Friday, April 11, 2014

Junk Food Throwback

What is it about family that drags you back to your childhood eating habits?

Before I begin I want to say adamantly that my parents made sure that my brothers and I had a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day of my childhood.

However, I was blessed with growing up in the late seventies and eighties. The time when junk food became...well junk food. Fast food consumption increased exponentially as more and more women returned to the workforce. Packaged and processed foods were easier to direct your attention to for snacking. Opening a bag of Doritos was much easier than washing and cutting an apple. Not to mention that grocery stores were offering specials on Little Debbie's and potato chips rather than salad greens and bananas.

Needless to say my childhood holds memories of Fruity Pebbles, Captain Crunch and Lucky Charms for breakfast; Kool-Aid and Fudge Stripes for a snack; Ballreich's chips for lunch; Jell-O pudding pops for dessert and Pepsi with our buttered popcorn at night.

I am by no means complaining that I had access to these delectable and highly addictive treats. I realize that many did not have the money to purchase such luxuries and I consider myself lucky that we were in a position to do so.

Let us get back to the addictive part. It is no secret that processed foods are the bane of our existence and a main reason for the decline in human health and the rise in obesity. Yet they still are readily available and if you have tried couponing you realize that the marketers of the world are still pushing you to purchase these convenience foods.

As I aged I grew into a more whole-food based diet which was by no means perfect. I still only use Jiff Peanut Butter (although in my defense I switched to natural) and always have Pepsi (never diet) in my fridge.

Both my brother's diets also grew to appreciate more non-processed foods, which took a huge hit when they started having children. Mac & Cheese and chicken nuggets are universally loved by all children and sometimes dinner is a fight not worth fighting. But overall the three of us made it out of our childhood into a better-for-you world of food.

Except when we are together.

My brother and his family visited this past week and both of us are "dieting" (him more than me). When shopping for food I spent little time on the outside of the store and more time in the cookies and chip aisle. It is a habit. I revert to what I know. So sure we had some healthy-ish meals but we also partook in PB & J sandwiches, chips, fruit snacks and of course Chips Ahoy cookies.
I would love to say that this is an isolated incident but this sort of thing occurs every time I am with my family. When I go home to my parent's house and we all get together it is like snack world exploded onto our table. At home on a regular basis I rarely snack and drink pop (soda, Coke, whatever you want to call it) maybe 2 or 3 times a month.

At Mom & Dad's? I snack constantly and drink at least 2 pops a day.

Is it for comfort? Is it complete regression? I really don't know.

What I do know is that nothing will change unless ALL of us decide it is the right thing to do. We all have health issues that need to be addressed and cutting out processed foods would absolutely be a step in the right direction.

Might be time to hold a family meeting and get down to business.

Either that or grab a bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream and chase it with a Nesquik chocolate milk.

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