Thursday, February 21, 2008

Feeling good...thanks to Mom

Both my mother and my mother-in-law were women wise beyond their nutritional years. Both were aware of the dangers of food additives, had daily vitamin regimes, and fed their children spoonfuls of cod liver oil. My mom practiced yoga in the early 1970's (Kareem Zebroff, anyone?). I grew up watching her move from down dog to eagle pose in front of our 12" black and white TV. She made blueberry muffins with wheat germ and whole wheat flour when no one in our community had ever seen or heard of muffins before.
My husband's mother was similar. She was a huge follower of Adelle Davis's books and practiced vitamin enrichment whenever she could. My husband fondly remembers slurping down the tiger shake his mother would whip up before he and his 5 siblings would go off to school. If contained stuff that would make today's kids gag. Homemade yoghurt, breads and an never-ending supply of fresh vegetables would adorn her table. His dad raised pigs. Not his primary job, but it was a good side business. Did you know that fresh bacon is grey not pink. I didn't either. Yummy.
These ladies knew the importance of diet. Not just any diet but a diet chock full of root veggies, whole grain products, non-animal proteins, etc. They raised us well. This is what I think of every time I feed my kids something from a box. This is what I think of every time I contemplate ordering take-out instead of boiling up a pot of carrots and potatoes.
I usually keep these thoughts to myself. My friends would argue that mothers are much busier today than in our mother's time. To that, I say...well, let's just say I don't agree. I believe my primary job as a mom, is to establish good eating habits for my kids now. To keep their taste buds innocent and free from the dark side that is fried foods, high fructose corn syrup and soft, mushy starches. Have I suceeded? No way.
Last month I signed up for Bob Greene's Best Life diet. My initial motivation was to lose a few pounds. I really got into the plan. I began to exercise more, switched out potato chips in favor of unsalted raw almonds, and started to measure my food portions. The longer I stayed on the food plan, the more I realized how far I strayed from my mom's vision.
Now, whole grains are back on my family's daily menu, meats are consumed once or twice a week, chicken has been rediscovered and sweets are an occasional treat. (Treat, being the important word here.)
I'm feeling great. I've lost weight. My kids are not complaining. I think mom would be pleased.
It only takes a little planning each day. The trappings of fast foods and frozen meals from Costco only happen because we don't know what else to do. I've been there.
My mom always said, "As long as you have porridge in the house (hot oatmeal for you Americans), you'll never go hungry."


  1. Oh, Patty! You are SO right. And teaching the kids good habits now is going to pay BIG when they go to college. My kids come back with horror stories of how kids eat, all because their families didn't really do much cooking and eating together. I know it's been a huge part of are family life.

    Now, though, can't cook. No kitchen up here...yet. Working on that:)

  2. I made Tate eat almond butter on his bagel instead of peanut butter...he almost gagged. I told him to suck it up and this is how it's going be from now on! Ha! Just teasing...actually everyone is adjusting to whole wheat pasta and no soda just fine.
    Sent off more it's the waiting game. But I can still revise, right?

  3. LOL! Poor Tate:) Soda is SO bad for us. I stopped drinking it a few years back. All I drink now [except for wine of course] is Pelligrino. So yummy, especially with a squirt of lemon or lime! Yum...

    Hey that's awesome for getting those queries out there! Yeah, I'm editing too. While I wait on word on my partial I'm getting my crit group to take another look at it and polishing the last half of the novel. Why or why is it so hard to make the second half of my books shine? Somehow, for me, the first half seems so much easier.

  4. Good advice Patty, nice to be reminded once in awhile about our nutritional habits. My mom certainlt spent a lot of time in the kitchen (remember?). We weren't exposed to fast food, heck I never ate a store made pizza till I was in my teens! Ah, but remember the home made cookies, brownies, bran (OMG!) muffins, and that cruncy oatmeal bar (sneaky Mom) we used to eat with an apple to make it taste like apple crisp!!? I rarely bake anymore...well maybe I will today...something with bran or oatmeal of course ;o)

  5. Patty, I love your comments on your Moms nutritional talents. I was very impressed!! Good luck on your new eating regime! You will all look so healthy this summer. Congratulations on your weight loss. Patty we are enjoying
    harbour village. Its a treat having Meredith and David with us. Tammy is arriving this am. This is my very first e mail... Meredith made me do it on my own. Will try again love to everyone!! Mom

  6. So nice to see you in the blogosphere, mom! Yes, you certainly have been an inspirational figure on my dietary life. I've lost 10 pounds so far on The Best Life Diet (neil lost 15 just by living through me and Newt's down 10 lbs, although he claims I'm starving him!)
    Glad Florida is fun. Hope everyone is healthy.
    Leslie: Oh, how I loved your mom's cooking. All those casseroles and sweet rolls. I still long for them!
    Thanks for visiting!


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