The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Will Baby Turn Us Into Foodies Again or Will We Corrupt Her?

A delicious stir-fry with leftovers from making baby food:
sorghum, pork, peas, sweet potatoes and yellow squash,
cooked with butter and salt! Served with Greek yogurt mixed in (not shown).
(all organic, pasture-raised, yadda yadda)

It's been over two years since I gave up my 20-year, big-bag-a-day snack chip addiction. Things are holding pretty steady. I basically don't eat chips anymore (with a possible relapse I discuss below). I still crave them, though.

What has happened, unfortunately, is that the rest of my diet has gone to hell in a handbasket. Andrea, too. Ever since Lucy was born, we've really gone on a downhill binge. Maybe for me it's a way to replace one junk food addiction with another, or maybe it's just what's normal for under-slept, stressed-out new parents. We now regularly consume the following items that were rarities in the past:
  • Fast food
  • Frozen, microwaveable dinners
  • Canned soups
  • Cereal
  • Desserts
  • Candy
  • Soda pop beverages
Despite my snack chip habit, I almost never ate the above items. Now they are mainstays. The carbs from chips may have been bad enough, but I almost never ate sugary foods. In the past I had one vice—a huge vice, but just one. I wondered whether I could still claim that overcoming this addiction is still a "win" given all of the other problems that have come in its wake.

I mentioned above a snack chip relapse. I had a run-in with a sleeve of Saltine crackers on a few occasions. It may not sound like a big deal, but I know where the line is, and it's fair to say that I probably broke my snack chip fast this way. I was eating them the way I used to eat chips. I wasn't just crumbing a few into soup, rather I was binge eating them late at night.

Given all my other dietary shortcomings, I have often wondered if keeping chips away was really much of an accomplishment in light of all the other pitfalls I have fallen into. What harm would it bring to re-introduce some chips, I wondered?  However, my brief experience with Saltines has reminded me why chips are in a category of their own. When I ate them, of course I enjoyed it. But I was surprised that I also felt disjointed. My rhythms were off. It took me to an old, familiar place where I no longer wanted to be. I didn't like my mood. I quickly realized this didn't feel good and stopped.

I have long postulated that addiction stands in the way of our real vocation, our love and our accomplishments. Even though I don't sense a direct connection, perhaps it is not a coincidence that some of the most noteworthy events of my life—marriage, parenthood and significant professional milestones (particularly around publishing)—all happened during the two years I was sans chips.

Who's the real foodie in the family?

The big challenge, of course, is that we can't keep up the charade forever with Lucy. She eats a pristine, almost 100% organic, nutrient-dense menu of foods. Meanwhile, mom and dad are plowing fast food on the way to the organic food store. Sooner or later, she'll either latch onto our habits or we'll latch onto hers. We've struggled with eating well, so we know what we're up against.

Being busy parents has pushed us to eat poorer than before, but Lucy has also been helping us eat better. It's been a mix.

In a previous post, I talk about making baby food. I tend to make it in stages. I'll cook up (usually by steaming) lots of fruits, veggies, meats and grains and store them in the fridge in glass containers.  On top of that, we keep lots of fresh, organic fruits on hand at all times as well as dried figs, prunes and apricots and frozen fruits of all kinds.  I'll blend up meals and freeze them within the next day or two after cooking. There is some nutrient loss in not freezing them immediately after steaming, but this is a consequence of being busy parents who only have so much time in a day. (Once food has been blended into a puree, however, it is immediately put in the freezer as those do not hold up well at all).  If Lucy doesn't like something, or if it has been sitting more than a couple days, I'll take her food and mix it into stir-frys, omelets and soups for the adults. We've had some wonderful meals that way (the picture at the top is an example).

1 comment:

  1. You probably won't be in real trouble until she starts school. Between school lunches and friend's snacks she will learn about Other foods. You may want to start a garden now and homeschool. That will work for a couple of years. Good luck!