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The "Wellness" Committee

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Tula wanted to help people learn about the role of healthy food in our diets and I wanted to help as well, except for one thing: no one wanted my help. Maybe, I thought, I could try to help at our kids' school and revamp the hot lunch, which consisted of nachos as the main meal smothered with processed cheese and God-knows-what type of meat. I signed up for the Wellness Committee and the next project was to observe all of the kids' lunch trays and record what they were actually eating and what they were throwing away. I was expecting to see kids eating a lot of crap and not many vegetables, but was not prepared for what I did see. Trays were filled up with slop, some fruit, and rarely any vegetables. The veggies were always left on the tray, the fruit was mostly left, and some slop was left, but the chocolate milk was gone. Sometimes two chocolate milks were emptied and no food eaten at all!

So, how were these kids faring every day completely nutrition-deprived and full on sugared milk? I noticed an autistic boy with a hot dog, bun, and ketchup. He literally only ate the ketchup with his finger, and on he went—back to his classroom. (Ketchup has an extremely high sugar content.) How could this be happening? How would this generation survive? I was pumped up after this event and ready to tackle a ban on chocolate milk and implement a new lunch program. When I brought up the chocolate milk topic to the “Wellness Committee,” they looked at me like I was crazy and told me that they would never eliminate it because this was how these kids derived their calcium.

When I pushed the issue, explaining that the sugars in the milk pull calcium from the bones, actually depriving children of nutrition, the leader reminded me that I wasn’t a nutritionist and she was, but that I could give my “non-degree opinion”. Because she knew better than me, she called me an extremist. When I sent them articles and studies and talked about my own daughter, the group ostracized me to the point where I wasn’t wanted anymore. It took me a long time to realize I could only help people who wanted to be helped. I found that consumption of dairy products, particularly at age twenty, was associated with increased risk of hip fracture in old age. (“Case-Control Study of Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in the Elderly,” American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 139, No. 5, 1994.)

The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study showed that people consuming the most dairy broke more bones than those who barely drank milk, reporting that, "These data do not support the hypothesis that higher consumption of milk or other food sources of calcium by adult women protects against hip or forearm fractures."

The milk industry has been doing a fantastic job of making you think that drinking milk is the only way to get your calcium. There are so many other foods that provide the same amount, if not more calcium, to your diet. An eight-ounce glass of milk contains an average of 300 milligrams of calcium. Three-quarters of a cup of almonds contain 320 milligrams. Two cups of bok choy have 316 milligrams, and two cups of kale have 356 milligrams. A three-ounce serving of sardines is 370 milligrams, and a five-ounce can of salmon has 350 milligrams, while six ounces of fresh salmon has 340 milligrams.

To read more on the topic consider the information in these studies and articles also.

© Copyright A Journey Off the Spectrum 2022

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