Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Exhausted

Not because I have two babies who take turns crying at night and keeping me awake (well I mean I AM exhausted from that. It's just not the exhaustion I'm currently speaking of).

I mean emotionally and intellectually exhausted.

Why? Because I can't eat anything anymore, let alone feed Anna anything, without worrying about what's going into our bodies and how we're getting it.

I've started reading nutrition labels. Let me warn you - that's a bad idea if you want to enjoy those delicious "fruit" snacks that actually contain nothing that could be considered fruit. I start to worry about Anna and Brooke's little brains and bodies. What am I putting in them??

So then I start researching. Annnnnnd enter exhaustion. There's SO MUCH to read! And I don't understand half of it. Alright, I say, we'll keep it simple. My kids will eat nothing but fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But wait! Make sure that produce is organic and locally grown! And don't be naive enough to think a package marked "Whole Grain" in the grocery store actually means the product is not full of chemicals.

Ah screw it, let's just make cookies. Bring on the chemicals, baby! I love me some chocolate chip cookies.

Hold up. Apparently the conditions the people growing my coffee beans, chocolate, and sugar cane are subjected to are horrific. Great. My kid's chemical-laden food destroying their brains was bad enough. But now our food is actually destroying the lives of children in third world countries.

Thankfully, there are people willing to offer an alternative! I go on blogs and read "Your chocolate/coffee/sugar/tennis shoes/clothing/electronics/etc. are being made by exploited workers in third world countries. Buy fair trade! You get your goods, they get compensated fairly. Everyone wins!" And I think "Yay! Something I care about - the developing world, people (especially children) living in horrific poverty and a very simple way for me to be a part of the solution."

Annd then I started reading again. I should know better. I start reading more about fair trade and find that it is at best a charity (and not a very good one) and at worst a marketing scheme that actually does long term damage in developing nations. Hardly a good solution.

Well, hello square one. Good to see you again.

Now I'm in the worst possible position. Just enough knowledge to not sleep at night with my belly full of my chocolaty, sugary, chemical-filled evening snack, in my foreign-made sheets and jammies. But not quite enough to know what to DO about it. And in the meantime, my children play with their probably lead-filled foreign-made toys while I do my research on my laptop, manufactured by exploited factory workers and miss out on the opportunity to partake in playtime and bond with my kiddos.

So here's where I've landed (admittedly not contentedly): I'm going to do my best. I'm going to buy the healthiest food we can afford and cut some corners so I'm not a slave to the kitchen. My kids are going to eat some processed foods because spending my life researching healthy alternatives and preparing them is just simply not feasible for me right now.

And we're going to continue to eat the yummiest coffee, sweets and chocolate we can find at the best prices while continuing to support charities that offer aid - real, documented, hand-up-not-a-hand-out kind of aid - to people in the developing world.

And I'm going to constantly be seeking ways that my life and the way I live it can lift people up instead of oppressing them. To do my best to stay heartbroken by the things that break the heart of God. To accept that I live in a fallen world, that life will never be perfect this side of Heaven, without becoming complacent.

We can't fix this world, because there is not easy, effortless, quick solution. But I'm not going to let that fact excuse me from trying.


Cyndee said...

AMEN!! I have told dad that grocery shopping (which I've always hated) has become a nightmare. I walk in with my list, start reading labels, thinking about everything else I've read and become paralyzed. Sometimes I just start to cry (for real!), always I walk out depressed, confused and with way less food than I was planning on buying. I, too, am just "doing my best." I now buy homemade bread from Duffields. It has the sugar I wish to avoid but none of the ingredients with names I can't pronounce. I eat more fruit and veggies - locally grown and organic when possible - and try to ignore the fact that yes, I am ingesting chemicals sometimes. And chocolate? I just try not to buy it. I don't need it anyway. I also try my best to ignore all the health things that I'm SURE you kids have because of the crap I knowingly and unknowingly fed you.

Looking forward to Heaven.......

Tara said...

I have good news on the chocolate front! Jamie and I have decided to take this one on for the next week (or more if it takes longer). And make a truly well-informed decision about what we're doing. So in 7 days (give or take) I'll be able to tell you what to do!

We should start a co-op. Everyone takes on one issue, researches it, comes to a conclusion of the best practices and then we all share. Then we only have make one decision personally to reach several. It's a win-win!

Denise said...

I have been going through a similar process as you! Ignorance IS bliss.