A couple months back, I received the following sweet e-mail from a loving grandmother. It is, in a way, the inspiration for today’s post, so bear with me:
I love your healthy recipes and am hoping you can help me find a better alternative for my granddaughter’s first birthday cake. Of course at 1 year old almost, she is very into food she can eat herself with her fingers, so I don’t think pudding type desserts will work else I would love to serve one of your pumpkin desserts. Also Mama isn’t a big fan of chocolate for her yet.
Thanks for your help!
She ended up opting for my Pumpkin muffins (without the chocolate chips-I agree with Mama!) and subsequently sent me a picture of her beautiful granddaughter, wide-eyed with excitement about to blow out her big number 1 candle that was triumphantly planted on her little pumpkin muffin. Her Mama was holding her and about as excited as she was! She had dressed her big girl in a festive “My 1st Birthday” T-shirt.
I just received permission to post it (YAY!) so here she is!
I can’t tell you how touched I was by this grandmother who wanted to indulge her little one, as all doting loving grandmothers do, but also wanted to nourish her, and help her daughter or daughter in laws’ wish to do so. Not only was there no sabotaging, well-intentioned from loving relatives as it may be, but there was a united front. On that very first birthday, so symbolic of a fresh beginning when all is pristine and the brightest of future is possible, these two women, together were both determined to set their little one on a path of good health. In this case, it just meant for them to find a “treat” that their little one would love, that would also love her back in return.
Why am I telling you this on this propitious New Year’s Day?
Well, I think it captures the most crucial component to a lifelong commitment to eating well and being active:
In unity there is strength!
Committing to eating well is not about a fleeting new year’s resolution you take on your own to go on that fad diet du jour, that no one can sustain long-term anyway. These diets are usually restrictive and constrained and always leave the rest of the family behind. So it is just a matter of time when that bag of cheetos that you bought for your son or daughter calls your name and all your good intentions are undone!
If I were to impart what has worked for our family of 7, and beyond to our extended family, to eat well AND be physically active all these years, it is unity! Unity has been the crux of our success–our strength and unfettered resilience!
On today this first day of the year, make the resolution together as a family to eat well and be active! My husband has written extensively on the subject and has a multitude of skills you can simply learn toward this path to make this possible for you AND your family. These skills are not complicated but simply overlooked by most, and like all skills, you need to learn them. One example of such a skill is to know how to trade up for better nutrition for every box, can, bottle or jar on the supermarket shelf. You can do this slowly and progressively, one box of cereal, crackers, chips or cookies at a time, so your pantry becomes filled with better-for-you items in every category that the whole family loves.
As far as eating well, the gist is simple and I have written about it more elaborately before here:
“Calories in (eating), calories out (physical activity), in balance, and just eat good food–that’s all it takes! The rest will take care of itself. By good food, I mean not only nutritious but also delicious. These two attributes have to go hand in hand so that a person, a family, can sustain eating well without needing to obsess over it.
We know (and actually can all agree on) this very simple premise: The diet that will help us over a lifetime consists of vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and wholegrains – with or without seafood, lean meat, dairy or eggs. THAT’S IT! It is that simple. You can decide how to combine the dishes to fit your own preference, be it vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivorous (you won’t find red meat on Cuisinicity because we just don’t eat it in the Katz family–a topic for another day, but grass-fed organic meat is also OK in moderation).
Let your emphasis be wholesome foods. They can control satiety–lots of fiber, volume, non-competing flavors stimulating the appetite center in the brain (I elaborate here) so that the end point is feeling full on fewer calories, without having to worry about counting calories per se.
In other words, allow yourself the unencumbered pleasure of good food that you love and….it will love you back!
If your kids are finicky, and you think you won’t be able to bring them along, here is an empowering blog I wrote that I think will help you as well.
I am featuring several recipes for great easy and nutritious snacks and simple dishes on my homepage that I invite you to use and share. I think you–and your family of course– are going to love them!
This time around, don’t do it alone! Make your resolution together, as a family, or as a unit with your significant other. Commit to loving food that loves you back and there will be no need for another such resolution next year. It will just be a way of living and I will be right here, to help you along your heathy path!
Have a happy healthy new year, from my family to yours!
I am very happy that somehow I was led to your site. My husband and I have health issues ,as most of us in early 70’s. I am determined to loose 20 lbs to help pain of arthritis. He, needs to tweet his diet also. We have heart, diabetes concerns. I am anxious to refer to your research and appreciate any help we can get.
Catherine Katz says
Welcome to Cuisinicity Addie! So happy to have you at the table!
Krystyna Andreoni says
Thank you for the ongoing inspirations in the kitchen …. Hope your family all have a wonderful 2015 … filled with Health, Happiness & Success in all aspects of what you do. Best Wishes from Down Under where we have seasons turned upside down > Hot Christmases … still can’t get used to them after all these years! ;-/ …. Krystyna
Catherine Katz says
Truly my pleasure Krystyna and happy new year to you and your loved ones!
Nila Whitfield says
Thanks for your stories and words of encouragement to start the New Year.
As I and other cancer survivors work to keep the sugar out of our diets, your recipes are terrific. Love your blog, recipes but most of all the heart that you and Dr David Katz share with us. You care. I am a big fan of your Nutrition Detectives DVD. We need to continue to change the tastes and habits of the next generation. Medical care is only going to get more expensive- we need to be the conduits for change. No one will wave a magic wand for us. Thanks and Happy New Year to you and yours. Nila W
Catherine Katz says
Thank you so much Nila for your beautiful words! They touched me and David so (I just read them to my husband as well)! It makes it all worth while! We wish you and your loved ones a happy healthy new year-love, Catherine
Laura Sutherland says
Thank you for all the wonderful advice and recipes! Happy New Year to the beautiful-in-many-ways Katz family.
Catherine Katz says
Happy new year Laura and warm wishes to you and all your loved ones!