First Day

by - August 27, 2012

Thoughts from a foodie parent on the first day of first grade. The room is colorful, welcoming, warm and happy. The first thing that greets my daughter at her desk is a gummy worm woven in a cardstock apple. Cutesy first grade stuff once you look past the carcinogenic-riddled artificial colors and genetically modified corn syrup. As I could write an entire post just based on how much candy our children are given in schools, let alone at 8am in the morning (!), what struck me was that I wondered how many children in that classroom had ever seen an actual REAL worm inside a REAL apple before? Though I don't personally grow apples, we've come across a few during our applesauce canning endeavors. Inevitably there will be a few 'bad' apples with worms that have wriggled their way into bliss. My kids stick out their tongues in disgust, but it makes for an excellent lesson on mother nature.

Do our children know what real food is? Do they know that sometimes we have to share it with nature by allowing birds, worms and other of God's creatures to enjoy a bite now and then? Most of our children only know the pesticide/insecticide/fungicide smothered apples that look magazine perfect. You know the type. Perfect apples with that waxy, shiny gleam. These are the same children who are fed french fries by the USDA-approved school lunchroom menus and told they are eating vegetables. But I digress.

As a parent, remember that YOU are their first and BEST teacher. Teach them about real food. Teach them how to tell the difference between real and processed, nature made vs. factory made. Educate them. A healthy, future generation is our only hope to defeating the monsters that are stomping all over society today -- obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. A healthy, future generation that understands about real food is more important than making sure they can adhere and conform to state-regulated testing, in my opinion. Health is our foundation. Start there and build upon it.

Spend some of your days after school planting something ... anything. Work the land, get out in the sun, connect with food and the blessings God has given us.

This piece of advice is more for me than you: Don't let the fake corn-syrup filled worm in the cardstock apple get you down. Let it motivate you. Let it light the fire of being both a parent and a teacher to your child. We're starting this school year with the cup half full. We will continue on our health journey as a family one day at a time. One green smoothie at a time :)

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