On her Instagram account @Just.Ingredients, Latter-day Saint mom Karalynne Call shares helpful information about healthy living and is followed by over 250 thousand accounts. Her own health journey began as a search to find healing from suicidal depression, but upon finding healing in her own life, Call couldn’t keep the information she was learning to herself. Still, she is a big believer that it is not healthy to live in extremes. On this week’s episode, All In host Morgan Jones spoke with the mother of six about how she works to help her children develop a healthy relationship with food.
Morgan Jones:I read a frequently asked questions spot on your website, and you were asked, "What do you do when your kids get junk food from friends, parties, or events?" And you replied, "There's no reason to demonize food. I don't like living in extremes. If I never allowed them to have it, I could be teaching them things that could build a negative relationship with food. I feed them the best possible way I know how in my home. I try to buy the better choice when given the option, but when they enjoy a treat with friends or at school, they enjoy it and we move on. Kids will recognize how junk food makes their body feel." How would you sum up, Karalynne, the healthy mentality as it relates to food? Because I was just telling a friend yesterday that the biggest thing that helps me in eating is I ask myself, "How am I going to feel after I eat this?" And I love that you emphasize that your kids will notice the way that they feel being different. So how do you kind of cultivate that healthy mentality in your home? You're the mother of six kids.
Karalynne Call: So like you said, I don't like to live in extremes, and I don't like to teach the kids extremes. If I'm always saying, "Oh, that's bad, that's bad, that's bad," then they're going to get a negative attitude towards food and a negative attitude of as to what they can eat and what they can't eat. And so instead, we try to do a really positive attitude in our home as, "Look at all this great food God has given us. He has given us whole food ingredients that heal us and help us and nourish us and make us strong." And so I do tell them, like, "It's okay to eat a treat here and there, or if you're given a treat at school, because it's somebody's birthday, it's fine." What I do try to teach them is, God gave us a great detox or in our body—it's called your liver. And if your liver isn't overburdened with so many toxins, it will do its job. So I feel like if I'm feeding them healthy in the home and cooking good dinners and providing good snacks, and we don't have a lot of toxins in our air and water and things like that in our home, then their livers are not overburdened. And so they can go enjoy a treat and it's not going to affect them that much. Now, if they ate pizza and birthday cake all day long, are they going to feel sick? Absolutely, just like anybody. And so they know that they've been taught that we eat whole food ingredients and good foods and we can enjoy a treat here and there. But to eat that all the time would make you feel really not good. And as they get older, as the teenagers get older, they actually can notice what makes them feel good and what doesn't. And so in fact, my 15-year-old is really good about it. If he has a few sugary snacks or something, he'll be like, "Oh, my stomach hurts," or, "I've got a headache. I don't really feel good." And it's good for kids to realize on their own what makes them feel yucky and what makes them feel good.
MJ: Right. Because I think that that can backfire, having such a health-conscious environment in the home, it can backfire to the point, like you said, where they have an unhealthy relationship with food. And I've seen that in people around me, where it's like, their families were so healthy that then it becomes an unhealthy environment.
KC: Because then they feel like they can't ever get it at home or somewhere, so they sneak out to try to get it. Oh, there's so many things. I mean, if you started trying to teach macros and calorie counting to them and all these other things, it just becomes this extreme diet. And I don't want it to be a diet. It's a way of life. And I actually try to teach them gratitude for it as well. God gave us these things, let's be grateful for these things that nourish our bodies. And let's not be ashamed of what we're eating but grateful for it. See how it makes your body feel great, and you're full of energy and you're strong and can work hard because of these good, nourishing foods that God has given us.