Children and Vegetables
“Why do we have to eat vegetables, of all things, to be healthy?”
In all honesty, this common sentiment of our children usually varies very little from our own opinion about the matter. Before approaching the aim of improving our nutrition, it is indispensable that we break this lifelong opinion by introducing a practice of loving one’s vegetables. It gets fun when our talent for cooking vegetables starts to improve as a result, but more than this, loving vegetables dissolves the desire or need to lecture our children about the value of eating them. As we begin to practice the art of vegetable preparation and consumption with an authentic love for it, we will impress those we love in a healthy, lasting way.
We all know it’s important to include vegetables for optimal nutrition, so let us remember a golden rule: He or she who loves vegetables eats them for breakfast!
This is remarkably simple and it brings vegetables to a whole new level of prominence in our daily lives.
There’s something magical about breakfast. It’s wrapped with awesome sensations like the sight of the rising sun, the sound of birds signing, and the smell of coffee. With this comes a natural rise in serotonin levels and other endocrine hormones that give us positive feelings. Our children are most attuned to this natural, morning high. Coupling the morning time with vegetables, which could benefit from these positive associations, just makes sense! And after a night-long fast, breakfast time offers us a unique opportunity to fall in love with any food that we choose to eat, not just bacon or French toast.
When times get rough and choices are made that provoke our inner judgement, remember to relax. One thing is for certain—children are born into this world with a vitality level that few adults can remember. Parents want children to be healthy and strong, but they already are these things! Try to enjoy your child’s defiance of vegetables when it happens, since it’s really a sign of their good health. If parents were given a portion of their children’s vitality, two things would probably happen. One, they would be unceremoniously plunged back into the present moment by this newfound energy. Two, they would quickly take on that characteristic of their children which abandons all fear of future health concerns. Just imagine the freedom!
The bottom line is that we can regain the freedom and vitality that came with our childhood, and our own children, surrounded by the love of nutrition, can learn to enjoy vegetables as a part of life.
For the Love of Vegetables
Vegetables. Oh how I have come to love them. Their unique personalities are exquisite!
Consider the onion, for example. How wonderfully engaging the onion is! He literally makes me cry every time I meet him! If I don’t cut an onion once a day, I feel like I’ve missed out.
How about spinach? Even though spinach swelters to a puddle when cooked, can’t we appreciate the reason behind this? Spinach is thin-skinned! We all have those days where our skin is meek, and the wind seems to knock our very spirits down. Such are your spirits, oh Spinach! Meek and humble and tender. I will honor you by not even chewing you!
And broccoli, you bonsai tree! How did you make it into my kitchen? You look like the descendant of a miniature Acacia tree! Is the African savanna your homeland? If so, I will help your spirit to go there in our post-breakfast meditation! Come, I will show you, and your best friend too, the purple cabbage, who is quite the perfectionist, wouldn’t you say? She tries on more than 20 layers before presenting herself in her final beauty!
If only we greeted vegetables appropriately, I think we would have their image framed over our bedroom doors. Why? To remind us, upon passing under them every day, of their power over us; to be the harbinger of a good night’s sleep when eaten regularly, but also to confine us to our bed in sickness and despair should we neglect them!
Oh, what a power vegetables have, and all in silence. Silent from their germination all the way to their consumption. Silent, like any golden treasure must be.
But listen! They have a profound story to tell. They’ve soaked up quite a lot of sunlight in their season. We would be wise to listen to what they have to say after all that. We’d be wise to unlock their photon messages with the key of our digestive juices! After all, is there any other way?
Three Approaches to Nutrition
Diet The Paleolithic diet stands on the shoulders of our ancient foremothers and forefathers who existed before the advent of animal husbandry and agriculture. This diet challenges modern individuals to remove all dairy, grain, and processed sugar from their food while eating a much larger quantity of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds with their meals, which often contain some kind of animal protein. The Paleolithic diet is an active diet where adherents hunt down what it means to be healthy while living in the adversarial conditions of the modern world. Just as our ancestors would hunt prey in unfavorable conditions, Paleo dieters have a similar vigilance that is necessary for anyone who is in an honest pursuit of increased vitality. With the weapon of sound logic, the Paleo diet warns us not to ignore the millions of years of evolution upon which the human race owes tribute.
Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet falls very much in line with the Paleo diet in its logic of honoring our ancient ancestors. The name most fitting to the raw food diet is “the living foods diet,” since raw foods contain the highest amount of enzymes that are usually lost to cooking. Some raw food diet principles work in conjunction with the Paleolithic diet, as long as one consumes animal sources of protein. Through the vegan component of raw food diets, the hunter-gatherer is transformed into a yogi-like individual looking for his or her spiritual path. Regardless of whether one eats animal protein or not, well-being marks the foundation for a spiritually uplifting life, and in order to achieve a higher level of health in the modern world, the determination and discipline of a hunter-gatherer is required.
Nutritional Balancing Diet
The nutritional balancing diet has a resounding emphasis on mineral intake. Where raw food represents the “living foods diet,” nutritional balancing represents the “re-mineralization” or “mineralbalancing diet.” Minerals are required for every conceivable bodily function, from enzyme production to detoxification. In fact, success from many diets probably has to do with cutting out certain obvious detractors and mineral chelators, such as processed sugar, refined wheat, and chemical-laced foods, while also introducing whole foods that are high in minerals and enzymes. Where enzymes predominate in raw food, minerals predominate in cooked food. Cooking vegetables, for instance, will unlock minerals contained in the tough fibers. One unique feature of the nutritional balancing diet is the utilization of a hair analysis to qualify the oxidation type of a given individual. This is called “metabolic typing,” and may be a beneficial test regardless of one’s dietary regimen.
Naturally we don’t have to get too caught up in a “me vs. you” attitude when it comes to finding our way. If you learn to trust your body, then you can find what diet works best for you (perhaps with the help of a measuring system, such as a hair analysis).
If you fear getting ridiculed by others who have different beliefs about what constitutes the “optimal diet,” rest assured that the common denominator of almost every rejuvenating diet is increased vegetable intake. A great approach is to re-mineralize your body by eating cooked vegetables with multiple meals, and drink some raw vegetable juice for an added enzyme boost. Do this over and over again. Whether or not you choose to eat meat, grains, raw milk, eggs, fruit sugar, or any other food, know that eating vegetables is probably the hardest part of any diet, is the least controversial, and has some of the greatest rewards for health and well-being.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #54.
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