Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reader Advice Day: How to Handle OPJ in the House

I received a very interesting e-mail today that I just had to share with everyone. I have a feeling that we all struggle with this issue from one direction or another, unless you live in a household of one: OPJ (Other People's Junk).

Here's the email:


I have a very challenging situation at home. My husband and I are trying stick with a plant based, healthy diet as much as possible. We are drinking green smoothies, eating lots of salads and great soups, etc.

He has been telling me for weeks that he wants to eat better. I have been feeling kind of defensive because I do all the shopping and food prep. It is as if he is telling me I am doing a poor job and I think I am doing great.

So this morning I snapped. I said you need to give me a list of the things you ate in college when you were 'eating so much better' and I will buy those things. Keep in mind this was almost 30 years ago . . . nobody I knew ate kale, chard and many other amazing foods widely available now.

Well, it had nothing to do with a lack of the best food options available . . . it is about the kids’ food. Both of our kids are VERY thin. I’m talking call child protective services thin. They eat LOTS of veggies, fruits and whole grains, but I also want them to eat as much high calorie dense foods as they will tolerate. So I keep crackers, ice cream, cheese, chips, protein bars, etc. in the house. I was like this as a kid too. Our pediatrician says it is in their genes.

But my husband has a really hard time resisting the draw of the 'junk' foods that I have in the house for the kids. It's rarely an issue for me. So now what?

Maybe some of your readers might have had the same kind of issue. Does anyone have any advice or ideas on how to manage this better?


So how do you handle the different food wants and needs of everyone in your household? Do you have strategies that work for you and your loved ones?

Personally, I would say that this is a really difficult issue for me, so I work hard to have almost none of my personal binge foods in my home. I still really struggle with one of the foods that I feed my children for dinner: cheese ravioli. So I decided that I was just going to make this far less for them so it wouldn't be as difficult for me. But that's about it right now for me. I really have managed over the years to get the rest of my food triggers out of my own home, but my husband totally supports me on this and I don't have children who are underweight!

What are your thoughts? Who in your household wants the junk there and who doesn't? Have you achieved a happy medium? How?

5/8/13 Edited to add: I just saw this interesting article about the lengths that Beyonce goes to to protect herself from garbage food. Let's get over the irony of her tour being sponsored by Pepsi and just focus on the fact that she protects herself from junk food as if her life and living depend on it--which it does! 
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