The Healthy Life: I Give Up

by Amanda Magee
Originally Published: 

I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, so it shouldn’t be any huge shocker that I have some hippie tendencies. My mom sprinkled my yoghurt with wheat germ and my my chocolate chip cookies were actually carob and zucchini. I didn’t set out to be a crunchy mom, but one day I looked up and there I was, judging myself for not trying hard enough, not being strict enough.

We walked to the farmer’s market. We eliminated HFCS. We watered down their juice and we cut out artificial sweeteners. I bought grass fed beef and hormone free milk. As we went from the days of one kid needing packed snacks and lunches to two and then three kids needing them, I bought BPA-free containers and fabric snack bags. I compromised with myself to include one Capri Sun along with a stainless steel water bottle. Give them a little normalcy.

Until the BPA-free containers leaching chemicals articles started cropping up. My paraben-free, conventional produce judging self (oh yes, I judged, how can you not when you are consumed by doing things this way?) snapped.

“What do you mean they’re leaching chemicals?” I’d thrown out the plastics, ditched the water bottles, and embraced with glee the BPA-Free stuff. I had trusted.

Shortly after that, the hormone free lunch meat I’d been buying with great self-righteousness issued a recall.

Somehow I’d come to believe that if I paid the highest price, adhered more strictly, and committed to the ‘better way’ my kids would be safe.

“No carcinogens here.” Wrong.

Ok, so we’ll go strictly metal and glass.

Glass shatters.

Metal isn’t without faults.

Ok, paper. No, plastic. No, let them buy.

You know what? I give up. I’m crying uncle. I’m tired of seeking out the paraban free shampoos. I don’t want to buy peppers because they’re on the Dirty Dozen list only to have them mold before I unload them. I’m tired of the other kids eating fruit snacks and then buying my kids the ‘healthier’ fruit snacks and having them look at me with flared nostrils and apologetic eyes to say, “Umm, I don’t really like them.”

I don’t really care how much our groceries cost, the greatest expense to me right now is my sanity as I fret over whether their lunches are homemade enough, the containers safe enough, the food pure enough. I think the price of a frazzled, short tempered, judgmental mom is greater than the occasional sip of milk with rbST or snack pouch with a little HFCS.

A friend of mine said, “At the end of the day, your kids are going to school and they have food to eat.” Excellent point.

This school year I’m doing things differently, not because I love them less, but because I love them enough to know that I need to lighten up. So, raise a juice box and a pre-packaged snack bag with me and let’s toast back to school with a healthy dose of, “It’s going to be ok.”

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