Can we discuss a healthy food outlook, please? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-09-2008, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This has been bothering me for awhile now and something said in wugmama's thread spurred me on in writing this. I have 3 children DS 1 is five and can eat anything. DD 1 has intolerances and reacts mostly behaviorally--irritability, crying jags, insomnia, nightwakings, ect. But also bloats and her face looks puffy after eating dairy or gluten. Her eyes get a glazed effect as well, reminiscent of the "allergic brain" in The Mood Cure...DD 2 just turned a year and gets itchy rashes from the nightshade family, melons, strawberries, bananas, avocadoes, ect. So there's my background for you. Intolerances, allergies, what have you--How do you give your children a picture that food is healthy and a positive outlook? How do you NOT give them a complex--I mean, we're human, we have to eat. What does that mean if your food is your enemy but you cannot live without it? My DD (3yr old) says things like, "I can't have icecream, it will make me sick", which in a way is good because she realizes what she can and cannot eat. But she is also starting to reference everything to food. "What will we eat for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?"
I need a point of reference for creating a healthy outlook on eating and a discussion on this would really help. She is not ana, but I am worried about long-term exposure to gluten, mostly. I don't want food to become a control issue. And I want to her enjoy it! I DON'T want others pitying her or giving her a complex in that way. She is so much healthier now. So, let's discuss a positive, non-fear view of eating-minus a few (or a lot!) foods. Thanks!

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Old 06-09-2008, 07:12 PM
 
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Important discussion, I agree!

I try to keep things really basic. We eat healthy food that our bodies feel good about. So, I have no problem with the fact that we can't/don't eat certain things. My dd is three so she is going to get her attitude from me. If I'm bothered by not having things, she will be too. If I am happy to be eating whole, healthy foods because my body feels better and they were prepared with love, she will be too.

Dd goes to preschool and she takes all her own food with her. This is mainly because she doesn't eat gluten/dairy/eggs/sugar and that's all they seem to eat there. But at this point it is also about the quality of food and the love that went into making it. When she asks me why she brings her own food I tell her that the food she is eating is healthier for her (which it is) and that food tastes better when it's prepared by someone who loves you. I make sure she has a variety of things she likes and at this point she is very happy with the situation. She knows we don't eat gluten because it is not good for our bodies, and that everyone is different and we all eat different things. It's a kind of diversity awareness, if you will. Some people's nutritional needs are different from others and that's okay.

As far as food being an enemy, I don't go there at all. We are not ana either or I might feel differently about that! I really try to look at it as a diversity and acceptance thing. I am also very grateful that we don't eat crap food and that dd has never been to McDonald's or eaten candy. She is not aware of being denied anything because there are so many good, wholesome, natural foods to enjoy. She definitely sees other kids eating different things all the time but as long as she has something she likes she doesn't seem to care at all. It's par for the course. I am really into food being a pleasurable thing and not a chore. And as for anyone pitying her, I don't care one way or the other. I may pity others that they put donuts and sugar into their kids and deprive them the ability to really taste and enjoy the sweets nature offers us, but I don't tell them so. And I'm very upfront and honest with dd about that too. I won't let anyone else's lame opinions change our outlook about it all.

I forgot to add that I also let dd know that peoples nutritional needs change over time, they are not set in stone, the body may change how it feels about certain foods. I think that keeps us aware of the importance of listening to our bodies and open to the possibility of changing, growing and healing.

One more thing we talk about: Perspective. Some people have legs that don't walk or eyes that don't see or any other kind of special need you can think of. Our challenges are really pretty minimal when looked at in the context of the world we live in.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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Agree with PP. I have three kids as well, the oldest with no intolerances, second with about 20 intolerances, and youngest with lots of intolerances. And of course they're different intolerances. For the littlest one (3) we have "happy food" and "not happy food". Then she asks if each member of the family can have it. I don't think she is food obsessed. The middle one just went on a new very limited rotation diet, so he is all about food right now. BUT I told him WHY we were doing it (so his intestines could heal) and that by following it explicitly for 6 months, he might get some of the foods back. Then I go on to say how we are "lucky". Friends of ours have two kids with celiac (I say "They can't have gluten for their ENTIRE life") AND Type 1 Diabetes (they have to watch their carbs for their ENTIRE life"). I don't want them to in any way pity themselves. There are some "it's not fair" moments, and we explain that it's also not fair when kids get cancer, or people are in car accidents, etc. so that yes, food intolerances are low on the scale, so to speak. I also tell them about kids with anaphylactic allergies, who could die if they get the wrong thing and don't know it, or people that even touch the food and react.

I also explain to the oldest, who can eat anything, that it's hard for her siblings to see her eat things that they can't have. So sometimes DH takes her out for pizza or ice cream or something as a treat. I try to have a "treat" when I know other people are having treats, so that they don't feel left out (I brought grape juice popsicles to school for DS today when they were bringing in some nice HFCS pops today because of the heat). And we talk about nutrition and why we make food choices that we do (about corn syrup and artificial sweeteners and how some things are marketed to be healthy, but aren't like "fruit snacks", and pastured meat). She's 11, so she understands more, but the other kids hear it too.

Those are some of my strategies anyway.

Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay. I really agree in theory--I guess I just need to figure out my approach. I think part of this is coming from the fact that I just "trialled" gluten and it was a miserable failure, lol.
I ordered two cookbooks The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook, which I love, except that it only excludes wheat, not gluten, and The Gluten Free Kitchen, which in theory seemed good, but then I felt wasn't whole foods based. (Maybe I can use some recipes for birthdays, ect, but eating cornstarch-based breadsticks wasn't exactly what I was expecting, lol).

Okay, so I need to educate my children a little better on healthy eating and why we avoid particular foods/ingredients. I think I want to find a better phrase for dd than "This food makes me sick". It just sounds too negative. I need to put the focus on the positive...and yes, explain more about others' needs and realize our blessings.
That is so true! Thanks for responding. I'd love more!

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Old 06-10-2008, 05:40 PM
 
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It helps me that instead of saying something general to my daughter like, "This food makes you sick," I tell her some "The last time you ate that food, it made your bottom hurt," or "The last time you ate this food, you had trouble breathing." My daughter is four, and she seems to feel like she has control when she can know exactly which kinds of foods she cannot have and why.

Even though there are a lot of foods that my daughter can't have, there are a lot that she can have, and I always try to think of it that way, and I think my daughter picks up on that attitude. I try to be creative with substitutes. I don't try to make things exactly the same, but I try to come up with things that are generally similar.

Finally, I involve my daughter in cooking, and I think that will eventually give her control over what she eats, which is a more positive feeling than thinking that food is an enemy.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cooking is a great idea. We had a fun little playtime discussion about foods and health mon nite and that's helped. I think gardening is also something that could be fun there as well...and since we just moved we are tilling the plot tonight! Any others?

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