9/24/12

Infomercial mania

This weekend while riding home from an early morning trip to the local store for a missing breakfast ingredient, I was sucked into the infomercial hour on a local radio station for the latest product, supplement, miracle drug to improve my health or that of my loved ones.  I have heard it all before, "Listen to find out the benefits of Fish Oil",  "Dr. So and So is here to explain to us why everyone should be taking such and such." But this time the lead was, "Find out how to reverse the effects of stress on your body."  So, I was curious, what would I hear?  "excercise"?, "eat right"?, or "change of lifestyle"?  The thing about the infomercial, it is very similar to a rumor, or a stereotype because it is based, at least some small fragment of it, in truth.  That is how they get us right?  That is the hook, the seed planted that causes me to, occasionally, doubt my own instinct to doubt.

The commercial further sucked me in, because it turns out to be a supplement for calcium and magnesium.  Did you know, "Calcium and magnesium are neccessary for over 300 reactions in the human body.", "Did you know that stress severely depletes the calcium and magnesium in the body?"  Then, the part that I found interesting was the implication that stress could cause a downward spiral in attention and anxiety, among other symptoms, and could effect a long list of conditions like ADHD, Autism, Heart Disease, Diabetes, cancer and More.  That is when I began thinking like a mom who sees a miracle around every corner,hears a miracle in every radio speaker, believes the word from any old infomercial doctor.  "Oh, it just makes so much sense!" I thought for a moment.  It was a stereotypically sunny little moment where hope shines, but is clouded by the knowledge that I am listening to an infomercial.  (Why don't our Doctors ask us if our kids are eating enough calcium rich foods?  Is there a test to find out how much calcium or magnesium is in one's system?)

Even still, my mind wanders. . .What if stress, which I already know has a giant impact on functioning, larger than most people realize is possible, what if that stress really does cause a depletion in calcium and magnesium, which then creates a downhill spiral in attention and anxiety.  Parents everywhere are looking more and more to diet, gluten, sugars, lactose, and other food allergies as a cause of increased anxiety, decreased attention, irritability and a host of other symptoms.  Many have found relief by paying attention to the details of diet.  Is it so far fetched really?  I know from the experience of others that it is not really far fetched, but diet also isn't the answer for everyone.

In the end, the 888 number has long escaped my memory.  I am not one to "Be One of the first One Hundred Callers. . ."  But I also find myself exploring the truthful nuggets for more information.  And I will have to admit, my kids did get a calcium rich shake for breakfast, and sunflower seeds (high in magnesium) in their lunch boxes.  My oldest was "high pointer" of the day today.  That means he earned the most points for appropriate and on task behavior in his class.  Maybe it was just a coincidence.  I have definitely not created a controlled experiment here.  Many, many factors are at play every day.  But still. . .something to think about, if not just about these two specific ingredients in our family diet our diet in general and how food truly does effect our and our children's bodies, minds, and development.

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