Saturday, February 5, 2011


Today I bought nutritional supplements for the first time since... well, I don't think I've ever bought them for myself at all.
We're here to help.
I've talked myself into staying away from vitamins for years with reasons that I'm sure are sound and scientific, but the truth of the matter is that it's mostly unsubstantiated pride along with having been turned off of the practice at an early age. You see, my mother was a bit on the overprotective side. I suppose I can't blame her; I had (and still have) a pretty severe case of asthma and was (and still am) allergic to seemingly anything green or brown. And I was (and still am) vegetarian to boot - and who the hell knew if that was healthy? I was her little broken boy - and she was going to make me well.

As one might imagine, she overcompensated just a little. I don't actually know how many pills she made me take each morning and each night, but let's go with about 200 million - from a 7-year-old me perspective, that sounds about right. E's and B's and D's and C's and letters that I hadn't even learned in school yet were put in a cup on the sink before I brushed my teeth. I might as well have been told to eat a cup of pebbles. (Actually, for a 7-year-old boy, that probably would've sounded a lot more fun.) Every other weekend when I was with my father I'd have dozens of little baggies filled with dozens of vitamins weighing down my backpack. From what I remember my dad more-or-less balked at the task of filling his kid with these magical little rocks; he was down with the mulitvitamin and the C, but kind of left the rest up to me and just tried to make sure I was eating healthily.

As time went on I really grew to hate The Vitamin Time. At about the time I was beginning to learn that you didn't have to do what you were told if you really didn't want to, The Vitamin Time ritual had become routine enough that I was frequently left to complete it unsupervised - so I started dumping them in the trash can in the bathroom. That rouse didn't last long - as soon as the trash was taken out, the multicolored, marbled bottom of the bag gave away my hiding place. And so I was supervised again, but the cycle inevitably and invariably repeated. Every time she caught me she wouldn't just get mad, she'd get furious. It's like I wasn't just betraying her trust, I was killing myself. Didn't I understand? (Aside: No, she never actually used those words as a tactic.) Unfortunately for her, instead of teaching me not to do it again, it simply taught me to find better hiding places: down the toilet; under the grate in my room; in the schoolyard a la The Shawshank Redemption.

Needless to say, I never willingly took a dietary supplement again, short of some vitamin C drops when I felt sniffly. But you know what? Loathe as I am to admit it, I'm grown up now. Mom over did it, but she probably had the right idea. We don't always have time to eat right - especially since our ridiculous industrial food system seems to make it more and more impossible to figure out what eating right even means - and I can see the humble multivitamin as a nice bit of insurance against that. (And the vitamin D? That's insurance against living in Seattle.)

So I'll take my vitamins now. Live and learn.

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