A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint


Posted by Pepper on January 4, 2013

Where food is concerned, the sister and I forever seem to be at loggerheads. Concepts like ‘nutrition’, ‘health’ seem to be completely lost on her.

I don’t know how it got this bad. Since I am a good 6 years elder to her, I have vivid memory of her early childhood. We had no highchairs in those days, but we would manage to hold her down with some amount of struggle, distract her and then feed her spoonfuls of what we thought was nutritious baby food. Heck, I would even put up different kinds of performances to entertain her and facilitate the feeding process. On most days, I danced in front of her until her meal was complete. In hindsight, I think I should demand some kind of late payment for the amount of sweat I have put in.

In comparison to the present, all those past struggles seem to be easy. Dealing with an obstinate adult is double hard. The sister is averse to the idea of eating veggies, in particular greens. She goes to the extent of pulling out all the visible cilantro/coriader/curry leaves. She creates a big fuss when she is asked to finish her bowl of lentils/dal. Trying to get her to eat raw food in the form of salads and fruits is pointless. So what does she enjoy eating? Potatoes in all forms, baked products, mushrooms, cheese and a few other select items. That’s about it. She believes the purpose of food is to enjoy its taste and fill your stomach.

It is very frustrating to watch her put away her plate full of unfinished food. She might reluctantly finish the rice/chapati but the bowl containing veggies or dal is almost never empty. On most days, we consume all our energy shouting at her. At that point, she will make the farce of pecking in, before she lets go again, saying, ‘I had one more bite no?’. If we spend 30 minutes coaxing her, she might take another piece from the salad bowl. And for that little piece, we have spent all the energy we had.

It is not that she doesn’t like the food. She does. But she can’t get herself to eat veggies in a wholesome way. For her, however well made it is, it is only meant to be dipped into or touched with her chapati. She is fond of pasta, but you will often see her picking out the broccoli, zucchini, peppers, etc.

I would expect more sense from a 20 year old. But I suppose she has not realised the importance of the intake of fresh vegetables and fruits. She has not understood the repercussions of a poor diet that lacks adequate nutrients. You cannot go about filling yourself with carbs. The body needs so much more. At times, I have actually forced fed her, closing it with an angry ‘You have to finish your veggies!’

I wonder what we should be doing? Continue consuming all our energy so that she eats an extra, two insignificant bites? That is really exhausting. Neither can we possibly force feed or starve an adult. Mint says we should try tying her up and starve her until she agrees to eat what is given to her, but obviously that is not a very realistic solution. Or shall we just accept her the way she is and resign to the fact that she will not be having a healthy diet? Again, that is not easy to live with. Sigh. Or we can just hold on to the hope of her awakening soon.


28 Responses to “Concerned”

  1. Sia said

    Hey Pepper, I can totally image your plight. I married to a family where the men folk is super fussy. While I thought my husband was bad, I see that Bil is worse. After 2 years of marriage husband has finally understood the importance of veggies. He has put oodles of weight by eating eating just carbs which he regrets now. So I would suggest give her sometime. She is what 20? She will be introduced to diets, crash diets, salads and raw food when she will enter college! And I am sure there will come a time when you will have to force her to eat roti and rice and not just veggies and dal.. Take my word.. 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Unfortunately, the men in my family are terrible in their food habits too. My dad too, has little regard for nutrition 😦 My mom really worked hard on us, with the hope of us turning out more responsible. The sister seems to be too immature at this stage. I don’t know when that will change. She isn’t going to be ‘entering’ college! She will be done with final year of college in about 3 months.

      I think she doesn’t fear living on carbs because we don’t have the tendency to gain weight. Infact, we can actually do with weight gain, but it doesn’t happen.

  2. My Era said

    The last two lines speak of my worries about my daughter. But, still I’d say your worries are far bigger than mine for I am dealing with a 1.5 yr old while you with a 20 yr old where distraction is a sure fail, though bribing might play the trick 😉

  3. Jazz said

    I was talking to my kid sister (21 yr old) the other day and I was telling her I went veggie shopping to the Local Farmers Market, and I just told we bought beetroots, bitter gourds etc when she asked. She was aghast and asked me who in the world eats them, only uncle, aunts (our previous generation) buy them and force on us. I gave her a piece of my mind about their benefits etc which I’m sure fell on deaf years. 🙂

  4. radha said

    Educate her and let her choose. she will grow up and mature and know what’s good for her. My sons were this way till they were 14 and then we sent themt o good nutrition classes, got books on healthy living and they soonrealised that if you put good in your bodyt will also do you good.
    don’t force , she will have a permanent aversion to that. let her cook if she likes and make plenty of fresah fruits and veggies available whenshe’s hungry, cut the junk formthe house and leave it be.
    eventually she will mature and appreciate the good taste of fresh veggies an fruit.

    • Pepper said

      She doesn’t know to cook. Not even the basics. Nothing. So that won’t interest her. We’ve tried stocking only fresh veggies around her when she is hungry. The end result is her continuing to remain hungry.
      I really hope she does mature..

  5. aww honestly all I could see in this post was a concerned mother and I love that 🙂 err and regarding the solution, I don’t know coz the 8 year old I have as of now eats everything and thinks McDonalds is out there just to make an 8 year old boy’s tummy look like he is going to have babies 😉

    • Pepper said

      Yes, I play the mother’s role to my parents too. So does the sister. 🙂 Depends on situations. According to Mint, the sister is the more mature one, between the two of us 😐 Ofcourse, barring this one thing..

      Haha, I like the way he thinks. And he eats everything? *Touchwood* May he stay that way.

  6. daffodil said

    I feel.. Its always better to make her understand in some subtle ways rather than going harsh…. At the end, as time passes, she will return to healthy eating habits gradually… Lets be hopeful 🙂
    Cheers 🙂

  7. I have a cousin who dreaded vegetables too. His mother would include some spinach in the roti batter as a way of making him eat it. Unfortunately, he also found a way to pick them out. He is 28 now and nothing has changed!

    • Pepper said

      That is one of our big fears. That we keep waiting for her to grow up and realise the importance of nutrition, and it never happening. It never worked with my dad. Actually, he does realise the importance, but he still doesn’t care enough 😦

  8. Smita said

    🙂 Let her be…I am sure with time she will realise…..sometimes you learn the hard way and I know it hurts to see someone close to you hurting herself but then she is an adult!

    • Pepper said

      Yes, it hurts. It is very hard to see it. And the problem is I am not sure she will realise.. My dad is like that too. We can do nothing, but not trying hard enough to change things also makes us guilty in a strange way.

  9. Pepper, she is 20. So its more about having fun and enjoying food than nutrients.its goibg to take her a little while to realise nutrients can be tasty too… just a matter of ‘growing up’

  10. R's Mom said

    Dear Sister of Pepper (Since Pepper hasnt put up a name for you in the blog yet)
    Its really fine if you like potatoes and cheese and mushroom…but thats at the age of 20…when you turn an old 31 like I did, I guess, you realise the fruits and green leafy vegetables are the only way to ensure good health…while your mother and father and Pepper will try to coax you eating and try and disguise the good part and feed it to you, ensure that you figure out a way to love it by yourself okie?
    love from a girl who thought (still thinks) potatoes and cheese should be declared as the best food in the world 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Haha, RM! I like what you say to her. As long as she does end up loving them by herself. We have so many fears because my dad never learnt. He can’t touch most vegetables 😦 So we really get paranoid when it comes to the sis, and hope she will end up being sensible after a point.
      Ofcourse! Who doesn’t think potatoes and cheese are the best food in the world 😀 We can live on them. 😀

      I know, I know! I need to come up with a name for the sis. Sheesh, I am too lazy to think.

  11. Seema said

    Even I would say ‘Let her be’. I was also living on potatoes before my marriage. My plate always had a neat heap of coriander/ curry leaves, veggies, tomatoes, ginger, what not! I have completely transformed now and I know how much I missed out on in those 20 years of my life… Time will convert her food habits, I’m pretty sure! So chilll…

  12. techie2mom said

    OMG, and i thought Zini is a difficult eater!!!
    I agree to what most of the people here said, in fact more you will force her, more she will resist (again my personal opinion, i am prone to resist something if it is forced).
    But you can try to sneak in healthy food in different way and try different dishes (in wraps, whole wheat pizza, uttapam, fruit custard) , or even better try to include her in cooking.
    another way can be to consult a doctor and ask her to take vitamin and calcium tablets, if she agrees…

    • Pepper said

      We all tend to resist when we are forced, you are right. But we end up frustrated on most days and the only objective is to get some healthy food down her throat.
      We can sneak in food in different forms, but that requires so much more time and effort. You are willing to do it for kids, but for an adult, you expect it to be easier. She won’t take any tablets, neither do we think that is a great idea. So I guess we just have to wait and hope she turns around..Meanwhile, we can do what we can to make the food more interesting for her.

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