How do you teach your family about food? What do you eat? Do you talk to your kids about it? Do you have health challenges in your family that could possibly, just possibly, be improved by the foods that you eat (or don’t)?
I will tell you that we don’t eat standard store-bought candy ( well the kids don’t, I’ve been known to hide Sour Patch Kids in random places and binge, not proud of it – but it happens and I’m honest!). Not sometimes for a treat, or on the weekends – not even at Easter or Christmas or Halloween (ok maybe a piece or two at Halloween, but not the crazy sugar rush that takes over America). You may think I’m cruel, or I’m crazy, or that it’s just depriving kids of their youth. But before you rush to judge, I ask you this. HAVE YOU READ THE LABELS of the candy you give your kids? Have you Googled the ingredients? Do you KNOW the neurotoxins that are standard in kids foods?
I used to think I was a little crazy and a little cruel myself. I felt guilty for the rules that I made about our diet. But the more I learn, the stronger and more confident that I get. The more confident I am, the more comfortable I am sharing my decisions with my kids. And I am proud to tell you that now we make these decisions together. My children are age 4 and 6 and we talk candidly about food coloring and high fructose corn syrup.
We do have treats. We eat raisins and dried mango, homemade granola on occasion, and plain organic yogurt with raw honey. My kids LOVE it.
When my children beg for some Lucky Charms at the store I stop and explain that it’s really not food, it’s poison. (yes, it is). We look at the ingredients, we talk about GMO corn and what that means, we talk about high fructose corn syrup and food additives and preservatives. We talk about how it makes our bodies feel when we eat chemicals and how our bodies feel when we eat good food. I think it would be cruel to just tell them NO and keep going. It wouldn’t teach them anything. I would just create kids that binge behind my back and probably create a craving for junk food for their whole lives. But by talking about our decisions they can start to understand.
And I’m not without exceptions to the rules. We have our rules. But we talk about why we have them and who can eat what. Avani can’t eat grains excessively, no sugar, NO GMO’s, no food additives, preservatives, food coloring – or she has nuero reactions. Sometimes we can get away with a slip if we’ve been “good” all week – sometimes not. She gets twitchy, angry, can’t sleep, frustrated, impacted by lights and sounds and textures of everything around her. Hugo can’t have nightshades or much dairy. He gets achy joints and terrible tummy pains and reflux. But they both KNOW IT. They know what they can and can’t have. They know why. They know what happens if they do.
So when we go to a birthday party and Avani BEGGGGS for a “real” cupcake – because let’s face it, coconut flour, sugar free Paleo cupcakes got nothing on Devils food Cake with sprinkles – we talk about it. We talk about what’s in it. What it makes her feel like and I let her choose (not always, but sometimes). I think it’s important that they learn to make these decisions themselves as we aren’t always there. Then, later, when she’s upset and crying and having a reaction – I hold her. And rock her. And soothe her. And ever so gently point out that it’s not her, it’s the cupcake. It’s the grains and the HFCS and the GMO’s destroying her senses, her gut and her mind. And she realizes it. Next time, it’s still her decision.
My son will promptly turn down pizza at a birthday party (even though it’s his FAVORITE thing) because he knows he can’t have the tomato sauce. I never worry about him cheating, he is solid in knowing he doesn’t want to hurt.
Our FAVORITE is to go to a big box store on sample day. I send my children out to the horrible people handing out gummy “vitamins” like candy telling the kids it’s good for them and watch as my 6-year-old asks if it has high fructose corn syrup? I watch the bewildered sampler look at the box and confirm. Then I watch him squirm as she asks why, why would you give that to a child? Sick and twisted. I know.
But you know what? When they ask for a Snickers and I say NO at check out. They ask, “does this one have corn syrup?” and I say “yes”. And they opt, “disgusting, can we have some dried mango when we get home?”. Yes, of course, that is an excellent decision.
I believe that our children are powerful. They have the ability to heal themselves. They deserve to know all that we can teach them. When they are provided a life without addictive (sugar) substances, it’s amazing the choices they have room to make. You’d be surprised how often my kids opt for carrots and cheese sticks over pizza and cookies when at a public outing. They know it makes them feel better in the long run.
~ Now my no means am I raising angels folks. I’m only talking about food choices. I’ll be happy to share my horror stories of parenting gone wrong on plenty of other occasions.
But perhaps consider talking to your kids candidly about your thoughts on food, and food choices so they can learn from you. What if you listened to your body so trustingly? What would it say? (other than the late night binge of Sour Patch Kids and Chardonnay of course…)
Start Creating Your Sunshine Life Today (it’s easier if the whole family is on board).
Much love to you Mamas.