Add this book to my “reading list”:
See Original Post from 7/24/16 after the UPDATE, below.
So, I have continued reading “French Kids Eat Everything” and have to admit that I have begun skipping whole paragraphs and pages. Not because the writing is poor, or the story un-compelling, but because I already know *enter French Parenting Requirement here*.
A recurring argument my husband and I had prior to his ‘surprise surgery’ in 2006 and even up until the girls were officially diagnosed, was the Milkshake Argument.
Every time he had the girls for a Daddy/Daughters fun time, it always culminated with one of those nasty, reconstituted, machine made, preservative laden, fast food milkshakes. It wasn’t until after the surgery that I finally developed THE argument that would lead to a cease and desist on the Milkshake Treats. It went like this, I told him “what if something HAPPENED to you? What do you want the girls to emotionally identify with when they think of you? You are creating an environment for an EATING DISORDER!”
It should’ve, but didn’t help that he shouldn’t have been drinking them either.
And it took their official diagnosis to stop it completely. All I was able to do up until then was limit it to once a week. (Yes, they snuck and got them anyway, and I knew it… but at least it wasn’t 3 times a week.)
So, in summary, I have to admit, though I HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING THIS BOOK TO ANYONE RAISED ON THE ‘AMERICAN DIET’, I can’t seem to enjoy it.
My feelings range from wanting to give up and move to France to creating my own separate society like the Amish. Because the community we need does not exist here… and we will have to either make it ourselves, or move.
I am only on Chapter 3, but already I am seeing some parallels in my family’s food experience and Mrs. Le Billon’s. But there are still some differences…
The French Paradox is peppered throughout virtually every single cholesterol management book I have read… and I kinda figured that it had something to do with their attitude about food. This book is confirming it…
Where the “French Kids…” book continually fails in comparison to our story though, is that I was raised in a similar ‘French-like’ environment. I was expected to ‘clean my plate’ and ‘eat my vegetables’, so much so that by the time I was 8 years old, I had a pretty healthy regard of food choices. I mean, I had likes and dislikes, but I never snubbed new food, and always ate my vegetables.
Is the general ‘attitude’ and availability of cuisine in France different. Yes. Very much. Americans suffer from a self-limiting diet and food production system. It’s a cycle of sugar, fat, carbohydrate that is meant to only get us out the door and to the next thing… Even big chain restaurants fail us in this regard with their sodium-laden, pre-processed and bagged concoctions that are thrown in a skillet and called ‘fresh’…
But it wasn’t always so… something changed.
Back in 1989, even our pizzas were healthier. I know this because that was one of my first jobs. At our local pizza chain store, a lady came in every morning at 7am to prep fresh vegetables and dough for the day. Now… they come in at 10 am, throw frozen, premade dough in the proofer, open soggy bags of vegetables, dump them in the bins and open at the same lunchtime hour, 11 am. Passing the savings on down to you!
It is no wonder that when we DO get together and share food, we are at a loss as to what to provide.
“Enter the festivities. A tower of cupcakes. A few large plates of cookies of various levels of size and sweetness. Two punchbowls filled with fizzing, bubbly, molten, melting sugar. Little squares of crust-less white bread topped with ham, turkey, or beef and sliced cheese. Chips of all kinds. 2-liter bottles of soda. And just in case you did not have enough sugar or carbs, a medium size bowl of sugared mints.
It was mind-blowing that the people were so calm, milling around, smiling and chatting. They were casually wiping away the oozing or crusted sugar from the sides of their mouths with napkins. In my mind it was more like a feasting scene in a zombie movie. Except this time the zombies were devouring their own innards. Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts, I said over and over to myself.”
The French Kids Eat Everything book adds a necessary voice to the conversation I have been so desperately wanting to foster in my community and beyond…
But what about the Food Bully that I introduced you too in the first blog and discussed in agonizing detail in Part III The Methods, Chapter 7 – The Tyranny of the Majority? Why do they exist? From what particular venue of reasoning does their superiority complex regarding food consumption derive? Since when is it okay to publicly shame healthy eating, let alone any food? You certainly don’t hear the reverse said to an obese person: “Angela, I can’t believe you’re gonna eat that cheeseburger! Pah! No wonder you’re fat!”
No, instead you hear things like, “You are so skinny! Why do you bother eating all those salads? You could so binge on a cheeseburger with me right now!”
I have a sense that this is as much a culture issue as it is a socio-economic issue too. Poverty in the current culture doesn’t mean eating ‘healthier’ like 30 years ago… it means lack of education, less social support (i.e. absent parents due to the ‘working culture’) and everything else that goes along with being bottom of the social stratum in a capitalistic and very materialistic society.
If you come from half a culture that eats healthy, like the French, at least that is a support network of sorts… there’s the expectation of moderation and common sense. But in America, common sense is not what greases the wheels of consumerism.
Politico wonderings aside, what can you possibly do if you are pretty much the ONLY one requiring your kids to eat their vegetables and say no to giant cupcakes and sugar laden drinks?
Well, just as the French would wonder judgmentally “what kind of parent you are” if your kids don’t eat their vegetables…
American parents wonder judgmentally “what kind of parent you are” if you do make your kids eat their vegetables…
Per the book:
Rule 1, “Parents you are responsible for your kid’s food education (eating habits).”
I like this book.