Thursday, February 21, 2013

This Mom is Thankful for Frankenfood

Yes, I work for farmers who choose to grow genetically modified corn and soybeans. I am able to read research defending the benefits of modified crops to farmers, the environment, and ultimately the growing human population. I also have friends who work for Monsanto, as well as other seed companies, who sell and market genetically modified hybrids. I smiled when I saw that environmental activist Mark Lynas changed his position from condemning genetically modified foods to celebrating them. But in the end, I am NOT defending GMOs or “Frankenfoods” for these reasons. I have a better one.

I have witnessed a huge shift for the better in our food system in the past few years. I see more people interested in food and wanting to know how it is produced. I see more people wanting to purchase food from small, local or organic farmers, and this shift is providing a wonderful opportunity for those willing to provide these foods.  Others want to produce their own food, which is also a step in the right direction to foster future food security.

Having options is good for both the consumer and the producers. Competition is good for business and the economy. I don’t necessarily like that it takes people screaming with fear to have this change happen, but nonetheless, we are moving in a great direction for agriculture. I will continue to share as much information that I can to help others make informed decisions.

And I am sure there are many out there who do not or will not share my glorified opinion of GMOs, and I am fine with that. If someone is looking for non GMO, I will gladly point them in the direction of an organic farmer. I want to see them prosper as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My 3-Year-Old Son Used the “F” Word

The word is probably not what you are thinking, but nonetheless, it appalled me. Where did he learn to use the word “fat?”

I was watching a Discovery Health show about a 600-pound mom while my son was playing in the floor. He looked up at the television and said, “Wow. She’s really big. She’s fat.” Aack. My first reaction was to tell him, “Yes, she is big, but it’s not nice to say that someone is ‘fat’. It can hurt their feelings.”

I had been so very careful when raising my older daughter to never use that word when referring to anyone, and I scolded family members who did use the word in front of her. I never wanted her to judge anyone by their appearance or worry that someone may use that word to describe her appearance. People rarely use that word to describe someone they like, so it is not a word in our vocabulary.

So have I become more lax? Do I need to reinforce my expectations with caregivers and family who are with my kids? I was not ready to have this conversation with my son, but I guess it could have been worse.

My inquisitive boy began to ask more questions. “How did she get like that?”

“She ate too much food, and food that was not healthy for her,” I replied.

Then I was able to turn it into a conversation about what is healthy food.

“What types of food are good for you?” He said he thought Craisins, milk and nuts were good for him.

“What are types of bad food?” He said pizza and candy. Then he sat there a minute and asked, “Then why do you let me eat pizza?” Great, he turned it around on me.

“Well, I don’t let you eat pizza all the time, and I don’t let you eat a lot of it.” Thank goodness that was the end of the talk, but I know it will come up again. In fact, this morning he informed me that his current cereal of choice was not healthy. I have decided not to share it because I don’t know if I want anyone to know that I purchased it.

In the end, I am still sad that he learned what the word means and felt the need to use it. The good news, however, is that this was one more opportunity for us to talk about healthy eating, and I’m proud that my preschooler is thinking about it. I praise God every day that I was blessed with good eaters and we have no food allergies in my house. I also praise God that I am able to set good examples for them and provide the food they need.

But my mission is now to find the culprit who taught him that awful 3-letter word and give them a lecture about loving others and themselves.
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