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Real-Life Insights and Takaways
- Replace the old models with empowering modern science. The old models would have us believe:
- Kids will grow out of their baby fat.
- Children will grow out of unhealthy eating habits.
- Since children are small, their bodies can handle unhealthy substances better.
- Thin equals “healthy.”
- A child in utero has a safety net. The mother’s body knows how to feed the baby the nutrients it needs. Nutrition is even more important after the baby is born because there is no safety net.
- Parents have to make a choice to raise healthy children. Society is not going to do it. No one else out there is going to make your child grow healthy and strong. You are the one that is going to make it happen.
- You are not a failure if you are not feeding your family perfectly all the of the time.
- There may not be any red flags letting you know that the food you are feeding your kids is harmful to them. In fact, they are probably quite happy.
- More than 40 million children over the age of 5 are overweight.
- What foods didn’t exist 100 years ago? Fruit juice, soda, sugar cereal, etc. Eat a little more of the type of foods Grandma served.
- In the 1960’s, it was more rare to see overweight children, even though people weren’t eating perfectly.
- Today the average American is getting 60 percent of their calories from food that didn’t exist 20 years ago.
- The goal is progress not perfection.
- What can we do to nourish our children?
- What foods exist now that didn’t exist 100 years ago?
- How can you guide your family toward healthy choices?
- How can modern science help your overweight child?
- Does thin equal healthy?
- What does a healthy child look like?
- How can you choose “healthy?”
- Remember when smoking cigarettes was considered “okay?”
- Can you rely on society to teach your children about healthy choices?
Scroll up to pin and share the sexy infographic versions of these 😉
- 12:36 – 12:45, “I think that’s why this is so urgent right now is because there are way too many parents who don’t even know that they have to make this choice. They think that by default, society is going to help them raise healthy children…”
- 14:07 – 14:15 “… as important as nutrition is to a baby when it’s in utero, it’s even more important after the baby is born.”
- 17:42 – 18:00, “The goal is progress, not perfection. Just try to eat a little bit more like what Grandma would have served her kids, right? If Grandma wouldn’t have served this, if this didn’t exist, and then of course, when you get to that point, we can talk about how to make it even better.”
- 18:10 – 18:15, “…the average American is getting 60 percent of their calories from stuff that didn’t exist 20 years ago.”
- 18:22 – 18:39, “…just double the number of vegetables that you’re currently eating in your family. Double it. Just once, then in a couple of weeks, double it again or increase it until up to ten servings a day for each family member. Just this idea of doubling, that’s so easy to do.”
- 21:33 – 21:39, “Just try to think of those creative ways to slowly minimize the liquid sugar in your diet.”
Read the Transcript
JONATHAN: Jonathan Bailor and April Perry back in action with another SANE show. April, how are you doing today?
APRIL: So great. So excited to be here.
JONATHAN: April, well, we have to start the show out with a sense of urgency because as we promised at the end of the last show, we were talking about the horrible burden of childhood obesity, the emotional tolls that takes and you gave some amazing guidance around action we can take to help the problem, not making it worse, empowering people with choices, and some great next actions. I want to talk about in this episode is why it is important to do that now. Right now, today. Like right after you finish listening to this podcast, right after you finish watching this video, why you need this evening, set aside some time to start these conversations. That sound okay?
APRIL: Oh, it sounds awesome.
JONATHAN: You might have to reel me in during this one because I’m going to get a little amp’d up. The why now? I didn’t have a chance to get to this in the last episode, so I’ve got to bring it up now is this idea and you said that you hear parents saying this and I feel like a moral imperative to debunk this because it is false and it is literally slowly killing people. The idea that your kid is going to grow out of unhealthy eating habits or that because they’re a small person, that their body is somehow uniquely able to handle toxic substances, so those are both patently false.
APRIL: Okay. I used to believe this. Let me just give it some perspective from a mother who — I’m college educated, I’ve grown up in the United States taking nutrition classes at school. Things like this. Why did I believe this? Here’s why as I look back. Number one, the term, baby fat. You hear that all of the time. Babies are born a little extra fat, then sometimes as your children are seven, eight, nine, ten you just think, oh, it’s kind of baby fat, as they’re getting ready through puberty and it will just kind of fall off and they’ll get taller and as they get taller it will just kind of help them even out. I don’t know. That’s just kind of something that I was expecting or maybe I was just hoping or I was just kidding myself, just hoping that that would happen. That being the first reason. Then also, you don’t always see it right away manifesting itself in young children.
For example, I have four children, only one of my four children actually started struggling with her weight. The other three children were totally fine. In my mind, I’m thinking, they’re all eating junk food and they’re not getting overweight. I’m sure they’re fine because I don’t see it right now. As a mother, everyday someone comes to me with something like, my pinkie is hurting right here, my knee hurts, I have this weird itch on the left side of my head. It’s just random things that you’re kids are coming to you all of the time and so you’re always assessing. Okay, do we need to go to the ER, do I need to call the doctor, do I need to go buy ointment, do I need a Band-Aid. That’s going through my mind all of the time trying to assess what my children’s problems are. When you have young children, who are eating Fruit Rollups and sugary yogurt and candy and suckers and Twix and Snickers and all of the things I used to buy at the grocery store, they are not coming to you and complaining about anything. They are smiling, they are thanking you, they are happy, they’re asking for more and so in my mind, that’s not putting up any red flags. That looks like pure joy that my children are experiencing. So, then if you tell me, well, do you know what’s pure joy is actually killing your kids, I would just think you were crazy.
JONATHAN: I so appreciate you bringing that perspective in here, April, because it’s true. Everyone who has listened to this show for a long time knows this, but if you’re a new listener, I want to reiterate, we are never here to say — the message here is you’ve been lied to, you’ve been given improper information, you’ve been victimized and now you can take control back. So this is never to be wagging a finger, it’s never been to say you should have known. Frankly, no. What’s been happening in the nutrition and wellness world is analogous to what happened in the world of smoking 100 years ago, which was, cigarettes are fine, just keep smoking and then if everyone got lung cancer, now the big authorities are like, why do you all have lung cancer? Well, you told us smoking wasn’t bad for us.
APRIL: Right. and that’s why I actually love working with you, Jonathan, because I never feel like you’re judging me for things that I’ve done or things that I’m still doing or trying to learn — that you’re really understanding that yes, I’ve grown up not knowing what the right facts are, but — I’m ready to learn. I’m a good student.
JONATHAN: Let’s learn. Let’s break some of those old paradigms that we were given, the old models that we were given and let’s replace them with empowering modern science. They are small, the baby fat, the small person, they’ll grow out of it, so let’s talk about that one because it’s a great one.
The first point I want to make on that is — so that’s kind of true for men, but it’s not at all true for women. So when little boys hit adolescence and start producing testerone — not to get too scientific, but testosterone is an anabolic hormone. You hear about anabolic steroids that people inject. A healthy man will drop his body fat percentage when he hits puberty. The opposite thing is true for women. When you think about when a woman hits puberty, estrogen levels go up.
APRIL: So not fair.
JONATHAN: And so women gain fat. That doesn’t necessarily mean they gain undesirable fat. The breast is fat, that you gain it all at one period of time in your life, so it is kind of true that you can grow out of baby fat, but this is not, as you know, it’s not so much about the fat, it’s about the health and that ties into it. There’s plenty of people, there’s naturally thin people, there’s kids that eat junk food and they don’t get overweight, so then we sometimes say, oh, if you’re not overweight, you must be healthy. This must not be harming you.
So, I want to just give a quick two empowering points because that is the one that I think is the most dangerous. Two examples, one is, if your child starts smoking or your spouse starts smoking or if anyone you know starts smoking, not only will they not gain weight, but they will lose weight.
JONATHAN: Smoking is an appetite suppressant and it actually has been shown that we talk about your set-point — it will actually slightly drop your set-point. This is why when people quit smoking they almost always gain weight. You can smoke cigarettes and not gain weight and you’ll actually lose weight. Does that mean they’re not doing any damage to you?
APRIL: Right. Of course not.
JONATHAN: Of course not. When all we hear about is calories, it’s very easy to think, oh, that’s an unfair comparison. We know it’s not, right? When you put chemicals into your body, whether those chemicals are coming from something that has calories, aka food, or something that doesn’t have calories, aka, cigarettes and I guess that comparison isn’t even fair because diet coke doesn’t have any calories in it, it’s got a lot of chemicals in it, so what is it more like, food or a cigarette? I don’t know. We can’t just use weight as a proxy for health. Does that make sense?
JONATHAN: And then one other comparison I want to make is the small body — they’re small. They can grow out of it, just really empowering thing. When is your child’s body the smallest?
APRIL: When it’s not born?
JONATHAN: And when do we go out of our way, no matter what else is going on in our life, no matter what society says, no matter what social circumstances we’re in, somehow women all over the world magically learn how to dramatically change their diet in all situations all of the time, always, they just know it and they make it happen for nine months because they know that that teenie-tiny body is uniquely at risk for toxic stuff. That doesn’t change as soon as that body comes out of your body. It’s just as true. Does that make sense?
APRIL: Yes, but I have to interject here because when I was pregnant, I ate terribly because everything else made me sick. So here’s the story though. I remember sitting in my doctor’s office and I was reading a pregnancy magazine that he had there on the table and it said, here is what should be in your fridge if you want to help build a strong body for your baby. And it was listing things like kale and eggs and all of these vegetables, all of this great food and everything. I remember looking at that and I felt nauseated and sick to my stomach and I just kind of ate whatever I could. So the intention was there and the desire was there, but I just have to bring some reality because as a pregnant woman, it was kind of embarrassing what I ate.
JONATHAN: Let me caveat what I said. Let me put it this way. I bet you avoided all secondhand smoke —
JONATHAN: And I bet you avoided alcohol —
APRIL: And like rollercoasters and everything they told me not to do I didn’t do. Yes, going back to that intention. It’s hard. This is where I feel like the habits that I had for myself as a pregnant woman, if I knew what I know now, I would have tried a little harder when I was pregnant, but one thing that is different that I just want to bring up, to see what your take on it is. I remember I went to my doctor and said, the only thing I can eat right now is frozen Capri sun. That’s all I can eat. I’m just eating it out of the package, I freeze them and I watch Wonder Woman. That’s what I did when I was pregnant. And one thing my doctor said was, your baby’s body will grow, but will happen is it will take all of the nutrients somewhere out of your body. So even if you can only eat junk, your body is not going to create a baby out of junk, it’s going to pull the nutrients from you somewhere. So that I think is really interesting because once your baby is born, now that can’t happen. The nutrients aren’t coming from the air. The baby is not in your body anymore pulling nutrients from your body. Now you have to decide what to put in the baby’s mouth and that’s a little bit of a different thing. Any thoughts on that?
JONATHAN: That’s an incredible point April. I never actually connected those dots before, but when you’ve got a child in utero, it has a safety net, and that safety net is just by way of example, if there is insufficient protein, your body knows to break down your muscle tissue and to feed those amino acids to your baby. It knows if the baby doesn’t have enough calcium to extract that from your bones and to give it to that child, but you’re right, because when that little person leaves the uterus and enters the real world, there is no safety net and maybe that’s why we start to see despite some insane eating habits during pregnancy, we’re able to have a child which appears to be relatively healthy, but once that safety net is gone we have a world where you have today, which is more than 40 million children under the age of five are overweight. They don’t have that safety net anymore.
APRIL: I think what’s been interesting now is that this just brings a whole another dimension to parenthood and to motherhood because now instead of me giving my baby everything that he or she needs by default, I have to make a choice to do it. I think that’s why this is so urgent right now is because there are way too many parents who don’t even know that they have to make this choice. They think that by default, society is going to help them raise healthy children, with all of the sugar and everything that they’re going to be, that in all the things that are being marketed to them. I think that parents need to realize no one out there is going to make sure your child grows up healthy and strong besides you. You’re the one who is going to make it happen and if you’re going to close your eyes to it, and just say, well, my children will be fine, I’ll just give them whatever, okay, that can work, they can live, they can survive, but when it comes to childhood obesity, when it comes to living long, healthy lives, you don’t have any guarantees.
JONATHAN: April, you have literally have blown my mind because I’ve been talking about this for over a decade now and my argument has always been, hey we know the most important time is when a baby is utero, but you have completely changed my mind — exactly what you’re saying — so here’s a little thing to help after 40 years of misinformation or 30 years of misinformation — if you think that when a baby is utero, that nutrition is important, most people do, wouldn’t you agree that based on what April just taught us, that since there is no fallback, since it can’t extract nutrients from the mother anymore, that as important as nutrition is to a baby when it’s in utero, it’s even more important after the baby is born. You just blew my mind. That’s awesome.
APRIL: I think it’s exciting though to think how much power we have. I think that instead of feeling guilty or feeling awful, oh my goodness, I’m making brownies every day or I have so much junk food all around me I don’t even know what’s healthy, there are so many ways we as moms can decide to feel guilty and as parents where we don’t feel that way.
I think instead, what we want to do is say, okay, then what can we do? We have this opportunity to nourish our children and give them everything that they need and I didn’t know how strong this desire to give my children everything would be until I had children and clearly I can’t give them everything they want all of the time they want. We had to teach them how to work and how to do a lot for themselves.
I will say, if the nurse had come to me in the hospital, when they were teaching me how to nurse my baby and said, this is your child, these are the nutrients your child needs. This is the best way to help them to get all of these vegetables, the proteins — if a nurse had come to me and said, these foods will help your baby to thrive, his or her whole life. Will you do this for your baby? Absolutely, of course, 100 percent. I would consider that my privilege to do that for my child every single day. I think that’s what we’re inviting families to do now is saying, we’ll show you. If the nurses in the hospital didn’t teach you or nobody every taught you, we’ll show you now what foods to give yourself and your children so that you can all thrive. And I think that’s exciting. That’s an exciting challenge I’m willing to take.
JONATHAN: It’s an incredibly exciting challenge, April, it’s definitely not about hey, obviously this is important, but I think that people can hear it’s important as oh, my gosh, if I’m not a 10 out of 10, all of the time, I’m killing my baby and let’s put that to rest really quickly. Think about Grandma and Grandma’s Grandma, and how they fed their children. Baked good exist. They existed. It wasn’t as if there was no such thing as baked goods. But when we think about what didn’t exist — like think about what people ate for breakfast 100 years ago. There wasn’t sugar soaked cereal, there wasn’t fruit juice, there wasn’t soda, there wasn’t Fruit Rollups, there was gogurt in a tube. Honestly, we can’t prove this, but, in the 1960s people ate in-SANEly. There was inSANE eating going on in the 1960s and obesity was super rare. It was 1 in 10 — 1 in 20 kids were overweight. If you had a classroom of third graders, it would be odd for any of the children to be overweight. It just wasn’t seen back then. It wasn’t because everyone was eating perfectly. It’s because people weren’t eating these really just toxic addictive processed garbage. So, instead of maybe hearing this podcast and think oh, my gosh, I have to revamp everything. I have to throw everything in my house away, oh, my gosh, I’m a failure. It’s not what we’re saying. This won’t necessarily get you to optimal health, but maybe that’s not the goal right now. The goal is progress, not perfection. Just try to eat a little bit more like what Grandma would have served her kids, right? If Grandma wouldn’t have served this, if this didn’t exist, and then of course, when you get to that point, we can talk about how to make it even better. What do you think about that as a goal, because that answers the questions about — what about birthdays and what about weddings and what about Halloween? You can eat on those days, but the average American is getting 60 percent of their calories from stuff that didn’t exist 20 years ago.
APRIL: Right. I think that just a really simple next-action that we can give to families right now is just double the number of vegetables that you’re currently eating in your family. Double it. Just once, then in a couple of weeks, double it again or increase it until up to ten servings a day for each family member. Just this idea of doubling, that’s so easy to do. With children, put out some carrot sticks. It’s amazing. You put chopped vegetables on a platter after school, it disappears. Yesterday, we had cucumber, cauliflower and carrots and for some reason no one in the family likes to chop vegetables in the family except for me, so I seem to be the one who has to always coordinate it, but we’re helping teach everyone else how to do it, which has been awesome. Just putting out a plate of raw non-starchy vegetables, serving an extra salad with dinner, or having a green smoothie in the morning. Doing something like that just to start getting more vegetables in because then you’re going to start crowding out the food that isn’t good for you and the children just will eat it.
One funny story is my daughter, Alia, 15, she was doing a potluck for the last day of school during the finals week of high school. This was a few months ago. She said, everyone is signing up to bring a bunch of junk food and she said, mom, can I bring some vegetables? Oh sure. So we brought extra vegetables, put them on a platter, she took them to school and she actually took pictures on the slide of her friends eating vegetables and all enjoying them, she said mom, everyone loved it. They ate everything that I brought to school. I think that we’ve proven that children will eat what’s in front of them, if you can work together to put more of those great vegetables out there, that’s a great step, a very simple next-action you can apply today.
JONATHAN: I love that next-action of just double up those non-starchy vegetables and April, do you mind if I add one more?
JONATHAN: That’s about what to add and I recommend a subtle and sly way of one thing I would beg — I would argue if I could wave a magic wand and this just disappeared, the obesity epidemic and Diabetes epidemic that would be gone — and that’s liquid sugar. Any source of liquid sugar. That includes soda that includes Capri suns, even the frozen type that includes fruit juice.
What’s not going to work is just to say, no one gets to drink soda anymore. That’s not what I’m suggesting. What I am suggesting is that we find simple ways to substitute that. A subtle way of doing this is like fruit juice is very easy because you could take — you’ve got fruit juice, you’re used to pouring a full glass of fruit juice, tomorrow can you pour a glass of 7/8ths fruit juice and 1/8th water. And then can you do that for four days and then on day five, can you just drop 1/8th of the fruit juice out, add one more 1/8th of water.
APRIL: That works.
JONATHAN: And then pretty soon what you can serve and enjoy and I know thousands of people who’ve made this transition successfully, is you’ll take a blender, you’ll put one strawberry in it and a bunch of water, you’ll blend it up and now you have strawberry infused water and everyone loves it because it’s not old boring water. Just try to think of those creative ways to slowly minimize the liquid sugar in your diet. How does that sound?
APRIL: I love it. I’m going to actually do that. I’ve done the water downed juice, but I haven’t done the strawberry infused water. My next-action. I love it.
JONATHAN: So I hope you enjoyed this chat as much as I did. My mind has been blown and hopefully yours has as well. So, remember stay SANE.