Eileen Dolbeare is passionate not just about feeding her family healthy foods. She is dedicated to truly educating her young children about whythey should choose fresh fruits, veggies and other minimally processed foods. Read on to learn how Eileen approaches health and wellness as a busy mom of three and celebrate her successes on her family’s journey to instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Q: Why did you decide to sign up for the LiveWell Moms program?

A: I looked into becoming a LiveWell Mom after a friend of mine told me about it. I like the idea of a mom brigade changing the way we feed, educate and market to children and ourselves.

Q: Describe where you are personally on your journey to health and wellness?

A: In the last three months, I have made a strong commitment to health. I started seeing a nutritionist to refine and optimize my diet. It’s a privilege to know the foods that make me feel healthiest and those that don’t.

It’s also been a real education. The nutritionist has taught me what to eat, how to cook and what to look for in a whole food diet. It’s really transformed every meal I eat and how I feel. I feel great!

Q: Describe where your family is currently on its journey to health and wellness?

A: Feeding children well is a daily balance. My husband and I do our best to provide organic, minimally processed foods for the kids. I cook at home almost every night. We grow an extensive vegetable garden each year, and we actively engage the kids in preparing, seeding, sowing and growing. I have three sons, each with his own quirky eating habits – one will barely eat meat due to taste and his moral concerns; one is a carb and dairy fiend; and the other has a tendency not to eat enough. I try every day to provide them with diversity for their tastes and nutrition. However, one big change is that I am no longer a “short-order cook,” and I make only one meal for everyone to eat. I used to cater to all of their preferences, and it was making me nutty at dinnertime. The goal for us now is to increase their intake of greens!

Q: What motivates you to promote healthier eating and more active living?

A: Healthy eating and active living are the keys to a long, happy life. It’s simple. There’s no big secret. It’s just a way to give yourself and your family the best life possible.

Q: Why do you believe it is important to instill healthy habits in children starting at a young age? 

A: What you eat from the earliest ages affects your body. We have one body, and we have to try and nourish it right from the start. Educating our children about good food helps them understand that each bite can help or hinder their health. I love when my four year-old holds up an apple or a sandwich and asks, “How many grams of health are in this?” It’s his sweet way of trying to distill what we teach him, but he also recognizes that all food is not created equal.

Q: How concerned are you about obesity rates in Colorado and across the nation? Do you believe that individuals, especially moms, have the power to make a positive impact on reducing obesity rates? 

A: I think we should all be concerned about obesity from the oldest of us to the youngest. No one wants to struggle with obesity on any level – from the physical challenges to the emotional hardships. If we raise consciousness about the ills of our modern diets – including processed foods, GMOs, high-sugar intake, preservatives, dyes – we can change the American food system. Changing what food is available to us will help us tackle obesity rates.

Q: What special healthy efforts are you making with your family that are working really well?

A: We try to buy organic, local food. That inherently makes me feel better about what we’re eating. Label reading has also provided a huge boon in good decision-making. My middle son is the most candy crazy, but ever since I showed him that most candy only includes dyes, high-fructose corn syrup and chemicals, he actually declines when someone offers him some. That’s a small miracle.  

Q: How do you try to make a difference in your child’s health and wellness at their school? In your community? 

A: We were involved in the kids’ garden club last year, and they loved it. We cultivated vegetable and flowers. They really reveled in using the tools like clippers, rakes and trowels, because it made them feel independent and “grown up.” They also liked sampling things like miniature watermelons that had the most concentrated flavor.

We are also part of the Boulder Valley School District and the School Food Project, so our kids eat a really healthy meal every day designed by Chef Ann Cooper, who is known as “The Renegade Lunch Lady.” There’s a daily salad bar and fruit and there’s absolutely no processed food. In the school lunch promotion, Chef Cooper emphasizes the Harry S. Truman quote, "No nation is healthier than its children or more prosperous than its farmers."

If we feed children better at school, they will be healthier, perform better academically and have less behavioral issues.

Q: Why would you encourage other moms to become part of this grassroots ambassador program? 

A: I used to work for the world hunger organization, Heifer International. Across the globe in every country, women have two main priorities for their children – their health and education. As mothers, the best way to ensure the success, happiness and well being of our children is to feed them well and educate them about how to eat in a modern food system that has literally broken down. It’s the very best we can do for our children.

Q: What do you consider some recent “successes” in making healthy changes?

A: My kids actually decline food with high fructose corn syrup and dye even if it’s the most tempting technicolored candy you can imagine!

Q: What piece of advice have you been given – or given to others – that has made an impact in your efforts to live a healthier life?

A: I read a line from a book of food essays called “Feed Me,” edited by Harriet Brown that said, "In modern-day America, feeding yourself is an act of bravery."

It's bravery. Certainly with mercury, salmonella, processed food and an endless barrage of bad choices, there is a need for biting bravely.

It's also about perseverance. Give kids and yourself the best you can, every time. There are always setbacks and recipes for disaster. You just have to educate the carnivore and redirect the sugar fiend. A lot.

Breathe deeply. Start over. And over. And over.