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A Different Kid with a Weird Lunch

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

I remember getting sideways glances and long stares when I pulled out the contents of my lunch box in the school cafeteria. Most of my friends bought the school lunch (remember the smell of your school cafeteria?! Yes, nostalgic, but no, not appetizing.). If they did pack their lunch, it typically consisted of Lunchables, Wonder bread, packaged food, Capri Sun (or Coke, heaven forbid!), Cheetos & Chewy granola bars.

I do not think most of my elementary school friends had ever seen real whole wheat bread before, or scrambled eggs on a spinach burrito, or homemade granola bars, so understandably, my lunch raised many eyebrows and questions. I remember a conversation in the cafeteria in which I was informing one of my friends that too much sugar could make you fat. She proceeded to show me her Skittles packet nutrition label that did indeed show a very low fat content of only 2.5 grams. I was not sure how to respond at that time, but I maintained my belief that sugar was a culprit for weight gain.

How did I know these things as a child before terms like low-glycemic, organic, vegan, plant-based, keto, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free were a thing? My mother. And my dad. They were health gurus who were way ahead of their time.

We picked up local milk once a week that was minimally pasteurized and non homogenized (Google it) - I remember the cream at the top of the jug when we opened the bottle. When we got sick we went to the chiropractor and the health food store - I never had one antibiotic as a child. All of our meals were homemade. We never had a dinner without a fresh, raw green salad, often with homemade dressing. I do not think a box of sweet cereal ever crossed the threshold of our front door.

I was hesitant to have friends spend the night because I knew they would experience culture shock by what would seem like a foreign country to them, when it came to meal options. I LOVED when I got to spend the night with friends because I knew it meant I would get sugary cereal, Yoplait yogurt cups (my mom only bought plain, unsweetened yogurt), Jiffy peanut butter that did not have to be mixed (I always wondered why we got the kind you had to stir forever and did not taste sweet), white bread that was so soft you could roll it up in a ball (our bread did not do that), American cheese (although I never really liked it because it seemed more like plastic than cheese), all kinds of sweets, like endless sweets all the time, and fast food or pizza. It was pure heaven to me as a child to spend the night with friends. I got to experience a whole new world of food that never existed in my home.

I did not like being the different girl with the weird food, but now, 30 years later I am deeply grateful for the foundation of knowledge, nutrition and wellness my parents created for my siblings and I. They did it before it was cool. They did it when there was more resistance, less understanding and no same-day-Whole-Foods-delivery for Amazon Prime members. They were crunchy-millennial-hipsters back in the 80's.

And now it's my turn to continue the legacy they modeled by raising my 4 children to be the different kids with the weird lunch.

Food: it is among my most favorite topics to explore. Join me on this journey I have been on for 30+ years. We will transparently explore the world of food and all the other things I love.

xoxo, @LeahLauchlan

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