Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Healthy" as an Insult - Sports Fuel

During the summer, Josie's gymnastics team practices three times a week (for a total of about 12 hours) and one of these days they are at the gym over lunch. This means we pack a lunch once a week, but Josie is very different than the boys when it comes to what she wants to eat. Also, her needs for refueling after four hours of gymnastics is not the same as Dema's needs for lunch during school. Josie is also on swim team five days a week so some days she goes to swim practice before gymnastics or leaves gymnastics early to swim. This means a quick snack, usually fresh fruit or veggie, to fuel her for the next sport.
Josie snacking on carrots during a swim meet.
Josie helps me pack her lunch in the morning and some days it is entirely fresh fruits and veggies. I worried about it not being enough to fill her up so I sometimes talk her into a hummus sandwich or in the lunch below some Gardein.
Clementine sections, organic red grapes, organic carrots, Gardein Crispy Tenders, roasted organic green beans with turmeric, black pepper, and nutritional yeast, barkTHINS Dark Chocolate with Pumpkin Seeds
Several times Josie has come home from gymnastics this summer to tell me her teammates are making fun of her "healthy" lunch. This amazes me since you would think athletes, even child athletes, would care more about what they put in their bodies. There is a little effort on the part of the some of the coaches to talk about positive food choices*, but really the gym is full of fast food since the coaches and the gymnasts have pretty crazy schedules. It makes me sad, but most of the time it doesn't concern me. When my kid is getting mean comments from teammates, it crosses a line. I have started several emails to her coaches, but never sent them. You have to pick your battles and I'm not sure if this one is worth a fight.
On the last day of summer gymnastics practice, the gym had a treat truck. 
Some days as a vegan parent, you hear the complaint that you make your kids "eat too healthy". Other days when your kid is happy to find a vegan cookie at a predominantly non-vegan place you might hear about "junk food vegans". It is ironic. Really, we are just normal people eating food that works will our world view of compassion and care for the sentient beings as well as the environment. Just like any parent, we strive to bring up health, happy, compassionate, and aware people who are stewards of the planet and caring members of their community.

UPDATE: Josie continues to enjoy her "healthy" lunches and even shares with a few of her teammates. It took all summer, but they seem to be bothering her less.

*Last year, one of her coaches went off on a diatribe during practice about the ill effects of soy foods. That was sort of a last straw since not once has this coach said anything about fresh fries or candy, in fact candy is used sometimes as an incentive or reward. The one coach who had some nutrition background is no longer working at the gym, but he did have some common sense advice for the gymnasts and never knocked our vegan diet.

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