Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Everyday Life: The Fight I Will Keep Fighting

Our battle begins early in the morning the first day of school on the shaky ground of school snacks.

At G's school, each child in the class brings snack for the entire class a few times a year.

I love the concept.

In theory.

In practice, it doesn't work for us ... mostly because I know too much and believe what I know so passionately that I can't erase it. At all.

While goldfish crackers and colorful yogurt tubes look innocent, I know these foods beyond the simple breakdowns of calories and macronutrients and ingredient labels. I know what vegetable oils heavy in omega-6s do to the heart muscle and yogurt loaded with processed sugars and dyes can do to the body at the cellular level as well as chemically.

And because I now know all of this {I mean, as well as I can know it without having a degree}, I simply cannot fathom allowing my little ones to eat these foods daily. Now, I'm not totally crazy; we normally follow an 80/20 rule where 80 percent of the time we eat whole foods dense in nutrients while 20 percent of the time we let kids be kids. Or adults be adults, as we would be the case for John and his affinity for cherry-flavored pops.

But every day? Well, I can't stomach it.

So neither will he, even to his dismay.

His deep irritation rises while I'm in the thick of cooking eggs on the stove.

He grunts and groans and huffs and sighs and elaborates a well orchestrated argument. Normally, my ears are all his, but to this particular oration, they may as well be deaf.

There are few things for which I will dig a thick stake into the ground and then sink my heels into the soil just as firmly.

The first is that God is good all of the time. No matter what.

The second is that John and I love each other and them relentlessly and whole heartedly.

The third is that food is more than calories and carbs {and the like} and taste; it's meant to connect us to the soil and each other, to nourish, heal, sustain.

And there's nothing about goldfish and graham crackers or the like that connect or nourish, heal or sustain. There's just not. And those foods have popped up often enough in past daily snack itineraries that even friends who are much less rigid have questioned why we are serving what we are serving in school and other child-centric settings.

Once he's said his peace, he stares at me and stomps one foot on the ground as if to put the exclamation mark on his action-pack deposition; I see the buddings of a lawyer emerge in the satisfied smirk on his face.

But what he doesn't know is that even the world's best orator attorney couldn't sway a jury against a passionately honest mother bear who knows what she knows with every fiber of her being.

I crouch down, and I give my closing statement, feet firmly planted in the soil I know to be truth, concluding that he will be choosing healthy snacks from our pantry, fridge or counter daily and bringing them to school for his snack every day,

and I round out my closing statement with the one truth I know best

-- the one that fuels my fire beyond any knowledge or research or biology or chemistry --

"because I love you."

With that the jury is sold.

And I can even see in the cross-examining attorney's eyes that he, too, has been won.

UPDATE: If you're reading this in the archives, you'll definitely want to read the update to this post because the cross-examining attorney ended up only being sold momentarily! We learned a really important lesson from this that I'd hate for anyone to have to go through. 


  1. This was so hard for me. So hard that my husband took time off of work and came with me to open house just so he could be the one to tell the teacher about our dietary restrictions. But they have been great and I'm glad we (he) said something.

    Good to hear I'm not alone.

  2. I {heart}you for standing your ground and I learn from you almost everyday.


  3. When they are grown, and make their own impassioned choices....which might not be exactly the same as ours....they will have the character to learn what they need, make informed decisions and stand by them. As you nourish the cells, you nourish his soul...but you know that!!

  4. Oh Hyacynth~~~ It gets sooooo much harder as they get older. I hear you. I do. And while I am not quite as extreme I do try my darndest to provide healthy items for my kids. It isn't always a warm or popular place to be. You should have seen the looks I got when it was my turn to bring after game snacks to the football team yesterday. They didn't think my cheese sticks/ organic sugar free bunny crackers/ dye and sugar free gatorades were all that fun. (Especially since last week they got BIG bags of skittles and gatorades!) *sigh*


There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

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Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.