Child Health Day: A 10-Year Old Describes How Food Affects His Body

By Andrea Donsky,
October 6, 2014 Updated: October 6, 2014

I do my best to educate my kids about eating healthy. I teach them how to read labels, what to look for on packaging, and how certain foods affect their growing bodies. They love fish oil, seaweed and chia seeds, and eat veggies with every meal. But don’t get me wrong, my kids are also like most other children — they love junk food — and not always the healthier options.

My ten-year old son Zack is very aware of his body and how food affects him. Often if he eats too much conventional junk food, from candy to fast food, he barfs it up. It started happening a few years ago — he would go to bed feeling fine, only to be woken up a few hours later throwing up in his bed. Sounds gross, I know…but the truth is, it was his body telling him that it didn’t like what he ate that day.

This past summer Zack was invited to a boys camping trip with his best friend and his dad. They left Friday and came home Sunday morning. On Saturday night, Zack and his buddy ate a lot of food…and junk…and who knows what else. They went to bed at 11:00 and at around 1:30 AM Zack threw up in the tent. It slipped my mind to warn his friend’s dad about Zack’s sensitive stomach. My bad. However, that experience showed Zack that what he eats really does affect how his body feels after. He understood.

Recently, Zack and I were asked to speak to an audience of more than 200 people. I spoke about unjunking our food and Zack spoke about his appreciation for our book and how it has impacted his life as a ten-year old child.

I asked Zack to write his own speech because I wanted what he said to come straight from his heart.

Boy did it ever. 

Twizzlers (Shutterstock*)
Twizzlers (Shutterstock*)


Here’s his full speech:

“Today I’m going to talk to you about my mom’s book, Unjunk Your Junk Food. It’s a great book, but I’m a little disappointed that my favorite type of candy is there, Twizzlers. I realized after reading the book that they’re bad, so I don’t eat them anymore.

I saw the movie Super Size Me and I realized that junk food, especially fast food, is really unhealthy, and I won’t ever go to McDonald’s.

Now I’m going to talk to you about food coloring. When I eat foods with food coloring, they make me crazy and I don’t even know myself. If I eat other foods with chemicals in it, I usually feel sick and sometimes throw up.

Finally, I’m going to talk to you about being a health ambassador for Naturally Savvy. I brought my mom’s book to school, and my mom even did presentations to many classes, including mine. Well you guys can do the same thing and show people the book at your work and schools, and give them tips on eating healthy.

Thanks for listening.”



Wow. I found his honesty to be very inspiring, and I was very proud to be standing next to him on the stage at that moment. 

While not all children have as much of a reaction to junk food as Zack, it’s clear that the human body doesn’t work as its prime when we give it this type of food, whether it has a drastic reaction like his or a more subtle one such as causing headaches.

It’s important to me that my children eat a healthy diet and limit their exposure to foods that aren’t good for them, and the best way for them to do that is for me to teach them about making healthy choices. While I fill my home with healthy options, it’s wonderful to see my son now come to realize, on his own, that the choices he makes affect the way he feels. 

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*Images of “Twizzlers” and “candy in bowl” via Shutterstock