As I pushed my cart around Walmart I became more and more self-conscious about its contents and the items I was adding to it. What a disaster. Soda, hot dogs, oatmeal cream pies, bacon, white buns, chips, cinnamon rolls....Yikes! By the time I was through I looked at my cart and I honestly couldn't remember the last time I'd had such a junk-filled trip.
Now, in the back of my mind I knew a few self-redeeming things about this trip:
- There were some OK things in the cart: oranges, grapes, potato salad...
- Our trips are never very produce section heavy... Why? Because we rely on our garden for our produce for the most part. A bulk of our food--even meat--we produce ourselves. We eat whatever we have in season. And while I am glad people shop out of the produce section, I find comfort in knowing we have our home-grown goods, which I know exactly how they were grown--chemical free.
- This particular trip was a one of a kind.... Filled with items we NEVER buy, but I'm fine with letting me or Mingus splurge on junk when it's a rare fun event with friends.
Despite these things, I still felt like the crazy pregnant lady with the food I was buying. That's when it hit me that what was bothering me wasn't about fatty, sugary or high calorie foods. It was about the literal JUNK in the "foods" (if you can call some of it that) in my cart. To think people thought The JUNK in these things would be going into my body,and, in turn, into my baby's as well.
Because of my small frame, I've always been fortunate to not have to worry much about my weight. I've had more and more friends, as I get older, pay attention to calories or certain diets in order to lose weight. I respect that--I hope I would/will have the discipline to follow a strict diet if I find myself in a situation of gaining too much weight.
No, it's not about the fact I wasn't buying low-fat, low-sugar, low sodium, weight-watcher friendly items. I realized what bothered me about this trip wasn't the lack of health labels on the items in my cart. It was what FDA doesn't require: all of the bizarre, weird, unpronounceable junk listed under "ingredients"--and worse off, the randomness that goes into those things that aren't required on the label.
It's what makes me eat an oatmeal cream pie and, while loving it, still asking myself exactly what makes it sooo good and last for months on end without going bad. It's what makes me gag a little when I drink too much soda, wondering what exactly goes into the sugary syrupy substance that makes it sweet. It's what makes me not even want to look at the ingredients list when I know I already know it's incredibly too long full of things no common person has ever heard of.
All I can think of looking at a cart like I was pushing are the chemicals going into my body, my husband's body and my baby's growing body. And the thing is, I know that by eating all of the junk in my cart I probably won't see immediate effects (maybe a tummy ache if I ate it all at once). My fear is the future.
It seems new allergy problems are becoming common on a regular basis in our society. More and more people experience heart and health problems at an earlier age. That's not to mention cancer--something it seems no one can hide from. I can't help but wonder and fear, as I eat things full of weird ingredients, that I am setting myself up for a future of dealing with weird food intolerance, other health issues, or heaven forbid, cancer.
I am far from a "perfect" eater. I have the world's worst sweet tooth, salty foods call my name, and I've definitely used pregnancy as a crutch for my ice cream weakness. As terrible as it is, I love McDonald's french fries. I do put bad things in my body. But I do usually feel badly about it and I try my very best to balance these impulses with also eating fresh goodness from our garden, taking my Juice Plus and putting off the time until my next splurge.
Despite your weight or body type, start taking some note of the extra "junk" you are putting in your body. You don't have to become a saint about leaving it out, but remember there are so many unknowns about what effects these things we consume are having on our bodies and health. The least you can do is be sure you are balancing out the bad with plenty of good: lots of organic fruits and vegetables.