Written on January 13, 2014 at 4:15 pm , by Family Circle
As a parent, you constantly have doubts and concerns about how to raise your kids no matter how many parenting books you may read. But when these worrying moms listened to what their kids really thought about them, it was priceless.
Written on January 13, 2014 at 1:33 pm , by Family Circle
By Leslie Kantor, Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood.
A recent Dear Abby submission came from a woman whose teenage daughter confided in her that she was sexually active, and asked her mother if she would buy her condoms. The mother purchased condoms and then learned that her daughter was supplying them to her girlfriends who couldn’t talk with their own mothers about sex. While it’s great that this teenager has such a great relationship with her mother that she feels comfortable bringing up tough topics, this situation illustrates that more teens need help doing the same.
It’s okay to be nervous about talking with your teens about sex, but it turns out that parents are less anxious about talking about these topics than teens are. A survey released last year from Planned Parenthood and Family Circle, with assistance from the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at New York University, found that only 18% of teens reported they were very comfortable talking with their parents about sex.
We know that teens need guidance and direction, and often name their parents as the biggest influence in their decisions about sex. Teens who report having good conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners and use condoms and other contraceptives when they do have sex.
Teens may worry about their parents’ reactions, but the truth is that most parents welcome the chance to talk about these issues. As parents, we want our kids to feel comfortable confiding in us and coming to us for advice. We can try to make these conversations as natural as asking them about school, and encourage teens to open up whenever a topic comes up related to sexuality. For instance, when teens ask what we think about something “a friend” may be doing, that’s often their way of trying to assess what our values are and whether we are going to overreact or be extremely judgmental. Be careful not to get upset if they bring up sex and dating, because we want to keep the lines of communication open. But do take the opportunity to share your values and expectations related to when sex should and shouldn’t happen, how to deal with pressure to have sex, and the importance of caring, respectful relationships and using condoms and birth control when sex does take place.
The Dear Abby piece brings up another issue: Teens probably will share any information you give them with their friends. So it’s a good idea for parents to think about some of the issues that may arise in advance—this way, you’re prepared for whatever your kids may bring up over the years.
Here are some things to consider if you are the parent of a teenager:
· What will you say if you realize your teen is looking at pornography online?
· What message will you give to your child about masturbation?
· What dating rules do you plan to have?
· What will you tell teens about sharing personal information online and the risks of activities such as sexting?
· What would you say if your teen is interested in a member of the same sex?
· How will you help your teen stay safe and healthy once s/he becomes sexually active?
· Will you buy your teen condoms, or take your daughter to get birth control?
To help ease some of the discomfort that young people may have, Planned Parenthood designed “Awkward or Not?,” a quiz teens can take on their cell phone or computer that allows them to explore their feelings about communicating with their parents and offers encouragement and tips to start talking. There’s also a funny video they can watch, “How to Talk with Your Parents About Sex,” with some do’s and don’ts about bringing up sexuality topics with their parents.
Planned Parenthood also offers resources for parents to help start and improve these conversations, including information, videos and tips for talking to children of all ages on Planned Parenthood’s Tools for Parents page and the Let’s Talk Month page, including “Parenting Tips,” a series of interactive videos on talking to your teens about sex and relationships; a fact sheet and information on parent-child communication and a tip sheet on talking to your kids; and information on setting boundaries, helping teens delay sex, parenting LGBTQ kids and more.
With more tools than ever before to help initiate these important conversations, there’s never been a better time to talk with our teens.
Follow Leslie on Twitter @LeslieKantor.
Written on January 9, 2014 at 3:36 pm , by Danielle Hester
Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to hit the gym more often? Watch this video for motivation.
Lakeisha Shurn was 348 pounds when she began recording this diary. In the time-lapse video, she candidly explains how being overweight made her depressed, and shows off her inspirational 100-day journey to lose weight and boost her self-esteem.
“I am overweight. I have low self-esteem. I am going through depression, and I want to change all of that,” she says in the video. “The next 100 days I will be on the journey to losing weight and finding myself…I want you to see how one person really changes everything about their life.”
By the end of the video, you’ll see a slimmer Lakeisha with more confidence.
Written on January 9, 2014 at 12:12 pm , by Family Circle
In July 2010, special education teacher and mother Rachel Macy Stafford decided enough was enough. No longer did she want to multi-task her life away with buzzing phones, mile-long to-do lists and overloaded agendas. Instead, Rachel yearned to take small steps to let go of daily distractions and connect to what truly mattered. She began by turning off the notifications on her cell phone while in the company of her loved ones. She also established daily rituals at mealtime and bedtime that were always distraction-free.
Immediately, she noticed the profound impact these small changes were having on her ability to bond with the people she loved most, as well as her own happiness. Rachel began sharing her experiences on a blog (www.HandsFreeMama.com) to stay accountable to her “hands free” journey. The public response was quite remarkable. Over the past three years, The Hands Free Revolution has grown to a community of nearly 100K!
Rachel recently released her first book, Hands Free Mama, which describes how she transformed her overly distracted life into one of meaningful connection. Read about Rachel’s transformative journey below.
Interview by Beth Gebhard of Lightshop Media
Q. What does it mean to live “hands free”?
A. Living hands free means making a conscious decision to temporarily push aside daily distractions and give your undivided attention to someone or something meaningful in your life. But it doesn’t mean giving up technology altogether, and it does not mean ignoring your job responsibilities, volunteer obligations or home duties. Instead, living hands free allows you to experience the joy that comes from being fully engaged with others.
Q. What caused you to embark on this hands free journey?
A. Three years ago, I experienced what I call my “breakdown-breakthrough.” For the first time in my life, I honestly answered the complimentary question I received on a daily basis: “How do you do it all?” I painfully admitted that I was able to “do it all” because I missed out on life⎯the playing, connecting, memory-making parts of life. Tragically, I knew every precious moment I’d missed could never be retrieved. With clarity, I saw the damage that my daily distractions were causing my relationships, my health and my life.
Once I acknowledged that living distractedly was not really living at all, I vowed to change. From that day on, I began taking small steps to let go of distraction and created designated times of the day to be fully present with the people I love.
Q. You began chronicling your journey on your Hands Free Mama blog. Why?
A. When I was ready to tell someone about my endeavor, I started with my husband, Scott. The hands free concept I described impacted his behavior immediately. While at the children’s museum that morning, he’d noticed several parents paying more attention to their phones than to their kids. This observation motivated him to turn off his phone, push away thoughts of work and focus solely on our children’s clever comments and funny expressions. In doing so, he felt a strong sense of connection, peace and renewal. That was the moment I knew I needed to go public with my hands free journey. The impact of the small changes I was making in my daily life was so immediate and so profound that I knew I must share it with as many people as I could. As an educator, writer and encourager, I felt certain this was my purpose in life. I believed that the people who could most likely benefit from my hands free message were people who read blogs and use social media. That is why I chose those media to share my message.
Q. What surprised you when you began sharing your stories?
A. Within weeks of my first blog post, readers began reaching out to me. People all over the world wrote to me saying, “I need this message. I am joining you on your journey.” Even my friends and neighbors, who I thought had it all together, were saying, “I’m tired of living on a hamster wheel. I am tired of the pressure. I want to enjoy time with my family. I want my kids to be kids.”
As stories from my journey fell into the hands (and onto the screens) of others who also felt trapped by their distractions, I suddenly had companions on my hands free journey, and a movement to live with less daily distraction and more human connection began. I soon discovered it wasn’t just stressed-out moms who were struggling…I heard from a Fortune 500 company executive, a stay-at-home dad, a single mom living in a battered women’s shelter, a homeschooler, a grandmother, a blogger and even a teen—people from all different backgrounds and circumstances were implementing strategies described in my stories and experiencing the life-altering results.
Q. Did you find it difficult to live hands free during the process of writing this book?
A. When I got started writing the book, my husband, my two daughters and I sat down and discussed what we would need to do as a family in order for me to meet my publishing deadlines. Much to my surprise, every member of the family was willing to take on more household duties and daily responsibilities in order to help me. I am proud to say that my family came through like rock stars! Although I worked more hours than usual that month, I refused to miss out on the daily rituals of connection I’d established with my family throughout my journey. Those little moments of togetherness are the most meaningful and renewing parts of my day.
Q. What is the most challenging aspect of living hands free?
A. Before, I avoided painful truths about the way I was living by being overly busy, tied to my devices and never alone with my thoughts. Once I quieted down my external distractions, I was forced to face some painful realizations. Once I was honest with myself about changes I needed to make, I had to take action. I learned to apologize, be kind to myself, show up “as is” and admit my imperfections and shortcomings, among other things. These actions were not easy, but as I often say, “The truth hurts, but the truth heals…and brings me closer to the person I want to be.”
I thought that after one year of grasping what really mattered, I would be cured and my journey would be over—but it is far from over. Although I have made significant progress toward a more present and gratitude-filled life, I am faced with choices every moment of every day on how I spend my time and energy. Daily distractions and societal pressures will always be ready and willing to sabotage my time and my relationships. Living hands free requires constant daily effort and continual honesty, but the payoff is a closer relationship with the people you love.
Q. What are some immediate and simple ways to transform a tech-obsessed family into a hands free family?
A. 1) Turn off the notifications on your phone and place it out of reach while driving. This was the easiest and most impactful effort in my hands free journey.
2) Allow yourself 60 extra seconds for an unrushed, undivided, loving goodbye. If you make only one small effort to let go of distractions and grasp what matters in a day, do this!
3) Establish do-nothing moments with no agenda and no itinerary.
4) Create and maintain one daily ritual where time with your loved one is protected from all other distractions and interruptions. For example, morning snuggles, nightly tuck-ins, walking the dog together, prayer or a daily devotional, after-school snack time.
5) Consistently invite your family to engage in activities that do not involve electronic devices. Try cooking, board games, nature walks, bike rides, arts and crafts, sports or science experiments.
Written on January 9, 2014 at 10:15 am , by Rosalind Wiseman
Has anyone ever offended you? Said something so ignorant or obnoxious that you just wanted to scream at them? Or maybe you didn’t even want to scream. Maybe you just wanted to bring it to their attention. But it seemed like there were only two ways to react—be really confrontational so they’d take you seriously or stay silent because nothing you can do will change another person.
Telling someone when they’ve offended you is challenging. It brings up a lot of fears of confrontation, questions about whether you’ll be taken seriously, and old patterns of how you think we should express our anger or frustration.
Recently, I had an experience with this—but I wasn’t the person who was offended. I was the offender. I’m in the business of giving advice and I can have strong opinions that I take public positions on all the time. Sometimes people get very angry with me. But this time was different. Here’s the email I received describing what I’d done.
I’m enjoying your book Queen Bees right now; finding it relevant as both a mom and a Wellness Program Coordinator and facilitator who sees a great deal of adult bullying in the workplace. This isn’t why I’m writing though.
I agree with you that language is both important and powerful. In your book you repeatedly use the term “bottom of the totem pole” to describe low rank. I want to offer another option for saying, more accurately, what you mean: lowest rung on a ladder, low rank, low social standing. These are all options that are not culturally offensive.
I am Coast Salish from the Saanich and Snuneymuxw Nations on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. This is to say I’m an Indigenous person.
Totem poles are the original history books of North West Coast Peoples. They do not illustrate rank or social standing. Each figure on a pole is a depiction or narration of a time, place, event or other piece of history to be kept track of. The base of the pole, the foundational figure, is never a representative of low status.
I wanted to offer this feed back in hopes you would be open to broadening your use of language when you’re working with families and youth. Your information is so important and valuable, it’s a shame to lose the good teachings by using offensive and dated language.
I hope this email finds you well.
Jada-Gabrielle’s email was effective for several reasons. She immediately told me why she was writing and connected with me about a shared belief in the power of words. She didn’t dance around what she was trying to say—even though telling someone they’ve said something ignorantly racist is often very difficult and I assume caused her pain.
But what was also good: What she didn’t do. Jada didn’t insult me or make judgments about my character, intelligence or integrity. As a facilitator, imagine what an invaluable resource and wellness coordinator she is in her community.
So I want to apologize to Jada-Gabrielle and all the people I offended by using the totem pole as a way to describe low social status. I’ve really learned from Jada-Gabrielle and will do everything I can to change that language in Queen Bees and Wannabes as fast as possible. I want to thank her for allowing me to share her letter and for the thoughtful way she enabled me to right a wrong.
Have you ever had someone tell you that you offended them? How did it go over? Post a comment below and let me know.
Rosalind Wiseman is the author of the new best seller Masterminds and Wingmen as well as Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads. For more info, go to rosalindwiseman.com. Do you have a parenting question? Email email@example.com.
Written on January 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm , by Jonna Gallo
Like many, I spent a good part of last weekend de-Christmas-ing my house. One task was to take down all the holiday cards that arrived throughout December, which I tape around the “window” in the wall between my kitchen and living room. I know some people say cards aren’t necessary in this day and age—”That’s what Facebook is for!”—but I definitely beg to differ. A snapshot on my Facebook newsfeed is here and gone in an instant. A paper card lasts the whole season and becomes part of our holiday decor. My kids (9 and 6) get excited when the envelopes start to arrive, and it quickly becomes a nightly ritual to ooh and aah over the photos. As for our own family card, we spent more than an hour looking at options on Tinyprints and Shutterfly, my hands-down favorite sites for high-quality cards and invites. (Tinyprints had the winner this year, but it was a tough call!) According to Hallmark, 85% of consumers surveyed said they send Christmas cards, letters or photos. I hope that number continues to hold up in our increasingly digitized world. To me, it’s a tradition worth preserving.
Do you send holiday cards in December, or is it not worth the effort or expense? Do you enjoy receiving them? Tell us in the comments.
Written on January 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm , by Family Circle
By Michele Bender
Studies have shown that sleep helps you lose weight, improves your energy and even decreases your risk of heart disease. Follow these six steps for better shut-eye this year.
1. Prep for bed. Nightly routines aren’t just for infants: They’re essential for all ages. “Start a ritual about 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime to prepare the body for sleep,” says Robert Oexman, DC, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, Missouri. It could include a hot bath (which decreases your core body temperature) or a cup of herbal tea.
2. Get your own top sheets and blankets. “Using separate ones can make up for different temperature needs you and your partner may have,” says Oexman. Added bonus: You won’t wake up when he steals the blanket.
3. Stay in the dark. If you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t check your email or text messages—no matter how tempting. When your kids must have a night-light, use a low blue one. “These eliminate the blue wavelength of light that negatively impacts melatonin production,” says Oexman.
4. Lower the thermostat. About 68 degrees is ideal for catching 40 winks because it causes a decrease in your core body temp. If you get cold, covering up is okay. “It’s exposing your head to cold air that naturally decreases your core body temperature,” says Dr. Oexman.
5. Curb the caffeine. Whether it comes from tea, soda, coffee or hot chocolate, this stimulant can keep you up at night. This means you’re tired the next day, so you reach for caffeine to perk you up and the cycle continues.
6. Don’t allow cell phones in the bedroom…even if your kids say they use their phones as alarm clocks. That’s because every time you get a text or email, you’ll wake up. “It causes fragmented, lower-quality sleep,” says Oexman.
Written on January 8, 2014 at 11:54 am , by Christina Tynan-Wood
I am on my way to CES in Las Vegas. Getting to this annual massive gathering of all things geek has been an epic quest this year—cancelled flights, insane weather, mistaken rebookings that would have me arriving as the show ended, tears and a sudden overnight layover in a distant city. Sometimes travel goes well. And sometimes it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t, I am always grateful for my smartphone and a little tech savvy.
When a flight was delayed by this crazy winter storm, I missed my connecting flight and there wasn’t another unclaimed seat on any flight out of Atlanta. So I found myself suddenly in need of a place to sleep. Did I sleep on the airport floor? Demolish my budget by walking into the closest hotel? No. I sat quietly (while others around me wailed, lamented and panicked), tapped a few times on my phone and had a room in a nearby (nice) hotel for a fraction of its standard price. In fact, my smartphone—and the right app—has saved me many a hassle on numerous adventures. When traffic threatens to derail a meeting by trapping me in my car, I (pull over and) tap my phone to find out the cause of the congestion and plot a reroute. When I’m in a new city and need to be somewhere on time—either by car, foot or public transportation—I pull out my phone for turn-by-turn directions.
I use a lot of apps to keep me on track. But here are three that helped me keep my cool on this particular journey—one that otherwise could have been an ordeal to make even the most seasoned traveler snap.
This app has saved me quite a few times. Hotels hate to have empty rooms. So they release those that aren’t booked at noon every day for that night—to this app. When I realized I was stranded in Atlanta, I pulled up the available rooms closest to me; it knows where I am because my phone does. I tapped, booked a room (at an upscale hotel for $100), got on the hotel’s shuttle and slept.
This navigation app gathers the collective knowledge of everyone else on the road who is also using the app (and you’ll see there are a lot of us) and uses it to inform you of what’s ahead. People can post what they can see in terms of accidents and holdups. But the app also tracks how fast those other phones are traveling, so you know if there’s a slowdown ahead and what routes have fast-moving traffic.
Google Maps has gotten so good at giving turn-by-turn directions that I depend on it. Meeting in an unfamiliar city? I enter my destination (it knows where I am because my phone has GPS) and tell it how I want to travel—public transportation, walk or drive—and it will take me right there. If I’m walking, I use a Bluetooth headset and it speaks the directions right into my ear. It even knows the train schedules for most urban transportation systems.
Written on January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm , by Family Circle
First tearjerker of 2014? This Procter & Gamble video will remind you just how far a mother’s unconditional love can carry you.
“For teaching us that falling only makes us stronger. Thank you, mom”
Written on January 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm , by Family Circle
Last month, our guest blogger Melissa Halas-Liang, RD, founder of the wellness group SuperKids Nutrition, shared five ways to keep your child healthy for life! This month, she reveals the surprising place your kids are overdoing it when it comes to sugar and smart ways to get them to stop.
When you’re not catching someone’s hand in the proverbial cookie jar, rely on numbers. Numbers don’t lie. And research shows that teens consumed on average 442 calories (boys) or 314 calories (girls) a day from added sugar alone. A majority of those calories (59%) come from food, but beverages aren’t too far behind at 41%.
Now here’s the real surprise. Guess what parents? Teens consumed most of that added sugar, not when out and about with friends, but while at home! That’s right: reaching into your fridge, opening up your cabinet and pulling out your drawers at home.
We all rely upon a balanced, nutritious diet to remain in good health. However, teens must go above and beyond to obtain the nutrients their bodies require during this age of intensive growth and maturation. Sadly, the reality is that the food and snack choices teens are making fall short of the nutrients needed to build healthy, strong bodies. Support your kids and make the healthiest food choices the easiest choices.
Here are 8 easy ways for teens to cut down on the sweet stuff:
1. Choose cereals with less than 6 grams of sugar per serving. If your kids prefer the sweeter cereals with honey, no problem. Tell them to mix it with equal part of plain cereal.
2. Buy sugar-free crackers. Briefly explain how sugar makes starchy foods addictive, so you overeat them and then return to the store to buy more. But, fear not, because you can outsmart the marketers! Here’s a helpful guide to buying crackers.
3. Read the ingredient list. Find options for foods like pretzels, breads and chips without added sugar.
4. Cut back on the sugar-laden condiments. Serve low-sodium or homemade salsa or tomato sauce instead of ketchup.
5. Choose naturally lower-sugar yogurts. Some Greek yogurts offer less added sugar and pack in additional protein! Just be sure to choose true Greek yogurts—not those have added fillers. Also encourage them to sweeten yogurt with fresh fruits like baked apples or warmed frozen cherries or with dried fruit and nuts.
6. Keep fresh fruit out where your kids can see it. Teens will choose the easy option! If the fruit is washed, ready to eat, and within reach, they’ll grab it!
7. Buy 6-ounce juice glasses. They’re smaller and encourage ideal portion sizes. When drinking juice yourself, lead by example and dilute the juice with water.
8. Make it easy. Teens aren’t eating enough fruits. In fact, 28.5% of high school students ate fruit less than once per day and 33.2% ate vegetables less than once per day. So, choose fruits with minimal prep required washed and ready to eat in the fridge like grapes, Clementines or apples. Keep bananas out on the kitchen table. Decrease the barriers getting in the way between teens and their fruit!
One more thing: When you talk to your teen about cutting back on sugar, focus on healthy eating and physical activity, not on “dieting.” If you focus too much on weight loss, you increase the risk of developing a distorted body image or an eating disorder, particularly for teenage girls. In fact, roughly 70%-80% of teen girls perceive themselves to be too fat. You want to encourage your teen to eat right to prevent further weight gain and teach life long habits. But most importantly, you want your teen to feel his or her best inside and out. If you do think weight loss must be addressed, check out our tips here and be sure to seek your healthcare provider’s advice before you put your teen on a calorie-restricted meal plan.
How do you keep the amount of sugar your kids have to a minimum? Post a comment below and tell us!
Melissa Halas-Liang, a mom, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, is founder of SuperKidsNutrition.com, which provides nutrition and health content, curriculum and workshops to parents and educators nationwide. She is author of the Super Crew books Super Baby Abigail’s Lunch Time Adventure and Havoc at the Hillside Market.
Written on January 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm , by Family Circle
Written by Catherine Holecko, family fitness expert at About.com.
I’m seven hours into an eight-hour bus ride that started at 4 a.m. I’m wedged into a seat that has half the legroom of coach class on a discount airline. My overstuffed purse is on my lap, and the bag containing breakfast, lunch and snacks for myself and my kid is squeezed into the few inches between my feet and my knees, because the overhead compartment is about six inches high.
Adam Sandler is bellowing from the bus’s DVD players while 26 tween girls giggle and shriek in the seats behind me. Tomorrow I’ll be confined to an ice rink for the entire day and some of the night. And let’s not forget how much this weekend of skating team travel is costing—all for three minutes of actual competition time.
If you’re questioning my sanity right now, I understand. At times like these, I question it too! Being a member of a travel team means a lot of sacrifices, for athletes and their families. Even setting aside the costs, which are significant, there’s the time commitment. Skating practices eat up a good portion of our Saturdays and a few evenings a week. We schedule our holiday plans around team obligations. Trips like this one usually require my daughter to miss a day of school, while I take time off from work and have to skip some of my younger child’s events and activities. Pulling off these trips requires a huge amount of volunteer effort from parents—they’re the ones who put in hours of advance planning, making intricate schedules and figuring out how to house, feed and transport more than 100 skaters, coaches and parent chaperones over the course of one long (really long) weekend.
So I get how unreasonable this all sounds, and yes, I do sometimes ponder why we do it. But then I sit in the stands with the other parents who have become good friends (how could they not, after all this togetherness?) and watch my daughter skate with her team. I watch the three other teams her coach oversees. When they succeed—when they skate a clean program, with straight lines, big smiles and no one falling on the ice—I can’t help but tear up. When they falter, I tear up too, because I know how hard they’ve worked and how badly they want to do well. When they medal, I burst with pride. When they don’t, my heart breaks for them. And I can’t help it: I look forward to the next trip so I can watch them all over again.
Catherine Holecko is the family fitness expert at About.com. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, son and husband.
Written on December 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm , by Lynya Floyd
It doesn’t feel like winter until the temperature dips below freezing and I whip up a big batch of chili that makes my house smell heavenly—but is still healthy. Instead of ground beef, I use ground turkey which cuts, among other things, the fat and calories. And because I like to know it’s organic and antibiotic-free meat, that usually means a trip to Whole Foods.
It’s not cheap, but there are some health splurges I’m willing to make and this happens to be one of them. My chili recipe is heavy on cholesterol-fighting kidney beans and I needed two cans, so, on this particular day, I decided to save some time and pick them up at the same supermarket. What Whole Food had to offer cost a few cents more than what I usually get (hmmm), was in a small box (interesting, no can) and had a label stating that this was not a genetically modified food (wow!). No GMOs?
Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom and 61 other countries require labeling of genetically engineered foods. But while the overwhelming majority of Americans say they’d like labeling (and our Family Circle Facebook poll even showed 99% of you want labeling), the numbers don’t work out that way in voting booths. This winter, Washington state’s Initiative 522 (which would have required genetically engineered foods to be labeled as such) failed to be passed with 54.8% of voters saying no thanks to GMO labeling. Perhaps concerns about additional costs and unclear legislation turned the tide in a different direction?
It may surprise you to know that we’re probably already consuming a fair amount of modified foods. “Most soybeans, corn, canola and sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified for herbicide tolerance and insect resistance,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It: How to Decode Food Labels and Make the Healthiest Choice Every Time. That means everything from your breakfast cereal to your taco shell to your soda could contain GMOs.
Experts continue to debate over whether you should or shouldn’t be concerned about GMOs. They also go toe-to-toe over whether you should or shouldn’t care enough to see them labeled. There are certainly pros and cons, with a great rundown here. If you choose to go the non-GMO route, there are options out there to make it easier. Whole Foods, for example, has pledged that by 2018, all products in their U.S. and Canadian stores will be labeled to indicate whether they contain GMOs. And already, a great number of them do—like those red kidney beans that I did end up buying.
Increasingly, it seems that we live in a world where you need to vote with your dollars. It happens with what we listen to: Opposed to that racy song they’re playing on the radio? Don’t let your kid download it for $1.29. It happens with what we watch: Upset about all the violence in flicks these days? Make sure the next $100 you drop on family movie night goes to a comedy. And it appears that it’s happening with what we eat.
Are you concerned about GMOs? What percentage more in price, if required, would you be willing to pay for non-GMO foods? Post a comment below and share your thoughts.