Parenting and Nutrition: I hate being the bad guy! Part 1 of 3

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I get so sick of cajoling my kids to eat right. It’s exhausting! So a lot of the time, I just cave to the pressure and let them eat crap. What do I do?

Answer: This is a big topic. I write on it a LOT, you know if you’ve been here for a while. But I’ll share some new thoughts today.

I was doing some research recently and read an interview Kevin Gianni did with Mike Adams where Mike said something like, “I get so sick of hearing people tell me that this or that good food doesn’t taste good. I wish people would just get over the idea that EVERYTHING has to taste good.”

I laughed out loud reading it. Amen, my brotha.

Sometimes I’ll tell someone griping to me about that, “Yeah? Well guess what. Don’t be shocked, but I don’t even really like green smoothies.”

It’s true. I don’t much like drinking stuff, except water. I have never bought a Jamba Juice smoothie, even before I was mega-healthy. It’s just not that appealing to me. I prefer things you eat with spoons or forks.

That’s not why I drink green smoothies. I drink them because they’re fast, easy, portable and super powerful in my energy-maximizing nutritional strategy.

I think the 80/20 rule applies. I eat about 80 percent foods that are outrageously good for me, whether I like them or not, and 20 percent foods I really love. (Like guacamole or raw olives. Anything made with coconut, or chocolate. Or sprouted-grain English muffins with butter.) Note that most of the foods I love are a 6 to 8 on a 1-10 scale (1 being pork rinds, 10 being the juiced collards and carrots I made with my new Norwalk Juicer this week). None are a 1 – 4 on the scale. But my favorites are higher calorie and not superfoods like a green smoothie is.

Caveat: if your “foods I love” list is pure Cheetos and Snickers and Diet Pepsi, 20 percent is waaaaay too much. You’ve not yet learned to replace that list with things that are both yummy and pretty darn good for you.

Helping your kids find a list of things they like, that also happen to be nutritious, is IMO one of the best things you can do for them as a parent!

I don’t have a standard that everything I put in my mouth has to taste good. Matter of fact, I often get MORE pleasure out of the sense of accomplishment (“I am so proud of myself for drinking that glass of collard juice and handful of sprouted almonds!”) than I get from the taste and texture of ice cream in my mouth.

Think about that, because human beings are in hot pursuit of pleasure. I value accomplishment, and building healthy cells and tissues, more than I value instant gratification. (Mostly. I do occasionally screw up a little.)

Do you? Your kids are noticing. I promise.

Also, they actually WANT you to talk to them, and set the example—regardless of the mixed messages (with the eye rolling and the “ya ya, I know Mom” stuff).

If you don’t talk to them and show them?

Well, you know all that talk about heredity being the primary factor in health, in obesity, and in cancer risk? People believe that. But it isn’t really true. More and more studies are showing, when researchers bother to isolate factors, that it’s not your genes that lead to three generations in a row getting cancer, as once thought—it’s the fact that, for the most part, we eat what our parents ate.

Some things we do simply because they’re good for us. I was telling this to Kristin in an airport last week. I said, “How many things did you just walk past on the way to our gate, that you LIKE eating, but you didn’t stop and buy?”

She said, “Hundreds.”

So, I continued, “Everyone says yes to a few things, and no to MANY things. Everyone. Even the folks we all look at and think, ‘Wow, you’ve really let it go, pal.’ If you say no to 99% of the bad-for-you foods in your path, you could be super healthy and fit. If you say no to only 95%, you could be obese, miserable, nearly immobilized.”

I’ll explain where I’m going with this tomorrow……

 

 

4 thoughts on “Parenting and Nutrition: I hate being the bad guy! Part 1 of 3

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  1. I miss nothing about my former (eating) life except for bread. I could eat the whole loaf. I could probably pound down two loaves. French bread straight from the bakery at the local grocer, sigh, what a happy thought. In that aspect I turn into a kid, have a meltdown now and again over my bread. But then I look at the ingredients, HFCS, yeast, food colorings, etc. and I temper down my eating of bread to an occasional yummy treat. I’m not much for sourdough and I know that is in one of your steps. It just doesn’t appeal to me. My kids eat super yummy foods like chicken nuggets and chips. Okay so they are a work in progress but I do make them drink green smoothies and I read them Junk Food Dude and they are getting better at identifying good and bad foods but it doesn’t mean that they want to eat them. Note: My daughter will eat anything I eat so she is far more healthy then my son. Note: my son chose to forgo chicken nuggets in his lunch for school and wanted a banana instead. Made me almost burst with joy.

  2. I think you are on to something with teaching kids that food doesn’t have to taste good. I am about 2 months into my nutritional transformation, and I’m not pushing my kids too hard yet, because I feel I have to lead by example first. But I’ve had the same thought – why does my 12 year old daughter seem to think if it doesn’t taste “good” she can’t eat it? I mean, as long as it doesn’t make you retch, what’s the big deal? Your writings are encouraging me to change some of the rules in my house. For example, for years I bought only natural peanut butter with no added ingredients. Then my daughter tried Skippy at my mother-in-laws and refused to eat the natural peanut butter she had been eating for years. I’ve been indulging her and buyingSkippy, but it has added sugar and “junk” oils. Well, no more. She can either eat natural peanut butter with no added ingredients or go without. Enough’s enough!

  3. Great article, Robyn! I’ve had lots of success slowly changing my eating habits but am still working on my kids. I would disagree, however, with the statement that not everything that’s good for you tastes good. I know that God gave us all these wonderful foods in order to give our bodies the proper fuel but also to ENJOY them! Most people who complain about healthy foods not tasting good are probably coming straight off pure junk and obviously, a green smoothie is not going to taste like a snickers bar 🙂 IMO, it’s the knowledge of what you’re feeding yourself that makes green smoothies taste good. We can eat healthily while preparing whole foods deliciously! Its just a matter of tuning our taste buds. Kind of like how exercise becomes enjoyable (even though it’s still work!) once we realize how great it makes us feel. Does that make sense?? Anyway, thanks for the great tips and encouragement! You’re making such a difference.

  4. I used to be the same and give in but then I just made a compromise with my daughter that she will eat vegetarian every time I cook dinner and can have what she wants when I am not around(like at school) I had her promise that she would try to eat the fruit and veggies first that came with her hot lunch at school and eat/ or not eat the meat, dairy, starches, deserts, etc. It has really relived my stress level and we are both happy now. I do the same with my husband and both of them have adapted.

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