Posted by: cmittermeier | January 8, 2015

The benefit of being a short order cook in my own home

The other night we had some friends for dinner, and when the husband didn’t take any vegetables, his wife playfully explained to another guest, “See what I have to deal with?”. Indeed, like many of us, her ideas to eat healthy are not fully shared with her spouse. For the first time today I realized how thankful I had to be for having an autistic son whose food fixations forced me to be a short order cook in my own home.

You see, if my friend lived alone she would eat very differently. She likes her vegetables and beans, and is interested in green juices and smoothies. But, she has a family, and as we were all raised, one family = one meal reigns. Having a son who would literally starve himself (or vomit back any new food), if I had to do this we would have lived for almost two years alternating a single brand’s chicken strips and spaghetti with meat sauce. A child needed to eat, and catering to a child with a medical condition that is well known for its picky eaters changed how I viewed the whole one family = one meal routine.

As his eating broadened, though he is still not a ‘eat what is put in front of you child’, I came to realize a second use for my abilities to cook several different meals at once. I was able to become a vegetarian. Not my family, not my husband, just me. My cholesterol, my heart numbers came down not because of one family = one meal, but because I was well trained in cooking several meals at once.

Something interesting began to happen, when I made vegetables, my husband slowly began to increase his servings (when I made the ones he liked). In time, he even began to eat new vegetables like eggplant, zucchini. I distinctly remember that combination specifically! One night, I had to hold in my frustration because he had eaten the extra I’d made for my next lunch thinking it was the side-dish for dinner.

I used to think my children were not big fruit eaters because I would send it to school and it would come back. Since homeschooling I have come to realize those uneaten meals had more to do with a preference to socialize than a lack of appetite or interest. I went from buying 6 apples a week to 4 per day. When grapes are on sale they will easily go through an entire bag in a single recess. I have even been able to get them to eat a single vegetable serving at each lunch.

It all started with them understanding the importance of vegetables and its physical proximity to them. Who knew that by just putting it in front of them in time they would eat them? Turns out there is someone who knew, the author of Slim by Design. His book documents a mountain of ways we can slim down without much effort by simply reshaping our environments. Did you know people who keep cereal out on a shelf or counter are 5-10 pounds heavier than those who keep it in a cupboard? I just found that out last week. If my friend could start by first changing her environment, she would eventually see the changes she is waiting for not just in herself, but in those around her.

I did not wait for my husband to come on board, I simply followed the path God made available to me. Yes, in the last five months he has joined me but that is how many years after I started this? It was lonely at times, for years I had to seek support and shelter with my friends – and she was a big part of that support. I know how much of a challenge it is for her, but since I’ve made my changes I have found even more ways to make it work than I had so I have even more ideas for her choose from. My hope is that I can inspire and support her the way she did for me. But, as with my husband, you can’t force change on anyone, they have to want it themselves. Till she’s ready all I can do is set the banquet and hope she nibbles.



  1. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ love it!!!!

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