Jeff Bogle wants his daughters to eat a healthy and varied diet. But that means he has to eat his vegetables, too.
Family wellness—the general health of my clan—is a topic that weighs heavily on my mind. This is mostly because I weigh too much. From the time my wife and I decided to have children over 8 years ago to right this very moment, I’ve made huge strides in my overall well-being with some hard pavement still to pound. I work out at the gym 2-3 times per week, and I have become very conscious of what foods enter my body; striving for as many whole, fresh, local, and organic ingredients as possible while attempting to stay financially solvent in the process. But the biggest change was the one I made to directly benefit my two daughters: beginning to let vegetables and fruits pass through my lips.
I grew up eating almost nothing green and barely any fruit. Bananas occasionally, but that was it. I decided that as a father I could not ask my child to try something if I myself would refuse it. And like any thoughtful parent, I wanted those in my care to develop a taste for all kinds of flavors and textures—foods more complex than chicken fingers. Thus began a journey through grapes, strawberries (I seriously had never eaten one as a child), pluots, asparagus, broccoli, and most recently, great northern white beans. The result is a healthier me and a pair of little ladies who enjoy (or at least will taste) most every kind of food, are curious as to the origins of what it is we devour, and, most importantly, appreciate the need to have a diverse and healthy palette.
Thanks to family mealtimes and honest conversation, the girls know of my previous abusive relationship with food, and they see and hear about the variety of challenges it has caused me as a grown-up. They see that I have to take a multivitamin, one that is difficult for me to swallow, because of the deficiencies my old eating habits have caused. They see that I literally break my back at the gym to reverse the damage I’ve done to myself. They see that I’m committed to my own health and to theirs. They see that their wellness is not something to ignore or to put off.
I feel good about all of this. And I feel good. But I still won’t eat a kiwi.
—Photo Jon Aslund/Flickr