Cutting Out the “Vile Swill”

It’s happened twice now with our children– we take one of them in for a 5- or 6-year well-child appointment, and our pediatrician starts asking them about their diets and talking nutrition.  She talks about fruits and veggies and protein and, then, at the end, she reminds them not to drink very much soda.  And my kids?  Respond with, “we don’t drink soda– it would make us sick!”


Now.  Neither I nor my husband has EVER told our children that “soda will make them sick.”  We have not described it as poison or swill or nasty or anything like that.  In fact, my husband is a fairly regular soda drinker and I have some occasionally.  They’ve seen that and they’ve asked about it.  What we DO tell our kids?  “Soda isn’t a good choice for a drink.  It doesn’t hydrate your body as well as water and it doesn’t have the nutrients of milk.  It’s sweet and sugary and can hurt your teeth.  Lots of people who start drinking it, like Daddy, have a hard time stopping because they get used to that sweet taste.”


And we leave it at that.  The result?  Our kids don’t want to drink it.  I’m not saying there will never come a time that they want to try it but, for now, we have a 2yo, 6yo, and 7yo who never touch the stuff– and not because we’ve told them they can’t.  Our words make sense to them and they believe us.  It’s that simple.


I think it’s interesting to compare that to one of my six-year-old’s sweet little friends.  Her mom preaches the evils of soda, sugar, and non-organic produce to anyone within ear-shot, but then admits she “sneaks” her Diet Cokes on the side.  And her daughter?  Has managed to “sneak” diet coke at birthday parties– at least twice I’ve seen it.  (She’s really pretty sly– there’s a little part of me that has to respect that. ;))


Some of this is just personality.  I’m not saying that, were this little girl my daughter, she might not be doing the same thing.  Could very well be!  But I also think that, perhaps, it’s also an indication that my children are very much like their mama.


I’ve made some significant, though gradual, changes in how I eat and drink over the past few years.  I’ve totally cut out margarine and corn oil, added in coconut oil, and embraced more butter.  I’ve stopped eating just the egg whites and added fat back into my milk.  I quit diet soda and added more whole-wheat flour into my baking.  There’s more, but that’s a quick rundown.  And I’ll tell you this– I’ve learned a lot from and made many decisions based upon articles and testimonials from other bloggers, nutritionists, and mommies.


Some words that I have heard but which have NEVER inspired me to make a change?

  • “poison”
  • “vile”
  • “swill”
  • “make you fat”
  • “make you sick”
  • “ruin your life”
  • “stupid/ignorant/foolish/etc”
  • “horrible/terrible/disastrous/etc”
  • “worthless/junky/useless”


Some words that HAVE inspired me to tweak my diet?

  • “nutrient-dense”
  • “feel stronger”
  • “more energy”
  • “feel healthier”
  • “simple/basic/intended”
  • “happy/glowing/satisfied/nourished/etc.”


Do you see?  Do you see the difference?  I think I’m either immune to scare tactics or I’m just too stubborn to listen when someone tries to play the superiority card.  And I’m learning that my kids are very much like me.


How about you?  Have you made any changes to how you eat/drink?  What or who inspires you?

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7 comments to Cutting Out the “Vile Swill”

  • Such a good statement of being truthful with our children. My husband and I are very intentional in what we tell our children about sugary/unhealthy foods, but it doesn’t stop there. This same mentality applies to other things and areas of life, as well. Alcohol, drugs and guns are a few that I can think of. I was raised with a healthy view and respect of all of these things, rather than the “preachy” view and feel like I have made the choices I have from education on the subject rather than from scare tactics.

    This post is a great reminder to us all to think through what and why we tell our children the things we do.

    • Yes! I totally agree, Laura, about honest education rather than scare tactics. I don’t want my children to have irrational fears or unnecessary temptations. Being truthful and upfront– without going overboard– is a healthy way to achieve that, I believe.

  • Hooray for your kids! I always hear that the people who grew up really rigid about sweets seem to have the hardest time practicing self control when the opportunity presents itself. I tried to be much more like how you handle things, but my husband and the grandparents thwarted me at every turn. SO I just aim for making sure they balance all the vile swill with plenty of nutritionally dense things too.
    (My MIL actually hands over her espresso filled frappachino to my 4 year old then 10 minutes later is upset he’s not minding well….hello????)

    • It is HARD when you have family who goes against your wishes. I remember when A. was only one and he toddled over and reached for my SIL’s big styrofoam cup. She made no move to stop him and, in fact, held it out for him. “Wait! What’s in there?” I asked. “It’s just Sprite,” she insisted. I was pretty horrified, to be honest! Very, very luckily for me, my MIL had the experience of in-laws going against her wishes when she was a young mother and, as a result, she has always supported us at every turn.

  • mlearley

    We aren’t super rigid on sweets but I do try to really limit it in her drinks. My daughter has tried soda (my husband drinks one a day) and she called it yucky, so we’re sticking with that! ;c)

  • 2 of my kids LOVE soda and will drink it at every opportunity even though we rarely have it in the house. 2 of my kids hate the stuff and refuse it every time. I don’t get it, I just wish my 2 that love it would quit loving it LOL.

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