Does It Really Matter?

 

I can’t sleep. This is crazy. I am driving 10 people early next morning to St. George and I can’t sleep! I will be driving our 12 seater van pulling a trailer. We were wondering how we could fit all the gear and luggage for 10 people to take a five -day trip, including three people going camping, so we started asking around. My husband borrowed the trailer from his office sharing partner, a man with 15 kids. I am wondering if this friend got it for his family road trips, because of all the stuff his kids bring. Please pray for me to drive safely, as I have never towed a trailer before. (Just don’t back up and drive no more than 69 are my two mantras for the next day.) My son and three of his classmates are going to Elevation, a camp for Williamsburg Academy. See http://wacademy.org/outdoor-program

 

Our Easter celebration was fun and meaningful. We missed my two oldest kids though for our Easter egg hunt and watching “The Easter Dream.” They are at the age where invitations to go to a party with friends to watch Les Mis and eat pizza or earn money are more appealing than dying Easter eggs and eating candy. I guess that’s part of having kids grow up. Sigh. My husband even chose to work on fixing bicycles instead of doing the hunt. I got the “better for you candy” at the health foods store like I always do to fill the plastic Easter eggs: chocolate-covered raisins, yogurt-covered pretzels, and those sunspire chocolate covered candies, in the spring colors. We find the eggs along with 12 real Easter eggs and then go down the candy while we watch the video and think about the sweetness in life that comes from Jesus.

 

Sometimes I wonder if it really makes a difference as to the limit of white sugar I give my children. I’ve always been one to limit white sugar for my children just on the principle that it is empty calories. I like sugar as much as the next person and do occasionally eat it, although there have been times when I gave it up for months. When I was first-time pregnant I went off it for nine months because I read in the What to Eat When You Are Expecting book that it shouldn’t be part of a pregnant mom’s diet. Oh, how disciplined I was back then. Hey, maybe that’s why my firstborn is so smart. But I have never been able to be that virtuous since then. When I was a teen, there were times when I would overeat it and I felt addicted to it, but since then I have conquered the addiction and can have some evil white sugar candy around and have some if I feel hungry, and then not gorge, and leave it be. When I was in college I went off it for several months and lost a lot of weight.

 

I am practicing intuitive eating these days. If my body wants it, I will eat it. At my cousin’s son’s wedding reception last week I was so proud of myself that I bypassed the chocolate fondue fountain. I normally love to eat chocolate but I just didn’t feel hungry for chocolate that night. Wow, that’s a first!

 

I remember talking to some relatives about white sugar and keeping away from it. Their wife and mother had always taught them it was bad for you, so I thought the whole family was anti-white sugar. They confessed that it didn’t affect them. They could eat it and stop and not have the bad effects of wanting more and more, or getting sick from it like the wife and mother claimed was the effect that happened to her. It hit me that people are sensitive to different things, whether it be alcohol, drugs, allergens, or food.

 

White sugar is empty, that’s why it’s bad, but some people can have it and they still feel healthy. So ever since then I’ve enjoyed it a bit more, although, it does make me fat. I don’t bake with it but I let my children and myself enjoy it when it’s offered, sometimes. White sugar is bad, but it’s not fake, total “red light” toxic, man-made food like Splenda or NutraSweet.

 

I felt like I was doing pretty well in the department of protecting my children from too much bad food, i.e. white sugar foods. Then I found out from my friend about petroleum in foods, and that means there’s even more “bad food” to watch out for. I had never heard of petroleum in food and what’s the big deal about it before I met her. I was used to eating pretty much the “whole foods” diet that La Leche League preaches but didn’t know to watch out for preservatives in the tortilla chips we buy or the salsa.

 

Here’s my friend’s blog, http://gotpetroleum.blogspot.com and what she says:

Do you have petroleum in your food?
Artificial colorings, flavorings, BHA, BHT, and TBHQ are made from petroleum. They have all been linked to symptoms such as ADHD, autism, sensory disorders, bed wetting, tics, asthma, and several other neuroconnector issues.
Read the blog for always acceptable recipes and great success stories.
For more information on brand name products that do not include petroleum please see http://www.feingold.org/

She even has a link on her blog to some homemade, petroleum free Peeps.

 

So we went on the Feingold diet, hoping that it would cure my daughter’s frequent stomach aches. Honestly, I did not notice a difference and neither did she. My boys did not stop fighting or doing stuff that makes me want to tear my hair out. My friend says her boys’ behavior improved dramatically and her son was able to go off all his meds. That’s great! Apparently her boys’ were sensitive to food dyes. Either my kids aren’t, or we just weren’t eating that much food dye before to notice a difference. I am wondering, does it really matter for every person, or just some people? If these toxins don’t affect us or our kids now, with the symptoms mentioned above, do they accumulate in our bodies and cause cancer later? I don’t know.

 

So if your kids have challenges like ADHD or autism, look into the Feingold diet, which is a diet free from petroleum. Maybe red licorice or strawberry milkshakes are what makes your child turn into a monster and you haven’t made the connection yet. It might make a difference, but apparently, it has not for us. People are sensitive to different things. For the most part, I will continue not to buy things with food dye in them or artificial flavorings or preservatives, although come to think of it, that Easter candy I bought is probably not Feingold safe.  But if I am hungry away from home and someone offers me “bad food,” or if I am feeling a tight food budget, I just might cheat a little.

 

It does sound awful to know that any food that is artificially colored, like Easter jelly beans or Peeps, has petroleum in it. “I will not partake of things that are harmful to my body,” is one of the LDS Gospel Standards sweetly emblazoned on posters and in the Friend magazine. Whenever I see that I smile and chuckle, and wonder about how far I am willing to go with that standard, and how far other LDS are willing to go. I am super sensitive to ideals.  So I start wondering if that means things that are potentially harmful based on the theory of empty foods, i.e. junk foods and food that theoretically sounds harmful because of petroleum, or are we talking about food that is proven to be harmful, like the Word of Wisdom no-nos. From the amount of candy and junk sold at the BYU bookstore, especially during Education Week and Women’s Conference, I think most LDS are thinking of the latter.

 

But for this road trip I am taking in the next 24 hours, I am keeping a stash of artificially colored Easter candy handy that my visiting teacher brought over.  You just never know when the desire for some peace from a 1 year-old strapped in a car seat for four hours overwhelms the fear factor of cancer and behavioral problems.

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