The other day my younger son came home from school with a green lollipop in his mouth. “Where did you get this?” I asked. “From our treasure box at school Mom,” he replied with a little too much sass for my liking. While I do let my kids dabble in the super bad junk every so often (candy, hot dogs, etc.), I don’t leave it to them to choose when (especially not my 7 year old with health challenges). Despite the fact that I provided his teacher with ample supply of Hunter-safe junk (apparently she ran out) and my child is very clear on what he can and can’t have, he always pushes the limit. But he’s a kid and that’s what he’s supposed to do. So as the parent, I am frequently coming up with new ways to communicate with him about food and give him the tools to want to make better choices.
Reflecting back on family dinners during my adolescent and young adult life, one of my strongest memories is awaiting the inevitable question about world politics from my father. After too many to count occasions of silence, my dad just stopped asking. If I can’t speak intelligently about a topic, I prefer not to and when it came to the wonders of the world in my younger years, keeping my mouth shut was my best option.
Each summer my family ventures to Maine for a little vacation. We stay on a friend’s waterside organic hog farm; visit farmsteads and farm stands; and pass time with my colleague John Bagnulo and his family whose house, built into a hillside, is surrounded by lush food baring gardens, chickens and goats. So, of course much of our time is spent cooking and eating!
My kid was born with feeding issues. I am thrilled to know that the powers that be have a sense of humor!
Shortly after Hunter (now almost 5-years old) was born, my sweet husband remained with him while the nurses did their necessary newborn testing in the nursery. As I was in and out of sleep, my man with little guy and nurse in tow came into the room to tell me this, “Hunter’s tongue is heart shaped.”
Last week I had the absolute pleasure of teaching a group of incredible people at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for Nutrition and Cooking Immersion (a program I co-taught for over a year). My esteemed colleague, John Bagnulo, MPH, PhD talks nutrition and health (plus farming, food politics and everything in between) in the morning and in the afternoon, I have the great pleasure of cooking with all my students (and picking up where John may have left off).
One of the most fascinating aspects of my one on one work is spending time learning about people and how experiences from childhood forward directly shaped their relationship with food. Whether good or bad, these experiences are our foundation of behaviors and habits and almost always serve as a roadmap for food lifestyle change.
At the young age of 2 ½ my son Hunter was diagnosed with Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes a person’s hair to fall out. He had a stomach virus one day and the next my husband and I noticed patches of hair loss on his small blonde head. With balding child in tow, our first stop was the family doctor who referred us to a pediatric dermatologist where we received the upsetting diagnosis. Our directive: Apply cortisone cream (a steroid) to the balding areas over the course of the next month and let’s see if the hair starts to grow back.
Have you ever seen Wall-E? In short, it’s a movie about a trash-collecting robot (Wall-E) that has spent his “life” collecting garbage from humans. When the movie begins, earth is ravaged with waste and no longer inhabitable. The movie’s message screams, “Hey earthlings, cut the overconsumption OR ELSE…”
Have you ever taken your child (or grandchild) to the doctor for a “wellness” check-up (or even a sickness one) and upon leaving you hear the doctor, mid-sentence saying, “And what flavor would you like?” Yes, that would be the doctor offering your kid a lollipop and most likely the ones laced with sugar, artificial flavors and food dye. Seriously?
My mother recently had surgery at New York Cornell Hospital. Now, my mom is not one for medical procedures let alone major surgery so she took it upon herself to ensure that her hospital stay was as comfortable (and as posh) as possible. You’d never think my mom “posh” in any way however, deep down she likes her princess comforts. Welcome to the Greenberg Pavilion!