The mission of Green Beauty Team, for me, has always been about affecting positive change in women so we can truly own our health and beauty. October is universally known as Breast Cancer Awareness month. Since we at Green Beauty Team promote awareness for healthy lifestyles year-round, which could prevent a disease like cancer, I wanted to pull your attention to the one food that not only fuels cancer, but also wrinkles, acne, obesity, and diabetes. It’s sugar -specifically refined and processed sugar. With that said, we now have our own Sugar Awareness Month and here’s how it started…..
Right before the school year started my 12 year-old niece posted this photo above to facebook with a caption that made me shudder, “Locker food.”
My comment: “So I see a lot of sugar..and what’s that? More sugar! So where is your brain food coming from?”
Anyone with a pre-teen won’t be surprised that my comment hit a nerve with her. She protested that these were just snacks for between her “healthy meals”; insisting she knew what healthy was and didn’t need me telling her otherwise. So I casually posted a link to this article about how sugar is fattening and harmful to the brain just to show that there’s documented research that supports my “no-fun-health-nut” opinions.
Later one of her friends entered in the conversation and said, “I know Kristen but EVERYTHING has bad stuff in it – even our produce and not everyone can afford to buy the ‘organic’ stuff. And/or the healthy snacks.”
And that made me think – her friend was right…
What good options are there for most kids these days in America? Their schools are serving them processed junk; the grocery stores in their area are filled with artificial and pesticide-laden, “affordable” food.
My first comment came across too harshly to her, and I wanted to back track a bit so I could properly explain my plea for her health, without attacking her choices, making her wrong or speaking in a way that seemed “high and mighty.” I share my reply to my niece with you because it’s this interaction which sparked a month-long focus on the ill-effects of sugar.
I love you and I am actually saying out of concern that sugar isn’t a great as a snack to keep your mind fueled for learning. It also contributes to acne – no one wants that!
There’s so much crap in food these days. It’s my true wish that my family is healthy and aware. Just consider turning the boxes around and seeing what’s in them.
Our bodies are meant to have 9 grams of sugar in one serving or it spikes insulin, which over time can deplete your adrenal glands and eventually cause adult diabetes.
Not to mention that almost all these foods show in your photo contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup (junk sugar), and genetically modified ingredients that mess with hormones in your body.
Please don’t take this as an attack on you. I just don’t like that this food is even for sale. You deserve better.
Yes, my dear Green Beauty Team friends and family , we all deserve better and need to stop sugar-coating the issues at hand.
When it comes to the topic of breast cancer specifically, in addition to the highly processed, sugar-laden food she might be eating, I’m also worried about the cosmetics she has started using with their cheap and toxic ingredients. A shameful number of cosmetics brands are pink-washing their customers. Meaning, the very companies who create “pink” products to donate some portion of their profits to breast cancer research also include rather un-healthy ingredients which may actually promote cancer once they are absorbed into our bodies. So you may be asking the same thing I am, “How about just making cosmetics that don’t increase risk for breast cancer in the first place?”
What chance does a tween girl have in this country to avoid breast cancer -or any type of cancer- as an adult when all this junk is going through her system starting at the early stages of development?
The only way we can have better is by becoming more educated so we can be empowered each and every time we make a food-based or cosmetic-based decision. It is our collective choices which will ultimately affect great change with the quality of products offered in our markets and our personal vitality. Let’s start now! Let’s start ’em young!
There’s a bigger picture than just awareness about breast cancer, it’s awareness about what we are ingesting and the multitude of ways that it all can affect our delicate bodies.
Do I expect that she, you or I will never eat sugary foods again or wear lipgloss from the drugstore that I don’t approve of? Please, I’m not delusional! Though I do have hope for progress.
Amazingly my niece’s last post on our thread said, “I actually researched the sugar grams on all of these. None of them go above 12. Bad? Or Good?”
If a 12-year old can take the time to reconsider her choices and ask questions, then it’s possible for anyone. Her willingness to consider something new, in the face of what started as conflict, impressed me so much that I decided to make October our own Sugar Awareness Month.
This month Experts Laurisa Treumper and Donna Sonkin have written some fantastic articles on how to kick the sugar habit and choosing healthy ways to eat sugar when you do indulge. There’s even more coming down the pipeline this month and I highly recommend reading them, as there’s wealth of information which you just may find enlightening.
To My Sweet Niece: I’m here to support you in living a long, happy and healthy life. Thank you for inspiring this month’s theme. You are amazing and smart – keep it up! — Love your Wellness Cheerleader, Aunt Kristen XO
Thumbnail feature image by Trilli Bagus