Interview with Randi Lee Levin
Love More, Feed Less: A Tasty Path Toward Avoiding Childhood Obesity
The Muffin Lady Inc. (2010)
Reviewed by for Reader Views (11/10)
Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is pleased to interview Randi Lee Levin, who is here to talk about “Love More, Feed Less: A Tasty Path Toward Avoiding Childhood Obesity.”
Randi Levin was raised in Philadelphia and introduced to the preparation of good food in her grandmothers’ kitchens long before she entered school. While in high school, she began acquiring the skills necessary for helping others at an in/out-patient mental health clinic in Philadelphia, a facility she would return to for training and employment. Equipped with a passion, dedication, and a natural instinct for helping others, she went on to become highly educated and trained as a teacher and mental health professional. Many years were occupied helping children and families overcome obstacles related to learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, eating disorders, emotional traumas, or just common childhood confusions related to growing up healthy and wise.
In the early 1990s, residing in the mountains of Colorado, Randi’s life and career changed in a moment due to a medical condition. Yet, she never gave in; instead, she found another way to help others through the goodness of homemade food and her cookbooks, “Baking at High Altitude” and “Sharing Mountain Recipes.”Today, she is an internationally awarded culinary author and publisher who believes that knowledge and good food should be shared, and that helping others is a gift. Because, her passion for helping remains strong, she often reflects on the lessons students and clients taught her to help guide her eternal path to help them and their parents make the best choices they can for health, wellbeing, and life.
Tyler: Welcome, Randi. I’m really interested in learning more about the philosophy behind your book. For starters, how do you define “Love More, Feed Less”? Is it fair to say it’s a cookbook?
Randi: Hi, Tyler. My inspiration came from the kids, and a desire to help parents help their children avoid the development of a lifetime illness, social abuse, and the poor self-image simply from being severely overweight and obese. So yes, this is a cookbook since scrumptious recipes are shared to offer support to parents when beginning to introduce more flavorful, healthful foods to their family. Yet know that the pages offer much more than just recipes! My philosophy is simple:
Knowing that Love is the most powerful entity on earth, I ask parents of potentially overweight and obese kids to love them more, by feeding them less large servings, less second servings, and less salty, fatty, sugar-infused prepackaged, previously prepared and fast food. Then ultimately they can avoid raising severely overweight, obese, and potentially ill kids. Hence, love them more, feed them less.
Tyler: Obviously, childhood obesity has become a big problem in America. Why do you think your book can help to stem that problem?
Randi: Throughout the pages, I offer a more realistic approach to handling a very real problem. As a professional, experienced with working with children and parents, I believe that childhood obesity can be avoided if parents become more involved in what kind and how much food their kids eat, as well as what they do to fill empty time. I don’t feel that eliminating sweets or counting calories and nutrients is the answer, as the last thing parents would want for their children is an obsession with or against food. After all, food should be enjoyed, not obsessed over.
Also encouraging children to get some physical activity into their daily routines can be more positive than moms and dads may think and does not always involve playing sports. My experiences with kids and parents has shown me that with the parents’ help and dedication, raising severely overweight and obese kids really can be avoided before it gets out of control.
Yet I know that sometimes parents need a little bit of help and positive support when raising kids and making changes. So filled with a pinch of knowledge and lots of experience, I walk them along a tasty path, helping them instill moderate changes in daily eating and behavioral habits—one step at a time. Plus, I offer parents a win-win response when family members first begin to whine, complain, or comically threaten that they are starving! After all, it’s awfully hard to argue with love!
Tyler: But are kids going to want to eat the food you suggest in the book?
Randi: Tyler, I happen to have been and still am one of the fussiest eaters of all time. Just ask a few dear friends who have had the pleasure of watching me pick at my dish or tweak a restaurant’s menu item to my preference. Hence, I offer parents variations to my recipes so they may prepare them according to family preferences. And instead of promoting “healthy foods,” I suggest making them fun and tasty; i.e. “Zip Itty Doo Dah Breads” is much more fun than Strawberry Yogurt Bread; plus the title alone is guaranteed to bring a smile. Sometimes, when a child likes a food, that’s all that matters—when they grow up and ask for a favorite recipe or three, then they’ll find out that it was a healthy food.
Don’t you know, homemade food produces memories of fun times, flavors, and succulent fragrances, while a manufacturer’s food just gets eaten?
Tyler: Beyond recipes, can you sum up for us the purpose of your book? What do you hope parents will realize after reading your book?
Randi: Tyler, this book was written for one reason—to help parents help their children live more fulfilling lives, rather than ones burdened by too much excess weight, associated illnesses, and social abuses! My hope is to teach parents that avoiding raising overweight potentially obese children is easy with love, dedication, and a smidgen of effort. Also, that healthful foods do not need to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult; in fact, when a parent stops relying on large servings and a manufacturer to feed their kids, they not only save money, but they may be enhancing their child’s physical, mental, and emotional health, rather than unconsciously damaging it. And just maybe, they’ll pick up on the healing benefits that only Mother Nature’s goodness can provide, for example how almonds can temper crankiness, or how a slice of cucumber can temporarily heal the itch/swelling of a bug bite.
Tyler: What specifically would you say is the overall theme of “Love More, Feed Less”?
Randi: The deliciously priceless and memorable fresh flavors of Homemade Love.
Tyler: Randi, I understand your interest in cooking began while you were a little girl watching your grandmother baking. What would your grandmother say about your book, do you think?
Randi: She’d love it, and burst with pride, just because I cared enough to do it! She’d also tell me I was “a good girl.” Then she’d tell me to follow my heart—as she always did!!
Tyler: Our grandmothers’ generation was known for expressing love through food. I assume your book title reflects how we have to change that mindset?
Randi: Not at all; just the opposite, I believe homemade food is an offering of love and that part of the problem is the convenience of fast food, previously prepared food and prepackaged food available everywhere and anywhere these days! When I was a kid, frozen prepackaged dinners were only served when Mom/Dad was ill, out to dinner, or on vacation and a babysitter had to feed us dinner or call out for delivery pizza. And going to a fast food place was a special treat, not a weekly or bi-weekly event. Sure we had cheap and easy foods back then too, but for some reason, parents either knew or suspected that although easier, these boxed, bagged and frozen foods cost them more; thus, they only purchased them when necessary (Mom and Dad going out on Saturday night). While today we have grown so accustomed to pulling into the “drive-thru lane” and opening a box or bag to feed our family with, that some have forgotten the past benefits and ease of home cooking.
Sure, too many homes have both parents working these days, and rather than incomes going up, most are currently going stable or down. Yet homemade foods, just like in the old days, are just as easy to prepare in a short amount of time, as they were long ago. The only difference is that too many parents prefer the ease of opening a can, bag or box, without realizing that homemade foods commonly cost less, are definitely healthier and much more flavorful. Parents need to keep this in mind, especially when grocery shopping, for often it’s too easy to forget that manufacturers are in the biz of advertising and selling the ease of their products, not raising kids.
Tyler: While we can certainly cook healthy food, I think it’s the baking that gets in our way—I know I love cookies, brownies, pie, and cake. I assume you have recipes for healthy baked goods as well?
Randi: You bet I do—not too many, just the right amount. Sweets and treats are a part of being a kid, and prohibiting these childhood favorites can backfire. For instance, years ago I met a mom whose kids were looking into my basket of treats, with a yearning in their eyes. Mom said “No, my kids don’t eat sugar.”
Well, a couple of weeks later, I saw her kids at a child’s birthday party; mom was not there, and you can bet these two kids ate everything sweet they could get their hands on, including stuffing candy in their pockets.
Besides, a sweet treat every now and then is fine; it’s the amount eaten that needs to be controlled. Such as, cookies are okay in limited servings, but two or three cookies is an adequate serving per day, not per meal. Or, a baked treat (made with healthful ingredients) is fine, but only one baked good a day, not a muffin or toaster bar for breakfast, cookies with lunch, and cake for dessert, particularly when a child is not active and just sits around. Plus, when you prepare your own baked treats and/or chocolate candies, you get to add healthful fruits and even veggies to the product; hence no excuse for not getting enough fruits and veggies into their diets. Parents just need to get a bit more creative with food while promoting some physical activities so childhood obesity can be avoided!
Tyler: I understand you have lots of experience helping parents and children with weight issues. Can you tell us a little about those experiences?
Randi: Throughout many years, I worked in public schools, special-ed schools, RCCF’s, and in-patient facilities, and with a diversity of kids suffering from various disorders, including many with weight issues. Some were very large and flabby and constantly ridiculed for fun by their peers, while others were sadly depleting all nutrients and life from their bodies by binging and purging or starving themselves. Yet those most affected by weight issues, appeared quite secure on the outside, but very lonely and insecure on the inside, as if they were screaming for attention—positive or negative.
However, I also got to work with some developmentally disabled kids, some who found too much comfort in sugars and fats.
Before giving you a couple of examples, the one thing I learned is that the relationship between food and some children is complex, and that it is up to the parents to make some positive changes for the benefit of their child’s health, as a child needs and depends on them whether they know it or not.
Years ago, I had a Down Syndrome student who was overweight, not severely but the potential was there. Needless to say, her mom was a bit heavy and once this child had to leave school (at twenty-one years old) both she and her mom began to overeat junky, comforting foods regularly, and my student gained over fifty pounds, was diagnosed with Diabetes, and on two shots of expensive insulin a day as a result.
Needless to say, once I ran into these two at the local Rec center, I immediately noticed the weight gain and went right back into the role of teacher, by sitting mom down for a chat, and talking with my prior student. All, I really said was that if she “wants to get off those nasty needles, then she has to give up soda pop, potato chips, and go for a walk with Mom each and every day unless it is raining.”
The look on her face was horrified! And she looked down upon me pleading with her eyes—but I reminded her—“it’s the needles or the soda and chips—you’re a big girl now so you have to choose.”
And I told both of them that I would share a couple of recipes for homemade soda and potato chips, but to remember limited servings and only once a day, if not every other day!
The result of this conversation: four months later, not only had this former student dropped forty pounds, but she was off of those nasty needles.
Another case: A little boy about ten years old was chubby and I always saw him in a local convenience store, buying lots of candy, some chips or Cheetos and fruit flavored water or soda. This kid would empty each of his pockets, searching for change and a couple of dollars to pay for his treats. He wasn’t my student, but a child at the same school, and he didn’t have many friends. His parents weren’t wealthy, but made do just fine. On one of the occasions when I saw his purchase, I saw him getting bullied the next day because he was getting fat! A couple of minutes later, after the bell rang, I was on break, and as I was walking to the teacher’s lounge, I saw this kid sitting in the hall almost crying, playing with his Gameboy as he was eating candy and drinking a large soda in an attempt to comfort his sorrow with food. (This happens much more than parents ever realize!!!!!) Needless to say, I asked him to take a walk with me.
We chatted a little about those bullies and how his response to them only confirmed what they said and made him feel worse. And I asked him what else he could do? He thought, came up with nothing, and then once re-focused, together we came up with a plan. Because his parents left for work early and didn’t come home until after 5:30, we decided that the best way to get back at those kids was to be positive, and that he was going to help the PE teacher set up equipment and stuff for the early morning weightlifters, wrestlers, and football players, and that with his parents’ permission, I would pick him up in the morning if they were to pick him up in the afternoon. Both he and his parents happily agreed! A few months later, some of this kid’s flab turned into muscle, he was happier, his grades were up, and he had developed some friends, and ultimately, those bullies stopped picking on him for being a “Flubber Butt.” Although he still ate some little bits of candy, it was easily worked off by being active.
And still, another kid about thirteen or fourteen, very pretty, smart, seemed secure for a teen and social. Now keep in mind that some kids are consistently concerned about their weight and if they can pinch a ½ inch (not the typical two inches), they think that they are getting fat (boys and girls). Without going into confidential detail, this girl overheard a friend of her mom’s say that she was getting a little chubby. Just overhearing the words “getting chubby” caused other issues to come to the surface eventually. But before they came out, this child began to see herself as fat, so she began to starve herself in an attempt to lose weight. The more she refused to eat, the more fat she distortedly began to see in the mirror and the less and less she ate, to the point where she ended up in an in-patient facility because she had developed Anorexia Nervosa and was dying from starvation as a result.
Tyler: Thank you for all the examples, Randi. To what degree do you think anorexia and body image issues are serious or prevalent among children compared to obesity? Would you say your book offers a balanced alternative to both extremes?
Randi: Childhood obesity and eating disorders are much more related than the media, nutritionists, and culinary professionals may be aware. Both disorders revolve around food, and are devastating to a child’s health, overall well-being, and quality of life. Yet the medicinal issues (diabetes, heart conditions, etc.) related to child obesity take longer to develop, whereas the medicinal issues related to eating disorders can rapidly become more life-threatening, causing children to go on IV’s just to get nutrients into their bodies and prevent death from starvation.
While some overweight kids attribute their excessive weight gain to heredity (everyone in my family is fat) and think they can do nothing about it, which is a false thought, other kids think they can lose weight by not eating, or by eating and then purging (vomiting) the food eaten in an attempt to lose weight and prevent them from becoming obese at least in their minds. Also sometimes parents, wishing to prevent their child from becoming overweight or obese, make too much of an issue about eating only healthy foods and snacks that, unknown to the parents, make the child retaliate by binging on fattening foods.
Tyler, I have said it before, and will again, food should be enjoyed not obsessed over!!!!! Food gives us life, but too much or too little can take life away as well!
Although I am aware that professionals are trying to help and have good intentions when they consistently promote: being and eating healthy, living thinner and happier, telling your children they are gaining too much weight and putting them on a diet, or only serving fruits and veggies as snacks, getting more exercise, counting calories/nutrients, eating this, not that, losing more by eating less, or picturing yourself eating more to eat less, only eating green, thinking thin and healthy, getting rid of the “double digit” clothing sizes, etc., this thinking has become too obsessive and is negatively affecting too many healthy and active kids’ eating habits.
I have no doubt that their intentions are worthy and needed, yet sadly, more and more kids are hearing these messages, and although they are not fat or even overweight, they consciously become obsessed with food and possibly getting fat!
For example: A few months ago while at a doctor’s office, I was telling one of the technicians (whom I have known for years) about this new cookbook. There was a mom there with her little boy, who overheard our conversation and joined in, glad that someone has finally written a healthy, real food cookbook, which allows sweets. She also shared a fear with us—that her little boy of seven has become obsessed with food, activities, and being thin. She quietly let the two of us know that although her little boy is healthy, plays soccer, and is in gymnastics year round, at his birthday party, he refused to eat a piece of his birthday cake, saying and absurdly thinking that one piece of birthday cake would make him FAT!
Children are often suggestible, and when they hear some of these well-intended messages, they run away with them in an effort to be thin, acceptable, and more attractive! Therefore, based on experience, I believe the results of too much focus on “healthy, healthy, healthy,” in an effort to help eliminate childhood obesity, has caused food obsessions in some children, resulting in an enormous recent rise of children suffering from eating disorders. Years ago, the majority of children suffering from such obsessions came from wealthier backgrounds. Yet research has shown that more kids from diverse backgrounds have begun not to eat (Anorexia) in a distorted attempt to avoid becoming obese by being thinner and more socially acceptable; or they begin to eat whatever and how much they want emotionally to fill up something (controlling an out of control feeling/situation that may be missing), and then they throw it up to avoid the weight gain (Bulimia).
So yes, eating disorders and child obesity are entwined in a non-intended sense.
Thus to answer your question, although this cookbook is geared to parents of overweight/potentially obese kids, all parents would benefit from the path and healthful recipes within. In fact, I wrote down a couple of the recipes for the mom previously mentioned, as well as offered her some healthful sweet tips (i.e. dark chocolate and honey is healthy in limited amounts and why), to share with that little guy of hers.
Tyler: Randi, how drastic a change in our eating habits is needed if we want to keep from being obese and raising obese children?
Randi: Tyler these suggested changes are not drastic at all, but it does take a bit of effort and dedication by the parents. Sure some may think more cooking and baking stressful, but it’s not difficult, or too time consuming, especially with a good set of recipes and a desire to help your kids to live better lives! I don’t promote giving up fast food entirely or those quick and easy prepackaged, prepared meals, but I would limit them to once in a while, not regularly. All parents really need to do is first recognize and accept that a problem could exist and then begin to adjust serving sizes accordingly and cook more healthful homemade meals in limited amounts, hence preventing the act of overeating just because there is more food to be devoured. Set some rules around food (such as no eating at the computer or in the bedroom) and follow through, and ultimately, be a good role model, even if that means making sacrifices (giving up soda in exchange for homemade soda with 100% fruit juice) when home with the kids
Sure, at first any change will be challenged, so all parents really need to do is remind each other and their kids that they love them, and that the changes are made so they all have more energy to play and enjoy life with!
Tyler: Randi, how did you get your nickname, The Muffin Lady?
Randi: The long and short of it is a medical diagnosis ended my career with kids. At the time I had several pets; a neighbor watched them while I was in the hospital and wouldn’t let me pay her, so I baked her a batch of cookies. She suggested I market my treats. So I went to my grandmother’s ancient box of treasured recipes, found a few coffeecake and muffin recipes, made them up, and began to go around town selling my treats in different local businesses. The Post Office staff kept requesting this flavor and that, so I made them my “guinea pigs,” letting them sample my newly developed recipes. Needless to say, one morning, one of the men in the back of the PO opened the door when he heard my knock, and hollered “Muffin Lady’s here”!
Soon after, the name spread around town; people started to call me The Muffin Lady and within a year I went legal with it.
Tyler: Now that you run a business, do you find it difficult not to counsel people you meet about their eating habits, or do you find people are more willing to listen to you?
Randi: Good question, so keep in mind that the book is young. Yet once in awhile, if I see a mom at the grocery, and she’s looking at this or that, I might subtly point out that X tastes better, or that Y costs less than Z. Some walk away; some listen when I tell them I’m a culinary person.
But for this new cookbook, some may ignore it since I don’t promote diets or calorie counts, and then others, once they hear that I am also a former teacher and mental health pro, begin to listen and hear the message.
When I speak to groups about High Altitude foods, often I get challenged because they have heard other suggestions. Yet once they take a taste or three, see the results of my recipes, for some reason they keep asking for more!
Yet for this new cookbook, I can only share something that happened yesterday.
I was at a Charter School, talking to some parents about the book and the healthful benefits of home cooking vs. manufacturer’s foods. And two things happened.
- One mom kept telling her thin second grader to sit still. He refused or couldn’t so she got up, grabbed his hand, and began to take him out of the room. I noticed candy falling out of his pocket and asked what kind it was, and how much he had eaten so far that day—that got both of them interested so they sat back down. Evidently, his jacket pocket was filled with diverse candies, and he even offered me a piece. I asked him whether he had ever tasted homemade candy. Of course, he said, “No” and when I told him I had “homemade candy” in my book, all of a sudden I had everyone’s attention.
I also generally asked how many of the kids had to spend too much time in “time-out” because they were too fidgety, and several raised their hands as the parents laughed. So I shared with my audience that some foods induce lack of attention/focus, fidgety behaviors, while others promote attention, calmness, and better grades! And I asked the kids whether they wanted to avoid being in “time-out” so often, and then asked whether Mom/Dad were to make some of the recipes in my book, would they eat them instead of all those prepackaged treats. All of the adults in the room, including me, were a bit taken back as these kids eagerly bobbed their heads up and down with excitement!
2. One mom asked afterwards whether she should put her child on a diet, because almost everyone in her family was big and severely overweight/obese and she didn’t want him to be too. I noticed that her and her child’s bones and basic body size were thick and that her child was already overweight, as was she. So, we spent a few minutes discussing the currently available and served food/beverage choices at home and pointed out that we all are born with different body sizes, and that just because her child inherited big bones and a thicker body size, is not an excuse for overeating, sitting around doing nothing, and raising an obese child. Then I asked her whether she were willing to make some moderate changes at home for the sake of his and her family’s health. (Dad has Diabetes 2). She asked about the candy and was shocked when I told her that a little bit of healthful sweets are okay, just not to be offered in large servings/bowls, and overeaten throughout the day. Needless to say, we talked in detail, and she began to understand, as well as become excited about making changes at home, using love as her guide. Yet I was shocked when she reached out and gave me a “bear hug,” before leaving to get her child from a different room.
Tyler: Randi, I’m intrigued by your homemade candy. What kind of candy exactly are we talking about?
Randi: In the last chapter of “Love More, Feed Less,” I offer a few recipes for healthful sweets, including chocolate and fruity candy. One of them I had always thought was a candy, as they were little, sweet and scrumptious. Years later when I searching for a muffin recipe in my grandmother’s box, I found a Mini Apple Muffin recipe; so I made them. I had no idea that I was preparing a favorite childhood treat, Copper Pennies, something I once thought was candy.
Also, I admit I love chocolate, especially the richer darker varieties—like semi-sweet chocolate chips. Yet, I remember when a candy bar was 25 cents; today that same candy bar costs almost a dollar—much too expensive for my budget. So a few years ago, I thought to myself, hey I can make that for much less, so I did. I worked with kids, so I knew they liked candy, but regular candy bars are ridiculously fattening and only promote lack of ability to remain attentive, and the want for more candy once the sugar rush begins to crash; and I observed and had to deal with it much too often. So I started to make my students/clients homemade chocolate bars, some with fruit, some with nuts, others using pretzels and some with cereal. But I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, containing natural vitamins and much less sugar than milk chocolate. The kids loved them and never knew they were eating a semi-healthful treat!
And because I believe that a little treat (every now and then) is good for the soul (I am a baker), I added the recipes to help parents and kids avoid the cost, sugar rush, cavities, and possible weight gain from devouring too much sugary candy.
Tyler: Randi, what about running your business surprises you most compared to when you first set out just to sell baked goods?
Randi: Tyler, I had no idea on that early spring day back in 1992, when a kind neighbor suggested that I market my baked treats, what the future would bring and that strangers and customers would keep asking for more, and still do almost nineteen years later! I think that is the most surprising part of it all.
Yet, I will share that I am still in awe that I actually wrote and published a cookbook (better yet three), not having a clue what I was doing or getting myself into; I just wanted to share the goodness of homemade food, a few tips on producing them adequately, and fulfill my customers requests for this and that recipe.
However, I will say that my life has been filled with many surprises, including graduating college in three years in the late ’70s, and being told I wasn’t pregnant but that my body was shutting down from a rare disease and brain tumor. BUT, I believe the most surprising experience was entering my first cookbook into some award contest. I didn’t know what contest, just that it was for cookbooks and didn’t have a hefty fee attached. Well, a few months later, I got the most rewarding surprise of my life to date when my cookbook was awarded Best First Cookbook in the (whole wide) World!!! OH my my my!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thus, I never imagined that selling my baked treats locally would ever lead to writing and publishing cookbooks, better yet be a part of the Gourmand’s Family of Best Cookbook Writers in the World.
Tyler: You previously published “Sharing Mountain Recipes.” Will you tell us a little about that cookbook?
Randi: It is a savory collection of generations of requested and shared recipes. Some of the recipes are over 100 years old (gosh they ate good back then); others are more modern, yet none are ridiculously expensive or gourmet in nature. Just everyday, magnificent, homemade flavors! I developed many; others were developed by family members and still more by friends and friends’ parents. Many include adjustments for special dietary needs and the majority are previously adjusted for use at high altitudes, although they do work fine in lower elevations.
Yet Tyler, I wrote it more to share the goodness of homemade love with others; especially with those at a high altitude where baking and cooking can be frustrating because of the thin, dry air. And because I believe that knowledge should be shared to help another, I wrote the “Sharing Cookbook” to share, nothing more or less!
Tyler: Do you have a favorite recipe in “Love More, Feed Less”?
Randi: There are too many to pick from; I can’t just pick one! Maybe the Pom Cherie Smoothie, and the Fruity Cubes are a given!!!!! Possibly the Yeast-less Rolls of Cinn, or Yammin Ham—gosh, they are good, as is my Oodles of Noodles and Zuchles—a personal, soothing delight prepared in minutes! Sorry, I just cannot pick only one!
Tyler: Thank you again, Randi, for the informative interview today. Before we go, will you tell us a little about your website and what additional information we can find there about “Love More, Feed Less”?
Randi: My websites are www.themuffinlady.com and www.lovemorefeedless.com (coming soon!). Just now, some may get confused by my website because it is basically dedicated to high altitude baking and cooking. BUT anyone interested in “Love More, Feed Less,” will find a couple of reviews, as well as a discounted price when ordered directly from me. There are also a few recipes on the site, as well as info on Stocking Up for Health and To Save! However, I do hope to have a blog/website available, specifically for this new cookbook, up, ready and waiting before the end of the year.
Tyler: Thank you, Randi, again for the interview. Best of luck with “Love More, Feed Less” and all your projects, and thank you for doing your part to stop childhood obesity by helping us realize our priorities when it comes to our eating habits.