Food: Where Did We Go Wrong?

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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.

Tantrums: The Breakdown

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Temper tantrums. Everyone has them…babies, teenagers, adults, the elderly, you name it! They come in different forms and various terms (frustration fits, temper tantrums, toddler tantrums, hissy fits, crying fit, conniption fits, nervous breakdown, meltdowns, the list goes on), but it all usually comes down to the same thing: I am frustrated, I am angry and I am expressing my frustration and anger. While this is not the case for every individual (some tantrums are the result of medical illnesses, etc.), I am speaking generally and in ‘tantrum slang format’ (i.e. using the word tantrum to encompass all levels of anger and frustration expressions with regards to children) which I realize is not medically correct, but I’m not a doctor so let’s continue!

This is my daughter’s face after a crying fit in her high chair. As you can see, she’s clearly still upset to which I snapped this picture then immediately comforted her (I know, bad parenting on the picture part!). I am told by the pediatrician that this is the age when babies will express their distress or frustration based on the situation. These can be called ‘frustration fits’ but I know that many people interchangeably use ‘temper tantrums’ or ‘complete meltdowns’ despite the child’s age (as I am doing here).

So, why was she upset? Well, she couldn’t get the puffs in her mouth. She got a few on her own so I stopped putting them in her mouth for her. Once she couldn’t get the others in she started crying, then arching her back moving up and down and then yelling (yes, all while strapped into her high chair). I gave in and fed them to her. She still cried. It was time for her nap so I put her down. She cried some more. She fell asleep ten minutes later which is a new record from the time it usually takes her to go down these days (about 30 minutes!) and I fell on the couch in my own distress. I think she was just overly tired…or maybe she wasn’t…maybe she was just having a tantrum.

I know she is technically ‘too young’ to be having an actual temper tantrum (they say it doesn’t really happen until they’re around one years old) but whatever this expression of dislike is, I DISLIKE IT! If she doesn’t like something she will let you know. She will move and kick and arch her back and cry and yell. She will literally THROW A FIT (and a few toys). My husband says “she’s definitely your daughter.” I thank him for the compliment with my go-fly-a-kite grin. It’s not my favorite phase that she’s going through, but it’s all part of her learning, growing and coming into her own.

In the moment, tantrums are the worst. I actually want to start having one of my own when she is! But then I have to stop and think, this poor little peanut, she can’t communicate any other way. She can’t talk to me and tell me what’s wrong or why she’s upset…this is all she can do. She is a baby. She has off days. She gets frustrated and angry just like everyone else does. She is human. And what am I? I am her mother. I am here to comfort and console her, to guide and nurture her. Sure, I am also here to discipline and teach her, but above all, I am here to love her. I am here to give her all the love that she needs.

In this moment, this tantrum-fitting moment, I am not here to judge, to get frustrated with, to get angry at, to get annoyed over or any other part of me that wants nothing more than to pull my hair out and have a large glass of wine (you know, that whole bottle in one glass kind). I am here to be her mother, and that means unconditional love, support, compassion and understanding. We may not have these unconditionals for many people in our lives, but we must have them for our kids. We must. Because if we don’t, who else will? Who else will give them all they need to survive in this world? To be raised right in this world? To truly understand what it means to be loved in this world?

She had a ‘temper tantrum’…and you know what I did (yes, I took a picture, but after that!)? I loved her. I loved her and I hugged her and I told her it was going to be okay. She squirmed and she cried but I still gave her my love because sometimes, no matter how old we may be, love is all we need. We all have tantrums, we all break down at one point or another, and when we do, it’s nice to know you have one person who will always be there to love you. I hope my daughter knows she forever has me.