My son has several baby teeth with signs of decay and all the research I have been doing keeps leading my back to traditional foods/Weston Price. I'm pretty convinced about what I read, but I've got a lot of obstacles...
While the rest of my family is pretty flexible about their diet, my son (6) has a lot of sensory issues and is pretty clear about what he's willing to do and not willing to do. Trying to convince/coherce him in a direction he doesn't want to go usually results in creating enormous resistance whereas communication and time usually yields positive results.
So here are the problems:
- DS has always been basically vegetarian by his own choice. He does eat grains cooked in homemade chicken broth. His preference seems to be governed by texture, taste and smell, not ethics. Pureed meat does not make it through (think creamy soups, mashed potatoes and croquettes) If he finds a sliver, a string, it's all over.
- DS has an aversion to eggs. They're fine in baked goods, can stir a raw one into pasta before I sauce it, but egg that looks like egg is a no go.
- We live on the shores of the Mediterranean in a major city. There is no grazing for miles around. While DS enjoys milk and milk products, I can find no source of raw milk. We do frequently eat cheeses made with raw milk which is widely available.
- His food preferences fall heavily in the grain category. If it's a grain or a bread like thing, he'll eat it. I use a variety of whole grains and make my own sourdough bread, varying the grains I use.
- He doesn't like oily/greasy things. I would like to introduce FCLO but am not sure what the most successful way might be.
- We eat a lot of seasonal fruit and have a a veggie garden. We eat organic as much as we are able to source and afford.
- Our budget is very tight and a lot of traditional foods recommendations seem to be aimed for people who either live on a farm or are in a much higher income bracket.
So given the above parameters, I'm looking for suggestions and advice or sources of information to incorporate the foods which could help heal his teeth into our diet in a respectful and cooperative manner. I'd like to help his teeth but not at the expense of our relationship. Please don't flame me on this one, I already have enough guilt without fanning the flames and not a huge amount of confidence. I truly do try and do the best I can by my family.
I don't have specific advice for dealing with caries or sensory issues (& I'm also new to TF myself), but I wanted to reply since it seems like you're really trying to figure out a way to make this work.
My son's diet is still a work in progress. We are not dealing with sensory issues but he definitely has clear aversions (including to meat). One thing we've done is to let him get a little hungry & then offer what we'd most like him to eat first.
Does your son snack a lot?
Changes take a long time for little folks. My son used to hate eggs but we kept offering them. Even getting your son to just taste a little bit of something new will start to get his palate readjusted.
Soaking grains is good (we soak oatmeal for part of our breakfast).
And it sounds like you're already doing it, but we hide food (usually veggies or meat) if we have to in sauces or little sandwiches.
For the record, we don't have easy access to raw milk either but we use try to refocus our spending on the best yogurt we can find & little things like that.
Sorry I don't have a ton of ideas, but it sounds like you're already doing a lot of great things (like cooking with homemade broth & baking your own sourdough). Don't be too hard on yourself! No one can change everything all at once!
Mama to my little busy bee.
I think your best bet would be adding in raw, pastured butter or doing the FCLO/BO blend divided 3x/daily. Here it's $11/lb, but I know some people get it much cheaper. It can also be ordered online (Kerrygold, I believe).
I'm relatively new to TF too, so I don't have many ideas. But I have heard about incorporating live fermented foods into the diet - and how this can reduce cravings for grains. They are very cheap to make your own, especially from your own garden! (ie. sauerkraut, kimchi, single-vegetable ferments such as carrot-ginger). Not sure if your DS will be into those things! (I'm not sure, though, how fermented foods interact with caries once they are already formed on the teeth.)
I think you're on the right track with the bone-broths. It has a lot of minerals, I think. So maybe you can get it into more foods.
Someone also told me about homeopathic tissue salts. I'm not into homeopathic medicine, but I have heard that the tissue salts can work to build minerals back into the body.
Here's some more info:
There are some extra links at the bottom of the blog post.
Hope that helps a bit. It sounds like you are already doing a lot for your DS. best of luck!
One thing I noticed right off the bat is that you are respecting your sons natural inclinations. I think that is wonderful! Considering your limitations I would definitely recommend getting bone broth in him at every meal. This can be done with the grains as you are already doing, as soup, or as a sauce. Does he like sauce? I take bone broth and reduce it a bit and add butter. It cooks down very nicely to a thickish sauce (kind of like demi-glace). Add sea salt and then you can pour it over cooked veggies. Bones are very inexpensive and sometimes free.
Speaking of veggies, I would also recommend you focus on getting LOTS of veggies in him.
It sounds to me that your son does not have a high need for protein and/or fat and therefore greasy foods and meat do not appeal to him. That's ok. We are all unique. If you look at Price's work you will find that people ate different things in different cultures. Some cultures ate a somewhat higher carb diet and they were still very healthy. They didn't all eat cod liver oil, raw liver, and milk. Each culture varied. And so do we.
If your son has a high need for carbs then he will need a lot of vegetables and fruits. Those would be his most valuable foods. More so than grains. But he will also probably do well with grains. You are already doing great with properly preparing the grains and adding stock. I think the key with the grains is to absolutely, 100%, ensure that they are not processed foods. This is very important (and cheaper). Some children do get hooked on processed grains and avoid other foods. So this is something to be cautious about. I would also add raw butter or olive oil to veggies and grains after they have been cooked. It can be just a bit and just melted (not cooked).
Does he like fish? If you are on the Mediterranean perhaps you have access to fish for pretty cheap? White fish is fine and may be more appealing to him since it is not so "meaty" or fatty. You could try cooking it in a bit of stock as opposed to butter. This will keep it lighter. He probably doesn't need a lot and you could conceivably just buy it for him to save money.
In general if you stick to nutrient-dense food then you will do well I believe. Of course avoiding all sugar and processed foods is key.
The only thing I want to bring up is the possibility of gut malfunction and allergies/sensitivities. You probably are already aware of this but I would be remiss in not mentioning it. When the gut is not functioning well then all sorts of issue can arise, including tooth problems. And sensitivities can cause a child to be very picky as they avoid those foods that make them feel bad. How is his digestion?
So, short of issues relating to gut function, I recommend he eats stock and veggies/fruits at every meal and some whole, unprocessed grains. You can offer him the grains as a "desert" for after he eats his veggies. And this doesn't have to be perfect by tomorrow. If he prefers to move slowly, then move slowly. As long as you are moving in the right direction, that's what counts.
You can also try feeding him egg whites. Add a bit of raw butter or olive oil to his already cooked food. Try this out and see how he does. You and he will be the judges if something works. Just continue to observe him carefully like you have been. Observing and respecting the body is the key to building health! Keeping a journal is very helpful for this.
And for a boost of confidence remember that you can do this. You are obviously a very caring and dedicated mother. You are doing a great job and don't let anyone tell you differently.
Another thought might be smoothies? We make a smoothie with home made kefir (if you can find organic, non-homogenized, pasturized milk, I would use this to make the kefir, you need to find some kefir grains), fresh raw veggies, a raw pastured egg(from our chickens), and some fruit almost daily. In such a smoothie it is also possible to add a little raw liver (I keep ice cube trays of pureed liver in the freezer and add it to chili and other such dishes, so for smoothies I cut a cube in half and throw it in too). You can add some raw honey, anything you can find to cover/improve the taste, you can even add a little bone broth! I've never added FCLO or any other oils to my smoothies, so I"m not sure how that changes the taste or texture, so not sure if you could get away with that or not.
We use Hylands Bioplasma cell salts, not for caries, we dont have that issue thankfully, but we still take the bioplasma (a combo of all 12 cell salts) for general health.
I recently bought the book Wild Fermentation, and it has some great fermentation recipes and info in it! Have you tried Kombucha with him? We have been getting GT Dave's organic raw kombucha and love it!
HTH, let us know if any of these things work!
I just wanted to jump back in and thank everyone for your ideas! And of course I have more questions.... I've been sharing with a non-English speaking mama with a similiar dietary profile and a young son with cavities and here are some the things that have come up in our discussions:
If raw milk and butter are not an option, do you all think that a grass fed, organic (but pasturized) option offers benefits? I have access to KerryGold butter in the regular super markets and have found that one of the UHT (the most common option for milk in the Med.) organic brands is pasture fed.
We make our own yogurt from the organic milk we buy and DS sucks down a couple daily, often in the form of a smoothie before bed. We have free ranging chickens and I wonder about popping an egg yolk into the smoothie? I also stir a beaten egg into broth with a bit of pasta for a light supper a lot, and as long as the egg is broken up and looks like the pasta, he'll eat it. When I make pasta, I often throw a beaten egg or two into the freshly cooked pasta before I sauce it as well.
And speaking of pasta, is there anything I can do besides cooking it in bone broth and adding egg to make it more nutritious? I try and keep our consumption down, but DH and kids ask for it a lot.
Veggies aren't a favorite, but if I grate them or chop them finely, I can smuggle them into nearly every cooked dish and fresh, and chopped green herbs go into everything.... I actually don't think my kids realize that food can be made without a lot of little green flecks throughout. Now that I have a bumper crop of spinach, I've been treating it as an herb and throwing a huge minced handful at the end of cooking. Raw carrots always go over well and when in season, we smash tomato on our bread with a bit of salt and olive oil per local custom. Both my kids eat several servings of fresh seasonal fruit a day by choice.
Baked oatmeal is popular here and I made a soaked version the other day... that was easy as I'm already feeding sourdough and fermenting it overnight. Are there other types of soaks I can do for legumes and grains the night before that would be beneficial?
LoveRealFood mentioned olive oil... my son has no aversion to olive oil and will actually sometimes pour a puddle and dip. There are tons of affordable options for local, cold pressed EVO. Is this considered beneficial? We eat it because it tastes good and is so much a part of life here, that it's hard to imagine NOT eating it. We drizzle over everything!
I didn't mention previously, but we also eat a lot of legumes (chickpeas, lentils and black beans mostly). I make it all from dry beans and soak the chickpeas and beans overnight. I often cook them with a chunk of organic ham bone (pig is king here!). I usually just chuck it in with the legumes at the beginning. I keep reading about beef broth, but what about pork? Is there anything I can do to maximize what we get out of it?
Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil is great, very good for you! I'm jealous that you can get it fresh:) Most of what I can get is rancid by the time I get it off the shelf, because thats just how oils are. They go rancid so quickly if not stored correctly.
I would not get UHT milk, I've gotten regular pasturized but not UHT. but, I think if that is ALL that was available, I might get it sometimes, especially if you culture it.
Beans should be soaked at least 18 hours. Here is the method: Simmer some filtered water, add a pinch of baking soda, turn off burner, add beans making sure there is at least 2 inches of water above them. After 8-10 hours, drain water, rinse beans well, and repeat the above until the beans have been in water at least 18 to 24 hours.
Have you tried spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute? I think its great that you add greens to everything, that would be my other suggestion. What about some raw milk cheese? Making sure your salt is unrefined so that it has its natural minerals still there is another thing to do. Maybe some seaweed granules?
Juniper, where are you? I'm so curious by what you've said so far.
Olive oil is wonderful, especially fresh like 1love4ever said. You can use pork bones for stock. I do so all the time. I tend to mix any bones I have hanging around :)
I'm in Barcelona, Spain. The replies to this thread are making me wonder about how much of "Traditional Foods" info I read in English (which is the language the bulk of the info is available in, or has been translated from) is coloured by what's locally/regionally available to the writers. I am originally from New England and first start getting into the ideas of Nourishing Traditions thanks to a childhood friend who is deep in VT dairy country. What's readily available there and here are quite different. She can get raw milk from a bunch of places while I have no problem buying an ENTIRE chicken, crest to claws, for broth (makes the older ladies in the chicken stand smile and nod sagely).
While I have been away long enough that I am no longer so clear about exactly what the standard american diet is, I do know that what I see people hauling around in their shopping trolleys here is quite different than what I observe in the checkout lines of the supermarket when visiting my mother. It makes me wonder what sort of spin a Sally Fallon living in the Mediterranean would put on things. I suppose first and foremost I am really into fresh, local food in the most natural form possible, with the smallest impact on the environment. This has been clear to me for years and has governed what comes into and comes out of out kitchen. But lately I've been worried about my kids teeth and wondering how our diet does/could relate to that.
BTW, I just grooved on a pork bone stock the other day.... it was pretty tasty!
This thread is a bit old, but thought I add my thoughts anyways.
I think you're absolutely right that the Traditional Foods movement has been colored by what foods were traditionally available in the US (and the Northern European countries from which most Americans come). Lots of dairy there of course. I would imagine that along the shores of the Mediterranean however, seafood like fish and crustaceans provide the nutrients that the abundance of dairy does in Northern latitudes. When I think of the Scottish Islanders' diet from Price's book can't remember the particular island, Shetland?), it was mainly based on oats and seafood. No dairy.
I think a magnesium deficiency can often be an issue in caries. My son has had horrible cavities since very young and lately I've been trying to add more magnesium rich foods like nettles, avocados and buckwheat.