One of my dad’s favorite jokes–which, for the longest time he would only tell the punch line to, causing me to dig deep into the recesses of my memory in order to remember the set-up–goes like this:
“What’s the difference between snot and broccoli?
Kids won’t eat broccoli.”
Want to hear the packing peanut story?
My 2 year old, who loves green smoothies–made with raw greens, like kale–won’t eat much of anything I make for dinner. At times, I’ve wondered if maybe he’s just not hungry at night. So, the other day, he found a box full of Styrofoam packing peanuts, unfortunately not the starch ones that dissolve in water. He started by tossing them in the air, making it “snow”. My 4 year old thought this was great, and soon the whole office floor was covered in “snow.”
Then, when the box was empty, not wanting to disappoint the 4 year old, my 2 year old kept the laughs coming by shoving the packing peanuts into his mouth. I really was amazed how many he could fit in his tiny mouth. He didn’t seem to hear or care about all the horrible things I told him could happen if he didn’t spit them out. Finally, as he put in one last packing peanut, he gagged and threw up all the packing peanuts along with the contents of his stomach, all over the carpet.
I wonder if maybe we assume our kids only like a few things; macaroni and cheese, pizza, cold cereal, and candy. Maybe we just need to try more things. I’m not suggesting we feed them packing peanuts or snot, but maybe it’s not that they have such limited preferences, but that we just aren’t trying enough variety.
So that’s what this blog is about. I want to try all kinds of new recipes and just see what they’ll end up liking. My goal is for these to be healthy, and hopefully not resort to covering them in cheese to get my family to eat them.
I believe that the greatest power to control our health lies not in finding the latest magical supplement, vaccine, or even superfood, but in consistently eating a variety of mostly raw, pesticide-free, live food, thus giving our body the fuel it needs to maintain our health and repair and recover from any injuries or sicknesses.
Since it’s the cumulative nature of eating well consistently that gives us the ability to look good, feel energetic and be free from disease, I’ve tried to find ways to make this easier to do every day. This isn’t as easy as it seems it should be, especially in the world we now live in, where our lives move at such a quick pace, that slowing down long enough to chop up some vegetables seems almost irresponsible, and it seems like everyone around us has accepted the drive-thru fast food (which may actually only be partially made of food) as an acceptable substitute for a meal numerous times a week.
I’ve tried to look at our whole eating experience; especially from a child’s perspective. I’ve found that when I provide healthy snacks that are as easy to grab as a bag of chips, and keep them on hand, in easy to access places, our family’s habits have changed. What we think of when we are craving something to munch on has turned into something perhaps a little closer to what our body is actually needing. I’ve also tried to provide meals made at home from scratch using mostly fresh, organic when possible, produce. This isn’t to say that we don’t eat birthday cake or other treats, pizza, and fast food on occasion. But for the most part, what we eat 90 percent of the time, is something our body would recognize as food.
The key for me in being able to keep this up has been in making it my hobby to try new recipes or ideas that use whole food ingredients (or modifying ones that don’t) and then reusing the ones that are well received (or at least tolerated), and learning from the ones that aren’t. Sometimes I’m surprised, like when I served “Cauliflower Rice” (which basically consists of raw cauliflower grated to the size of rice and seasoned a bit), without much left over after the meal. Even after 2 years of making them almost daily, I’m still surprised each morning to see my kids drink and enjoy a green smoothie with raw spinach, kale, collard greens or other various greens. It also surprises me that I find myself craving the greens on a day when I don’t make one.
I’ve made quite a few things that I assumed were way too healthy to be yummy, but had a favorable response. I won’t lie, I’ve thrown out a lot of things too (of course, I couldn’t bring myself to do that until they had sat in the fridge long enough to grow mold). You, as readers, have the benefit of learning from my mistakes. And maybe after I’ve weeded out the not-as-good recipes, you’ll have a higher chance of your family liking your healthy experiments.