Choosing Foods as a Mom!

It’s pretty accurate to say I’m a lifelong farmer. I grew up on a family farm the first eighteen years of my life. As regular readers know, I’ve been dairy farming with my husband since we got married in 2009. Four years of college in the Twin Cities was the farthest I got from the country.

Over the years on this blog I’ve  written about food choice, food safety, and the pride farmers have in the food we grow. I’ve written from the perspective of a farmer, a runner, and an eater.

Since the birth of my son last year I’ve embraced my newest and most loved title. Mom. I have also realized choosing food from the perspective of a parent really is different. At nine months old Speedy loves chewing on everything from cooked carrots and Cheerios to a strip of steak. I want healthy, nourishing food for his little body, and I care more about the safety and quality of his food than I do my own.

I thought, perhaps, some of you would be curious if becoming a mom drastically changes how I choose and talk about food. In a word, the answer is “No.” I haven’t changed my food perspective too much, but I do think now is a good time to reinforce some of my core values – this time as a mom.

1) I still believe in choice. Whether you shop at Target, the farmers market, or your corner grocery, I hope you have access to safe, affordable food. I continue to be grateful for the abundance and variety of America’s food supply.

2) I still dislike fear in food marketing. I feel sad when our country’s whirlwind of food labels causes confusion, stress, and even fear. People don’t need that when they are simply trying to shop for their families. I bristle when I see “GMO-free” on a bag of broccoli because broccoli grown with GMO technology is not available in any grocery store. Anywhere. I also happen to believe GMOs have some good qualities. I did a little internet search for a list of which crops are actually genetically modified, and it was harder to find a reputable link than I expected. This list on GMO answers is a good place to start.

GMOs are not the answer to everything. I’m not naive enough to believe they are always the best solution, and I know world hunger is more a problem of food distribution than food supply. However… If you care about world hunger, if you care about affordable food, if you care about the environment and sustainable farming – then I think you have to believe GMOs are important to explore as a piece of the solution on these issues. -Me, August 2011. I still feel this way today. 

3) I am still on a mission to clear up misinformation about antibiotics. I feel uncomfortable with the label “antibiotic-free.” Why? Because any animal treated with antibiotics can’t be slaughtered for meat during a specifically defined withdrawal time. This time ensures all antibiotic residue has cleared from an animal’s body before they can be used for food. Technically, all food available for human consumption in the U.S. is antibiotic-free, even if an animal needed antibiotics at some point.

Furthermore, since becoming a mom I remain convinced modern medicine is important for both people and animals. We provide many daily things on our farm, like fresh bedding and feed and clean water, to keep our cattle healthy. Sometimes an animal still gets sick. If a calf shows signs of pneumonia or a cow develops an infection I think it’s wrong to deny them the treatment they need. I know we can work with our veterinarian to be responsible about animal health because I see this relationship in action.

I will never understand why some who claim to be advocates for animal welfare want to deny all modern medical treatment to farm animals.

4) I still like raising the food I can, but I’m thankful for the grocery store. And takeout pizza. Over the years my husband and I have  raised our own chickens and grown our own cabbage to make sauerkraut. We eat our own beef (and our own version if JR is successful during deer hunting). We normally have a good-sized garden and freeze lots of veggies for winter, but this summer with a brand new baby we didn’t plant anything of our own. Different seasons of life mean we can’t always do everything. Being at peace with that reality is important to me.

Speedy eats baby purées occasionally, but usually he’s getting peices of whatever vegetable or meat or concoction we’re eating at the time. He’s learning to handle and chew his food well, and we’re doing our best to start him on a path to nutritious eating. As he grows, that path will include talk about where food comes from and an appreciation for the land and animals behind it. All food, no matter what labels appear on it, starts with the basics of soil and the plants and animals that thrive on it.

What more would you like to know? Maybe you’ve got a dairy question or you’re wondering about a food label you saw last week? I’d love to answer your questions or help you find someone who can!

About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
This entry was posted in Agriculture ( in general), Being a Mom, Cooking and Foods and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Choosing Foods as a Mom!

  1. I agree with you that I care more about the health of my kids than I do my own. Not to say I don’t let them eat some unhealthy things in moderation 😊

    Just wondering what the work/homelife schedule looks like for you these days? Who watches Speedy while you’re working on the farm?

    • Lisa says:

      Ha! I know I won’t be able to keep him away from cake, candy & sweets forever. But for now he doesn’t care so it’s easy. 🙂 I hope he doesn’t get quite the sweet tooth I have!
      We do have him in full time daycare. I miss him during the days, but for now I don’t know how I would get my work done otherwise. Especially with it being so cold. I work a little less on weekends than I used to, and my inlaws help watch him at night and weekends when I and JR both have work to finish. We also have several great babysitters that help. My mom has stayed with us several times too, particularly when he’s been sick or daycare is closed. She can manage him pretty well if I leave things in their proper place and check in during the day a few times. I love that they can have that time together and she has gotten more confident and able to manage the limited eyesight she has. She says caring for him is one of her favorite things to do, and it makes me so happy/emotional/grateful that she can. It truly takes a village, and sometimes it’s day by day to figure out who’s caring for him.

      • That’s nice that there are so many people willing and able to take care of him, but yes, I can see how that could be tough to coordinate sometimes!

      • Lisa says:

        That’s a really good way to look at it. Sometimes I feel sad that I can’t spend more time caring for him myself, but I am grateful for the network of help we’ve developed. I also look forward to him getting a bit older so he can be out on the farm with us, within reason, when weather is nice! Even now he likes going in to see the cows in the milking parlor or barn when I bundle him up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s