Posted: February 5, 2008
In the months since my book came out, I've had the privilege of talking to thousands of people—mothers, fathers, teenagers, grandparents and, of course, children—about the role of nutrition in their lives. I wish I could count the number of people I have heard from whose children (and husbands) have eaten vegetables for the first time after using Deceptively DeliciousSM and the sense of relief and elation I've witnessed from moms and dads who feel like they were doing their jobs as parents better.
But I know that there is much more that can (and should) be done to ensure that all children grow up as strong and healthy as possible.
Almost seven years ago, I started a local charity in New York called Baby Buggy (a portion of the sales of Deceptively DeliciousSM goes to support it). Baby Buggy started from a simple idea: With a growing population of families and children without adequate baby equipment, there should be an easy way for perfectly good, but slightly used, equipment to be refurbished and reused instead of being thrown away. We got started with a warehouse and a few volunteers, and now Baby Buggy is an integral part of our city's social service network that has delivered well over 2 million essential items to families in need.
The problems we face in child nutrition are definitely more complicated, immense and critical. But my experience with Baby Buggy taught me that every small step can make an impact, and that small changes can create a momentum that can make a big difference. It taught me that thinking small and thinking big at the same time gets you where you want to go. I also learned that helping one family at a time also matters.
On that note, the challenges we all see in child nutrition can be met—must be met—by action locally and nationally. And, having been inspired by Oprah, Dr. Mehmet Oz, nutritionist Joy Bauer, chef Jamie Oliver, chef Alice Waters and others, I have made it my business to learn all I can both about the problems and about the people who are trying to solve them.
Today, I'd like to share some of what I've learned and some recent stories that bring me hope. Perhaps they will inspire you to encourage similar efforts in your own communities and, with your elected officials, to help raise a generation of healthy eaters.