I’ve been on a bit of a journey for the past several years. There isn’t really an exact destination, because it’s not about being perfect. It’s just about me being a mom and trying to do the right thing for my kids. Except I don’t always know what that is, especially when it comes to the zillions of products I purchase to feed, clean, clothe and entertain them.
Who’s to say what the right path is? But for goodness sakes, there’s petroleum byproducts in their baby soap, and BPA in their sippy cups, not to mention the food dyes in their macaroni and (orange colored) cheese and antibiotics in their milk. A momma could go crazy from trying to protect her kids from all this dangerous stuff.
Then I met Robyn O’Brien and she told me (well, a group of us really, over a delicious and fully organic lunch–more on that later) about her 80/20 rule–Do the best you can 80% of the time, because you can’t do it all, all of the time. And that made me feel a little better.
And she talked about taking baby steps, like when she got rid of the tubes of blue yogurt she routinely fed her kids or when she put only three-quarters of the packet of orange cheese powder into their mac-and-cheese, thus reducing the food dyes that we now know can negatively effect kids’ health and behavior. These were steps in the right direction.
And she shared her journey from a mom who used to feed her kids, like so many of us moms do, tons of processed foods, because they are quick and convenient and we are busy. Then she became a mom of a child with severe allergies and she had to make some changes for her daughter’s sake. And in her quest to figure out why her daughter, and so many other kids today, have an alarming rate of food allergies, when the kids of earlier generations did not, she has unearthed some very valuable information about the food supply in the United States. It’s not the same as it was when you and I were kids. Things are genetically modified. Cows are given antibiotics in alarmingly high doses. High fructose corn syrup is in everything. And the rates of ADHD, autism, diabetes and food allergies among children have skyrocketed. Have you ever wondered why every other child you know has a nut allergy? Or a dairy allergy? Or a wheat allergy? Our food supply has changed. Robyn’s book explains how and why. And, more importantly, what we can do about it.
Many European countries don’t allow the things in their food supply that are allowed here in the United States, because those things have not been proven safe (think massive amounts of soy and those pesky food dyes again). Here in the U.S., the approach is often the opposite: those things have not been proven unsafe, so they are permitted on our grocery shelves with carefree abandon.
Theres so much more. It’s in Robyn’s book, The Unhealthy Truth. Her personal story of her daughter’s food allergy diagnosis and Robyn’s subsequent research on the products sold in the grocery stores of America is inspiring and well worth the read.
And as she shared her story with us, a group of bloggers, most of us moms, we dined on a delicious lunch at the restuarant Nora, in Washington, D.C.
Nora is a completely organic restaurant, right down to the little packets of sugar on the table to put in your organic coffee. And everything was delicious!
Stonyfield Farms sponsored the event, as part of their marketing campaign, which, they’d like you to know, favors an educational focus over a slick ad campaign.
Nora herself was there, talking to us about how she created the delicious recipes we were going to taste that day. A favorite was the Lemon Meringue Greek Yogurt Ice Cream. Delish!
Later, reflecting, I realized that I had been feeling overwhelmed, without really knowing it. There’s so much stuff out there that goes into and onto and around our kids. How can we possibly protect them from it all? Well, we can’t, but that’s okay. Being the best advocates we can be, the best sifters of information, the best educated consumers we can be, for our children’s sake, well, that is enough. And that, I can do.
Disclosure: I was a guest at the restaurant, Nora, sponsored by Stonyfield Farms, featuring Robyn O’Brien as the guest speaker. I was given a copy of Robyn’s book as well as the Stonyfield Farms Yogurt Cookbook, but was not obligated to write a review.