Monday, July 18, 2011

Think BETTER... Not Perfect

I had a conversation with some friends of ours this past weekend who had just had their first child. How awesome and how exciting it is to listen to new parents talk about their philosophy on parenting. There is a tremendous amount of conviction in the voice of parents’ of a first born when they talk about WHY they chose this stroller over that one, or WHY they choose to use cloth diapers over throw away diapers. Even more interesting, is listening to new parents discuss their philosophy on breasting feeding, supplementing with formula, and later on what type of foods they are going to feed their children. Every new parent, it seems, has the “perfect” plan for their child.

I think I find this so interesting for a few reasons and I think it also applies to our everyday health choices as adults.

Breastfeeding is an endless debate with endless questions to be answered. How long do you breastfeed you child? 6 months? 9 months? 1 year? Forever? Do I wake my child at night to feed even if they are sound asleep (this must be cross referenced with another question: Do you ever wake a sleeping baby?) Do you supplement with formula? At 6 months? Once a day? Never? Only right before bed because it makes them sleep all through the night? (Which is about as true as a good fiction book.) On and on go the questions.

Today in the parenting circles, there is a big push for kids to eat organic. There is organic formula that you can buy (again cross-reference the question about if you even give your child formula.) There are organic cookies, gluten free pretzels and chips, organic rice cereal and the list goes on and on. I even saw organic chocolate on the shelf at the store the other day.

For the purpose of this blog, we are going to focus on organic foods as our topic of discussion. As we were talking to our friends who I mentioned above, one of them turns to me and asks the question – “…but how do you know if it really organic?”

I told him about how I have heard that if the supplier is out of, say, organic lettuce, they just take the non-organic and put the organic packaging on it. I told him that technically if you have a garden, and you are watering it with your city water, it probably is not considered an organic garden because of all the chemicals they put in the water to “purify” it. He was shocked.

Then I told him he needs to change his way of thinking. I told him to think Better…not perfect. There is no perfect way of eating. There is a better way. Start by shopping the outer ring of the supermarket. This is where all the fresh foods are. Buy organic when you can. (It is not that much more expensive.) The reputation of the supermarket is important. Raley’s is one of my favorites. Know where the food comes from. What is better? A salad from McDonald’s or a fresh salad from your very own garden? B, correct, because you know EXACTLY what was put on it or not put on it. Shop farmer’s markets.

Especially with our children, we try to make the perfect choices. From now on, try to make the BETTER choice, and you will be able to rest easy and enjoy them!