We were at a friend’s house. The dear lady had been brave enough to offer to feed a meal to our family of six big eaters. As she got pulled a pizza out of the oven, one of my boys (who was pretty little at the time) proclaimed, “Uh-oh, Mama! She made us the unhealthy kind!!”
I shrugged, smiled, and responded by doing what any wise mother would do: I slunk down under the table, never to return.
At that point, it became clear to me that I had created a monster. Four monsters actually, but thankfully the littlest one couldn’t talk yet.
See, when we were transitioning to a whole foods diet several years ago, my kids, who were used to being served meals from a box or a can, found themselves with a freaked-out sort of mama. I swung our food pendulum from one side to the other, and became afraid of anything that wasn’t organic, grass fed, soaked, fermented, and free of all additives, dyes, flavorings – and felt that I would certainly be poisoning us all if even a morsel of it crossed our lips. I did exactly what I now encourage you all NOT to do as you baby step your way toward real food cooking and eating. In an effort to educate my kids as we were making seven hundred changes all at one time, I spoke way too often about what was healthy, and what wasn’t.
Part of this was good. I believe we need to make our family aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to healthy eating. They need to understand why we’re opting to make changes in the kitchen. It’s only fair.
But particularly if you have kids or a husband who is not excited about making healthy changes, and definitely so that your kids won’t throw you under the bus when someone feeds you something that might just contain a bit of Velveeta or MSG – it’s a very good idea to chill out with the “we are now eating health food” family conversations. There is no need to make a big shebang at each meal as you announce that: “The healthy, real food meal is now on the table, and it will nourish us all so much better than the processed food we used to eat, especially since it contains leafy greens and abundant antioxidants…” I mean, maybe that will make your family come running to the table with eagerness, but I’m pretty sure if you just place the nourishing, well balanced meal on the table and holler, “The pot roast is ready!” they’ll be much more relaxed as they join you for the feast.
See, here’s the deal: The healthy food we should be eating? All of this real food I’m always talking about and encouraging you to focus on? It’s all just…food. When my grandma served her chicken soup, pickled beets, homemade bread, and real butter – while it was all very healthy, in her mind, she was simply serving food. It was food in its whole form, so without even trying, she was serving us “health food.” But it would have made her chuckle for someone to call it that.
Do make your family aware of how they can make good choices when it comes to healthy eating. And definitely don’t be deceitful or sneaky in your food preparation and efforts to get nutrients into your family. But it might be a good idea to avoid making a huge deal about how “we’re going to be eating really healthy now.”
Create yummy dishes. Make tasty snacks. Use real food while you’re cooking and baking. Know that you are putting together delicious, real, whole, healthy food for your family, and that it can be as simple as Grandma’s fried chicken.
To give an example of this, tomorrow’s Real Food Reality post includes a recipe for Cheeseburger Soup. It’s a real food recipe, filled with wholesome goodness, but no one would eat it and declare, “Oh, what wonderful health food we are eating.” They’ll just devour it and call it wonderful. Oh how I love recipes like this. Can’t wait to share it with you!
Have your kids ever embarrassed you by proclaiming someone else’s food to be unhealthy? Come….come join me under the mortified mom’s table.