One of the more difficult tasks since changing my diet from the “standard American diet” or SAD (the one that leads to the much maligned obesity we see in America) to that of a plant-based, whole foods has been bring my wife and son on board with the idea. It’s understandable, but not inexcusable. There are two lines of thought that go into feeding my 6 year old son. The first comes from my wife who still holds ties to the SAD, while I have been on a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle for 7 months. One would think there would be a common ground shared and maybe there is. Quite possibly though I am trying to push a plant-based lifestyle too hard on my family.
While I still promote the plant-based lifestyle, my wife is old enough and wise enough to make her own decisions as it relates to food. Thankfully she has had success following Dr. John McDougall’s program and is probably healthier now than she was this time last year. Still she “treats” herself to foods that are not plant-base, but I won’t fault her for that. She has been supportive of my decision to try and feed our family healthier foods.
As for my son, who is finishing kindergarten his lunches were probably better than what some of the other kids brought from home and definitely better than what was served by the school. Unfortunately there are still processed items in his lunchbox we need to find an alternative for. The biggest culprit, Smucker’s Uncrustables. These come in at 210 calories, 80 of which are fat calories (9 grams) and are made using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Instead of fruit juice, which is usually high in sugar he will get a water, along with fruit, usually bananas and strawberries, some Pretzel Crisps and Clif Kid ZFruit Rope.
While changes still need to happen, overall he goes to school with a better than average lunch. I do believe if I put more time into find alternatives that are healthy and tasty, we can completely cut out the Uncrustables before the start of school next year. Finding alternatives is where the challenge is. I recently ran across Veggin Around, a blog by Allyson that centers around feeding her kids on the Engine 2 Diet, The Daily Beet. After reading her post, I was also turned on to Lisa Leake’s 100 Days of Real Food. Both sites should provide me ideas when it comes to my wife and I feeding our son.
Lisa’s site is nice, as she puts together a set of “rules” in order to help cut out processed foods (some of which I am not on board with). While she includes whole foods, fruits and vegetables, she does support fish and locally raised meats “in moderation” or what she calls a “flexatarian.” This is probably where my wife falls, which is her happy medium. If I could get my son to this point and off the processed foods I believe this would be a sign of great progress! It would still allow them foods that I won’t eat, but I wouldn’t feel bad feeding it either of them.
Navigating both web sites I already have a few goods ideas for meals and snacks for the family. For example having my son create his own Summer Trail Mix (thanks to Allyson). This would allow him foods he already enjoys, like nuts, dried fruit, coconut and vegan chocolate chips. Since I cook do the majority of the cooking, I am always looking out for quality recipes to make.
There was a recommendation to read Joel Fuhrman’s book, Disease-Proof Your Child, but I am not a big fan of his. I have passed on reading any of his previous books. I think it’s approach and demeanor. I have seen him debate Dr. McDougall before and while they are fairly close when it comes to their beliefs, Fuhrman just comes across a bit brash. Reading the 1-star comments on his book as convinced me, it’s not a book I would be happy with. I feel I can do better with recipes I have collected from Dr. McDougall and many other web sites I have found while looking to put together a heart healthy menu for my family.