My son had his first Little League game of the season, and while his team didn't win, they looked solid. My husband was umpiring another game so I told Little Slugger that we'd go to lunch after the game and that it was his choice.
He's 11 -- he chose Burger King.
Fine, whatever. We don't do fast food very often -- perhaps half a dozen times a year. So after our Whopper Jrs and fries (small), we got home and fired up iTunes because I wanted to rent the documentary Food, Inc. After 20 minutes my son was on the floor sobbing.
"I don't like animal cruelty!" he cried. Then he left the room.
I admit, the juxtaposition of a meaty burger and crispy fries with scenes of potato factories and "downer cows" was pretty jarring. It's certainly not the humorous activism of Super Size Me. But kids need to know how the sausage is made, literally and figuratively. He needs to know why I cringe and say no to cheap fast food (at least most of the time).
But will we never idle through a drive-through window again? Nope.
That's what got me into my big-butt predicament. There was a lot of finger pointing and "should you be eating that?" going on during my childhood, making the verboten seem all the sweeter and crispier and meatier.
True story: I once came home to an after-school snack of thawed frozen rhubarb doused in Sweet 'n' Low.
(Try not to gag -- I did.)
My mom meant well -- she was only following doctor's orders. Those horrible, doctor-prescribed "reducing diets" would make anyone hate and resent food. And some of those genius snacks came from early copies of Weight Watchers magazine. Oven-baked canned mushrooms were "peanuts." White bread spread with boiled-down tomato juice and rubbery cheese was "pizza." Pureed green beans was "guacamole."
That wasn't food -- it was performance art. But it was the opposite end of the spectrum from the factory-farmed and produced garbage that we bought through the car window today.Don't get me wrong, my son is not a slave to Madison Avenue. I've had healthy eating drilled into his brain since he was a Stonyfield Farm YoBaby-slurping tot. I told him the other yogurts had "paint" in them. He regularly reaches for fresh fruit and other whole, healthy foods.
I don't want him to ever eat a bowl of artificially sweetened rhubarb as long as he lives.