Can you imagine a trip to the grocery store? Of course, you can. It’s not that hard to remember the last time you visited the grocery store, now is it? I would like to share the story of a particular trip for me that turned out to be anything less than ordinary. This trip actually changed the way I look at food. Let me tell you the story.
I was on my way home from work late one night when I remembered that the cupboards were bare and the refrigerator was empty. It was essential that I make a stop before returning home, a stop to the grocery store. If I didn’t stop, when morning came and the hungry tummies woke up there wouldn’t be anything to nourish them.
I was tired, and it was late but as I drove I made a mental list of all the basics I needed to purchase. After parking the car, I took out a piece of paper to jot dot down the mental list I had made: eggs, bread, apples, carrots, yogurt. . . and the list went on.
Upon entering the store and just as I began the methodical trek down the aisles, I heard in the distance a very distressed child. There was screaming in the store. Immediately these words popped into my mind, “Oh, that poor mom.” Along with, “Wow, I’m glad my kids are at home right now.” Let me ask you this though, have you ever been the mom with the screaming child? I have to!
As I continued through the store checking off the items on my list, I realized that the entire time I had been shopping the child had continued to cry, to scream, and to echo her distress throughout the store. Just then, the inevitable happened, as I turned down the aisle I came face to face with a very flustered mom and tear-stained sobbing child. I was shocked to see the following scene; an overflowing cart being pushed by an exhausted mom dragging her upset child by the arm behind her. As I steered around them to finish up my shopping, more thoughts ran through my mind: “Oh, that poor mom,” and “What a sad little girl.”
Finally, my shopping was finished and I headed for the checkout line. It was late enough now that only one line was open. As I approached the line I heard the now familiar wail of the worn out child. As I entered the line I noticed that the toddler was now on the floor performing an elaborate tantrum while her oblivious mom was searching through her giant binder of coupons to make sure she saved some extra pennies.
Now, just for a moment indulge me as I explain to you what I did as I waited for this mother to compile all of her coupons, keeping in mind that this is happening as the toddler was still having a fit on the floor.
I began noticing the items in the shopping cart. Packages, bottles, boxes, and cans. . . then I heard “buy one get one free” “save 55 cents” “Free with purchase” it was at that moment that my mind made a powerful connection to the child on the floor and the items in the cart.
Without a doubt I believe, just as eighteenth-century French physician Julien Offray De Lamettrie stated:
As I looked at the cart again I realized that it had no signs of life. There was nothing in that cart that was living, therefore there was nothing in that cart for that little body on the floor to wind up its springs. I came to the conclusion that there was a purpose for the distress that I had been hearing since the moment I entered the store that night. The child could not voice it and did not realize it, but her subconscious knew it.
Even with a cart loaded to the point of overflowing, so full that she couldn’t even sit in it. She knew deep down in her little body that she was hungry and the things in that cart were not going to satisfy that hunger. She was going home with food that would not nourish or sustain her body machine.
This very raving and languishing were taking place in front of my eyes, there on the floor at the grocery store, all at the price of saving $60 in coupons! What a price to pay for savings! What if instead, the mother did as Lamettrie suggests:
“Give but good nourishment to the body, pour into its tubes vigorous juices, then the soul generous of these, arms itself with courage. What a vast power there is in repast. . .But as we are cheerful, or brave; all depends on the manner of winding up our machine.”
This trip to the grocery store was the springboard for my desire to share my recipes with others. This is why I do what I do, why I share recipes and meal plans, why I teach classes and coach. This is why I help people understand that you can eat healthy and stick to your food budget.
Cooking from scratch is not difficult. It is only a change in mindset. I can purchase the raw ingredients to create a meal that can also be found pre-made in the freezer section of the grocery store, in a cardboard box, or in an aluminum can.
The difference is the raw ingredients are whole and living foods that have the essential building blocks to nurture and grow my body and the bodies of my children.
I realized that night at the grocery store that this mom hadn’t done anything to purposefully harm her child. Perhaps she just didn’t know that there is a better way. I believe that children are growing up in our country with full bellies but without the essential nutrients that their bodies and brains need to grow and thrive.