I just walked home from my next door neighbor, Megan’s, house where I watched her rehearse a speech she’ll be giving next week in NYC about the relationship between health and food. As I listened to her I was riveted by the statistics: 1 in 3 children born since 2000 will develop Type 2 Diabetes, childhood allergies have increased 400%, nearly 1 in 67 children are diagnosed with Autism. There will always be a debate as to the relationship between food and some of the health problems we’re now seeing in our children, but what really struck me listening to her is how the changes in our food supply have changed our concerns as mothers.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I used to envision having children I always saw myself worrying about things like Education (what they’re learning at school, are they reading enough? doing their homework, getting good grades?), Socialization (are they making friends? who are their friends?) and Safety (stranger danger, helmets when biking, what they’re watching on TV, etc.), along with typical concerns about staying healthy. I never thought I would worry about what’s in their Cheerios or mac n’cheese.
So today, on Mother’s Day, I think it’s appropriate to just take a minute and recognize the role that mothers have in demanding changes to keep our children safe. As Megan’s presentation reminded me, it was a mother who sounded the alarm on pink slime in our school cafeterias, and it was a mother who recently called out Subway for using “yoga mat” material in their sandwiches.
It’s not always easy to change and go against the flow of what “everyone” else is doing. When I first started telling people we were making the decision to eat only real food I had comments like “Oh boy, you’re going to go down THAT road?!”, and “Oh no, what am I going to feed you when you come to my house?” I also heard guilt stories like, “when I was growing up I always felt bad because I had the sandwich with the brown bread at school.” and, “I was always embarrassed to have kids sleep over growing up because my mom bought blue corn flakes that would turn our cereal milk blue.” So, to all those who have chosen to be “THAT MOM”, in spite of it all – congratulations and good for you! (and good for your kids!)
When we made the switch to real food I also was very happy – and very surprised – to learn how many others in my life are on the same quest to find the healthiest, safest food for their families. From my son’s kindergarten teacher, to my friend from high school, and even to my next door neighbor, I have been so excited to learn about the inspiring efforts and choices they’re making for their families everyday.
In Megan’s presentation she mentioned a speech in which the presenter suggested people “just floss one tooth”. It’s such a wonderful suggestion, to just do one thing and let the rest follow. So, no matter where you are on your junk free journey, whether you’re making your own bread, or just choosing whole grain instead of white bread, congratulations! Go Moms!
Happy Mother’s Day!