Overindulgence in America

Just the other day, when my son and I were at Target, we came upon a women and her 3 kids strolling through the store. The kids ranged from ages 2 to maybe 10 years old and they were all sitting in the cart while their mom was shopping. The mom was chomping on buttered popcorn while talking on the phone oblivious to what was around her as she crashed into other people’s carts ceremoniously. But that wasn’t what appalled me. It was the sight of her 3 kids sitting in the cart, eating and slurping on gooey candy and red, sure-to-stain-their shirts slurpees. The youngest baby, who looked to be about 2 years old was holding a red slurpee in his hands while mom was feeding him popcorn. His chubby face grinned excitedly each time he took a sip of that artificially flavored and colored drink, as some of it dripped down his chin. The 2 older girls in the cart each had a slurpee in their hands while one was munching on what looked like taffy candy and the other was stuffing nachos into her mouth. It wasn’t a pleasant sight to see, almost gluttonous to a point and as I watched the mom throw in bags of greasy potato chips and sodas, it makes me wonder what’s inside her pantry at home. But I don’t need to guess as I’m pretty sure it’s ladened with junk foods of all sorts. And unfortunately, those kids of hers won’t know any better unless they change their eating habits now.

Now I’m not saying that we don’t all fall prey to the occassional gooey, sticky candy, or artificial food coloring in our snacks. But we as humans should have more self control and common sense.  And especially as parents, we should be setting good examples for our children so that they can help change the world into a better place by learning to live healthier and to protect the environment in their choices. Sounds too farfetched? By far means it is not. We are already learning that toxins exposed to us on a daily basis through foods and products are not only harming our own bodies, but the environment as well. How we choose to purchase food and products that are better for us all is entirely up to us. Foods made with artificial ingredients such as colors and flavors take a toll on our body’s immune system as well as destroy the natural immune system of our ecosystem. All the toxins that these chemicals produce in making artificial colors and flavors are emitting into the precious air that we breathe. The packaging that contains dangerous phthlates and PVC are leaking into our foods and into our bodies and environment. It’s as Seventh Generation proudly states as their motto, ” In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

Overindulgence of everything is so normal in the United States. In other countries, food such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy are so scarce and rare to come by. But here in the United States, most of us take for granted what people in other countries would jump for joy to get. There are too many things wasted and the uber rich folks, celebrities or not, indulge on wasting their money and good fortune of “blinging” out their cars – thus using up more resources from our planet, or supporting the wrong causes. Overindulgence isn’t a new word in our vocabulary but many people don’t understand the meaning or the ramifications of it. Overindulging on anything can lead to something we’ll inevitably regret later on. But it’s not too late to make a change – for ourselves, for our children, and for our future generations.

One good way to start is possibly looking in your refrigerator and pantry. What do you really need in there? And what ingredients are filling up those things you have in there? Are there foods in there that may taste great now but you’ll end up regretting eating them later? Are there enough plastics to fill up an entire landfill all on your own? True, eliminating everything bad may be impossible because we are subjects of what the world gives us. But we can start by eliminating things we don’t really need. Like those $100,000 diamond-encrusted rims you want to put on your sports car. Okay, to take it down a notch, how about eliminating food packaged in unrecyclable materials? Or food that is overladened with harmful ingredients? Even if you eliminated just one of those things that are bad for you and the environment, then you’re already taking a step towards something good. And most importantly, buy, use, and eat foods that are as fresh as possible and as close to your home as possible. Yes, the global economy could be affected if we don’t do business overseas, but that’s another story. What we need to accomplish here, in our own homes and lives, is improving our health and the health of our planet.

Buy organic, grow your own food, reduce use of products that are not readily recyclable or sustainable. I’m pretty sure in every household in America, we all have something that are geared towards a healthier life and planet. Now multiply that by 100 and you’ll have eliminated most of the bad things we know all to well of but can’t let go of. We don’t have to overindulge as human beings and we can teach our children the same thing too, so that they can teach their future generations the same philosophy. If you need resources on how to live healthier and help the planet as well, there are many great companies who can help you. Even if you type in the word “environment”, or “organic”, you’ll find an abundance of resources on those topics.

Here are my top 10 suggestions for not overindulging:

1- Buy only what you need and if you need it, buy more of it. If you don’t need it, then think 3 times about it before you purchase it.

2 – Eat as if you’re a newborn; you become very careful of what you put in your delicate new body.

3 – Donate items in your home that can benefit others. You’ll feel better at doing so.

4 – Don’t waste too much money on plastic. Yes, some plastic are important in our lives, but others, like toys, are not necessarily so.

5- Make a shopping list each and every time you go grocery shopping. And make sure you stick to that list!

6 – Portion out your food so that you don’t become gluttonous. It’ll help you maintain a healthy weight too.

7 – Don’t eat and buy foods just because they’re sitting there at the checkout counter. Companies do that to tempt you to buy.

8 – Reuse what you can and keep reusing it until it’s done with. Unless it’s hazardous to your health and the environment.

9 – Buy bulk when possible to reduce packaging waste and fuel emissions and put them in containers to use later.

10 – Most importantly: set good examples and your children will follow suit.

Some good resources to start on: Book, ‘Unjunk Your Junk Food’ (http://www.naturallysavvy.com/). Seventh Generation products (http://www.seventhgeneration.com/). Environment and Health organizations (www.healthychild.org) (http://www.ewg.org/) (http://www.ota.com/).

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One thought on “Overindulgence in America

  1. I totally agree with you on this topic – and I do #9 as often as possible because it’s less expensive and save packaging and time!

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