Do you know why I never wanted to grow up? Bran.
Really. Everything about being an adult seemed to revolve around bran. My grandparents ate bran. My parents ate bran. All the grown-ups I knew ate bran. It was obvious to me that if I became an adult, my future would also include bran.
I remember waking up at the crack of dawn on weekends excited to dive into a fresh box of Lucky Charms, carefully picking through the frosted oat bits so that I could savor a bowl of entirely oat-free marshmallowy goodness. Life was good. Then I'd look over at my mom. Eating bran.
I asked her once, "Mommy, do you like eating that stuff?"
"Yes, it's delicious. I love it," She said.
I was 7, but I knew she was full of sh*t.
You never saw grown-ups eating Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks. They didn't have any fun at all. Just one look at that brown bowl of bunny feed against my colorful (most likely cancerous) bowl of whimsical horseshoes, clovers and pots O' gold, and that was all the information anybody needed to know that her choice was far from tasty. Growing up meant giving up frivolity and flavor -- both in the bowl and in life.
As I got older, an age-induced reaction to sugary cereals caused me to make a shift -- I believe the medical term is "sugar spins." WTF?! I could no longer eat a whole bowl of my favorite cereals without feeling a little woozy, causing me to do the unthinkable -- cut my Lucky Charms with Cheerios. I started small, just adding a dash of the plain O shaped grains. Next thing I knew, I was splitting my bowl ½ and ½. It was awful. I wasn't enjoying it. But it was better this than bran, right?
Then one day, a post-college roommate insisted my eating habits needed to change and she presented me with Raisin Bran. Its purple box and smiling sun did nothing to sway me from my position that eating bran was a slippery slope -- one that lead to staid maturity and a general lack of frivolity in life.
But she was dating a cute doctor -- who had cute friends -- and he suggested I watch my high cholesterol, so I tried it. It wasn't great. But it wasn't so bad, either. Within hours, I noticed I actually felt kind of good and I wasn't crashing from a Fruit Loop high. I was proud of myself. This just might work.
Eventually, I began to tolerate, if not wholly embrace, bran cereal. I began to understand that if I wanted to enjoy life for any extended period of time (or poop on a regular basis), that bran would need to become a part of my regular diet. So I succumbed.
I won't lie, every now and then, I pine for the metabolism of my youth. To be able to eat sugar, unnaturally-colored food and other processed goodies with happy abandon. To jump into my bowl every morning, excited for sweetness, searching for color, savoring life's marshmallows.
But while bran might not taste so great, I do realize now that it adds all sorts of good things to my life. It fuels me, it energizes me and it fills me up.
Now sugary cereals have entered my home once again via my own three children. They can down two bowls of Fruity Pebbles without blinking (intentionally or unintentionally). I'm inclined to say "Can you put some Rice Krispies in there? So you don't crash?" But why not let them enjoy it while they can. There will come a time when they won't be able to eat even one serving size without consequences.
Then the other day, as I sat eating breakfast with my kids who were enjoying their second bowls of Lucky Charms, my son eyeballed me, eating my bowl of Raisin Bran and asked,
"Mommy, do you like eating that stuff?"
I thought about it. Then I looked him in his sweet face and said, "It's delicious. I love it."
And you know what? I meant it.