There has been this underlying, growing thing during the last couple of weeks. I've talked about it a little on here but it's so exciting that I just have to talk about it some more.
My seven year old son's eating habits have concerned me for a while now. He has shown little to no interest in vegetables, except for raw carrots and seems to have equal cravings for sweet and salty. He can easily put away over half of a large pizza and then beg for dessert.
Now, I'll say right off the bat that all along he has still eaten better than the average 7 year old American kid. He'll eat the densest, grainiest bread I give him with glee. He loves sour, fermented things like kombucha and yogurt, both with no added sugars. He helped us juice fruits and veggies while we were on that kick a few years ago and would drink whatever green and pink swirled concoction came out (or he would try each batch anyway). He gets excited when I make bone broth and drinks it with all his meals. And he adores bitter, dark chocolate.
But I still want more for him! I've always felt guilty for not doing a better job and for feeding him too much pizza and too many desserts. I've always struggled with the "why" when he sees me eat plenty of salads and other leafy greens. He still seemed to shun anything not out of a package. He seemed completely stagnant in what healthy foods he would eat and refused to try anything new. Always opting for the most unhealthy choices when given any opportunity.
Well, these last couple of weeks have really shed light on all of that for me! Yes, just like my son, I was already eating better than the average American my age. BUT I wasn't eating great! I would have chips and dessert nearly every day and too many nights I settled on pizza or other take out. And here's what I've finally learned: It's not what we do every once in a while, it's what we do most of the time. And just how my "most of the time" diet affected my body, it also affected my son's opinion of what he should and shouldn't eat. He wanted what he saw me eating most of the time, the foods he knew were safe and was all too familiar with how tasty they were.
In the last 2 1/2 weeks, my son has witnessed me eating nothing but healthy food. When he hears a package crackle, he runs into the kitchen like always to see what I'm getting into. At first, when he consistently realized it was something like a bag of broccoli, he just walked out disappointed and pretty disinterested. However, more and more, he is beginning to show mild interest.
In the last week or so he has tried AND LOVED red potatoes cooked with the skin on and covered in dill (he actually asked for extra dill), chicken thighs covered in all kinds of herbs, chicken tenderloins breaded in coconut flour and, yet again, more herbs, a nut covered date roll that he eyed suspiciously for a week or so before trying and absolutely loving and roasted garlic broccoli which he actually asked for seconds of! He also tried smoked salmon yesterday, which he is not a fan of (yet) and contemplated trying a roasted brussels sprout but he backed out at the last minute. And, although he loves mango, he didn't realize I was serving it to him the other night and asked "what's this?" as he shoved the first bite into his mouth. Oh! And he's oddly fascinated with Abel James and The Wild Diet, which I think is about the coolest hero a seven year old boy could pick at this point!
I believe that children (and all people for that matter) have a deeply encoded desire to be nourished that can even outweigh the addictive nature of processed food. The empty, fake tasting things we become addicted to can't compete in this one area. I am truly convinced that by him seeing me eat these foods on a daily basis, they are demystified. It speaks to his genetic hard wiring and sends the message loud and clear "this food is important. This food is safe." And that was EXACTLY the message I was sending with the junk food before!
As a mom, this commits me more than ever to nourishing my body properly because he IS watching, and I never truly understood the extent of it until now. My food choices become HIS food choices and that is HUGE!