My Mom was right. I’m now eating the proverbial humble pie.
When I was young, my mother was strict; no cookies, chips, soda pop and sweet cereals. Candy was only to be consumed on Saturdays. Meals were never fried; but steamed, seasonal, locally-grown fare accompanied by brown bread or brown rice. This menu sounds pretty normal for 2009, but this was what my mother was serving up nearly 40 years ago in the 1970’s.
The 1970’s! Wonder bread, luncheon mystery meats made from pork who-knows-what, Koolaid, Ho-Hos, hydrogenated oils, transfats and deeply fried food were the accepted norm. Back then, my brother and I would complain bitterly that we weren’t allowed to eat any it. My mother would curtly reply, “That food is junk. A healthy diet should be important to us.”
But in my 1970’s world, I longed for exactly the opposite: I wanted “unhealthy”. If I could have had a bucketful of Cheese Whiz, I knew I’d be in heaven. How I longed to eat what I considered the “good-tasting” stuff. Now, if I could just get my hands on some.
My best friend’s house had some of the items I craved. I use to load upon cookies and sugary cereal. Uh, of course I loved her “for her”. Conveniently, she also happened to be “loaded”. Now as I look back, I’m surprised that my friends’ mother didn’t call child protective services based on my voracious appetite.
Fast forward to the present day. And not surprisingly, my diet today closely mirrors that of my mother’s fresh selections 40 years ago. She knew it was important to impart her children with healthy choices and lifestyle. I actually relish a good, flavorful salad or a piece of fish. I eat a big healthy breakfast and keep myself fueled with fresh fruit and whole grains as snacks during the day. Oh yes, I definitely enjoy a cookie or ice cream or two. But the lessons of my early years remain with me and I am grateful for it. My mother gave me an enduring gift and with her wisdom, I can now pass that gift on to my children. They’ll fight me on it, but in the end, I know I’ll be giving them something that will last a lifetime.
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