Toxic Moderation

toxicmoderationBy The Food Coach, Jennifer Bruer ¦ 

Wikipedia: moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes.

Come on, admit it, we’ve become a society full of extremes, a society that suffers from a moderation imbalance. From our XL Double-Double Tim Horton’s coffee first thing in the morning to our late night BBQ-chicken-wing-sour-cream Frito-Lay addiction (I just created that flavour :-)). We are raising our children, not just as witness to this over-indulgence, but many children are already full-on participants, sipping on sugar-laden caffeinated lattes, having ice-filled glasses of Coke, and dipping *franken* nuggets in “sauce”. Moderation is no longer.

This is what moderation once meant to me:

I used to be healthy (said with a tone of sarcasm). When I gave birth to my babies I wanted to end the cycle of obesity, so I taught them appropriate “moderate” food rules… I purchased only whole wheat bread; I served mac & cheese only once or twice a month; I limited our McDonald’s intake to only once a week because – even then – I knew that McDonald’s was not healthy; when I placed the order for my kids I didn’t go all-out like other families and order from the “adult menu”; for my little ones, I ordered happy meals with chocolate milk and NEVER pop (that’s what we Canadians call “soda”) because Chocolate milk at least has some nutritional value; I limited their treats to one serving (about three cookies, or a big bowl of chips) per evening.

When I was 20 I drank 5 Diet Cokes daily, then I realised that was bad so I limited to one can a day, then I realised that was bad so I limited only to once on the weekend, then, I had an epiphany, and thought “That shit is a neurotoxin. Should I really be consuming this even in moderation?” The answer is NO, man! Toxic shit should just not be consumed. Period.

Since moderation really is relative, what IS moderation? One could say that the scenario above IS moderation; I think we can do better! YOU can do better.

“On average, in 2004, Canadians consumed 110.0 grams of sugar a day, the equivalent of 26 teaspoons.” We may not be able to get this to the perfect equation that our ancestors did (the cavemen the cavepeople). Surely we can aim for better.

This is what moderation in my household now means, and it’s still not perfect but I think it’s a step up from my once SAD (Standard American Diet) way of life.

I never, ever purchase McDonald’s anymore for my children. I won’t ever give McDonald’s a penny, I don’t want to fund such a mockery of food. Plus the whole toxic epiphany that I had still applies here. When I reach for fast food, it’s usually from my own freezer; whole foods that I’ve prepped ahead and frozen for such occasions (e.g. Grainless Salmon Patties). But since I am not perfect there will be times when I need to reach for something fast, when that happens (rarely but it happens) I reach for gluten-free pizza, not perfect but the lesser of two evils perhaps. I limit the kids to one drink-box (pure juice) per day and the rest is water. I realise that even one juice per day is probably a bad idea (full of sugar) but this is where we are at right now. I still give my kids a “treat” in the evenings but it’s a treat made at home usually sweetened with honey or banana like my banana bread, or some dark chocolate or potato chips made WITHOUT vegetable oil. Ideally “treats” shouldn’t have to be given daily, they SHOULD be a weekly thing, but for now that would look and feel depriving according to our current societal standards.

Until of course our idea of moderation begins to change. But just to be clear the moderation rule doesn’t apply to toxic-shit!