After finishing up my daily walk in Central Park, NYC, I passed by a group of inner-city kids sitting and eating lunch.
It was a piping hot July day, so I guess they were from a local summer camp.
They were all conveniently lined up in a row on the concrete ledge outside of the park, and I couldn’t help but take a look at what each kid was chewing on.
One little girl had a plastic storage container filled with dry cereal flakes. Another kid was dipping his hand into a baggie filled with Chex mix. There were quite a few kids noshing on sandwiches, and there was an abundance of potato chips, pretzels, corn chips, and Doritos.
All of these lunches had ONE thing in common.
None of them contained fresh fruit.
How is it possible that I walked past 25-30 young kids, on a hot summer day, and there was not one piece of fruit to be found?
Not one juicy summer peach, plum, or nectarine. There were no clusters of sweet grapes, bags of ripe cherries, or chunky pieces of watermelon.
Nada. Zippo. Nothing!
Besides being hydrating, refreshing and cooling on this 95 degree day, fresh fruit also contains an abundance of easily absorbable vitamin C.
It’s an essential vitamin that ALL of those kids need to eat to thrive. The fact that not one single child was eating a piece of fresh fruit was shocking, to say the least.
Especially, after reading that there is a resurgence of an age-old disease that we supposedly licked in the 18th Century.
My friend Dina sent me an eye-opening article from the health and science section of the Huffington Post. A young boy was admitted to the hospital because he was suffering from a mysterious rash, bleeding gums, and couldn’t walk. He sat on the floor and cried when anyone touched his legs.
The doctors ran a battery of tests. They did a CT scan to check for broken bones or a possible head injury. They ran an MRI and checked for cancer. They tested him for Polio and Guillain Barre Syndrome. They gave him a spinal tap. They tested his blood for HIV infection and/or bone infections. They searched his little body for juvenile arthritis…
They found NOTHING!
Except for a mild anemic state, that was dismissed as a possible cause of his current condition.
The doctors were stumped. Why couldn’t this young boy walk? What happened to him? They couldn’t figure it out.
Finally, after a week of rigorous testing, someone approached the question of this boy’s diet. The mother told them that the kid was a picky eater, and only drank chocolate milk and ate a few graham crackers throughout the day. That’s it. Nothing else.
With that knowledge, they retested the boy and discovered his vitamin C levels were below normal. He was suffering from Vitamin C deficiency and Scurvy.
Scurvy was a disease that affected sailors who didn’t have access to fresh food because they were out at sea for long periods of time (sometimes months and years on end).
Symptoms of Scurvy includes skin rashes, joint pain, bleeding gums, tooth loss, fatigue, bruising, cardiac arrest, and in some cases, death – as what recently happened to an 8-year old boy in Wales.
The fact that this age-old disease is making a comeback in modern times is just plain coo-coo for cocoa puffs!
Upon discovering the deficiency, the staff at the hospital began administering an IV drip of vitamin C and other vitamins. The young boy immediately began improving, and in 4 months he made a full recovery. This little boy simply needed fresh food.
We are doing our children a HUGE disservice by not giving them fresh fruit. We certainly have access to it, but many folks opt to give their kids packaged lifeless crap instead.
As far as cost goes… it’s a win win when you give the kids fresh fruit instead of crap.
An apple costs way less than a bag of chips, and gives the child much more of what his or her body needs to thrive.
It’s unbelievable that scurvy is being diagnosed around the world and in America right now. All of the current cases are directly linked to a diet that is lacking fresh fruits and vegetables. Boston Children’s Hospital is diagnosing scurvy in children with autism, and reporting rapid recovery of many symptoms with vitamin C treatment.
Supporting the health and vitality of our species can be as simple as sending the kids out with a piece of fruit instead of a bag of chips.
And, I’ve heard it a million times from frustrated parents, “But, my kid is a picky eater. He/she won’t eat fruit, and certainly won’t eat any vegetables. All they want is pasta, chips, and junk food.”
Newsflash! The parents control what the kids are eating, NOT the other way around.
When I was growing up if we didn’t eat what our parents put in front of us, we didn’t eat. It was that simple.
Take your power back.
Start by putting a bowl of fresh fruit on the table for the kids, and for the adults, too. Eventually, they will get hungry enough, grab a piece, and eat it.
The survival of our species depends on it.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.