Current estimates show that one in three children born in 2000 will develop Type II diabetes during their lifetime. Are you as appalled as I am? Thirty percent of our population is destined to contract a disease inextricably linked with obesity?
The better question might be: why are a third of Americans destined to become obese? Almost 40 percent of the total calories consumed by 2- to 18-year-olds are empty calories, otherwise known as fat and added sugars.
A big part of the problem is that people in our society don’t really cook anymore. Not on a regular basis, anyway. Two-worker families, pervasive junk food advertising, a microwave lifestyle, and prepared and processed foods all share the blame along with industrial pollution, unsafe additives, synthetic sweeteners, and genetically modified foods. Not to mention our sedentary lifestyle. Type II diabetes is a lifestyle disease, after all.
In one of my children’s schools during this academic year, we are developing programs around the art and science of nutrition and the benefits of a whole foods-based diet. Programs will range from cooking classes to farm-to-table explorations to the economics of successful farmer’s markets derived from the school’s community garden. Many of the programs will end up on our Art-Science website, created to share resources and lesson plans with other educators.
Warning, here’s a shameless plug: Glorious One-Pot Meals offers an easy way to improve our diets with a unique, quick, and healthy method for cooking wholesome weeknight dinners.
I don’t know about you, but when I began cooking meals from whole foods after my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1999, I quickly realized that I didn’t have a clue how to shop in a way so that when I wanted to cook, there would be ingredients on hand with which to create a meal. That’s why I included an entire chapter in the Glorious One-Pot Meals cookbook on how to shop so that cooking can be easy and convenient.
We don’t have to accept this depressing statistic about the future of our kids; there is still time to save the Millenials – and the rest of us – from this dismal prophecy. We can join the movement to return to actually using the kitchen to cook rather than reheat.