A few years ago I read a book review in Maclean's magazine of Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice. I only needed to read the article to be forever turned off of store-bought orange juice. Nothing kills your love of "fresh" orange juice faster than the thought of it being stored in a tank for several months, and then having a flavour packet added to it before it is packaged and shipped to you. Plus I had an epiphany—real fresh squeezed orange juice tastes NOTHING like store bought orange juice. The difference in taste is astounding. I'd been ignoring the obvious. Possibly, I'd been sold a bill of goods.
Ever since then, I've either bought real fresh squeezed from our market (hard on my wallet) or squeezed it myself (time-consuming), which has resulted in a dramatic drop in orange juice consumption in our house, which frankly is probably for the best. From what I'm told, we shouldn't be drinking juice in massive quantities like that anyway.
Then in the last week or so, it came to light that a fungicide being used on Brazilian oranges was ending up in our orange juice. I wasn't worried because frankly I stopped drinking it anyway, but it reminded me, yet again, what a messy business eating has become.
Gone are the days of my grandmother, where three squares were all you needed. Now you need to have several smaller portions through the day. Or wait, is it a smoothie for breakfast and lunch and then actual food? No, no, you should eat less meat, more fish. But wait, watch the fish with high mercury levels. That stuff will kill you. So eat farmed fish. It's sustainable, bred in clean water. That's they way to go, right? Not so fast. They're feeding it corn. I don't remember ever seeing a corn field in the ocean. Also, our over-consumption of corn products is making us fat. Don't get me started on chickens that can't walk because of overly enlarged breasts and cows fed corn, not grass.
What's a mom to do? Well, of course, you buy organic right? Wrong. Because it would seem that organic is a little bit of a con too. Apparently, some of those organic farmers are possibly just jumping on the "organic" gravy train and not really living the life. So, how do I know that the strawberries I just paid an extra three dollars for are really better for my kids health than the non-organic version right beside them. We watch movies like Food Inc. and Super Size Me and we are disgusted and run hysterically from processed food. Then we hear stories of people getting sick and dying from eating fresh fruit. Wait? What? That's supposed to be good for you though?
Then there's the sugar conundrum. We need to cut our consumption of refined sugar. But sugar is sugar. So the white granulated stuff is apparently no worse than the sugar found in fruit juices or honey. If you want you can live a sugar-free life, but I'm not going to, ok?
Then there's the elephant in the room. What food did I eat today that is going to bring that ugly "C" word into my life? Did I feed my kids a time bomb today?
I feel like I've become a pinball, being tossed about from data to news stories to personal accounts of all things wrong with our food.
I made Roasted Chickpeas the other day and felt pretty good about it. That's a healthy snack, right? That is until I started to question if I should have used organic chickpeas. And what about the BPA lining the can? Then I spent an hour consumed with guilt that I just fed my kids toxic chickpeas. Jeezus murphy, I'm a lunatic. (sidenote: they are really really good chickpeas, totally ignore my rant here)
Finally, don't think that the irony of all this is lost on me. That while I fret and worry about what's in our food, there's a large portion of mankind that worries about eating at all.
Where am I going with all this? I don't know. It's a rant really. I'm confused and I'm overwhelmed with food information, and I guess I'm just wondering, if you are too?
This week my back door froze shut. That is an indication that it's too frickin' cold outside. It sucks. I'm sorry, there's really no other way around it. It bites the big one. So, what does one do when it's too cold to venture outside? One gets her house in order, so she's not doing it when the weather is good. Here are four things you should do this weekend that will keep you indoors and keep you on your toes:
Clean Your Medicine Cabinet - Throw out any expired medicine. Throw expired prescription medicine in a freezer bag to drop safely with your pharmacist the next time you visit. Check to see if your first-aid kit is fully stocked. Write a list of medications you need, like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. You never know when your next headache will arrive. Finally, store all your medications in an airtight container and keep them away from humidity and heat (hint: bathrooms and kitchens are bad, linen closets are good).
Clean your makeup drawer - Be ruthless. Discard anything you know you'll never wear again. If you can't remember when you bought it, chances are it's expired. Mascara should be tossed after three months. Lipstick and gloss have a shelf life of six months. Same for foundations and concealers. Powders can last a year. Wash your makeup brushes with a gentle soap, blot on paper towels, reshape and stand in a glass to dry. Sharpen your pencils.
Clean your pantry - Empty contents of your pantry and wipe shelves down. Then get down to business. First, don't send your expired food to the food bank. As someone who's volunteered at the food bank, let me tell you that if it's no good for you, it's no good for anyone else. Expired canned goods should be opened and contents should be composted if you have a municipal program and cans tossed in the recycle bin. Check dried goods as well. Have bags been left open and the contents gone soggy? Organize according to use: baking supplies, canned goods, pasta and rice, cereals. Place items that should be used first, front and centre. Write a list as you go of things you're getting low on.
Clean your computer - Not that kind of cleaning. I mean cleaning the clutter. Can you see your desktop? Create folders to clean it up and move anything to the trash bin you no longer need. Go into your email trash box and unsubscribe from all those newsletters you no longer want. Implement "Inbox 0" and either delete or file every email in your inbox. Go through your photographs. Do you really need that blurry photo of your kids? Empty your trash bin. Finally. CHANGE. YOUR. PASSWORDS. Your kids names, your birthday, your favorite colour...that's not going to work. Make it hard, a combination of numbers, letters and symbols and don't use the same one for every account. Set up a reminder in your calendar to change them again in three months.
Yesterday I woke up and made my children a Funky Monkey (chocolate almond milk & banana smoothie) and an omelet with bacon and cheese. My 9-year-old decided that on this particular day though she didn’t like this combination together, despite the fact that she practically tackles the rest of the family when bacon is served, and has had omelettes, oh I don’t know, a thousand times before.
And so it begins.
“I’m not eating it!”
"Nuh-uh,” says I. “That’s fuel to get you through the morning at school. You’re eating it.”
"I don't like it."
"I don't care, you're eating it."
“No. I. Am. Not.”
Insert ridiculous, over the top power struggle here, where it all ends with, wait for it........”You’re the WORST mother ever!”
Do I crumple into a ball and cry? Do I back down and try a different tactic? Hell no, I tell her I'll help her with the want ad later for a new mom. I'm incensed and frankly if trying to feed you a freakin' omelet makes me the worst mom ever, you could do a lot worse kid.
What exactly does put you in the running for worst mother of the year? Here are a few candidates:
How about the mom that went and enjoyed a pizza and left her children freezing in the car during a extreme cold weather alert? She's a contender.
Then there's this mom who jacks her child up on "go-go" juice before a pageant. The fact that you put your child in a pageant is bad enough, but drug them? Omelet, "go-go" juice, omelet, "go-go" juice. No contest. This mom wins.
Ooooh, look, it's a pageant mom again! She's definitely in the running.
Then what about this dimwit. Taking her kids to a movie that is clearly not appropriate. LOSER.
Finally, there's this little gem taken from the comments section of Julie Cole's lastest blog:
While I’m certain I’m never going to win mother of the year, I know that occasionally, when the stars align in just the right way, I get close to qualifying. I think the next time my kids pull out the “worst mother ever” card, I'm going to whip out some of the competition. Hope none of them reply to the want ad.