Well, that’s a wrap!
It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year since we started our project! I’m happy to report that 365 days without sugar and processed foods is far more doable – and enjoyable – than first anticipated. And our kids survived – – gasp! 😉
Adam and I have been reflecting on our biggest learning from our project. Beyond new recipes and becoming experts on ‘all things kids while avoiding junk food’, we agreed on one central theme: the idea of owning our personal choice to choose whole foods, despite the prevalent social pressure directing us otherwise. While our food environment (grocery store product placement, corner stores, TV advertisements) encourages the consumption of sugar and processed foods, so too do many of our social gatherings. And even though many of us would prefer to skip the office donuts, colleague’s birthday cake celebration, or dessert at yet another social function, we often go along with the offering as not to offend or feel awkward declining.
The project gave us a lovely excuse to decline processed foods in social settings. And in turn, we gained the practice and courage to do so routinely. Whereas I used to feel awkward saying ‘no thanks’, we’re now both totally comfortable kindly declining foods for ourselves or our kids that we’d rather not consume. While it sounds like a small feat, social pressure is strong and we’re all creatures of habit. This new habit, one of feeling comfortable avoiding processed foods, took the better part of the year to solidify.
I’ve also enjoyed meeting so many others, individuals and organizations, working to better our food environments. And as we’ve talked to more and more parents, we’ve found that most share a similar hope for the future. That ‘treats’ return to their intended place of occasional indulgences, that sugar is removed from 74% of our packaged foods (aka, there’s no need for sugar in bread), and that foods that harm our children’s health do not surround them daily, marketed and encouraged at every turn.
Thanks to everyone for reading and writing us with your questions and support!
Meantime, I’m going to maintain our FB page where I’ll share recipes and articles related to reducing sugar, kids health & bettering our food environments, for anyone interested: