Eating Habits and Influences: We All Carry The Torch

Mom Carrying The Torch One of my proudest moments was watching my mother carry the Olympic Torch for the Salt Lake games. OK, I wasn’t really watching, I was snapping photos, cheering, smiling, and running ahead to snap more photos. It was a great experience which was all thanks to my sister, who mobilized a number of family and friends to nominate my mom, largely in appreciation for her great work as a hospice nurse. I’ve always loved the symbolism of the flame passing from person to person across such a great distance, as thousands of torches, and thousands of small touches, add up to a great collective journey and accomplishment.

Food Connection

My mom's Olympic torch on her wall

My grandfather had a serious hobby as a blacksmith, and forged this wall mount with rings. The soot is to remain untouched after the single burning.

As a parent foodie it makes me think about how we and others influence our kids in little ways each day. A long chain of influences and personal choices has led each of us to where we are today. And we in turn can make a great impact, through small daily steps like serving the kids a really tasty salad with enthusiasm and high expectations that they won’t turn up their noses. Hopefully that will counteract other influences, like a sibling’s chant for gum, a candy bar commercial, or even a Homer Simpson impersonation by me (“Mmmm, Dooooonuuuuuts”) in a moment of honestyweakness. Every little “touch” counts. My five year old recently went on a health kick when her preschool spent a day discussing healthy food. She talked about it nonstop for days, and together with her big sister they made a book entitled “Helfy Food / Not Helfy Food.” If you’ve seen Eat This Not That, it’s the same idea only with cuteness. What surprised me, really, was the sudden impact her teachers had on her mindset, even though they were simply reiterating the eating principles we’ve discussed with them for years. Parents aren’t enough. It takes a village, and all that.

Torches and touches

How are you or others around you positively influencing eating habits? What are the threats or negative influences which most concern you? And what do you like best, helfy food or not helfy? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Helfy Food / Not Helfy Food Image

What do you think of their lists?

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Posted in Family, Food Articles, Parenting, Philosophies, Thanks
5 comments on “Eating Habits and Influences: We All Carry The Torch
  1. While my parents weren’t gourmets (or particularly healthy eaters), they passed on one particular food “attribute” that I’ve really appreciated over the years: the ability to eat almost anything–at least just to try it. I never go hungry, and I can enjoy just about any meal set in front of me. It’s a wonderful experience to connect with someone you’ve never met who wants to share the local delicacy. I’m always intrigued by local tastes. Being able to at least try a little bit has opened a lot of doors. (I hope I passed on some of that to our kids. They certainly had to endure a lot when I cooked!)

    • Ryan Ryan says:

      Right on, Mark. Kids have a profound ability to pick up on our attitudes, and an openness to discover new tastes and experiences is a huge gift to pass on to them. You guys are taking that discovery to the next level now – keep up the blog!

  2. Krista says:

    I grew up on 3 acres & my mom always had a huge garden. I can remember asking her what was for lunch & she’d respond by telling me to “go pick something”. My favorite was a bell pepper sandwich & I can still remember the warmth & crunch of the pepper & the softness of the bread (white of course, this was the mid-70′s!). Unfortunately I don’t have my mom’s same green thumb, or the acreage, but I try to instill the same appreciate in my young son. We go to farmers market & at his level, talk about where food comes. And thankfully, I can manage to keep a pot of cherry tomatoes thriving! Mindful eating – thinking about what we put in our body, and where it comes from. It’s not everyday or every meal, but its more of a habit than not.

    • Ryan Ryan says:

      Krista it seems like we’re in similar circumstances. My wife grew up on acreage with a huge garden, but we manage as best we can with our relatively small tomato patch in the burbs. I’m so glad you are growing a healthy understanding and appreciation in your little man, no acreage required. Great story about pepper sandwiches, I love it when parents are thoughtful enough to just say “figure it out!”

  3. Traci Buxton says:

    I think your five year old has the right idea. As a nation, we are obsessed with thinness while being surrounded by overabundance and the notion of food as a health supplement rather than an integral part of life to be savored and enjoyed. Healthy eating can be distilled into its simplest elements by eating a wide variety of minimally processed foods. Food should nourish both body and soul and be a pleasure to consume and share with others. Certainly picking your own from sun-warmed soul adds to the pleasure(and nutrition). Bon appetit!

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About the Spinning Cook

Food-loving father of three in Portland Oregon, building healthy bodies and habits for life. Food is hard, kids are picky. But keep at it, and real food will win in your home. Join me in the fight against vegetablessness!

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