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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……

 

 

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