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Nutrition in Transition with Chevy Glassberg – sister in law extraordinaire
Chevi Glassberg, sister-in-law extraordinaire is a mom, wife, homemaker, and registered nurse. She is iyh making Aliyah this summer with her husband and kids.
This has been a dream of ours since we got married. Right when we got married it did not work out to go because my mother got sick and then life got complicated. So, it just kept getting pushed off. Two years ago, we were in a very transitional mode. We were renting in a neighborhood that we love, and we were thinking of the next step, buying a house. That’s when we took a step back and said if we do this we are staying, so we reassessed. We took a pilot trip two years ago and since then we have been plowing through and trying to make it work. When corona hit and we had all that family time together, it really solidified our decision; what our values are and what we find is most important.
Growing up, whenever we celebrated, like bar or bat mitzvahs, it was always in Israel. We also took a bunch of family trips there. All the schools I went to were also very Zionistic, it was an intrinsic part of my education.
When I met my husband, we were both 17, so we both sort of grew up together and explored the option of moving to Israel, already then, together.
Moving onto nutrition in transition.
My kitchen is half packed and I have no time or energy to make dinner. My kids don’t like not having their regular food and I don’t either! We’re going to be in our house for two more weeks and then in Israel, we’re going to start off in one place and then go to another place. During all of this time, I still have to feed my family and I also have to eat properly.
How is someone supposed to eat when they are in mental overload?
Look at the whole picture, I always say our eating is not based on one day, one week, or even one month of how we eat. Nutritionally this one month and a half won’t affect you and your family. But at the same time, you have to eat foods that feel good in your body. Think of the appliances you still have access to and work with that. Buy a lot of frozen vegetables, and crockpot dinners, and serve chicken with whatever spices you still have around.
Once when I was talking to Sara Chana Radcliffe, and I was very overwhelmed at that time. I told her I’m married with three kids; I have a house and a business, and she told me that I have too much on my plate. She has been a therapist for the past 30 years and has seen many different kinds of people in all different stages of their lives, so I trusted her. But I countered her, that there are other women who are even busier than me and have more kids than I do.
We each have to find what works for us. My husband figured out a way to be home in the morning to help get the kids off to school. I also relinquished making lunch for my kids the night before and now my husband also takes care of that in the morning.
What do you think of bento boxes? Do you think it really promotes more diverse foods for kids?
I never had it so I can’t speak from personal experience. In my opinion, the worst thing for kids to have is anxiety about their eating habits. I think that creates an unhealthy relationship around food. Before I learned about intuitive eating and division of responsibility for kids, I would never send a noodle soup for lunch, because where is your protein or vegetable. But now it’s not a big deal, when my child comes home, I’ll give her a salad, and if she eats it great if not not. It’s not cool to eat fruits and vegetables in school, so she eats them at home which is fine. I feel like doing the best you can to provide a wholesome meal is all you have to do. You don’t need a bento box for that.
What are your thoughts on the end-of-the-year parties in school? They come home with blue mouths and their bags are stuffed with nosh that they fight over. It nauseates me.
I think there is more play food at school than I would like to see, but I really try not to stress about it, because the more anxious we are about it, they pick up on that. As parents, we decide the what, the where, and the when and they decide the how much and if any. But if they come home with a huge bag of candy, you could still sort of make a rule around it. We’re having dinner in an hour, and I don’t want your belly to be full, you could pick two and save it for tomorrow.
My kids are possessive, they want to know where I put it, what I’m doing with it and then they forget about it the next day. If they don’t, it means it’s important to them. You could tell them it’s your food, I’m not taking it away from you. Try not to use the term junk food because it’s really confusing for kids, it’s junk but you’re giving it to me. let them celebrate with it.
I probably made a really big mistake, at one point this week I was getting so fed up and I said I’m not letting you eat that garbage anymore.
I like to neutralize food and think of it in the Krebs cycle. Everything eventually turns into protein, carbohydrate, or fat and produces ATP. Even candy! If you were in a desert and all you had was candy, you can survive on it because it gives you glucose. People say some foods are garbage because it doesn’t have any nutrition in it but it does, it may not have the best nutrients, but it does have. So, we should try to neutralize that and have a place for it.
I once posted a video on my Instagram of my son eating cake and broccoli.
I can’t say I always do that or don’t have a moment where I panic after he ate five lollipops. But I do try to reframe it. I’ll make something for dinner with more nutrients in it and try to stay calm because this is what will neutralize food for them. I always try to think of the end result, when my kid is 18 years old and not living under my guidance anymore, how will he walk into a kiddush and eat? If you force them not to eat candy, they will be stuffing their face with candy. And if not, it’s because they decided on their own, not because you taught them.
When you visualize a bag of candy, you have a face of nausea. I want to explore the disgust you have around candy.
If it was a bag of jellybeans or fruit roll-ups, would you feel nauseated? No. So it’s a specific type of candy that grosses you out. Yes, because I think they have taken it to the next level. They made candy gooier and sugarier than it already is. The sugar content has gone up exponentially.
And you feel like sugar is bad for your kids? Yes, isn’t it?
I feel like the more anxious I am about it, the more they feed off of it. When they it they want it and I’m like it’s not such a big deal, I see with my kids they are more prone to trying new things and will tell me they are in the mood for real food. I’m allowing them to have space for their fullness. I am trying to teach them to be in touch with their hunger and fullness. That all foods can fit and are yummy, and we can use it as a way to celebrate, and then we can move on.
Back to transition, another thing I am nervous about is that Israel has very different foods. I am nervous about shopping and preparing food there and my kids getting used to the different snacks there.
I don’t know how it will play out for you, it will be trial and error. Your kids will have to adjust, they will have to work with what’s available. It may take two or three months, but they won’t starve, it will happen eventually.
I have said this to clients, exposure is key. If a kid is used to eating chicken on the bone and then one day, they stop eating it. So the mother stops providing it. But then the mother gets frustrated when it’s available and the child won’t even look at it. This is because they stopped being exposed to it. The key is exposure, exposure, exposure.
I think I read a child could taste a food up to 20 times before they like it, but they also could need to be exposed to it 100 times!
I am working on implementing division of responsibility, so I’ll have a safe food on the table that they like, but I have a really hard time with kids putting food on their plate and wasting it.
The rules are tweakable, if that’s happening, you might have to intervene and say mommy will give you food because I know how much you usually eat and when I start to see that your able to portion the food the way you able to eat it, you can do it yourself. Not because of how much your eating, but because I don’t want you to waste food. A big part of division of responsibility is kids serving themselves, but you have to do what works for you.
We ended off with three questions I had for Chevi!
What is your earliest memory around food?
My family was very into ordering Chinese food on Sunday, and I remember my 9th birthday with big Chinese bags filled with wontons and Chinese food.
What is your favorite intuitive eating principle?
Challenging the food police. I remember you telling me once that your not necessarily in trouble if you eat something, you did not commit a crime.
What is your favorite thing to do for self-care?
Shopping, retail therapy, it makes me feel good.
Chevi browses Instagram often but doesn’t think she has one post to her name. so, it’s best to reach out to her with feedback, questions, and comments through me.
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-Gila Glassberg, MS, RDN, CDN, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
If you are ready to make peace with food and never say diet again, check out my website https://gilaglassberg.com and apply for a free 20 minute clarity call. I look forward to hearing from you!
Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.
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