Move aside co-sleepers and disposable diaper buying parents – when it comes to parent shaming these days it’s all about what’s in your grocery cart.
This is what I spotted in my Facebook feed this morning that prompted me to finally sit down and write about this new form of mom shaming. Now I realize this quote doesn’t sound all that bad does it? It actually seems rather innocuous. And perhaps it is. But for me this was just that tiny little straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I’ll admit I haven’t done much “foodbabe way” research (ie google) on the issue of antibiotic free meat so I don’t have a firm opinion either way. It sounds like something worth considering. There are countries, like here in Canada, that are attempting to crack down on the use of antibiotics use in livestock so that might mean something. But what really caught my attention was “Hey Food Babe Moms out there…” And not just because of the completely inappropriate use of the ellipsis. But because her call to action was to moms. And this is a new trend. Instilling fear into the hearts of parents. I think it’s also relevant point out that Vani Hari., aka The Food Babe, is not a mother. Now wait, I know, there are plenty of professionals that don’t have children – doctors, teachers, early educators, etc. who’s advice is worth taking. This is not an example of one of those. This is a food activist with zero background in what she is trying to force feed the public. And she’s not the only one. Ms. Hari is just one example in a sea of fear mongering “activists” that are helping people, including parent’s, make misinformed, and often bad, choices.
Let’s set something straight here – I am not anti-organic. If you were to take a look in my fridge or pantry right now it’s likely you will find a product or two that is indeed organic. I don’t go out of my way NOT to buy organic, nor do I go out of my way TO buy organic. My purchasing decisions are based on many factors including nutrition, price, availability and ingredients. I am comfortable that the knowledge I have, which I tend to get from reputable and trusted sources, is sound enough to make smart decisions when it comes to feeding my family. But not everyone feels that way.
This right here is the kind of crap that needs to stop. First, let’s stop and think about how extremely fortunate many of us are to even have choices when it comes to the food we buy and feed to our families. That is a privilege that millions of people do not have. And it’s not just the underfed, malnourished people that live in third world nations. I know it’s hard for some people to think globally (although please give it a shot) so we can even think closer to home to drive this point home. Many, many families live on a very limited income. It can be a challenge for them to provide their families with healthy, nutritious food. The fact is organic costs more. I’ve heard many people argue that’s not true but it is. I’m sure there is the odd exception but the VAST MAJORITY of time the organic option is going to cost significantly more than the traditionally grown food. I find in most cases where people argue that organic is not more costly, or even less costly, their comparisons are such a huge stretch they are laughable. For example I read an arguement, thank you again Food Babe, that organic french fries are less expensive than non organic. But the argument fell flat when I realized they were comparing buying fast food fries to buying a bag of organic potatoes and making your own fries at home. You know what’s even cheaper, and just as healthy than the option provided here? That’s right, you guessed it, buy a bag of traditionally grown potatoes! Now let’s compare potatoes to potatoes.
So we can talk about budgets and the cost of food and how spending more money on food that is not proven to be healthier is just not a priority for some parents. We can also talk about the other glaring problem here. When you give the stink eye to that mom who’s basket is not full of organic food you are assuming that you know better than her. You are assuming that you have put more time and effort into “researching” food safety and nutrition. You are probably wrong. There is a very good chance that she cares just as deeply as you do about what she feeds her family and that she has done her homework. It is likely that she, like this mom right here, has done a lot of reading, has waded through the crap and has made her decision based on what she believes to be true.
So you go ahead and eat what you want to eat. Spend what you want to spend. You are doing what you believe to be the best thing for your family. I can get on board with that. Just remember, that eating organic or not organic or gluten free or paleo or however you chose to eat does not make you superior. It doesn’t make you smarter. It doesn’t make you more aware. It doesn’t give you the right to shame anyone else about their choices.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Unless your thoughts begin with “But Dr. Oz said…” or “But I read on Natural News…” in that case just move on please.