Is there a subject more complex or convoluted? Politics, religion, the differences between the sexes…those subject’s got nothin’ on food.
We need food to survive. Of course. But it’s not like we can take a pill of food in the morning like a birth-control pill and hope it works. Food demands our attention. And it has some people’s attention more than others (people such as me, a confessed foodie).
We love some food and we hate some food, but there’s never a consensus. We defend the foods we love like they were some kind of holy grail. I’ve listened to people argue over barbecue sauce recipes, for cryin’ out loud! That’s not love. That’s obsession.
There are times we cook food and times we grab food. At our most determined, we plan and implement a diet plan, and when that determination wanes, we drive through McDonald’s. We seek the magical comfort of mashed potatoes while standing firm in the face of cheesecake. We are conflicted.
When it comes to food, we all have choices. All of us, that is, except for the little ones. Those folks who are too young for debit cards, too young to voice their opinion (except to put their hands in front of their mouths in protest), and who rely on us…adults…to make the best food choices we can for them.
Meet Jessica. Jess is a 27-year-old mother to 11-month-old Sarah. Sarah attends a Class A daycare in Louisiana while Jess and her husband, Mark, work. Until now, Jess has provided the daycare facility with all of Sarah’s foods: breast milk and baby food.
Now that Sarah is ready for “table” food, the daycare insists she eat what they provide. In fact, the government requires that Sarah’s lunch be delivered via the daycare. No home food is allowed without a doctor’s note. The problem is that Jessica isn’t real happy with the daycare’s food choices. It’s not that Jess is a picky, hard-to-please helicopter parent. Not at all. Jess is simply a food-conscious woman who wants her child to have every advantage of healthy, wholesome foods.
And to Jess, hotdogs, cheeseburgers, pizza sticks, cheese burritos, chicken fingers and fish sticks are not healthy, wholesome foods.
You know I agree.
Anyone who has lost weight and is maintaining their weight probably didn’t get to weight loss and maintenance by eating a lot of hotdogs, cheeseburgers, pizza sticks, cheese burritos, chicken fingers, or fish sticks. But I’d be willing to bet they got there (raising my hand!) by eating hotdogs, cheeseburgers, pizza sticks, cheese burritos, chicken fingers, and fish sticks. Frequently.
Our Standard American Diet of fat and simple carbs is flat out wrong. We know this. And yet, it is perpetuated in our schools while we sit around scratching our heads wondering why we have an obesity epidemic!
Shame. On. Us.
Shame on school districts. And more appropriately (despite Michelle Obama’s efforts), shame on our government for sanctioning this disease-by-food policy.
I invite you to read Jessica’s blog, “The Healthy Conundrum.” Parents, foodies, weight losers, weight maintainers… please post your comments there as well as here. I look forward to the conversation.