Our son Sean was raised completely Nutritarian. I was the strictest with him as I knew a lot more about nutrition than I did with my three older children. Since I was home with the children, I had control over what foods were available to them. The following incident shows just how strict I was with Sean.
When he was three years old, we went to a fun outing at my daughter’s elementary school. We were in the cafeteria and I was talking to my girlfriend when my son, who was the same height as the table, took a huge chocolate chip cookie from it. I stopped in my tracks and said to my friend, “Sean has never had a cookie in his life.” She wasn’t surprised as she knew how we ate. Sean then took a whopping bite out of the cookie and as soon as it went in, he spit it out and said, “Yuk!” and handed it over to me.
You see, Sean had never tasted any processed food or any highly sweetened food. The chocolate chip cookie was way too sweet for him.
Now let’s fast-forward eleven years. Sean has become a philosophic and somewhat practicing Nutritarian. Interesting things occur in the life of a public school educated Nutritarian child. By the way, I fully believe in sending my child to public school. We have a fantastic school system; one of the reasons why we moved into the town that we did. One of the best things about our school system is that it doesn’t allow any food in which the first ingredient is sugar to be brought in for parties.
However, it is also the place that Sean first learned about pizza and cheese. Sean fell in love with both and has even given himself the nickname Pizza Master; hence my calling him a quasi Nutritarian. If Sean had his way, he’d be eating pizza and cheese whenever he could.
This year Sean is in eighth grade and has cooking class. It is there that he has tasted conventional food entrees and has thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. His cooking class made him a chef, as he thoroughly enjoys cooking. One day he said to me that he wants to make one of the dishes in our home. It was at that point that I had an eye-opening discussion with him. I told him, “Yes, conventional food can taste delicious. Unfortunately, it also causes a slew of diseases, like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It is our mission to make nearly identical meals that are healthy by adding/removing certain ingredients.”
You would think he would know this by now, but I don’t think it really ever sank in. It finally did, when he was exposed to all of the unhealthy dishes/desserts that were made in his cooking class. He finally really understood it and now enjoys making unhealthy dishes healthier.
So, how easy/hard is it to raise a Nutritarian child? It isn’t very hard. You just have to let them experience life, with all its realities. In our home, of course, we have only Nutritarian foods. However, children are going to be exposed to pizza and cheese one day as well as ice cream (which we all love, not only Sean) and it is those times that are opportunities to teach our children. Instead of ice cream, we make frozen banana treats. Instead of regular pizza, we use healthier ingredients, whole-wheat dough and vegan cheese and our homemade tomato sauce. We don’t have it often, but we do indulge. Mostly for Sean.
By the way, to this day, Sean doesn’t like chocolate. It’s funny what happens when you raise a child Nutritarian.