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Why is offering lots of unhealthy, processed foods considered a "loving" gesture? - Page 4

post #61 of 85

There will be no permanent damage from junk food on vacation. We eat healthy organic local food at home, but when we visit friends and relative , we eat what is offered. There is a lesson in that too.

post #62 of 85

On the flip side I have a great story from when I was staying with my friends three teen age girls - Mom was (is) a midwife and vegetarian and always feeds her kids well -

I was in the guest room and the girls were talking amongst themselves - the oldest just says "you know what my FAVORITE  food is?" KALE and onions!

 

This girl was very active and in band etc and had been very busy and had not had a chance to eat anything but fast food for several days - she walked through the door and announced to her mother

"We BETTER be having TOFU for DINNER!"

 

post #63 of 85

I certainly know what you're going through! Our families live on junk food. So whenever we visit it's always being offered to him and when I say no it's "Oh come on! That's what grandmothers/aunts are supposed to do!" Uh no.

post #64 of 85

I think it's hard b/c yeah sure "once and a while won't kill them" but there is no benefit to it either and since everyone I know for the most part eat complete crap once in a while is any and every time we go to someone else house! So say 5-10x a month is NOT once in a while.

post #65 of 85

And, of course, the topic of this thread isn't "will it hurt them" because of course most of us are ok with occasional treats, at some level, and most of us eat what we're offered, to a point.  The question here is, why is junk food equated with "love" for so many people?  Especially when it is offered to a child?

 

I think it comes down to the question, is it more loving to give a child what she wants, or to give a child what's good for her?  The way our families have answered those questions, historically, will have a great amount of influence on how we answer them ourselves.  In many families, it's the parents' job to give the child what's good for her, and the grandparents' (or aunts' or uncles' or godparents', etc.) job to give the child what she wants and never gets at home.  This is equated with 'love' and it is easy enough to understand why.  My toddler is normally a little reticent, but she showers hugs upon anyone holding chocolate.  So I suppose it's only natural for people to want to watch her delight at biting into some bad-for-her-but-yummy 'treat.' 

 

 And of course most children want junk food, if they've had any exposure to it.  Crap food -- especially crap food designed for children -- has been designed by a lot of very smart people to be as addictive and tastebud-stimulating as possible, so it will be more desirable than natural foods and will therefore make a lot of money.  Like a PP said, a child accustomed to jelly beans won't savor the sweetness of a blueberry.  Higher profit margin on jellybeans!  It's just our job to make sure that junk foods stay out of their regular diet so that they CAN enjoy the real delights of real food.  It gives them a better chance at a healthier life and a more joyful relationship with food.  And isn't THAT what love is all about?

post #66 of 85

When we visit "home", we stay with my DH's grandma. Not because she eats appropriately (she DOESN'T), but because she takes absolutely no offense to us buying/bringing our own food. I stayed with her for a week over the 4th. The only "junk" my DS had was when we went to the two parties (one at my moms, one at MIL's) and luckily (hahaha) DS has Celiac so he stayed away from the worst of it anyway (cookies, cake) without any extra reasoning. I always take a huge bag of organic dry goods (pastas, nut crackers, hazelnut and/or sunflower seed butters, etc) with me when I go - and then pick up produce when I get there. GIL doesn't mind me keeping it in the fridge while we're there and she doesn't mind at all if I prepare all of our own meals. This time around she even tried one winky.gif.

 

Anyway, when it comes to parties and things, I'm just the mean one. And I don't care. My family and DH's are all wonderful, kind people that we get along with... but they are very mainstream and they eat like it. They have identified me as "weird" as far as food - - good. I find that more and more often they pause, look at me and say, "Is it okay for him to have this...?" I either just say "Yes" or "No" and try to do it with a tone of finality. They occasionally ask for reasons and I don't mind explaining......... DS is INSANELY sensitive to gluten, I don't know how/where the food was prepared, he's sensitive to lactose, processed junk constipates him (and my family has actually seen him when constipated, prior to CD diagnosis, not pretty) and we have a whole family problem of damaged guts I'm trying to heal. I try to keep it to a bottom line that I'm saying no because it's important - if it wasn't a big deal, I'd let it slide. But it is a big deal. 

 

I have a niece who is almost exactly the same age as DS. She's not exactly my niece I guess, DH's best friend's daughter. Anyway they've been together since infancy and the way they feed her DISGUSTS ME. She was drinking 10 oz of formula per feeding (NOT an exaggeration) by 4 months old. They skipped baby food (purees) - but they went straight to chips, pretzels, and popcorn. My 8-month-old niece would LITERALLY hang out eating barbeque chips with her parents at game nights on the weekend. Now that she's 3 it's pretty much McDonalds and Burger King. Everything about it frustrates me and grosses me out but hey - she's their kid. And whenever they have cared for DS, they always give him whatever we provide for him and never question it. They are always careful and recently called me to ask if they could bake the cake for his "hometown" birthday party... and asked for instructions (where to get organic ingredients, what kind of flours to use for gluten-free baking, etc). Everyone has the right to make their own decisions about what they put in their bodies, and their kids' bodies... but not my kid's body. The people I get along with the best are the ones who genuinely respect my right to guard his gut! 

post #67 of 85

Comtessa has a good point!  And I think you are right too PP in saying that people need to RESPECT what a parents choices are for their child.  In my family, no one respects my choices because they say "I know it will not hurt her so whats the harm, I just wont tell her mom about it".  I wish very much that my friends and family did respect my choices, but they are so confidant that they know Everything and their knowledge tells them that crap food is harmless, therefore DD can have it and they just wont tell me so as not to make me mad.  UGH.

And about "occasional junk food is harmless", well I think it depends on the child.  If DD even gets a little junk, she gets horrible diarrhea, and gets a rash and tummy ache.  Thats not harmless in my opinion because her tummy and the rash ruins at least 1 whole day for her, she cries a lot, and is miserable.

Another point would be that some things that are put in food such as synthetic sweeteners are dangerous neurotoxis, as explained in this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvzDHGLEUyw&feature=watch-now-button&wide=1     

You may not see immediate effects, but who's to say that the child may have had a higher IQ, or not had whatever problem, later in life had he/she not eaten .............. whatever junk it was.  Just a thought. 

 

post #68 of 85


BTW I was kind of indirectly responding to this post with my above post...thought I'd mention that since people are quoting me now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

There will be no permanent damage from junk food on vacation. We eat healthy organic local food at home, but when we visit friends and relative , we eat what is offered. There is a lesson in that too.



 

post #69 of 85

I'm not a parent yet, but I already know this is going to be a problem with my family. My family gives me a hard time for eating SO HEALTHY (although not as healthy as I know I should or want to sometimes). I just tell them, "Look at all the unhealthy stuff you fed me growing up and I struggle every single day to make healthy choices about exercise and food. DH grew up eating well and being really active, and while he can enjoy some junk food here and there, it's a no-brainer for him to choose the healthy options." That's how I want my child to grow up.

post #70 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

There will be no permanent damage from junk food on vacation. We eat healthy organic local food at home, but when we visit friends and relative , we eat what is offered. There is a lesson in that too.


 

This.

 

Our philosophy is to eat exceptionally well in our home and then 'do as the Romans do' when we are guests at another person's home. Our daughter will be gently encouraged to choose the best possible options from what is available; but we see at as rude and inconveniencing to expect others to cater to our standards when visiting, or for us to flat out refuse food that they've spent their own time/energy/finances preparing for us because it doesn't meet our exact specifications. When we visit my family, we stay with my mom; there are many reasons for this, but one being that she eats similarly to us so it relieves some of the food burden and we don't feel like odd ducks (and she's cool with us bringing food in). When we stay with others, we try to be gracious and honor the act of them sharing and providing for us by partaking. Pure wholesome foods and excellent nutrition are extremely important for us to impart to DD, but so are social graces and fostering warm relationships with people who think differently from us (especially family). Sometimes, one priority has to give way to make room for another.


Edited by AnnaBees Mama - 7/21/11 at 9:34pm
post #71 of 85

Quote:

Originally Posted by Comtessa View Post

And, of course, the topic of this thread isn't "will it hurt them" because of course most of us are ok with occasional treats, at some level, and most of us eat what we're offered, to a point.  The question here is, why is junk food equated with "love" for so many people?  Especially when it is offered to a child?

 

I think it comes down to the question, is it more loving to give a child what she wants, or to give a child what's good for her?  The way our families have answered those questions, historically, will have a great amount of influence on how we answer them ourselves.  In many families, it's the parents' job to give the child what's good for her, and the grandparents' (or aunts' or uncles' or godparents', etc.) job to give the child what she wants and never gets at home.  This is equated with 'love' and it is easy enough to understand why.  My toddler is normally a little reticent, but she showers hugs upon anyone holding chocolate.  So I suppose it's only natural for people to want to watch her delight at biting into some bad-for-her-but-yummy 'treat.' 

 

 And of course most children want junk food, if they've had any exposure to it.  Crap food -- especially crap food designed for children -- has been designed by a lot of very smart people to be as addictive and tastebud-stimulating as possible, so it will be more desirable than natural foods and will therefore make a lot of money.  Like a PP said, a child accustomed to jelly beans won't savor the sweetness of a blueberry.  Higher profit margin on jellybeans!  It's just our job to make sure that junk foods stay out of their regular diet so that they CAN enjoy the real delights of real food.  It gives them a better chance at a healthier life and a more joyful relationship with food.  And isn't THAT what love is all about?

I've been thinking about this, and how I see it is- Love is a long term thing.  Your childs life is long term.  The happiness that they will get from junk is short term.  Very short term.  So, I think it is showing your love for them to NOT give in to their wants for junk, and instead do what you know is best for them, because their bodies are literally made out of what they consume, and like I said, they will have that body for the rest of their lives.  The love you show them by not doing what everyone else is doing(throwing junk at them all the time) is a greater love than if you were to give in and let them have what they want. 

I guess this reminds me of when I was a teenager and I wanted to stay over at a certain friends house because she snuck out of her house at night to go meet up with guys, but my mom would never let me stay over at her house.  At the time, I was very unhappy because I could not have what I wanted so bad, but now I am very thankful because who knows what could have happened.  I could have ended up pregnant like her at 16 and would not be where I am at now.  I believe my mom was showing me love by not letting me have what I wanted, but instead doing what she knew was best for me.
 

post #72 of 85

I think the tendency to offer children unhealthy food as an act of love comes from the tradition of hospitality where a host offers a guest something they believe the guest will particularly like.  It's indisputable that children like sweet things - there have been studies done - so, alas, those treats are often sugary and sometimes veer right into gross territory.  Personally, I think it would be thrilling if people offered home-made treats.  In my personal fantasy of being a fabulous hostess, I have fresh fruit hand-pies available at all times.  Alas, I don't have the time, and neither do the vast majority of people I know.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1love4ever View Post

When you go to a Dr now, they do not even ask about your diet usually!!  It is outrageous.  Even OBs when you are pregnant (where I live anyway) do not even mention diet, and it is so crucial to a babys development!   Same with my neighbors little boy- he has been to the doctor several times a month since he was only a few months old(she started him on solids at 2 months!) for all sorts of stuff from constipation to ear infections to the flu, cold, broncitis, broken arm(obviously he does not drink raw milk or eat raw cheese!), terrible teether, unexplained fever, unexplained crying, and of course vaccinations.  And I have asked her a million times if the Drs ever asked about his diet, and she said NO, they dont even mention food or ask about food at all.  WOW, seriously, for a kid who has seen you at least 40 times, you do not ask one of the most obvious questions?  UGH!



I admit, I haven't surveyed my neighbors, but my kid's doctors (we've seen a total of 6 doctors and 3 pediatric nurse practitioners at two practices) ask about diet at every well visit.  Not so much at sick visits - those tend to be shorter.  But like I said, I haven't surveyed my neighbors.

 

I have to say, though, that the collection of illnesses and injuries you list here would not lead me to think the child was malnourished.  Ear infections, flu, cold, and bronchitis are all highly contagious and easily transmitted to young children by caregivers and older siblings.  In the absence of an underlying genetic condition, a broken arm can sometimes be seen as an indicator of a healthy level of physical activity, depending on the cause (many active kids never break bones, but sedentary kids don't break bones through physical activity and have a really hard time recovering when they're injured in accidents or as a result of abuse).  And some people just get unlucky with the constipation.  

 

1love4ever, I hate to sound rude, but you seem kind of hung up on your neighbor's child's diet and medical care.  I'm sure it's just the way you're dealing with the topic of this particular thread, because you feel strongly about childhood nutrition and your care in re. your own child's diet leaves you little to comment on, but it does sound a little judgmental.  Maybe you have more influence on your neighbor's child's diet if you stopped quizzing her about her child's doctor visits, and just offered him a slice of fruit or some whole grain crackers or whatever your child is eating when they drop in.  

post #73 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1love4ever View Post

Quote:

I've been thinking about this, and how I see it is- Love is a long term thing.  Your childs life is long term.  The happiness that they will get from junk is short term.  Very short term.  So, I think it is showing your love for them to NOT give in to their wants for junk, and instead do what you know is best for them, because their bodies are literally made out of what they consume, and like I said, they will have that body for the rest of their lives.  The love you show them by not doing what everyone else is doing(throwing junk at them all the time) is a greater love than if you were to give in and let them have what they want. 

I guess this reminds me of when I was a teenager and I wanted to stay over at a certain friends house because she snuck out of her house at night to go meet up with guys, but my mom would never let me stay over at her house.  At the time, I was very unhappy because I could not have what I wanted so bad, but now I am very thankful because who knows what could have happened.  I could have ended up pregnant like her at 16 and would not be where I am at now.  I believe my mom was showing me love by not letting me have what I wanted, but instead doing what she knew was best for me.
 


It is, of course, a parent's job to set limits.  But the love that my dd got from a relationship that started over tootsie rolls she shared with my great-grandfather will also last a lifetime, even though he has gone.  My older dd is the only child in her generation of my extended family to have known him while he was alive.  He was very deaf when they met, and she was very shy - she had such a quiet little voice.  I thought it would bring him pleasure to see her, but I did not think they would be friends.  I am so glad they came to know each other, and when I mourn my grandfather, I mourn the bond my older daughter has and the love that her sister and cousins will never directly know.  He sent her a bag of tootsie rolls for her fifth birthday with a note that said "One A Day" in his lovely, loving spike-y handwriting (the same writing that came on notes he sent me in college along with coupons for peanut butter, "For You," and the notes he sent me on news clippings until he died "Sounds Interesting,").  I kept the note - it's in her baby book.  He died very old, but I would let my children eat a million more tootsie rolls if he could send a note to my younger dd, too.  

 

post #74 of 85

I did not say malnourished(although his head, height and weight are all between 5% and 20%, and have been since she took him off the breast at 6 months), my point is that he has nothing giving him anything to get over illesses, no vitamins, nothing to help his body heal(which you would get from fresh fruits and veggies and other raw food).  He was sick for 4 straight months, and my DD was around him every other day(and would sometimes grab his water and drink it) and never caught a thing(one time she had a runny nose for 1 day though).  And she is a stay at home mom so her kid is not exposed to other kids except mine.  This kid is just an excellent example of what this thread is about, not that I should have to defend myself.  And the broken arm thing was ridiculous, I was there.  How can your bones be strong and dense if all you eat is chips and hot dogs and candy?  I know a few things about other peoples kids, but none enough to speak with confidance about them only eating crap except that little boy and the girl I mentioned above.  And the worst part about what you said about me offering him a healthy food when he comes over?  She does not bring him to my house because she does not want him to eat the healthy things that I have(she thinks it is mean to "make" a kid eat healthy, but I dont feed DD anything she does not like, in fact she loves fruit and a lot of veggies)!!  I offered him watermelon that DD was eating one time, and she gave me a disgusted look but let him have it anyway.  He actually ate a little bit of it and she made him stop because dinner was in 2 hours.  Like watermelon really fills you up....

I guess it may have sounded like I quiz her about her Dr visits but I do not.  Like I said before, she calls me every time he goes to the doctor and she tells me everything that happened and everything that was said, and sometimes I ask her if the Dr asked about diet and she says NO, and other times she tells me straight out that her Dr "did not even mention diet so obviously it is not important."  (she also calls me because I dont take DD to every well child check because I dont vaccinate so she thinks that by telling me all the "crucial" information that she got that she can influence me to go see the Dr so she encourages me to ask her questions)   No Dr that I have ever seen has ever asked me about my or my childs diet, and I have asked several other friends who are healthy eaters about it, and their Drs have never asked either.  Maybe it is the extremely conservative area we live in.....

 

Again, not that I should have to defend everything that I say.  I am not rude to my neighbor and our friends actually say that I should try harder to get her to improve her kids diet because of how sick he always is (he has basically not been well since he got off formula and on to all solids and regular pasturized cows milk) but I tell them that I am not going to harass her about it or she will hate me.  She knows how I feel, she knows what she feeds him is not healthy but she thinks thats ok(mainly I think because she trusts 100% in Drs and if the Dr did not mention it, then it is not important).  I have told her and I continue to mention to her every once in awhile these things and she knows that if she ever has questions she can ask.  Like a PP said, we need to respect other parents choices for their children (even if they are poor choices).  There is nothing wrong with trying to reason with them, but if they wont listen, that is still their kid and it is their right to give them what they choose.  All we can really do is just sit in the background and feel sorry for them.  Yes of course offer them something healthy if we get the chance with their parents permission and believe me I do try.


Edited by 1love4ever - 7/21/11 at 10:46pm
post #75 of 85
I don't know my own children's records well enough to say with any certainty what trends they have been following on the growth curve. It sounds like you need to disengage from discussions of health and nutrition with your neighbor.
post #76 of 85

We have this problem already and our baby isn't even born yet. My mother in law is huge on feeding treats and junk to our pets, particularly our dog and rabbits. We're really big on nutrition, and that includes our pets. I have small, organic dog treats in a container in the kitchen that I ask all of our relatives to use instead of their own. I purposefully cut the treats up into quarters beforehand so that dog doesn't get over fed when company is over. Well, this doesn't fly with mother in law, who despite my requests insists on bringing her own horribly unhealthy brands of dog treats with her everywhere (I think they're called choco-bones- chocolate treats that are "safe" for dogs shake.gif) and feeding them to him in mass amounts. When I tell her that we don't want to feed our dog junk, she gives me the whole "how can you be so mean and strict with your poor dog" lecture as if feeding him healthy, natural food is being strict. And don't even get me started on our rabbits who she likes to feed bread and yoghurt of all things. I had a rabbit die last year from being fed junk, yep junk food literally kills rabbits, and yet she still thinks I'm being the mean one for not letting them have the "occasional treat". Drives me nuts!

 

I cringe to think what it's going to be like when DD is old enough to be fed treats.

post #77 of 85

Quote:

Originally Posted by stik View Post

I don't know my own children's records well enough to say with any certainty what trends they have been following on the growth curve. It sounds like you need to disengage from discussions of health and nutrition with your neighbor.


??  Why are you so concerned about my relationship with my neighbor?  As I said before, she calls me and tells me everything that happened at the Dr including is height, weight and head and what they were on the % growth charts and I remember that DD was always smaller than him (because boys are bigger, she's always been at 50% for everything) until he was no longer breastfed and was on more and more solids and he just kept going down and down on the charts and now he is at 5%.  Why do you feel that I should have to defend everything that I say to you?

 

post #78 of 85
It's not my intention to suggest that you have to defend yourself to me. I'm sorry I came across that way. I disagree with you on some points and I felt the need to point out alternate explanations.

I think your neighbor is deliberately winding you up.
post #79 of 85

Why is offering lots of unhealthy, processed foods considered a "loving" gesture?

 

 

In answering the OP's original title:  I see this from a slightly different perspective.  It seems that throughout humankind, offering food has been a loving gesture.  We have opened up our homes and offered weary travelers food; we nurse sick people back to health with warm food; family celebrations tend to center around food...just to name a few.  I think the wider problem now is the incredible misinformation and lack of education regarding nutrition, as well as lack of investment (emotional and practical) in good food preparation.  It doesn't help that the most widely marketed foods are junk foods, and that junk food (or bad food) is often quick and cheap (or at least the perception is that it is cheap).  The love of offering food is still there...it is just that the type of food offered has taken a negative turn.

 

I was lucky that I came from a long line of people who loved to cook and prepare food.  As adults, both my siblings and I love to prepare food.  We were allowed sweets every day (even though my dad was a dentist) and we had an occassional trip to McDonalds growing up.  What mattered, though, in the long term, was the modeling of a respect and love for food that you can't get out of a box.  Look at the overall American diet...it is crap.  I think all this started in the first part of the 20th century when easy foods were marketed (vegetables in cans; instant mashed potatoes; hot dogs; etc.).  I think this stuff has a time and place (we stock a few cans of canned soup for when we all get colds or come down with the flu), but I think that processed foods have become a mainstay rather than an occassional convenience.  A lot of people see processed foods and junk as food...as perfectly normal nutrition.  Everything else is pretty much fringe (reserved for health food nuts, vegans, abnormal people...LOL).  So, I think that when they offer this kind of stuff, it seems perfectly normal, loving, sincere. 

 

While I have no issues with this kind of thing with my family, shopkeepers in my neighborhood are always trying to pass off lollipops to DD.  Some are kind enough to ask me first.  I have nothing against lollipops...I think they're fine in moderation and as long as they aren't a daily habit.  I do have problems with the way our present society views food and consumes food.  It is all messed up.

 

OP, when we travel, we do take a lot of food with us (we're vegetarians so that it part of the reason), plus we scope out stores in the towns where we are visiting and offer to make food or buy food for some of our family members.  They tend to enjoy that and we feel like we are contributing in some respects. 

post #80 of 85

poverty affects people in many different ways.  for some people who live with minimal income, time is a major factor in decisions that are made about food.  so is education about healthy foods, preparation, and the ability to read and interpret labels. also, MANY people live in locations that are far from stores that sell anything besides junk, and transportation is a barrier to accessing healthy food.  It's pretty easy to walk to the corner and get junky stuff but much more difficult to orchestrate a family trip on the bus to the grocery store and struggle home with large packages. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy212 View Post

it is weird to me how poor people can afford soda and junk food too. We were very broke when I was a kid, and we ate a good amount of pre-packaged food (think rice-a-roni and hamburger helper) but junk was a huge treat at our house because it was such a waste of money- my mom was no health nut, but she still wanted us to have a meat and starch or 2 veggies at dinner every night and eggs for breakfast more than she wanted soda and candy, and that's where the food money went. It's mostly the same philosophy I have now, only tweaked a little- like I buy really nice meat from a small butcher shop and we eat a lot less of it, and I make a ton of stuff from scratch because it's cheaper.

 

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