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selective eating and my 7-yr-old

11 Jun

billyfood

My 7-yr-old is on the beige food diet.

I’ve tried to explain many times why it’s important to eat brightly coloured foods but we just spend hours arguing the toss over yellow.  Apparently cheese is bright yellow and therefore counts.  So now we talk about green and red foods.  He definitely doesn’t eat any of those, preferring the general brownness of the sausage, the bread and the potato.

He went through the typical fussy stage at 2 alongside all of his other preschoolers.  Us mums used to giggle around the lunch table as our little ones screamed and squawked and refused to eat, happy in solidarity. But then all his friends got through that stage and started to accept a small amount of broccoli on the side of their plate. Or worst case on a separate plate. But Big Milk wouldn’t so much as hear speak of broccoli.

We decided pretty early doors that we weren’t going to fight him over it. He clearly wasn’t budging and would rather forgo pudding of any kind than eat even a tiny mouthful of something he didn’t like. So I started hiding the vegetables anywhere I could find to put them. Whizzed up in tomato sauce which he’d eat in copious amounts with pasta. Then I’d use the leftovers on pizza bases; nutrition masquerading as fast food. Carrots were grated into bolognaise and peeled courgettes went undercover in homemade fish goujons.  He was none the wiser and in quiet triumph we rocked family meal times relatively stress-free.

But recently he’s declared war on all those foods he used to tolerate, favouring a much more militant beige-food-loving approach.  Out with the pasta sauce and the casseroles and the homemade fish pie. Down with potatoes if they dare to advance with their dirty bothersome jackets on. For the past few days at school he’s eaten bread and potatoes for lunch. So much for “Fresh fruit and salad offered daily”. Clearly he responds no better to their authority than he does to mine.

But worse than the worry and the frustration and the guilt you can’t help but feel as a parent, are those mums that stick their noses in the air and with a whiff declare “My kids wouldn’t get away with that. They’ll eat what they’re given!”. Mentally at this point I’m smashing their heads into the glass panel on my front door as I bare my teeth in a snarl loosely disguised as a smile.

You see, I don’t cram my child full of sweets and biscuits all day long and wonder why they won’t eat their dinner. I do not give in at the first whiff of an uprising by declaring “Oh Archie, just eat whatever you want and we’ll move straight onto pudding.” (Clearly my child’s not called Archie, but you get my meaning).  I am not a push-over-marshmallow-mum.  My child’s food issues go far beyond mere fusspotting; they are borderline phobic.

He doesn’t respond to an iron fist, shameful bribery or promises of a million pounds.  He doesn’t wave the white flag, exhausted after a 4 hour pea-stand-off.  His only response is retching and choking and sicking up into his own mouth.  In fact my child would be a pretty awesome hunger-strike activist if they’d allow such a thing.

The truth is,  if your children do what you say it’s not because you’re some kind of super youobeymeordie mum, it’s because your kids just aren’t that testing. You are blessed with the holy grail of childkind – compliant children – and sadly those are given out only randomly when the sperm greets the egg.

So for now I’ll re-establish my motherly zen and claw back perspective by evoking the wise words of my dear friend Steph  “Send A donation to Oxfam, for they have real feeding problems there.”

M2M’s guide to successful weightloss

9 Nov

So, as you may already know, I am currently on a diet. I don’t believe in diets. yada yada.

Despite that, I have lost a stone and a half in 8 weeks. Not bad for someone who’s still partial to drinking her weight in wine.

So, since I am now the queen of weightloss I thought I’d share my top 5 weigh day tips with you:-

1) Always drink a bottle of wine the night before weigh day and abstain from all other types of beverage, particularly water. This will ensure you are sufficiently dehydrated to knock a couple of pounds off.

2) The only exception to this is a disgustingly strong black coffee that must be consumed an hour before weigh-in. A whacking dose of caffeine should have its desired effect within 15-30 mins, and a really good poo does absolute wonders with those scales.

3) Aside from a trunkful of coffee, abstain from all food on the morning of the weigh in.  Even a moderate breakfast will add a good 1/2 pound to the scales. If, like me, skipping breakfast often leads to low sugar nauseau you may even strike it lucky by expelling the previous night’s dinner to boot.

4)  Always, always, choose your clothing carefully.  Leggings or very light gym bottoms are ideal. Even better,  start your weight loss journey in winter and end in the peak of summer.  This gives you the perfect opportunity to start off with at least 13 extra items of clothing on, shedding one per week, thus giving the illusion that you are losing an extra half a pound each time.

5) The ultimate tip for a good weigh day? Don’t go – weigh yourself in the comfort of your own home with your 20-yr-old weighing scales that always start off a smidgen below 0, weigh on very soft, squidgy carpet, and if you’ve followed tip no.1 your vision might be sufficiently blurred to make differentiating an 8 and a 0 largely impossible.

After all, it’s only psychological bullshit this weight loss thing. And we’re all going to put it all back on again over Christmas.

So there you have it. Thank me later.  Now where did I put that wine.

What a load of quark. Why I hate diets.

16 Oct

I’m on a diet and I’m eating sodding Quark. Things are not good.

And I don’t do diets.  I think it’s a miserable state of affairs. All that counting and measuring and recording.  Taking off all the good bits like crispy skin, singed fat and a side-order of fries, and leaving yourself with all the tasteless insipid shit.  Eating more fruit and vegetables than you’ve eaten in years, downing gallons of diet drinks in the hope they’ll fill up your grumbling tummy enough to get you through to the next yoghurt-kissed rice cake.  Dreaming of butter and  monosodium glutamate while nearly passing out with unsatiated desire.

And largely speaking, diets DON’T work.   You’re just on and off them for life. Batted between gnat tum and fat tum.

But I’ve put on a stone and a half in the 5 months after my mum died.  You’d think being a skinny bint would be payback for months of heartache, but oh no, in my case my arse just got bigger to keep my heavy heart company.

So i’m raping and pillaging the extra weight from my loins and then i’m never dieting again.  And I’m sending the half eaten packet of Quark to WeightWatcher HQ and telling them to stuff it where the sun don’t shine.  Which is probably quite rotund considering that noone at weightwatchers including the so-called “advisors” are thin.

Except me, of course. I will be thin. Honest.

Diet drinks make you fat!

4 Jul

According to a study published last week diet drinks make you fat. Apparently results showed fairly conclusively that those that drank diet drinks over a period of 10 years put on considerably more weight than those that preferred their full fat counterparts.

Apparently the scientists aren’t entirely sure why this happens, but it may be something to do with tricking your body into expecting a large sugar boost and then not delivering it. Sorry, but D-U-H! Do you ever listen to reports like this and think “ummm, save those pennies Mr Medical Minister I know the answer to this one”?

If you’ve ever read my post The difference between thinnies and fatties you’ll see I’ve already got this one sussed. Diet drinks don’t make you fat any more than people tub up from too many ryvitas, just that only fatties drink them. Thinnies drink full fat coke, fatties drink diet coke. Simple. Look at any supermarket trolley on a Saturday morning and my hypothesis will be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s only overweight people that have low fat yoghurts, ryvita minis, diet colas, sweetener etc riding their belt at the shops. Anyone remotely sane (i.e thinnies) wouldn’t go near this sorry stuff. They eat exactly what they want, when they want, but the difference is they will stop when they’re full.  So of course they choose the stuff that tastes the best.

Fatties on the other hand, will stockpile these cardboard delights in the vain hope yet again of regulating their eating that week, only to send hubby out at unsociable hours on a chocolate run after a few wines have robbed them of their self-control. (That or raid their children’s biscuit tin of course). And they’ll eat these chocolate delights way past fullness, and right on into sickiness. And the diet drinks? Easy – only fatties will walk into a Macdonalds, order a big mac extra meal with quadruple size chips, and request a diet coke on the side. Why? Because we don’t want to waste the calories on a drink. There’s simply not enough fun in a 200 calorie drink to make the subsequent guilt and self-loathing worthwhile.

So why do diet drinks make people fat? They don’t. We just get fat eating all the other rubbish we get to go with them. (My pleasure Mr Medical Minister, I’ll take doughnuts for payment.)

Vegetarianism, smegetarianism

12 Jan

Mr Milk was vegetarian for 20 years until his curiosity got the better of him. We were visiting Roka, a rather gorgeous sushi restaurant in Charlotte St, London; his work were paying (well they’d pretty much owned his life for several months) so we were eating. In hindsight I think he had decided he was straying before he’d even booked the restaurant.

As it turns out, meat pretty much had him at hello. Grabbed him by the short and curlies with a pincer grip and clamped her striatus muscles around his follicles.

I suppose, as his palette was becoming more and more refined (no doubt by the exponential improvements made in the culinary department) it seemed only sensible to widen the range of foods he would eat, savour, explore. After all, you only live once. So he embarqued on his flesh-eating journey. It was to be limited only to the finest cuts of organic, hand-reared meat, blessed by prepubescent nuns and stroked in a daily ritual by eunich sheep, yada yada.

Within 2 months he was eating 3 macdonalds a week.

I actually joined him as a vegetarian for a few years. It wasn’t some kind of moral quest for me, it was just that it was around the time of the mad cow scare and I didn’t really fancy staggering out my last breath with a moo and a swish of the tail. So the idea was to cut out meat entirely, and then to slowly drip feed back only the best quality cuts…hold on, this sounds familiar….

Anyway, I knocked my own vegetarianism on the head when I started weaning the first born. Well it’s difficult to maintain some kind of rigid quality control when you’re having to sample pureed lamb at every meal.

You see, there is no doubt in my mind that, biologically speaking, we’re meant to eat meat – we’re built for it. Those big monster teeth at the back are clearly for chewing through sinew and gristle, not sauteed parsnip or squishy butter beans. We don’t look at a tiger hunting down it’s prey with cunning and detachment – playful, ruthless, singleminded – and say “that tiger is totally bloody out of order”. It’s natural.

So i’m afraid if the argument is purely that eating meat is immoral I don’t buy it, especially if you’re a “pescatarian” that caveats yourself by saying that fish are different because they’ve got tiny little fish brains. Now if we start talking about the way we farm/kill/process meat and what we’re doing to the planet, well, that’s where any kind of argument I can feebly muster slips on a banana peel and lands firmly on its arse. What argument could I possibly have?

The way we farm is disgusting, the way we treat animals is disgusting. I’d rather run on the ruddy treadmill again in my knickers than see a slaughter first hand. Yet i choose to do nothing about it. I’m lazy, selfish, hypocritical and have my head firmly in the bloodied sands. The problem is, I really do believe we should be eating meat

So where does that leave me? I’m not entirely sure. My views, as ever, are largely under-developed, over-thought and seriously changeable at this time.

I’m pretty sure there’ll be a reaction though. At least it might help me build a better bloody argument (assumes crash position).

Men make better chefs?

16 Nov

Mr Milk is turning into a regular Nigel Slater. This month a la carte de famille du Lait: Chicken saag with homemade dahl, pan fried chicken livers with a balsamic reduction, roasted loin of pork with braised cabbage and crispy lardons. Yeah a bit poncy, but bloody delicious all the same. He’s even started making things up. When my cupboard’s bare (no naughty symbolism intended) i reach out for Mr Heinz’s finest green tin. When Mr Milk’s cupboard is bare he does some kind of dinner arithmetic and lo and behold a creation is born. Soon he’ll be sprinkling salt from a ludicrously high altitude with or without the Ainsley Harriott camp backward stablising hand, buying a 3ft pepper cellar to display his manliness, treating frying onions like a pancake, all shuffle shuffle toss and describing a dish as “the closest to a warm cuddle you can get with food”.

Meanwhile Mrs Milk is busy making the kids meals. Shepherd’s pie, sausages, pasta, casserole. No salt, no herbs (green things, ugh), no spices and definitely no wine based reductions, poaching, frittering or anything remotely resembling a ganache or a honey glaze.

It’s just all a bit too bloody stereotypical.

The thing is, once Mr Milk is home i’ve already cooked once and i’m *cked if i’m going to cook again. i don’t find it relaxing. It’s not how i choose to unwind. So he takes over, does all the grown up cooking, and before you know what’s happened he’s sous cheffing at l’Escargot while i’m working the grill at the local tesco’s cafe.

So all that practise and ponsing is well and truly starting to pay off, and much to my dismay the irritating stereotypes are starting to play themselves out in the Milk household.

Do men naturally make better chefs? No. They’re just more likely to get the practise in. *shock horror* woman takes on household chores while husband gets to ponse about with tools.

(Footnote: Mr Milk does of course do his fair share of the ironing, cleaning and kidlet ferrying…. everything else is subject to our standard terms and conditions, please read the footnotes with any accompanying literature, don’t ring now or your vote might be charged but not count, blah blah blah, bum cover bum cover….)

Raised to be thin

2 Nov

I watched an episode of Come Dine with Me the other day. It was pretty cringeworthy, as usual. But it wasn’t the arrogance of the diners, the self-inflated egos, nor was it the toxic rudeness or the poor taste that got to me. The thing that shocked me most was this.

There were two ladies amongst the group. One (Lady A) was superficial, catty and a size zero with designer clothes and immaculate nails. She also didn’t eat. Not the best or most riveting of dinner guests. The other (Lady B) was sassy, witty, very attractive and a size 14. Really good company, didn’t take herself too seriously, lots of fun but capable of holding an interesting conversation about more than the calorific value of raisins.

I came away from that tv show thinking i had it sussed. I could see quite clearly that Lady A was a shambles while Lady B had it all going on. In your face cynical media culture.

However, that night i dreamt i was trying tirelessly, desparately even to befriend size zero cat woman. A nocturnal version of Paris Hilton’s shameless New Best Friend. Lady A was the cool cat, the one i wanted to be. She had it all, the ribs AND the jimmy choos.

How unnerving is that? It seems that somewhere deep within me i would rather be size AND mind miserly than a size 14 version of beautiful. (well in actual fact I am a size 14 post boy no.2, so maybe herein lies the rub)

How could i, an educated, smart, rational being be so completely yet so subconsciously consumed by the fatuous notion that thin = happy. That size zero = desirable. My rational mind see so clearly that size zero lady was uptight and proposterous but that clarity of mind be secretly and silently fed upon by a sneaky, insiduous parasite?

How utterly depressing.

To diet or not to diet

13 Jun

I am trying to lose half a stone. Thing is I’ve been trying to lose half a stone since 1989.

I’m not so sad that I’ve been trying to reach my prepubescent weight well into my 30s. My expectations HAVE changed with time and children. Which makes it all the more curious. Just why 7 pounds?

An 80 yr old family friend is similarly obsessed with her weight (if not more so). Forever mentioning it. Counting calories when we go for dinner. Lamenting the body she could have had. Should have had. If only she didn’t eat / drink so much.

My heart sinks every time.

I’m not being hypocritical. I just expected it to be different later on. That after middle age you somehow start to look beyond the physical. Rationalise things better. Re-order your priorities.

But the truth is. You don’t ever feel differently. You don’t stop caring what you look like just because you are older.

The critical voice inside your head is ageless.

How thoroughly depressing.

So, are we all destined to go through life wanting to lose an elusive half stone? Will we ever lose it? And more importantly, do we really need to?  Will we be happier when we get there? Or will we simply swap in another worry or wish in its place?

The likely truth is, if we’re forever chasing that ephemeral perfect number, we might just miss out on an awful lot in between.

Would you like any vegetables with that sir?

12 Apr

I went to a kid’s party this weekend. Kid’s party = party food.

Now neither of my kids are great eaters. Actually, that is a terrible understatement. They are the world’s worst eaters.

The eldest won’t eat a single fruit or vegetable. Only tonight we spent an hour coaxing him into eating 2 mouthfuls of mashed potato (this is buttery potato we’re talking about, it’s not exactly like we were asking him to munch on swede). It’s a constant source of frustration, despair and guilt for me.

Anyway, we were at this party. And the obligatory tomatoes, sticks of cucumber and carrot were laid out among the crisps, chocolate fingers and sausages. I looked on, as ever, in disbelief. Would the kids really eat this stuff? For a moment i considered cajoling my eldest into sitting at the end of the table where they’d forgotten to put any “fun” food. Forcing him into declaring a kiddy hunger strike. “But it’s a party” my husband said. “We can’t worry about it today.” (He was right of course. I just wish my children didn’t eat like it was a party every day.)

So i watched with interest as the children piled in, got themselves settled at the table, put on their party hats, and waited. Sizing the table up with skill beyond his 3 years, my son headed straight for the end of the table by the cake stand. He was visibly drooling.

Eager mums and dads picked up handfuls of vegetables, and expectantly laid them on their children’s plates next to the sweet and salty delights. Being far too experienced, and much less optimistic, i didn’t bother to embellish my own son’s plate with greenery.

So I watched.

I’m known for this kind of food voyeurism. I’m a regular nosy parker at preschool lunch tables, peering into other children’s lunchboxes. Feeling satisfed when i see a box full of crisps and babybels, but disheartened by a satsuma poking out from behind a fruit shoot.

Crisps were picked up in chubby hands. Chocolate fingers stuffed with gusto into mucky faces. But apart from one girl who ate a single carrot stick, the fruit and vegetables lay untouched.

I have to admit i felt more than a little vindicated. Perhaps my kids weren’t that different after all?

Some days i’m fine with it. Calm. Firm. “Well darling, it’s your choice whether to eat it or not, but there won’t be anything else until tomorrow”. Other days, when i’m a little tired or stressed, i rant. Shout. Threaten. The frustration just becomes all too much.

But you can’t forcefeed a child. Can you?

One day we’d made hamburgers (and if you’ve read my post Craft and Baking you’ll know this is no mean feat.) He’d been really excited, switched on to the idea of eating his own food. But when we sat down to dinner, and before he’d even picked up his fork, i heard the familiar “I don’t like it. i don’t want it. It’s got red pepper iiiiiiinnnnnn”.

I took a deep breath. All i could think was “THIS IS A BLOODY HAMBURGER WE’RE TALKING ABOUT, NOT SPRING VEGETABLE STIRFRY”! Hadn’t he noticed the red pepper as he was cheerfully adding handfuls to the hamburger mix?

The thing is, in my mum’s day, i’m not sure anyone would have expected a child to eat a raw carrot or cucumber stick. Houmous – or kiddy cat nip as i think of it – certainly didn’t exist. “Add a sauce. Children like a sauce” my mum always says to me as i lament the peas and carrots sitting on the side of the plate. Now i’ve tried this. And it does actually work. Smother the veg in gravy / ketchup / salad cream and the chance of your child eating the vegetables increases exponentially. Which in the case of my children is 3% rather than zero.

So maybe the biggest difference is with the parents?

Maybe i’ve just given up pretending that my kids will eat the side salad (a totally pointless part of the pizza express kids menu) whereas other mums and dads still carry on the pretence? Still kid themselves that their son / daughter might just fancy a bit of red onion on their garlic dough balls today. After all, if they offer it, won’t it automatically increase their parent points?

Perhaps it’s more abnormal for a child to be eating cucumber than smearing his / her face with chocolate ice cream? After all, I know which one i’d choose.

posh’s aid to slimming

23 Mar

Just incase you were wondering.

I’ve been trying out posh spice’s theory about running around after 2 boys (in her case now 3) meaning you can eat what you like.

She’s lying.