Monday, August 01, 2011

Comparison shopping

I have had many conversations with The Ex about food as relates to our son. Many, many conversations. During the first couple of years after we split up, the primary message was this: Remember to feed The Kid.

Because he had a habit of forgetting that minor detail. Often.

Eventually The Ex got remarried. And while I have had plenty of issues with his new wife, it hasn't been all bad. Thanks to her influence, my child now gets three meals a day when he stays with his dad. But he also still gets a lot of processed food heavy on the high fructose corn syrup.

And this, I fear, is not going to change. Nutrition is one area where The Ex and I are in complete disagreement (I'm a whole foods kind of gal and he thinks all that healthy food talk is hippie bullshit). And I have to be okay with that. Much as I'd like to, I don't get to dictate The Ex's grocery selections.

Instead of fretting (much) about things I can't control, I fret about the things I can. In this case, that means I spend a fair amount of time teaching The Kid about good food choices. Lately we've been talking about "real" food vs. "fake" food. I've had him read labels of various food options to see that a) some "foods" contain very little food, and b) many foods that appear to be healthy are actually full of sugars and preservatives. Last week we conducted a little experiment and compared the ingredients of some "real food" foods with their "fake food" counterparts. Here's what we found.

The maple syrup in our fridge: 100% pure organic maple syrup

Mrs. Butterworth's Thick and Rich Syrup: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, salt, cellulose gum, molasses, potasium sorbate (preservative), sodium hexametaphosphate, citric acid, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors

The wheat cider bread in our pantry: course whole wheat flour, apple cider, wheat berries, unbleached white flour, filtered water, sesame seeds, honey, molasses, sea salt, yeast

Orowheat 100% Whole Wheat Bread: whole wheat flour, water, sugar, wheat gluten, yeast, extract of raisins, salt, wheat bran, cracked wheat, molasses, soybean oil, calcium propionate (preservative), sodium stearoyl lactylate, mono- and diglycerides, calcium sulfate, honey, soy lecithin, azodicarbonamide

The sliced ham in our fridge: ham, salt

Oscar Meyer Deli Fresh Honey Ham: ham, water, honey, salt, sodium lactate, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrate

The lemonade in our fridge: water, lemon juice, organic evaporated cane juice

Lemonade flavored Capri-Sun: water, sugar, lemon juice concentrate, citric acid, potassium citrate, natural flavor, vitamin e acetate

The peanut butter in our fridge: organic dry roasted peanuts

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter: roasted peanuts, sugar, molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean), mono and diglycerides, salt

...and now I have a kid who will absentmindedly read the list of ingredients on the cereal box while he munches away at breakfast. My job here is done.

The Kid and I have been up to a lot of hippie bullshit these days. We're currently half-way through a week-long carbon cleanse and blogging about it at Green Legume. Pop over if you're interested.

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