Saturday, November 7, 2009

How about a little balance?

Are you sick and tired of hearing about food this and food that? I am. It's become a new obsession for a lot of people, and a way for us moms to try and outdo each other. Enough with the scare tactics. Let's all take a deep breath and enjoy a Snickers. But just one. Not five. I was browsing around on the internet, trying to help poor Heather figure out how to get Goldfish cracker stains out of her daughter's shirt (I was curious too) and I stumbled on yet another message board about healthy eating. I don't know who this person is, but I thought what she had to say was pretty interesting. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

"Now, let us travel deep in the land of my personal opinion: we all need to lighten up on the food issues. I was raised in a tofu, all-natural, nothing-out-of-a-box, whole-wheat, chip-and-soda free environment deepinthehearta Berkeley. I'd go to school and watch the other kids eating their ding-dongs, or their sandwiches made with Skippy (I, of course, had the all natural peanut butter from the Co-Op; you know, the kind that rips the bread when you spread it and leaves an oily stain on the lunch bag), while I ate my stale sandwich and all-natural fig bar. Oh, I could have cookies (made with honey), and candy (one piece, after hallowe'en), and my family was not morally opposed to dessert, but for a kid, it was a pretty miserable life.

I'm 41, and I've now discovered there were a lot of us 60's babies out there whose parents were doin' the all-natural thing in an attempt to promote healthy eating habits. I've also since discovered that it's we 60's babies that have the biggest food issues.

At 12, I used my allowance to buy Capn Crunch that I would store in my closet in my room (I was not alone in this behavior, I later discovered). At 16, I would go to those geeky evening parties, and spend the entire night at the snack table --alond with all the other kids who were deprived such treats -- devouring the jello blox, filling our pockets with pretzels and chips, and scooping that salty onion dip into our mouths. By the way, the kids who had the Ding Dongs in their lunch boxes? They were dancing and talking.

In college, I developed an eating disorder. There were a lot of reasons for that, I'm sure, but when I finally got help in a group setting, I discovered a lot of people, whose food choices had been strictly proscribed, were right there with me.

Now, I meet fellow ''granola-babies'' all the time and we laugh at what our parents tried to do and how badly it backfired. Sometimes it's not so funny.

I cringe when I go to the park and hear parents talking about the dietary constraints they have laid on their kids. I don't want my child to eat cheesy fries, either, and a can of chili poured into a bag of corn chips is not my idea of a protein-rich diet. Accordingly, I have no problem telling my kid NO if he wants marshmallow creme for dinner (I'm not afraid of a little crying); he'll eat what I serve. If his nanny was serving him orange soda instead of milk, I'd give her exactly one chance to stop feeding that crap to him. At the same time, I would try to temper my desire to expose my son to a healthy lifestyle with a little realism, and allow him to experiment. It wouldn't change my behavior at home, where his diet is fiber, vitamin and protein rich, but I not going to focus too much attention on it. -- Tsan"


This post is not passively aggressively directed at any of you, I promise. At my mops group a few weeks ago we had a speaker come in to teach us all about healthy eating for our children. Instead of giving us helpful hints or fun ways of getting your stubborn, redheaded child to eat vegetables she literally said things like "if you give your child Skippy peanut butter you might as well give them sugary lard." We all left feeling like the worst mothers in the world. Anyway, so when I stumbled upon that post on a message board it resonated with me. Hope that helps to clarify things a bit!


Keri said...

I completely agree. We as parents stress ourselves out about this stuff. I'm all for healthy eating and try to make sure Skylar eats lots of fruits and veggies, but it isn't a big deal if she gets ice cream or a cookie either.

I'm not above bribing her with a dum-dum pop once in awhile....

Brenda Blake said...

I like it!

Heather said...

I feel so loved that you were actually researching how to save Kaiya's shirt from the pittiful goldfish cracker stain. Sigh, it's still there but I have a little more hope it may come out. It's soaking now. :)

As for the diet concerns - AMEN! Our whole family (including our daughter) eats fruits & veggies daily, rarely do we have fried food (just fries now & then) but hey, we get in a hurry we eat junk food, we eat fast food & Lord help us we all have a sweet tooth!
I do make sure that the sweets are only after some good healthy eating but we love to treat ourselves and I think God is ok with us having a little fun with our food!
Balance is key!

Alisha said...

Thanks for sharing Marie - like eveyone has said, we do try to eat healthy 90% of the time, but def splurge too! We all love our no-bake cookies!!! (Emmy included!) I definately think the Lord ultimately has control over our health regardless of how healthy we try to be!

Angela H. said...

SOOOO true! I especially agree with the previous poster who pointed out that God is ultimately in control of our health. I am always surprised how often Christian moms seem to forget this. They always seem to be leading the stainless steal sippy cup (ie anti-plastic), no HFCS charge most of the time. We are ALL going to die someday - praise the Lord! (not that I am in a hurry).

Love your blog!

Em said...

Goodness, I agree. I get SO EXHAUSTED trying to keep up and constantly wondering if I'm doing what's best for James in the whole food realm. We need to hear things like this more often.

Michele said...

I eat healthy 10% of the time. Just kidding....12%.

Carmen said...

I agree we need perspective and balance and that it's so easy to feel like failures as moms (in this and every other area). I think what I wish more than anything is that we would each (esp in the Christian community) seek to believe the best about one another and our efforts as women/wives/moms and not let our own insecurities cause us to scoff at one another. I think we all have things we feel passionately about and things we don't have energy for, but I wish we could believe we are each just trying to do the best we can with who we are and what we have. And we're all bound to mess our kids up one way or another! :)

Erica said...

I love it. I was thinking about this the other night and how crazy we moms tend to be about this. True I love to feed our family healthy meals, but cookies are okay too. If you deprive a man of water all he wants is water!

jenifriend said...

well put marie, or rather, well-copied! :) you and i can enjoy feeding our children jif (reduced fat of course!) together!