Thursday, April 19, 2012

Down The Hatch!

LA LA LA LA LA LA LA....that is the sound of me covering my ears and making the LA LA sounds to block everything out! Is it just me or are we constantly being inundated with information about all that is bad for us? Pink slime, organic vs. chemically enhanced foods, sun exposure, hormone injected meats and heaven forbid lactose issues and gluten! I know people shutter at the mere mention of high fructose corn syrup!

All I want to do is make good choices for my kids during the years that they are too young to do so for themselves. Hopefully, as they mature the foundation for making good and healthy decisions will have been laid and they will be better protected from illness, obesity, the sun and all the other things we run from. That said, I also hope they will not be paranoid or obsessed by these things, but rather make informed decisions along their way of enjoying life.

I am not poo-pooing those who have become impassioned by these things. In truth, I have become confused looking for that happy medium. Moderation...if you will. In trying to find a balance in all of this I am led to contradiction and hypocrisy. I even find myself buying one product because of it’s short and concise ingredient list and then choosing another item with type so small my super duper high powered specs can not decipher the code. Then I am left pondering if one product is good for me and the other not so good, do they cancel each other out?

Luckily, my girls still think that dessert and fruit or yogurt are synomymous, but with Devi entering kindergarten this next year, I know that the lid is about to be blown off that secret. This is not to say that my girls do not know the word “candy” but to date, they most often will still choose apple slices or carrots over the temptation of Laughy Taffy or a Starburst. Being one of the biggest sweet tooth’s known to man with a weakness for any baked good, I secretly find this phenomenon mind boggling.

Though I’ve tried to wade through the slew of nutritional gobbily gook on the internet I find myself feeling over saturated with information and feeling perplexed about what to serve my kids–all the time, only now and then, or what products should just go straight from pantry to trash bin. If budget did not have to come into play...I would grow my own everything, hire a chef to prepare it - who would let me lick the spoon over their shoulder (and a personal trainer for myself). Dreamer....I know. So realistically, when I enter my grocery store, armed with my own bags (washed, I might add), my preplanned grocery list and my coupon notebook, these are the foods I try to provide my girls. I purchase organic milk, buying extra to freeze when and if I ever have a coupon or it is on sale. Fruits and vegetables with a skin that is eaten, I try for organic. I try to avoid purchasing items with high fructose corn syrup and will pay a bit extra for my Hunts ketchup, knowing that it does not contain it. No sugary cereal enters the house because they are nasty and no one under our roof likes them anyway (or knows they exist except at resorts on vacation) and the girls are not aware that bread even comes in a white variety. We don’t eat much meat, but when I stock up on sale, I try to get no hormones, no plumping, no additives...what I like to refer to as happy meat, again LA LA LA LAing past the truth about how some of it is processed.

We liberally apply sunscreen and lotion to both girls, though I have heard recently that out of the average seven personal hygiene type products that a person uses daily, nearly all of them can cause cancer, pollute the water or do something else bad for our bodies or environment. And now, after Dev’s accident, we have added, zinc oxide, Mederma and Vitamin E capsules to our all ready full shelf of products used.

One of my greatest fears is that I find that in my efforts to protect the little soles we hold dear, that I am actually poisoning them or causing harm. Guidance people...I am searching for some sensible guidance. I would love nothing more than to adapt some rules to live by that might bring a little comfort to this confused consumer. Help! I am asking for your help by way of comments, how do YOU go about making these difficult choices? I am ready to become educated and stop feeling guilty every time I fill my hand with lotion or pile something high on a dinner plate.

And until your help comes...we continue on with old traditions. Yesterday, to take full advantage of one of our first warm days (slathered with sunscreen), we headed to Frisco Freeze for the first spring picnic in the back of the mini van. With just a teensy pang of guilt we dined on our greasy cheeseburgers prepared on a grill “seasoned” by 61 years of use, fries AND onion rings, deep fried in oil that no doubt has not been changed out since the dawn of time. Nothing helps all that slide down easier than a root beer shake (unlike some it does contain real milk) shared by all four of us through a single straw! MmmmmYummy!


Peter and Nancy said...

I think about these things often! Deoderant is something you can add to your "poison" list, along with other products. Sigh. Many "novelty" types of children's lotions and soaps contain parabens, which are supposed to be dangerous. If you look carefully, some name brands have "-free" lines, such as Neutrogena and Burt's Bees.

We do the same things with food: buy organic celery, carrots, apples, potatoes, etc. that aren't too much pricier than the other kinds at W*lmart. There are several brands of deli meat now that have no nitrites, and are pretty reasonably priced too. But some things we just can't afford to buy for a family of five! And we do have a small garden, so all of our own tomatoes, etc. are organic. Friends of ours do CSA organic produce, but I don't know what we would do with some of the in-season stuff . . . no one but me likes beets, turnips, etc. in our house!

We lived in a food "bubble" until pre-school & kindergarten, which was even more protected because Aaron's allergic to eggs and peanuts, and used to be allergic to dairy. So we ate almost everything homemade -- now, we know which chain restaurants are safe for him because we can check the ingredients online.

I've recently been googling things like making your own glass cleaner and laundry soap, which is WAY less chemical-y (and less expensive). There are also DIY deoderant recipes, but I haven't done those yet! The glass cleaner is easy, and works really well.

I'll be checking the comments to see others' tips!

Miche said...

I love the photos; such a cute picnic idea! And I think, really, that moderation is the key, and to just realize that no amount of worry will help and to only do our best with what we know.

Don't worry, you are an amazing mommy, and you are doing everything you can do to make the best choices-that is all that really matters.

Leveta said...

I agree with Miche.I think we just have to do the best we can and use moderation too. We can only do so much in those areas to protect ourselves and our children but there are other areas where we can do more not smoking which affects both us and our chidren, making sure everyone wears seatbelts/stays in a car seat, getting plenty of rest and exercise and the list goes on.I think you are doing a wonderful job and your day out looks like so much fun.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks a worry bug bit you.

The best remedy is a milk shake (yeah yeah, with real milk)

You guys are great!

I hear you, I feel your pain, but Ross Parents - you are on top of things.

Get the house sprayed w/ natural mist water to eradicate the worry bugs.

No Greater Love said...

I loved this post. You are way better than me. I get on "kicks" where I go "all organic", but then I quickly revert back. Mostly because of $, but sometimes even time issues. I don't know where you live, but our Whole Foods has sales on Wednesdays where one or two items will be on INCREDIBLE sale. If it is something I LOVE I'll try and stock up. I also try to always buy Cascade yogurt, because it is made with fruit juice and no sugar. I also buy jelly that is sweetened with only fruit juice. :) In Colorado you can buy a 1/4 or 1/2 a cow that is totally organic. But it's still to pricey for us, but I look at the website a lot and dream about it. :) Costco sells organic chicken for a pretty good price.

Okay...I'm writing a book. I just so relate to this post. I think you're doing great though...because my kids would TOTALLY pick the starburst over the fruit.