Those Crazy Crunchy Families
Our home is a random combination of omnivores and herbivores. Clara vacillates from being pescatarian to vegan (with the exception of sushi and sweets). We typically do vegan at home, although Ellie, Juliet and Nathan do enjoy the occasional piece of bacon. Our girls are typically pretty rockstar veggie eaters (our go-to isn't mac and cheese, but Madras lentils and rice!)
However, with five sets of taste preferences, it can be a battle to please everyone. We typically have the 2 out of 3 "win", yet we have succeeded in having more dinner "wins" with everyone eating well most of the time. I sneak veggies instead of meatballs into my spaghetti. Or, actually, our gluten-free spaghetti. We love beans and nuts.
Yes, my children eat well, although there may be time where they don't eat a thing. You see, I know how 2 out of 3 love salads and chow on greens. I am thrilled that they get excited about seaweed or raw nuts as a snack. And sometimes they flat out don't like anything on the table. And ya know what? First world issue. They have plenty of healthy food at their fingertips at any given time, and they will all eventually eat. When you are dealing with real deal starvation, a child is not going to turn up their nose because their broccoli touched the tomato sauce.
I love my girls, and I work to accommodate their preferences, but I do not make a separate meal for every finicky issue.
We require a "no thank you" bite for every food we serve. One bite to simply try it out. We enforce this when they are young, and it has allowed them to explore a vast variety of food. If they take that one bite and don't want any more, that's their choice. We aren't going to force it down their throats or drop everything to make something they DO like.
My goal is to expose them to a variety of foods multiple times and work with them as they (and their tastebuds) mature. And when they choose to forgo a meal, I know they will make it up when they are hungry enough. As long as they are healthy and happy, the requirement to eat a full meal at 8am, 12pm and 5pm isn't necessary. When did we decide that there are specific times to eat vs. simply eating when you're hungry? We do sit-down family meals because we love the togetherness. And, if a stomach isn't hungry at that moment, it's okay to simply visit!
My most picky girl still loves frozen peas straight from the freezer, or basil picked right off the plant. International food is usually a huge plus - Mexican and Thai foods are the favorites.
Yes, we are those weirdos with the crazy eating habits and non-toxic everything in our home. I didn't realize the extent of my stereotype until I noticed all of my friends describe me as the "crunchy mama", "granola friend", or just "the hippie". We try to eat - and live - healthy. And by healthy, I mean:
So...yes, we're weird. I DO read labels. I DO opt for no refined sugars, if at all possible. I DO buy local and non-GMO if we can. I push for my kids to eat as many colors from the (natural) rainbow that they can...and that may mean sneaking in a few here and there.
But, we also aren't sticklers. I am so, so thankful that we are choosing this lifestyle because we want it and not because we have allergies. I know many who are forced into strict diets with no exceptions because of serious allergies, and my heart goes out to those families - because it's hard to navigate it all.
I hate that we live in a nation that has become so distanced from our food source that many times what we are ingesting is so far removed from real food that we can end up with an allergy from lord knows where.
I question how many of our "gluten-intolerant" people are reacting from the chemicals, toxins, by-products and other foreign things in our grains. I see legit allergies and I see people who are reacting and it's difficult to trace why. A soybean is not a simple soybean. Corn is not just corn. Sugar has taken on the semblance of cocaine instead of a yummy product from the ground. It's frustrating and annoying and insanely difficult to get away from it.
At home, we fight the good fight.
Like schooling, cleaning products, TV, technology and what we wear, we have the power to decide what comes into our home. We regulate. We sometimes make exceptions and we sometimes fall off the wagon. But as a whole, we've chosen a life where we stay involved in the process of food coming to our table.
The kids shop with us, garden with us, and cook with us. And hopefully, by being open about the good, the bad and the ugly, we'll help them to, if not make healthy, at least make very educated choices on what they choose to put in their mouths.
We have chosen our path for our family. I share these links and ideas not to make anyone else choose the path we have, or become die-hard that one way is the only way. There are many controversial topics I have an opinion on, and my goal is never to force my opinion on another. Like so much on my blog, it's simply about awareness. Educate yourself on whatever choices you make for your family. Remember,
You can choose any path you want - but don't defer this responsibility. Learn about the source - of your food, your cleaning products, your toiletries.
Pay attention to what comes into your home and simply be aware. We become victims of reactivity when we simply rely on the assumption that everyone else - the medical industry, government, food industry, etc - always has our personal best interests in mind.
There are wonderful people in every industry...and there is a lot of shadiness and greed that can happen. Know what you are bringing into your home, and educate your whole family so they can make informed decisions.
P.S. This whole crazy topic came about because my mind went on a non-related bunny trail from this incredible blog post that has absolutely nothing to do with broccoli in the mac and cheese. It's just right in so many ways.