offending or threatening people with my nutrition choices for DS! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 03-26-2011, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3 year old DS has been having problems with recurring respiratory infections.  His doctor wants to send him to an asthma specialist.  After a two month long cough, he is on antibiotics and two inhalers.  My husband and I really want to build up his immune system so we are drastically improving our diets, and teaching DS more about why we eat the way we do.  DS seems to be on board, and is a great eater.

 

The problem is I feel like our food choices are offending others and making them defensive.  We don't preach to them at all, and really I don't care at all what people feed their children, but our child is noticing the discrepancies in diet and HE is commenting or sharing information.    He will say things like "I don't have ice cream because it makes my nose run".  I think he is struggling to understand why people eat differently than we do.  We will tell him that that desserts are for special occasions, that fruit is so sweet and wonderful,  that we try to not eat too much sugar, and if he has too much sugar he can get sick more often or a cough. He doesn't have a problem with it, he happily eats what is in front of him.

 

Also, I babysit a lot and the parents I babysit for feed their children much differently than we do. So when DS asks why so and so is having flavored yogurt and he isn't, what do I say?  Sometimes this happens in front of the parent and I feel it is highlighting our differences. I try to say something vague like "well everyone enjoys different food" and hope he won't bring up the fact that I tell him that too many chemicals are not good for you.   I also feel a bit rude refusing the vast majority of snacks we are offered on the playground, cuz most of them are crap.  And then DS is offered food at playdates at other people's homes that we don't want him to eat.... I could give in but this happens mostly on the daily so we would really lose ground in what we are trying to accomplish.  People seem to having the attitude like "c'mon, one won't hurt, just this once", but this happens so often!  If we try to explain why to people, they get very defensive and justify their food choices.  If we say, we are trying to eliminate sugar, they say, well we are just being moderate and it is better for kids to have a treat sometimes so they don't obsess over it.  But really, our son is fine without the sweets and frankly we want to shape his palate now.

 

If DS wasn't having these health issues perhaps I would be more chill, but I truly believe these dietary changes (no dairy, almost no sugar, very little processed food) will really help him get off the meds.  I am reading "Disease Proof Your Child" by Dr. Fuhrman and am really hopeful about the possibilities.

 

One friend has requested that I not get into discussions about food around her daughter (a friend of DS) because she doesn't want her to have a complex about food.  I would never tell someone else's child what to eat, but sometimes her little girl overhears what I am saying to DS about why we are not ordering that selection in the cafe, why he can't have this food, etc.  After playgroup we frequently go to a cafe, and the little friends are noshing on bagels and cookies.  I guess maybe we should not go?

 

I guess I am not surprised this is happening, since we are swimming so much against the tide.  When I go downtown, there is no shortage of coffee shops filled with desserts.  There are very few places offering healthy vegan fare in snack form for children.  I prepare myself by packing snacks, but we do enjoy being out with friends.

 

Do you ever feel like by cleaning up your own diet you are making people defensive and uncomfortable?  What do you do to curb the onslaught of offers of total crap to your child without alienating people or constantly giving in?  I know this sounds horrible, but I almost wish I could say DS had a food allergy or something so people just wouldn't question me about it!  Do I need to tell people DS is on  a restricted diet?

 

How have you handled this delicate issue without being 'that person'?   : )

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#2 of 16 Old 03-26-2011, 10:48 PM
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I don't care if it bothers people when my 5 year old DD talks about how some foods are not good for her. She often talks about the bad things in processed food when we're at the grocery store. We look at ingredients before we buy new things. We do consume some sugar and we eat dairy but we don't eat corn syrup or foods that are highly processed. But we're healthy with those options. We know people whose kids have food allergies or intolerances and at least one family who eats kosher. Dairy, nuts, gluten and sugar are very common things that some people can't have. Most of the mom's we've been around are seem to think I'm lucky DD likes veggie juice, tomatoes and fruit. She doesn't have any allergies or health issues, so an occasional bit a junk food is ok with me. But if she did have health issues it wouldn't be. She usually turns down stuff herself without any prompting. Your DS will know what he should and should not eat and will need less verbal input from you as he gets older. Until then just say "It's a health issue for us" or tell other children "not everyone can eat some things" and go on with what you need to do. Being aware of nutrition will not give this little girl a complex about food. That's just silly.  Most of the people we're around ask instead of assume a child can have something.

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#3 of 16 Old 03-26-2011, 11:24 PM
 
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It sounds to me like you are handling it fine and explaining it politely.  I would just tell people you are really being extra careful while you sort out some health issues.  If they choose to be offended by your pro-active approach to help your son that isn't your fault.  You are bringing your own food so it's not like you are asking them to cater to your needs.  To me, this is on par with food allergies because it is a health issue.  If someone were offended that my DD couldn't have something because it had corn, dairy, soy, etc.  I would view it as their issue not mine. shrug.gif


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#4 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 04:20 AM
 
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 There are ice cream recipes that don't have sugar or dairy. An ice cream bar coud be in his future. : )

 

http://vegweb.com/index.php?board=243.0

http://vegweb.com/index.php?board=243.0

 

My dd is allergic to soy (and a ton of other things), and has to say no to any snack that is offered to her. She went to a birthday party and couldn't eat anything. While she was gone, I made her a healthy chocolate cake to enjoy when she got home. 

 

Making sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and just plain healthy snacks takes a lot of work, but it's worth the effort. I wouldn't worry about what other people think. You're doing the right thing. : )

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#5 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 05:00 AM
 
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I think the parents just feel defensive and inferior b/c you have such good views on healthy diet and can and do instill them. I get that a lot..."it's just an oreo, pizza, candy bar" I do tend to be more lax when we are out and about but I also try to surround myself with playgroups that have moms like me.


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#6 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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There is a difference between limiting food choices due to a specific health problem like an allergy or food intolerance and making food choices based on your own definition of "healthy". IE limiting sugar because you are diabetic is different than limiting sugar because you think sugar is bad for people in general. Since your food choices for your son seem to be specifically related to his health issues I'd make sure you are emphasizing that when talking about it. Your son seems to be doing fine on his own explaining that he doesn't eat ice cream because it makes his nose run. The problem is kids can start to think they will have the same reaction as someone else because they don't have the capacity to understand that different bodies have different reactions to things. Sometimes kids need that spelled out to them, and often more than once.

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#7 of 16 Old 04-10-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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Came across this thread & wanted to post since this is something I deal with... on both ends recently.

 

I fall somewhere in the middle regarding "healthy" eating. I'm big into food politics & food has always been important to me, so I really care where our family's food comes from & what it's made of. My family is a bit different. That's OK & we're a bit more lax when we're with them. But there are some things that we always end up declining or modifying & I sometimes feel guilty about that. 

 

I feel it even more so now that DS has a new playmate whose parents are even more health-conscious than we are. I feel like nothing I have in my house is good enough & that hurts (especially when I feel like I'm really doing the best I can). At first I was like "Hey, what gives?!" but I've calmed down... Really, how can I feel hurt when I do the same, just to a lesser degree? (Though I will say that my experience with the playmate's parents has taught me that there are better ways to deal with differences in food choices... the subtler the better.)
 

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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

There is a difference between limiting food choices due to a specific health problem like an allergy or food intolerance and making food choices based on your own definition of "healthy". IE limiting sugar because you are diabetic is different than limiting sugar because you think sugar is bad for people in general. Since your food choices for your son seem to be specifically related to his health issues I'd make sure you are emphasizing that when talking about it. Your son seems to be doing fine on his own explaining that he doesn't eat ice cream because it makes his nose run. The problem is kids can start to think they will have the same reaction as someone else because they don't have the capacity to understand that different bodies have different reactions to things. Sometimes kids need that spelled out to them, and often more than once.

 

I have to disagree with this. I think a parent has a right to (at least early on) structure a child's diet regardless of the presence of a specific health problem. "Healthy" diets promote good health (and the avoidance of specific health problems) so I don't feel bad limiting sugar or color additives. And I don't think parents should feel bad about making such choices as long as they do so without being judgmental or belittling the choices of others.

 

OP, it sounds like you're a thoughtful parent & person... Stick to your guns (gently) and make no apologies for your choices!
 

 


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#8 of 16 Old 04-10-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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We are dealing with this same thing right now.  DD was just diagnosed as type 1 diabetic.  In conjunction with our endocrinologist and our natureopath, we are choosing, as of now, to try to manage things and stop the auto immune response with diet.  Now, if she needs insulin, we will give it, but, right now, monitoring her diet is working.  So, we are going a lot more raw foods and goat milk, goat cheese, wild caught fish etc.  I am just having to cart around our own snacks and send them with her when she plays at others house (same as if she had a food allergy), and I have been explaining to the parents that I am doing what I can to try to help my DD as much as I can with what I can do today.  All have been pretty understanding and spoke with their kids about how DD needs to choose other foods to not make her tummy hurt (3-4 yr old talk).  In front of others, we are just saying to DD "That is not a good food choice for us right now"  She seems to understand it.  HTH. 


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#9 of 16 Old 04-12-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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I know food is used by people to create a sense of community...and in my family it has often been a point of conflict and alienation because of our eating differences. 

 

Personally, I think there ARE times when "because I said so", is really the best and most appropriate thing to say, but since your baby is only 3, maybe you could carry around your OWN brand of snacks (like snow peas, apples, walnuts, etc) to offer in counter to whatever he/she is offered on the playground, and encourage him./her to share.  This way you put the ball back in their court instead of accidentally  allowing the other kids/parents to notice that anything is missing. And finally, it can just be doctor's orders.

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#10 of 16 Old 04-12-2011, 11:50 AM
 
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I get this alot.  We are vegetarians and eat pretty healthy avoiding HFCS, processed foods, a lot of sugar, etc.  My son doesn't even know the word candy, but he is only 2.  We do let him have treats on special occassions, like cake and ice cream, but I do not buy those things for my home.

 

The most resistance I have gotten is from my MIL.  We'll be at her house and she is contantly trying to give him, IMO bad foods, like jello (the generic chemically gel type kind), popsicles, candy, etc.  I keep telling her no and in turn have to tell my son no.  Finally she snapped at me saying "well we can't afford the fancy food that you guys eat, so this is what he gets".  Ummm well my food is not fancy, its just not laden with sugar and chemicals.  I don't get why she has to keep offering him sugary gross foods.  Why not offer him an apple or carrot or cheese if she thinks he's hungry?  I mean, the other day my DS ate a bowl of romaine lettuce!  He will choose the healthy stuff over the sugary stuff, but she won't even offer him the healthy stuff.

 

I just make sure I have my own snacks and politely decline anyone's offer of food if its not what we eat, while saying we brought our own snacks.  Since we are vegetarians, I always call ahead to parties to make sure there's something we can eat, otherwise I bring my own food.


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#11 of 16 Old 04-12-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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I think that if you keep enforcing your eating styles on your DS he will get the point and understand.  

My DS is almost 7 and KNOWS he can't have anything red or else he gets crazy.  He KNOWS what he shouldn't eat. 

You can explain to people who ask.....it's because of xxx reason.   It's his health...etc.  

I have this issue with my Dad who is always wanting to give the kids sugary treats (cookies, twizlers, kool aid pouches...etc).  I just bought a case or organic juice pouches and boxes of raisins and dried fruit to give to him instead of oreos and coke.  He got the picture. 

I believe in moderation, but also teaching your kids right from wrong.   They will know what's right to eat and what's not.  

As far as handling it with other people.....  you are the mom and if you say no....then that's it.  I think some people look at me like I have 3 heads when I say no red for him......   I explain and surprisingly people are receptive and interested in why I make the choices I do for my kids.  

You could look at it as an oportunity to "educate" others.  

 

And greenlea.....I think I know you! 


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#12 of 16 Old 04-13-2011, 10:34 PM
 
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As a mom to a 10 year old daughter, I can say it works over time. Keep feeding him healthy while he is young. He'll make good choices on his own down the road.

 

Gently, as the mother, please be kind with yourself. It sounds like you may be having a harder time with the transition than he is and this may be what others are picking up on.

 

The best advice I have regarding social issues is to surround yourself with like-minded people as much as possible. Seek them out. It won't prevent this, but it will definitely reduce it dramatically. And, it'll give you some peace of mind to know IRL that other people feel the same way you do (or at least similar enough for this to be a non-issue).

 

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#13 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t2009 View Post


I have to disagree with this. I think a parent has a right to (at least early on) structure a child's diet regardless of the presence of a specific health problem. "Healthy" diets promote good health (and the avoidance of specific health problems) so I don't feel bad limiting sugar or color additives. And I don't think parents should feel bad about making such choices as long as they do so without being judgmental or belittling the choices of others.

 

OP, it sounds like you're a thoughtful parent & person... Stick to your guns (gently) and make no apologies for your choices!
 

 


You totally missed my point. I never said anything about parents not having the right to make their own choices regarding their kids diet. The other parents get to make that call regarding their own children too. OP is having issues with other parents and is looking for ways to diffuse the situation. And that can easily been done in this case by focusing on her child's medical reasons for the diet. I don't think the OP is being judgemental at all in her interactions but that doesn't mean there can't be adjustments made to ease any tensions. An attitude of, oh well I get to say and do what I want regarding my kid is not going to further the friendships here and will likely cause even more tension. Which is what you seem to be suggesting.

 

 

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#14 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post


You totally missed my point. I never said anything about parents not having the right to make their own choices regarding their kids diet. The other parents get to make that call regarding their own children too. OP is having issues with other parents and is looking for ways to diffuse the situation. And that can easily been done in this case by focusing on her child's medical reasons for the diet. I don't think the OP is being judgemental at all in her interactions but that doesn't mean there can't be adjustments made to ease any tensions. An attitude of, oh well I get to say and do what I want regarding my kid is not going to further the friendships here and will likely cause even more tension. Which is what you seem to be suggesting.

 

 


Sorry, didn't mean to put words in your mouth, I was just disagreeing with a general point that I thought you were making. It just sounded like OP was dealing both with medical reasons & generally with trying to clean up her family's diet (apologies to OP if I got that wrong). I was trying to encourage her to not feel like she needed to come up with a medical explanation for every food decision. But I'm also not suggesting copping an inflammatory attitude (which I put pretty clearly in my post -- as I said, I've been on both sides of the table & am very sensitive now to dealing with such situations gently).

 

I'm just of the mind that a simple "no thank you" is sometimes better than "gee, I can't have a beer with you because I'll get a yeast infection & yeast rash" (sorry, this is just my life lately...). Sometimes, it's just no one's business & sometimes explanations get tiring. OP seemed to be sensitive to the vibes others were sending so I thought suggesting a gentle "no thanks"-type approach was appropriate. In fact, I actually think that just dropping the explanations & excuses can lessen the tension because it just takes it off the table as fast as it was put on the table (of course, an older toddler complicates this, but not entirely).

 


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#15 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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I totally agree with you that, no thanks alone is often a really good idea. I think this situation is harder because the OP understandably is trying to teach her preschooler what he can and can't have and being so young his friends may not understand that it may not apply to them.
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#16 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 11:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

I totally agree with you that, no thanks alone is often a really good idea. I think this situation is harder because the OP understandably is trying to teach her preschooler what he can and can't have and being so young his friends may not understand that it may not apply to them.


Yes, true! And for that I have, unfortunately, no great advice!


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