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Opinion: Turn a deaf ear to food shaming

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I eat processed foods, a lot. I also don’t buy organic, except on accident. And finally, dairy, especially milk, is my favorite source of protein. And do you know what? I am healthy and fit, and rarely get sick, despite working in a school and living in close proximity to four not-always-clean children. So please, spare me the lecture!

Yes, I am feeling a bit defensive lately of my eating and grocery shopping habits. Three times over the holidays, different people read me the riot act over my food choices. One was family, one was a friend and one I didn’t really know at all. The first two I can accept as well-wishers who only want what’s best for me, but the third totally honked me off. So let me lay it all out for you, and then maybe before you judge and criticize someone else, you’ll keep your mouth shut.

We eat a ton of processed foods at Chez Wilson. Applesauce, whole-grain white bread, Cheez-Its, Trix yogurt, Meijer granola bars, Waffle Crisp, fruit snacks, SpaghettiOs, deli meats, the list goes on and on. But when you are trying to pack five lunches at 6:30 a.m. or have only 10 minutes to feed a kid before soccer, prepackaged, highly preserved food sources are a lifesaver. Do we eat this stuff all the time? No. But am I opposed to a lunch of Kraft cheese slices on bologna with mayonnaise and a Diet Coke? Most certainly not.

I once tried to go organic. A neighbor had suggested that the reason my children’s feet stunk as badly as they did was the hormones in the milk I was buying. After three weeks with no improvement in the odor and a significant increase in our grocery bill, I called it quits. I understand the principles behind organic and would love to be able to shop exclusively at Whole Foods, but frankly, it’s just too expensive. For me, organic is a luxury, not a necessity.

And lastly, I love milk. Ice-cold, cow-created, 1% generic milk. It’s low-fat and high in protein and calcium, and pairs perfectly with Kellogg’s cherry Pop-Tarts, which, by the way, are my ritual nighttime snack. Can we get the nutrients elsewhere? Of course! But for kids who think chicken is the spawn of Satan, knowing that they are getting at least a little protein at each meal is comforting. The same goes for yogurt, cheese and cookie-dough ice cream. Soy and almond milk are just poorly disguised impostors.

Bottom line, I’m doing a decent job of raising healthy and happy kids. If they are addicted to Oreos, Red Baron and Goldfish, so be it. There are a lot worse things. Peace out.


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