Hunger Games….on “being the change”….part 2 of 3

Are we obsessed with rich food? With how everything tastes?

I promise you, we are.

The thing everyone wants to talk to me about, when I’m out running errands or at an event, is how green smoothies don’t taste that bad. (Well, sure, they taste GREAT if you put half a cup of agave in and just a handful of spinach into a mostly-fruit smoothie.) At my house, we push the limits, maximizing greens and superfoods. Minimizing fruits. I’m okay with any green smoothie that’s even a little better than Completely Revolting.

I am thrilled when someone wants to talk about anything ELSE but how green smoothies taste. A lady after my VIP class told me she just can’t gag them down, and asked my advice. “Stop eating sugar,” I said. “It has ruined the way you taste all food.”

Why is this my least-favorite topic, besides the fact that it’s just so constant? Because, truth be told….I COULDN’T CARE LESS how green smoothies taste. My kids probably think I’m callous, but I tell them,

“Everything we eat isn’t because it tastes good. Most of what we eat is because our body needs it. Once in a while we eat something primarily because of how it tastes. Not always!” Not that we have to eat terrible-tasting food. I like most of my food. But, everything doesn’t have to be rich, and everything doesn’t have to be sweet!

Outside my family, though? On the rare occasion I actually say that to someone—not everything we eat has to taste good—I mostly get a blank stare.

Today at the gym, the other mom running next week’s dinner for my son’s high school baseball team approached me about what we’re going to serve. Keep in mind that the dinner will be held at my house. She said, “You don’t eat meat, right? Because you’re supposed to provide the meat.” She offered to bring it over and grill it—till I told her the ex-husband took the grill 4 years ago and I haven’t replaced it. I told her, “I’ll pay for whatever you want to serve, but I can’t touch or cook it, okay? Can I bring a big green salad?”

Baseball Mom (B.M.) said, “Ummm, no, they won’t eat it.”

I said, “Really? Because last year I hosted one of the dinners and I made a salad and it was GONE.”

B.M. said, “Um, I’ll ask my son. But last time I made a salad they just LOVED. So I’ll just bring that.” I said, “Does it have bacon in it?”

(I know, I know. That was a little catty. My next comment was even worse. Wait for it.)

“No,” she said. “It’s canned fruit with Cool Whip.”

So I say……”Okay…..so it’s a dessert, then, not a salad.”

I know. Like I said, in hindsight, pretty catty. I wasn’t having the greatest day. Wow, that was a lame excuse. I can’t think of anything better though.

“No. It’s a SALAD,” she said, clearly annoyed.

During the course of the day, it is then explained to me, by several mothers, in so many words, that what we serve at the baseball dinners is meat, something really sugary or fatty, and a dessert. This is NOT the place for whole foods to rear their ugly little heads.

Now if you’ve been to a couple of my lectures lately, you’ll find this next bit kinda funny. Later in the day today, B.M. texted me, apparently really worried that if she didn’t manhandle the menu, some renegade vegetables might show up:

“Hey Robyn, will you make Cheesy Potatoes, also called Funeral Potatoes, to the baseball dinner next week?”

When I give away Readers’ Favorites books at my lectures, I’ve been telling about the favorite (and WORST) Mormon recipe of all time: the Funeral Potatoes. I tell how I didn’t know, until I was asked to make the dish for a funeral recently, what’s in it. Sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter, margarine, cream-of-poison soup, and potato chips! All in one dish! OMG! I thought they were called funeral potatoes because Mormons serve them at funerals! I didn’t realize the name is because they CAUSE funerals.

So yeah, it’s my new schtick to talk about that at classes. Because it gets a laugh, and I’m kinda cheap like that. Poke fun at my own people. You can get away with it as long as you’re one of ’em.

So, I’m really not kidding that today I got that text. Asking me to prepare funeral potatoes to feed my own offspring and boys trying to hit heavy little balls over a tall fence hundreds of feet away.

I don’t want to live in the dystopia. I don’t want to be controlled by the ridiculous excesses of the excessively affluent and spoiled, numbed-out world I was born into. I won’t be sucked into it. Kristin says I shouldn’t answer the text (I haven’t, yet) and just bring a salad anyway. It’s my dang house the dinner is being held at, after all.

Be the change with me.

18 thoughts on “Hunger Games….on “being the change”….part 2 of 3

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  1. This is boldly going where no one else goes. And I totally agree with you. After starting green smoothies two years ago (and having MOST of our myriad health issues swept away and out of our lives), I still struggle with sugar addiction and hypoglycemia. We eat very healthfully by (almost) anyone’s standards, and I have been slowly coming to the same conclusion you just blogged about, I just need my body to accept the change and do it. When I don’t eat sugar for a while, I CAN’T stand the taste of a sweet something. And I find that foods taste good that didn’t ever taste good before–like sauerkraut! But as soon as I start eating a little here and there, the addiction rears up and I’m back in bad action.

    If you stand firm and do what you believe (and what makes perfect sense when people actually THINK), they will follow. We have my parents, my in-laws, as well as several friends eating green smoothies now. The ladies at church are changing what they serve the kids because we have said NO to sugar for our kids, about 12 different times. My parents are green smoothing every day! THANK YOU ROBYN. Your books and posts are changing lives.

  2. I think our culture is obsessed with food. Every activity has to have treats. Why does a 10 am soccer game need treats? Didn’t everyone just eat breakfast? Isn’t everyone going home to eat lunch? Activity at 7pm at the church? More treats. Why? Didn’t everyone just have dinner. Birthday for a child? Family birthday cake isn’t enough. Now treats must be had at school also. Growing up, this never happened. We didn’t even have dessert once a week. Dessert was something we had on special occasions. Maybe if we stopped having so many treats obesity rates would decrease in our culture

  3. I would never make that either and would tell them so (in the nicest way possible). I’m surprised she–and all other mothers—doesnt know you better by now to know this is not your way. The kids loved the salad the last time cause their bodies craved it, I believe. Bring the salad. 🙂

  4. I know exactly what you’re dealing with, being surrounded by mothers who don’t have a clue about healthy food. My husband and I are over 60 and we’ve been drinking green smoothies for about 2 years and this past year, we became vegetarians too. However, we have 2 daughters with young children and it pains me to see how they all eat!

    Everybody has gotten used to me bringing the salad to family dinners at least and they love my salads too. I put everything in them, while their idea of a salad is lettuce and tomatoes only.

    We constantly get asked to join them all for pizza or for hamburgers and ice cream after softball games, etc. I go now and just don’t eat anything but I still have to see the way the kids eat. I try and give advice to to my daughters without being annoying but they don’t have time for healthy eating, so they say.

  5. Loved this Robyn! Stand your ground! And have food prepared for your offspring and anyone else who would like to feel better after the meal! We battle the sugaraholics at church all the time. Our littles are younger so we still get away with buying the sugar off them for now. Plus, you are right and justified! It’s your house! Make a raw zucchini pasta instead of the funeral potatoes! Can’t wait to hear more about it!

  6. I do not think you were rude at all, Robyn. First, it is YOUR home! You have a right to bring anything you want! Sheesh!!

    When my oldest daughter was in high school (we homeschool), the parties the different parents would host always served meals the way you described. Unhealthy pizza or burgers with a fatty salad and yuck for dessert. Plus, they would give candy as prizes for games. My daughter would just cringe when she saw what was normally served. She is totally health conscious and loves green smoothies! Yay! Makes my job easier. (My youngest is another story, though! Haha!) Anyway, she would beg me to just bring a healthy green salad or vegie tray with homemade dressing so she could eat something. That is what I always did, and the kids LOVED it!! I never had to take much home. If you make salad with vegies the color of the rainbow, they love it!

    So, just do your thing, Robyn. The kids will appreciate it!

  7. I would simply say, “I’m sorry. I don’t make food like that so I went ahead and prepared a salad anyway.”

    As for the too sweet thing. I admit I do put less greens then you recommend and I put a generous squeeze of agave in the gs. The times that I don’t, my husband won’t drink it and my kids seeing this (mind you, they are 6 and 3 yo) will gag and not drink it. So in order to keep the family drinking them I do the above. I have hopes that someday I will be able to cut back on sweets and add more greens but in the mean while I will take what I get.

  8. One of my favorite quotes:

    “Health is more important than taste, and when it is known that certain foods carry health insurance, one ought to have the gumption to learn to like them. …..The taste of any new food may be unpalatable at first; but repeated nibbles cause one gradually to acquire a taste for it. Many children, if given cod liver oil from infancy, actually enjoy its taste. This is true of any food. It is really infantile not to be master of one’s taste as regards that which insures health.” ~Leah D. Widsoe

    When my young children sit down to eat they ask questions like, “Is this dead food or alive food?” “How many colors of the rainbow can we see on our plate?” “Will the germs and bugs in my body LIKE the food I’m about to eat (because it is unhealthy food and will allow them to proliferate) or will they say ‘ Ew! Go away! We don’t like healthy food!'” It’s quite entertaining to listen to! They choose HEALTH over TASTE. From the beginning, I’ve taught my children the WHY behind healthy/unhealthy food: which foods cure/cause disease, which vitamins and minerals are in certain foods and what they do for the body, which are lacking nutrients (like fiber), etc. When they know the WHY behind it, it become much easier for them to make wiser food choices.

    P.S. Our green smoothies are all veggies.

    Good luck to everyone in their efforts. The changes we make now will affect future generations. Now that’s exciting!

    1. Melissa, Anne, Mary, Joan, Marie—you are great moms. You inspire me.

      I’m still drafting the text in my head where I nicely say that she can pick a big rainbow veggie salad—or a veggie plate and fruit plate from Costco—but you have all given me the mojo I needed not to cave. I really considered caving and getting the recipe and making it, just to avoid conflict.

      Thanks!

  9. Robyn,

    I’m fairly new to GSG. My BlendTec is on it’s way and I’ve been reading your 12 Steps to Whole Foods Manual while making green smoothies for myself, my husband, and our 7 children (ages 10 yrs down to 3 months). Some of my children love the green smoothies while others race mommy or daddy to drink it and get it in. It’s great to know I’m not the only ‘mean mom’ who thinks food is for fuel and doesn’t need to be sweet. I’m beginning to share what I’m learning with my children in homeschool and they each get to help prepare the veggies for our day.

    About this post – I would make the salad, and to be honest, if it’s at your house then I would make the food you want. If the other lady wants to make poison for everyone to eat then she should have it at her house. Yuck!

    Thanks for GSG.com!

  10. Robyn,

    Since these other mom’s probably know your stance on eating, they are probably afraid if THEY don’t assert some “control” over the menu that you will only have piles of greens for everyone to eat and nothing else. And then the mom who is “in charge” will drive herself crazy playing out all the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s.

    I would definitely make a HUGE, yummy salad and if you feel compelled to also offer the funeral potatoes just make a really small pan….where the servings would only be a very small scoop ( I mean ridiculously small, perhaps use an 8×8 pan). This could teach portion control :). Because isn’t that part of making the changes to a healthier lifestyle….slow changes. Just like our family started reducing the amount of meat on our plates and increased the salad, it is a transition.

    I keep asking myself what would I do in your situation…after I get the emotions out of my system of course-LOL. I would like to think of this as a challenge of some sort because we all come up against folks who think “our way of eating” is crazy and kids won’t eat this and that. And perhaps there may be one little mom there who is desperately wanting to make healthy changes but she is afraid….until she sees your big ass salad being gobbled up and it will be then that you have made another GSG friend.

    Thank you for sharing these real stories!

    Laura

  11. Just this morning I was thinking, as my smoothie was whirling, why I’m drinking them, and it isn’t because they are delicious (though I think they are, even though they are heavily weighted towards greens/veggies and not fruit, and I add no sweetener of any kind these days) but because it’s pure liquid science. Every single thing in there is there for a reason – it’s all about nutrition, feeling great and disease proofing myself. That it tastes great to me is a bonus. So many people at work are asking me for my recipe, I finally made xerox copies, but I didn’t just include the ingredients, I gave the science behind why each ingredient is their new best friend.

    Stand your ground, Robyn. I know you will.

  12. Who is this women anyway and how does she not know who you are? Ha ha …I’m in the Primary Pres. of my ward and I put my foot absolutely down to junk for the kids at activities and in nursery. Yes, I got many jaw dropping looks at first… but I was kind about it and explained my reasons. Now they’ve all seen how the kids snarfed my apple slices and healthy whole wheat mini muffins we had (instead of donuts) at the primary program practice and in other areas and they are all on board! They come to ME now with questions about their kids’ health.

    Bottom line, if you don’t continue to take that stand they may never get the chance to open their minds to health! Love all you do! Don’t apologize for any of it! Ever!

    1. Shellie….LOL, no, I don’t think she knows much about what I do, even though I’ve known her superficially for years. She did start the convo by asking me if we don’t eat meat—she knows SOMETHING, from my son hanging out at her house. I still haven’t texted her back, but I’m going to, and I will provide something very vegetably. Good for you that you don’t allow junk food in your Primary!!

  13. I am a grandmother now. I did raise four children as a single mom and fed them pretty well, organic, lots of veggies though animal products were part of it because I didn’t know better. I used to host the waterpolo, swim team and wrestling team dinners at my house before matches regularly. The salads were always eaten along with everything else I prepared. The other parents were always surprised to hear that their kids ate salads at my house. Teenagers are hungry. They will eat healthy if you prepare it with care and don’t offer an abundance of unhealthy choices.

    Don’t give in to the pressure! Your children are watching and will follow your lead. Your standards are high because you believe they are right not just when it is convenient or popular. Way to be the Change!

  14. Sorry lady, I’d be making a salad. Any of the salads in the 12 steps book would be awesome and I’ll bet the bowl will be empty. I LOVE bringing a veggie tray to family parties – it always gets eaten. What is she thinking?

    I appreciated the comments above regarding kids and treats. It seems like whenever I turn my head, my children are being fed junk food, candy, etc. I was recently made Primary President in my ward, and have inherited the kid’s scripture reading incentive – an ice cream party followed by a pizza party followed by an ice cream AND pizza party. Still trying to figure out how I am going to handle that. I DO have to follow through, but am trying to figure out how to make it less damaging on the children.

  15. Robyn, you should definitely make a salad! But if you really feel like you need to make funeral potatoes just to appease, then make a healthier version. My husband’s family makes those for every holiday (ick) so finally one Christmas when I hosted, I came up with a whole foods version that tastes exactly the same, only better actually! I keep hoping that they’ll use my recipe instead of the yucky canned MSG version but they don’t…oh well. We actually don’t ever make this but I formulated it for those times when I have to make something that is comfort food for my husband’s family. Take a look at it and maybe it would work for this situation? Nobody would know the difference.

    http://kamisniche.blogspot.com/2011/04/cheesy-potatoes.html

  16. I’m glad to hear from you ladies in the Primary Presidency. I am the Primary President in my ward, and when I’ve suggested healthier snacks, I haven’t gotten any positive responses. AKA “My kids won’t eat that” or “we could just do cake balls instead.” Yuck! I think it’s time for me to put my foot down also. And I agree with others . . . .Really, why do we have to have snacks at every activity anyway? It should be about the activity and the friendship, not the food.

    We actually have a ward activity scheduled tonight, and the Primary is in charge of it. I caved and the food fare there is going to be deli meat sandwiches on white rolls, chips, soda, maybe a few salads (who knows how many ‘green’ salads’ will show up) and cookies with nasty frosting. I was actually making the frosting today and thinking, “Why the heck am I doing this? I’m just poisoning everyone!” I think next year I’m going to be adamant that we do an activity that doesn’t include food, maybe just a service project, or something simple. Thanks for giving me the inspiration to do a little bit better for the kids in our ward!

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