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Love Me, Feed Me is here, like sending my first-grader off to school…

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Blog Posts | 8 comments

I am thrilled to announce that my book, Love Me, Feed Me, is available on


“I wish I had read Love Me, Feed Me before we had our son with us. It would have saved us so much worry and heartache. Our family has been transformed by the Trust Model and Dr. Rowell’s practical advice. It felt like she was describing our situation to the letter, when we felt like we were the only ones. This book has helped more than I would have imagined, both with our biological son’s picky eating and our adopted son’s intense interest in food. As a bonus, the practical, science-based information will help me take better care of my patients.”  — Ruth C., adoptive mother and Family Nurse Practitioner


A few weeks ago, I watched my first-grader get on the bus for her first day of school. With joy, sadness, and butterflies in my stomach, I waved and blew kisses (she still likes when I do that) and wondered how she would go out and touch the world. Would she help a Kindergartner find her room, or leave a “heart-print,” as her teacher calls random acts of kindness?

This unveiling of my book feels similar. Hours of research, reading, writing, re-writing, conversations, interviews, reflections on my interactions with my clients and now, here, in my hand is this book. This 1.7 pound book that I have longed to offer to clients and others who need support desperately. Would this book be on-target? (I think so, at a workshop where I took questions for an hour, almost every single question from these adoptive parents was something I covered in the book.) Will it reach others and help parents transform difficult feeding relationships as I hope it will? As I shipped off the pre-orders last week,  I realized I have butterflies for this baby too…

About 18 months ago, I decided to get serious about writing the book when in one day I got calls from  two mothers on opposite sides of the country who had adopted little girls from Ethiopia, had been instructed to limit their intake to “prevent obesity,” and had children who were completely obsessed with food as a result. We’re not talking about hoarding and survival behaviors common when children have experienced food scarcity, but prolonged food obsession due to restriction. (This is something I am seeing increasingly in all of my clients, adopted or not as the worry over “obesity” distorts feeding.) These two families were able to turn things around, but I felt compelled to write down the process, the words from mothers like these as a resource for other parents. I dream that if parents read this book before their children are with them, it may prevent “worry and heartache,” as Ruth experienced.

The book is a practical, relationship-building guide for fostering and adoptive parents, but is appropriate for ALL the families I work with. Ironically, by reaching out to the adoptive and fostering communities, it might make parents of biological children think, “Well, this book isn’t for me because my child isn’t adopted.” I hope not. (I wrote the book in part because I heard many an adoptive parent say, “The Trust Model won’t work for us because my child was adopted…”) Interestingly, many families with both biological and adopted children with whom I work notice that all of their children benefit from the Trust Model. (See

Why I think LMFM is a great resource (if I do say so myself):

  • Lots of parents, with children of all ages, share their triumphs and challenges with feeding. Be inspired by parents who have been there. This book is filled with the wisdom of parents.
  • I bring in a lot of science and the studies that support what I do with clients, but the book is accessible, and even funny at times, so I’m told.
  • It’s user-friendly with a great index so you can find what you need to know now, and then read the rest in all your free time (ha!)
  • It outlines the scary transition, explains emerging skills, deals with common obstacles and pit-falls in an accessible way, helps you trust your instincts, recognize when something is working, and when it is harming (feeding therapies for example).
  • Some folks I really respect have read the book and recommend it. Here is a sampling from the “advance praise” section:

“A must-read for families—especially adoptive ones—but really everyone, because food issues are so rampant today. Rowell tackles the tough issues, and they would have helped my parents when I was adopted and are already helping me with my foster children now . . . This information is desperately needed to help families deal with common challenges that come up involving food. This book shows parents how to build trust and relationships, while avoiding conflict and power struggles.”   — Ashley Rhodes–Courter, bestselling author of Three Little Words

“… Love Me, Feed Me is designed to help families understand and rectify feeding problems commonly encountered in children who suffered early deprivation and is one of the best sources of coherent information on this extremely important topic.”  — Dana E. Johnson, MD, Ph.D, Professor of Pediatrics, International Adoption Medicine Program, University of Minnesota

So, with excitement and anticipation, I put this book out there with hopes that it will help families find their peace and joy at the family table. For the families where individual consultation isn’t an option, I wanted to get down the essence of a healthy feeding relationship, from the philosophical to the day-to-day practical, that I share with my clients.

What are your struggles with feeding and weight worries? What information are you looking for? If you read the book, I’d love to hear from you, what helped, where you needed to hear more. Thank you all for your comments and support over the years. Now go order the book and tell your friends to as well! Just kidding. Kind of 🙂

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  1. Jennifer Hansen

    Speaking of school, today’s local paper ran an article about the ridiculous crap school cafeteria workers have to do in order to get that 6-cent lunch rebate now.

    Take pizza, for example. Every student has to get a slice of pizza tailored to their grade (as if your grade determined your caloric needs and not, oh, I dunno, whether you are currently undergoing a growth spurt, or on the track team, or in the 85th percentile for height). The pizza must must MUST be cut PROPERLY or NO REBATE FOR YOU. Doesn’t seem like a problem for the bigger schools, because you just cut the pizza one way for all your K-5 students, one way for all your 6-8 students, and one way for the high school kids.

    Except that, wow, not everybody goes to an enormous school dedicated to only one class range, because, wow, not everybody lives in urban and suburban areas–whodathunk? Say you have 15 students in the entire building, and those 15 students must all receive only what the new rules allow, and they range from K-12. Suddenly you’re playing pizza Tetris.

    Except that, wow, not every single school in the entire United States organizes itself the way the notional geniuses who laid out this nitwit’s nitpickfest assume. So you have the 8th graders in your large upper-middle-and-high school having to stand in a separate line from the older kids in order to get food. You have to take more time to feed everybody because you can’t possibly give even one 8th-grade kid an extra 50 calories worth of pizza by mistake, because there goes the rebate. Meanwhile the lunch break hasn’t gotten any longer and I strongly doubt that there is extra funding to pay the server at the head of the separate 8th-grade line.

    Except that, gosh, 5th graders, it turns out, are about twice as big as Kindergarteners, and local cafeteria workers have personally seen K students given the mandated portion of food just sit there and not eat because it’s so overwhelmingly big.

    I am so very, very grateful that inflation has not yet eaten away at our income to the point that I have to trade my part-time flex-time job for a full-time job that would make homeschooling my kids impossible. They eat until they are done. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little.

    • katja

      Thanks, yes another thing that maybe didn’t get thought through…

      • Jennifer Hansen

        A follow-up article notes that many students are reporting . . . wait for it . . . hunger.

        Gee. I am just so surprised.

        • Jennifer Hansen

          Aaaamd the news just keeps getting worse.

          A friend of mine has one daughter young enough to go to after-school day care and another old enough for middle school (and therefore feeling the calorie pinch, because she’s headed for six feet or close to it). The family relies on reduced-price meals during the school year.

          The older child has a metabolic(?) issue that impairs her body’s ability to absorb vitamins A, D, and K. She is on very high doses of these vitamins, IIRC parceled out over the course of the day so they don’t hurt her stomach, but vitamin pills alone won’t help her. She has to take them along with, preferably mixed into, the medium into which they best dissolve, to make the best of her body’s limited ability to take them in. That medium is fat, and plenty of it.

          The new rules don’t allow her so much as a glass of full-fat milk at lunch. So she can’t take her vitamins in the most safe and effective way. The USDA, ladies and gents, safeguarding the size of your butt at all costs.

          The younger child goes to a day care with children who have different health issues. One, for example, who has a doctor’s prescription for calorie-dense foods due to a different metabolic problem. What’s the easiest way to encourage a small child to take in more calories? Quite often, it’s to offer something solid and a bit sticky or crumby, then offer a cup of delicious full-fat milk to wash it down.

          But full-fat milk is an evil substance that causes you to become larger than TV Land’s ideal if it’s within ten feet of you ever, so it’s banned in the day care–unless the day care provider WATERS IT DOWN. That’s how far we’ve come in a century or more of fighting to preserve the health of children: watered-down milk, just like the poor got to drink in goode olde Victorian tymes. Luckily she always knows when the inspector is coming, so she gets to sneak full-fat milk to the child with the metabolic issue most of the time and just waters it down on inspection days. But what’s next, gruel?

  2. Twistie

    Congratulations! May you sell a million copies!

  3. Nicole

    Congrats on this milestone!!!

  4. Elizabeth

    I didn’t buy it, but I did put in a request for my library to purchase it. Good luck!