Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This is me, being PASSIONATELY BLUNT!

Ok so consider yourselves warned. I am on one! I thought it was worth sharing and really, I am not pointing my finger at anyone in particular. Just society, I guess.
Today I was lucky to get to attend a field trip with Braxton's Kindergarten class. We went to the local High School and toured their Agricultural Dept. (which is like the best in the county!!) It was really fabulous. The kids got to plant their own flowers, pet baby farm animals, and watch a student work on a welding project. They also got to see the fish being raised in big tanks. It was really interesting especially since my husband went to the said school and never even told me it had any of those features.

We get to the school and after the first demonstration they take us into a classroom and give all the kids goldfish crackers and Capri-Sun. Ok, so here we go. First of all, they aren't hungry. We just barely got there and they hadn't really even done anything. Do you know that eating sugary, processed food like that actually makes you more hungry. It does so here they are giving them junk when they aren't hungry, only to make them more hungry. Second of all, in about 5 minutes they are all going to have to use the bathroom, which we were not allotted time to do. And lastly, there was nothing even remotely decent about the "snack" they decided to give our children. Pure sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, way too much sodium....

So here is my thing. As a parent this is extremely maddening. Do you hear what I'm saying? So here is my sweet boy who I seldom ever give fishy crackers or Capri-Sun, in a classroom with his friends eating garbage. I am not going to remind him that we don't eat things like that. I am not going to tell the high schoolers, "you know this stuff is garbage, right?" So what is a lady to do? Just stand by?

People are always telling me, moderation, moderation, moderation, and I am so sick of it. I get moderation. I live it. I am not a food snob. I really AM NOT! I will argue that all day. When I go to my Grandma's I eat her grilled cheese she makes me on white bread with 7 layers of cheese and I love every bite. Seriously. Then we have dessert. But here is the thing. For how long does moderate work before it's not moderate anymore? My kids go to church where they are fed graham crackers in nursery. Ok, no problem, they have one graham cracker a week. Not going to hurt them. Then we go to a playdate/field trip and everyone is serving cupcakes, fishy crackers, graham crackers, Capri-Sun... Fine. One more day, not too bad. Braxton wants hot lunch once a week and it's pizza, chocolate milk, canned peaches...Then it's Valentine's Day and they get candy. I go VT, they come with and they get candy from the nice lady. We go visit family members, they get treats. Then it's their cousins birthday and they get cake.... it seriously never ends, and everyone thinks I am a freak. Is this the moderation that I should be o.k with?

The more I learn about nutrition the more carefully I want to watch what I eat and what I give my family to eat. You know it's like I can't just play dumb anymore. It kills me. I would never give my children drugs or alcohol so why would I give them overly processed, sugary foods and drinks. They have almost as severe adverse affects. Really!

Also, does the school not think about the children with ADHD or other learning difficulties. The other mom that I rode with over there was telling me her frustration because her son has ADHD and she has him on an extremely strict diet. That diet was completely blown today during the field trip. She was telling me how upset she was about it and I really felt for her.

So really, help me. I want to sometimes pick up my kids and drive out to the country and live there, off the fat of the land and nothing else. I feel like I have to stand alone a lot. It's hard. Not as much for me anymore but hard for my kids sometimes when everyone around them is eating junk in a free for all manner and I am limiting their intake. That's my job though, right. If everyone else was throwing their kid off a bridge would I? Nope!

People often tell me not to worry about it. I don't worry about it. I do something about it but I am starting to feel frustrated that everything I am doing is being undone by society. No one in particular. Just the way people are. The things they think are snacks. The way they show they care...

The public school system. They completely eliminated birthday treats at school because they were "unhealthy" but yet they serve chocolate milk every day at lunch. What? Does that even make sense to anyone? Do they really think that is healthy?

I am all about a Valentine treat, a birthday treat, a ..... BUT really, lunch should be lunch and a snack should be nutritious. When I send my kid to a birthday party I expect them to eat cake. But, when I send them on a field trip I don't expect them to eat a sugary snack.

Please don't think I am judging you if you give your kids goldfish crackers for snack. That is not my intention. Even if you give my kids goldfish crackers on occasion, it's ok. I don't think it's anyone's fault, I just think it's how our society is being run. By the ad companies and the foods they are promoting. By the fast, easy, convenient foods that would be o.k to eat once in a while but that once in a while is turning into multiple times a day. That is crazy to me! And then the unhealthy people everywhere and no-one putting two and two together.

I truly believe that this is why our society is unhealthy. It is because of what we put into our bodies. It is because everyone is too busy to make a homemade meal or cut up veggies for snack. If what you are eating is overly processed, then it is stripped of nutrients. It is empty calories doing your body more harm than good. Raising your blood sugar only to have it drop again and make you feel more hungry, irritable, depressed...It can poison us, literally, and that is what I don't want to happen to my children.

So do me a favor. Don't just read this and move on. Leave me a comment. If you think I am wacky, then tell me. If you see my point, please let me know because I don't want to be a huge downer/complainer. It is all just really fascinating to me. That's all.


  1. I totally agree. The ad companies, especially.

    I don't put a lot about it on my blog, but I do post links to articles about food on my Facebook...I figure that most people aren't going to take the time to find out more about this stuff on their own, so I want to make the information available in case they're interested.

    1. The more I read about nutrition the more strict I am with what my kids put in their mouths. What's crazy is that to raise a healthy family takes a lot of personal time researching and studying what is Healthy. It is definitely NOT taught....Go to the grocery store for example almost every single aisle is full of overly processed unhealthy foods. I have realized this so much more now that we are eating much healthier. I pretty much only go to the produce section and then over to buy fish/poultry/meats. I go shopping in only 2 places!
      I know how you feel though. Last week I worked really hard at preparing every meal and snack for my kids, it takes time, thought, and energy. Yet on Sunday we went to my mom's house and they ate cookies, ice cream, etc. I am okay with snacks too but it feels like the unhealthy snacks never end!
      What's most important I think is that kids grow up watching their parents prepare food that is healthy so at last when they go other places they realize there is a difference and will hopefully want to carry that on into their own lives.

  2. I loved this! You are spot on and shouldn't be worried about sharing your feelings & opinions. I'm learning so much from you! What about taking along a healthy snack for him on fieldtrips (now that you know what's going on on those trips!)? My friend's daughter has Celiac Disease (she's 10) and she has to take her own food if she wants a snack! She knows by now what is allowed and what can make her deathly ill. My friend always has food on hand for her - and she's never felt left out when the other kids are eating. Anyway, thank you for your insight -- I'm trying to do better with my four kids. They're older (17,15,12,10) but they're getting used to not having so much processed junk around. And we all feel better too :)

  3. I am so right with you on most fronts. I am totally anti processed food....you know this of course. I also take endless amount of extra hours in order to make everything homemade....we don't buy meat at the grocery ever. I have and forever will be the mom that packs the boring lunch and I'm okay with it. I know what you are saying about where is the line on moderation....I think everyone has their own line and I try not to judge that. In our house my kids get one treat in their lunch usually a homemade oatmeal cookie made with honey and whole wheat flour....to them this is the bomb diggity because that is what I have taught them. On field trip days I allow one treat that they choose that does not have to follow my rules. This never bothers me because I as usual choose the rest of their lunch so I can balance it accordingly and my kids get to feel more like they got a treat even t hough what they choose is usually a fruit leather. After school snacks consist of cheese, fruits or veggies and dessert although I love it is a rare occurrence in this house...except for birthdays:)I think so much of how we teach our kids about nutrition is what we model ourselves. Believe me the older your kids get the more amazed by what they rattle off to their friends about whats healthy and whats not. Sometimes I wish they would do it a little less but they are innocent little cherubs so it is almost always well received. We have set boundaries with the grandparents in a gentle way letting them know what our preferences are and why...and although this does not put a stop on all of the junk they try to treat them with it does put the stop on the ones I am most against. I don't think you are wacky or nuts at all! I do think you need to give yourself a little more credit in the gifts your are already giving your kids in the thoughts of nutrition. I also think its really important to be careful on how you approach these subjects in the public realm if you do decide to bring it that far. Your blog is you free safe place....the world is not so accepting. And although I don't think that is a reason to keep it all in we do have to guard ourselves and sometimes that means putting a sock in it from time to time and saving our thoughts for teachable moments at home. I know also that sometimes we are the best teachers my examples. And your little Braxton is that for sure:)
    You are a good mom Andrea!! Your kids will be able to stand up for what they have been shown more and more as they get older all on their own!
    Sorry for the novel I just felt like giving you a shout out:)

  4. I just recently found your blog and I love it! It makes me feel a little more "normal." My daughter suffered from extreme constipation for the first 2 1/2 years of her life and it helped me to delve into the world of nutrition to find a solution. I took a lot of processed foods out of our diet and focused a lot on whole foods. Additionally, we eliminated a lot of the processed sugar from her diet and it has done wonders. I want to eliminate all of the bad food, but I know that it's impossible to shield her from everything. I too have found it extremely difficult to find a balance. Since my daughter is only 3 we don't have to deal with school yet, but I feel the same way about church. The first time I took her to nursery when we moved they had marshmallows, colored goldfish, and gummy snacks. I started telling them that my daughter had "dietary needs" because the sugar not only turns her into a diva but also constipates her. I was embarrassed bringing her own snack for a while, but she got used it. I felt so awkward at neighbors houses that wouldn't let there kids have their "regular snacks" (pop-tarts, Popsicles, cookies) when we were around because they didn't want to make her feel left out. Of course by doing that the kids kept asking when we were going to leave so they could have it. Sometimes I wish her "condition" was a little more serious so I wouldn't feel like people thought I was the helicopter mom. I'm trying to give my children more than the processed junk that I had as a child but instead I come off as an over controlling mother. When the suggestion to not bring sugar treats to church came up, one of the leaders actually said, "were you not loved as a child?" Seriously, it is so frustrating. I'm trying to teach my children good nutrition and good life habits and I too feel like everyone else is undermining me. My daughter loves green smoothies, which is a plus, but she still loves all the junk too. Sorry for being so lengthy, but this is a huge frustration for me too and I just don't know how to change it.

    On a different note, I am so jealous when you say that your family eats all the healthy food you make. My daughter has started saying she doesn't like dinner before she even tries it because she knows I have made something healthy. What is your secret?

  5. Andrea:

    Okay, you said you wanted some honest comments, so here goes.

    I agree with you that people in general eat too many processed foods, too many sugars, etc. I think that we, as parents, have to make the best decisions we can for our families.

    I think that you are being judgmental. You say over and over that you are not judging, but you are. You have certain expectations for your family. I see that, I think that is great. YOU, HOWEVER, cannot expect that your standards for your children will be followed by everyone else. Or that people will consent to changing what is normal for them for you.

    I do think that we should be eating naturally. I work hard to have my kids eat fruits and vegetables, we don't have juice, we don't do ice cream and other sweets. BUT, I do have Halloween candy up in a cupboard. The kids don't really think about it, but every now and then Blaine will ask me for a candy and I say sure. My biggest thing is that I don't want kids to sneak food. Demonizing food and giving food negative connotations I think are bigger problems in our society because it gives food power that it shouldn't have. it is just food.

    In all seriousness, and I say this in a completely loving way, I do think that you and your family would be happier living on a farm and off the fat of the land. It suits your philosophies and passions. if that is your dream DO IT. You can't expect that your children are going to be able to go to public school and not have crap. It is going to happen. Period. You can't control it.

    I grew up in a family that ate very healthily. I also know that I never really got candy, pop, fast food, eating out, etc. So when i became an adult I wanted all those things that I couldn't have as a kid. I truly believe that this is part of the reason that I struggle with eating as I do now. I gave food too much power in my life.

    As far as moderation, I think this is something that we all struggle with throughout our lives in all things. It is a difficult word to define and implement.

    I also think that you have gotten a lot of positive and reinforcing comments from people above. This is a completely subjective blog post. People that agree with you are going to say so, and I think that a lot of people that don't are going to move on.
    so, the comments on here are probably skewed to one way, actually, definitely.

    I hope you know that I ABSOLUTELY love you. For REALZ. Whenever we talk or get a chance to hang out i really enjoy your company!

    PS I promise I won't feed your kids candy at my house! ;) I respect your values.

  6. OOPS, i wrote a novel. SORRY! :)

  7. Thanks for all the honest comments. I am glad someone (Kaitlyn) spoke up who didn't completely agree.

    It's a huge battle for me, the whole controlling thing. What I don't want to be is the helicopter parent but honestly, it is my personality and I really have to work at stepping back and letting them act for themselves. I do work at it though, and I recognize it, so that's a start. What is hard is that with other things that I teach them I have the support of my church, society,... and with this one I feel like I am basically on my own with the support of family and friends who value what I am trying to teach. The school system doesn't support it...

    I am not judging. I started the blog as a way to share thoughts/ideas/recipes without slapping anyone particular in the face. I figure if you come to this blog, then you are asking to hear what I have to say. When people comment on my blog and say things like, "I never give my kids...., or I always....." I don't care. It doesn't matter to me what you give your kids. BUT, I feel like most moms, if they knew a little more about the effect of foods, would maybe make some changes. I don't care if your kids eat ice cream and I don't think that makes you a bad mom. I give my kids ice cream too and they love me more for it.

    Second, I like to give my kids treats. That is the problem. I feel like treats should be moderate and I feel like everyone is taking that privledge away by serving treats up excessively. I will take my kid on an ice cream date BUT not if they've had chocolate milk for lunch. To me, that is not moderate and that is what I think is wrong with how our society eats.

    I always think about the pioneers. They were lucky if they got jam on their biscuit on Sunday. Probably the only sugar they got all week and here were are consuming it in crazy large amounts.

    I don't want to deprive my kids. I understand that food shouldn't have that much control. I just want to educate them. I want them to eventually recognize on their own how their body feels when they are healthy and how it feels when they are not. Then they can make those decisions. Obviously they can't do that yet but they will be able to one day...

    As far as living off the fat of the land we will be there, one day! For now they can/will go to public school, eat hot lunch one day a week, and go on field trips and drink Capri Sun. That's just how it is and I get it. I just think it's messed up.

  8. you are so right I am torn as to weather to ask the preschool to please stop giving carson juice but I also don't want him to feel upset at snack when everyone else is having juice, it pisses me off, what is wrong with water? it's right there? it's cheaper and healthier so whats the problem? I really want to talk to his teacher about it especially since he is going 3 days next week. and they always ask the kids if they want more juice too? Once of the first days of preschool the snack was crackers and grapes and carson asked the teacher "where's the protein"? I love that they are smarted than the teachers:) yeah don't know what to do, who cares what other people say, your kids will be healthier and smarter and happier in the end, we were raised with no sugar and I didn't horde and eat like crap when I left home.