No need to go whole-hog in making healthier food choices

By Petula Dvorak
Friday, January 29, 2010

One of the first words Nina Elliot wanted her daughter to learn was "hydrogenated."

As in: "No, thank you. I don't eat foods with hydrogenated oil."

Um, okay. So much for "Mama" and "Dada."

"See, we are the weirdos who don't let our kids eat Goldfish crackers," Elliot, 29, explained.

Elliot -- an Arlington personal trainer who looks frighteningly fantastic just a few weeks after giving birth to her second child ("I had him at home! It was amazing!") -- is just the kind of person you don't want to talk to when you know that the bottom of your purse has a fine layer of Goldfish cracker crumbs.

But I also believe wholeheartedly in first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to fight childhood obesity -- one of the few points in the president's State of the Union speech Wednesday that was met with raucous, bipartisan support -- so I thought I should go meet people like Elliot who are at the extreme end of the healthy-eating spectrum.

They are the Holistic Moms Network in Alexandria and Arlington.

And they can be intimidating.

"Oh, Jessica -- she's just terrific. She's all the way. She washes her oatmeal and her beans," Natalie Molfino, 37, told me while we grazed the snack table that included black bean brownies (not so good) and organic chèvre (too good).

Molfino was talking about Jessica Haney, who organized the chapter a year ago after feeling alone and unsupported in her decision to cut sugar, gluten and general junk out of her child's diet.

For Haney, a former English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, the change in philosophy came after dramatic changes in her diet helped cure a host of health problems, including depression, acne and digestive issues.

That's how many folks discover and champion healthy and organic food.

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