Just when the momentum is rocking post-holiday season, we’re hit with yet another tempting day of indulgence.
While this special little celebration is really meant for adults as we celebrate and profess our love for one another, the corporate holiday card companies, floral and candy pushers will convince us that everyone celebrates this, well, NON-holiday!
Low-Carb Valentine’s Day Is For Everyone
Remember the awkward feeling of picking and choosing from that box of generic valentines in search for that unassuming friendly card that you hope has no romantic gesture in the words “be mine”? Ah, the stress! If you’re over 30, you remember the lack of choices in the manufactured valentine world. There were no hip phrases like “call me maybe” just chalky candy and flimsy cards that read Be Mine, True Love, Hug Me and My Favorite Valentine.
Today, there are so many options that there is no reason to stress, unless of course at 7:30 on February 13th the words muttered are “Mom, I need to bring 32 snacks for our school party tomorrow!” Then my friends, there is major stress! No matter how much we remind them, a little surprise hits us here and there. I’ve made plenty of 7:00 a.m. trips to the grocery store trying to choose something that would not break the bank. This, after I counted each Valentine and cross referenced it to the list that was sent home because I never wanted any child to go without a card. This was usually accompanied by a meltdown and my writing on a few of those cards.
February is Also Heart Health Month
February is also Heart Health Month which of course is a stroke of marketing genius by the American Heart Association, so I thought I would encourage less sugar-laden Valentine gifts in favor of practical items that are age appropriate. As you drive that momentum for a healthier 2014, don’t let one day detour you. Let’s face it; we all know that the motivation to have less treats around the home benefits us, the parents more than the child…..but is this really true? In the almost 14 years that I have practiced a low carb lifestyle, I have watched while so many parents work to clean up their own dietary habits all while continuing to cook separate meals for the rest of the family. It is wise to educate the entire family about the lessons you are learning and put these into application for all, slowly transitioning what you can as your knowledge expands.
It might startle you to know that heart disease begins building in infancy and if you suffered diabetic complications during pregnancy, your child is more likely to suffer genetically driven obesity as well.
In the May 21st Pediatrics Journal, Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) over the past decade. They wanted to know how many adolescents were at risk for future heart disease. They looked at the main risk factors: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and diabetes. They also looked at how many were overweight or obese. The goal was to assess potential risk factors for adolescents that might be at risk for future heart disease.
Here’s what they found
- One in four adolescents has or almost has diabetes. This is up from one in 10 a decade ago.
- One in four adolescents has two or more risk factors for heart disease.
- One in seven has an LDL level that is borderline or high.
- One in five has a blood pressure that is borderline or high.
- One in five is obese.
- One in seven is not yet obese, but overweight. If you add obese and overweight together, it’s one in three.
- Being at a healthy weight doesn’t guarantee health — one in three healthy-weight adolescents has at least one risk factor for heart disease.
These risk factors are strictly correlative and as we in the Low Carb/Paleo world have learned, cholesterol blood markers are not causative. However, diabetes which contributes to systemic inflammation is certainly a causative factor for many degenerative diseases not exclusive to cholesterol markers.
Encouraging a child to make homemade Valentines is a great idea because they are in control of the wording. This is actually incredibly stressful to children and it’s a silent suffering. As a former employee of a school system, I dealt with this. When we made our cards at school, I always encouraged the children to think of nice things about those they are writing to and if they could not think of anything comfortable to say, “Happy Valentine’s Day” and “Have a Nice Day” were always encouraged as acceptable gestures.
If you decide to purchase gifts rather than the task of individual cards, think about natural fruit rolls, dry fruits, citrus or small baggies of trail mix. A few chocolate pieces or chips will go a long way and remember, a higher cocoa content means less sugar!
This little exchange generally stops at Jr. High and from there, young girls will think about the boy they are seeing or their best girlfriends. The issue is generally a parent showering their child with candy so if you do purchase for your children, choose something small and meaningful appropriate to their age group. Some suggestions include; music, gift cards, make-up, sports memorabilia, movie tickets, school supplies or homemade healthy low carb/paleo treats from our favorite bloggers!
No matter your choice this Valentine’s Day, I hope that you are working through the year with a healthy transition in mind. Remember, a Low-Carb Lifestyle is a Whole Food Lifestyle and it is not necessary to celebrate with food each time a holiday rolls around……or in this case, a commercially driven celebration.