Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vitamin D

So did you read the other day about all the things that Vitamin D can do for children if given to them at an early age? It apparently can make them smarter, help fight off a laundry list of diseases, gives them powers of prophesy, make them bulletproof and actually make them aerodynamic enough to fly. OK, so I made up most of that. But there were strong indicators that it can help children avoid a copious amount of adult diseases. It got me to thinking about how much more information folks have today on what to feed children and what not to feed children, not to mention a vastly improved array of choices.
When I was a child, folks thought liver would cure cancer. Consequently, liver & onions ended up on a lot of menus and a lot of unhappy children suffered through dinner. My Lord, liver and onions could be found on menus at family restaurants. Now, of course, liver is considered poison.
Access to fresh vegetables has certainly made vegetables more palatable. When I was a child, vegetables came from a can. Spinach in a can was beyond nasty. Asparagus in a can was a slimy mess. I loathed them both as a child. As an adult I've come to love them both - not so much because my tastes have changed but because you can run to the Kroger and buy both of these things fresh nearly year 'round. Oh my God...asparagus is crunchy!!!! Who knew???? Spinach can be eaten raw in a salad??? If these had been available when I was a child I think getting the much-needed vegetables would've been much easier.
I'm rambling. I guess my point is that, hopefully, with a wider array of choices parents today might have an easier time getting good nutrition into kids than my parents did. When I'm out in public, I'm a real people watcher. In restaurants I do tend to notice a lot of what people are eating. I've been surprised by seeing kids eating veggies with their entree instead of fries. A couple of weeks ago we dined at Applebee's with the in-laws. There I saw a child that couldn't have been 5 or 6 years old eating a salad (granted, he was not using utensils which made it unable for me to watch him for long...) I don't think I ate salads until I was in high school!
I'm not trying to throw my parents' efforts under the bus here. My mom always had a vegetable on the table and I liked some of them (with the exception of the aforementioned asparagus and spinach.) But parents just didn't have the bombardment of information about kids' nutrition that's available today. I'm sure that recent spikes in the number of obese children in our country have made this happen. Hopefully it'll help a generation of children avoid the struggles that I've fought over the years.
Geez, for someone without kids and who's not a nutritionist I'm talking like quite the expert. Join me tomorrow when I'll give lessons on flying the space shuttle!

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