An alarming cancer warning should scare the pants off millennial and Gen X moms. A study lead by the American Cancer Society shows, colon cancer is on the rise for 20-54 year olds. Shockingly, if you were born around 1990 your risk is DOUBLE that of someone born in 1950. Three years ago, my Gen-X husband became one of these statistics.
Tragically, we are not alone. Many young mothers, fathers, thirty-somethings, forty-somethings, are getting colon cancer at higher rates. Colon cancer is no longer an old man’s disease.
This disease is hitting our generation hard, and it’s gonna leave scars.
So, head’s up millennials and Gen X mamas—the food you’re raising your kids on will shape their future, just like the food habits YOU have are impacting YOURS.
Easy-Peasy Mac N Cheesy
Carefully crafted food is my LOVE language. However, as a mother of two young crazies, I always have one eye open for a time saver, short cut, or hack in the kitchen. Nine times out of ten, that shortcut involves something prepackaged—you know, from the shunned middle isles of the grocery store.
But, these little time savers create a slippery slope, moms—very slippery indeed.
One day you’re buying organic baby food, and the next thing you know, you’re packing a lunchbox full of 1980’s quality junk and hitting up McD’s for the third time this week for dinner.
Unfortunately, like all things easy, it tends to come back to bite you in the ass.
What We Eat Matters
The world’s obsession with gut health is happening for a reason. After decades of eating foods that contain more science than real food, we are finally reaping the unfortunate consequences.
The shortcuts, the quick, the fake, the crap we keep grabbing for convenience sake–it is not meant to be the rule. It is meant to be the exception.
TRUTH: It was the rule for me for way longer than it should’ve been.
They See EVERYTHING
When we think of the things we’re passing on to our kids, the least of these we’re concerned about seems to be the food habits. But, the verdict is out, and this is a grave mistake.
Let’s get REAL here for a second. No judgment—remember, I’ve been on the other side of this, too. But, I want you to look at it from another lens.
I want you to look at your daily habits, and I want you to imagine what your little ones are absorbing from watching you.
WHAT DO THEY SEE?
- Are they learning that coffee and diet cokes are the nectar of the gods, or is water your go-to bevvy?
- Do most of your breakfasts come from a box, or do you take the time to make a bowl of overnight oats or a scrambled egg?
- Do you EVER eat vegetables, really, ever?
- How often do you hit the drive thru in a week?
- What are you snacking on right now?
- Do you take the time to cook and sit for meals, or is it all grab and go?
- Do you eat more than once or twice a day?
Are the answers to these questions scary?
If so, you’ll want to check out this study, which took a look at the food choices of over 120 kids ages 2-6. When simulating their parents’ choices at the grocery store, only 13 kids would buy healthy food.
Over 70% of them loaded up on junk. Yikes.
This shows that the next generation is learning some pretty bad habits from US–just like we learned from our microwaving, fast-food getting, center isle shopping parents.
The director of the study, Professor Stephen O’Keefe at the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that these findings indicate that “it is likely never too late to change your diet to change your risk of colon cancer.”
GOOD NEWS: You can change your habits today! AND, in just TWO weeks, your gut will thank you.
BAD NEWS: The inverse is also true! Two weeks off a high fiber low fat diet can increase inflammation and an otherwise healthy gut can go bad.
Small changes can make a huge difference! Because they’re easy to tackle, you’ll feel good about it, and you’ll want to keep going!
PLUS, if you take baby-steps your family may not even notice what you’re up to.
Think about what your day would look like if you made just ONE of these changes:
- Drink only one cup of coffee (or one caffeinated beverage) daily
- Start your morning with a REAL breakfast
- Dinner: try and eat at home every night (at the table)
- Lunch: try and eat at home (or from home) every day
- Eat out only ONCE a week
- Snacks: these need to be REAL food, too! (fruit, nuts, or veggies)
- Switch out your white breads, grains, and pastas for whole grains
- Eat red meat only once a week
- Drink 8 glasses of water every day
- Eat something green every single day
- Eat fruit every single day
- Make alcohol a weekend indulgence
Imagine what your day would look like in 6 months if you made one change a week.
If I knew then…..
When my husband got his diagnosis, we were caught completely off guard. And, it is shocking to see how many moms, dads, and young millennial and gen xers will walk in our shoes. There is clear proof of this, and it should be a scary cancer warning to all gen x and millennial moms.
The sad part–it appears to be avoidable.
So, the one thing I know for sure is what we eat matters! There is CRAZY proof of this. From my perspective, it is such a simple and profound thing.
What’s even more mind blowing is that in just TWO WEEKS you can start to turn the ship around for you and your family.
So, my advice is really simple: GO OLD SCHOOL. Slow down. Take the time to COOK real food and EAT real food.