( originally published in hybridmom) 

          I am a guilty mother. I have to confess that sometimes I choose convenience over nutrition when it comes to feeding my kids. This happened a lot when they were young. The kids would badger me for chicken nuggets, french fries, and slushees from the 7/11 that were bigger than their heads.

           I would bribe my kids with candy bars at the grocery store just to shut them up…keep them quiet I mean, so that I could finish shopping without everyone in the store staring at me and my rowdy kids. I confess, along with vegetables, fruit and meats I often fill my cart with chips, dip, frozen pizza and soda. I am addicted to Diet Coke, especially over crushed ice in the late afternoon when I need to take a “mental health break”.

             Like a lot of people in the United States I grew up eating bologna sandwiches, Doritos, and HO-HOS. My childhood diet turned me into a “junk food lover” and sadly, I have passed this craving for “chemicals and crap” onto my children.

           Well this family foible is ending at my house NOW.

           For the last few weeks I have been glued to Jamie Oliver’s new show “Food Revolution”. In this program, Jamie Oliver travels to Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington is known for being the fattest city, in the fattest region, in the fattest country in the world.  We are a country that is killing ourselves with “convenience”.  The byproducts of morbid obesity are serious: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. I don’t think everyone or anyone for that matter should be a size zero, but I do think that we need to rethink what we are putting in our bodies.

         A few weeks ago, we implemented a new rule at our house: we don’t buy anything at the grocery store that has an ingredient in it that we can’t spell. You know what I’m talking about: the monodiscomakeyourthightsfat, tritolivealonglifecornsyrup.

                  This simple change in grocery buying was an eye opening experience for me. There are chemicals in almost everything and there doesn’t need to be. Some brands of half-half have chemicals in them! When other brands have only two ingredients: milk and cream.  I love proscuitto, which is pork and salt. There are some brands that have seven extra chemicals. There is corn syrup in almost everything. Why? Other countries don’t have all this junk in their food. In fact there are many countries that do not allow any artificial preservatives at all. And guess what: the chicken tastes like chicken in those countries, instead of what we get in most stores here; fruits and vegetables are not sprayed and they ripen on the vine instead of in bins. In those countries, the population is much healthier than here.

            I love my kids and I love your kids. So this mom is going to join Jamie Oliver’s  “Food Revolution” and start going to battle with my pocketbook and insisting on healthier food options at the store, in the schools and at restaurants.

                 I might still sneak a Diet Coke every once in awhile and handful of chips now and then. But I already told you: I am a guilty mom.