1. There’s been so much in the news lately about plant-based diets as preventative care for some of the most common and widespread killers in Western society.

    There’s this one, from the Huff Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caldwell-b-esselstyn-jr-md/the-problem-with-interven_b_754881.html

    And then an interview with Bill Clinton, who’s cut most animal products out of his diet and seen a great improvement in his health: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2010/09/21/intv.clinton.blitzer.weight.loss.cnn.html

    Like you said, we know it’s good for us to eat vegetables. But there’s nobody marketing them at us like they’re marketing Cheesy Blasters and Pizza Pups or whatever. That stuff makes consumers sick and makes companies rich.

    Preventative care isn’t lucrative, so the big corporations that sell us our processed foods and medicines aren’t interested. They invest instead in these elusive “cures” that everyone likes to race for, and then you end up with things like the Susan G. Komen for the Cure KFC Chicken Bucket.

    If we all made a concerted effort to eat fewer animal products and by-products, we’d have a huge impact on greenhouse gas emission, international food security, and our own health. Not eating as much meat and cheese means there’s more space on the plate for vegetables.

  2. I agree with this so much. I make it a constant goal of mine to expose my son to as many different fruits and vegetables as possible.

    We joined a CSA and get a weekly box filled with all kinds of fresh produce. He thinks it’s fun to find out what the farm sent. As a result, I can get him to eat almost anything (depending on his mood, of course, since he is a 4 year old).

  3. I said this on FB, but I think it’s worth repeating. All the access in the world doesn’t do any good if people don’t know how to cook the vegetables or are too intimidated to try.

    My daughter’s preschool class had a field trip last week to a farm, where we rode a hayride around th various fields and picked produce. Several of the moms sitting around me grilled me on what I planned to do with my bags of food, because they had no idea what to do with arugula, turnips, radishes, yellow wax beans or fresh herbs. Cooking is something that comes easy to me, but vegetables that don’t come in a bag from the freezer are a mystery to a lot of families.

  4. I have to say starting when they are young is so important. My kids have only known life eating veggies and fruit instead of junk and they love it! I love that they choose salads for dinner, or when there is a chip & dip tray or a veggie tray, they will go for the veggies & hummus 100% of the time! I think introducing them to all sorts of colors and varieties is so important and they even get excited about what to pick out at the store. Maybe we’re weird? But I hope it’s a new kind of normal!


  5. PS didn’t want that to sound too self righteous, if there is a bowl of candy around they will also go for that 100% of the time, too! LOL


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    Tegan – You hit the nail on the head!

    Steph – Mine too. They love candy as much as they love fruits and veggies. Everything (well, most everything) in moderation. ;)

  7. Author

    I also wanted to add that I feel like my kids are fortunate that they’ve been exposed to so many foods at a young age that I never heard of or had until my 20s. Hopefully that will help them eat a good variety of foods throughout their lives.

    Oh, and Kayris – Like I said back to you on FB, I had no idea how to prepare a turnip either. ;P Thanks for the ideas. :)

  8. I think we eat a lot of veggies in our house. And then I made a 6 course Ethiopian meal a few weekends ago. One grain (teff for injera), one meat (chicken in one dish) and then I used an egglplant, 6 onions, 3 bell peppers, garlic, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, green beans, cabbage, tomatoes, fresh ginger, and probably a few other vegetables that I can’t remember! My counter top was a freakin’ cornucopia of veggies during the preparation process. And it really highlighted to me how traditional foods can be so veggie heavy!

  9. I remember the day I was watching a friend’s child, and the little girl was shocked when I informed her that vegetables were a required part of lunch. She didn’t make anymore of a fuss about them than that, but I suspect she was used to being able to say no to veggies… or just testing me.

    I find it pretty easy to deal with unfamiliar vegetables. That’s what recipe websites are for!

  10. I think education about how to cook vegetables other than par boiling is the key. After picking the last of the vegetables from my in-law’s garden, my sister in law was stumped on what to do with her portion of summer squash.

    I think catering to picky kid eaters is also why so many people claim that they don’t like vegetables. I’m not saying that you should force feed it to your child but as a kid I wasn’t allowed to claim I didn’t like something without taking a bite of it first. Based on my focus group of 9 nieces and nephews, the ones who refuse vegetables and claim they don’t like any of them are the ones that were catered too. Heck if I got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every time I said I hated a vegetable, I don’t think I’d be the adventurous eater I am now.

  11. Eating veggies is a practice that needs to start early, my kids love their veggies as they love their french fries=)

  12. This is disturbing, but true. What’s even more disturbing is that we are raising another generation of nonvegetable eaters.

  13. I recently read that America doesn’t actually produce enough vegetables for us to eat 5 a day – we couldn’t even if we had the will to.

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    Milehimama – That’s very interesting (and could get me started on a whole high fructose corn syrup rant — cuz all we grow in this country is corn that no one can eat, but I’ll restrain myself). I wonder if that takes into account backyard gardens, etc. Would love to know where you read it.

  15. Raising kids to love veg would definitely work but I think one of the reasons adults don’t like or eat veg is that what you find in the produce section of the super market is gross. It tastes terrible compared to its fresh counterpart. I thought I didn’t like carrots until I ate one out of the garden. Same with cucumbers and raw tomatoes for sure. When I eat a salad from my garden I eat it practically plain b/c the green are just so delicious. When I eat one from the supermarket or in a restaurant, I drench it in dressing just to choke it down. Potatoes and onions from the store are about the only thing that I think tastes decent and even then, a fresh potato or onion is so rich and flavorful, it’s like a completely different vegetable.

  16. Milehimamma: It’s a sin, isn’t it? But there aren’t any subsidies for broccoli or kale or sweet potatoes, so there’s very little incentive to grow anything besides genetically modified corn and soybeans.

    Kayris: You’re absolutely correct. Parsnips, leeks, cabbage–this stuff can be intimidating, and setting your cooking experiment down in front of kids who groan and whine over it can be incredibly dispiriting!

    So what do we do? Community cooking classes, perhaps, but who hasn’t heard a friend or co-worker claim they’re “too busy” to eat anything but processed food? I think we’ve got to start younger.

    A combined cooking and nutrition curriculum started in grade school seems the smartest way to go. Engage kids in preparing healthy, simple food. A lot of kids love to cook! But this needs to be taken seriously–kids aren’t dumb, and they realize something is off when one teacher preaches about the sins of processed food and then they’re led into a lunchroom full of tater tots, pizza pockets, and cardboard burger patties where “fruit” often means a bruised (and gross!) apple or tinned peaches in syrup.

    Argh, I get so upset when I think about this stuff!

  17. This is really upsetting, I agree. I would love to see more “home ec” type classes that let kids experiment with cooking veggies in different ways. I’m lucky in that my kids are fanatics for my roast green beans.

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