Food: Where Did We Go Wrong?

10346613_10152466935003202_3464862444618008185_n
I enjoy eating. I think most humans do. It’s exciting to try new foods. My husband encouraged me to try an oyster about a month ago and I did. It wasn’t anything I would eat again but I tried it! Food is great. It sustains us, it gives us nourishment, it satisfies us and especially when we are younger, it helps to keep us growing. But food is not what it once was. Food is no longer grown the same. It’s not harvested the same and it’s definitely not packaged, cooked and served the same.

Did you read about China recently selling 40-year-old meat? This is not a joke. Click here to read this New York Times article. I mean…what? I can’t even wrap my head around that.

Everywhere you turn something that was good for you no longer isn’t, everything will kill you and unless you farm all of your own animals, crops and herbs, everything is infected with hormones and pesticides.

The Pompeo bill, aptly dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, will take away the right of states to require GMO labeling and will legalize the routine industry practice of labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods as ‘natural’ or ‘all natural.’ It also includes a complicated scheme for voluntary labeling of non-GMO foods. Here’s a great article to learn more about the Pompeo bill and how we can stop it.

My concern is where did we go wrong? Why is it okay to have foods and ingredients banned in other countries but allowed here in the United States?

Eating healthy is expensive and it shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t have to pay double for organic when years ago that’s all there was. Our food should be labeled properly, especially those with GMOs. No more ‘natural flavors’ or ‘all natural’ crap that allow companies to put whatever they want in these foods and cover it up with these blanketed terms.

The highest expense in our household is food. We rarely eat processed foods and buy all organic minus the things you can get away without buying organic like bananas or avocados. We spend a lot of money and I’m sick of it! Where is the FDA? Oh yeah, they’re hiding behind Monsanto!

For our year anniversary, my husband and I traveled to Europe, specifically Paris and Italy. I have never eaten more amazing foods. I will never forget that trip. When we returned home to American food we were extremely sick. There’s just something different about the way other countries grow and harvest their food. It’s not about cutting corners, how many chickens we can stuff and cage in one confined area and the quickest way to produce the most. I am thoroughly disgusted by America’s food, I really am.

I hope something changes and I hope it changes fast. I know activists like Food Babe are making this their mission and I applaud them. I am also grateful for them and their crusade as they slowly but surely are making these changes happen! The best way you can take a stand is to educate yourself. Do your research, sign petitions when you can and be very careful when grocery shopping. I pray for a better food future, I really do.

The Minute My Heart Stopped…

emma
It was a beautiful August day in Michigan. There was a slight breeze as the sun warmed the air. It wasn’t humid or too hot…the weather was just right. We have family in town so it was decided to go to the Troy Aquatic Center for the kiddos. Emma loves the water and I was excited to take her.

We got there and she was pretty fussy and unwilling to leave my arms. After a while she got more comfortable and soon she was splashing by the fountain pads and laughing. I took her into the water with me and we played. She takes swim classes and loves being in the water so there wasn’t much concern for me there. However, there were a lot of kids swimming and splashing around so I decided to take her out, maybe grab a snack and just sit for a bit.

I placed her on one of the lounge chairs as her uncle and cousin were saying hello and engaging with her. Here’s where the mistakes start…

I didn’t ask them to watch her for a second. I didn’t even see if they were completely interacting with her. I didn’t take her down so she wouldn’t fall. I turned away. I TURNED AWAY! I hear a scream and see her face down on the cement. My heart stopped. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to cry, scream, throw up and pass out all at once. I grabbed her. She was hysterical. I was hysterical. The blood wouldn’t stop coming from her mouth. I was a wreck, I still am.

Per our pediatrician, we took her to the ER. She was admitted, examined and released within one hour (great job Royal Oak, Beaumont!). No stitches, no CT scan. She is okay. That’s what my husband had to keep reminding me, “She is okay.” Her lips is pretty cut up and swollen and her chin is scratched up but other than that, she is okay. Thank you God, she is okay. I know it could have been worse. I know. But I can’t help myself. I can’t help but blame my stupid self for turning away. Why did I think that would be okay? What is wrong with me?!

I know she’s going to get injured. I know this won’t be the last time, but I could have prevented it and I can’t help but feel like the worst mom in the world. I close my eyes and see that image of her laying there. I cringe. My heart breaks. It makes me sick to my stomach. I want to permanently erase it from my mind.

While I realize it was an accident, I can’t help but feel angry at myself. It seems like she is continuously having these issues too. Her tooth incident at my mom’s house when she was only 8 months old, her chipping her front tooth with me in the bathtub (a week ago) and now this (by the way, her front teeth are a complete, chippy mess)! I wish I could just fix it all. I could just take a magic wand and eliminate the pain and the scars (these poor teeth!). But I can’t. This is a part of life. And as her mother, it’s important for me to stay strong which so far I have not been able to do…

The love of a parent is so amazing. It’s like my heart just jumps out of my chest for her. She has truly completed my life and if I never have another I will be okay because I have her. And that’s why I think it’s so hard for us as parents. We have this love that cannot be described until you actually experience it. And with that love comes this innate responsibility to protect. This responsibility is so strong that we would become superhuman if needed, we would do anything to protect them from all harm…but we can’t. It’s just not possible. Even if I bubble wrapped my child (I definitely considered it after yesterday), she would still get hurt. There comes a point when you need to have faith it will all be okay…whatever your faith may be. This is where I must learn to ‘let go and let God’.

Emma is okay. She’s alive and healthy with a few cuts and some chippy teeth (luckily these ones fall out!). I am very lucky it wasn’t any worse. It can always be worse…

So while I work on trying not to lose my mind when she gets injured, I think about how blessed I am that she’s okay. My advice for anyone going through something similar is this: Keep calm and ‘mom’ on 🙂 You’re a great parent. Be thankful for the blessings you have and continue to pray for all those suffering, it could always be worse!

Fighting with Words.

fighting-words
There’s a saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.’ I’ve never liked that saying. I would repeat it as a little kid in response to name calling but the names hurt me…they still do.

Fighting with words is easy. Think about how many times a day you call someone a name. Your co-worker is an idiot, your husband is a jerk, your wife is a nag, the driver in front of you is a moron…the list goes on. We call people names we don’t even know! We gossip behind friends’ backs. We complain about our kids (he’s being a monster today!). We argue with our spouses/loved ones. We use names to describe people’s names we can’t remember or want to remember. ‘Yeah, let’s not even say her name but she’s such a bitch’ or ‘Remember that douche bag you dated, you know, the one with the skinny jeans’. Our brains have become so rooted with this behavior that we don’t even realize how much we do it…or how much it hurts others.

Why do we do this? No really, why? I remember being picked on in grade school for having a beauty mark on my face. I got made fun of, especially by the boys. I would come home and cry. It was terrible. I distinctly remember a guy in high school telling one of my friends “She would be pretty if she didn’t have that on her face.” Awful. But honestly, those comments don’t even compare to how and what people can say to each other nowadays. When I went to school, there was only three ways to call someone a name: to their face, behind their back or in a note (yes, a handwritten note). I couldn’t make it my Facebook status, tweet it, text it, email it, Snapchat a picture of it or any of the other ways in which technology has given us to be bigger assholes (yep, I just called everyone assholes!).

The worst part about the way the world of name calling has evolved is how public it’s become. Everything is shared. And it’s not shared out of love, care or concern, it’s shared out of angry, spite and hate. Heck, even celebrities get in word battles via ‘Twitter’. Can’t you just have your agents call each other? No, why would you do that? Let’s just share updates for all to see because you need everyone to know who you’re arguing with (this goes for us non-famous people as well).

We’ve become a self-absorbed society. We post and say whatever is on our mind. In fact, I’m doing that right now! We share and over-share then share some more. Don’t get me wrong, sharing is great, but when its negative, what’s the point?

We fight with words. We fight privately. We fight publicly. We hurt. We hurt others. Why do we continue this cycle? Why can’t we just stop? Because here’s the thing…sticks and stones will break our bones…and names will really hurt us. We are all humans, struggling with our own battles and trying to figure out our own lives. We don’t need criticism, we need compassion. It’s easy to put a label on someone…the way I called everyone assholes. The real challenge is to stop yourself from doing so.

There’s another saying I recall from my childhood, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s easy to word vomit (thank you Lindsay Lohan in ‘Mean Girls’) a name to someone. It’s not easy to undo. Because the thing about the words we speak is that even though we can apologize, even though we can say we didn’t mean them, they were said. And as much as you try, you can’t take them back. No one is perfect, we fight, we forgive and we move on, or at least, we try to. But the next time you go to call anyone a name, think about what you’re really saying before you do so. How will that name affect them? You? Your situation? Your relationship?

Calling someone a name is like getting a mosquito bite. It’s quick when it happens but we’re left with a sting, an itch. There’s a mark…temporarily. We can still feel it for a few days, it bothers us, maybe it really bothers us, but eventually it goes away. There is no scar. But just because there isn’t a scar, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Challenge yourself to stop the name calling and spread the love.

Setting the Right Example.

God
I found myself reflecting back on some of my recent posts…

And it got me to thinking…am I setting the right example? Sure, we all can get ‘fired up’ about certain topics. We can all state our ‘opinions’ (which we know, are like blank and everybody’s got one). But I guess it’s how we deliver those messages that really set or don’t set the right example…

Recently there was a trending topic about the owner of a restaurant (a woman) who yelled at a toddler who was crying in her restaurant. Since there are two sides to every story, the argument seems to revolve around the woman owner yelling at the toddler vs. the parents not removing their child from the restaurant. As a mom, I do not feel it is appropriate for another adult to yell at my child, no matter what the circumstances. However, there are others who felt were happy she yelled at the toddler as one individual commented, “Kudos to the managers for setting that mom in place. So sick of parents not parenting.”

Now here’s where I get fired up. Parents not parenting? First, you weren’t there, so let’s just hold the phone on that one. Second of all, what makes you think they weren’t parenting? And who are you to judge? Have you ever taken a toddler to a restaurant? It’s not the easiest thing to do but that shouldn’t mean those with toddlers can’t go out to eat! This is where I believe everyone starting jumping on one bandwagon or another and the media went crazy with its exploitation of the situation (are you surprised?).

I guess my point is that we need to set the right example in life, especially those of us that have children/watch children/are children caretakers/etc. And sometimes its hard to figure out what those examples are. My baby doesn’t have the capacity to understand ‘no’ yet or how to reason. Here’s a great article explaining this if you don’t believe me. So if we’re in a restaurant and I tell her to stop yelling and she doesn’t, I’m not a bad parent and she’s not a bad kid, she’s just at the age (12-18 months) where she’s learning to express herself through her voice. I do tell her ‘no’ in a quiet tone or we don’t talk like that in a restaurant to encourage her to stop or distract her with something if needed, but I don’t yell at her. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments where she makes me so angry and I do yell (then of course I see that scared look on her face and immediately apologize and hug her!), but does that make it right? Do I want her to learn that every time she is upset or frustrated she can yell? No.

There are things in life we all have issues with. I don’t think there should be websites for married people to have affairs. I don’t think Victoria’s Secret should target teenagers to buy their ‘lingerie’. I don’t think Facebook is an accurate representation of people’s lives. These are my opinions. And maybe I haven’t gone about them in the right way, but it’s how I feel. Our feelings are what drives us. They make us passionate, crazy, angry, excited, fearful…the list goes on. We live through our feelings. But just because you feel a certain way doesn’t give you the right to act a certain way either. If I feel mad at a co-worker I can’t just go and punch them. I mean, I can, but I would most likely lose my job and be facing a lawsuit in the process.

I want to be a better example…and my example starts from Jesus and my faith. Here’s a man who was ridiculed, betrayed by one of his own and persecuted. He died for me and my sins…for the sins of the world. That is the ultimate example. And no, I’m not saying you need to die, but I’m saying that sometimes setting the right example isn’t easy, but there is a reason for it. I want to be someone my daughter looks up to. My love for her is like Jesus’s love for the world. I would die for her. If I had to, I would without hesitation so that she could live. Sometimes while I believe my intentions are good, I don’t always say things in the right way to get my point across. The point becomes lost in my rants. I think the same goes for most people.

So as I reflect upon the example I want to set, I know one thing is for sure. I want the best for my daughter. I want to give her the best of me, so that requires more patience, more practice and more understanding to those around me. There are lots of situations completely out of my control, but how I behave as an individual is not. If I can’t respect myself, how can I expect anyone else to? It’s time for me to start setting the right example not only for my daughter (and God willing any future children), but myself.