baseball, apple pie, and . . . green smoothies?

I was asked recently for photographic evidence of my son Tennyson’s snacks in the dugout that radically differ from traditional standards. It wasn’t easy to capture boys sitting together eating (since they are usually PLAYING), and this isn’t the greatest photo, but here ya go.

I love baseball, but I don’t love blue PowerAde and Red Vines and salted sunflower seeds that you see my son’s teammates eating.

I do love apple pie–the LaraBar kind! (It’s a raw-food snack widely available now, even at Costco.) And green smoothies. Here you see Tennyson, who Coach tells me leads the team in all categories, with both.

No, my high-school junior doesn’t take Mom’s healthy stuff in the dugout any more. That’s okay–I give it to him at home before the game.

the healthiest shopping cart in Costco

I was in Costco a few days ago and the lady behind me in line said, “That is the healthiest shopping cart I have ever seen!”

I told her I write books teaching people how to eat whole foods and I have a site called GreenSmoothieGirl.com. I told her about GSG because she looked like a young mom. And you know how I feel about young moms–I see them as having tons of power to change the world, and I want to know them all! Before their kids are McD’s addicts and so much harder to change.

And it turns out her name is Marla and she is already a GSG reader. I don’t know if the camouflage shorts I was wearing actually WORKED, or if it’s the fact that my hair has morphed excessively blonde, that she didn’t recognize me as GSG.

That’s one thing that isn’t entirely “natural,” my need to change my hair color. Also. I do weird things sometimes. A couple of weeks ago I wanted to make a gift basket of “favorite things” for the guy I am dating. I would love to tell you that his favorite things are green smoothies and sprouted hummus with flax crackers and wheat grass juice. But alas, I had to go to the grocery store and slink out of there . . . ducking my head, hoping not to be recognized . . . with a six-pack of MOUNTAIN DEW. Then I went somewhere else to find really good, made fresh daily, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. (He has been telling me that he could blackmail me with that info, should he ever need to–”GSG was seen buying Mt. Dew!” he guffaws. Might as well pre-empt that by coming out of the closet.)

I was also “in and out” of an In-N-Out Burger last night. This is because my children asked their father what he wanted for Father’s Day, and he wanted a gift certificate and t-shirt from there. Even though I have never eaten their food, and I would not eat in that establishment unless I were completely without other options (notice I didn’t say “wouldn’t be caught dead”), I aim to please. He can eat what he wants. (Sure wish he wouldn’t feed it to my kids, but again–no use fighting unwinnable battles.)

I also ate at Texas Roadhouse Grill last night. Okay, I ordered the vegetarian platter for both me and my son! But I’m just sayin. I ate there. That’s where my friends and sister-in-law wanted to eat after we watched Ten’s baseball game.

I seem to be rather cavalier with the nutrition of those close to me who are not my children. Here’s why: people will eat right when they want to, and not a minute sooner. So I’m not going to expend my energy trying to change anyone else’s diet or feeling frustrated about it.

He, Dixon, of the Mt. Dew, started drinking green smoothies even before he read my book. He said when I asked a couple weeks ago, on Day 17, that he notices no health benefits. (I told him that a green smoothie doesn’t cancel out the deleterious effects of the Coke and Mt. Dew. And he is still making and drinking GS because he knows academically that they’re good for him.)

A couple of other close friends, though, who have finally taken the plunge, told me this month they notice more energy and no need for caffeine, less than a week into the new habit.

It’s philosophical for me: I won’t wreck relationships over food! I was talking this week to a certain person who is a huge presence in raw food, on the internet. She and I bonded a while ago in our common mission and in our single-mom status. Sometimes we talk about world domination via raw food. I asked her what happened with the last guy and how it’s going with the new.

She said, “Turns out the raw foodist had no personal ethics. Now I’m with a meat eater and I think I’ll keep him.”

True enough, that. Let’s live our healthy life, speak up when it’s appropriate, shut up when it’s appropriate. In general, be as “normal” as possible while doing what’s right.

what do you do with picky kids?

I was driving far away to a tennis match with my team, this week, and picky eaters was the topic of discussion.

If you think this blog entry is going to fix your picky kids, let me lower the bar right now. Your picky kids will still be picky when you finish reading this.

Sorry.

You can read my more complete (and hopefully much more helpful) thoughts on the topic in the 12 Steps to Whole Foods intro. But what I’m writing today is kinda just for laughs.

My kids have the delightful habit of giving me an uncensored stream-of-consciousness regarding what I make/serve. This is partly my fault because I was soliciting their feedback while developing recipes, for a couple of years.

Now what I want is for them to just shut up and eat it. But it’s too late: they think they are food critics.

My mother (AKA “MomPam”) didn’t indulge opinions on food. Didn’t much care what you thought. You could have ONE food you hated. (You still had to EAT it, but you were allowed to hate it. Mine was this store-bought spinach soufflé she liked. My choice came down to a tossup between that, creamed corn, and mushrooms. Like I said, you just got the ONE.)

(Later, when she quit buying the soufflés, I switched to creamed corn, which makes me convulse. If they served it in the Cannon Center when I was a freshman in the BYU dorms, I walked in the cafeteria, stopped dead in my tracks, and wheeled around and walked out. Skipped dinner. My roommates would look at each other, sniff the air, and say knowingly: “CREAMED CORN.”)

We weren’t allowed to say “hate” or “don’t like” (let alone “gross,” “nasty,” etc.). My mom once helpfully offered “I don’t care for that” as an acceptable dinner-table statement. The eight of us said that, in an exaggerated, proper British accent, well into adulthood.

My longtime friend and tennis partner Laura always has a way of making stressful or annoying parenting situations funny. For instance, we were discussing kids looking at porn on the home PC, and she said she told her 3 boys, “If you look at porn, I will see it in the Google history, and I will call you in and we will look at it TOGETHER.”

If Laura’s kids tattle on each other, they have to do it SINGING.

She said her kids are allowed to say anything at all about what is served, as long as it is followed by,

“And that’s just the way I like it!”

So, imagine this:

“Mom, this is a slimy, disgusting insult to the human palate and it makes my intestines revolt. And that’s just the way I like it!”

Your own tips for dealing with picky kids will be highly appreciated by GSG readers!

bowling and baby food

Caveat about this post (two days after I wrote it): I mean NO disrespect to any parent. Parents are just doing their best! My intent is always to expose the refined-foods industries and their products for what they are, to raise awareness and help others get educated earlier than I did. In about a week, I will post a blog about my oldest child and the garbage I fed him. When I had my first baby, I was young and actually believed that because the jars were pasteurized, they were safer than raw fruit was! So, I cast no stones here ……

So I went bowling with my kids, nieces, nephews, siblings and parents last night.

(Here’s what we often get when we’re out, that’s really healthy. This will mean something only to those in Utah/Idaho. Café Rio or Costa Vida, whole-wheat tortilla in a vegetarian salad. No rice, chip strips, or cheese. Extra romaine, pico de gallo, black beans, and guacamole.)

When we were hanging out afterward, I noticed my sister-in-law taking little things out of a container and putting them on my baby nephew’s tongue. The container said Parents’ Choice Little Puffs.

I am always fascinated by how products have changed since I was a mom of babies. That chair that vibrates your baby to sleep–where was that 15 years ago?!

Anyway, I asked her what the point of these little things are. They look like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms but not as brightly colored.

She and my brother said they help keep the baby quiet when you’re out with him. They melt on his tongue so they can’t choke a breastfeeding baby who is unaccustomed to food.

You get this stuff at Walmart. (But please don’t.)

It has all kinds of synthetic stuff in it that I cannot pronounce. Like cyanocobalamin. And pyridoxine hydrochloride. But it also has “natural strawberry flavor.” That’s comforting, right? Because it’s NATURAL! (What does natural mean? Pretty much nothing, according to the law. Refined sugar is technically “natural” because it derives from actual food if you trace it back far enough–cane juice being a food.)

The packaging touts that the product is “Naturally Flavored! Whole Grains and Real Fruit!”

Well, the second ingredient is sugar. And there’s lots of processed stuff in it, even if there’s a pinch of whole grains and a pinch of something that started as a fruit.

I’m underwhelmed on behalf of babies everywhere. They need nutrition, real food, more than anyone.

The verdict on Idaho

So here is our class in Idaho Falls. Turns out, people in Idaho DO care about good nutrition.

Tennyson is my helper in the photo. My favorite thing from this class was when I was asked if it’s expensive to incorporate whole-foods habits. I discussed my top two money-saving ideas (one, grow a garden; two, have a full-size freezer to store greens and fruit, nuts and seeds, when you can get them inexpensively).

Then I mentioned that I know the edible weeds, and I just get some out of my backyard sometimes for smoothies. Dandelions and morning glory, for instance. I freeze them for the winter, too. The whole audience burst out laughing and I wasn’t sure why, for a minute. Until I saw them looking at Tennyson.

Ten and I have been discussing his “poker face” or lack thereof. (It was a big problem, playing cards all weekend.)

His eyes were big and shocked and his mouth was hanging open.

Tip for those of you who would like to put weeds in your smoothies: don’t tell your kids. They wouldn’t understand.

does anybody in Idaho care about nutrition?

My son Ten turns 10 in ’10 (I feel a theme for birthday posters coming on). He has, along with yoga, raw plant food, and “a little help from my friends,” gotten me through the toughest 18 months of my life. I can’t overestimate the power of his love and loyalty in healing me. He’s emotional and sensitive, like his dad, and he can’t stay mad for longer than 90 seconds, like me.

He and I just got home from Idaho Falls for his baseball tournament. He’s smart, funny, smiles constantly and is a ridiculous athlete. Teachers and coaches whisper to me, “He’s my favorite.”

He schooled me for hours, to and from the tourney, in the finer points of baseball. For instance, what a “pass ball” and a “two-seam fastball” are.

Just when, after 10 years as a baseball mom, I am finally recognizing the “balk,” there’s more to learn. From a 9-year old.

It’s kind of monumental that we went to Idaho Falls. Here’s why:

When he was 4, the children’s organization of our church asked me to fill out a “spotlight” survey for each of my 4 kids. I recorded, for each of them, a “favorite place on Earth.” The oldest three said Goblin Valley, Disneyland, and Grandma’s house in Arizona.

Tennyson pondered for quite a while, and said, very thoughtfully,

“Costco.”

For “Where in the world I’d love to travel someday,” the other kids said: Australia, China, and France.

Tennyson again furrowed his brow to really give this difficult question all his focus, and said:

“Idaho.”

(We live in the bordering state of Utah.)

Anyway, he got his fantasy trip this weekend–we stopped at Costco and went to Idaho Falls!

The weather was wet and cold, but each morning I went for a run along the beautiful Snake River. The first morning, the 5 miles I intended to run became 13 miles (in the rain and mud) in 2.5 hours because I got lost. How do you get lost running along a river? That is a very good question. Unfortunately telling you the answer will not rehabilitate my credibility.

Of course, as with all my travels, I posted my intention to go, last-minute, on the GreenSmoothieGirl facebook fanpage. Readers immediately hooked us up with ideas of who might want to host my gig, so I could share a little green love in spud-land.

The first idea was Wealth of Health, apparently the ONLY health food stores in town! This is what the manager told us:

“Nobody in Idaho cares about eating whole foods. We don’t even sell any.

We tried selling organic produce once but nobody bought it. We don’t have room for 100 people, but even if we did, nobody would come.”

(Apparently you will only achieve a wealth of health eating supplements and the like. Not food.)

Well, facebook reader Lori pounded the pavement and found the Eagle Rock Coop, and the manager Lisa (who rocks out loud, incidentally, and looks just like people do who eat right) “got it” right off the bat.

She set up a class for me, and TOMORROW I will answer for you whether people in Idaho are just as the Wealth of Health dude says. Is it true, what I always say, or just true everywhere but Idaho? (This is what I always say: “People want to eat right. They don’t know how.”)

I will prove the truth or falsehood of that, tomorrow, with photos.