Making fun of Green Smoothie Moms, for your laugh of the day

Do you watch Kid History? Brett Roberts is a neighbor of ours here in Lindon, Utah, and the Roberts family is such a sensation I heard they’ve moved away to make a real show of what was a just-for-fun YouTube lark. They’ve just made Episode 6 featuring their lovably wackadoo, health-nut mom and GREEN SMOOTHIES. Enjoy it HERE!

My kids constantly quote Kid History and watch the episodes over and over, so maybe you can be cool and introduce your kids to it. Someday, you might find yourself fortunate enough to be the butt of your adult kids’ jokes. Because you brewed nasty cultured stuff in your pantry while their friends’ moms were supplying them an endless supply of stale Red Vines. Because you sell them in a sing-songy voice on the virtues of glasses of green goo you want them to drink.

(Once my six brothers, my sister and I made a movie years ago called “What About BobDad.” It’s our effort to cram as many of my dad’s one-liners and idiosyncracies into 20 minutes as possible. My brother Spencer was a dead ringer for BobDad—complete with baseball hat perched on his head, obsession with Shoe Goo, a one-liner for everything—Academy Award stuff, really.)

If your kids leverage your earthy crunchy ways in a highly public and humiliating way? Just act grumpy, purse your lips, and say, “I’ll be happy to accept a royalty check for the excellent health that enabled you to make those videos!” Pretty sure that’s what my mom would do.

Classroom rewards that aren’t food

One of my readers gave me a cool resource, in response to my story about going to my son’s 6th grade teacher asking her to reconsider her policy of giving candy for good behavior and academic performance.

It’s called, How to Reward and Motivate Kids Without Using Food. Here it is.

I bet few teachers have ever seen this. But it’s a great idea and I’m supportive of anyone who tries to interrupt the easy path to good behavior and good grades. That path is a cop-out, and the results to children are harmful. With 1/3 of our kids overweight, and childhood diabetes and asthma and ADD skyrocketing, we don’t need to add calories, acidity, and disease risk to their too-sedentary school day.

Not to mention the tooth decay, depression, fatigue, vulnerability to viruses and bacterial infections, and many other consequences that come with feeding a kid sugar and salt as a reward.

When I talked to the teacher about my wish that my son not be rewarded with candy in the classroom, she said, “Can I give him pretzels instead?” I said, “Uhhh, white flour. Salt.” She laughed and said, okay.

(It’s still rewarding behavior with junk food.)

I hope parents and teachers read this report and share it with others, because it has lots of great ideas.

EVERY time I have a conversation with other parents about the junk-food-in-the-classroom thing, they express their frustration and disapproval. Even regular “Standard American Diet” families aren’t happy about their subpar diet being supplemented with an extra couple pocketfuls of candy almost every day.

But it’s like Matthew said with the Zumba class last week—WHY were we the only ones to leave, or say anything, about the music that made our ears ring long afterward? Virtually all the parents dislike it. Virtually none SAY anything.

I wish more people would speak up. I talk to the teachers in a respectful, non-threatening way. If you’re a parent, I hope you will, too.

“After I eat chocolate cake, I want to die”

I got this email from my friend Matthew:

He had just read this quote: “When I eat chocolate cake, 20 minutes later I’m under my desk wanting to die, When I eat broccoli, in 20 minutes I feel good. But given the choice I always eat the cake.”

Matthew asks: “Why do people choose the chocolate cake?

“Have I ever talked to you about how Tony Robbins talked about training himself to push his plate away when he was full? He grew up in a home with the ‘doctrine of the clean plate’ (or something like that) and had to retrain himself. The psychology of how to train yourself about what is okay and what is not okay is fascinating to me. (I have taught my kids to waste food anytime they want for example, and that was SO WRONG in the tribe I grew up in.)

“I wonder if you wrote some blogs about how to train yourself and condition yourself to have feelings and opinions about healthy eating that are more useful. How about Affirmations for Health by YOU?”

I told Matthew that I was raised with the same rule: you must finish everything on your plate. I’m developing a meditation to go to the very root of why we sabotage ourselves nutritionally, and correct those subconscious beliefs. (I wrote about this in a blog series months ago called, “I love my body. It serves me well!”)

What are your beliefs about yourself and food, that cause you to make poor choices over and over? What are the words you say in your head? Could you write them on a 3×5 card and think about whether they are useful or harmful?

What if you could write NEW beliefs and statements that you could replace those with, which are more useful? It would work only if you repeated those beliefs over and over.

Do you “make” your kids finish their dinner? At my house, you don’t have to finish anything—except your green smoothie, fruits/vegs, or salad. You can skip the rest of the dinner.

Parents, or anyone with opinions, what do you think? I know it’s no longer popular at all to ‘make’ kids do ANYTHING. But I ‘make’ myself eat 60-80% raw greens/vegs/fruit before I consider eating anything else—so it isn’t as if I’m requiring anything of my kids I’m not doing myself. I have done this for so long that I don’t even think about it. It’s not deprivation or neurotic; it’s just habitual.

I have some rules for eating. All of them are based on common sense. All were developed by learning that I don’t feel good if I ever break them. I’ve never written them down until now; they’ve just been in my head. Here are my 13 rules:

1. Don’t eat after 7 p.m. except on a very rare occasion.

2. Always drink a pint of water as soon as I wake up.

3. Never eat sugar on an empty stomach–always with lots of raw food and some good plant protein (like almonds, greens, or beans).

4. If I eat any concentrated sugar (besides fruit), it’s only once in a day.

5. Never eat processed meat.

6. After working out, drink only water for a while.

7. Every meal or snack is 60% or more raw plant food (often 80-100%).

8. Don’t drink soda.

9. Don’t buy anything from fast-food restaurants.

10. Don’t eat anything with MSG in it.

11. Don’t add salt to food.

12. If a meal is below 80% raw plant food, take digestive enzymes.

13. If I eat too heavily for a weekend or more, I take a few days to detox. I might eat all raw food, two quarts of green smoothie instead of one, wheat grass juice, extra water–or even a couple of days of nothing but Meal Replacement.

Back to the candy factory…..I mean, school

My children have gone back to school. If I said I was sorry about that, I’d be lying.

I love my kids, but summer is hard for working moms. And August is crazy around here because I’m about to leave on my 4th trip of the month, all 4 of my kids have had birthdays in the past 3 weeks, and two of my kids have changed from public to charter school, or charter to public school, this year. Immunization waivers from the health dept. are a pain in the butt.

And my oldest daughter turned 16 yesterday and is not only transferring to the charter school I co-founded (Newseek says it’s the #1 school in Utah)—she’s also moving back home after living with her dad for a while. (Tears welling up just writing that. I’ve no words to express my happiness about both of these events.)

I went to the elementary school where Tennyson is transferring into 6th grade. I waited in line to talk to the teacher. A bag of M&M’s was on each desk, with the child’s name hand-lettered on it.

This was the convo:

Me: I’ve heard great things about you! My son is excited to bust out of 6 straight years wearing a school uniform. I just have one concern. I’m kind of a, um, you know, health food nut. I know, I’m weird. But I’m not a huge fan of candy as an academic or behavioral reward. I read in your handout that you do that?

Teacher: Oh, haha, yeah, um, I really should do less of that.

Me: I just wanted to volunteer to pay for alternative rewards, you know, that stuff you can buy a pack at a time—pencils, little toys, notepads, stuff like that? If you buy it, for the whole class, I’ll pay for it, instead of the candy.

Another Mom: Oriental Trading Company is good.

Me: I know candy is the easy thing to do. [I hand her my business card and tell her I’m teaching a class here in Orem Sept. 6 and I hope she can come, bring her husband and kids.]

Teacher: Oh, Green Smoothie Girl! I know you! I do green smoothies.

Another Mom: Oh! You’re Green Smoothie Girl! I just got your newsletter this morning—I want some of those raw bars! Are they really good? [A conversation ensues between the teacher and the waiting moms about how this mom has been surreptitiously slipping the greens into the kids’ breakfast smoothie and how excited she is about it.]

[I know with that raw-bar comment, this whole blog just got suspiciously self-indulgent, especially when I put the link behind the words! They are yummy and so nutritious. But I am not making this conversation up.]

Teacher: It’s hard to find stuff that appeals to 6th graders. Stickers just aren’t gonna cut it. How about pretzels, should I give those to your son instead?

Me: Um, that’s not really better. White flour and salt, you know? When my kids were little, I used to take alternative “healthy” treats to the teachers for when candy was being handed out. But Tennyson probably won’t like that. If you don’t find something whiz-bang enough at Oriental Trader that 6th graders will like, I might just set up a reward system where I pay him $1 for every treat he turns down. Or maybe I will give you some alternative treats for him, if he’s okay with it.

[end of conversation]

Any moms who have better ideas, let me know. My kids have been educated at a charter school I helped open, since my 18-year old was in 3rd grade. So I haven’t had to deal with this, much, for a very long time.

My purpose talking to the teacher is to (a) identify myself as a watchful parent who cares about not only my child’s health and nutrition, but the whole class’s, (b) be positive and offer to help, and (c) let the teacher know that I generally support her even if there’s one area where I’m a fan of the classroom policy.

I’m sure the moms reading this blog would like feedback and ideas, so join the conversation!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Last week Tennyson had a close encounter with a curb he tried to jump on his bike. I had his broken tooth repaired later that day. Everything scabbed over and his giant fat lip was subsiding, when he got stung by two wasps at a baseball game.

Here’s a photo of him 18 hours later. His friends were in my bedroom late last night poking and prodding Tennyson’s enormous dome. My oldest daughter Emma can’t stop saying, “Awwwww!” and hugging him.

The next morning was his first day of school. I didn’t have the heart to make him go. It’s a new school, with kids he doesn’t know. He had a new outfit picked out, ready to walk in the first day, all cool, parking his new ride (an electric scooter).

Talking to other people who’ve had similar reactions to wasp stings, it’s going to take a week to subside. I can’t let him stay out of school for a week.

He looks just like Will Smith in Hitch. I told him about Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie Shallow Hal, too. She wears a fat suit and has the eye-opening experience most beautiful women never experience: learning how people treat the obese.

I said, “See, Ten, you could have a once-in-a-lifetime experience like that. You get to meet people and find out how they treat you that’s DIFFERENT than when you’re your good-looking REAL self. You could do a school project on what it’s like. A week later, your face will be back to normal and all the girls will be like, ‘Alien Boy is HOT, who knew?!”

He was unimpressed with my idea.

So instead I went to have a t-shirt made with last year’s school picture on it. That way he could wear it to his new school on his first day and show people, “This is what I REALLY look like!”

(I spent all afternoon on it. As you can see by the photo, he was still unimpressed.)

Hopefully this way, though, he won’t be traumatized for life and tell a shrink when he’s 43 and still lives in my basement that everything went wrong the day his head swelled up like a watermelon and his mom made him go to school anyway.

(After 18 hours, when it had only gotten worse instead of better, I finally bought some Benadryl. It did nothing except make him sleepy.)

 

Nutrition and single parents….part 3 of 3

Thank you, single parents who commented on my two-part blog series a couple of weeks ago.

I’m quoting Amanda from that blog series because what she said merits front-and-center attention:

“Robyn, I know what you’re going through, and thanks so much for writing on this critical topic! There’s very little information online about how to handle this problem.

Due to school and distance issues, my 11-year-old boy lives with his dad during the week and is with me on the weekends. One of the reasons we divorced is over the issue of nutrition. The dad is one of those poor folks who believes the ketchup on a Big Mac counts as a vegetable, and he’s not interested in learning anything different. If the FDA says it’s OK for us, then where’s the problem, right?

I recently heard from my son that he’s being made to take fluoride pills at night because their RO water treatment filters it out of the tap water. I asked, why do you think your system does that??? But dad heard from the dentist that if you don’t get “enough” fluoride, all your teeth will decay and fall out. If a doctor says it’s true, that’s all the proof he needs. Never mind the evidence I present to the contrary. I’m not a doctor, so my information can’t be valid, apparently.

So Robyn, I look forward to your entry tomorrow on how you deal with this emotionally. All I can do (without bad-talking his dad, which I understand is detrimental to my son’s emotional health) is present alternative information while he’s here, and hope that it somehow sinks in.

One ray of hope is this: I was raised by a hippie health food mom who shopped at co-ops and knew way ahead of time how important whole-food nutrition is. In fact, I was the only kid in my neighborhood who had a whole-wheat birthday cake every year. (OK, I have some trauma around that. :) When I finally “got free” from her influence and went off to college, I narrowed my nutritional plan to two food groups: beer and pizza, in that order. I gained 25 pounds and developed some weird blood pressure problem that had me passing out after a flight of stairs. Man, I felt and looked like crap.

Here’s the good news: now, 25 years later, I’m a natural health researcher and a passionate and committed servant of anyone who asks for my input on nutritional or health issues. My mom’s lessons stayed with me through those turbulent years, and although I got off track now and then, her love and persistence paid off.

So will ours as we continue to deliver this important information to our children in a compassionate and loving way. Stay strong! My suggestion: don’t meet resistance with more resistance, but trust that your message will get through. Children are very sensitive creatures, and instinctively lean toward messages delivered with love and a high vibration. Encourage them to feel the contrast in themselves between different foods and ideas, and they’ll often correct course naturally.

Much love to Robyn and all you GSG readers! Keep up the good work!”

From Robyn:

Believe it or not, we had no conflict over diet or how to raise the kids, when I was married!

Nothing has honed my communication skills more than being divorced! Trying to inoculate your child against bad information without criticizing the source of that information…..that’s the tightrope single parents walk.

I have my hat off in great respect for all the divorced parents who try very hard to show respect to the other parent. After all, the child knows he is HALF his father. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of saying or doing something for the cheap grab at “favorite parent” status. It’s just a bad thing to do on every level.

I love what Amanda says: to just trust that the message is getting through, even if a period of beer-and-pizza might take place. Me, too: my entire sophomore year of college was spent eating almost nothing but Top Ramen and bananas. The year I was pregnant with my first son, right before I bottomed out and turned it around, I ate mostly burgers and fries, Ben ‘N Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream, 7-11 Nachos, and I drank all the liquid out of pickle jars. But eventually my mom’s good teachings and example kicked in, with a vengeance!