Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Judge Not: Why We Need to Get Over What Other People Are Eating

I got a little fiesty this week. A fitness person I just started following on social media (not anyone I've blogged about) posted the following:
I know it's "easy" to feed kids French fries but I am gonna go out on a limb and say if you put poor effort in helping your kids eat healthy you're gonna get undesired results. We are away and almost without fail every kid is eating fries and burgers or pizza at every meal. Not because their parents don't believe in feeding them spinach but because it's too easy to give them the crap and too much effort to teach them how to enjoy a piece of grilled chicken and vegetables. Invest in long term health for your kids for the sake of their future!
I was irritated.

Do I disagree that kids should eat healthy food? Of course not.

Do I think we parents need to resist the urge to take the path of least resistance? Do we need to teach our children to cultivate a taste for things like 'grilled chicken and vegetables'? Sure.

Do I think the state of 'kids meals' in restaurants is generally lamentable? Absolutely.

Am I just a grammar snob who's annoyed when people write 'gonna' instead of 'going to?' Fer shur.

But what really ticked me off is the idea that this person is looking over at other people's plates and making sweeping generalizations about their parenting based on what their kids are eating at one meal. The assumption that if you're letting your child eat French fries and pizza, you must just be too lazy to bother exposing them to other foods.
Treat Exhibit A: Light saber popsicles made with the dreaded juice.

For some reason when you have a child, everyone seems to feel the right to judge what you're doing. I live in a glass house (or at least, I did before I had kids), so I'm not throwing any stones, but really, why do we do this? Why do we think we can form negative opinions about total strangers from a brief snapshot in time?

The last time I got my knickers in a twist about this was after reading an article about parents needing to be more present with their children. The author walked past a playground and saw a few mothers talking on their phones while their children played. How awful that these mothers should be attached to their phones while their precious treasures are socializing with other children or learning to amuse themselves! The author felt it was a missed opportunity to bond.

Please. We don't know ANYTHING about these allegedly opportunity-missing mothers. Maybe they're stay-at-home moms who are with their children all. day. long and were using the twenty minutes available to them to return a few phone calls or check email.

Am I projecting here? YES. I am.
Bonding with the Darling Son #1 while making cupcakes. At least I wasn't on the phone...

Now of course, many of us spend too much time buried in our screens. And many children are not eating balanced diets. But let's not sit around like Judgey McJudgersons and make assumptions about people we don't even know.

Honestly, I really don't care. At least, not that much. This is one of the nice things about being in my 40's. I get much less worked up about what other people think. So why am I ranting? Because I think parents get dumped on way too much. People probably judged just as much years ago, but at least then they had the decency to talk about you behind your back after you left the school bus stop. Now it's plastered all over the internet. It adds to the parenting anxiety with which so many people struggle.

If the fitness person who posted the above went on a little rant about kids meals in restaurants and how vegetable-deficient they are, I'd say a hearty amen. I usually have to negotiate a veg for my kids, and if I can't (and I almost always can), then I order for them from the regular menu. As I've mentioned before, my kids are fabulous eaters. We eat the vast majority of our meals at home, so when we go out, it's a TREAT. Yes, I make them eat a veg, but I also let them eat burgers and French fries and sometimes even--wait for it--sugary desserts!

Which brings me to my main point. (I know, sometimes it takes me a while to get there, but I always do in the end.) I was going to update you on my sugar fast.

I'm pretty much done with it. After about three weeks with absolutely no sugar (not even fruit), I started reintroducing sugars into my diet. I'm eating fruit and drizzling a little bit of maple syrup on my yogurt. The great thing is that I'm satisfied with far less sweet than I used to have. If I have too much, I feel AWFUL. I mean, seriously awful, so I'm careful to limit my sugar. And I'm tasting sweetness in things I never thought of as particularly sweet, which is delightful.

I'm back to enjoying sweets, but in much greater moderation than I did before. The other night we had company and enjoyed delicious grilled burgers on sprouted wheat buns, homemade mango salsa and chips, sweet potato fries, green salad with beets and chevre, beer and a divine chocolate peanut butter gelato. It was wicked good. The food police could look at that meal and lament the omega-6 fatty acids, the carbs, the presence of wheat and too much fructose. Whatever. It was yummy and festive and summery.

Anyone want to judge? GO AHEAD.

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