Since tomorrow will be Mother’s Day, I thought it’d be inspirational to interview a special mother, Dr. Fuhrman’s wife, Lisa, to help celebrate the special occasion. The Fuhrmans have been raising their four children to genuinely enjoy eating high-nutrient foods in the midst of a culture that’s heavily addicted to the standard American diet. Lisa has valuable insight and experience that will benefit all mothers who desire the same for their children.
Were you always into healthy eating, even before meeting Dr. Fuhrman?
I thought I was eating healthy before I met Joel. In fact, I remember him asking me if I thought I ate healthfully and my answer was, “Sure.” I had my usual Life cereal for breakfast; salad and tuna or egg salad on a bagel for lunch (with coffee); and chicken, baked potato, and a vegetable (from the can) for dinner. Sometimes I ate a salad with dinner as well. Of course, I ate ice cream and pizza whenever in the mood, but I wasn’t into overeating as I was very conscious of my weight. So I can say that I was a “better-than-average” SAD eater, but surely not a healthy one. When I met Joel, he convinced me to eat a high-nutrient, plant-based diet, and my parents did not like it. They thought he was going to kill me as they thought no one could survive without eating animal products in their diet. Now I can happily say that my parents are his patients and advocates of his nutritarian life!
How did you manage social eating situations like birthday parties, sleepovers, summer camps, etc., when your children were younger?
My motto has been to never make food a war zone so I let my children eat whatever they wanted at birthday parties or sleepovers. For summer camp, I always packed a lunch for them to eat, and then if ice cream was offered, it was in their control to decide if they wanted it or not. The amazing thing is they rarely even wanted unhealthy foods and liked our foods best. In looking back, I would do this all over again as my kids are nutritarians to the core. The older girls rebelled a little in their early teens, but their rebellion was to eat an occasional ice cream or have pizza once in a while. They never complained about what we ate at home. I can honestly say that they love the nutritarian eating-style, and they are very proud of their dad and how we’ve brought them up.
Our children are now 23, 20, 17, and nine, and they are all nutritarians; plus, they’ve all influenced their friends in a very positive way also. For example, when our middle daughter was in middle school she would go out with her friends to eat pizza. She’d order “salad pizza” (lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, onions), and she got her friends to love it. Their friends also love to come over and eat our food.
Our children know we don’t judge them based on the foods they eat. They know why they should eat healthy and they do it for the right reasons; not to please us, but to live long, healthy lives. In social situations, they eat whatever they want; and I don’t ask. I know they are eating well at home and I respect their decisions.
From your experience, what’s the number one success tip that you’ve discovered in raising children to enjoy nutritarian foods in the midst of a culture that’s eating just the opposite?
I’ve had it easy. They were given only nutritarian food since they were born; it’s what they are used to and view SAD foods out there as not food. They’ve never eaten at a fast food restaurant, like McDonald’s or Burger King, and they think candy is disgusting. Our youngest son, Sean, did not taste ice cream until he was eight-years-old. He had plenty of opportunities in school and at parties, but he had no interest. I believe parents should control what their children eat in the house, educate them as much as seems reasonable, and then give them the ability to make their own choices when they are away from home.
Thank you Lisa for helping us navigate the way in teaching our children to eat for health. What a treasured gift to give to them!
Happy Mother's Day to all!
floral image credit: flickr by malikyounas