Food judgement, is incredibly interesting.
This comes up a lot when I am out socially. Often when I am meeting someone for the first time, the small talk begins “How do you know (insert hosts name here)” “What do you do?” “Where do you work?”….
Sometimes I giggle at peoples reactions to my job description. Especially as we are often out, eating goodness knows what and possibly with a drink in our hands, particularly during the Festive Season. I watch people hesitate before they go for the extra cheese and cracker or down play how much alcohol they have consumed. Those who know me do not have this reaction. They know that I am not coming from a place of judgement. I am human too and believe me when I say that sometimes I eat what EVER I feel like.
Run and Hide
Sometimes my favourite thing is running into a client during my supermarket run. I often giggle about the time that I had not long finished my degree and I was shopping for a party that we were hosting. My trolley was filled with chips, dip, cheese, ingredients for cake, soft drink and pretty much anything you could imagine. We have always loved to entertain and back then I simply wouldn’t subject our guests to nibbling on only carrot sticks and vegan dip. Interestingly now, our guests have come to look forward to raw cakes, amazing salads, veggie sticks and whole food dips, but that was then and this is now!! So my trolley was filled with absolute crap and I spotted a new client, that I had only just seen that week, I broke into a sweat and hightailed it to the opposite end of the supermarket. I feared their judgement. The thing was, I was so worried that I would be judged for my trolley because heaven forbid that I did not eat perfectly ALL of the time. I felt like a fraud and a failure as a Naturopath, I wasn’t leading by example. The guilt I had when I finally came out of hiding, purchased my load of processed food and then unpacked it at home felt worse than actually consuming said processed food. For some reason it never crossed my mind that it might have been useful for that client to see me as a normal human, just like them, shopping for a social event, rather than running and hiding.
Just for the record, I do not hide now!! In fact I ran into a client while shopping just the other day. They of course checked out what was in my trolley, I totally understand the intrigue, but I certainly do not hide from my choices anymore, I celebrate them. I am incredibly grateful that I have friends to share food with and indulge with every so often. I love nothing more than preparing a huge feast and inviting a large group of friends over to share a meal together. I feel like this is how they know that they are my people and how they know I care about them. I absolutely make sure that their tastes are catered for, however as we have evolved over the years, they have come to expect a huge array of whole, real food, even the kids expect this.
Children and food judgement
There is actually a very similar flavoured theme with my kids. I don’t shy away from the community events worrying that my kids will be seen eating hot chips for example. They are human too and if they are offered hot chips over a salad, I can bet which ones they are going to choose. In fact some days I may make that choice too, hot chips can smell soooo good when you are hungry!
There are, however, some foods that I absolutely will not bend for in these situations. My children already know this, not just from me telling them but from letting them learn from experience. You see I believe that most of the battle is in the “because I told you so” attitude. Just being told that you can not have a red and blue slurpee or fairly floss is simply not powerful enough.
Since we generally eat as well as possible when we are at home, I like to think that I give my children some freedom when they are out. Usually the decisions that they make are pretty good, but they will still try for something in the “not ideal” food category. My son had a slurpee once and he certainly learned from that experience!! He was so unwell that we had to go home, which he was sad about.
Another instance was when I had figured out that my sons body was not processing dairy very well. After much discussion about changing from cows milk to coconut milk, even though he was reluctant, we negotiated the change for one week just to see if there is a difference. Once the week was over he decided that he wanted to go back to cows milk, he just wasn’t loving the coconut milk. Within five minutes of ingesting the cows milk that morning, he noticed that his tummy was beginning to hurt and he just felt “not so good”. He has now been on coconut milk ever since. His choice.
Teaching HOW and WHY
This is the same way that I run my kids cooking classes. We learn through experience, play with colours (natural colours like raspberries and mangoes) and discuss why we make these choices. If parenting has taught me anything it is that we need these kids to learn about the WHY and to learn this through experience.
I am passionate about starting these kids early with whole food to teach them a practice that they can build on as they grow. If we teach them HOW to do it, not only does it take the pressure of us as parents, it creates healthy bodies without the argument of “because I said so”. We set them up for better food choices moving forward which will effect the way that they behave both at home and in the class room.
For those of you who have heard me speak about improving memory, concentration and behaviour of children in classrooms you will understand why I am so passionate about foundational health before we even begin using herbs or supplements to amplify the results. There is just so much that we can do EVERY day to improve the outcome. We simply make a choice at every meal time to fuel a growing body. At a cellular level we allow ease of functioning or we increase the difficulty of functioning. We always have a choice.
For more information on children workshops simply scroll down to the upcoming events on the website or follow the attached link.