I'll share the food-related stuff here, even though this is gradually transitioning from being a food blog to another thing altogether.
I consider myself to be a 'naturally' healthy eater now in the sense that I don't really enjoy the foods that you are 'supposed' to enjoy, like fast food and very rich desserts. But I have to admit this is less discipline than a reflection of both genetic and environmental tendencies. Unlike Frank Bruni writes so movingly in his autobiography Born Round, I never had a bottomless appetite as a small child. Far from it--Bruni writes about crying out for a third hamburger as a toddler, I remember looking at kids who ordered two hot dogs and thinking why would they want to do that? It took years of being forced to clean my plate that I picked up on the idea that quantity=quality.
Not that I had very healthy tastes when I was small--I wouldn't eat a vegetable at gunpoint as a kindergartener and would happily have lived on pancakes, sugary cereals, Happy Meals, and desserts. But my appetite was pretty tiny--I liked little bits of calorie-dense foods, which is pretty typical for a kid.
I also liked to recreate feasts I saw on TV or in books, either Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving menu or Ramona Quimby's nearly-disastrous homemade dinner. This was less about hunger than theatrics. In fact, as a kid, I don't ever remember being really hungry--ever.
I wasn't overweight for many years of my childhood and adolescent life at all. But it was still obviously difficult for me to resist cultural pressures to view broccoli as punitive and French fries as pleasure, even though eating that way was anything but pleasurable in the way it prevented me from enjoying myself in a physical manner.
So what have I learned in all these years as an eater? I guess just to eat what I crave--but as an adult I have learned to crave food that genuinely makes me feel good as well as taste good. Like good cheese rather than store-bought birthday cake.
Of course, that is what this Schoolhouse Rock-style PSA for kids counseled me all those years ago, in-between my Saturday morning quality cartoon-viewing time, between the Smurfs and Dungeons and Dragons.
It's only taken me half a lifetime to learn that lesson so for those of you who are optimistic that healthy eating campaigns directed at children can silence the Siren song of Oreos, my experience isn't that instructive. But in my defense as a slow learner, 80s PSAs also counseled that freezing orange juice in an ice try with toothpicks stuck in the middle of them was just as tasty as a Jell-O pudding pop and that bills on Capital Hill passed quite easily and cheerfully.