And I know it…it’s calling a spade a spade. I know I’m a bit wacky and out there and I truly am more than OK with it. I like marching to the beat of a different drum and all that jazz. But sometimes, like today, I just have to shake my head at myself and reel myself in just a smidge.
Yesterday, Lucas told me he has never had a Ho-Ho, a Twinkie or a Ding Dong. I couldn’t really believe it to be true but I started wracking my brain trying to remember sometime, anytime, that I had ever purchased one of those items. And I couldn’t come up with a single time I brought a package of any one of those prepackaged sweets into our house. But I’ll tell you why and it didn’t start out as any type of stance against prepackaged sweets or preservatives or anything like that. It started out because when Stan and I got married I learned that he can’t control himself around stuff like that. I can ~ he can’t. I can eat just one and be satisfied and done…he wants to eat them all.
I grew up around all things junk food. Fritos? Check. Doritos? Sure. Twinkies? Yep. Ho-Ho’s? You betcha. It’s not to say everything that came into our house was just…on the contrary ~ we had veggies every night with dinner and fruit was abundant at our house. My dad just had, and still has, a metabolism that allows him to eat whatever, whenever and however he wants it. My mom was always on some wacky diet so junk food was never an issue in our house. I ate it if I wanted but it wasn’t the end all be all to me.
When Stan and I got married he was a 1st Lieutenant in the Army and his diet consisted of eating ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches to survive. I took over meals and food when we got married and tried to introduce some of my childhood favorites… although, I have to say Twinkies and the like never made it into my shopping cart. It was mainly chips and Oreos ~ all disappearing faster than you could say “Bob’s your uncle.” And then it happened. Stan got called “Fat” by his commanding officer. “Whoa ~ wait just a cotton picking minute ~ you just called my husband ‘FAT?!?'” was my first thought. My second thought was to prove him wrong. Food was my department at home and I just got insulted by Stan’s Battalion Commander. I was pissed so I made some changes in our household…low fat all the way. I took the junk away, for the time being.
When we had kids, I went back to buying some of the junk I had gotten rid of…pop tarts, toaster strudel and chips made appearances back in the house. I did start buying Kids Cuisine, Lunchables, Capri Sun and a few junkie cereals here and there but for the most part I made a lot of the treats I had in the house. Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho-Ho’s never made the cut.
Things changed again when Lucas was diagnosed with off-the-charts ADHD. The child psychologist who tested him said he had never, in 13 years of testing kids, seen a child score as far off the charts, in all areas, as Lucas did. In the months after his diagnosis, and before meds were implemented, I researched links, causes, effects and how to parent a child with ADHD without meds. What I found was a link to food dyes. And out went all of the foods with dyes…the junk food left our house for a second time. We said good-bye Capri Sun, Lunchables, Kids Cuisine, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Life Cereal. Organic and natural became the norm in our house…thank goodness for Trader Joes!
But today, I was in the grocery store and I decided to let the kids try the sugary treats with zero nutritional value. I threw all caution to the wind and was ready to surprise the hell out of my kids ~ if only I could find where they keep these sugary things…I wandered around the store looking and looking for the aisle containing Hostess snacks. They are not in the cookie aisle. They are not in the chip aisle. They are not in the soda aisle…Did you know they are in the bread aisle? I did not, but now I do. Hmmm, who knew??
As I stood there, looking over the selections presented to me, I picked up a box of Twinkies, read the ingredients list and promptly put it back on the shelf almost as if it were contaminated…it has yellow dye #5 in it. I then picked up the Ding Dongs, read the ingredients ~ no dyes. PHEW. And then my eyes slid to the left a little and saw the calorie and fat content…19 grams of FAT in one serving, I though,t and I promptly put those back as well. No Ho-Ho’s were to be found so I picked up the next best thing…Hostess Cupcakes. (There was nothing better, in my mind and when I was a kid, then to peel off the layer of frosting and set it to the side…to be savored after the cupcake was gone.) The ingredient list passed my test…no food dye. The calorie content was OK and the fat was doable. With a very slow hand I put the box of cupcakes in my cart. And then I saw packages of cupcakes with only two inside and I thought to myself…why not just get those? Then I don’t have loads and loads of cupcakes sitting around in my house. In the end I couldn’t do it…they weren’t the original Hostess cupcakes. If I’m gonna do this, I might as well get the real thing, right? And then I did something even a bit zanier, almost crazy and slightly manic. I threw in the Twinkies and the Ho-Hos. I just threw the neurotic Jenni under the bus and went to the complete and total opposite end of the spectrum…so my children can experience, once and for all the sickly sweet, zero nutritional value of Hostess snack cakes.
I will leave them here tonight with their boxes of junk but I will leave them with strict instructions ~ only one and they must eat their lasagna and fruit salad before they can leave my healthy, little neurotic world of organic treats and venture into the land of preservatives and food dyes. All in the name of Hostess. And then tomorrow I will sneak those boxes of snack cakes out of my house and drive them over to my parents’ house.
Oh, for the love of my children…