The Politics of Motherfood, Part One

Like it or not, mothers are most often the ones in our society who decide on what food our families eat. It can be a burden at times, but it is also a pretty great power. Just think, we are the ones who can decide so much when it comes to the whole industry of food. You ready to embrace that power?

It’s a power we’ve long had — from our first decisions to eat differently while pregnant, to breastfeed or use formula, to buy organic or not, to embrace vegetarianism or the joy of the hamburger, it is almost always up to the mama.

Our decisions have extraordinary repercussions not only upon the health of our families, but for the entire planet. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that the politics of food will most likely pop up quite a lot on this blog.   

In belated honor of Earth Day (this mama was not writing but was glued to the television watching Pennsylvania primary results), here are a few simple tips that can help start the conversation.

1) Organic Food

Jeez – it’s not just me, is it? The cost of food is going up so much that it’s pretty tempting to pitch any sort of commitment to organic and go for the cheapest option.  The good news is that you can pick and choose the organic products you buy and still make a big difference.

The Environmental Working Group has made a list of foods that are most tainted by pesticides and therefore, are best bought organic. They are: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, grapes (if they’re imported), nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries.

If you eat meat, buying organic can break the bank. Try to opt for products where the animal was grass or vegetarian grain fed, where no hormones or antibiotics were given and where the animal was allowed some semblance of freedom. Each makes for a meat that is not only more humane, but healthier for you and the planet.  

2) Choose your TV choices wisely.

What? What in the world does TV have to do with the food my family eats? Well, unfortunately, too much. A 2004 study by the American Psychological Association showed that the television industry spends $12 billion (yes, that’s a b) on commercials aimed to kids, with the majority for sugared cereals, candy and sodas. It further found that kids can develop a preference for one food over the other with just a “single commercial exposure.”

Now, I’ve never been able to completely eliminate TV from my kid’s lives (oh, to be so pure), but information like this can help me make better choices for them.  Who knew it would help them have better diets?

This is just the beginning, and we will have, promise, more more about the politics of food. Happy eating!

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