Monday, June 14, 2010

Food, Inc.

Food and weight issues. Don't most of us have them in one way or another? We can't get away from food and so they continue our whole lives. And they can start young. You've probably read or seen a news segment about little girls worrying about their weight. Well, it's true. They do. S started asking if she was skinny at about 4 years old. G came in from riding her bike yesterday and her dad commented on how sweaty she was. I said she was getting some good exercise out there. She said "I'm getting some weight off me." Oh Lord in Heaven please help me. What would you say to that? G is a scrawny little thing as it is, but she has already been exposed to the idea that exercise is for losing weight. I told her, "No, you're not losing weight from exercising. Exercising is necessary to keep your muscles and bones strong and healthy. People of all different sizes should exercise; not just to lose weight." S told me a classmate had a salad at lunch one day and had told her she was on a diet. Again, I think that classmate had absorbed the idea that people only eat healthy greens to "diet" and lose weight. I've explained to the kids that diet doesn't mean losing weight; it simply means the foods that you eat, such as having a healthy diet like we do.

My parents recently asked me if I missed their TV. See, since moving out of their home where we lived for the past year, we do not have TV service, just Internet. I responded honestly that I do NOT miss their TV. I do not miss the blaring noise, the louder-than-the-program commercials (I was glad congress was voting on making a law against that... whatever happened with that bill?). I certainly do not miss the crappy food commercials that go against how I am feeding my family and what I want my children to think of as "real" or good or healthy food. I love that I am not allowing the propaganda from the food industry into my home.

We watched Food, Inc. yesterday afternoon. I didn't invite the kids to watch it with me since the little one has a difficult time sitting still for a long time and being quiet and I also had no idea how much awful stuff it would show. Turned out it didn't show grossly horrific images, just hanging carcasses at factories and cutting of meat (horrific to me, but it's the truth). So when the kids wandered in about half-way through I let them stay and watch. And I explained a lot to them. S was especially curious to understand the whole Monsanto ordeal wherein Monsanto Secret Agents visit farms and sue farmers. If you don't know about this, watch Food, Inc (which is on Netflix Instant Watch) or read The Unhealthy Truth: How our food is Making Us Sick-And What We Can Do About It. Monsanto is a terribly corrupt corporation and everyone should learn what they are doing to our food and what products they make and sell. Even Rice and Soy Dream are connected to Monsanto and buying those products give money back to Monsanto.

So I took a break after the last paragraph and got the whiny kids dinner. We had salad. Big woop, right? Everyone's was different. Unfortunately G didn't care for hers. I didn't have her favorite Miracle Dressing ingredients from Vegan Lunchbox because I still haven't bought all the basics I need in my kitchen. So I mixed some plain hummus, black beans, baby greens, garlic powder, stevia and lemon juice together. Her response was great! She sat down and dug right in. After a few minutes she shared that she really didn't like the salad all that much. I tried giving her a mix of maple syrup and tamari (two of the Miracle Dressing ingredients) but it didn't help much. Maybe she just wasn't that hungry since we'd had a late lunch/snack? I don't know what it was.

S is pickier and expresses her opinions freely--too freely. When she saw me putting Stevia on G's salad she made a face and said ewugh. She cut it out when she saw my face, though. For her salad I gave the greens a splash of lemon juice, added two tablespoons of black beans, some garlic powder and a little ranch dressing (Nature's Promise because it doesn't have any type of MSG--did you know autolyzed yeast can be MSG? Learned that from Chemical Free Kids, another great book). S LOVED her salad. She said I should put it on my blog because other parents would want to make it for their kids. She couldn't get over the black beans. She thought they were much better than the "cooked" black beans we eat with other meals. Her palate is sensitive and having too many spices in the beans doesn't appeal to her. So there you go. Salad with straight-from-the-can-rinsed black beans and ranch. Maybe your kid will eat it. If not, go for the Asian Miracle dressing in Vegan Lunchbox.

There is no easy way to raise kids and it's a very difficult world to navigate these days with big business only watching out for the bottom line and not for consumers. It's a lot to handle as an adult, so teaching children how to care for their health and the environment isn't easy, but it must be done. Thank goodness for all the resources online. Now to find people to meet face to face. I'd love for my kids to meet other kids who are raised veggie.

And here's my tip for getting kids to eat salad. Serve salad for dinner. Eat it as well. Offer fun things to put on it like seeds and nuts. Make kid friendly dressings or buy their favorites (in the best form possible--aka no Hidden Valley Ranch). If salad is dinner, then salad is important, not just some side to tolerate.

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