An Apple a Day

We recently switched the kids’ pediatrician. The practice we were going to since Evie was born was personal and nice, but it was up in the suburbs and not at all convenient (especially when the kids came down with a random ailment right in the middle of rush hour).

Almost immediately, I knew the first new doctor we tried would not work for us. When we stepped in to the new office, it smelled of must and mildew. Kinda gross, but I could live with it. The second strike came when we waited more than an hour past our appointment to be seen.  A first world problem, I know, but I was annoyed and irritated.

The third clue that this just wasn’t the practice for our family? This food guide that sorted common edibles into three categories. It was on display in every room:

For so many reasons, this chart goes against just about every belief I have regarding health and nutrition. Let’s break it down a bit.

Perhaps the most jarring tip here is that people can consume as much diet soda as we want. Hmmmmm. That means the doctors at the practice are cool with loading tiny bodies up with bubbly water containing caramel color (known carcinogen), aspartame (possible carcinogen and associated with weight GAIN), and phosphoric acid (erodes tooth enamel).

I was also irked by the suggestion that as much salad dressing without oil is ok.  Because, let’s face it, the bottled fat-free stuff at the grocery store is most definitely not a health food (I don’t even want to break down all the ingredients in it – too scary!).  A simple dressing with lemon juice, olive oil and salt tastes great, and the fat in the oil helps our bodies process the nutrition in vegetables.

The suggestion that popcorn popped without oil can be eaten without abandon doesn’t seem right. Not only is plain popcorn totally gross, but cooking it from scratch (which really is quite easy and economical!) with some coconut oil or butter keeps little bellies fuller for longer. We don’t have to be afraid of natural fats, in my opinion.

Ugggggh. The second category labeled “anytime” foods drives me bonkers. All the references to “non-fat” and “low fat” just don’t ring true for me.  Not only does low fat dairy often not taste as good as the full fat counterparts, but food processors often add in extra sugar and ingredients to make the low fat stuff even sort of palatable. Natural fat contains nutrients. Natural fat is good for us, especially for little bodies.

Plus, why why why do the doctors lump canned fruit together with fresh fruit??  I recognize that for some families canned fruit might be more economical than some fresh fruits, but nothing is more economical than a fresh banana.  My kids can eat fruit whenever they want. They can have apples and pears and strawberries morning til night. I will never put a limit on their fresh fruit consumption!

Now to the section that I really hate.

Eggs. Why oh why are the doctors cautioning families against eggs?! Eggs! Perhaps Mother Nature’s most perfect and complete food!  We go through three dozen eggs a week fueling our family, and I don’t feel one iota of guilt about it.

This section also cautions against natural fats found in milk and meat. The bottom line is that I do not believe that kids get fat from natural fats. It is the processed junk that is flaming our nation’s obesity epidemic. I think the problem many families run in to is how they serve natural and processed foods. For example, serving sugary cereals with skim milk does NOT make sense – serve a simple no sugar cereal with whole milk and everyone wins!

Further, to think that this category includes whole and natural foods boggles my mind. I will feed my kids as many avocados and nuts and seeds as they want. Load ‘em up on that stuff! Their health will not suffer from it!  But, according to the chart in the doctors’ office, avocados are as dangerous as chocolate syrup. Humpf!

After that initial visit, I called my insurance and arranged for a different doctor. I am happy to report that the new whole-family practice we go to has nice doctors and efficient visits. While it isn’t as cozy as our previous practice, it is literally four minutes from home, making visits for ear infections and strep throat much more manageable.

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Written by Maureen

More posts by: Maureen

5 Comments for this entry

  1. Liz says:

    I think you should forward this post to that office, or write them a letter. The information seems very outdated. You might be the push they need to reevaluate what is posted, and how to educate patients better in 2015.

  2. Allison says:

    I cannot believe this is posted in any doctor’s office!! Agree 100% with your comments. We have real butter, whole milk and full-fat yogurts and cheeses in our home and I don’t feel bad about it at all because I’d much rather give my family real foods than ones loaded with sugar, preservatives and artificial flavors. Diet and low-fat do not equal healthy. I’d be horrified if I read that in my doctor’s office.

  3. Sheila says:

    You are spot on at calling that first practice out Maureen. All the points you made are relevant with a healthy lifestyle. Do other parents a favor (if you haven’t already) and let the doctor know why you are not going back. Maybe he/she will think twice about who is reading (and blogging about) their practice.

  4. Hannah says:

    That is all sorts of crazy.

    And I want to know where on earth they got that information from, because what sane parent is giving their children coffee?

    And non-fat/low-fat/sugar-free foods are just loaded with all sorts of yuck to mask the gross flavor. I don’t think that balances out the so-called benefits of non-fat/low-fat/sugar-free.

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