I’m preparing to visit my family in Seattle for the holidays and I know that, once again, I’m going to frustrate my mother and sister with my concern about what goes down my daughter’s gullet. Isn’t that a medieval way of expressing it? Perhaps my choice of language is intentional. Many times I wish today’s foods were as untainted as they were in days of yore.
All kidding aside, when I watch my daughter relish yummy but non-organic applesauce at her grandma’s, or gleefully raid her aunt’s cupboards filled with perfectly reasonable prepackaged snack foods, instead of thinking, “I’m so glad she’s enjoying herself,” I’m thinking, “Pesticides!” “Trans fats!” “Processed carbs!” “Sugars!”
This is stressful for me, and stressful for my grocery-shopping relatives; apparently, I’m no longer a fun guest to have around. The gist I get is that after working at Delicious Living for four years, I’ve grown overscrupulous about food. I don’t think this is meant as a compliment. My mother has taken to asking me to send her a detailed grocery list ahead of time, so she can go to the local natural products store and stock her fridge with the foods I like my daughter to eat. (Come to think of it, my mother-in-law has taken to doing the same thing.) And my health-oriented, nutrition-educated sister—well, she simply looks at me and says, “Are you saying that you think my kids eat too much sugar?”
During my first few months working here, I cracked a joke to a coworker about how my husband enjoys blueberry Pop-Tarts. He turned to me and answered, without a smile, that he sincerely believed it was all about education: If we were more educated about nutrition, we would not be buying this food. I thought to myself, “Lighten up!” But years later I agree with him.
I’m also realizing that I’m the one who needs to lighten up. My daughter’s diet is, for the most part, extremely healthy, and I’m lucky that she’s not a picky eater. She devours all the fresh organic fruits, vegetables, fish, and miso soup I place before her.
If every now and then she eats a conventionally grown fruit, a sugar-laden breakfast bar, or even those highly processed graham cracker things with icing on each square (relax Jean, deep breath), she’ll still be OK in the long run. It’s the big picture I should focus on. Still, note to self during holiday vacation: Have daughter brush teeth with natural paste after every meal.