Shut Up & Eat

As children, we would be told to "Shut up and eat!" fairly often around the dinner table. My dad had little patience with the four of us yammering and bickering loudly while he was trying to eat what was generally his first meal of the day. So eventually, we just abandoned the dinner table all together. It was easier to eat in our various rooms, coffee tables, recliners... as long as we were quiet. This is now a huge joke in my family... we are all constantly always telling each other to shut up and eat!

My dad & me @ a summer BBQ in like 2009.

Why am I telling you this? You might have noticed that I mentioned dinner being (sometimes) my dad's first meal of the day. Crazy, right? My dad has always been a very hard worker. When I was growing up we didn't have the most money... sometimes we didn't even have any money. I remember my dad spending days at work, working hard around the house when he came home, and always being the last person to eat dinner. My dad would always make sure we had enough food on our plates, and our mom, before he would even think about making his. He's still this way... and now my parents have plenty, there is always plenty to eat.

Senior Picture... 1982 I think.
My dad's hard working lifestyle has led him to some awful eating habits. I made pizza (not the healthiest, but hey, its both our favorite!) for dinner the other night. While we were eating, my dad told me all he'd had all day before that was a Little Debbie cake. This is typical. My dad doesn't drink much (sometimes a beer with dinner, or on a hot day... and on family BBQ days), but he does smoke. I'm not sure how much he smokes anymore, but as a kid I'd say he went through a pack a day, maybe. I don't even really know if thats a lot or a little for a normal smoker. Anyway, after we were finished eating, I was kind of joking with my dad about his eating habits... and I said, "Let me plan and prepare your meals for an entire week! You'll feel so much better by the end of the week, I promise!"

My dad is often tired (he works a lot and hard and has his entire life), but I think that much of that could be alleviated by a better diet. After a little joking around (he pretty much thinks my quest to be healthy and fit is a waste of time and/or lame... in a really loving way haha), he agreed. My mom doesn't really eat very well, either... but she hates anything that isn't cereal so this experiment was a no-go with her. While its not something she wants to participate in, she was super encouraging about my dad letting me have control over his nutrition for a week.

I thought and thought about names for this project. "Project Prolonging Dad" was something I really almost chose. I am so terrified of the day my dad isn't with me anymore. We were not always very close while I was growing up. That may or may not be typical of fathers and daughters. In my adult life I have come to realize exactly everything I missed out on, and I think my dad does, too. We both make more of an effort at our relationship now, and I value his opinion on things more than he probably knows. Maybe he shouldn't know, my dad is kind of cocky (this might be an inherited trait) and I hate hearing "I told you so." That is why this project is so important to me... maybe it will show him that real food can taste good, and it can be easy to prepare. I hope that this will prolong my dad's time on earth with me, my mom, my siblings, and my children. We'll see.

Olivia & Gramps go for a ride... summer 2010

This week of complete nutritional will occur June 17-24. Between now and then I will develop a meal plan for my dad and share it, share recipes, and a few other details. During the week I'll post updates, recipes, photos, and share with you my dad's reactions to the different foods he will be trying. I have 10 planned posts, and I am sure I'll be inspired along the way!

If you could take control of your loved ones' nutrition for a week, what do you think you would do? How would you react? How do you think your family would react? I am so excited and I can't wait to embark on this crazy journey with my dad, and my readers. Even if he hates everything (he won't!), it will be something fun for us to look back on.

Gramps & Sophie Christmas 2011


  1. That's awesome that he's game for this! Hope it goes well and you can convince him it's for the better in the end. My dad is the same way, but he tries to be healthier. I give him an A for effort, but he's far from it. I can't wait to see how the project goes. You are such an inspiration to my family.

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  3. I want to do this for my mom too. She shares your father's passion for little debbie cakes, and it would take some really serious tricking to pull some nutrition over on her.


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