Less Is More

15 Aug

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.

© Mad Question Asking – 2013 All Rights Reserved

12 Responses to “Less Is More”

  1. Christine Laughlin August 15, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Once you start eating the good stuff, it is hard to eat junk. The thought of taking Nicholas or me to McDonalds is so repulsive – it might as well be like someone asking me to stop at the local dump and eat the trash. Just cannot do it. I do spend $5.00 for a pint of organic blueberries. Is it wrong that they charge so much? Maybe. I don’t know how expensive it is to produce and ship an organic fresh product. Would I buy pesticides for breakfast? No. So that is my option – real $5.00 pint blueberries or a $3.00 pint of pesticides.

    • madquestionasking August 15, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Right. It is also very baffling to me that tons of people bust their ass at the gym, women in particular, and then spend their evening munching on corn- and soy-based boxed junk. What a counter-productive way to live and horrible way to treat yourself.

  2. catherine August 15, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Hello there – - this is Catherine Emery, Amy Hyde’s sister-in-law. You have inspired me to write. I very much agree with your post and perhaps we can make it go viral. It is a message that is sadly provocative when something like this shouldn’t be.

    • madquestionasking August 15, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      Hi Catherine, it is provocative, I agree. Why we Americans eat so much food, yet complain about its price, and all the evidence shows we are clearly getting sicker and sicker is hard to talk about. The elephant in the room.

  3. T August 15, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I used to think exactly this way, until I had Jack! This kid is a ball buster when it comes to food. He would rather go hungry then eat a vegetable. He eats exactly 3 fruits. We eat pretty healthfully and even had a weekly fresh box from ay to December last year, so leading by example has not broken him. My sisters, o the other hand, were eating black olives and red onion at 1 year. I think the example is huge, but then there is always that kid who is impossible.
    Can I send him there for a week? ;)

    • madquestionasking August 15, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Maybe Jack is part polar bear like me?! :) I would eat fish all day long, I prefer all proteins over fruits and veggies. I hear what you are saying, and I know it is not an easy thing, to get your kids to eat well. But I think statisticly it looks like most households may not be even trying.

  4. Alexander Kopf August 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    I can empathize with “impossible kids”, our son was exposed to all sorts of healthy, spicy, SoCal/Mexican food as a toddler, then at age 3.5 he became close-minded. Would only eat light colored bread, cereal, white american cheese, chicken breast, pasta without sauce, and corn. Anything else was a struggle. Plus, he was going to a vegetarian school, and refused to try anything that he didn’t recognize, so he would be starving when he got home and would gorge on cereal. All through elementary and middle school this continued, until one day we were at a bbq and they only had hamburgers, no hotdogs, no chicken. He tried it and liked it. From there, the flood gates opened. He has since cut out all sugar and cut way back on carbs, enjoys all sorts of veggies and any wild game you can set in front of him, while dropping almost 75 pounds. My theory is he was “corrupted” by his peers in pre-K.

    • madquestionasking August 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      We must un-corrupt ourselves. Take baby steps even. Nobody likes how it feels to be overweight. It fucks with your confidence. (And who the hell has much of that anyway?)

  5. Dorothy August 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    read your post and shared with friends the other night while relaxing on the porch. appreciate the reminder to keep it simple and real. it’s difficult when we are all bombarded (especially the kids) with packaged, boxed, canned, fried, fast, cheese-ladened, sugary
    food and disgusting but very prettily packaged drinks. what’s wrong with drinking water? from your tap?! we all need to be reminded to resist! Thanks!

    • madquestionasking August 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      Thanks Dorothy! When are we gonna see you over here? We need your mind in the living room!!!

  6. christine August 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    I think you are totally right! We have to tell our kids what is good for them and what will ruin their health. I am always trying to find the balance. Thankfully, my kids are pretty good, but we could always do better. It gets easier as they get older because they understand the consequences.
    As I was reading your blog, I was cracking up thinking if you could redo the scene in the liquor store, you shouldn’t have stopped with your daughter and the chips. You could have taken out one patron at a time. For instance, you could have told the obviously unemployed guy buying a bottle of cheap vodka that that was not going to improve his situation. Maybe there was guy in line coughing up a lung with intentions of picking up a pack of smokes, you could have just glared at him. However, you’d have to let the exhausted mom with the $12 bottle of red slide, though, because she was on vacation.

    • madquestionasking August 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Haha, it would have been great! I would never apologize for my wine though. Never!

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