Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Parents and Nutritional Idealogy

Last night I was reading an article in one of my parenting forums. The article itself was innocent enough, dispelling the myth that caffine stunts growth. The comments however, annoyed the crap out of me.

“I don't see the point of giving child soda…..They are pretty horrible for you. So why give it to my daughter? There are plenty of other options out there than soda. Caffeine free or not, they don't need all that sugar. The sugar alternatives are just as bad. Their little bodies are developing so fast, why not give them beverages that encourage a healthy mind and body.”

“What amazes me, in reading some of these community answers is how much artificial sugar parents are giving their children. Diet soda is no more healthy than regular soda, it doesn't contain sugar but it does contain chemically made ingredients such as aspartame or Nutra Sweet which the FDA says to consume in moderation because long term side effects need to be evaluated. Its unfortunate that even Pedialyte conatins Splenda (sucralose), another artificial sweetner. Honestly, why do children need their food to be "sweetened" anyway?”

And those are just the tip of the iceberg. When did it become O.K for parents to force their nutrition ideology upon me and my children? And it starts at the birth of your first child.

I am a well educated woman, who did tons of research and CHOSE to NOT breastfeed. I don’t feel the need to “defend” my reasoning to anyone, because there is nothing to defend. It s a personal choice you make for yourself and your child.

I was at the office one day a few weeks ago, and listened as co-workers explained to another co-worker why breastfeeding was the only option, and to not give up, no matter what. How do you think it would have went over if I had jumped in with ALL the reasons to not breastfeed?

I recently read that McDonalds was possibly going to be sued over including toys in their Happy Meals. What? I then read one possible “solution” would be for McDonalds to only provide toys in “nutritional” Happy Meals. When did it become McDonalds job to police what my kids eat? Last time I checked, I signed the birth certificate, not a corporation.

The media has been on a frenzy lately with how unhealthy everything is. But this is not new. In the last five years the media and research have declared that a certain red dye can cause behavioral problems in children, eating two eggs a week increases your risk of colorectal cancer and eating meat increases your risk of breast cancer.

What is new, is parents’ reactions. Parents now bully other parents and try to guilt them into conforming to some sort of nutritional ideology that changes daily. While I think that these nutritional mafia parents are actually in the minority, they certainly are the most vocal. I hope the other non conforming parents will stand up with me to declare: We are in charge of our children’s nutrition, along with their social and emotional health, their curiosity and creativity, and every other aspect of their little bodies and lives. We will feed our children what we think best given all the circumstances. We will not judge you, but we will not tolerate being judged either. We are the parent.

I view sugar, fats, caffine and all the other bad stuff, like scrapes and bruises. They are part of life. The bruise on your 9 year olds knee from falling while skating with her friends, well worth it. The scrape on your 5 year olds elbow from climbing the huge tree, he’s proud of it. The 2 or 3 ounces of Sprite I give my 2 year old for pooping in the potty, best decision I ever made. I believe the memories, pride, and accomplishments will long outlast the hurt from some bruises, scratches and sugar.