Wednesday, June 23

Fruit Rollups Are Not Fruit

A few years ago I remember having an argument with my daughter Amanda about the nutritional value of Fruit Roll Ups.

“It’s got fruit in it Mom. It’s a healthy snack. Can’t we please get them?” she begged me.

Reading the ingredient list, I felt otherwise.

“Amanda, it’s not really fruit. It has a tiny bit of fruit concentrate and the next three ingredients are different types of sugar.” I responded. “It’s sugar masquerading as fruit.”

“But there’s some fruit in there,” she reasoned, “It’s not all bad.”

I paused for a moment, got out my soapbox and adhered my Nutrition Nazi badge to my shirt. Clearly she had forgotten whom she was addressing. Secure atop my platform, I proceeded with my lecture.

“Yeah, there’s some fruit in there. But it’s like they drove the product by an apple orchard and are claiming that since the product was in the vicinity of fresh fruit it qualifies as an ingredient. It’s marketing honey. Companies aren’t always completely honest about what they’re selling. They’re just trying to make it sound good so you’ll buy it. Pop Tarts are another example. Just because you put it in a toaster doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for breakfast. That stuff has no business in the cereal aisle. It belongs next to the cookies, because it’s really dessert. If you want a fruit snack, eat an apple or a banana. I’m not buying that crap.”

Amanda stared up at me, her shoulders slumped, she realized I wasn’t budging.

I’m such a mean mom.

My indulgence in cheesecake the other day reminded me of this exchange. This is why I don’t typically buy junk food. Because guess what happens if it’s around? I eat it. Of course I do. All that fat and sugar is fantastic.

This is also why I do 95% of the grocery shopping. I’ve learned I can’t trust Michael at Costco. Left to wander the aisles of temptation by himself, he’ll come home with frozen burritos, cheesecake, roasted garlic bread and other questionable food. And he’s a sucker for anything they’re hawking at the end aisles.

Somehow, I’m capable of saying “no” in the store, which is a good thing because if it’s in the house, my willpower starts to fade. Not having access to crap, keeps me from eating crap. It’s that simple. And that hard.

I know a lot of people that struggle with saying “no” to buying junk food. It takes commitment. I use my children as a crutch. I can’t tell them to snack on yogurt and fresh fruit with Cheetos-stained lips. They see right through that kind of hypocrisy. If they can’t have it, neither can I.

While I’m good about not buying loads of junk food, I have to work on not feeling guilty about splurging once in a while. I know a life of deprivation is no life. If there’s any hope of me taking this In8 program beyond eight weeks, then incorporating sweets into my life has to be part of it.

I know this intellectually, but I still can’t help feeling guilty. I talk to my kids all the time about moderation, that everything is fine in small doses. (Well, not everything, heroin, cocaine, and meth, are clearly exceptions.)

Illegal drugs aside, I think it’s time to practice what I preach.

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