Kids and Diet

"How will my kids possibly adjust to a life without processed and refined foods?" This was my greatest concern as I moved toward an all-natural, whole foods diet two years ago.

It's not been easy, but our kids' willingness to try new foods has astonished me. Recently Colin (age 12) and Kaitlyn (age 13) were required to write a compare-and-contrast paper about their family's diet versus the typical American diet.

Colin took a somewhat humorous approach, raising only two commonalities: water and onions. As for the contrast, Colin pointed out:

I can't have half of a quarter of the food America eats. Therefore, my differences outweigh my similarities. Like, for instance, take sugar-infested Pop-Tarts. Everybody knows what a Pop-Tart is, and yet I have to miss out on the enjoyment of the soft crunch as you sink your teeth into it. But, I deal with it and continue to move on and stay healthy.

Kaitlyn compared the two diets to high school crowds, with the majority of Americans in the popular group and our family in "the outsiders."

For "the popular ones," it is typical to eat processed foods daily. The normal routine for my family a long time ago was wake up, eat cereal, head out the door, munch on some Doritos for snack, have a Lunchable, and come home to Macaroni and Cheese. This is not the case anymore. We now eat NO processed foods. None whatsoever; zip; zilch; nada. In fact, most of our food is bought from local farmers markets, which introduces the next difference between us, the outsiders, and typical Americans.

Usually, it never enters one's mind that they could get to know their own farmer, but for my family, not knowing the farmer is almost foreign. I have met, chatted with, and even visited almost all of our farmers. We know who we can trust and who we can't, which, I think, is very valuable. I used to pick a package off of the shelf without even thinking about where it comes from or what was in it and drop it into the cart. Most people do. Just like the popular clique in high school. They don't necessarily think deep about their actions; they just. . . jump on the bandwagon.

If I had a penny for how many differences typical Americans have with my family, I would probably be rich. But, money isn't what really matters. People get what's fast and affordable for their own convenience, but, no. My family and I have to do everything the hard way. Trust me, it's not easy, but it is the healthier choice. A while ago, we used to be like that; make food in just a minute. That's the drawback of eating healthy. You must throw all of your conveniences out the window and wait for your food like in a high-end restaurant. If my tummy is rumbling and I long for some food, I can't just pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave. Instead, I must chop vegetables, get some meat source cooking and fully cook a stir-fry that takes about 30 minutes to make. Although it takes that much time, it is absolutely, positively worth it in the end when I get to taste the spices, vegetables, and meat blended together perfectly and there are no side effects afterwards.

I doubt Robert Frost was thinking about food choices when he penned The Road Not Taken, but I find his words encouraging.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

As I reflect on Kaitlyn's essay and our decision to return to traditional foods, I am reminded how daunting the road was and still is at times. But our return to real food has, indeed, made all the difference.