Monday, February 13, 2012

Train them young with good food

If I remember correctly, it says in Proverbs something like "Train up a child in the way he must go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." 

I want to link that idea to real food, but I'm also wondering if behavior, just like health, isn't somehow food related?

I'm thinking about today's kids who are now in, or approaching, their semi-adult years... and whether they are really so much like (or unlike) we might have been (or were?) at their age, or is there something else/more going on?

The youngsters I see around here seem to concentrate entirely on using their opposable thumbs. I really have no problem with that (form of communication) although it's not my preference; it's their other behavior that interests me. So, I am wondering about whether there's actually a common cause like food for much of the behavior I see. (Don't misunderstand, please. I have many friends with great kids.)

I don't care what outlandish things kids wear, or the ghastly make-up and choice of attire, or their time enmeshed in texting... those are merely trappings, and I think some rebellion is a normal part of growing up. What I do care about is whether they have respect for anything, a real education, a sense of wanting to contribute to the community or the world, and some idea of what their families have provided for them.

I shall use my half-sister's daughter who lives here as an example. She's 24 and thinks the world owes her the lifestyle she covets. She was a late-in-life only child, born when my sis was 40, and who is still a single mother. The Kid lives on Ramen noodles, sugars, and other packaged starchy carbs, with an occasional chili or meatloaf thrown in every couple of months. (My sis can afford better food but the kid chooses what's quick and easy... and addictive.)

When she was about 4, the kid and my sis moved in with my Mother for a few years, and I spent a few months living there while building an addition on Mother's house for them. As with all my time ever spent living at home, Mother prepared a balanced meal for supper every night, much of it from her garden: salad, meat, green vegetable(s), usually a small side carb, and then a token light dessert. My sis never came to the table, but her kid did. She'd play with her food, end up restricted to the table until she "finished"... which she never did... and finally Mother would give in out of pure exasperation and let her go upstairs to Mommie. Around 8-9:00 my sis would come downstairs with the kid and give her pie/cake and ice cream or some other sweets she bought just for the kid. (It didn't help that the kid got almost any toy she wanted from the get-go either.)

I have no reason to think her eating habits ever changed; certainly her sense of entitlement never did. In all the years I visited, I never saw anything different, nor do I see it now that we technically live together, even though this house is divided into separate living quarters for me. The kid was diagnosed as ADHD when she was in elementary school, and has been on various meds ever since… that is, when she will take them. Frankly, if she wants to focus on something, she’s extremely able to focus, meds or not.

The Kid has had no job for over 2½ years, won't even consider temp work, and is looking for a sugar daddy. She won't even wash their dishes except maybe once a week under duress, and she has a mouth that would make a seasoned sailor blush. (If I had ever talked to MY mother that way, I'd have been toothless long before I was grown!)

I have to wonder how different her life might be (or might have been) if she had been encouraged by her mother to eat balanced "real food"  dinners when our Mother was still alive and cooking for them... and later on, fed real foods while she was growing up. Could it actually be that simple? What kind of future generations could we raise IF we fed them healthy, nourishing foods?

If it turns out her ADHD problems could be somewhat mitigated by healthy food, what might that mean for other kids today? Is there even much research being done on the emotional or psychological states of our kids and foods? I do see research on obesity in kids today, and those skirt as much of the industrial food issue as possible.

There is no way I can see to change this kid's eating habits; I've tried, and the habits are too ingrained. (Plus, it’s not my kid nor my responsibility either, except as a concerned person.) 

My own eating habits haven’t changed much in the 50+ years I have been providing for myself either, except to exercise some discernment in real food choices as industrial food has become bleck. 

My mother trained me right…


  1. I'd raise the ante to the government food program. One thing poor people could do is grow their own food. Being self supporting is a vital spiritual foundation. The food stamp program is just as much welfare for corporations as it is for poor people.

    1. Dennis, it's amazing that people who get food stamps don't know they can use them for vegetable seeds, and too many of the ones that do know, can't be bothered.

  2. Enjoyed the video. I suspect here is much to your thoughts about these issues, but as you say, who is even looking for answers?

    When I was young mum always kept a garden from which much good stuff came to the table. But there were some things that simply could not survive a disastrous cook that she was. It was only after I married that I learned there were ways to cook vegetables that didn't include lots of boiling water for long periods of time.

    My wife also contributed much to my learning how to cook. And while in college and dirt poor gardening was a way of life.

    Surely you have heard the old Chinese proverb that if you wish happiness in life, learn to garden.


    1. So true, so true, Winston!

      Fortunately my mother was a decent cook.

  3. If you haven't heard of it already, you might want to check out Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

    I do believe a lot of the ADHD/Autism rates are tied to the changes in our foods. High fructose corn syrup is not sugar and genetically modified corn is messing with our children. I'm trying to get my 15-year-old to eat better, but it's a struggle now that he's addicted to processed and packaged foods.

  4. Yes, I'm familiar with GAPS, and metabolic syndrome which to me seems almost the same. I do well on a diet similar to GAPS.

    Cancer cells have been shown to proliferate 7 times faster on HFCS than sugar!

  5. i'm always shocked at what parents let their kids eat.

    i found this site - thought you might like it. hope you are well :-)

    1. It's just as shocking to see what their parents eat.

      Thanks for the link, I do read that blog, and several others on charcuterie. :)


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