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Jehanara Haider's picture

One of the first things which captivated me about the United States of America when I moved here almost 6 years ago, were the grocery aisles filled to the brim with shiny spotless fruits and vegetables.  It seemed the apples, tomatoes and water melons were positively radiant.  

I felt instantly transported into an elaborate day dream along the lines of Alice in Wonderland. The grocery store with its endless aisles of limitless choices and of course almost magical fruit and vegetables.  

On the other hand, I had spent my childhood eating spotty bananas, dented apples and the occasional too ripe melon.  To me all this glitter felt magical for a while but that feeling was soon overtaken by thoughts of chemical sprays, pesticides and waxes etc.

Pregnancy is a great time to sharpen your research skills. Ever since I had a baby I have started paying more attention to what goes into and on our food. The food revolution in all its farmers market and organic produce galore is all well and good if you have the extra (plenty extra) dollars to spend on food straight from the source.

But what about the rest of us, we who do not have the financial sources to buy local raw honey, grass fed beef and pasture raised hens and their eggs. Surely the policies and the politics need to change so that food is resourced responsibly and at the same time affordability is not elusive.

I know that this will take time but we all need to do our part in raising our voices to say no to foods with ingredient lists that take up the entire side of the carton, we need to raise our voices to say no to perfect food.

One way in my humble uneducated opinion is to raise a generation of children who know where their food comes from as well as how it actually looks when it comes out of the earth. The face of food is not perfect and glossy, often times than not it is dented bent out of shape but at the same time it is still good to eat.  

Let’s try and make some effort to cook with our children, basic healthy food, nothing fancy and definitely not glittery. In this age of needless waste and consumerism, my heart seeks to turn back this tide and instead live in simple times with simple things, less gadgets, more conversation, less structured lesson plans and more digging in the dirt looking for bugs and worms.

The other day I saw my toddler digging through dirt and watching tiny ants going about their business with utter fascination and attention and I wished he would have this curiosity for the rest of his life. I told him not to bother them too much and to try and not step on them as the soil was their home and they deserved some peace and quiet too. Not sure how much of that speech sunk in but my point is that we do not need to over complicate our lives, we need to let the day(s) sink in.  Teach our children that all natural resources are sacred and scarce and it is up to us not to waste such blessings and not to expect perfection.

It is our responsibility to teach our children the value of natural resources including responsible food choices since these resources are not limitless and at the same time, saying no to processed food will send a clear message to the industry bigwigs and lobbyists that the consumer is no longer interested in drinks which come in rainbow colors with no nutritional value or foods that need a ton of chemicals to preserve them and make them look good.

I realize that this is a tall order, some days there is no choice but to reheat something precooked from the freezer even though the ingredient list makes you cringe, I am guilty of the same offence but I feel the only solution is a simple life and a simple game plan.

Perfection should not be an expectation. A dented spotted apple is edible and should not be thrown away in a pile to rot.

Now if you will excuse me, I think my toddler is trying to command the ants to eat rocks he has strategically placed around their hole and perhaps the ants would appreciate an intervention just about now.  

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