Last night I was watching the local news in London Ontario and one of the top stories is that the Food Bank serviced more than 3500 families last month and that is a new record. The demand for these services is increasing due to the 9.8% current level of unemployment in my city. My daughter and I watched a high school proudly showcase enough kraft dinner boxes to fill their gymnasium as dominoes. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes as they were packing them into boxes to give to the food bank and yes it should be a feel good story. Well lets look at the ingredients in Kraft Dinner.
PASTA (FROM WHEAT), CHEESE SAUCE [CHEESE (MILK, BACTERIAL CULTURE, SALT, CREAM, LIPASE, MICROBIAL ENZYMES, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, COLOUR), MODIFIED MILK INGREDIENTS, SALT, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, COLOUR (CONTAINS TARTRAZINE), FLAVOUR, CITRIC ACID]. (M001J)
This product will is processed by your liver like all foods and beverages are… Your liver does not accept manufactured ingredients, or chemicals as good things. Your liver sees them as a poison and will do its best to destroy them and expel them from your body. Every time you eat a processed food you are forcing your liver to work in overdrive to deal with the chemicals you have ingested.
So this makes me feel sick to my stomach when I see these stories. I KNOW and I Understand that the processed foods are easier to store and that many food banks do not even have refrigerated sections to hold fruits and veggies!
As the next story showed the London Food banks and the cameras scanned the boxes full of soups, and crackers, and juice boxes and peanut butter I shuddered.
The huge number of people that are relying on the food banks are growing every month, but what if I told you that if these families are relying on these products to provide nutrition to their families they are very sadly mistaken.
The chemicals in these foods especially high fructose corn syrup are now proven to cause liver damage. There are lots of studies that prove that if you search through my blogs I point to them and you can search on google for Fatty liver disease and the impact of HFCS.
Fatty liver disease or NAFLD is now an epidemic, 6 million children and 30% of North Americans have fatty livers. These are the numbers that we KNOW ABOUT. My guess is its closer to 50% and in lower income families regardless of weight or obesity its probably closer to 75%.
Why should you care? There is NO CURE for NAFLD, once your liver is compromised it can take a long time for you to become aware of it. Initial symptoms of the disease are stomach aches and exhaustion. Those symptoms are too generic and can be mistaken for laziness. If you do not stop eating processed foods your long term outlook is needing a liver transplant or dying of liver disease.
My own 15 year old daughter is dealing with this disease and her quality of life is extremely poor. She is too exhausted and vulnerable to colds and flus to attend school and due to that she is home schooled. She has no friends in London, Ontario because its hard to make friends when you are not in the school system.
We eat fresh meals 90% of the time. Its not easy on a single mothers income to constantly buy organic. I do have to buy the vegetables that are covered in pesticides and wash them knowing I am not doing her liver a favour but there is only so much I can do with a limited income.
I have a reasonable job, I can get overtime, She has been diagnosed, I KNOW the impacts, and I do NOT rely on the food bank and EVEN I find it difficult to avoid hurting her liver.
So for families that are forced to use the food bank I am scared. I want to warn you and jump up and down and say PLEASE find a way to add fruits and vegetables.
COMPANIES IN LONDON I challenge you to find ways to donate refrigerated trucks to food banks, Grocery Stores I challenge you to donate MORE fruits and vegetables! If you are going to BUY packaged foods PLEASE look for organic products and products that do not contain chemicals you can’t pronounce or that you know are unhealthy.
PEOPLE WHO DONATE to FOOD BANK I challenge you to Avoid MSG, SODIUM in LARGE quantities, Artificial sugars, Fructose, Dextrose, Aspartame, trans fats, all of these things are hard on your liver and I know we don’t want to be poisoning the lower class and increasing the number of children and adults who are being diagnosed with this disease with no medical cures?
Organic peanut butters, gluten free products, organic Chicken broth low sodium are some products that you can find in every grocery store. Next time you are considering what to donate to the food bank please chose them!