Food for Thought

The Picture of Health in America – One Part of the Story

Plant Based Nutrition Movement (PBNM.org) was founded in 2018 because of an obvious need for more information on the value of a plant-based dietary pattern. We started out holding education immersions designed to help our community take back their health. We created a 5k walk/run, potlucks, and other social gatherings for support and idea-sharing during that first year. Then the pandemic hit. We took that time to look carefully for what was missing that, if it was present, could really make a difference.

 

Then, in mid-2020, we shifted our focus to getting relevant information to populations deeply challenged by food-related illnesses. These are the same populations hardest hit by COVID-19. For example, we held one education session created for African Americans and one designed for people from the Indian subcontinent.  

 

In January, 2022, we held the Own Your Health event, which looked at ways we can all reclaim our vitality and support the planet. 

 

This month we are holding two events. On 2/22 we’re hosting a WFPB kickstart for weight loss. In honor of Black History Month, the other is called “Black Health Rising, What’s Food Got To Do With It?” This six-session WFPB series specifically addresses challenges faced by African Americans.

 

As we create and deliver these events, it occurs to me that there is still a pair of elephants sitting (happily) in the middle of the room. They are almost invisible. They are a little boy and a little girl. Yet, we rarely even think about them when we talk about nutrition. 

 

It is a fact that all populations have children. It is also a fact that nearly all children in this country get the short end of the “quality nutrition” stick. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter who the parents are or where they come from. I mean, just about every three year old knows what chicken nuggets, pizza, and fries are, right?

 

I am not blaming the parents or other caregivers. Although we adults have a lot to say about what our kids eat, we are not the only ones feeding them. As the adults in the room, we are not even solely responsible for the options offered to our children. The majority of the nutrition quality influences come from the 5,000 commercial ads that the average child sees each year. Our kids absorb these messages (“as planned”) and then bug their parents for the advertised items (also “as planned”). Then, in a few years, they grow up to be adults who have to fight off all the illnesses that come from believing everything that comes with advertising (certainly predictable, if not “as planned”).  

 

This is a crazy way for companies to make money. It is even hard to believe until you see it.

Take a look at this video from Food Myth Busters https://realfoodmedia.org/video/food-mythbusters-the-myth-of-choice-how-junk-food-marketers-target-our-kids/ featuring Anna Lappé. You’ll get the picture and never be able to unsee it again.

 

Thanks for reading, watching, and all you do to make sure the children around you eat healthy food. Stay tuned. More to come.

Contributing Writer: Meryl Fury

Meryl Fury is President and CEO of PBNM.org.  She is a Registered Nurse with a Masters Degree in Nursing.  Professionally, she has specialized in public health and underserved populations. Personally, she is mad about healthy eating. She enjoys everything about whole-life health, especially working with older people who can greatly benefit from the healing power of whole food plant-based eating. Meryl is the founder, and CEO of Balance Forward Health and Wellness, LLC, which focuses on playfully supporting people who want to attain vibrant health over the entire lifespan. You can read more about her on her website at www.balanceforwardhealthandwellness.com.