Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giving Up (Sort of)

Melina, my oldest, arrived home from college a little over a week ago. While she's a veggie, dorm life has affected her eating habits. It saddened me to hear her talk about how she missed certain foods and food products that are clearly detrimental to her health. It was harder still to listen to what she ate when she met a friend for dinner. Let's just say deep frying was involved.

While raising Melina, my idea of good nutrition evolved from a low-fat version of the Standard American Diet to a High Raw, High Vegan pursuit of excellent health. For the last few years, it's made her happy to know meat won't be served in our meals, and she's embraced everything from green smoothies, to wheatgrass shots, to marinated veggies on big salads with homemade dressings. Still, she may have forgotten how different our eating-style really is.

The second day she complained to her sister. "I can't eat only fruit. I feel sick from all this healthy food." I told her that was a little thing called detox and reminded her that she'd consumed lots of healthy foods that weren't fruits. I spent hours trying to figure out how to get her all the way back to my end of the eating spectrum before she leaves at the end of the month to complete her summer research internship.

The thing is that she's enjoyed every one of the three meals a day I've made since she came home. And she'd happily indulged in smoothies blended up by her little sis. I'm juice feasting, which has it's own challenges, so I decided to give up the teen diet fight. I didn't give up on setting an example, or providing the best possible foods, or teaching her about why we eat the way we do. I gave up on the idea of control.

I've given her as much knowledge as I could. She enjoys the best foods on earth, and she knows how to prepare many of them to make a tasty and healthy meal. Her mind is open to new things, and she recognizes the connection between food and health. When she's away from me, she'll eat a slightly better version of the diet eaten by lots of college kids. That's the way it is. I'm trusting that as she matures and grows she'll let go of the junk and come home to real food.

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