We’re all students.

by Adriana

This evening, I attended a seminar at my daughter’s school all about eating well and living well. The speaker was Vanessa Sarraino of Cooking Kind for Life and she was completely encouraging and informative. I recommend you check out her website (which I have linked). Her basic motto was that what we put into our mouths completely affects how we do everything in our day and our lifetimes. If you make healthy choices, you will be healthy – make unhealthy ones? Well, it will show.

She prepared 2 versions of a “green smoothie” which she recommended enjoying at breakfast or for breakfast… and I had both (with seconds) even though I was HIGHLY skeptical that dandelion greens, spinach, celery, kale and collard greens with a few frozen blueberries and a splash of maple syrup could taste good. I was sure it would taste “good for you” but not good. Was I wrong. The green smoothie was so delicious, that Anis and I have decided to buy a Magic Bullet and start our green smoothies on Saturday morning.

Vanessa’s basic message was received on many levels. Buy pop with lots of sugar in it? Feel the aftermath of a sugar high and then a sugar low. Buy food with preservatives and additives? Feel foggy and sluggish, and in the long term, feel it break down your regular bodily functions. Eat well? Feel energized, light, capable, balanced.

When Anis and I decided to become weekday vegetarians, we didn’t want to just stop eating meat. That’s not what this change in our lives is about. This change is a change to become healthier in every aspect of our lives and our children’s lives. If we set up some good rules and foundations now, our children will have those with them for the rest of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not deluded. I know that at certain times (parties, holidays, etc.) the children will be exposed to food that is less than good for them, and rather than force them not to look at it, (let alone eat it) we will let them try it sparingly so that when they see it and we’re not there, they don’t go insane with junk food. After this evening’s talk, we have a few more resolutions that we want to share with you. Of course, this is going to take time and effort (bribery at times, hiding food at times, promises that this food is actually good for you), but I think it’s all part of the course. And, like I said yesterday, because we’re starting so young by the time they’re old enough to make decisions, these rules will be second nature for our kids.

One thing I wanted to share before I give you our resolutions, was that Vanessa said that when she initially introduced green smoothies to her children, she had to do it with ice cream. She admitted to bribing her children to get them to eat something. As we end up our second week as weekday vegetarians (with a dinner that made Zara very unhappy – it was rice and lentils with dates and raisins, and was actually quite delicious), Anis and I have to remember that patience will get us very far, and that eventually Zara and Darius will try these new foods and… eventually… one day (I hope!) like them. Otherwise, we’ll just eat pasta everyday.

Our resolutions?

  • To eat responsibly raised meat only on Saturdays and Sundays, if we chose.
  • To avoid foods with preservatives, additives, colouring, and processing, where possible.
  • To avoid junk food (including breakfast cereals high in sugar, and the regular bad guys that we all love).
  • To make as much of the food that we eat as possible.
  • To buy and eat organic where possible.
  • To drink a green smoothie in the mornings.
  • To eat 3 meals a day with good, quality fat, fibre, protein and carbohydrates.
  • To eat 2-3 snacks a day with good, quality fat, fibre, protein and carbohydrates.
  • To be physically active, daily, for 30-60 minutes.
  • To ensure that our children will not have a shorter life expectancy than their parents like is predicted for these little ones.

Whatever changes you decide to take on, good for you. It’s all a step in the right direction and has to start somewhere.

On Saturday I will post our first green smoothie. When I spoke with Vanessa about the art of the green smoothie, she basically said whatever amounts your children will take and however they like it (with fruit, or yogurt, or ice cream) until they get used to it, is okay. Vanessa drinks 100% greens in the morning, but I think Zara and Darius will want something a bit sweeter!

For some green smoothie recipes, check out this site.