Probably the #1 complaint I hear on a regular basis from my patient’s who are parents: I cannot get my children to want to eat healthy foods! Here is typically how I respond:
Begin slowly, replacing all snacks with fruits. Then replace one meal a day with salad and a baked potato. Serve a smoothie for breakfast with some raw nut butter mixed in for protein and to make more filling, instead of box cereal or toast. Keep expanding the options.
It takes fortitude, but you must be lovingly firm. If your child wanted to drink a 5th of vodka, would you give it to him? Of course not you know it would be harmful to him. Yet, it is the same concept with unhealthy foods and snacks. Why give your child candy, pastries or hot dogs, when you know they are not good for them? Does it matter that the damage takes years to manifest? You may have allowed them to eat these unhealthy foods before, but now that you are learning better, trust me when I tell you that you will begin to see health & behavior changes little by little knowing as a parent that these are good!
When I work with families to begin to reduce the amount of proteins they are consuming because it makes our bodies too acidic. (We live in a society that is OBESSED with protein intake). Many parents fear that their child will not be consuming near enough protein to grow and be healthy. Yet with all the questionable issues surrounding our meat industry and the artificial chemicals being pumped into the animals… the REAL question should be IF we cut down or cut our meat in our diets all together, how will we get adequate amounts of protein? LET ME SHOW YOU!
Here is a quick eye-opener about the percentage of protein that comes from these whole foods:
PROTEIN PERCENTAGES BELOW:
Vegetables: 1/2 cup to 1 cup serving
- spinach 49%
- broccoli 45%
- Kale 45%
- Leafy lettuce 34%
- zucchini 28%
- tomato 18%
Fruits: 1/2 cup to 1 cup serving
- honeydew 16%
- cantaloupe 9%
- orange 8%
- apricot 8%
- grapes 8%
- banana 5%
- apple 1%
Grains/nuts/seeds: 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup serving
- sprouted wheat 18%
- Buckwheat 15%
- walnuts 13%
- almonds 12%
- cashews 12%
- pumpkin seeds 21%
- sunflower seeds 17%
Given this brief breakdown, clearly protein is not an issue as many fear when they embark on a more whole food even raw diet.
So let’s consider “calories”:
The National Academy of Sciences has set the recommended daily dietary allowances for children as follows:
Ages 1-2 900-1800 calories
Ages 4-6 1300-2300 Calories
Ages 7-10 1650-3300 Calories
Then we start moving into adult ratios for calorie intakes
The wide range for each age group is due to variances in height, weight and activity levels. Not all calories are created equal. Many children that eat the Standard American Diet consume vast amounts of calories, far exceeding these recommended guidelines. The calories consume are also empty calories, providing not a whole bunch if any nutritional value. As a result, they may be receiving enough calories to fill the body’s energy needs, but are nutritionally deficient because the calories consumed are not providing the nutrients the body needs to maintain and optimize other functions.
Kids who “eat all day” and seemingly cannot get enough food, are experiencing their body’s signals for nutrients, NOT calories! When we eat mostly cooked foods, (especially if it includes refined flour products, sugar and other empty calorie substances) the body doesn’t feel full because it’s hungry for nutrients. When the body signals with hunger, asking for more nutrients and is given these nutritionally deficient foods, it keeps signaling, demanding what it needs. The result is a body that is overweight (excess calories, but, nutritionally starving). Sadly, this is the state of most of our society today, adults and children alike!
When you change the types of foods, the body is allowed to purify, and is receiving abundant nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables, it becomes amazingly efficient at assimilating these nutrients. The results are a decreased appetite nd better functioning of the body and mind. It will amaze you at the decreased amounts of food you will need once you start eating a diet higher in raw fresh foods. Reduce the amount of cooked meals you consume and at the beginning of this transition , you could be hungrier than you were before but, after a couple of weeks, your appetite levels should adjust to the higher quality of foods being consumed. (Don’t be expect to see miracles in a couple of days!) Changing habits takes repetition!
THE DIET-BEHAVIOR CONNECTION:
I don’t believe that any of us need scientific studies to tell us that the foods our kids eat affect how they behave. Attend a typical birthday party, an hour after cake and punch is served you can see it for yourself in living color… Any teacher will tell you the weeks after Halloween and Easter are the worst times of the year. Typically, sugar has been the culprit blamed for hyperactivity and unruliness. I have discovered that there are many more subtle and far reaching things that are affecting our children through their diets! I have been surprised to learn what should have been apparent all along; that when we eat anything that is altered from its natural state it alters US from our natural state because the body has to make adjustments to accept what has been consumed. Perhaps, we don’t even know who o ur “real” children are; having never experienced their company, and seen their potential expressed through a pure and detoxified body with genuine emotions to go along with it?
The behavior our children exhibit directly influences how others treat them. When a child is not given the chance to experience a pure, functioning physical body, he is ot able to relate to those around him in a way that builds strong, loving relationships. Of course, we love our children, but, what parent can’t relate to the frustration of dealing with a demanding, high-maintenance child on a daily basis?
Many times these children will go through their entire childhood unaware that what they are eating contributes to or caused their problems. Unfortunately, these children usually receive a label such as hyperactive, difficult or slow, which follows them through their entire school years and influences how they view themselves leading to low self-esteem. Many times the parents don’t realize there is a problem having grown so used to these behaviors and devising various methods of dealing with them, (sad to say many parents out of frustration add to the problems by giving in to food choices to suffice an out of control child to get a moment of peace). It is usually not until others (i.e. teachers, siblings, and friends) perceive the child as a problem because of the behaviors, that real perception is reflected back to the child. It becomes the child’s perception of self now@. If the child constantly operates in a fog, unable to grasp fully the world around them, their educations suffers, setting them up for future difficulties as they go through life. This is why it is so important to understand the diet/behavior connection and to understand that what the child eats not only influence their behavior but how others treat them and how they view themselves and their place in the whole of the society they live in. (anyone been watching the news in the past 10 years or so and see our children/teens making smooth transitions into society? or are we hearing of more and more violence at the hands of these young people?) Bullying, teasing, name calling, children feeling isolated lashing out…. How can there not be a connection folks, the motor is only as good as the quality of fuel being pumped in the tank!
Most of us are used to preparing meals for our families with the basic food groups in mind. There is usually a main dish (meat, or a protein sources), a starch and a veggie. This is how we learned to cool. When you adopt a more raw approach you can forget all of that. Simplicity is the key. It is perfectly alright to sit down and eat three bananas for lunch. If you make the preparation of raw food meals into your routine overly complicated… YOU HAVE MISSED THE POINT! This is especially important if there are others in your house who are not following a whole food/raw diet.
If you are trying to prepare two different meals for your family’s dinner you are setting yourself up for disaster. Try to get away from the idea that each meal has to be so different.
The idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day comes from the advertising of the cereal companies. It is actually better to have some freshly juiced produce or fruit until the noon meal, or to skip breakfast allowing the body to continue its fast (detoxification) which began during the sleep period. Some children will need a bit extra protein which can be given simply in the form of 1/2 cup of raw nuts of their liking.
A heavy breakfast ties up the body’s energy, making us sluggish and tired. The two things your body expends the most energy on is digestion and elimination. If your child struggles with constipation issues, guess what their body wants to devote the most energy to, digestion OR elimination? If you guessed elimination you were right!
In the morning, you can make vegetable juice made from a juicer. This can include carrot apple, kale, celery and/or a variety of produce choices.
If you feel something more substantial in the morning is needed, you can have some sprouted buckwheat as a cereal with some fresh juice. You can opt for sliced fruit or sprouted buckwheat cereal with raisin. you can serve melon, a smoothie and fresh berries in the summer or soaked dried fruit in the winter.
At lunch you can let your family decide if they want fruit or a green salad. A heavier meal like an apple dipped in a raw nut butter is tasty. If your family is not totally raw you can provide a bowl of vegetable soup or steamed vegetables. The hardest thing is to wean your family away from the typical lunch time sandwich. Cooked starch (bread) is one of the most difficult addictions to give up. I refer to cooked starch as an addiction because I believe the chemical reaction in the body after eating cooked starch acts as a drug, releasing a dopamine provoking sedative effect.
This has been my own experience after going for some time without bread, then eating it again. If you doubt the addictive quality of bread, try going without for several days, I mean having zero baked starch. Then sit down and eat some and watch how your mental clarity changes or your digestive system reacts. (YES this includes gluten-free products)
Try using cabbage or lettuce leaves instead and place veggies, like avocado, sprouts cucumber, tomato, grated zucchini etc. and roll these up like a burrito. (If your child is used to lots of sweets, grate up an apple or chop up some dried fruit and add to the vegetables to sweeten as you wean their palates.
This zone can get tricky for many as dinner is that one meal where everyone tends to come together, especially when the children are still smaller. For this reason dinner seems more “official” and carries more meaning as we prepare the food we are to share with ur loved ones. Let the kids help prepare the evening salad, it adds to the one on one with your kids. You can serve a large salad, be creative include raw nuts, sprouts and raw cheese and on occasions some pasta on the side. Have a plate of lightly steamed veggies or soup or baked potato. Change your mind set that dinner has to be a 7 course blown out meal that our digestive system struggles to break down because it is too much.
IS IT EXPENSIVE TO EAT THIS WAY?
Many clients complain that they would love to eat this way but it is too expensive. Like we talked about before, you are used to the volume of food consumed when eating over cooked, processed, empty calorie foods. Once you switch to more raw/whole food choices, it may take a week or two for your body to adjust but you will find your family is snacking less and consuming less volume of food. How many of you can sit down and eat a 3LB bag of apples at one sitting? Your body will not allow it, the type of natural fiber and the way it reacts with our digestive process will automatically cause a gag reflex to stop you from overeating. Try that with a 3 ob. bag of potato chips, you can eat the whole bag and still be hungry.
The next question is organic is so expensive… yes it does cost more, and not all produce needs to be organic, you can look up the dirty dozen and try to buy the produce that tends to have higher pesticide loads, and do non organic on the ones that do not. Reduce cost by planting a garden n the spring and include the kiddo’s when caring for it to instill a love for how food is grown you will be teaching them a valuable lesson. Over all for a family of 7, we can spend anywhere from $325.00 per month to $400.00 per month on groceries depending on the season. We don’t buy a whole bunch of junk food products (my hubs likes some of his junk snacks, especially ice cream). Making some of those items from scratch will always be cheaper and healthier options for treats. We also buy in bulk the basic staples which is more cost effective. I found out early on that when we were still buying half cooked food items and half raw items, we spent almost $700.00 tp$750.00 per month. The cost of fresh food is still considerably lower than processed and convenience foods. The cost of packaging (cans, bottles, boxes, freezer packs etc…) is costly to the pocketbook and the planet with waste. Buy the convenience foods adds to your expenses in other ways as well, when you consume more of those items your family us usually not as healthy and more frequent trips to the doctor for illness is normally incurred as well. Buy in bulk when possible. Invest in a large freezer and a juicer. Two of the best appliances you can obtain toward improving not only the quality of health and vitality for your family but it will save you money in the long run too. Another appliance that is useful is a dehydrator. You can dry your own herbs and vegetables for winter use.
Some quick ideas:
Salads: (Be creative) there is no wrong way to really make one.
- sliced tomato or several cherry tomatoes
- sliced cucumber
- sugar snap peas
- red cabbage shredded
- numb bean, lentil and alfalfa sprouts
- bok choy
- sunflower/pumpkin ,pecan/almond nuts and seeds
With so many things to choose from in the veggie world it is hard to get bored with salads if you are not afraid to be creative! Make your dressing from raw ingredients and buy organic bottled dressings made with cold pressed oils. Otherwise, a 1/4 up of raw apple cider vinegar with 1 cup cold pressed olive oil, some Italian spices and the juice of 1/2 lemon and a hint of fresh apple juice mixed in is an excellent dressing!
- chopped romaine lettuce
- chopped tomato
- sliced cucumber
- sprouts of choice
- guacamole in the center and fresh salsa of your choice over entire salad.
Buckwheat is one of the softest grains. It is moist and sprouts fast and easily. Soak3/4 cup raw hulled buckwheat groats for 5-6 hours. Drain and rinse several times till water runs clear. Turn jar upside down in a drainer. Repeat this rinsing several times thru the day. You will notice sprouts appearing after one day. Continue to rinse several times a day for 2 days, the sprouts will be about 1/4 inch in length. They are now read to eat. Place desired amount of sprouts in a bowl it won’t take much thee are dense and filling and top with raisins of fruit of your choice. Add raw nut milk. This is a good recipe for transition because it is filling and substitutes for a processed cereal so many kids at are used to. You can store the sprouts jar and all in the refrigerator up to 3 days. The sprouts will continue to grow, they may still be eaten.
This is a great dip for raw veggies or to spread on dehydrated crackers or sprouted breads. you can add as much tahini as you like creating a smoother texture. Bu sure to process using a food processor for a creamy texture.
- 2 cups sprouted chickpeas also called garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 TB minced garlic
- 1/2 cup rat tahini blended sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
- Braggs liquid Amino to taste
Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender until creamy.
This tastes like a chocolate milk shake.
Blend in a blender and serve:
- 1 fresh banana
- 1 frozen banana
- 4 pitted dates
- 1TB carob powder
- 1 cup water
- 1TB raw tahini
- you can sub nut milk in place of the water and you can also toss in 2 TB of flax meal for additional fiber and omega 3 benefit
- This is a guarantee to satisfy a sweet tooth or chocolate craving and no need to feel guilty.
Obviously this topic can dive much deeper; I offer raw food & juicing classes and I also have different consultation packages available. You can go to www.mkt.com/harvested-health-llc and see what services would work for you.
Remember folks, WE are the example to our children, the old saying “do as I say NOT as I do” didn’t work for you as a child and it will also fail to work for your children. Children are sponges, they will watch and imitate you and what you do. IF they see you sneaking food they will too.
Also don’t use food for a reward system. You are setting them up for emotional connections to those foods, which lets face it are NEVER centered around, Oh honey you got straight A’s, lets celebrate with a big bowl of broccoli…. seriously. Reward them with a movie, or a special trip to the theme park etc. Don’t center it around junk food rewards!
Thank you all for your continued support and for liking, sharing and reading my posts. It is much appreciated…
Till next time…
Dr. Jodi Barnett N.D.
Harvested Health LLC