My grandma lived to be 93 years old. Her secret? Mindful eating.
My grandma used to eat an orange a day, and regularly had the manual orange juicer out on the counter of her kitchen. I remember this growing up and am thankful that she showed me how to juice oranges when I would visit her. Juicing took longer to make, but it slowed me down, enough to be mindful of this great memory some 30 years later.
One key ingredient in raising kids to be mindful of the food they are eating, is to actually cook and make food along with them. Slowing down to cook, in a non hurried way, will stand out to kids and make a statement in their hurried world. The statement we as parents are making is that our kids are worth the time it takes to make good and wholesome food.
Being mindful of the food we eat, setting examples of making food that is nourishing, and cooking with our kids is what happens when we as parents are mindful of the food we eat. In turn, we give kids the gift that will last their entire lifetime. The only catch, is that there is window of opportunity in which they will follow this example and learn. A good rule of thumb, is the earlier you as a parent demonstrate mindful eating, the better.
Mindful Food From My Grandma’s Kitchen:
I had known nothing but carton juice till then and tons of processed food. It was in vogue at the time to eat food that was already made what you brought it home. But the juicing skills developed when I was a child have proven a great bonus for my family now.
With the extra time at breakfast, we have taken advantage of our old fashioned orange juicer. It’s fun. Its tasty. And it’s nutritious. Thanks Grandma!
Not only did my grandma juice her own OJ she also cooked. Each and every day. I remember a silver metal pot within which cooked the most fatty and delicious pot roast. Salads, soups and a fruit dessert were never left out of the late day meal. There was good homemade food almost all day long. Juicing just got things started.
One might think my Grandma bought into the 50’s housewife ideal I’d have to tell you strait that she did not. She was anything but the 50’s housewife. She worked in the Steel Mills during the war -a Rosie the Riveter type job. She wrote her own books, invented board games for kids, and divorced her husband despite having 2 kids to raise.
I figured if my grandma could make time to juice and orange and cook, I could too.
What Is In Orange Juice That Makes it So Healthy?
These days, I know much more about what is in oranges and vitamin C too.
Much of my information comes from a book called “The Vitamin Cure for Children’s Health Problems” by Ralph Campbell, M.D. and Andrew W. Saul, PhD. It’s a great book with topics well beyond Vitamin C, but an excellent place to start if Vitamin C is a topic of curiosity. I like it because they site every single research article they use in the appendix.
I started by wondering how much vitamin C there is in a glass of raw fresh pressed orange juice and I found it to have about 124 mg of Vitamin C. I found this on nutritiondata.self.com so it so I figured it would at least be a good estimate. My next question? Is 124 mg enough? Too much? Too little?
After reading Dr. Campbell and Dr. Saul’s book, I think it to be a bit low, however the jury is still out on what is a good dose for each individual. In addition to body size, other factors such as stress can increase the need for Vitamin C. So juicing 1-2 times a day sounds about right.
What I found interesting was that animals produce their own Vitamin C, but humans do not. We are relying on our food to do the whole thing! If that doesn’t put the pressure on us moms and dads in the kitchen, I don’t know what would? Mindful nutrition is so needed in our American households!
Also important to digest is the fact that when someone has a viral cold or flu, the need for Vitamin C increases dramatically. Hopefully, they had good levels of Vitamin C to begin with, but if they have a full-fledged cold or flu, they were probably low. Adequate levels of Vitamin C tend to ward off colds before they begin.
Even more important is Vitamin C’s action on blood vessels. There is evidence in the literature that suggests it strengthens the walls of the blood vessels both small and large. Also white blood cells can concentrate Vitamin C levels up to 8 times as much as blood plasma levels, which can be very important when they are busy fighting infection. That is of course if there are levels of Vitamin C that are adequate to meet such a demand.
In addition to it’s many general benefits, it apparently is an aid to healthy vaccinations. According to research by Banic, Vitamin C “improves the immune response from vaccinations.”
Beyond daily diets, Vitamin C can help us raise healthy kids. If we parent mindfully and cook with our kids, they too will be mindful kids related to food. Let’s slow down and juice. Let’s slow down and cook some slow food. It will taste great and our kids will be more thoughtful about their own food choices.
Looking back I have to thank my grandma, with her juicer and pot roasts and mindful eating. She lived to be 93. Let’s see if I can make it to 93 as well!