Le sigh. We have had my MIL watch our kids for part of the summer, and we’re very fortunate both for strong family relationships and the cost aspects of this benefit. But MIL is very unhealthy, and despite starting to read great books we’ve lent like Wheat Belly, and giving lip service to “trying” various diets (weight watchers, Atkins, whatever) she still refuses to change her poor habits. This despite being about 100+ lbs overweight, having diabetes, and needing another hip surgery (but the surgeon won’t do it until she loses weight). Yesterday, I came home to her idea of good food for the kids (that she brought into our house).
So we have the main food group grains well established, plus the chip group. Breaking this box of goodness down we have corn chips, Cheerios, ice cream cones, a loaf of bread, pretzels, a box of saltines, and another bag of dill pickle chips and I think a partial bag of table sugar. You may notice some zucchinis, onions, and tomatoes on the edges – those are from our garden.
The kids LOVE when grandma comes because they are looped up all day on this crap. And despite telling her we don’t eat this stuff (and have a fridge full of more nutritious foods) she insists on “treating” the kids. Now lest you think we’re food nazis, or are perfect in our own right, we aren’t. We may not buy bread or flour products any more, but we don’t push too hard against this behavior as baking and treating the kids brings her happiness. But as soon as she’s gone, most of this crap ends up in the garbage, and the kids are back to having an apple with almond butter or cheese stick for a snack.
Every birthday party and picnic we’ve been too this summer has this same stuff. Oreo cookies, potato chips, hot dogs, jello salad. You know the drill.
All we have the power to do is decide what goes into our pantry, our bodies, our children’t bodies, and our minds. The kids are picking up that they don’t feel as good eating flour (though they choose to do so anyway – it just tastes so good!). They recognize that people who don’t care about what goes in their bodies often look that way (as they pointed out at the water park this week). When I talk to friends and neighbors who are looking to lose weight, I always tell them ditch the bread, ditch the flour, stop drinking soda, and everything else will fall into place. “What will I eat at the restaurant with friends?” they ask. “Burger without the bun, and a side salad” is my standard response. Changes don’t have to be drastic.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is so bad. The same sheeple feed that fattens up the livestock also fattens up the sheeple. Subsidized corn and wheat and soy that is cheap and easily processed. I usually point people to Mark’s Daily Apple for the first step towards improving, and usually to Hawaiian Libertarian for the more cynical viewpoint. They build on each other, and when you see why we’re being duped as a society to eat like this, you have incentive to change.
Some of the better Kaoni posts on diet:
- Diet, Nutrition, and Masculinity (along with testosterone production) are related.
- Feedlot USA
- Dispelling “Meat is Bad” Myth
Of course, Robb Wolf has a great intro (link on the right for Paleo Solution), Denise Minger’s new book (Death by Food Pyramid) is good, and the The Primal Blueprint is easily digestible to the lifestyle as well.
While I’d like you, my friends, and family to all be healthy, that’s not something I can control. If you’re like my MIL or brothers and simply don’t care enough, despite health issues, that’s your choice. Or you could follow many of the success stories seen on MDA and go a different route – but that route means giving up most of the SAD and getting over the hump that most encounter. Everything in moderation (don’t shoot for perfect or you’ll fail), but what you’ll find is that when you reincorporate flour and processed stuff in the middle grocery store isles back into your diet, you’ll feel worse.
I encourage you to find others to join you in your healthy eating quest, usually those that live in your house are a good group. There may be push back, but every improvement area needs a champion. That can be you. Educate yourself and decide how you want to be. You can thumb your nose at the SAD, but you don’t have to look down on the people, mostly they don’t know any better. Best of luck on your journey.
One final note: my wife is a big fan of Everyday Paleo’s Sarah Fragoso and we have a couple of her Paleo Cookbooks. For those with kids just ramping up to get back to school, perhaps my favorite post of hers is from a few years ago where she chronicled her family’s menu (and kids’ lunches) over a week. The post is A Week in the Life, check it out if you need ideas.