Interview With a Smart Mom

Kelly Corbet

We previously featured a fantastic website, Smart Foods Healthy Kids, right here. The following is a interview with the CEO/Chief of Belief Kelly Corbet.

What inspired you to start
My oldest son was sick and obviously in pain when he first arrived. We went to several doctors, but none seemed to be able to help. So, I did what I’ve seen so many mothers do since: I searched for answers to make my baby better. I discovered that, for him, it was all about food! Once I changed our diets (he was nursing), life improved dramatically. Strangers in similar situations started calling (having heard through the grapevine), asking how to help their own sick kids. Before I knew it, I was teaching classes. Having run an international environmental consulting firm, I know way too much about chemicals to feel good about getting too many in and on kids, so, of course, I share that info with other moms, as well! What continues to inspire me is watching kids get better. In a way, we were lucky to have an “immediate feedback loop” for my son. He’d eat a cracker and throw up, so the connection was easy. For parents of kids with everything from ADHD, to asthma, to eczema, to Celiac disease, to you name it, dot-connecting can be more complex. But I’ve witnessed amazing results when moms start feeding their kids whole, fresh foods bodies were meant to eat. I’d even call some changes “miracles!” :)

The site obviously focuses on kids, how do you get your own kids excited about eating healthy and taking care of the planet?
In our house, healthy is just what we eat. And since every kid loves a cookie or cake, I try to make healthier versions for my own kids. I never want them to feel like they are “missing out” because of their healthy diet. I’ve noted in my own life how force creates resistance.

Probably the biggest factor in my kids’ healthy diet is the input they have. I try to empower them by having them help me prepare meals, and take them shopping with me. I give them choices, and if they want cookie dough for breakfast, that’s fine—healthy in fact, given the way I make it!  (See Kelly’s Cookie Dough recipe below).

Of course, the rest of the world doesn’t eat like us…yet! And I don’t want our kids thinking other people are “wrong.” We are all on different paths, and I let our children know that for our own family, we eat the perfect things for us.

I noticed you have written a book, “Love Lessons From My Mom,” any plans to write a second?
Oh yes! I’ve just got to put the final touches on my cookbook. I call it a “cookbook,” but it’s a mixture of food, philosophy and public policy…sort of like our website!

What are some plans for Smart Foods Healthy Kids for 2008?
Since creating healthier kids is our NUMBER ONE GOAL, we hope to increase the volume of people who have access to this information…I would love to expand my website shows and create a network TV show. We are also going to extend the expert profile on our website. We have a fabulous pediatrician from New York who will be contributing regular insights, and even now, we have interviews up with the most impressive and inspiring dietician I’ve ever met!

Do you have a favorite recipe and, if so, what is it?
There’s a joke in our house about my “favorite recipe,” because it changes every week! I develop new recipes pretty much every time I cook, which offers lots of opportunity for new “favorites.” Last weekend I made oat scones with Meyer lemons, and they now top my list (I’ll have the recipe up on the website soon!)

Also, I’m a very seasonal/fresh chef. Summertime favorites include lots of tomatoes and fresh fruits, while winter cravings have much more to do with kabocha squash and thick, hot soups.

What are some easy first steps you can recommend to a Mom, or anyone, who is just getting started in creating healthy food and a healthy home?
First, take baby steps. I’ve seen people get super excited in my classes, and want to change EVERYTHING! RIGHT AWAY! when they get home. I don’t recommend that. Those other people they live with might be shell-shocked and form a mutiny! If they’ve breakfasted on sugar-coated hydrogenated crunchies every day of their life, hot quinoa with agave, and real blueberries might send them to the opposing corner. (Of course, once people start eating the healthy stuff, their taste buds and bodies rarely let them slide back into the fastfood netherworld!)

Second, educate and ask. I suggest moms educate kids on why they’re making the changes. Let them know about hydrogenated oil and genetically modified foods. I’ve been surprised by what great healthiness advocates kids become. Once they know a little “something more,” ask them what they want for dinner/lunch/snack…Most mothers are impressed at how responsibly healthy kids can be! Finally, don’t be overwhelmed (review the first step!). Even Ghandi didn’t make life changes overnight… Just start where you are, and do what you can do. If your family never ate anything resembling a veggie, and now they eat carrots and apples, that’s a HUGE improvement!

Any other little tidbits to share?
Most improvements we make in our diets are likely to positively impact the planet, too. If people eat meat, and start eating only grass-fed meat, not only will they get more vitamins and minerals from their steak, they will help reduce the current dependence on big cattle lot systems (HUGE sources of pollution!) Or, if people start eating more organic foods, they can be sure that there will be fewer chemical remnants on the planet because of their food choices. Don’t worry about getting it “perfect.” Just focus on improvement…at Smart Foods Healthy Kids, we call it getting on the “Good Better Best Path,” and anywhere you’re on it must be the perfect place for you!

Kelly’s Cookie Dough

Active Work Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 40 smallish cookie dough balls
No dairy, eggs, gluten, or soy

2 cups raw macadamia nuts 
1 cup raw sunflower seeds or brazil nuts
1/4 cup xylitol (or more, if you like)
3 packets stevia
1/2 cup raw cocoa (or cacao) nibs (available in health food stores)

how to make it

  1. Blend all but cocoa nibs in food processor. When smooth, add nibs and process until nibs are the size you like best (bigger nibs seem more like chocolate chips).
  2. Either serve in a big bowl with lots of spoons (to insure no double dipping), or roll into dainty little balls, and serve.

Kelly says:
This might be my kids’ favorite recipe to help make and eat! They can pretty much help on every level since there are no knives and no heat!

Posted in Interviews,Recipes by Liz on February 4, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

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