July 27, 2014 by Steve R, Goodreads
Read original review here
I received this book as part of a Goodreads First Reads contest giveaway. I agree with many of the other reviews so to not be redundant let me add some additional thoughts and those from the Husband’s/male point of view.
My wife does most of the shopping as she is a stay at home mom and I work full time. In the past I have not appreciated her efforts in making healthier food selection and actually questioned and criticized some of the organic and other products she would bring home. Both due to the higher cost and lower taste value. I also was part of the problem with my occasional weekend shopping when I would pick up less healthy foods because I did not look at the ingredient label or thought I was treating the kids buy buying the ‘fun’ food.This book opened my eyes to the potential dangers and the potential linkage to the behavioral triggers in our children. The only prior link was my experience with soda/sugar and hyper behavior. I am a big drinker of sports beverages and those with caffeine such as Monster or AMP. As I am not a coffee drinker I thought this provided a good alternative for a boost and energy. Now I realize how much potential harmful ingredients are contained in these and am working through the research to find the best option for energy drinks.The first part of the book as all about shock. It draws you into the stats regarding food, our children’s poor eating habits and impact, where the dangerous man-made chemicals exist and the harm they can cause. It makes the case that this is something to pay attention to and motivates you to take some action. even if it is just to learn where they reside and want to read labels. For the average parent this will scare you and may make you feel you need to buy all organic food or grow it yourself in your back yard. Milk bad- really?. I think we are all aware that there is bad stuff in junk food, but do we care enough to really take watch out for these bad ingredients in our everyday foods?The second part of the book is all about how to take the action along with lots of encouragement that you can do it. My kids are 12 and 15 and during the book I kept thinking how is was really most appropriate for parents with younger kids who can start the mealtime habits off right from the start. They will benefit the most form this book. However, there is still benefit from taking action at any point, even for yourself as you realize to pay more attention to how the food is made and think about healthier options. And learn how to avoid food battles and take more control as the parent. School food is one area to worry about. Our kids actually hate the taste of school food so much they let us pack lunch each day so this allows control over providing healthier options.
The last part of the book is sort of a summary and putting it all together with strategies for success and some recipes. As everyone’s situation is different, you need to take what you can from a book such as this and apply what work for you. Sort of like a diet or exercise book. Even a small change is beneficial. For example, I do not agree with all of the suggestions on parenting and parental control of children. This was not something I expect to find in this book, but it makes sense as it relates to how you can get your kids to eat the healthy food you put in front of them and avoid fast food and junk.
I came from a strict household with 4 kids and I remember rules such as “the kitchen is closed’. I agree with suggestions such as no electronics at the dinner table, sitting down together for dinner at least a few times a week, helping children experience different options and incorporating healthy and non-processed foods into each meal. However, I believe we will learn in coming years that not everything made organically is actually healthier and like food marketing overall, some companies will use the organic labeling to try to sell you over priced goods. So, like everything else you need to be educated about your options and make wise choices for the high volume of food you consume. Overall, foods with less ingredients and those you can pronounce as going to be better for you. That is quick and easy to follow.
Gabrielle’s book is an effort to help parents in this regard, not the magical 10 step answer to follow. It is clear she is advocating for our children as a concerned parent and through her professional certifications in health and nutrition and research wraps this with supportive credibility. We watched the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution show when it was on TV a few years ago. He was trying to make changes to the schools and what they provide to our kids. Gabrielle is trying to do the same thing but appealing to parents who are the ones in control to buy and serve the better options to our kids, and understand the benefits food has on child development and behavior.