“Is it okay to put sugar on my Frosted Flakes?” Dajon asks, his eyes bright behind large, wireless specs. “It’s not a big spoon I use.”“Well, what do you think?” I turn the query back to him rather than laugh in his face, rather than say, You’re kidding, right? Something tells me it’s not appropriate for the guest presenter to deride one of the seventh graders.
The classroom teacher interjects, “Thumbs up, or thumbs down, class?” I feel uncomfortable with the implicit judgement in this question. I’m impressed by Dajon’s willingness to admit to sugaring the already quite sugary and I want to encourage the honesty, not shut it down. We had just uncovered the fact that a can of Coke has almost twice the amount of sugar we are meant to consume in one day, so this was a brave question, I thought, and jumped into the fray.
I throw Dajon a lifeline: “Babysteps, Dajon, babysteps. I would love for you to stop sugaring your Frosted Flakes, but I know it’s hard. How about using a smaller spoon? And then only filling it part of the way, and then, less, and less? What do you think?”
Babysteps, we must take babysteps. We must begin where we are, and move on from there. Mother-may-I take one step forward? Sometimes we backslide. But that’s okay, the game’s not over until it’s over, so we keep trying.
I had just been telling the class that the World Health Organization wants us each to have no more than 25 grams, or about 6 teaspoons, of added sugars per day. If you’re sugaring the already sugary, you’re not going to get much food for those 25 grams.
As a class, then, we did a calculation: It turns out that, based on 2013 numbers, each one of us—man, woman, child—is drinking and/or eating about 40—yes, you read me right, 4-0—teaspoons of added sugar per day. The World Health Organization would be appalled, but all is not lost. I believe we can right this ship before it tips completely over. It’s all about education and reading labels—or avoiding foods which have labels. We can take those babysteps with Dajon and, Mother-may-I, instead of three spoons on our Frosted Flakes, we can put just two, and instead of two, we can use just one, and instead of one, we can just eat Frosted Flakes, and then, instead of Frosted Flakes, Mother-may-I , we can eat nutrient-dense, properly-prepared, soaked, gluten-free, local, organic oatmeal with fresh (or cultured), whole, grass-fed, raw milk or cream, along with a handful of fresh, local, organic berries, and maybe a splash of local, raw honey—organic, of course.
Oh. That was a giant step, but what the heck, Mother-may-I?