Would you like seconds? There’s plenty! Please help yourself! I’m so glad you like it. I made it just for you! I remember you liked this last time you were here….. Oh I knew you were coming so I baked a cake
It’s love we want to give them. Isn’t it? Of course we also want them to enjoy and be satisfied….. and be quiet and quit telling us they’re hungry, or to stop being cranky….. or I want ME to be less cranky (Little Sis knows about hungry me and cranky)…. but some of providing food for loved ones (including ourselves) is loving them.
How to walk the line between loving them with food / pleasing them with food / and wanting their food to promote health?
It ain’t easy. And it’s very complicated because it’s not just about them, or just about us, it’s about us and them, living together, getting along, living in our convenience/sugar/fat/salt-full society, knowing of each others’ care and hopefully living a healthful long life.
Of course there is no guarantee that our ministrations of healthy food will keep them healthy, but there is great evidence that it helps. We know that eating high vegetable, high fiber is good for you. We’ve all seen the scary stories about how meat is processed (McDonald’s is finally putting an end to their use of ammonium hydroxide treated pink slime in their meat products)…. and LOTS of research finds a link between good health and increased intake of vegetables; AND lots of research is showing the detrimental effects of processed foods. As the World Health Organization reveals new (lower) recommendations for added sugar intake, the world is waking up to sugar’s role in the increasing amounts of chronic disease in the world. WHO’s recommendation is less than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day (which is less than a can of coke).
When you think about giving people food / feeding people, we want them to be happy, pleased, satisfied, etc. because we want them. We want time with them – pleasant time with them.
So here’s a new way to look at loving them with food. Love them with healthy food, but give them time as well. Healthy food doesn’t have to mean hours spent in the kitchen, although if they help you it will be time together in the kitchen! Try some simple, real food. If you have some fruit in the house and there is no junk food, and you sit down with your kids for a snack, they might eat it. They might try it – hunger is pretty good at opening the mind. Encourage everyone to try the fruit and feel the love.
That’s my new motto, “Try the fruit…. Feel the love.” “Try the vegetable….. Feel the love.” “Try the Real Food…. Feel the love. “Share some time….. Feel the love.”
Feel and taste and smell the goodness of that simple package of delicious nutrients. Nothing added, nothing needed. Just good. Kind of like family and friends. Just being together is nourishment. Maybe the food is a bonus, an excuse, a centerpiece, a schedule…. but it’s the together part that matters in the long run. Healthy food shared is much more fun than unhealthy food all alone.
The together part is what comes into play when we are faced with impossible challenges and unimaginable loss. Our friend Annie who blogs at An Unrefined Vegan faced such a time when her brother Charles was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She shares what she learned about walking that difficult journey with a loved one in an e-book titled :
A Terminal Illness Primer for Caregivers: Lessons from My Brother’s End-of-Life Journey
Annie loves her brother and shared her care by sharing her time and her ability to go to bat for him, in love. She is a wonderful writer and we recommend this book for anyone who is facing a difficult diagnosis as a patient, a caregiver or a healthcare provider. In addition, all proceeds from the book benefit research into brain cancer.
Time is probably the hardest thing to come by these days and it is one of the best reasons to eat healthfully. You want your loved ones to be around for as long as possible with a good quality of life. And there is something about Real Food that slows you down just a little bit.
So what’s the rush? I know, I know, there is a rush to get it all done, be there on time, etc. Many of us have come to rely on convenience foods to accommodate our busy schedules. But convenience foods are not only generally unhealthy, but they often signify that the most important part of nutrition and of love is being stretched and cheated….. time together. A simple meal of whole grain bread and nut butter, carrots and fruit can be eaten in the car outside the hockey rink or the dance studio together just as easily as waiting in line at McDonald’s. Making it together beforehand is even better.
And the answer to why they have to eat that instead of McDonald’s? Because I love you. Now, let’s be nourished by this food and by this time together.