Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Can of Cancer

Doing my best to adhere to my new turkey sandwich lifestyle, I spent the afternoon at the park with my daughter and grandson the other day.  I still had to wrestle with my conscience that was telling me it was during “working hours” and that I was somehow playing hooky, but I got over it the minute I stepped outside and found sunshine and 75 degree temps.

My daughter’s sister-in-law and children were also there.  Shortly after we arrived, the girls started rummaging through their giant pocketbooks and diaper bags.  “What are you looking for?” I queried. “Cash for a drink,” they responded, “but we know we don’t have any.”  It’s not a matter of not having money for these two, it’s simply that this generation somehow does not ever think to carry cash.  They can whip out their debit cards faster than a speeding bullet, but if they want something that requires a cash payment, they immediately start looking around for an ATM machine as if there should be one on every corner.

My generation is never without cash, though you may not realize it because we tend to stash it in hiding places.  Mine goes in a double-secret folder in my wallet and stays there for emergency purposes only.  In the old days, we referred to it as mad money.  

“I have cash, what do you want to drink?” I said to the girls. 

“I’ll take a diet c….,” Danielle stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me, then at my daughter, with a look of horror on her face.  “What’s wrong,” my daughter asked her.  Danielle looked sheepishly at me, then back to Vicki and said, “I feel like I am asking your mom to buy me a can of cancer.”

We all laughed out loud, but she was serious in a way.  I continually spout off about the detrimental ramifications of diet sodas to my daughters and have actually threatened bodily harm to the person who offers my grandson his first taste of Mountain Dew.  I have become much more aware of what goes into my body these days and subscribe to the age-old adage of You Are What You Eat.

It took me years to be enlightened on this subject.  I literally shudder when I reflect on my eating habits as a young adult. It’s no wonder I have never been happy with my body; I abused it for years with white flour, preservatives, salt, MSG, saccharin and way too much sugar.  My mother was one of the old-time “meat and potatoes” cooks, and those old habits died hard after she passed them down to me.  But I have seen the light and I am trying to make up for lost time.  I strive to eat vegetarian at least two or three days a week.  I avoid white flour as best I can and look for all-natural products when I shop.  I have completely sworn off soda products, especially diet versions.  Basically, if I cannot pronounce the ingredients in something, it’s not going into my mouth.

I know I drive my daughters and their friends a little crazy when I analyze their food, but it’s only because I love them and want them to be healthy.  I want to share with them what it took me well over fifty years to figure out.  I may be living my life as a turkey sandwich, but I’m not eating one unless the turkey is cage-free, the bread is whole wheat and the lettuce and tomato are organically grown.

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