Tuesday, September 16, 2008

on my soapbox

getty images

The Cute sent me this article "6 Food Mistakes Parents Make" from The New York Times this afternoon.

read it, please.

fascinating and informative reading whether you have kids or not. it certainly made me think about how i was raised re' food.
i was always invited into the kitchen to help cook - this i credit with making me a pretty adventurous omnivore - but i was certainly pressured to eat or not to eat certain foods because they were either "good" or "bad" - and don't think i don't see the connection between those "bad" foods and the foods i later restricted or binged upon.

the article also made me think about how i might raise my own children - i know it's not a popular parenting view, but i don't plan on forbidding any food in my house. nothing. nada. that's the one part of the article i disagree with.
Other studies show that children whose food is highly restricted at home are far more likely to binge when they have access to forbidden foods.

The lesson for parents? Don’t bring foods that you feel the need to restrict into the house. Instead, buy healthful snacks and give children free access to the food cabinets.
aren't those two statements somewhat contradictory? if you don't allow certain foods into your home, they're restricted, and when that child encounters them outside of your home, they're likely to inhale them.

case in point: my friend A. we were friends since the 5th grade. her dad was the manager of a small grocery store in our town, so her kitchen cabinets were always full of a wide variety of "good" and "bad" foods including Little Debbie cakes, sugary cereals and storebought cookies. i never once saw or heard her mother tell her she couldn't have this or that food. the cabinets and the fridge were open to her at any time. she could have anything. she could eat pepperoni and Cheez-Whiz between two Chips-Ahoy for breakfast if she wanted to. i know. how awful! how dare her mother not watch over her diet like a hawk? well, wanna know what A's favorite food was? salad. wanna know what granola-and-fruit-juice-fed-me gorged on when i went over there to visit? i'm sure i don't have to tell you (although i'm sure i reaked of Oatmeal Cream Pies for days afterwards).

why restrict any food (and i'm not talking about children with diabetes or a similar issue)? just like adults, i truly believe that if you give a child a wide variety of foods to choose from, broccoli to brownies, and let them listen to their body and their hunger, they will make reasonable choices. don't believe me? watch a toddler with an ice cream cone. they don't have to finish it. they get full. they stop without being forced to. yes, some of us might have a greater propensity to develop eating problems, but i do believe, for the most part, that we really do learn disordered eating (this isn't my theory. smarter folks than i have studied it, written about it, practiced it. check out Preventing Childhood Eating Problems. i actually used its simple tenets in my own recovery).

anyway, i ramble. i also say all of this not having had children yet, so i know there might be a litany of "i told you sos" coming my way when i have my own little bean and all she wants to eat are those victuals that fall under the BEIGE food group. i can see myself now, paying her in Polly Pockets accessories just to PLEASE eat something, anything GREEN.

i was thrilled to see this as the 5th food mistake. thrilled, because people need to see this in print
. i'm hoping that those who don't believe me when i say it, will believe The New York Times. they're like, way totally smarter than me:
Dieting in front of your children
Kids are tuned into their parents’ eating preferences and are far more likely to try foods if they see their mother or father eating them. A Rutgers study of parent and child food preferences found that preschoolers tended to like or reject the same fruits and vegetables their parents liked or didn’t like. And other research has shown girls are more likely to be picky eaters if their mothers don’t like vegetables.

Given this powerful effect, parents who are trying to lose weight should be aware of how their dieting habits can influence a child’s perceptions about food and healthful eating. In one study of 5-year-old girls, one child noted that dieting involved drinking chocolate milkshakes — her mother was using Slim-Fast drinks. Another child said dieting meant “you fix food but you don’t eat it.”

A 2005 report in the journal Health Psychology found that mothers who were preoccupied with their weight and eating were more likely to restrict foods for their daughters or encourage them to lose weight. Daughters of dieters were also more likely to try diets as well. The problem is, restrictive diets don’t work for most people and often lead to binge eating and weight gain. By exposing young children to erratic dieting habits, parents may be putting them at risk for eating disorders or a lifetime of chronic dieting. “Most mothers don’t think their kids are soaking up this information, but they are,” Dr. Birch said. “They’re teaching it to their daughters even though it doesn’t work for them.

do you remember your parents' dieting? do you think it affected your own attitude towards food and dieting? how? i'm interested to hear your thoughts.

Monday, September 08, 2008


when did "you're practically disappearing" become a compliment?
dis·ap·pear [dis-uh-peer]

1. to cease to be seen; vanish from sight.

2. to cease to exist or be known; pass away; end gradually: One by one the symptoms disappeared.
i overheard it said to someone on the elevator this afternoon, and it struck me as so sad that it could ever be considered a compliment, and yet it was definitely meant to be in this case, and the recipient certainly ruffled a bit with pride.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

apartment-sitting beats babysitting.

i don't know what's going on with me, but i know that all i want to do these days is cook for myself (this mainly means chopping vegetables to make this salad) and watch bad television (Whose Wedding is This Anyway? or Clean House anyone?). rather than freaking out and assuming that i have lost all ambition and will fade away into creative oblivion, i'm trying trying trying to just enjoy a little vacation away from my super-productive, list-making self.

we have to do that sometimes, yes?

it helps that i'm staying in the fabulous apartment of my dear friend J, who is away on safari for two weeks with his partner T. poor dears. i'm taking full advantage of the fully-equipped open kitchen, central air-conditioning and cable television. they didn't want to leave the apartment empty for that long so really, i'm doing them a favor. how will they ever repay me?