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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

January, 2008



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New Year's Resolution For Kids By Kids
Two United Nations Delegates Say Healthy Ways Bring Green Days
By Lauren Grieve And Danielle Scullon Baer

December 26, 2007- Marin County, California - As January 1 approaches, we think about goals for the New Year. Usually, not too far down on the list comes diet and exercise. "In fact health clubs have their busiest sign-up season in January, according to my father, who owns Meridian's Bodies In Motion Clubs," says Lauren Grieve. Most kids don't think about Resolutions like adults do, but we wanted to tell our community about the book, The China Study, by Colin Campbell, which presents scientific reasons to reduce the amount of animal protein in our diets to promote better health and prevent serious diseases. Danielle Scullon-Baer explains, "our work with the United Nations Environment Programme lead us to see how improving our physical health can improve the health of the environment at the same time!" We started to see all these connections between what we choose to eat and how these choices either help or harm our environment.

Here's what we want kids to know:
Over the last 3 decades, childhood obesity has more than doubled for kids aged 2-5, and in adolescents 12-19 years. It has tripled for children aged 6-11 years! And it seems that we are exercising less and less. We like to watch TV, play video games and Instant Message on our computers more than riding bikes or playing outside. It seems we are in such a rush that we eat less home cooked meals than when our parents were kids. (According to our grandmothers!)

The health problem gets worse. Eating processed* and Fast Foods without exercise also causes, Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Sleep Apnea, Menstrual Abnormalities, Dyslipidemia, Impaired Balance and Orthopedic problems. Obesity can cause low self-esteem, and depression. (Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, 2005, Institute of Medicine, www.iom.edu)

Environment problems are outcomes of how we eat too, like Carbon Emissions. On average, our food travels 1,700 miles before it gets to our plate (Marin Organic.) We never realized pollution came from trucks and planes that transported food to us. We need to eat local food that is "in season" where we live. When we became United Nations Environment delegates, we accepted the responsibility to spread what we learn to other kids.


It takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein. Yet it takes only 1 calorie of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of soybeans. And producing animal protein takes 15 times more water compared to producing plant protein, which is something else to consider when thinking about Global Warming. (Alternative Energy Source.com)


Let's dispel the myths:
The fashion is to eat lots of protein, but is this really healthy? The RDA** for eating protein is 10% or about 50-60 grams per day, and the China Study says we need only10% or less per day. But Americans eat 70-100 grams of protein daily! Author Colin Campbell has conducted studies that draw strong ties between animal protein (intake above 10%) and cancer, heart disease and diabetes.


People also think the only way to get quality protein is through meat, dairy and legumes, but did you know that here is protein in most every vegetable? Mushrooms contain 39% protein, sugar snap peas 26%, broccoli 45%, spinach and lettuce 28%, etc.***


We kids don't buy hybrids or do the marketing, but here's what we can do:

Don't Eat as Much Animal Protein and Dairy Products; cutting down on just a few eggs or hamburgers each week is an easy way to reduce CO2! Cut Back on Processed Foods, Reduce Sugars and Sodas, Turn Off the TVs and Computers.

Make your New Year's Resolution to eat a mostly local, plant-based diet; we can improve our health, reduce carbon emissions, save water, save money, and conserve energy, all at the same time!

Lauren Grieve, member of the Bah‡'’ Faith community in San Rafael, and Danielle Scullon-Baer, a Christian, are both12 years old and attend San Domenico Middle School. The girls have been UN delegates for the Environment since 2005. Their current project is called Healthy Ways ~ Green Days.

* Potato chips have over 50 chemicals in them from seed to shelf life and can contain up to 75 times the "safe" levels of cancer causing acrylamide established by the state of California, according to the book Living Green. (So learn to read labels and choose foods with the fewest ingredients. Also, processed foods come in wasteful containers such as plastic, which is not biodegradable.)

** Diet for a Small Planet, page 389. Another good source for finding out how much protein is in our foods is: www.bodybuilding.com/fun/nutrient.htm.

*** Recommended Daily Allowance





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