There was a knock at the door and in came my neighbors with two big bags of chocolate Easter eggs for the kids. Not the healthy organic kind. Not the ethical fair trade kind. Two big bags of nasty Cadbury Crunch Easters eggs, the kind that we would never actually buy. We smiled, said “Thank you” and proceeded to devour the nasty chocolate. The first bite of that stuff is a little bit revolting, especially if you don’t eat it very often. It’s really acidic tasting and almost burns your throat going down… But, then, you eat more and more and after a while, it’s all you want to eat. You eat so much of it that you can’t even feel your taste buds and you totally loose your appetite to eat any real food. Sound familiar?
Now, it wasn’t JUST the neighbors who brought us sugary garbage, I can assure you, there has been a fair bit of it floating around our house and at friend’s houses over the past few days. Margo kept asking, “Can I have it? Can I have it?” I kept saying, “Yes“. The little one, of course, was eager to participate in our unethical garbage chocolate and junk food eating Easter binge.
Do we eat this way all the time? No! Have we overdosed on chocolate, ice cream and junk before? Yes! At least once or twice a year, usually right around this time of year (Half Price Easter Chocolate Time of Year) this chocolate and junkfood binging happens. Almost every year I tell Margo, “You can eat it, but you’re going to feel sick.” To which, Margo replies, “It’s ok, I want to get a tummy ache!!!” And, every year, she’s enthusiastically gotten her tummy ache and then we got back to our normal healthy, as ethical-as-we-can, home made, vegetarian, local, organic diet.
For lunch today, I asked her if she wanted some more chocolate, (almost as a cruel joke) she said, “NO!!!“. When I did serve them their lunch, which was a healthy organic meal with fresh spinach from our garden (the stuff we normally eat), they were shoving fistfuls of spinach down their throats. No doubt, trying to counter act the lack of nutrients they had not been getting over the past couple days.
So… why do I let my kids binge on junk sometimes???
Well, for one, I don’t want it to seem like eating garbage is such a naughty thing. I don’t want to teach them to be so stiff and rigid all the time. I believe that kids are capable of making intelligent decisions about their own body and about their health. They are also pushing the boundaries and learning about their bodies. Us adults, we control so many other aspects of their lives. I figure that if it’s not a life threatening decision, or will not be hugely detrimental for the overall good of humanity, then why not let them have just a little autonomy for once in the situation? When my kids are given a healthy and good variety of foods to choose from, they almost always eat exactly what they need. I get a bit experimental with my kids. Initially, I was afraid to let them eat garbage because I thought that they would only ever want to eat garbage. I was very careful not to give my first daughter sugar or chocolate until she was at least two-ish… but then, I started to get more relaxed about it. I’ve learned that kids (even babies) are very capable of selecting foods that meet their dietary requirements, when given plenty of healthy options, so long as they are not using the food as a control pattern.
I don’t want them to grow up with a complex thinking that eating chocolate and junk food needs to be secretive and shameful. I would rather them take ownership of this one small thing in their lives: awareness of what they’re putting into their bodies. I would rather let them be the boss for just a change and see how it feels to eat really crappy food. They do go a bit bonkers over the sugar, and there are always a few more meltdowns after the sugar rush, but I feel like that is all part of the process. I always talk to Margo afterwards about how eating that kind of food makes our bodies feel. I also talk to her about where the food comes from and how obtaining things unethically is not really a nice thing to do.
Did anybody else let their normally healthy kids binge on chocolate sugary junk this Easter? Come on, I know I’m not the only one!