Creating Memories Around Healthy Food




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Food And Memories

One of my favorite memories as a very young girl, is visiting my grandparents and sitting at the bar in the kitchen next to ‘Pepaw,’ reading the newspaper with him (i.e. looking at the pictures and reading the titles) and drinking ‘coffee milk,’ (milk with a tiny splash of coffee). I started very young with this little addiction! I felt so grown up, sitting there early in the morning reading very grown up news and drinking a ‘for-grown-ups-only’ drink.

Coffee has another very strong memory association for me, in a way that makes me feel very close to my mother. I used to wake up in the wee hours of the morning and sit with her in the bathroom while she got ready for work. I would get her coffee (with lots of milk and sugar…just the way I like it now!) and pretend to put on make-up and curl my hair.

It is easy to picture different times in life when you think of a certain food, meal, smell, or song, event, etc… Sometimes a memory can feel very real, as if you are actually there reliving it.

That is how coffee became a comfort food for me. It wasn’t my past habit of drinking a pot of coffee while pulling in an all-nighter study session in college. I let go of the caffeine habit long ago. It was the memory of what coffee means to me, that kept me coming back for more.

Decaf coffee was my new thing (yeah…I know it still has some caffeine…). I wasn’t drinking it in the morning for a pick-me-up. I was drinking it in the afternoon for my special quiet time during nap/homework hour. It was hot, sweet, and the perfect calming, soothing, special drink.

Food is a social and emotional thing. No matter how we try to make it a purely physical, nutritional experience, it still holds other, much greater powers over many of us. This does not mean that enjoying it is a negative experience, but simply that trying to avoid emotional ties to food is almost impossible. The little traditions that revolve around our food can create very strong bonds to certain foods by memory association. Being too restrictive about food can create emotional bingeing on ‘no-no’ items.

Eventually, I successfully gave up the coffee habit for good. I gave away my machine and tossed everything that went with it. It feels great now, but it was a long, hard struggle.

Creating “Healthy Food” Memories

I want to create positive emotions and memorieskidwithfruit198x267 around healthy food choices for my children. I want them to remember great things about the way we eat and not dwell on the fact that they can’t have all the other stuff that they used to get and that everyone else still does.

For my son with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and ADHD, (problems on the autism spectrum), this diet is not a choice that we want for him simply because it is healthier. It has become a saving grace for us. There is no room for special treats, one time cheats, or eating the junk that the nice neighbors/relatives give the kids.

Literally, one time to eat ‘something special’ (meaning the non-raw foods that we avoid) will send him off on a minimum of 3 days, if not a week, of the old symptoms we used to see in him. That is not acceptable for us or him. He knows the difference. He feels the difference. He doesn’t want to eat it…most of the time. So, how do I set up a positive attitude toward food restriction?

  • First, educate! The more the kids know about the effects poor food choices have on their bodies, the stronger their desire is to not choose it.
  • Second, make it fun! Get them in on the process of preparing food. Present it in a fun way. Make it look good, in a kid-kind of way!
  • Last, but most importantly, make great memories by setting up new traditions and special things surrounding healthy foods. For instance, when I go grocery shopping with the kids, I let them choose a new fruit or vegetable to try. They can read about what it is, how you eat it, where it came from, and what it has inside that does a body good! That’s lots of good learning to go along with trying and experiencing new foods.

Since my son has sensory issues that make him a very picky eater, this has been a great way to get him to try more types of food and go beyond what he thinks he likes. When he chooses it, he is excited about trying something new. Now, he might not like it, but he is at least trying. He has even started trying things a second or third time around, realizing that he has learned to like other foods that he didn’t before.

Start A New Tradition – Or Try A Competition!

Another little tradition we have started is looking for a new raw dessert recipe to make. The kids get to think of an old non-raw favorite and we think of ways to “rawify” it, or we look online and see if someone else already has. We do it all together of course, and sometimes the end product is a great success, and sometimes not. The fun part was doing it together and trying something new.

We also have a ‘Make Your Own Smoothie’ night, where everyone gets to choose what their ingredients, and they get to do the blending, too! We have come up with some interesting combos that I never would have tried without their imagination!

We have competitions to see who wins the gold medal for finishing their carrot juice. That one started during the last summer Olympics when we were introducing the juice to them for the first time. The game that started as a way to get them to drink it is now a tradition to our almost daily carrot juice, after we get past the fight over who gets to make it!

The kids have also started some new things all on their own that have taken root. Thanks to Daddy’s one-time joke, every time we drive by a McDonald’s, they all start chanting, “Yuck-Donald’s, Yuck-Donald’s” and giggle about how they will NEVER eat there again!

momandkids325x215Of course, special memories can and should be made revolving around many things, not just food. There is the ‘first snow’ snowman building and snowball fight that we have every year. Or the planting of the garden with each child getting their own section and choosing what to plant and doing it on their own. (Ok, so that one does relate to healthy food!)

Since this is Easter weekend, we will be eating ‘Bunny Food’ (carrots, greens, and other bunny favorites), and making raw brownies in easter egg shapes in a pre-formed pan. The baskets full of ‘junk’ that the kids bring home from the elderly neighbor’s yearly invitation to hunting eggs and candy in her yard will be eagerly traded in for acceptable treats or money.

Here is my last thought to you on making healthy food fun and memorable: We offer these trades to make it easier for the kids to give up the stuff that they can no longer eat. Most often, my son trades for the money as he has learned its value and is saving up for a great toy. (His thoughts… “I only get to taste the junk food once, but I can play with a toy forever!”)

What fun, healthy memories will you be adding to your list this year?  Please share in the comments section!

HAPPY EASTER!
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Top 5 Ways to Clean Your Produce




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Top 5 Ways To Clean Your Produce

by Carissa Leventis-Cox

My mother is Mrs. Clean and she is worried about the parasites and other undesirable microorganisms in the raw foods that we eat.  So to ease her mind, this post is for my Mama and for all you Mamas out there who want clean and non-toxic food for your family!

Me: Yes, I do clean my veggies!
My mother: How?

Read more »



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Wild Edibles: How To Get Started Learning To Eat Wild Edibles




Wild Edibles: How To Get Started Learning To Eat Wild Edibles

By Melyssa Martin

Wild edible plants are around you every where you turn but many people have never explored the hidden food in their backyards.  It’s not uncommon to hear stories of people discovering wild edibles as a food source in search of natural remedies to ailments and disease.  But a major part of achieving a state of natural health and well-being involves living in balance with nature.  Wild edibles are a way to achieve this connection.  So let’s explore some simple ways to learn how to identify the little gems you can find when you step outside. Read more »



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Raw Recipe: Divine Brownies




Raw Recipe: Divine Brownies 

by Angela Elliott

Once you’ve tasted this raw brownie recipe, you’ll never look back!  Walnuts, dates and cashew butter form the brownie base, and cashews make the yummy frosting.  You will need a food processor to process these ingredients.  This particular recipe is shaped into bite sized pieces, but can also be pressed into an 8 x 8 pan if you prefer.  Make the brownie, smooth on the delicious chocolate frosting and voila!  A little taste of chocolate heaven in every bite!

 

Ingredients:

 

For the brownie:

  •  3 cups walnuts
  •  2 tablespoons raw cashew Butter
  •  1/2 cup date syrup
  •  1/4 cups Cacao powder
  •  1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt

For the frosting:

  •  2 cups Cashews, soaked for 1 hour
  •  3 teaspoons Vanilla flavor by Frontier
  •  1/2 cup date syrup
  •  1/2 cups Water

Directions:

 

For the brownies:

  • Process the walnuts into a fine flour in a food processor.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and process again until smooth.
  • Shape into individual balls.  Press each individual ball by making a thumb print on top.

For the frosting:

  • Process the cashews, vanilla flavor, date syrup and water until smooth.
  • Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to thicken.  Remove frosting, frost the brownies and serve!

  Enjoy the decadence!



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Raw Chocolates: Its Benefits and Raw Chocolate Recipes




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Raw Chocolate:  Its Benefits and Raw Chocolate Recipes

Someone once said “there are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffle.” Do you wish chocolate could actually be a health food? I believe raw chocolate to be a very healthy and fun addition to my diet, and definitely not one I should feel guilty about. Many people admit being strongly attracted to the taste of chocolate, but deplore its calories, high fat content and other unhealthy properties. What they do not realize is that the chocolate bars found on supermarket shelves are but a shadow of the real, dark, unprocessed chocolate made from real cacao beans and very little else. Read more »



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