Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A recovered sugar addict on a mission. What side are you on?

Maybe it is because I am now a mother and I get to try and make "right' something that I feel was "wrong" with how I grew up but I am on a mission.  To do what? To educate and stretch my daughter's palate. I feel like I am guarding her mouth like a protective mother bear because I know how hard it is to be addicted to junk food, sugar, fast food and too much food by the age of 5. By the time I was in 3rd grade I remember making my own lunch which was a bag of ding dongs, corn chips, baloney on white bread with mayonnaise and potato chips smashed inside of it for a little extra crunch.  Oh, maybe a diet TAB to go with it.  Then I would take the change out of my dad's pant pockets so that I could buy ice cream at school. I was like a drug addict always looking for my next fix. The good and the bad news was, I didn't have to look very far. The cupboards in my house were loaded with junk food.  We would start our day off with hot fresh donuts. My dad would drive to Peter's bakery every single morning and bring home large pink boxes closed with the white string that we would tear open hoping to get first pick of the warm breakfast treats. There really wasn't any need to fight for what we wanted because there was always more than enough and some left over just in case we wanted to feast more after we came home from school.
I am the one in the middle at the age of 12 my sister Sylvia behind me and my cousin.

There were no rules about food in my home. My dad grew up poor. He would tell the story of being so poor that he would have 10 cents and it could either buy him a donut or a coffee but not both. I guess he was celebrating every day that now he could make sure we had all the donuts we could ever want.
Our home was filled with real food too. My mom was a great cook. She had mexican restaurants that we grew up working. Food was everywhere all the time and in mass quantities with no rules whatsoever. If I had a headache my dad would say, go eat something. If I was tired or didn't feel well, "go eat something"
I remember being living with such a feeling of being out of control unable to stop myself from overloading on food. I was like an alcoholic living in a bar, a cocaine addict living with a dealer, a girl trapped in a nightmare wishing she could get out of the hell she was living and yet not really wanting to.
Now as my daughter is growing up, she is 8 months and we have started to introduce her to food. I want to do it "right" and already it is not easy.  How many boxes of baby cookies or baby yogurt or baby cereal has sugar in it and we unknowingly start them young developing the taste buds for sugary foods. Of course they are going to put sugar in the kid's foods, that way "fussy" children will eat. Who doesn't like sweet food. Our palate jumps for joy when that white crystal dances on our taste buds. It is euphoric but it doesn't mean it's harmless.
I only have a few years to develop my daughters taste for a variety of things and make sure she doesn't get addicted like I did to sweets, junk food, or the typical America toddler food, chicken fingers, french fries, soda, jello, cheese fish, cheerios, pizza, cupcakes, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, happy meals or by old time favorites of ding dongs and twinkies! I know that at least in these first few years while she is at home with us she won't eat these things because we don't eat these things but soon enough she will be having play dates and sleep overs and school parties and birthday parties and there will be the "normal" excessive amounts of candy and junk food all around.
I feel like my sister who worries about her teenage son drinking because everyone else does it and it's a "normal' part of your teenage years to drink too much.  I know how she feels now.
I just want to get her off to a good start and just like probably every other parent in the world, we want to do it better for our kids.
I remember when I was pregnant sitting in Starbucks and overhearing a conversation between a couple talking about how ridiculous it was that a "friend" of theirs had never given their child sugar and how ridiculous they thought she was as they fed their daughter some sweet treat from the new all American breakfast stop, Starbucks.

This is not going to be easy. Mothers are going to think I am obsessive. Her classmates might laugh when I bring a healthy snack to school parties or pack her lunch with untraditional goodies that won't look like the candy bar, potato chip, white bread box lunch everyone else is eating. There will be peer pressure to go to fast food, Chucky cheese or who know's what other foods are out there or maybe I will have made friends with other revolutionary mothers like me who don't want to load their kids up with sugar, fast food and processed meats for meals.  I know I may seem extreme but It just seems that way because the average American diet is extremely unhealthy so I am the one that will most likely look like the crazy health nut mother.

I am intending that by the time my daughter is old enough to choose her own food she will have developed a palate that yearns for fresh, real, alive, nutritious and life enhancing foods simply because she grew up with it. For now all I can do is give those little tiny taste buds as much good stuff as I can and pray that good wins over processed in the end!

It is a revolutionary act to be healthy in this day and age and I am willing to be a revolutionary!

I hope you join me!

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