Why my vegetable-phobic son says he'll now drink green juice

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Anyone who's had anything to do with me for the past seven years will know that food, and specifically, getting my children to eat healthy food has been one of the trials of my life. 

As a kid, I ate most things. I drew the line at liver, obviously, and I had a personal thing about bananas (which turned out to be genetic - two aunts and a cousin also hate them). And sorry mum, but naming a dish 'Eggplant for People who Don't Like Eggplant' doesn't mean that the people who are forced to eat it will miraculously like eggplant.

But I liked food. Vegies, meat, grains, even lentils - I was into it all. You couldn't hold me back. I wanted seconds every day.

My children, however, are different. And it's not just because I don't know how to make them eat. Something makes it really really hard for them to have even the tiniest piece of carrot on their plates.

I could talk about the challenges and the agony and the uneaten, unappreciated cooking for hours. But in recent weeks my renewed efforts at getting vegetables in to them have been more and more successful and now I'm setting what I'd call a pretty audacious goal for the end of 2014.

Here it is: By the end of 2014, everyone in the family, with no exceptions, will eat whatever normal family food I put on their plates. Without whingeing or complaining or calling it pig swill.

This is going to be the year of food in our family. Good, nutritious food. Food that heals unhealthy guts. Food that builds immunity and muscle and that leaves people happy and healthy.

Bright Eyes is now at a stage where he is taking more and more responsibility for himself. He's also at a stage where he understands cause and effect. His anxiety is more and more under control (apart from a little disaster on Christmas Day, but hey, nobody's perfect) so he's more and more able to do things that he would previously have avoided like the plague, especially if there's a tangible, enjoyable reward offered.

Plus, he's slowly been building competence when it comes to eating.

At the beginning of 2013 I introduced him to lettuce. When he was eating it more or less happily I put some cucumber on his plate. It took a few goes and a few bribes but a few months later he was eating both lettuce and cucumber. I introduced peas and recently we've started on raw carrot. That's four different vegetables, folks! Four! Count them!

This week I began juicing green vegetables. I add the green juice to freshly pressed fruit juices and say, "Here kids. Go for it." The first day it was pigswill, apparently. But he's had his half glass every day for four days, with me in the background talking constantly about how good it is for his digestive system and how if he has enough of it for long enough, eventually it might heal his gut and he might be free of his food allergies.

Tonight he said, "If I have green juice, will I be able to have dairy one day?"

"It's a possibility," I said. It heals your gut and it gives your body good stuff. If you drink enough for long enough, and if you eat the food I give you, it could just work long term."

"You know," he said, "I'm kind of used to the juice now."

I nearly fell off my chair.

"Really?"

"Yes. I'm kind of used to the taste."

There's definitely hope. Here's to the year of food and green juice in our house. If it works, I'll be a happy woman. 

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