My sister Cecilia and I were talking about food and kids a few weeks back and she said something that I thought was so great I have to share it.
She said when people are surprised to see her children eating very healthy food, and add that their children would never eat that, she always replies with, “Well do you eat that?”
She is so right! We teach our children best by example and if you don’t eat healthy, why would your kids? Now that is a great question to ask yourself, isn’t it?
I am always stunned when people talk about how expensive organic dairy, meat and produce is, how they can’t afford it, yet I bet that they fill half their shopping cart with boxed snacks. That’s not food. It offers nothing of value to your children. Nothing. Bars, chips, cookies, gummy things; those things are like feeding your kids junk mailers. But I guess if it comes in a package inside another package then it proved it has a value to your wallet.
I take food seriously but I would never call myself a foodie. I am no glutard. I am not militant, annoying or neurotic about food. I don’t even really like to cook. But what I like are simple meals I can make easily, that are drenched in health benefits. What I want from food is value, nutrition, and this I try to teach my kids. My kids like to snack on things like basil leaves, olives, blue cheese, cashews, salmon jerky, cherries and black berries, to name a few. Those are some of the snacks I keep in the house, which I don’t let mingle or compete with flashy crap like Trix blue yogurt.
A simple, average dinner in my house is a starch like soba noodles, brown or white rice, a cut of good quality beef, or fish, like salmon or cod, and a dark green veggie, like kale, collard greens or swiss chard. (I never have to fight my kids to eat dark green veggies, ever.) I like to cover the fish and veggies in the four greatest flavors on earth: olive oil, garlic, salt, and lemon. The smell of crushed garlic on my palm makes me very happy, I can’t get enough of it.
I really don’t believe eating well is more expensive. It just means you have to eat less, buy less of what your body doesn’t need and put your food store dollars in the outside aisles only. It takes an adjustment to your habits. There was a 6-month period, about five years back, where I was lured into Pathmark with coupons and became obsessed with the discount at the bottom of my receipt, calling my then husband, bragging about how much I saved. I started to morph into a very unattractive, dull version of myself, eating all that boxed crap. Thankfully this casino-ish food-shopping-trickery lasted briefly; I escaped alive and went back to my regular grocery store. But having had that experience made me observe that many people eat way too much food, high calorie, no-value boxed food. I know this because almost everywhere I look I see really, really fat people. And fat people are sick people.
I see all of these hospital, medical and out-patient buildings pop up all around me, here in South Jersey. I think people must want to be sick, they must want to be blind to the fact that the extra weight they carry is an expensive habit, a burden to themselves and society. I would guess it’s the same as, if not worse than, smoking.
It is certainly not popular for me to use the word “fat” to describe, well, a fat person, but I do. I was in the liquor store with my kids recently and my daughter said she was hungry and picked up a giant bag of sour cream and onion chips. I was about 10 feet away and told her loudly that, “If you keep eating that shit, you are going to get fat.” The time was 5:30 pm. The register lines were filled with tired, uninspired, quiet drunks who just got out of work. Each of them slowly turned their heads in shock that I’d talk to my little girl this way. Well, I did not apologize. Because it is true. She should know that. When I was growing up, if someone was fat, people pointed it out and called that person things like “lard-ass.” And back then people were much, much smaller than today and there were not nearly as many hospital shops on every corner.
I have to wonder if maybe name-calling, out-loud shaming, should make a return to society to point out what seems to be grossly accepted, that it appears to be ok to walk around carrying an excess of 75 plus pounds that will no doubt kill you one way or another. I think that 75 pounds is going to hurt you more than being called fat will “hurt your feelings”, being reminded that it is not ok.
The keys to eating well and its beautiful consequence of being healthy are so simple. It goes like this: you really are what you eat. Eat less food, but good, high quality food, real food.
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