Gen Carbers

The following is personal opinion based on research, personal experience, and lots of inner prayerful reflection. So please take it as such.

We are Boomers. Our daughter is  Gen X. Followed by Millennials. And then our granddaughter is considered Gen Z. Every generation seems to have its own designated label.

There is a generational identifier that actually crosses all those barriers. Gen Carb.

In the last several decades we have watched ALL our nation’s generations battle the same health issues, many of which can be traced back to the escalation of one thing: carbohydrates (a/k/a SUGAR after broken down by our bodies). Doesn’t matter if it’s “processed” sugar or “natural” sugars. Sugar is sugar whether it starts as a Pop Tart, a potato, or pasta. It just gets handled differently and by different parts of your insides, depending on the amount and type of sugar. Example, fructose found in many fruits can only be processed in one place: your liver…which means if you already have fatty liver disease, eating high-fructose fruit is NOT the “healthy” option for you that you have probably been told.

The heartbreak is that the current generation of CHILDREN are already being impacted in a huge way. Have you read lots about “childhood obesity” in the last few years? Yeah, it’s a thing. The children are basically being fed the same foods their parents and grandparents were told to eat as “healthy” (from that food pyramid that’s so upside down!). My Grandma had access to lard, but switched over to Crisco, and later vegetable oils, because she was told that was healthier for her to feed her family. She also added Karo corn syrup to her grandbabies’ bottles, and when asked why, the only answer she could come up with was “I was told it was good for them.”

When I see food pantries handing out “survival foods” to the poor, it is alarming to see that almost 100% of it is nothing but carbs. Pop Tarts, granola bars (we all thought THOSE were “healthy,” right?), cereal (nothing but sugar-coated air), and fruit cups. Now, the common denominator in those things is that they don’t even have to be cooked. Just ripped open and eaten. Probably by kids who don’t have anyone watching over their food needs. It’s basically meant to just keep them alive. And no one that even knows how to cook real food. I get that. But can we do better in our “helping” them?

Many of those kids are addicts. Not to “drugs” as we know them. But addicted nonetheless. To sugar. And we are keeping not only them, but their addiction alive and well. Is there a way to break that addiction? Not without lots of push-back, fear, drama, and downright vitriol by those who continue to insist that the issue doesn’t even exist in the first place. Would you give a heroin addict a hit, or an alcoholic a bottle,  to keep them alive? OH! But that’s different!!!

Is it?

Well, a bit. See, a heroin addict and an alcoholic, can be totally weaned off their drugs of choice 100%, for life, without any danger to their survival. But a sugar addict is getting his “fix” from sugar, which is food, and a person can NOT be weaned off of food 100%. They need food to live. So yes, sugar can keep them alive. But it also keeps them addicted. And is ruining their health while doing so.

What a conundrum. Translation: a royal MESS!

My heart especially breaks for the children. Those I think of as the Gen-Carbers. Even infants! Mothers feed their babies fruit juices (basically fruit-flavored sugar water) and sugar-laden baby foods because they are told it is healthy. And don’t even get me started on what the school “feeding” programs are giving our kids. I’ve seen those menus!

What to do? What to do?

Maybe it can be just one person at a time. But if you can help one person that then helps their own family, who spreads it to other families…

Chicken Legs

Photo by Kathy Hurley

If you feel impressed to share food during this difficult time, maybe we can share more than just food. Maybe we can share HOW to COOK food! This is going to take a two-way commitment. You can’t give a family perishable meat and just say, “Here you go. You’re on your own.” Some of those families might be more than willing to say “Yes, I would LOVE to learn how to cook this!” And that’s where we come in. Do you know how inexpensive a 10-pound bag of frozen chicken legs or leg-thigh quarters is? About 69 cents per POUND! Or 80/20 or 70-30 ground beef? On sale, you can catch it for a dollar or two a pound…sometimes less! And eggs…one of the cheapest and easiest-to-fix foods on the planet. Yet do you know how many people might not even know how to scramble or boil an egg?

If you can LIVE stream or YouTube get-togethers for fun, how about using those tools to show someone how to deal with that cook-able food? Find a family willing to commit to learning, and that you trust would follow through, then drop off a box of REAL food to them and set up a time to show them what to do with that food from your own kitchen! It could be the spark that ignites a wildfire for just one family. But it’s a start. And begin teaching them that their enemy is NOT “real food” (like my Grandma was taught about lard), but actually what is making them feel satisfied for a little while, but keeping them starved and unhealthy for life: SUGAR (carbs).

If you doubt that this is a real issue, I highly recommend that you read the book  Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It by Gary Taubes.