If you were to raise your child and never take them to a grocery store, never have them be exposed to commercials on television, and never know that this wasn’t normal — what would happen?
Here’s one account–
“So, for the past five years, all the food we eat at home has come from our local food coop or a local community-supported farm in which we are shareholders. The result for our two kids — Faith is now six and her brother Elijah almost four — is that they have never been advertised to. The images, jingles, and pitches of the food industry have, by and large, never reached them. Their food preferences have, consequently, been entirely shaped by their direct experience with the food itself and the farmers who grow it. No cartoon characters stare at them from boxes of presweetened cereals displayed at pediatric eye level in supermarket aisles. No candy bars wait in the checkout lane, ready to spark a parent-child battle of wills. No television commercials seduce them with pictures of crispy chips and bubbly colas.
I realize that my children are only a sample size of two. But because their commercially unmediated relationship to food is so unfortunately rare, it seems worthwhile to report on what they like to eat. Both my kids ask for sweet potatoes, baked with maple syrup drizzled on top, as bedtime snacks. Neither of them cares for soft drinks (“Too spicy,” says my son). Both like almost any kind of vegetable, and are particularly fond of kale (with sesame seeds and tamari sauce), broccoli, and peas. Elijah has a special enthusiasm for avocados and cole slaw. Both are willing to try new foods, but Faith has the more adventurous palate. Elijah prefers to stick to the tried and true; he is big on eggs, beans, toast with olive oil, and any kind of soup.”
What’s going to happen to these kids when they get to school and the other kids call them “weird”? I would imagine this would depend on the strength of their self-worth and confidence…though seemingly for almost everyone this degrades when you reach puberty. However, what this woman has done may shape the health of her children for their entire lives. By no means is this realistic for everyone, and an approach like this could border or become counterproductive repression, but you have to admit–it sounds like a nutritional ideal!
What happened when her daughter got to school?
“Already, Faith has noticed that many of her school friends, as well as characters in books, have disparaging things to say about spinach.
‘I guess children don’t like spinach,’ she observed. And then she added, ‘but I am a child who does!’”