Open Letter To My Daughter (4)

by Judy Bowles

Dear Daughter,

I really need to let off steam for a bit… have you got time to sit down with a cup of tea and read this letter right now? - OK, OK, – its my own fault for reading the newspapers, but boy, is this country going downhill, and fast! I get incensed when I read about government bills that want to “neutralise” the marriage state -i.e. make it virtually worthless in the eyes of all and sundry, when the marriage state itself is the bedrock of any community. A quick review of history can tell you that!

Yet, I know how you, as a young wife and mother, must feel at times… pregnant again with Number 3 (great news!!), morning sickness, constant tiredness, 2 youngsters to home-school, a house to run, husband to take care of, and on and on it goes. It can seem just so much grind. Who wants to be a Mum, when there are so many “interesting careers” out there? Are we just housewives? Did God give Adam all the fun stuff (exploring, inventing, creating) and poor old Eve the left-overs (cooking, cleaning, childrearing)… or do we women have a vital, irreplaceable, 24/7 role in our own homes and communities?

I think deep down you know the answer to that subject… you and I both know that your father would have a struggle on his own to find a matching pair of socks… or a clean shirt/handkerchief, let alone fix himself a half-way decent meal. And although it’s possible to function in odd socks and un-ironed shirts – it’s the last point – the nutritional input side of our job that I want to bring to your attention in particular.

Being pregnant, you are literally laying down bone, blood and muscle in your new son or daughter. What you put in your mouth determines the quality of your child’s body. Some responsibility!!! But it doesn’t stop there: think about some of the headlines you’ve read in the newspapers lately – about childhood obesity, hyper-active toddlers that have been expelled from school at the age of 4, kids taking to crime and drugs in early teenage, growing amount of early-onset diabetes in young people, meteoric rises in cancers and heart disease, and even the threat of a “flu pandemic”, threatening the lives of millions.

Just this evening, one of the reports on the evening news was about the horrendous diet of many young children in the poorer, less-educated parts of the UK. Babies of a few months being weaned onto burgers and French-fries. Potato chips being given to teething babies… Youngsters not being able to identify, let alone cook, many common fruits and vegetables. As the report rightly pointed out – the future for these children is truly fraught with health problems… And in general the health of this nation is on a steep decline.

Yet you and I, as wives and mothers, have a major influence – for better or for worse – in all of these scenarios. Much of the sickness today is due to poor nutrition!

That can seem a very sweeping statement, but, as you know, I’ve been studying the subject for a long time now. Let me back up a bit to how I first became interested in the subject, decades ago…

I’ve told you many times that I was a pain in the neck as a teenager. Apart from the other problems I caused my parents, I was also into the “junk food” of the day in a BIG way, but thankfully I ended up in Ambassador College. (God must love challenges!) There I discovered that - 1) the only choice I had at mealtimes was “take it or leave it”, (amazing what you can eat when you are hungry!) and - 2) this “religion” really was a Way of Life… it even included what we ate. That was a revelation to me. And it wasn’t very long before these new substances I was eating – i.e. fruit and vegetables – made a big difference to my teenage acne and also gave me food for thought.

I think the “light really went on” at a Ladies’ Club shortly after Dad and I were married, and I may have even been pregnant with you. I vividly remember one of the church members, a qualified nutritionist, giving a presentation on some aspects of food preparation and cooking. She started her presentation with the concept that we did not evolve, but are created beings. “What had that got to do with the subject?” I thought. Then it clicked. Of course! If we had evolved, then our bodies will eventually adapt to just about anything we attempt to use as foodstuffs – even MacDonald’s beef burgers and Diet Coke!! But, and it’s a big BUT – if we were created, then we need to find out what the Instruction Book says about the diet for these “machines” – to get the best out of them. Because we won’t adapt to all and everything we feed ourselves, but will suffer for it. OK, so that’s pretty basic, but it was a watershed for me. As far as nutrition goes, using computer-speak, it’s a matter of Garbage in – Garbage out.

I know you want to do the best for your family, and I know that time and money are at a premium, so what I’d like to do is to condense what I have learnt over the years – into a kind of “nutrition in a nutshell” Don’t panic - Good nutrition isn’t rocket science! But it can mean all the difference between enjoying life and enduring it! As a wife and mother, your family’s lives are quite literally in your hands.

So chin up, Estelle! Wives and mothers may not be getting the “recognition” we deserve from society - but who cares? We know where this society is shortly going to end up, and we even have it on paper - see Proverbs 31 - that, far from being worthless, our role is priceless!

Right, I’ve simmered down a bit now, so I’ll let you get on, but will get back to you before long on an aspect of nutrition close to my heart… family mealtimes.

With love