Drinking soy milk does not make me weird

We had some friends come visit us this week. I've known them for a long, long time, and it was fun to have them in our new house, etc. But I was surprised to discover an area of life where we seem to have little in common: food. Now, I am not a food Nazi. But having PKD means that I have to watch some of the things I eat, mainly sodium and hydrogenated oil. I also can't have caffeine, or huge amounts of chocolate. What this translates into is that I prepare most of our food fresh, and our pantry is pretty bare when it comes to snack food. I also give J soy milk on occasion, just because I like the extra protein on things like oatmeal, or as a mixed beverage, half chocolate Silk, half cow's milk at breakfast or lunch. There are lots of local farms that we like to go to and pick our own stuff, like blueberries and corn and peaches. We like to frequent farmer's markets, and I love cooking from our herb garden. And, of course, we have our beautiful garden that provides us with fresh vegetables every day. My friend thinks I am a freak. She keeps asking things like, "Well, why have you put J on this diet? Do you think you can keep him from getting PKD? So, this special diet you're on. Can you have bread? Can you drink milk? Wow, what a commitment!" Hmm, a low sodium, low packaged food diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables with an appropriate amount of protein. Not exactly a medically regimented diet. She was also unimpressed with my garden, giving it a cursory glance and a shrug. Ok, I know I talk about this a lot, but my garden TOTALLY ROCKS! I mean, how can you just shrug your shoulders at sunflowers 12 feet high and tomatoes the size of softballs? Her husband is with her on this, too. For breakfast, I offered homemade whole wheat blueberry pancakes made from scratch with blueberries we had picked, smeared with homemade raspberry jam (compliments of Tracy M, by the way. We are almost out--send more!) with a side of strawberries and bacon. He opted for Dora's Cinnamon Stars cereal. I'm surprised how strongly I feel about this. They don't eat how we eat. They don't share our passion for growing fresh vegetables. They have never even been in a Whole Foods store, and it's not because they can't afford it. None of this makes them bad people. They are in fact very pleasant people. They're just not food snobs. But we apparantly are. And it's an issue. Not a big one, not one that I would bring up in a million years, but it's there. If you would have asked me, I would have never said that food can separate people. But now, I see that it can. And a couple of times during their visit I have felt like saying, "Drinking soy milk does not make me weird!" I'm going to go have a tomato.


Blogger Chrissie said...

Mmmmm....tomaaaatooooooes *said in Homer Simpson voice* LOL

Seriously...fresh fruit and veg ANY day.

8/25/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

I'm weird too. But it's my dh who thinks it the most. I tell him, if he wants to eat differently, then he has to shop and cook for himself.

I would love to see your garden and I promise will be totally impressed. It's one of my goals for next spring.

Seriously salivating over those blueberry pancakes. And Tracy M, you can send some of those rasberry preserves this way while you're at it.

8/25/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

You KNOW I've always said I want to come live with you just so I can eat the way you eat!

I am a total believer in throwing away all packaged foods. Now, being a believer of the word and a doer of the word are two different things.....but I do have a lot less packaged food than I used to.

And we get Soy Milk delivered weekly, along with our regular, hormone-free milk.

Oh, and ditto on the request for jam.

8/25/2006 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Proud Daughter of Eve said...

There are lots of reasons for someone to drink soy milk. Lactose Intolerance, like my husband. Or like me, they could have sinus issues and choose soy milk when seasonally afflicted to minimize certain side effects.

Or maybe they just like it. It strikes me as odd that your friend can only rationalize your food choices as a commitment you've made because of your condition. The country is so food and health concious these days... where has her family been??

I don't think you're weird; I think what you're doing rocks and I'm doing what I can (with a yard just big enough for one zuccini plant) to do the same thing myself. More power to you!

And of course you know that by doing so you're applying the Word of Wisdom in the way it was originally meant and in a way that is too often forgotten these days. :)

8/25/2006 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Wow. I'll take an invite to your house for breakfast any day. (and lunch or dinner, too - YUM)

8/25/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

Hey! I didn't get any jam!! Does this mean you like Heather better?! That's it, I'm not coming over to your house for at least two more weeks! LOL
Think about it, most people don't get to have fresh stuff anymore. A lot of my generation weren't raised on it. To them all that fresh stuff would seem weird. And some of it could be backlash to the "organic food or no food" movement. Everytime my friend tells me she only uses soy because regular milk makes girls menstruate at the age of 3, I just want to roll my eyes.

8/25/2006 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger miggy said...

Some people just don't get it . . . and in my mind, THEY'RE the weirdos. Argh! You're post bugs me!!! Not your post, but your friends in your post! I feel like I would totally have the same reaction from some of my friends if I was the foodie I truly wanted to be. . . Seeing how I live in the city I can't have my garden just yet and since we're students I can't afford Wholefoods and the like . . . but I still make most of my meals from scratch (soup from a can? I don't eat soup from a can) and just don't understand people who don't like GOOD FOOD. When people say they don't like tomatos I like to ask, "Have you ever had a real tomato . . . from a garden?" because chances are they haven't and if they had, they would prolly like them (and those tomatoes on the vine in the grocery store don't count either . . . they're still not the same). Don't worry, when your children are stonger, smarter and have fewer health problems they might reconsider your weird behavior.

8/25/2006 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger ginger said...

Hmmm, eating like the word of wisdom recommends makes you weird? News to me. I am not vegetarian now (those pregnancy cravings for meat are just too strong) but in the past, when it would come up, people would always feel compelled to tell me that they don't eat "that much" meat. It is funny how differently I eat even from my siblings, and my mother. There are lots of people who eat like you, and grow their own food also, but some people just aren't into that.
I think those pancakes sounhd awesome! Hmmm, I have some blueberries, maybe that will be our lunch today!

8/26/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous mami said...

Where do you find good doy milk? I drink rice milk because I can't find good soy milk. And my sunflowers barely came up--and quit growing.

8/26/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Mo Mommy-

You make a good point about how people react negatively to the organic movement, thinking that food carries with it political and social connotations: ie, organic veggie growers are tree-hugging hippies. And maybe food does carry all kinds of subtle statements about a way a person thinks and believes, and I am just now discovering something that political scientists have known for decades.

I still like to garden, though.


We just drink Silk soy milk. You can find it at most grocery stores, even ones where they don't have an organic section. I don't know if it is superior quality or anything, I just like the way their chocolate and vanilla soy milk tastes :)

8/26/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger nestle said...

Yep you're weird.


8/26/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I have a hard time understanding your friend. The comments about your diet are insensitive and judgemental - who wouldn't want to raise their kids on wholesome food? Also, it is just rude that she ate cereal when you prepared a home cooked meal for her. No matter what, when you are a guest, you need to do your best to eat what is prepared for you, it's just polite for heavens sake!

I envy your garden. Next summer we are going to try doing "square-foot" gardening. I was raised by farmers, but have never attempted growing my own food since becoming an adult. How lame am I?

Speaking of being raised by farmers, support your farmer's markets, they are so great! When DH and I lived in Monterey a few years ago, we loved that they had bi-weekly farmers markets in town year-round! Right now my parents are growing strawberries, black berries and raspberries on their property as a u-pick berry patch, but also sell at farmer's markets. So cool! We visited them in Utah this week and it is so fun to be able to let our daughter roam their berry patch and eat good, fresh berries, and also eat the freshly picked foods grown by other farmers in the area. This city girl is missing country life...

8/26/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I have been thinking a lot about your post and I have a few thoughts:

Perhaps your friend is just majorly jealous about your healthy eating habits. Maybe she has a black thumb and wishes she could be a better gardener. I mean, jealousy does do that to people (act that way).

Also, I was remembering when I was doing Weight Watchers and trying to change my eating habits --I'd get all kinds of comments like: "Oh, come on! It won't kill you!" or "You mean you won't even try it?" or "You gave all that good stuff up?" and the classic "Oh, I could never eat that many veggies a day. You are weird".

I don't think you are a freak. You are my food hero! And garden hero. I'd love to be like you; and I'm getting there --slowly, but surely. And those blueberry pancakes? Gimme, gimme, gimme!!

8/26/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Em said...

hey - more awesome blueberries for you!
You seem to enjoy enjoying your food. You can only enjoy good food, right? You know some people are born with fewer taste buds than others, which may interfere with their ability to discriminate between good food and cardboard. Maybe that's because their mothers ate cardboard while they were in utero. (At my house most overly-pre-packaged blech is categorized as cardboard... unfortunately there is still plenty of it IN my house...)

8/27/2006 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger Mary Siever said...

When people make judgement calls on you eating helthy food or having your children do so, it's usually because of guilt and ignorance on their part.

People say some stupid things about us limiting our children's sugar intake and our desire (and success) at eliminating junk food from their diet. Our children drink soy or rice milk too. Only if there is literally nothing else and they have no choice will they have cow's milk. This has been a rare occurance.

Just keep eating healthy and let them miss out...they are already. :)

8/27/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


I'm curious as to your choice to eliminate cow's milk from your childrens' diets. Fill us in on your philosophy behind that choice. I've known several people who have eliminated cow's milk, and I'd love to know your take on the debate.

I would also like to state, for the record, that my friends I am referring to really are nice, normal people. They have just never drunk soy milk!

8/27/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Ooh, sorry all you grammar people, that apostrophe on "childrens'" is in the wrong place. It should read "children's". Shouldn't it? Crap, now I'm confused.

8/27/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kim Siever said...

Softballs. I am now officially jealous.

8/27/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mary Siever said...


Well, we wanted to delay their exposure to milk mainly, to try and avoid allergy issues. They definately don't get any milk until they are at least 2, and we just continued on from there. Now, they do get dairy, and we don't have a history of severe milk intolerance in our family, but from my own personal experience, I find it is best to keep it limited. For babies, nope, no dairy at all, only mama's milk. The fat molecules in cow's milk are harder to digest than the fat molecules in human milk (well, cows DO have four stomachs and we only have one!)which can be one reason. I am really of two minds about milk. I don't think it's all bad, but I think the over pasteurisation is not a healthy thing, and I think dairy is over consumed (yes even by me sometimes, being a lacto ovo vegetarian myself) so we try to keep it balanced.

You know one thing that is very healthy and is made from cow's milk, is kefir. Lots of healthy bacteria in it. My 5 year old loves the taste amazingly enough (it's very strong smelling and tasting, you can practically see that yeast working in it).

8/27/2006 10:33:00 PM  
Anonymous meems said...

A truly shocking story. Your friends may be nice, but it kind of boggles the mind.

I completely envy your wonderful garden and food choices! I love dairy and am not a huge soy milk fan, but I did have to go off dairy for a month or so, and Silk chocolate & vanilla were my saving graces. Plain, unflavored soy milk can be really horrid though; I mean bad. Yuck. My husband prefers soy milk, so we always have it in the fridge.

I started out being the perfect, healthy mom like you, Heather (and all the rest of you wonderful moms!)-- made all my own baby foods, bought organic, made EVERYTHING from scratch, etc, but I guiltily confess I haven't been able to keep it up - esp. since I went back to work full time.

...And the fact that my own sugar habit was getting harder and harder to hide from my kids as they started growing up and getting smarter. My 7-year old would probably kill for a bag of Ruffles and a can of Sprite. (sigh). I feel a bit disgraced!

8/28/2006 01:53:00 AM  
Anonymous EmilyS said...

Personally anyone who would pass up pancakes made from SCRATCH and fresh fruit is the weird one! J/K

Everyone has unique tastes, its always hard to cook for guests - I always stress even about the missionaries - you never know when someone has allergies or special diet needs, or hey, just doesn't like (dare I say it?) tomatoes!

8/28/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


J would also kill for a bag of Ruffles and a Sprite. He LOVES Sprite! And I have noticed that if we are someplace where I am not in control of what he eats, he kind of goes bonkers on the things that we don't eat at home.

And I am not as Nazi as this post may sound, especially when we are eating with somebody else, or eating outside of our home (vacation, etc). The fact that I don't think I'm that particular is what made their responses to my food that much more puzzling--I mean, it's not like I served them fried tofu for breakfast.

8/28/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous CS Eric said...

We did the square foot gardening, and I have one warning for you. If you mix the soil the way the book recommends, the garden will explode with goodness. Our first year with it, we couldn't keep up with the output.

8/28/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

While I love the products of a good garden, I am completely uninterested in gardening. So I understand that. Sometimes if you don't understand that someone is actually thrilled with something, you don't know how to act appropriately and give them the praise they seek. I have this problem when people talk about accomplishing their fitness goals, or quilting, or something that I just kind of wonder "why?" about. I do try to be polite and muster up something like "I'm happy for you." But if I'm not really concentrating, I don't notice that they are expecting a positive reaction.
Food (for more than one meal) definitely divides people. I feel very uncomfortable with my in-laws because of food. They like to have a big breakfast....I can't stand to eat first thing in the morning. I don't like the sausages she buys, and they are undercooked, I hate biscuits and gravy. My MIL keeps bread in the fridge forever, I like it fresher. I love desserts-good ones, they don't care about that. There are many meals that I hate helping to make because I don't enjoy eating them.
You have to learn the preferences of your guests....I always forget to offer drinks because I don't get thirsty, but apparently other people do?
When guests are really comfortable with you, they go out and buy what they really need. There is no way to know that they only drink a certain diet drink, or that they need certain cereals in the morning to help keep them regular, etc.
A good hostess needs to be a little flexible, and definitely not get offended if what she thinks is something really special, isn't really appreciated. I know I kept striking out on desserts for a certain friend's husband, but apparently he only really loved peanut butter & choc. desserts, which I don't likeand am never going to make. But, I figure, all the more leftover carrot cake with raisins for me.

8/29/2006 06:07:00 PM  

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