among our young ones, and they are more dramatically life-threatening than a flu epidemic. Something in our food threatens to kill more than 1 in 10 of our kids, and the percent is rising faster than anyone can figure out why.

Nut Allergies Become A Growing Trend
A friend of mine called the other day. She was devastated. Crying uncontrollably, she told how earlier in the day her three-year-old daughter had her friend Caroline over for a fun Saturday lunch. Samantha helped the two little girls make a peanut butter and banana sandwich – her daughter's favorite treat. Within seconds, it seemed, tiny Caroline was on the verge of not breathing. Quick thinking, and a quicker 911 response, saved the struggling girl.

Caroline's mother got there just before the paramedics arrived – she had been out Saturday grocery shopping. She had no idea her daughter was allergic to peanuts -- they never served them in their home. She didn't blame Samantha. But Samantha blamed herself, even though she couldn't figure out what she could have done differently. Caroline's mother was a wreck, barely able to call her husband and have him meet them at the hospital emergency room.

Samantha was sick inside. The episode sunk deeply into her. It hurt. The fear – the "thank goodness it didn't get worse" flooded in, forcing tears out. Then a frantic call to me.

It is one thing to see your child in distress, quite another to see someone else's child, one in your care, almost expire in your clenching arms. The look in little Caroline's fear-filled eyes – eyes that pleaded for help – eyes struggling to understand – eyes desperately searching for her own mother. Those child-eyes would haunt Samantha, she knew it would for the rest of her life. And it made Samantha wonder what sudden life-threatening crisis could await her own child... and where she might be when it might happen, and who..., and....

After we talked, and she had hung up, I wondered... what are we feeding our kids that makes more and more of their little bodies react so violently – strangling them at the smallest taste of an everyday food?

And if certain foods do that to some children, could it also be doing something bad, but not as quickly dramatic, to other kids but we just don't see it yet?

What are we feeding our kids?

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

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