“In 1700 the average Englishman consumed 4 pounds a year.

In 1800 the common man ate 18 pounds of sugar.

In 1870 that same sweet-toothed bloke was eating 47 pounds annually.

Was he satisfied? Of course not! By 1900 he was up to 100 pounds a year.

In that span of 30 years, world production of cane and beet sugar exploded from 2.8 million tons a year to 13 million plus.

Today the average American consumes 77 pounds of added sugar annually, or more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.”

(excerpt from Sugar Love – National Geographic – August 2013)

Baking is a huge part of my life, so it can be assumed that sugar is one of the ingredients in my desserts.  To compensate, I am extremely conscientious of the types of foods I choose to eat on a daily basis.  I try to stay away from processed foods, food items with chemicals and food items with hidden sugars.  Seriously, do they really need to put sugar or corn syrup in pasta sauce or bread?

I was in Walmart the other day browsing the vast aisle of breakfast cereals.  The choices seemed endless, yet I have never seen so many boxes of cereal and not been able to find one that did not have added sugar or other chemicals.  I had hoped to find a simple box of raisin bran, yet sugar appeared on every box.

This worries me.

I’m not an extremist.  I do not shop at health food stores.  I’m not vegetarian (although I have strongly considered it).  I am a regular person looking for a simple way to shop for healthy food.

I will always strongly defend the pleasure of eating a wonderful dessert, but this is something that is enjoyed on special occasions and not something that is generally consumed several times throughout the day.  If I am going to eat sugar, I would save it for a fabulous dessert like chocolate mousse cake rather than eat the same amount in a bowl of breakfast cereal.

I’ve always read food labels and anytime I can’t even recognize what is on the label, it does not belong in my shopping cart.   We have huge stores with very few healthy choices.  Most Americans are overfed, yet undernourished.

Something has to change.

Did you know that some reports have suggested that ONE American consumes over 150 pounds of sugar each year?  This is more than my body weight in sugar.  That is absolutely frightening.  What is this type of eating doing to our children?

I love the talk Jamie Oliver gave several years ago at TED.  I totally agree with his evaluation of food, especially in our children’s schools.  Unfortunately, his plea for help has still fallen on deaf ears. (I’m posting a link to the video below).

I also recently watched Hungry for Change on Netflix.  In this video food chemicals are described as drugs; drugs that in a normal market would be considered illegal.  Dr. Northrop makes a statement that any mother shopping for kids’ breakfast cereal may as well roll up the child’s sleeve and give heroine shots.  Obviously this movie was made to shock us, but maybe that is what we need right now.

I truly believe that we need to stop dieting and get back on track thinking about food the way it was meant to be.  It is actually quite simple.

My Philosophy on Being Healthy

Find food in its most natural state.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.

Stay away from over processed foods and added chemicals.

Support good local farmers.

Have an occasional dessert.  (Bakery Diet)

Exercise to be flexible and strong.

Have a good network of friends.

Be kind to others and happiness will follow.

Teach every child about food.