We talked about this a little bit already with stephanie, but I actually did do it quite a bit. I had the same question that she got from readers, which is how do I get my kids to eat vegetables? And I did a little bit of research as well, and I interviewed parents and I looked at the studies in the data on all this stuff, and a few things popped out as being fairly reliable toe work. One big one is the number one prediction of children, child eating habits are the eating habits of their parents, and, you know, I asked my own dad, you know, when I was interviewing him about my lack of picky eating and he was like his answer was echoed by parents I talked to from all over the world, which is that you ate what we ate because we didn't expect you to do anything different. There wasn't a kid's plate, there wasn't a kidsmenu I were eight off the adult menu, we ate whatever the eight, sometimes we grumble about wanting more mashed potatoes verses less asparagus, of course, because we were ki...
ds, but it was an option to have mac and cheese when everybody else was eating steak and vegetables, it just wasn't an option, and when you do offer special meals, you're sending the message that rejecting food is ok. That is acceptable behavior, and then you're rewarding them for it. So that's not a good strategy if you can avoid it again. Set a good example, try to be a good role model in your own try to be adventurous on your own and oh yeah, and and don't don't make assumptions about your kids preferences. I think my parents made this mistake sometimes they would tell me that onions and mustard were spicy. They were hot like like, how can I? When I thought of hot, I spent a lot of time in mexico needing mexican food, and so I was thinking, like jalapenos, and for the longest time, I thought onions were spicy and they're just they're not spicy. I don't know why they told me that, but it was just thiss negative framing that my parents gave me for no reason whatsoever, I got over it eventually, but you could it's easy toe accidentally assume that the kids are going to want a more bland meal, but you don't have to do that and, of course, the one bite rule, you know, like like we talked about, a lot of parents have had success, and some scientific studies have shown that if you khun get the child to agree to just take one really full bite every time has offered that and not have a fight about it, just the one bite that they're way more likely after ten to twelve tries to actually accept the food, and you can sometimes encourage them to do this with stickers. They're like something fun like that. You don't give a food reward like a desert reward, but kids love stickers make it fun, kids love games and, you know, I've heard I've heard parents have success by saying you're a dinosaur and the broccoli is their little, many trees and go, you have to eat them to get big, and that suddenly makes it a lot more fun for a child and works that they're at least more willing to try if you make it a little bit of a game, parents also swear by letting them help in the kitchen, you know, take the kids with you to the farmer's market, take them through the grocery store, let them pick out one vegetable that'll be their special vegetable, you know, let them mix have been a vinaigrette. Let them pop the beans, let them shuck the corn, and suddenly they're invested in the dinner. Suddenly they're excited about the dinner, and and then they're going to be much more open and trying new things. Another big one is back to the language speaking their terms right uh kids don't care if something is good for them like we don't care if I don't think I cared if something was healthy for me until I was like thirty like I just cared I wanted you know, as a kid I just wanted it to be good or or make me going to be taller really bad I wanted to be faster on the playground and when I was a little older I just wanted to be a thin I didn't really care if I was healthy or not because I was an idiot on kids kids have these very short term goals and very short vision and so talk in their terms say broccoli will help make you taller don't say it because I told you so or because it's good for you that doesn't thatjust you're losing him. This is an interesting fact I discovered children actually perform more colorful plates in adults I actually prefer more variety, but one thing that they actually prefer as well is they prefer to have food more separated on their plates, which is really interesting so adults prefer clump in the middle children preferred separate and if you could figure out a way to make it into a smiley face or something even better kids love that ate it up and lastly never make the dinner table a battleground you know, one by rule is great, but if you're forcing them to clean the plate of something they absolutely hate they're goingto associate dinner with a fight and that can actually induce more picky eating tendencies, so don't fight just make it fun. All right? Now, the next thing I want to tell it talk about to sort of round out the day and the course is the importance of values now we talked about values in day one and and discovering our own personal values for wanting to do things you know, fine, and also yesterday with finding our higher goals, but I wanted tio get a little bit deeper about how important values and your core values specifically really are in motivating you to actually make the changes that you think you should make you know, I think this is basically moving from should to the must category, and one of my favorite examples of this is thinking about why vegetarians don't cheat on their diets, right or why uh, during ramadan, uh, people can go for two weeks without eating and like, you know, you're sitting there in the office and you can't avoid the second doughnut, right? And you're like, where does that strength come from? And it comes from a belief it comes from an emotional value that the deep in your core that is like this is something that I pulled as part of my identity and when something is part of your identity you don't question it you don't question you don't cheat on yourself right? So finding ways tohave core values associated with your food is incredibly powerful and one of the reasons we don't do this very much is because we've been drastically removed from our food chain when you think about it industrial food where does it come from it's hard to say when you start learning it becomes kind of horrifying and that suddenly makes it a lot easier to make better food decisions because you like this I'm not just making the decision to eat from a farmer's market to be healthy or to be skinny they're sort of vague distant goals that don't really motivate anybody to do anything now but when you think that yours helping save the planet by not contributing to global warming or when you think I'm not contributing to the suffering of animals if I buy I'm still going to eat me but I bought by from a farmer that I care about and that I trust then it's so much easier to make those decisions so much easier so and basically what that does is it clarifies your answer so whenever you're tempted like you know bacon is really good I mean I think bacon is good but I don't eat bacon at a place where I'm not sure where the source of the meat because I have other things that I think about and I I I think about the quality of the meat I think about the quality of the animal's life and I think about voting with my fork and so for me it takes my desires out of the equation and says this is my value system I now know exactly what to do in this situation even the bacon smells pretty good no matter what army came from and band and one of another reason this is really really important is that when you make when you make decisions that are consistent with your values over and over again nothing on earth makes you feel better like nothing and on the flip side nothing feels worse than not doing that when you know you have values and you're not being you know being consistent with them when you know and this works in so many parts of life you know with things you care about with faith with your family you know, if you feel like you're letting down any of those things it's really it's a really horrible feeling you know, you start to feel guilt and shame but when you're acting consistently with your values you feel great you know? You feel happy you feel at peace you sleep well at night so I highly highly highly recommend everybody do an exercise where you sit down and you write your core values about who you are and what you care about so here's just some examples for us for some core values that I've I've asked I asked people about this stuff all the time I'm I'm weird and I love this stuff s o things I hear fairly often from people is people want to be a role model for their kids and we talked about this a little bit before that's an incredibly powerful thing remember what we did you why do you want to be a role model for your kids so that the exercise that we did yesterday site we do we want to be a role model for your kids so that you can do the best you can to give them every opportunity to in life and that responsibility is on you right and you don't want to be that person who let them down that's a huge emotional reason it's hard to fight with that reason people do anything for their kids right? So if you can tap into that you know you are you're on the path to making decisions so much easier for yourself uh the can't anybody hear passionate about the environment me too it's like going to shit it's really scary right it's really really scary I'm terrified I walk more because I believe that I shop at the farmer's market because I believe that you know I pay extra money on my electric bill so that it offsets things and I do whatever I can and those decisions are easy for to meet for me to make because I believe that, you know, as part of my identity is I'm a type of person who cares about this, and so I'm gonna act in consistent, consistent with those values religion another one faith is a very, very strong motivator. And like we said earlier, if you believe that you're you're a vessel and that you should be treating your body well, because it's the body god gave you that's a really powerful motivation to do the right thing and to eat make good food choices not because it's not just about you, you know, it's about a value system you have, and I can go into these more animal welfare, human rights. I mean, a lot of have you read there's, a amazing book called tomato land, about basically slave labor that is in the tomato farms in florida. It's gotten better since that book was written, but it's a heartbreaking how some people like industrial tomatoes were grown, you know, so I don't eat them. Economics is as another one there's all sorts, like the the farm bill and all that stuff and corporate welfare eso how do you get core values around food? Like I said, it could easily be we're so far removed from our food chain that it's sometimes hard to see how our core values connect to our food choices, but one thing you could do is educate yourself spend a little bit of time learning about food issues and the bare minimum I love the movie food inc uh it's a great primer if you're not a big reader another recent movie came out called fed up I haven't seen it yet but it's supposed to be very similar and very good she was the person who made it was from the inconvenient truth and katie correct yeah, but laurie something on that did the woman who did the inconvenient truth is also associated with it. The omnivore's dilemma is a fantastic book I highly recommend and you could just do a little more digging and asking where your food comes from you know, ask your farmer, ask your butcher ask restaurants they hate it but, you know, ask you know it's easy to make assumptions and not pay attention and sort of stick your head in the sand and pretend nothing's happening. But the more you educate yourself the harder that is to dio and the easier it gets to make better decisions and meet people I'm just going to spend a little short amount time on this um people like me often get yelled at by people who don't understand uh and we get accused of being elitist, you know, there is this very well, you're a west coast san francisco hippie who, you know, spends too much money on food and that's not realistic for normal people, and I don't think that's fair, I don't think that it's elitist to care about food. I think the food is one of the most important things in the world. We need it, it's killing us, right? And so carrying it doesn't make you a jerk not carrying arguably makes you a jerk on dh. The best point I've ever heard was made by wendell berry, who was the guy that wrote fast food nation, but the truth is that industrial food is making people very sick, and, you know, it may be considered elitist in this country to focus on real food and to care about farmers and to care about health, but in other countries and other places that's considered normal, actually, and the reason it's so difficult to attain here, for example, really expensive organic pastored, meet, uh, is more expensive here, not because it's an elitist food, but because we have government regulation set up that make it artificially more expensive, you know, the industrial me get subsidies from the government for cheap corn feed, cheap soy feed to make emphatic faster and so it's sort of an r artifact of the system we have and if you go to europe it's not so weird to have real food and I think that's a really important point to remember is that like just because somebody else doesn't tells you it's elitist doesn't mean you have to do that doesn't make it true it just doesn't make it true and I love this uh sorry I said wendell berry mn eric schlosser the fascination guy and this is a quote that he from something that he wrote in the washington post and he was talking referring to the foodie elitist thing and he was like of course fancy foods and he was like basically his point is that rich people are always going to be well and that may be irritating but it doesn't generally doesn't it sicken or kill people and our current industrial food system does and nobody can stand nobody needs a reform food system more than those people you know, if we if the people who can take the time and the energy to pay attention to these things don't then nothing is going to change so you know, we might be called names every now and then but I I think the very species argument and I think that I mean even just for your own health it's worth it but don't let anybody tell you you're a jerk for carrying it's just it's just not fair and it's not true and more people should care and last I just wanted to give you the punchline on the story with my dad um again he was really, really sick and hey had actually been in the hospital several times once he got pneumonia for two weeks uh and once he had us, it almost killed him once he had a staph infection that was so bad he had to have half the muscle in his leg removed in an operation it was systemic again I thought it was him he was going to kill him and he was only in his fifties, by the way and he also had a stroke before the age of sixty and I knew this was all associated with his diet, but my dad is a very good dad and hey loves me so he always read my work what? You know, I'm talking about this stuff constantly, but he I didn't ever expect him to change and because he was so close to me and because I cared so much about his emotional state, I don't want to fight with him, you know? And I got the impression that he didn't want to live he actually told me several times that he had considered suicide and when you know and I I was just I was ready to accept that but what I would do instead of arguing with him because obviously that was really hard for me to hear is whenever I would come visit I would just bring something from the farmers market you know and my dad he liked food it wasn't that he didn't like food and so I would bring something that I knew we would like and we would share it together and he would get so excited and one day I convinced him to try a food that he had hated in the passive he always hated beets because his mom only made canned beets whatyou're I think everybody agrees are pretty gross and but I told him I discovered be it's guy didn't grow a beating him and I discovered that when you roast them they're very sweet and delicious and I was like I'm gonna make these for you and he was like no no no I'm not going to eat those beads that's gross but I made them one day as a part of thanksgiving dinner and I set them out a little early so he as an appetizer so he couldn't kind of resist eating them because he was hungry and he tried my recipe and he was just like his mind was blown he was like oh my gosh I had no idea he's like fifty seven or something is like I had no idea beats could taste like this this is unbelievable and so he started listening and he started making little changes and then one day after that he randomly was watching something on my block and I made a video about salt I make a lot of videos I make a lot of blood posts for some reason this one resonated with him and overnight he made he he realized that that the process food was bad and overnight he switches entire diet to just vegetables and fish fruit and he called me two weeks after trying this and was like I stopped eating the processed food and I was like what he was like yeah I know you said to eat vegetables so I started eating vegetables like what years again and make some turkey in there sometimes and sometimes I get this fish from the store it's really delicious he's like you know I had to poke to new holes in my belt it was like what and I like it was just like it was so hard for this to sink in but what had happened was he completely stop hitting process food started eating vegetables realized he loved it and has never gone back and he lost forty pounds he used to use a cane to get around now he almost never uses it um he hasn't been in the hospital he hasn't had any more structures he has been able to totally reduce his medications that he was on and he is no longer depressed he has a girlfriend for the first time in, like twenty five years. And this is the most amazing turnaround I've ever seen. And I was the last thing on earth I would have expected. And obviously, like there's. No words for how awesome it is for me. But I just wanted to give. That is as a powerful story for you guys to know that even stubborn, depressed, grumpy old men, like my dad is a stubborn is dude ever, um, are capable of listening if you approached in the right way.