Is food designed to be “over-consumed”? Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Wow, it’s already the final week of September!! This brings us to the end of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  While it may be the end of the month, it’s not the end of the unnecessary suffering and despair that children who are struggling with weight and food dependency face every day.  Let’s not turn away from this epidemic in hopes that someone else will take care of it; because no one else is!  We, the recovered food addicts who have the knowledge, tools and solution, are responsible for speaking up for and supporting the children in our lives.

I was struck last week by an article on the front page of the New York Times: “How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food.”  The article points out that, due to declining growth of sales in the wealthiest countries, multinational food companies like Nestle, PepsiCo and General Mills have been “aggressively” selling their products in developing nations.  These are the same nations where only a generation ago their people were suffering from hunger and malnutrition.  Now they are struggling with a new epidemic, obesity, which breeds diabetes, heart disease and chronic illness.

The story goes on to say that there are now 108 million obese children worldwide.  This statistic is alarming to me for many reasons, but the biggest reason is that obesity is, in the vast majority of cases, preventable! The president of Coca-Cola International, Ahmet Bozer, is quoted as recently stating, “There’s 600 million teenagers who have not had a Coke in the last week.  So the opportunity for that is huge.” Basically, these companies are gunning for our kids to up their sales and profit.

Carlos A. Monteiro, Professor of Nutrition and Public Health, at University of Sao Paulo in Brazil goes on to say, “What we have is a war between two food systems, a traditional diet of real food once produced by the farmers around you and the producers of ultra-processed food designed to be over-consumed and which in some cases are addictive.” He goes on to say, “It’s a war, but one food system has disproportionately more power than the other”!

It is shocking to me that food is actually designed to be “over-consumed.”  In other words, food is designed to become addictive, so that kids – and adults – are unable to stop eating it.  It’s designed so that our kids – and adults – will lose the choice of whether to eat it or not.  All designed so that certain food companies can make more money. This is a harsh reality, but it’s one we need to be aware of and be pro-active about.

As Childhood Obesity Awareness Month comes to a close, let’s ensure that we don’t end the attention this epidemic deserves. I don’t want any child to go through what I did as an overweight kid – the bullying, shaming, relentless teasing – and then, ultimately, move from an obese child to an obese, food addicted adult.

Here is a picture of my niece Georgia (yes, I know I will use any excuse to be able to show her off to all of you) sitting at a picnic table this summer eating lunch with me. My commitment for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month was to refrain from buying or providing her (or any child in my life) any “sugary” treats for the month of September. It was tougher than I thought it would be; instead, we went on healthy picnics with delicious food, gorgeous scenery and fun games.

I believe the best thing we can do to support our kids is to continue to focus on our own recovery. Therefore, we have been cooking up several events to continue the amazing recovery we at ACORN witness every day.  Here is a list of the life changing events scheduled for the rest of the year:

  • September 30:  Eating, Eating & More Eating…Why Can’t I Stop?, Rhode Island $175 – A one day event introducing people to the idea of food addiction and abstinence based food plans.
  • October 6-11:  Primary Intensive, Bradenton Florida $1700 (non – alumni $1950) – ACORN’s 5-day structured residential program to support those struggling with food dependency. Price includes meals; lodging is additional.
  • October 14-16:  3-Days with Phil, Bradenton Florida $1500  – This workshop will help you work on deep emotional and spiritual blocks that prevent you from maintaining long-term abstinence and recovery.
  • November 3-5:  ACORN Alumni Retreat/Reunion, Vancouver BC, $500 – A weekend of recovery, fellowship and fun. We will focus on relapse prevention, Steps 4-9 and Body Image. Price includes lodging & meals.
  • November 10-15:  Primary Intensive, Vancouver BC $1700 (non-alumni $1950) – ACORN’s 5-day structured residential program to support those struggling with food dependency. Price includes meals; lodging is additional.
  • November 16-30:  Living In Recovery, Vancouver BC, 1 week $1500, 2 weeks $2600 – A 2-week program that will enable participants to take home what they practice during their stay. Participants will be provided with a “real-world” environment: they will stay in a residential home, grocery shop at local markets, prepare their own meals following their individual abstinence based food plans, participate in 12 Step meetings, have a daily practice of journaling and writing as well as attend scheduled daily process groups and educational talks. Price includes lodging; participants pay for their own food.
  • December 8-13:  Primary Intensive, Bradenton Florida – ACORN’s 5-day structured residential program to support those struggling with food dependency. Price includes meals; lodging is additional.

As you can see we are working hard to create events for all people, in many locations, in many price ranges and on many different dates.

I hope to see you sometime in 2017 at one of our events.  Book now to save your spot and to ensure your recovery is strong heading into the holidays and New Year.

With love and abstinence,

Amanda