Remember the good old days? The days before social media made everyone a life expert and a craft genius? Like the wonderful lazy days before Pinterest ruined our lives? People weren’t making spooky fingers out of carrots and hummus. They weren’t making pumpkins out of f*cking clementines and celery sticks. And they sure as shit weren’t crafting “boo-riffic” goddamned bananas! And that skeleton you crafted out of veggies? Don’t make me tell you where you can shove that.
Being lazy does not make you fat. The world is full of skinny, lazy people. I am one of them. I was 80 pounds soaking wet through most of high school.
I was also a band nerd with helmet hair.
Obesity seems to be the only disease where it’s still socially acceptable to blame the ill.
We are only beginning to understand the real complexity of the triggers for this disease. Why are there some people who only have to look at ice cream to gain weight? Once you are obese, it’s very, very hard to lose weight– it seems like you are literally fighting a constant battle against your body’s survival mechanisms.
So why are we getting worse?
If there’s one thing we can trust humanity to do, it’s figure out how to make a buck from the suffering of others.
Zach and Miri Make a Smoothie
The American diet industry goes back to at least the 1950s when the first weight loss drink appeared on the market. Prior to that point, food science had not matured to the point where we were able to manipulate our food at the chemical level (beyond burning the meatloaf), so weight loss fads focused on concealing rubber garments.
In other words, it’s not the farmers who stand to gain from over production, but the processed food industry. As long as the wheat in our Wheat Thins is stupid cheap to for Nabisco to buy, there is plenty of budget left for clever marketing!
We’re damned from the moment we open our eyes, because we interact so heavily with media during the course of the day that our brains are saturated with the tantalizing deliciousness of Cool Ranch Doritos from birth to age 99. By the time we set foot in the grocery store, we’re already well-programmed to self-destruct.
Kale is the new black
The experts will tell you “Oh just shop the outside of the store.” These experts have never gone grocery shopping a DAY IN THEIR LIVES.
I think the stores are getting wise to this strategy because I haven’t been into a grocery store yet where the bakery was in the middle bit.
Regardless, as soon as I walk in, my cart is making a beeline through the asparagus and to the cakes.
BEE-BOOP ROBOT DAD NEEDS CAKE
Also, juice boxes are not near the organic kale, and you can bet which one the kids will give me grief over when they find it in their lunch boxes.
In fact, kids are probably the real leading cause of obesity in this country.
More times than I can count I have eaten leftover chicken nuggets because the child was done and I can’t waste good Chik-fil-a.
It’s only recently, as a direct result of a few of my children somehow surviving long enough despite my constant efforts to screw them up, that I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I can say from personal experience it gets better.
Slowly, ever so slowly, they start to appreciate real food.
In our house Mrs. Nostrikethat and I agree that the best thing we can do for our kids to help make them successful is to make sure they’ve got a good mix of fat, fiber, carbs, and veggies on their plates so they can wander off in the middle of dinner to go play.
As I have written before, feeding kids (and especially toddlers) is an exercise in the absurd. They never like what you make, and it seems like you just get the kitchen cleaned up when they’ve digested the tiny amount of food they just ate and are back for more. I’m no internet expert here, either.
The kid wants peanut butter and jelly for dinner again? Fine.
The 6 year old is having food sensory issues again today? Fine, eat Cheerios.
I’m even using JIF, because I’m a choosy mom. Dad. Whatever.
BEE-BOOP ROBOT DAD BUYS WHAT HE IS PROGRAMMED TO BUY
Taking a stand (while sitting)
Let’s review the forces in play. In this corner, we have:
The multi-billion dollar processed food industry and their advertising
The grocery stores where I buy my food to live
My own body which, as I type this, is salivating over the prospect of potato chips
Two weak-willed adults trying to make the best food shopping choices for their kids while acknowledging it’s nearly impossible to feed a three year old broccoli without committing horrific violence on someone
Parents, give it your best shot.
Take your kids to the playground when you can.
Try to put something green on the plate when you can.
Maybe ease up on the soda and drink a little more water yourself.
There are countless ways we can be bad at being parents, and no expert is going to tell you to just muddle through because that doesn’t sell a lot of books.
Worst case scenario, your kid grows up and writes stories with funny pictures in them on the Internet.