Blog #1: Just the Facts

FACT: No matter what your eating plan is – traditional American, vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, whole, clean, Paleo, Mediterranean – everyone agrees that eating fruits and vegetables is good for you. Done.  No arguments or controversy about this fact so let’s move on...  
FACT:   Americans are not eating enough fruits and vegetables – only about 25% of us are.
FACT: Our health as a nation is in decline. Childhood obesity rates are at an all time high. Adults are plagued with highly preventable, diet-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure.
FACT: We need to eat more fruits and vegetables.

I’m starting this blog to help change America’s eating habits one fruit and vegetable at a time. In my crystal ball I see a day where eating fruits and vegetables at every meal and drinking green juice and smoothies are commonplace, and consuming soda pop and fried chicken nuggets are things of the past.
My motivation comes from seeing my parents and most of my aunts and uncles struggle with diet-related health conditions and wanting to give my children a healthy foundation so they grow up to be as healthy as possible and avoid these highly preventable diseases which are not just an inevitable part of aging. 
Just to give you a little background about myself, I created Raise Your Rainbow®,  for my two children when they were 3 and 4. We recently made it into a real product and started selling it in November 2013.   I can say that as a result of playing this game my two children, now 11 and 12, view fruits and vegetables as an important part of their diet. They understand the value of eating fruits and vegetables and the role it plays in their health. Because of Raise Your Rainbow®, they were motivated to eat many more fruits and vegetables than they would have otherwise. Playing Raise Your Rainbow®,  helped them develop a healthy way of eating and gave them a healthy start in life.  The best part was that they were having fun, learning, and developing a healthy habit all at the same time.
Children deserve to go into their teens and adulthood with a solid nutritional foundation and not be saddled with the Standard American Diet’s (SAD) poor eating habits that will leave them craving highly processed, salty, sugary and fatty foods and set them up for a lifetime of health struggles.
As parents, we’re all in this together – it’s a SAD jungle out there but we can make a difference with the foods we choose to bring into our homes and by modeling eating behaviors we want our children to emulate. Eating healthy does require more time and effort, but the end result – your child’s long term good health – is worth it! 
I’m still on this journey myself with two tweens who are just as picky as when they were toddlers, and who are now greatly influenced by their peers, years of eating off of kids menus, and other not-so-healthy outside forces. They are now making many independent food choices without my “guidance”– yikes. But hopefully by playing Raise Your Rainbow®,  and creating a positive atmosphere around fruits and vegetables over the years, they will continue to make good decisions on their own.
With each blog post I plan to give you actionable steps to help make eating fruits and vegetables as easy as possible and more enjoyable for everyone. So please join me on this journey where we focus on fruits and vegetables with the goal of getting kids to enjoy, appreciate, understand, crave and request these foods. (And maybe we’ll start eating more too!)
 
Tracy Sivak
Creator of Raise Your Rainbow®,