On being a scandalous and saucy outcast for saying "no"



The commentary Obesity Is Officially a Disease, So Why Was My Child Diagnosed As A Healthy Eater? reminded me of comments my blog readers have left about negative reactions from other parents in response to feeding your children wholesome and healthy snacks. It also isn't very different from the reactions I often receive when people find out I don't eat sugar and that I make dinner from scratch almost every night. 

We're sometimes labeled elitists, food Nazis, snobs, fanatics, disordered or the one that makes me wince a little, bores. Surely we're all missing out if we're not eating out of a package! I see this reflected in reactions to Paula Deen's "cuisine" when people are quoted as stating that she is a down to earth "real" cook. Deviations from the norm of eating what's coming off the conveyor belts or not slathering, frying and laying the sauce on thick is somehow eating like a bird.

A culture of bullying and singling those out who are different isn't an excuse or reason to join the crowd to fit in which for me meant I could no longer could fit into my clothing from my healthy weight days! That was reason enough to go it alone and do it my way.

How do you respond to negative reactions to your positive steps to healthy eating?

Comments

  1. I just shrug it off. My husband has taken up cooking in the last year and when my coworkers get a whiff of the amazing "leftovers" I bring in for my lunches every day and start salivating, they loose their desire for their microwaved meals and canned ravioli pretty quick. In fact, now when I bring something prepackaged in or a can to open and nuke, they look at me as if I have three heads -- "What happened to (Hubby's) cooking? Why didn't you bring any of that in today?" I actually get made fun of for NOT bringing in healthy delicious foods in now. :P

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    1. I find that people are very accepting of "alternative food lifestyles" (I am using that facetiously) when they have delicious food in front of them. ;)

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  2. I don't react too much, unless they ask constructive questions. :-)

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    1. That's what I do too, pretty much! Unless it's a comment in my blog. Then I have my say regardless. :P

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  3. I'm a mom of 5 children (1-9). When it comes to how I feed my family I feel like the odd one out but not exactly in the way you are mentioning.

    I serve a homemade dinner and dessert every night. I have a large collection of cookbooks but my go to books are by Better Homes and Gardens (cookbook, 1951 and new cookbook,1963). If the recipe says it makes 8 servings it will feed 8 in my house. There are also usually at least two choices of veggies. My kids know they have to eat all their veggies or no dessert. We, though not always me, have a regular dessert most nights. My kids get enough to eat and know when they are full. On nice days they spend the majority of the day outside. When it comes to food and recreation, their life isn't that far off from a Leave it to Beaver episode and matches up with the nutrition information in the vintage cook books. My husband and I both have a large frame (MetLife) and our kids do too but are in the 20-30th percentile in weight for their age.

    I'm the only mom I know that does things this way. Some of my mom "friends" eat packaged crap and too much of it. Most of their families are battling obesity. The other mom friends are on the other extreme. They are mostly judgy health nuts. They are constantly talking about healthy eating and usually follow fad diets. Their kids rarely if ever get sweets. They have a very "prissy" attitude about how often I serve dessert.

    I personally feel like both groups of my mom friends have it wrong. Obviously the processed food is bad but I feel like obsessing about eating "healthy" is the wrong approach too. They can't shield their kids from sugar forever and by depriving them they are also missing out on the opportunity to teach them about balance and moderation.

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    1. MrsM I want to clarify that I don't eat sugar for personal reasons, not because of a 1950s diet. I'm a sugar junkie. I was never able to moderate it, so I had to give it up. There are people who can have just one slice of cake like my grandmother, for one! She has remained thin her entire life.

      What you are describing is very consistent with a 50s diet and your children are probably consuming less sugar than those who live on a diet of processed food since sugar, corn syrup et al is an ingredient in most everything.

      I know for me my 50s diet is a passion and I am obviously enthusiastic about it and want to spread the word, but outside of my blog I don't "preach" unless I'm asked (or provoked, heh).

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    2. I know Averyl :) I was commenting mostly on the picture. While I don't often buy Oreos I feel like the mom commenting on the one who doesn't let her kids have them.

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    3. MrsM, you've inspired me to dig out vintage Better Homes cookbook! We moved a month ago and I've been throwing together basic dinners and they're getting dull. There's only so much I can do with olive oil, salt, and pepper!

      Sarah

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  4. I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person. ;)

    Seriously...if someone questions how I eat, why I don't eat certain things, or expresses A) disbelief and/or B) horror that my kids don't have or want processed crap, fast food, snacks, take out food, etc. on anywhere near a regular basis, I will whip out my picture of me at 212 pounds and happily explain why we eat the way we do, and that we are all happy and healthy and my kids understand more about basic nutrition than most adults. My elder daughter led a discussion about high fructose corn syrup during the nutrition unit in her 6th grade health class, and her teacher was blown away.

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    1. I love the idea of carrying your "before" photo! Maybe I will do the same. I looked pasty, run down and not happy in addition to carrying extra weight. I bet your daughter is a rock star in her health class thanks to you!

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  5. Great post, Averyl. I'm so glad the mom in the article called out the camp on their snack policy. I can't imagine my kids doing well at their afternoon activities with those kinds of snacks. I try to strike a balance between a strict diet and a junk food filled one and my pantry and fridge reflect this in their contents.

    I have a friend, a good one, who sometimes makes comments about me not choosing to eat fried rice if we are at a Chinese restaurant or not getting a coffee "milkshake" if we go out for coffee. I didn't feel bad about it but one time just asked her if she wasn't expressing her guilt over her choices. Well that's exactly what it was. She just didn't realize it. I told her then and there that it's her body and she can really eat whatever she wants and I won't tell her mother. Ha ha.

    Sarah H.

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    1. Ha! Good-natured humor is always a good way to handle these things!

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  6. Love this post and I have volume 1-12 of the woman's day encyclopedia of cookery from the 60's maybe I should start cooking from it :) I do want to thank you Averyl here lately when I think of fast food or boxed stuff I've started saying to myself that's fake food and not nutritious and its completely changed my views on it!

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    1. Excellent! Thanks for letting me know!

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  7. Living well is the best revenge :-)

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