So, one of the many reasons I love my wife is that she constantly brings new ideas and experiences to our family, and yesterday was no exception.
At five o’clock, “Matt” showed up, dressed in a green bandana covering his billowing hair, a Grateful Dead tie-dye t-shirt, shabby corduroys and flip flops. He looked like he’d stepped out of 1971. He had a big plastic tub filled with a variety of blenders, choppers, mixers and a slew of totally natural, organic sauces and ingredients. And he had an engaging smile that had my kids hooked from the first minute.
Matt was at our house to teach us about the Raw Food Diet. What that means, believe it or not, is that nothing Matt eats is cooked in any way. He’s a vegan…a raw food vegan. And for a couple of hours last night, we were too. We supplied the raw stuff. Matt supplied the learning. We had smoothies made from kale, bananas and lemon juice. We had fresh zucchini “pasta” which was, um, long curly strips of zucchini fashioned by some crank driven slicer that I’d never seen before. And it was covered by an absolutely incredibly delicious cool blendered sauce made up of tomatoes (fresh and sundried) and celery and other greens and yellows. We had banana ice cream, and chocolate fudge made of all sorts of cool stuff that I can’t remember. And it was all amazing.
But, as usual, the best part was watching my kids watch Matt as he talked about fruits and vegetables and enzymes and acids and vitamins and digestion, describing almost all of it (even the chemistry stuff) in ways that the kids could get it. He was animated, smart, funny…and he taught my kids a great deal. (And my kids already know a lot about nutrition…they read the labels of everything they eat and we talk about what all that “stuff” is.) And while I already guessed the answer, I asked him the one question I wanted my kids to hear the answer to. “So Matt, how did you get into all of this?” You guessed it. No school. No degrees. Self-taught, self-read, self-made businessman. (He was making $50 an hour, btw, which we spilt with a group of other friends who came over to join in the fun.) “I just started eating like this, and it just changed my life in so many good ways.” And he found everything he could read about it, most of it online, learned the vocabulary and the dietary and nutritional foundations, experimented and played with the food. And he got a job at a health food store and now, 24, he was starting to spread the word. It was very cool.
I know, I’ve said it before. I feel the most pressure in my parenting life around helping my kids find their passions and help them pursue them. I want them to be surrounded by people like Matt, people who give them all sorts of models in terms of learning and doing and pursuing what they love. Yesterday was a great example for them of what that looks like.
And they got to drink kale. They loved it.