I love this article by Gina Kolata in the New York Times. The media are quick to publish the latest health research findings, and to reduce those studies to blanket statements that send people running off after the latest solution to health woes. Let's face it; everyone's looking for a quick fix. The problem is that research is complicated, and it's pretty tricky drawing a straight line between individual foods, nutrients or behaviours to specific health outcomes. Things are never as simple as we'd like them to be. The good news? Relax. What the research does consistently show is that the best approach is to step back and take a "big picture," long term approach to the way you eat and the way you live your life. Don't obsess over individual foods or nutrients. Eat mostly good stuff; lots of rainbows for sure. Keep the crap to a minimum. Get moving regularly, doing something that makes you happy. That's what works.
Isn’t that enough? Think about it. You’re standing in the kitchen, hankering for a meal or snack. Why do you choose to eat what you do?
Because it’s good.
Because you like it.
Because it appeals to you.
Because it’s easy and it’s available.
Let’s face it. We eat what we like, and we like what we know. Most of us tend to eat the same foods pretty regularly. The ones we’re comfortable with, and the ones that we enjoy because they’re delicious, easy and familiar.
So why are we spending all this energy trying to convince kids to eat certain foods because they’re healthy? We sing and dance, and tell kids that veggies are full of vitamins and minerals (what are those anyways??) We tell them they’ll grow up big and strong if they eat this or that (does a 5 year old really care?) We tell them that they can have a cookie if they finish their greens. It’s no wonder kids turn up their noses at that plate full of broccoli - most of them can smell a sales pitch a mile away. You know how it feels when you’re being “pitched” - your guard goes up and you’re naturally skeptical about the product. Flat-out pitching often backfires, and it’s no different for your kids.
Cook up and serve that broccoli (try this recipe for an irresistible twist.) Put it on the table with dinner, and don’t say a word. Just eat it and enjoy it.
Because it’s good.
See what happens.
Thank you Julie.
Your two simple words brought me to a screeching halt. I looked down at what you wrote on my feedback form, and a soul-warming smile spread through me. I asked you to share what you thought was the best part of the Rainbow Plate workshop I’d just conducted at your school, and you simply wrote, “The Joy!”
Thank you for telling me that my message is coming through loud and clear.
Thank you for validating what matters most in the work that I do and the way that I do it.
Thank you for bringing me back to why I started this journey in the first place: to inspire a joyful connection between people and food, and to commit myself to work that I am truly proud of.
Thank you for helping me see that following my heart and my passion is making a difference to others.
Thank you for inspiring me to keep at it, because it matters.
Would you say I’m a little late to the party? It’s January 3rd and I haven’t shared a New Year’s post or pronouncement of any sort. For the past few days my inbox and newsfeed have been flooded with sparkly, shiny features from all the “experts” out there. I’ve sat here, curled up in my sweatpants, reading about all the resolutions, goals and changes that everyone else is suggesting or making for the New Year. There are lists galore of the foods I need to eat or avoid in 2016. The recipes I need to cook. The changes I need to make to be healthier—and the 15 things I need to do to get my house and my life organized. Honestly, just reading it all has made me tired.
We’re all in such high gear these days, aren’t we? Fitting endless tasks into our jam-packed schedules and busy lives. Even if it’s all “good” stuff, there’s only so much we can do well. There's only so much we can really be present for in a meaningful way.
I made myself a promise for the holiday break, and I’m challenging you to do the same. Just. Slow. Down.
For the past week I’ve taken the time to savour slower days. I’m on a lighter schedule, and I’ve really felt the difference. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the people I love; lingering over lazy mornings, casual family meals and lots of memorable moments. I’ve taken the time to really drink in the feelings, the fragrances and the flavours all around me. What does all this reflection have to do with eating well you say? I’ve noticed that all food seems to taste better when I’m relaxed.
I had a huge “to do” list for the break. I'm coming to terms with the fact that many of those items likely won’t get done. It’s ok. I’m happy with what I have accomplished. I’m feeling so much better for having taken the time to shift into lower gear.
I’m determined to hang on to this relaxed pace for the second week of the break. I want to luxuriate in this feeling for the New Year. It's approaching with all its bright and shiny frenzy.
Will I do it? I promise I’ll let you know.
It occurred to me that it was time to answer this simple but important question. Perhaps you’ve just joined us for the first time, or maybe you’ve been following Rainbow Plate since the beginning. Either way, I thought I’d take a minute to talk about the concept that’s behind our name and everything we do.
Do you work in the community, public health or health promotion setting? Does your role involve program planning and or implementation?
The Rainbow Food Education Foundation is exploring how we can work directly with Health Practitioners and Educators to train them to deliver the Rainbow Plate approach in their own settings, wherever that may be. We are on mission to connect with Registered Dietitians, Public Health Nurses and Educators in the field who could help us gain more insight into how we can share our approach with this audience. Your expertise and insight into the realities and challenges of program planning, development and facilitation in the community setting will be used to help Rainbow Plate programing grow across the province. Wouldn't it be great if you were a part of that story?