I am passionate about practicing ways of feeding children that preserve their natural appetites and their enjoyment of good things while nourishing their bodies and spirits.
The same principles of feeding the body also apply to feeding the mind. My goal is that the child not only ingest but develop a taste for all good things in life. The highest aim of all we teach our children, as Aristotle taught, should be that they come to take pleasure in good things–physical, spiritual and mental.
I am the mom of two now young adult children who have always eaten anything put on the table, from cow tongue and liver to tofu and turnips, with never an argument. Well, once they argued, but within 30 seconds they were begging for a taste.
My children were born in France, and spent their first several years there. The French, with their strong food traditions and healthy attitudes toward food, inspired me in new ways to enjoy cooking and eating.
After moving back to the U.S. after five years away, when my children were two and four, I had a culture shock coming back to my own country. I saw a big difference in American habits and attitudes toward food, compared to the French. I also began to notice that most my children’s friends were picky eaters.
My son was a difficult child and had a lot of problems. Nutrition was one of the main ways I addressed those problems. I never had any trouble with him eating what I wanted him to eat, without pleading, bribes, tricks or punishments.
In first grade, he started attending a Charlotte Mason school. The way teachers got children to want to learn aligned with the way I fed my kids. Both worked. Neither relied on external incentives. Instead of assuming that children have no appetite for learning or real food, this approach sets out to foster children’s natural appetites for knowledge and nourishment. Masterly inactivity, one of Mason’s main tenants, shows us how to back off and do less while accomplishing more as parents.
Yet I continued to observe that for many families, eating was a problem. I noted that the attempts to “make” kids learn or “make” them eat weren’t working. I started trying to figure out where things were going wrong and why.
My purpose is to empower parents to cook delicious, real food for their families. I want to free them from fear and confusion. I encourage and empower them to sit down together as a family at the table for meals, and beat the trends of obesity, chronic illness and shortened lifespans for our children. I equip parents to escape the bad bargains of putting up with misbehavior at the table, haggling with kids to eat, and compromising on what we feed our children.
The term “Sacred Appetite” refers to respecting and encouraging children’s natural hunger for all good things. The key is not using trickery or distraction; it’s giving them the best possible real food, and then calmly providing the atmosphere that’s conducive to their eating it. The best results come from giving children vast freedom in eating and offering an unending variety of the tastiest and healthiest foods possible. My goal is to teach children to enjoy what’s good for them, not just get them to eat it. It’s not disguised or sugar-coated food, or food entertainment we need, but fresh, flavorful, natural and varied food, and never as a means to getting a reward, but as a reward in itself.
While I have my opinions of what we should feed children, based on a reasonable amount of reading about nutrition, and don’t hesitate to share them, what I have to offer primarily is help in getting your kids to eat whatever it is you most want them to eat. I provide concrete solutions to get back to harmonious family meals at the table, without battles or pressure.
Some of my favorite writers about feeding children are Ellyn Satter (author of How to Get Your Kids to Eat, but Not Too Much), Dr. Benjamin Spock, Mireille Guilliano (French women Don’t Get Fat), Michael Pollan, Barry Glassner, Robert Farrar Capon.
I live in San Antonio, Texas.