Monday, July 12, 2010

Food: A Post in Two Parts

(as I mentioned before when I started this whole Blog Blitz experiment, I might go a little off track...  toot toot!)

Part I:  Food, the J-man, and Childhood Obesity

I was half paying attention to the Today Show today when the were covering a story about childhood obesity.  Childhood obesity is, after all, all the rage for topics.  Filled with dire health consequences, parental neglect (along with a good dose of guilt and shame), food makers, TV, and the Western lifestyle to blame, it makes GREAT copy for the media.  And indeed, I do not at all deny that it is a real, true, honest problem.  We eat crap (and I use the collective 'we').  Processed junk, sugar, fat, and empty calories.  Yummmmm... empty calories.  We do not eat enough veggies and fruit.  We eat too much, at the wrong time and in the wrong way.  I get it.

Myself, I've struggled with weight my whole life.  There was a time (seems like eons ago) when I did look pretty darn good.  Of course, I thought I was fat then.  What did I know!?!  Ah, well, one baby, one disability, one crazy life, and one cookie at a time and I have rounded out fully.  Sad... so sad... but true.

I do recall in my pre-J-man days of having ideals about what my children would (and would NOT) eat.  I planned to NOT expose them to sugar.  I keep them away from Kool-aid, potato chips, and cookies.  I would shower them with fruit, veggies, and whole grains.  They would eat from the bounty of the earth.  Kum-bye-yah!

And then I had J-man.

I was good with him in the beginning.  Really good.  He nursed until he was 13 months.  I bought organic.  We didn't give him 'naughty foods'.  He had fruit (pureed of course), he ate broccoli and some other veggies, whole grains, the whole nine yards.  But a problem developed somewhere along the way.

He stopped eating.

I am not sure when it happened, but he started rejecting food.  Food that he once liked.  He wouldn't swallow things.  Some foods would stay 'cheeked' in his mouth.  Suddenly food became a problem.  He wouldn't eat things that "normal" kids ate.  Like bread.  Or fruit of any kind.  Or meat and veggies (except broccoli).  And Lord knows, nothing NEW.  The way I understand it, most toddlers go through a phase where they 'reject' new foods.  Well, J-man's phase goes on and on.  We still struggle with food.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't believe his "food issues" stem from any kind of sensory issues.  He does eat a broad range of textures, flavors, and the like.  He tends to enjoy intense flavors (salt and vinegar potato chips, guacamole, ketchup on everything).  But I believe his issues are related to anxiety, trust, awareness and comfort. 

But at the beginning of that phase when he stopped eating, 'healthy' eating went out the door. When your child won't eat... I mean REALLY won't eat... your ideals fly out the window.  French fries and Chicken Nuggets, come on down!  Pizza every meal... sure!  Ketchup as a main dish?  Well, no, but on everything.  He eats guacamole with a SPOON (at least it is healthy fats!).  I offered every naught temptation in the book to get him to eat something.

There is something so very, very primal about feeding a child. 

And so here we now are.  All fruits rejected.  Veggies, same.  Chicken nuggets, french fries, Chipolte burrito bowls, chips and guac, pizza, ice cream cones, and spaghetti are the staples of our diet.  I wish I could convince him to TRY a grape.  Or a piece of orange.  Or a banana.  Or any veggies out there.  Just ONE.

Part II:  Veggie Rehab

Of course, this is the pot calling the kettle black. 

I hate veggies.

I wish I loved them.  Truly, I do.  I would love to be able to go order a salad and LOVE it.  To decide to go on a diet, buy a bunch of fresh veggies, cook them up in appealing, creative ways, and feel fulfilled and inspired.  And satisfied.  Kum-bye-yah!

But I don't.  I hate them.  I tolerate some.  I eat spinach in dishes.  I like zucchini, peppers, onions, and carrots.  I tolerate green beans.  But overall, veggies don't call to me.  I don't love them.  I don't crave them.  The smell of some veggies even makes me gag a little.  I am not sure people who love veggies get this veggies-make-me-gag problem.  So, just imagine that one food you can't stand, and being told that food is your only way to healthy eating.  Yeah, it's like THAT.

So how can I possibly encourage J-man to eat veggies if I hate them?

I think I need some kind of Veggie Rehab.  A Twelve-Step program where I am gradually weaning into the veggie world.  Where my palate is slowly refined to tolerate... and eventually love... veggies. 
So I call out to all of you:  Do you have a good recipe for veggies to help sway my palate?  Note:  I don't care about nutrition.  I care about TASTE.  I need to develop these taste buds to tolerate.. and then love... veggies.  HELP!


Rebecca Smith-Darner said...

I get it. I hate veggies too. All veggies. The taste makes me want to gag. My little J-man used to love won't touch any, except for the pea pods (crunchy chip like peas you put on salads) and plantain chips. I always said if God wanted us to eat more veggies he should have made them taste better. Like candy or something. Wish I had better advice.

Best wishes,
Rebecca :c)

Aimee said...

Come visit, I have some great recipes, all tested and loved by my family (including the kids). And hang in there, "Rome wasn't built in a day". You can make changes and before you know it you might actually crave a salad - shocking I know!

Anonymous said...

Dear, Curt is almost six years old and he eats crackers, chips, bread, ketchup, yogurt, and Mickey D's french fries (only Mickey D's!) It is not a texture thing with him either.

I thought when he started daycare/preschool, this would change because he would HAVE to eat other things. Wrong. Sandwich? He eats only the bread. He will go all day without eating if one of the above choices is not offered.

So, am I going to starve him after school? I don't think so.

So, here's what I do. I give him gummy vitamins (which he loves) and I give him high-protein Boost morning and night. This gives him about 100 percent of everything.

And this is one thing I don't worry about (except when my Mother comments....)

Pia said...

:) Thanks all... I try not to freak, but jeezz... it seems like I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to feed him.


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