April 18, 2010

Food Revolution For An Addict

I’m a food addict. I love the taste of food, the act of eating, the social aspect of eating and the comfort of eating. Food is not just food to me. It is both a reward, and a way for me to rebel. You know when you’re little and you make it through a tough week of school and homework, and then on Friday it is pizza and soda night and you get to eat in front of the tv while watching “Are You Afraid of the Dark” with your awesome little brother? Maybe yours wasn’t quite the same, either way, you catch my drift. Those “special” nights were awesome. Another favorite night for me when I was little was going to my Dad’s house. We either had pizza (obviously my favorite food) or macaroni and we rented movies from blockbuster, ate in front of the tv, and got to spend time with our Dad. It was Heaven.

Somewhere along the way, I subconsciously associated the food I was eating with the “awesome” and “heavenly” way I was feeling during those special nights. Similar to the “high” shoppers get when they buy something, even if it is a 25 cent piece of gum, I get the same type of “high” when I eat pizza, or drink soda. It’s not about the food; it’s about the way the food makes me feel. If I’m having a bad day, I comfort myself with a Dr.Pepper.

My Mom was great at rewarding us with things other than food, and I really admire that about her. However, there were still many other situations that I was rewarded with food or candy. In school, teachers often rewarded with candy. Birthday parties, holidays, most types of celebration – all involve “treats”, cake, candy, ice cream, pizza, soda…junk, junk, junk. How could I not naturally have grown up enjoying the feeling that went along with these foods? How could I have avoided loving these foods because of the feelings that came along with them?

Sometimes, when I’ve done really well avoiding the awful foods, I get a little irritated. I feel almost like I’m being punished because I can’t have the foods I want (thus the feelings that go along with the foods). I rebel and reward myself with the food I want. It honestly feels good to ignore the nagging voice that says “it’s bad for you” and to get “high” off the food instead.

If you’ve never seen the show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, I would HIGHLY recommend it. It’s about a chef from England who wants to change the way American’s eat (specifically children in our school systems). In the most recent episode, he is having a battle with flavored milk (which has more sugar in it than a soda) that is being offered to kids in elementary schools. His argument is, if that’s their only choice and if they don’t know any differently, they will drink the regular milk.

I agree with him 100%. At Clover’s 1st birthday party, she didn’t have cake. I made her a no dairy, no egg, naturally sweeten with apples, cupcake. Yes, I was that Mom. I still have never given her any sort of cake, ice cream, candy...We try not to let her eat processed foods or unnecessary sugars (the kid does love pizza and an occasional french fry) . Her diet consists of fruits, veggies, grains, and a little bit of dairy. Maybe people think that’s weird and I’m okay with that. I just feel like if she doesn’t know any better, what is the harm? How will it harm her to learn to prefer fruit over cake? Or water over soda?

I have no judgment towards parents who allow their children to have sugar. I just know where my weight struggle comes from (bad food) and don’t want Clover to struggle with the same issues. If I have to be ridiculed because I’m that Mom that packs different foods for my daughter to eat, or doesn’t allow her to partake in the cake at birthday’s parties, then I am okay with that too.

The other night, some friends of ours were at my Mom’s house for dinner. Everyone was eating dessert and Clover wanted to taste some of the ice cream I was eating. Part of me thought, what’s the harm in one bite? Well chances are that one bite will taste good and then she’ll want more. So instead, I gave her a cracker, and she pranced around the room happily eating her cracker, thinking that she had something just as cool as everyone else.

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