Growing up in my household was definitely an interesting experience. My father was (and still is), one of the most radical octo-lacto vegetarian, health-organic nut I have ever known. Now, you might we wondering how so right? Let me explain….
From the moment I was born, Mr Organic (my father), was a teacher on a mission to educate me on how to properly take care of the body. This for the most part meant, “eating right”! By the time, my brother and I were in the first grade, I swear we could give lectures on the wide variety of preservatives in food and other products. As well as the high amounts of sugar and salt in beverages and food. It may seem extreme as an outsider, and let me confirm and assure you that “It Was”!
While other children were enjoying Fruit Loops, soda, Mc Donald’s, white bread and snack packs, my brother and I had to compromise on whether or not we wanted our whole wheat hard bread toasted or untoasted. Other decisions were constantly at hand such as, who was going to be the one to stir up the organic peanut butter or did we really want to add carob in our milk and pretend it was chocolate this morning.
Of course this led us to do things that any typical children wouldn’t do. We saved our quarters, dollars and miscellaneous change like crazy. When the times came were we could actually purchase something, you better believe we spent it on food. THat’s right – Not Toys – Food! We stocked up on things like Lucky Charms, Skippy Peanut Butter, soda, Home Pride bread, Oreo Cookies and stashed them away in our rooms. All the time though, feeling guilty that these things would be the very ones to put us to our death.
Those days were unbelievable! When I think back to those times, I often wonder what we ate for dinner all those many nights. Because to be honest, I can’t even remember anymore. Although, tortillas, beans, spaghetti, potatos, vegetables, sandwiches and Kix cereal stand out in my mind, I wonder how I was content without my can of Pepsi, that spicy and oily food I often have, that delicious dessert I can’t turn down or that box of colored and preservative filled fruit roll-ups I have stashed in my closet.
And there were a few of those funny moments associated with this crazy upbringing that come to mind. The first story was the time my father introduced the new improved organic and preservative free Mayonnaise to my brother Chris and I. Now a little insight on Mayonnaise is that preservatives and food coloring keep Mayo the color white. Since one of the main ingredients in Mayo is eggs, well naturally Mayo is not going to be the color white. So you can imagine the looks on our faces when we see the jar of light green “Nayonnaise” (Or the slang word my bro & I invented “Nannaise”) on our kitchen counter!!! Yes! And light green is not a typo in this case. Because there was no other substance in our kitchen to moisten the hard organic bread we had, of course we resorted to trying it out. To our amazement, if was not half bad. In fact, it ended up being excellent and my brother and I loved it. Interesting enough, I can’t remember why or how we stopped using it any more. Perhaps, after my father remarried, my stepmother had some influence on us not using the “Nayonnaise” anymore. What I do know is, what seems like an eternity later, I received a telephone call from my brother! Asking me if I knew where to pick up a jar of Nayonnaise?? Because he was having a craving! His wife and friends thought he was insane, but he knew I was perhaps the only one who could relate. And correct he was.
Another story that comes to mind is one that truly makes me laugh to think of it! For some reason (well the reason is obvious), my father for the most part refused to give us lunch money for school. He insisted on making my brother and I a lunch every single morning. This went on unfortunately up until I was a junior in high school. I don’t know if he thought giving us lunch money was a poor decision because we would buy the unhealthy lunch or if it was part of the satisfaction he received by knowing that he did something for his two extremely independent children religiously. Anyway, the too familiar “hunk of cheese on organic bread” went from being annoying and gross to “oh man, dad is consistent”, with a smile! This thought didn’t stop us from not eating it nor did stop Chris and I from throwing the damn sandwich away. Well, one day, before I think we got smart and starting throwing these sandwiches away, my dad found an uneaten sandwich stashed in my brother’s backpack. Outraged by the discovery, my dad decided that Chris’ punishment was going to be to eat the sandwich. Especially since he wasn’t getting enough protein anyway. Well little did Mr Organic know that this sandwich was not the uneaten sandwich of the day. It was more like the uneaten sandwich of three days before. Too frightened to explain this to my dad in fear that he would realize that we were not eating his hand made organic sandwiches, my brother resorted in taking his first bite. Now, as the innocent bystander in this situation, there was absolutely no way that I was going to speak up and dispute why Chris shouldn’t have to eat the sandwich. Because then, it was possible Mr Organic might make me help Chris finish the three day old sandwich. Yuck! I recall how still I stood there in awe, as I observed the look on my brother’s face as he lifted that sandwich to his lips. Every bite was torture as Chris struggled to swallow. I think I finally convinced my dad to stop him from eating the sandwich thanks to my detailed spill on bacteria. The look on both my brother’s face and mine that day was truly priceless. To this day that story sets Chris and I into an uncontrollable fit of laughter that always ends up putting us on the floor.
Now in my late 20’s, as I walk through the aisles at the supermarket, I see the crazy amount of “Organic” signs on every product known to man these days. I contemplate how far behind our society is in regards to the “Organic” craze. And just the other day, I found myself chuckling….
And to think that this brain washing has been engrained into who I am. Although, it didn’t stop me from purchasing that value pack of fruit roll-ups that put me on a binge. I just happened to finish the entire box in a week that perhaps could have helped reduce that stomach ache my intestines experienced. Nor did it stop me from downing that bottle of soda that might have damaged my kidneys. Or those two bottles of wine I just had to have and drink all gone to get me through that recent college research paper. Now don’t get me wrong. All the while, I can admit I had that Cuban accent voice in my head, reminding me that I was contributing to my death. I can’t even eat a french fry or step a foot into a fast food restaurant without feeling guilty. However, I am a firm believer, “That what ever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger!” haha Besides, a freak accident could happen at any moment and take my life anyway. Might as well go out knowing that I didn’t deprive my taste buds of that awesome experience of “great taste”.
My next bite could just be the end of me, and I think, I could just be finally “OK” with that.