I got so many comments on my earlier post on girls and food, many of them direct message or to my personal email account, that I wanted to add a little more public info.
To re-cap, I basically let my young kids eat what they want, when they want. They have food shelves they can access full of food they choose. The idea is they learn the skills to tune into their own hunger and how to satisfy it.
So first– buying organic. I think that’s great for your kids if you do that. (My father, by the way, worked for Safeway for years and thought the whole organic thing was overused– he’d say “Do they know what organic means? It’s all organic!”) I do buy organic with much of my food but not all, and I don’t go crazy. The reason is because I used to be an insane health nut and it was the most unhealthy time of my life. I was in my late teens/twenties; I smoked a pack of Marlboros a day; my favorite liquid was a Bloody Mary (organic tomato juice); I often threw up after consuming my curried tofu and kale, but hey, I was vegetarian! I did yoga. I also carried around a book– I’m not kidding here– it was called The Sexual Politics of Meat. I don’t know if this book is still in print but it was all about how eating meat is anti-woman.
Basically, since I got healthy, I just can’t mix up food with ethics like that ever again. This is why I can’t get all worked up when my kids waste food (thank God for composting.) Some people with a different personal history can go all organic or vegetarian and I respect that, but its just not my personal cause in this lifetime.
As far as comments that I can’t control what will happen when my kids are teenagers, I totally agree. I haven’t go a clue what wll happen. But as far as the freedom they will be getting, I have tried to give them that freedom as much as possible right now– kind of like how God put the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden; he told them not to eat from it (which I don’t do) but it was there, because they had to have free choice in order to be truly free. Yes, my kids are only 3 and 6 (9 month old still eats what I feed her) and they don’t have their own money yet, but they are allowed to pick out whatever they want at Safeway or Whole Foods, in abundance. They do have sugary cereals etc but most of the time, really, they do not choose to eat those, but having it there gives them freedom and a feeling of being in control, I think, I hope.
Before my kids eat I always ask them (book’s instructions) How does your tummy feel? Are you hungry? What deoes hungry feel like? I tell them their tummy is the boss, not me, not the food on their plate. Not their eyes and what they see. When they eat, sometimes I ask them to describe the foood: Is it chewy? salty? crunchy? The idea is that later they will be able to identfy if they feel like eating something warm or cold, sweet or savory etc.
And I think I wrote this in the last post, but its really important not to get the kid involved in anyone else’s eating, kid or grown up. A major origin of eating disorders is when kids are trained to feed/worry about the well being of other kids or adults. Kids have enough to worry about just focusing on learning how to take care of themselves.
Read my interview with www.fitwoman.com here.