I swear I didn’t put her up to this. Yesterday, my five-year-old was given this homework assignment:
Please decorate the attached tree in a way that best illustrates your family. Complete and attach the sentence to go along with the way your tree is decorated. For example, “My family tree is a banana tree because my family is like silly monkeys.” You can make any kind of tree you believe best describes your family.
So what did my daughter come up with? Silly monkeys? A tree full of nuts from California? Nope. This is the type of tree she decided best represents her family, without any suggestions from Mommy or Daddy:
Great. If her teacher took any standard-issue nutrition courses in college, she’ll probably see this and make a note: “Tree full of nuts from California. Watch carefully for signs of learning disabilities.”
I should mention at this point that my wife and I are careful not to be food Nazis. If our daughters ask for a potato or toast or cereal, they get it. They just don’t ask very often. If they’re offered a sugary treat, as happened today when a classmate of my five-year-old’s brought cookies in honor of his birthday, they can have it. But they often say no thanks, which is what my daughter did today. Here’s why:
Yup. My daughter knows a “cooky” or an “iscrem” cone is nothing but a big load of sugar. And in her scientific opinion, a load of sugar is classified as “Yuk!!!” Since she wasn’t raised eating sugary snacks, she just doesn’t crave them.
Here’s what she does like:
Eggs and “sbinich” are “Yum!!!” Before we had kids, I always heard how difficult it is to get them to eat their vegetables. My girls like their vegetables – but that’s probably because we serve them drizzled with melted butter. (I seriously doubt anyone would pay $30 for a lobster tail if not for the melted butter, as far as that goes.)
Shortly after we moved to Tennessee, a neighbor stopped by to welcome us. The welcome included a tub of homemade broccoli-cheese soup. Almost apologetically, she told us her kids won’t eat broccoli without the cheese. I suppose she was worried we’d think to ourselves, “Tsk-tsk! Giving your kids all that fatty cheese … shame on you.”
Not hardly. The meals my girls ate today are typical for their diets. Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, a peach. Lunch: cheese sticks, apple slices. Dinner: Beef stew made from a pot roast, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and olive oil. (They loved it. They had seconds.) Snack: a dish of almonds.
According to the high priests of The Holy Church of Accepted Advice For Living A Long and Healthy Life, my girls are badly nourished. They rarely eat whole grains, half grains, fractional grains, or any other grains that make up the base of the Food Pyramid. They eat a lot of meat, eggs, and saturated fat. In other words, they eat a lot like most human children did for nearly all of human history.
If they’re malnourished, I have yet to see any evidence of it. They’re lean and strong and energetic. (If they were any more energetic, my sanity would be at risk.) They both swim whenever they get the chance. They chase each other around the house. They dress up in costumes and put on shows – which are usually pretty good for the first two hours or so. The five-year-old loves to dance and takes dance classes.
She also likes to read, she makes up her own scientific “experiments,” and she was the only student in her class last year to get a perfect score on their first addition and subtraction test. I think we can safely assume her brain isn’t suffering from stage-four Cheerios deprivation.
If I sound proud, it’s only because I am. The girls are thriving on the Protein Tree. I wish I’d been raised there myself. Life on the Corn Tree wasn’t nearly as healthy.