I wrote earlier that one way we maintain healthy eats in our home is with choices of healthy eats. Like… do you want zucchini or blueberries?
Another way is I simply serve food. What I serve is what we eat. I do add a few things to entice, like dried cranberries or some organic raisins.
I have to admit that I think she generally enjoys these “adult” foods because I never served her “kids” foods. At restaurants, we always ordered her meal from the adult menu. We opted for appetizers if we wanted something small (which was perfect for her), or we ordered an entree and Greg had some or we brought home leftovers.
She’s had french fries twice in her life. She doesn’t eat conventionally fried food because we don’t eat fried food. She has never had fast-food – she’s never been to McDonald’s or Burger King or Taco Bell (except to use the bathrooms). The closest thing we come to “fast-food” is eating once every couple of months at Chipotle, which actually uses mostly great ingredients.
I always have something in my purse for snacking while out running errands (Bison bar or organic dark chocolate or nuts with raisins – something easy to grab). If we’re going to be gone longer and need lunch while out… I simply bring a cooler bag packed with healthy foods. It’s not fucking hard. A few slices of homemade sourdough bread, grass-fed cheese, nuts. Easy easy easy. I save money and I keep us healthy.
She’s never had a sucker or lollipop or the conventional candy options. Her candy is dark chocolate, Justin’s peanut butter cups. She’s never had goldfish crackers or cheerios. I always chose differently.
She drinks tea, coffee, and water. Once in a while we get organic tart cherry juice. It’s not a sweet juice, lol, it’s the tart shit and she likes it. I’m ok with that. It’s like a treat.
It’s not like she doesn’t consume sugar, because she does, but not candy. She enjoys Straus organic grass-fed ice cream and she enjoys gluten-free cookies. However, that’s the extent of it and it’s not every day. AND… I oftentimes (though not every time, if she had an exceptionally healthy dinner) serve something healthy with it. For example, her bowl of ice cream will have pecans on top sometimes or her cookies will be on a plate next to some sea spaghetti (dried seaweed). She never overeats on the stuff either. Sometimes I put three cookies on the plate for her and she only eats two.
It’s our routine and she expects it. It’s not weird or abnormal to her. If we’re out running errands and someone offers her a “treat” she immediately says “no thanks.” If she goes to a party (or friend’s house) I pack something because inevitably there’s a snack or dessert time. Sometimes I just send her with a bar of organic dark chocolate and call it a day.
We talk about this stuff, too. We talk about food choices. She knows how to view a food label. She understands and appreciates why we eat healthy – she wants a healthy brain and a strong body. She is witnessing her Papa’s dementia and she doesn’t like it. She knows that food choices during one’s whole life effects one’s brain. We answer her questions.
I share this because it’s how we live. It’s not weird and it is possible.
What I find strange is the number of people (family and strangers) who want to offer her sugar because they think they’re being nice. They think she will be happy having this. I guess they think she’ll like them more? The Taoist in me chills out – I realize they’re trying to be nice and we pass – saying thanks but no thanks. I don’t want to judge – they’re being generous after all, right? Thank you, Universe, for generous people. But, fuck fuck fuck, what is it with people thinking this is OK? Why is the default to always offer candy and sugar to kids?
We were at a concert over the weekend, sitting at a table with a few strangers. We’re all enjoying the music. My daughter is sitting there enjoying the music, tapping her feet on the ground, smiling. I don’t even know the people next to me and they tap me on the shoulder asking if they can give my daughter candy milk chocolate they just bought from the vendor at the festival. So sweet of them to offer and share, but fuck, what the fuck? Why is it always sugar etc? How about just talking with my daughter and saying, “Hi.” She’d love that more than a fistful of sugar. The ungrateful wench in me wants to say, “Thanks but she’d like to keep a healthy brain and teeth.” However, I get a hold of myself before it gets out of control. I smile graciously and pass. I feel shitty for even writing about this.
Yes, on rare occasions, we are at a restaurant and we share a dessert. However, that’s so rare it doesn’t warrant mentioning since A) we rarely eat out – not usually healthy enough and definitely not frugal enough for me and B) if we do eat out we don’t get dessert. Maybe once in a blue moon or a birthday. It’s just not the norm. And, that’s the point, right? The dose is in the poison they say.
There IS more to health than food choices. I’m a firm believer in that. Still, smart choices are my default. I used to freak the fuck out about our food. I’m sure it did more harm to my body than all the healthy eating I did. So I used common sense and thought about evolution as well as the longest living cultures. I stopped labeling myself as vegan or paleo or raw or gluten-free. That level of restriction didn’t work.
When we travel, I don’t get my panties in a bunch over food choices. I make the best choices I can, and let it go. It’s true that there’s a balance to be had. And, there’s this brilliance I remind myself…
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a ride!'” Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
Anyway… back to the salad – the meaning for this post. I served the salad, at the top of the post, for lunch (another reason homeschooling is awesome is that I can easily serve foods like this).
And… she gobbled it up.
- Organic romaine
- Apollo olive oil
- Balsamic vinegared
- Organic red bell pepper
- Dried cranberries
- Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt
- Organic pecans
- Grass-fed liverwurst