I was sitting with Brenden Saturday night watching a documentary called The Magic Pill, and something just clicked. We started watching the movie out of curiosity, expecting the usual… Radical people warning us of the evil of sugars and carbs and how the food industry is killing us.
But this was different. I sat with my mouth open, jaw literally dropped.. and the morning couldn’t come fast enough for me to throw it all away. Throw it all away. The cereal, the pancake mix, the crackers, the chips the …. I couldn’t wake up soon enough to begin our new lives and start trying to get it right.
Brenden and I eat a mostly low carb high fat diet and we have seen a ton of health benefits from it, so now it’s a no-brainer. We would never go back to our old way of eating.. The quality of life on this side is far too good. Between the two of us we have seen reduced inflammation, chronic knee pain and arthritis disappear, mood swings (mine) diminished, anxiety reduced, weight loss achived, etc etc etc.
And as I sit here right now I’m embarrassed to say that Brielle doesn’t eat at all like we do. Michael will eat whatever we eat and then whine about his veggies (he’s three) but Brielle is a different story all together. She’s a heat seeking missile directed toward any simple carb she can find. And because I’m a push over, I let her.
When we go out to eat Thai food (yum) she’ll eat the rice. When we go get fun Mexican she’ll eat the chips. When we go out anywhere else and she’ll eat the fries or the pizza. We took her and a sweet friend of hers to dinner and her friend had Lo Mein and Egg Drop soup. Brielle declined everything except the white rice.. even the stir-fried rice was too mysterious.
We asked her pediatrician about it and she said “it’s okay, she’ll grow out of it.” Meanwhile, she’s 14th percentile for her age and she doesn’t seem to be growing at all.. She doesn’t eat enough calories because we don’t let her eat crap all the time.. and crap is all she’ll eat.
So what clicked with me on Saturday night as I was watching the documentary is that it’s possible (and not cruel) to tell Brielle cold turkey, “you are going to eat what we eat. Period.” Because what we are eating isn’t ‘adult’ food it’s ‘healthy’ food. And healthy food is for everyone.
This documentary showed me that junk food is not Brielle’s rite of passage as a kid. I’m not denying her a fabulous childhood because I don’t let her eat junk every day. In fact I may be stealing her vitality and health as a teenager and adult and old grandmom by not insisting that she eat real food, and now!
I’ve done her such a disservice by allowing her to develop such a reward-based mentality. It will not serve her well in life, in any area. But the good news is, it can be reversed. This documentary showed me that amazing proof, and I’m leaning in.
Our first attempt at a family “everyone eats the same meal” was Sunday night. And it was awesome. By awesome I mean, Brielle cried, and then resorted to eating a lime for dinner. I kid you not, a lime.
Michal sipped away at his broth and was happy as a clam.
Brenden got his birthday present from me (early) an instant pot; and the bliss that came from that pot still has me drooling. In one hour he had an entire chicken cooked fall-off-the-bone tender and a pot of bone broth that blew my mind. He used the instant pot to do the whole thing. He sautéed coriander seeds, cloves, onion, bruised ginger and then added water, the chicken and some Fuji apple and cilantro. Closed the lid and the pressure started to build. The result was incredible Chicken Pho. Here is the recipe.
The toppings were jalapeños and lime and cilantro with miracle noodles (low carb, vegan, soy free amazing miracle noodles made out of mushrooms or something) and Brielle said no thank you to all of it. Except the lime.
She even said no to the toast with almond butter because 1) It wasn’t peanut butter 2) It didn’t have honey on it 3) The bread was “weird.” The bread was indeed weird. Dave’s seed bread, only 1g of sugar and “sweetened” with fruit juice. Why bread needs to be sweetened at all is beyond me, but sweetened or not Brielle said no way.
Even after all this apparent failure this was still the best start I could imagine. All of us sitting around the table, not a “kid food” in sight, no extra stress for me. No extra meals to make or debating or pleading or bargaining. Knowing that we were on the right track, knowing that this will take time. Knowing that all I have to say is: “This is dinner, and wow it’s good. One day you’ll like it.”
And when that day comes I will literally cry with joy.
The one small victory we had yesterday besides moving one huge foot in the right direction was that Brielle drank (happily) whole plain milk at bedtime. Usually she’ll ask for almond milk (it’s sweeter and less fatty and she can taste it) or chocolate milk. But last night there was no option. It was whole cows milk along with Michael drinking his usual whole cows milk, or nothing. Glug glug glug.
My prayer for Brielle is that she begins to enjoy good food the way the rest of her family does. I want her to savour it and appreciate it and be healthier for it. Food is a gift from God. Made to nurture and comfort us and keep us well. She has lived with substitutes long enough.
Wish us luck!