As a mom, I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to get my son to eat more fruits and vegetables. I admit it, I sneak them in any way I can. My most successful approach to date – the fruit smoothie.

Although he really likes them and even insists on helping by tossing fruit in the blender, he often asks why I want him to drink them.

I explain that eating fruit every day is good for us, especially important for growing boys and since smoothies taste really good too, they are kind of a treat.

My intention is to make eating healthy something positive he enjoys instead of a chore or something to dread. I try to give options and teach him about food choices but also don’t outlaw anything.

Because maybe it’s just me but there is nothing I want more than whatever you tell me I can’t have.

This is basically the same approach I wish was more widely embraced concerning the growing, public fight against obesity and poor health in America.

As part of this fight, New York Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to ban large sodas got a lot of attention, but not a lot of public approval. And as much as I agree with the Mayors intentions, I don’t think those kinds of actions are going to be effective in this case.

HBO recently aired a 3 part documentary on the epidemic of obesity in America called – Weight of The Nation. Luckily, for those of us without HBO, the special is also free to watch online. It is awesome and I strongly encourage you to check it out if you have not already.

Click here to watch The Weight of The Nation.

After watching, the thing that really struck me was not that everyone wants to eat McDonald’s and Twinkies everyday and not exercise but that in some of the highest areas of over weight population with serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease, there are few to no markets or access to produce and healthier food options and no local parks.

People already know soda is not healthy, we already know fast food is high in empty calories and bad for our heart. But along with educating people on what not to do, people need to be given the tools to succeed.

  1. Instead of laser treatments and plastic surgery, let’s build more parks and public areas where people can go for exercise and activity.
  2. How about making markets and healthier food options accessible and affordable for everyone
  3. Instead of the FDA legalizing yet another miracle diet pill (eat all the horrible crap you want, never workout and still lose weight!), how about more information on how changing your eating habits, even starting really small, can reduce your chances for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure as well as helping you lose weight and feel overall better and happier.

I’d even love to see fitness centers offer free weekly workout classes and provide nutritional information as an incentive and help for people to make a real commitment to their health.

(*Extra cool bonus points if they’d offer free classes and child care for single parents! I know I’m dreaming but why not?)

While much of the journey to regaining health and wellness will involve people taking responsibility and making choices that are going to help them live longer, feel better and manage existing health issues, I also believe positive measures like these would have a lot more success than getting rid of large sodas at the movies.

And then there is no need to ban anything so people don’t feel their rights are being infringed upon.

It’s a complicated issue but one that absolutely can be won. It is going to take time, patience and drive but with information and resources, people can take charge of their health, feel happier and be successful.

“The campaign against obesity will have to look a lot less like the campaign against smoking (which involves just one decision, to smoke or not to smoke) and much more like the generation-long campaign against highway fatalities, which required the redesign of cars, the redesign of highways, and changes in personal behavior like seat-belt use and drunk driving.” –

Some other really awesome resources and information on this issue:

– A great documentary on how what we eat effects our health, Forks Over Knives available on Netflix.

– TED talk at MindBodyGreen; Laird Hamilton & Gabby Reece Talk Wellness, Flexibility & Sex

Health and Happiness, Reviews

4 comments on “Fruit Smoothies, Banning Soda and Healthy Hearts

  • I love that latimes quote. It’s true – sadly there is no quick fix here. These changes have to integrate many areas (as you mention) – diet, nutrition and exercise. I love your attitude – it’s a big battle but one that can be won!!

    PS – I will refrain from commenting on the Bloomberg fiasco but I will say in NYC you can’t go more than a few blocks, in any neighborhood, in any direction, without finding a park.

    • That’s awesome about NYC having so many parks! It was sad, watching that HBO special where a mom had taken her son to play with a bunch of other kids in a big parking lot because there were no parks where they lived. Things like that effect the whole community, kids and adults. I hope I didn’t come off as being rude about Bloomberg, I completely understand his intention, I just think it’s a much deeper issue. Thanks so much for reading Carinn!

  • Great post, Anna. You are right to begin talking to your son about healthy food choices and I am glad you are doing so. I talk the talk, but do not always walk the walk. But I try. And you are right that the nation cannot combat obesity until everyone has access to free, safe places to engage in activity as well as access to healthy food. One obstacle I sometimes face is that I prefer to choose organic, but can’t always afford it. But I am grateful I have access to the tools I need to teach my girls about healthy eating and exercise.

    Again, great article.

    • I have that same problem too, organic is always more expensive and I really wish it was not. I could have gone on and on about this one – accessible and affordable for everyone should be the name of the game. I have such a sweet tooth and definitely eat desert when I really want it but try to make healthy choices as much as possible, hopefully it balances out. It’s all the advertised quick fixes that drive me crazy (pills, surgeries, etc.) and I think that really hurt people in some cases far more than they help. Thank you so much for reading Kim and for the great comments!

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