Pulling into the drive-through, I apologized to my daughter’s friend. I joked about how inconsistent this move was with our community’s shared values. As I ordered my enormous Diet Coke, I was energized by the conversations we had. We all agreed that giving money to McDonald’s was the biggest problem. Drinking the artificial unhealthy-chemicals laden beverage wasn’t great, either.
I’m grateful for our shared values—at my daughters’ school, in our Religious Society of Friends community, and among most of my friends and family. We care about whole and healthy foods, jobs that pay a good livable wage with benefits, small and local businesses, and a whole host of other Earth-loving issues. It’s lucky to be surrounded by people among whom I feel a little sheepish when I’m in one of these waves of drinking this garbage.
Part of living my values, however, is recognizing that finding balance matters. As I wrote about a couple years ago in the Bangor Daily News, sometimes my choices need to be inconsistent with my deeper values. In “Let us eat junk,” I pointed out that sometimes super-quick and not-so-healthy food choices are the right ones. My daughters and I have talked about how the number of calories per dollar is pretty amazing, and the fat helps the eater feel full; sometimes that’s what matters for families who have no food to eat. We don’t judge harshly people who eat McDonald’s or other food that I call garbage food.
I love that my daughters think going to McDonald’s is gross. I love that their friends have either never eaten it, or think it’s gross that they have. We are lucky and we’re all pretty healthy. I’m also glad we can think critically and talk about the many issues surrounding our food (and drink) choices.