I had a great conversation with someone at a children’s bday party today. They were asking me how I deal with living in a way that is not the norm that everyone else does (no dairy, no meat, no pop, no artificial anything, no junk etc) and I how I deal with the backlash of it or people not agreeing with our choices or what we feed our kids.
I didn’t say anything right away, I though about it for a moment. When I did answer, we ended up having a great conversation:
The funny thing is, that now after living ‘this way’ for nearly 20 years, it doesn’t feel ‘not-normal’. I think it’s because I have just always stayed true to what I’ve studied, what I know, what I believe and what works for my family and I. I don’t choose to do or not do something because of how I think it affects other people. Nothing we do as a family or individuals affects anyone but us.
I do find sometimes that people get offended when they hear we don’t eat or drink what they do, but over the years I have learned that is really coming from a place of them feeling like it means they are doing something wrong. It doesn’t. It simply means it’s not what we choose.
Also, over the years of living more healthfully, we’ve just attracted a different group of people into our life that live the same way we do, so the majority of events in our lives, our holidays and get togethers are filled with healthy choices, exercise and positivity.
I think it only becomes a big deal when you make it a big deal. We always take a dish we love to people’s homes or bring something for us to eat if they are having something we don’t. We don’t expect anyone to change for us.
When it comes to the way we feed our children, they’ve never known a different way of eating. Plus, as we have introduced new foods to them and explained why we choose certain foods and not others they have been learning and absorbing the ‘why’ and how it benefits them. It’s not that they don’t ask if they can have certain things and when they go to bday parties they can have pizza with no meat or we send something and yes they can have a piece of cake too.
They don’t feel deprived because any level of ‘treat’ that is available to them they know I can make them in a healthy way and they know our cardinal rule of not needing a treat everyday of the week.
PLUS…when they do have too much of the sweet stuff they crash HARD, feel horrible and will verbally say to us, “My head feels crazy and I don’t feel good.” Then Mom gives them the BS talk:-)
It may seem like a lot for little ones, but I can promise you its not. They are little sponges and if you can be creative and loving in how you teach them they learn quickly and it becomes part of their foundation.
So will they try McDonald’s at some point or pepperoni or ribs or pop or family sized chocolate bars? Oh…probably, but I don’t care.
It’s part of their journey. My husband and I can only hope to create the best foundation possible for them and hope that through all their trying and testing, that they come back to their roots of healthy eating and listening to their little bodies.
I worked at McDonald’s, partied my butt off at school hitting Toppers Pizza for twins with my roommate and we would eat a pizza each to ourselves and polish it off with chocolate dipped in Kraft Peanut Butter…at 2am!!!
So I know from experience that a healthy up-bringing will bring you back no matter the hiccups you have a long the way:-)
Start young with your children, they may give you some grief along the way but here are a few no-nonsense tips to get you started:
1) Do NOT keep the refined, processed, junkie foods in the house. If its not there, its not an issue. Remember YOU ARE THE GROCERY SHOPPER not your children. If it’s in the house its not because they bought it:-)
2) Have healthy, fresh food ready: Veggie and humus platter, fruit salad, goat cheese and crackers, fresh smoothies, fresh made juicing, popsicles made from your smoothies and juices, whole grain wraps with nut butter and honey plus coconut water for drinking
3) Be consistent. Be prepared. Lead by example. Make it a family journey
The most important thing to remember is that healthy living is not about perfection, it is about progress, celebrate everything wonderful you do for your health and your family’s!
Cheers to a healthy dinner with your famjam tonight