Got Juice? Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

Got juice? Or netflix? I went through a documentary phase and netflix made a (surprisingly) pertinent recommendation– Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.

I am fascinated with the sheer amount of bad food Americans eat. My lifestyle– though better– still needs improvement.

I do love my precious-es…internet, and books. Once I tried to internet surf while running on the treadmill– not recommended.

I need to teach my children about informed food choices– now. Not that I expect them to always make the wise food choice– at 5 and 3, I’m just happy they have (mostly) stopped eating food dropped on public floors.

And that took 3 years of constant reminders before they (mostly) stopped that behavior.

Anywho. Despite generally liking fruits and vegetables, I find it to be annoyingly difficult to eat enough of them. Salads are yummy, but they do not meet the consume-while-driving criteria. Apples are portable—but they require a commitment. And remembering to place the apple trash where it belongs, else you will be hunting for what’s-that-smell. Or you will get ants in your car.

Good times.

I sneer at meal replacement shakes– full of artificial crap and just begging for an uncontrolled food-shoveling during the sensible meal.

Let’s face it, eating an entire large pizza has, at points in my life, made PERFECT sense. The perceived definition of sensible kinda being a large part of the problem.

Or, the fasting cleanses like the Master Cleanse, where you are advised to drink lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. And don’t forget the laxatives!

Oh– I’ve totally used both the aforementioned– often with weight loss success.

But, oh how they made me a monster hypocrite. At dinner, pleading with my uber-picky, clinically-skinny kid to please, for the love of not starving yourself, just eat, whilst sipping on my spicy sugar lemonade and NOT EATING. The master cleanse adds up to about 800 calories a day– all from the sugar maple syrup.

But juicing? Could I? Would I remember to buy fresh vegetables? Would I buy fresh vegetables, get distracted, not noticing until it was too late that the kale had slunk off to the gelatinous green smear of the Vegetable Dark Side?

Could I? Yes. Would I remember to buy fresh vegetables? At least enough to make a juice of some sort. Would kale launch a celery stalk offense, while screaming “LEEK, I’m your father”? Oh yeah– a couple of times.

Here’s what I learned.
1) Eating juiced fruits and vegetables isn’t that difficult. The fiber in that stuff is really filling and my stomach wasn’t actually hungry. My eyes were hungry, but my eyes were what got me into this flabby mess– they aren’t to be trusted right now.

2) I’ll stop adding milk and sugar, but I’m not giving up caffeine. I’ll even substitute green tea. But take away caffeine entirely? Nope. That’s not compatible with my life, my brain function. For the love of… I am prescribed amphetamines. Not. Giving. Up. Coffee.

3) At dinner, I ate a spinach salad topped with avocado. One, because I missed chewing and wanted to eat dinner with my family. Two, I didn’t want to stop running during the reboot and my body needed a bit more fuel oomph to handle both. On longer run days, I also made sure to have more carb-heavy things, like sweet potato juice.

4) Beets juice will make your urine red. While the Small People found this fascinating– it didn’t motivate them to try beet juice more than once.

5) In the beginning, the Small People wanted nothing to do with me, or my juice. Then I made apple juice–um, YUM. Now they will always at least taste. Children who would not take cash in exchange for one bite of cooked kale will drink Green Juice, served in a 3 ounce shot glass.

To make 3 ounces of juice, you use a lot of kale and other assorted fruit/vegetables. So much that those 3 ounces goes a long way (if not all the way) toward meeting a child’s daily vegetable requirement.

I feel like I’m finally winning one not-so-small food battle, which makes the 439th day in a row of PB&J a little easier to swallow (pun intended).

Feeding the Small People

Right? Is my kid too: fat, thin, tall, short, active, lazy, worried, ambivalent, loud, quiet, shy, fearless. Is he happy, sad, confident or scared? Eating enough, or too much?

Every caring mom worries. Some of us worry to a clinical degree–medicate!–but most of us worry within the bell curve of normal. Some of us worry about one thing to an extreme (child abductions, oh my!), while maintaining a comfortable level of sanity for everything else.

What do I worry about? It’s not the amount of attention and time given to my children. My slack-ass-parenting days don’t bother me, since I don’t indulge in them very often. I was more of a perfectionist control freak than I realized, but much to Z’s relief, E’s noncompliance dilutes that more every day.

I spend most of my worry energy on the food they eat, the nutrition I’m providing for them. For several reasons:

1) I am currently overweight, and have been since my own Small Person days. I know exactly what it is like to be the fat girl, rocking corduroy (why, WHY) pants from JC Penny’s Husky section. As a kid, I was judged, teased, and excluded because of my weight. Ten year old me remembers, like it’s a printed photograph in an album, having to sit at the table listening to my mother tell my father that the doctor said I was, “moderately obese”. Awesome.

That’s not a childhood I want for my children. Which means that I also drink more water, and eat fruits and vegetables. I need to time limit some of my sedentary hobbies– reading and the internet– in favor of active ones. Or modify those sedentary activities a bit– by doing squats or stretches while on the internet, or pilates twists on the floor while I’m reading.

2) E didn’t (doesn’t) eat very much. Coupled with his history of failure to thrive, there have been too many close moments of, “shit, just feed him potato chips and ice cream”. But alas, all calories are not created equal, and filling him up with junk just to get him to hit a magical percentage just felt wrong. At three, he’s finally at the 5th percentile for weight, and the 50th for height. With so many obese kids running (or not running, actually) around these days, it feels lonely to be on the other side of the weight problem with your children. Lonely and strange.

But when given the choice for dinner the other night, he dive-bombed for a rice cake. A brown rice, no sugar rice cake. Want to be skinny, eat like a skinny person– isn’t that what the diet gurus say?

3) And finally– Have you ever read a food label? Sawdust, yummy. Or maybe you’d prefer something a little less natural? How about this list of chemical additives? **Please note, not all additives are toxic nor does natural mean safe. **

Perhaps it doesn’t bother you that the carrageenan emulsifier in your ice cream (ironically for us, this is often an egg replacer) is a big money-maker for FMC BioPolymer, one of the parts of the diversified chemical company– FMC corporation. FMC BioPolymer is also raising prices and has also recently acquired a natural food company. Yippee!

Google confirmed my suspicion that almost all chemical companies are somehow tied to the devil, Monsanto. In the interest of self disclosure, I assume anything touched by Monsanto is tainted by demon blood.

Food ingredient shit makes me crazy. As a consumer, I should be able to walk into a store and buy food. I shouldn’t have to decode whether the claim all-natural on the front is true (probably not– use of natural isn’t regulated). They should have to list everything– not just “natural flavors”. Arsenic is a natural flavor– is that what’s in my nutrigrain bar, since fruit was definitely not?

I want their brains and bodies to grow and to be strong. To be strong enough to fight off the environmental crap that they are exposed to every day. I mean the plastic they make those kid-protection-bubbles from isn’t safe either.