Try as I might, I cannot escape the emotional side of food. Both of my parents have food issues, though on opposite ends of the spectrum. And both of them have issues with what I eat, as I was underweight most of my life, which they believe was intentional, and also they forget that I am no longer 10. (No, really, Mom, I eat veggies besides corn now.)
My food issues are more basic. When I am upset or extremely stressed out, I cannot eat. I also tend to forget to eat when I am engrossed in a project. But otherwise I love cooking, good food, and eating in general. It’s just food, though. Body fuel. Not love or security or a vice to be indulged or denied.
I am a vegetarian, though, and a bit of a food snob when it comes to things in boxes and cans. We all have our issues, I guess.
Still, I don’t know where my daughter’s current attitude is coming from. She told me last night I eat too much. I eat probably 1800-2100 calories a day – perfectly acceptable for a nursing mom, and certainly not off the rails for an adult human being in general. I have been working on eating healthier foods recently, as I’ve noticed junk food isn’t sitting so well as of late…though I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been into the Easter candy. And I have been feeling pretty good about myself since I got some new clothes and have been putting extra effort into my appearance. So I don’t believe I am the source for her disdain. Which begs the question: Why is my preschooler so concerned with what I eat and how much I weigh?
I remember being 4. I don’t think I even realized at the time that my father was overweight; at that age, I just accepted people for what they were. I certainly put no thought into what they did or did not eat. So I am truly baffled as to where this is all coming from.
My whole life, people have felt free to pass judgement on my body. Vocally. To my face. First I was too thin. (Though some people thought that looked good.) Now I’m too fat. (Though other people think that looks good.) For a brief window of time, I was just right. (For some people. Others felt I was too thin still.) The only constants have been that 1) At no time did everyone agree on how I looked, and 2) Everyone felt I was entitled to their opinion.
I’m fed up with the whole mess. My pant size is between me and my pants, and the rest of you aren’t invited in, okay?
But my daughter. I want to head this crap off at the pass. I don’t want this to turn into adolescent nitpicking. My teenage body issues were a direct result of what other people said to me about my body; until people started speaking up, I didn’t realize I was any different from anyone else (except for my lack of breasts, of course…hard to miss that). But she seems to have internalized this message about body image at a distressingly young age, and I am not. having. it.
Which is where Alton Brown comes in.
Somewhere along the way, Anya became obsessed with Alton Brown. Every night, between story time and sleep, we must watch episodes of Good Eats. It’s such an important part of our routine that, when I learned the current episode offering on Netflix was going away today, I bought four seasons on Amazon Instant Video.
She is fascinated by the show. And while I don’t know if she’d actually eat them, she has expressed interest in trying certain recipes of his, like avocado ice cream, that I know she wouldn’t eat on a bet otherwise. So we are going to make that, and more. As many as it takes. I think it’ll be good for all of us to branch out and try new things.
I’ll buy all 14 seasons if it will help shift her attitude towards food back to a healthier place.