If I Build It, They Will Come


When did my family veer off course when it came to eating mostly healthy snacks? Was there a specific date when this occurred or was the poisoning of our bodies more inconspicuous and gradual?

Long gone are the days when I used to spend endless hours reading food labels and not purchasing anything that wasn't created with natural colors and flavors. What happened to the Halloween treats that were willingly handed over to me in trade for homemade muffins?

WHEN DID ALL OF THIS MADNESS BEGIN????

These questions swirled wildly around in my mind as I filled up a large garbage bag full of various candy and gum wrappers, empty soda cans and crumpled up chip bags from my youngest son's bedroom this past week while he was on an out-of-state high school trip.

One of the first thoughts that rushed into my head was, "Oh my gosh, I wonder how many cavities the dentist will discover during his next teeth cleaning appointment?" My second thought was a bit more ominous, though. "What are we doing to our bodies and brains as we consume all of this toxic junk?"

Diabetes runs in my family. My grandfather, aunt, dad and brother were all diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes in their lifetimes. My oldest son has autism and ADHD. My youngest son has focus issues. More and more, we seem to be walking around in an over-tired, overstressed fog. Could all of this be exacerbated by consuming too much sugar and junk food. My brain and gut tell me a resounding YES! Now that I finally and reluctantly admit to this over-consumption of unhealthy snacks by my family, I would be remiss, at best, if I didn't do something about it.

My eat-more-healthy snacks crusade began somewhat unexpectedly later that week during a weekly grocery shopping experience at Smith's. My husband called on my cell phone to remind me to pick up some root beer and ice cream. All of the sudden, without any prior warning, I heard myself telling him, "no." WHAT??? Did those words actually come out of my mouth? I quickly looked around the area by my cart, but there was no one else standing near me in the aisle. Wow, it had to be me!

This was when that magical, profound, looking-back-someday moment happened. I would no longer be an accomplice to purchasing unhealthy snacks for my family. However, now that I finally came to this determination, how would I convince my family to go along with my crazy scheme.

My graphics background reminded me that "presentation is everything." After purchasing bananas, grapes, apples and mandarins, I needed to figure out a way to have them scream out, "I'M HERE. I'M YUMMY. EAT ME!". In the early hours of the morning while my family slept innocently in their beds unaware of the mayhem that was happening in our kitchen, I displayed all of the freshly-washed fruit on a two-tiered, wicker holder and placed it right in the middle of our kitchen counter. Now the real test was about to begin. Would they be drawn to it?

My son, JM, was the first of my family to venture into the kitchen that morning. I tried not to seem too excited as he walked over toward and looked inquisitively at the bountiful display. Then it happened. He reached over toward the bananas, picked one up in his hand, ate it, threw away the peel, and walked nonchalantly away.

My husband was next. The fruit display also caught his eye that morning. He grabbed a couple of grapes and popped them into his mouth. "Mmmmm, these are good," he said out loud as he looked in my direction. I smiled quietly as I nodded at him and acknowledged his response.

Okay, I have to admit that they both weren't as excited as I was about these new food choices. They didn't see all of the fireworks and fanfare going off in my mind. However, my ultimate mission of introducing my family to healthier snack choices has been accomplished.

Now if I could only get them to keep their bedrooms cleaner. Hmmmm....

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