For one in seven U.S. children, including my two, spring brings more than baseball practice and dirty feet — it also brings sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, sore throats, coughing, and runny noses. Seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis) occur when something in the air, such as tiny tree particles, grass, weeds or pollen, comes into contact with nose membranes and triggers inflammatory chemicals called histamines.
I think it’s safe to say that one of the things we modern-day moms do a bit more than our moms did is baby our kids, especially when it comes to what they eat. Some of this is good, of course. Regulating intake of sugar and processed foods is probably not something best left up to people whose idea of a balanced meal is beef jerky and fruit snacks. But at some point, kids need to learn to make their own good choices, right? When and how we do that is each family’s decision, but for me the food thing was getting ridiculous.
I know it might sound obnoxious at first and that I sound a little like Martha Stewart with that headline, but I like the idea of raising gourmet kids. By “gourmet,” I don’t mean kids who demand white tablecloths and truffle oil. What I mean is simply someone with an appreciation of good food. Here’s how Webster’s defines it:
I will never forget the day I explained to my then four-year-old son that steak is really cow. First he cried, then he asked why we don’t eat dogs like our lab Lewis, or at least the lost dogs at the pound. I didn’t have a very good answer for that one. Which really got me thinking.
Anyone who’s ever endured spending an hour or two with kids after they’ve been trick-or-treating or collecting candy at a birthday party probably doesn’t need a medical study to tell them that there is a link between kids’ diet and behavior.
A few months ago I wrote a blog post about how the more I learned about industrial agriculture and food processing, the more I felt like Neo in the movie The Matrix. Once Neo is exposed to the reality of his world (that humans are actually raised purely to create energy for machines, and a virtual reality has been created to placate the people in their “pods” so they never become aware of their predicament), he can’t go back to his previous existence — even though he probably really wants to.