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Unicorn Frap: Quit the Sugar Shaming

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few days, you know about Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino.  It’s brilliant marketing, by the way – bright colours, playing to the universal love of unicorns, and it’s only in existence for five days.

And it took exactly one day for people to find something to complain about.  This meme is floating around social media:

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And people are outraged.  “You mean to tell me that this artificially coloured and flavoured sweet drink is loaded with sugar?  You’re going to cause diabetes!” they cry.  I saw one person suggest that Starbucks should be held legally responsible for marketing this to children.   Never mind the extreme ignorance on how diabetes happens, people are genuinely pissed off and surprised that this thing isn’t the picture of healthy living.   And to those people I have just one question.

What in the actual hell did you expect?

Who took a look at this flourescent beverage and expected anything less than a sugar-loaded cup filled with sweet, sour deliciousness?  And, maybe more importantly, have you looked at Starbucks’ other drinks – do you have any idea how much sugar you consume on a daily basis?  If you think the Unicorn Frap is the problem, you truly have no idea.

A quick perusal of Starbucks’ nutritional information website shows me that SEVERAL of their drinks meet or exceed 76g of sugar.  The Venti Java Chip Frappuccino, for example, comes in at a whopping 89g if you add the whip (85g without).  In fact, most of their frappuccino options come in with a sky-high sugar content.  

A Grande Caramel Apple Spice has 71g of sugar, while a Venti Peach Iced Green Tea Lemonade comes in at 48g.  Even a Grande Oprah Chai Latte with coconut milk registers at 28g of sugar – still well above recommended limits.  

If you really think that opting for a different beverage choice this week would’ve been healthier, you’re probably just plain wrong.

Starbucks aside, many of our everyday drinks contain exorbinant amounts of sugar – and, although there maybe should be, I’m not seeing the outrage over that.  A single can of Mountain Dew has 46g of the stuff.  And a medium Sonic Vanilla Shake has 71g.  Are you seeing the trend yet?

And I haven’t even gotten into the fact that I’m a grown-ass woman who can make my own diet choices.  And if I want to indulge in a rainbow drink once or twice or ten times this week – that’s my goddamn right.  And it’s yours too.  

The problem is not this pretty drink that you’ve suddenly decided to demonize.  The problem is society as a whole.  We put sugar in everything – a LOT of it.  Any time you’re opting for that sweet treat, you’re going well over what “they” say you should.  

Sugar is a problem.  I’m not disputing that.  We eat too much of it, it’s hiding everywhere, it’s causing health issues. It’s just plain not healthy for us.  But let’s stop acting like this is one drink’s or even one company’s fault.  Instead of shaming me for eating the equivalent of three Snickers bars, why don’t you advocate for reduced sugar content all around? Lobby Starbucks for actually healthier options.  Pressure policy-makers to tighten up regulations.  Encourage nutrition education and then lobby for healthy options to actually be affordable.  

This isn’t about the unicorn.  It’s about society.  Place your blame where it’s deserved.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in privilege, Random Shit

 

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World War Mommy

On every post I read and in every mommy group (online or otherwise) that I’ve been privy to I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: the never-ending Mommy Wars.  Posts about feeding to sleeping to diapering all end the same way: this side vs that side in an all out brawl.

I read these new posts or listen to these discussions and the theme is always the same.  Moms feel attacked and judged and thus this irrepressible need to defend their choices and children.  Breastfeed or co-sleep and you’re a crazy hippie whose child will never self-soothe.  Formula feed or CIO and you’re a child abuser who values your own convenience above your babe’s. The insults fly, the back and forth starts and before you know it there is a clear division of crazed mama bears willing to pounce.

Hey, I get it.  I don’t react well to criticism either, especially if maybe I’m not yet 100 % sold on a method myself.  But isn’t this parenting shit hard enough on its very own without the added pressure of every other mother chiming in on your choices?  Aren’t we all in the same boat with the same ultimate destination: secure, healthy and happy kids?

Look, friends. I have some pretty strong beliefs. I wear my babies. I breastfeed. I co-sleep. I have natural births. I cloth diaper. I’ve gone from kind of chewy to all out hippie granola-crunching mom throughout the years. I will defend my choices if asked; I will educate if appropriate. Do you know why? That is how I learned and that is what changed my perspective. I didn’t expect to use half these things when I first found out I was pregnant. “Attachment Parenting”, as coined by Dr. William Sears, is still not mainstream and although it certainly is gaining in popularity, unless you sing kumbaya in a drumming circle on a weekly basis you may just not have access to the information (ok, maybe that was exaggerated. I hate kumbaya). I learned, I asked and I debated. I was willing to listen and willing to explore other methods because the people I learned, asked and debated with were always respectful. They were also diplomatic. They were sharing just to share and didn’t judge me for not knowing or immediately adopting their techniques. They knew that no matter what, I was making the choices I needed to make for my family, for my sanity and for my child’s overall happiness.  Had they taken a different, more defensive and judgemental approach, it’s unlikely I would’ve ever been receptive to a style that I now can’t imagine parenting without.

I don’t care if your newborn shits in a disposable diaper, cloth diaper or in the toilet (google Elimination Communication).  If strap on your baby like an accessory or use a stroller.  Boob or bottle feed.  I know that in the end we all just want the same thing for our children and there are many different routes you can take that will arrive at the same destination.  What the hell do I care what road you take?  If you ask me for travel advice, I’ll happily share by giving suggestions and encouragement – but even if you choose a different journey, I will still support you.  I know that if I tell you that my way is the only way, you’ll likely try a different one just to prove me wrong.  Hell, the stubborn bitch in me would do the exact same thing.

So the next time you feel an innate need to defend your parenting, or criticize someone else’s, take a step back and ask yourself if being negative and judgemental will actually advance you in your goal.  Remind yourself that we are all in this together, learning, and that no one is the expert.  That’s right – not even you.  Ask yourself how (or if!)  you would want the information presented and phrase yourself accordingly.   You will catch more flies with honey and when you find yourself on the other side of the debate you’ll appreciate that same courtesy extended back to you.  Heck, you may even learn a thing or two.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Parenting

 

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