Introducing junk food slowly reduces shock risk

By Jason Offutt

The cookies were chewy, just not the normal kind of chewy. Instead of flour as the main ingredient, this cookie recipe called for bananas and, quite possibly, recycled shoes. The kids enjoyed them anyway.
This didn’t surprise my wife or me because when it comes to junk food, our children simply don’t know any better.
We’ve tried to wean ourselves, and our unsuspecting children, off foods that are trying to kill us. Potato chips, soda and Hostess Fruit Pies (most probably considered lethal weapons in Europe) are just never in our house. If the food isn’t there, we won’t eat it.
The result is our 8- and 6-year-old will willingly eat broccoli not knowing it makes them just as strange to other children as shooting laser beams from their eyes.
And it’s beginning to wear on us.
“I think I should buy some potato chips,” my wife said as we compiled the weekly grocery list.
Considering this is the same person who asks, “Did you put flax seed in that?” every time I cook something, this struck me as odd.
She frowned. Yes, something strange was going on.
“Do you think we’re depriving our kids?”
Hmm, by increasing their life spans? Probably not. But I knew where she was coming from.
As a child, my family usually had a can of Hawaiian Punch in the fridge (two triangular holes punched in the top with a church key), a box of Sugar Frosted Flakes in the cabinet, and the grease in our Fry Daddy was solid and white because it was pure lard.
The names of these foods may have changed, but the health factor of the average American kitchen is roughly the same – bad.
Our kids are not only benefiting from our anti-junk- food stance, they’re suffering from it as well. They don’t know how awesome Pop Tarts are. They’ll eventually eat one of these fat-filled pastries at a friend’s house and go into a delicious coma.
Maybe we should occasionally feed our children food normal Americans eat so their systems won’t face such a shock whenever some company starts making Twinkies again.
Of course, it hasn’t been easy adjusting our new diet. I grew up on a farm where each meal was comprised mostly of animal fat and salt. I like that stuff. Trouble is, it’ll kill you.
The average American diet of fried food, sugar, processed meat, dairy products and refined grains, are leading us to “premature death,” according to an article in The American Journal of Medicine.
Great. Like worrying about our country’s financial crisis and a space alien invasion wasn’t bad enough.
Still, the picture that went along with the article looked pretty tasty. Country ham, French fries, sausage, fried eggs and bacon served on a bed of pork and beans.
Sorry, I’m starting to drool.
“Yes,” I told her. “You’re right. Maybe we should treat the kids to something dangerous every once in a while.”
So she bought them chips – baked all-natural popcorn chips. Hey, we have to ease the kids into this, you know.

Jason Offutt’s column has been in continuous publication since 1998 appearing in newspapers and magazines across the United States. Follow Jason on Twitter @TheJasonOffutt.

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