My baby girl is on a pretty basic diet right now. Not a calorie restricted diet, but a food quality diet. This means I give her no added sugar, no dairy, very few grains, and I am very careful about any foods that are hard on the digestive system. Why am I doing this? I have many reasons, and here are some of them. And, for the record, I am working with a nutritionist and I recommend you work with a one as well as a qualified healthcare provider for any diet changes and health problems!
She Doesn’t Know Better and I Do
For the same reasons you don’t let your kids play with knives, jump in water alone, or use outlets, they don’t know how to handle or properly use those things. The same goes for high sugar, junk food. When she’s older, yeah, she can make her own choices and I will always be there to guide her, advise her on why we eat healthy, and point her in the right direction. I won’t micromanage everything she chooses to eat or drink when she has the ability to understand what she’s doing.
But right now? She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know how eating sugar at this age could set her up for a lifetime addiction. She doesn’t know how junk food could destroy her gut health and potentially contribute to a lifelong battle with allergies, asthma, ADHD, autoimmune disease, and so much more. She doesn’t know that poor eating habits and low quality food choices could predispose her to excessive weight gain, setting her up for self esteem issues and an obsession with body image. No, I won’t make it all about being skinny; skinny can be just as unhealthy. But, I will bring her up to love, appreciate, and respect food, hopefully wanting to make the right choices because she knows that is what is best for her. She’s one and a half right now and she doesn’t know better. She’s completely happy with blueberries, and I would like to keep it that way.
Some Foods Trigger Her Eczema
It’s hard to understand until you’ve seen your baby suffer with a bright red, raised, itchy, inflamed rash spreading across her body and you have no idea why, but eczema is the worst. And, it’s not normal. It’s not something that any kid should have to live with. I fought and fought to find answers to why she was experiencing this inflammatory reaction, and after more than a year of questions and talking to experts, I determined a diet change and proper supplementation was the treatment she needed. Now, her rash is completely gone, unless the offending toxins, foods, or irritants show up in her diet or on her skin. It doesn’t take much either, only a few bites. So no, even a little is not okay. Because, it breaks this mamas heart to see her laying in bed itching her skin until it bleeds, and no food is worth that.
Her Long Term Health Depends On It
As the childhood obesity rate continues to climb, chronic disease in children skyrockets, and our kids are sicker than ever, I have to believe poor nutrition is a contributing factor. Processed, junk food diets are started at a young age. Processed rice cereal, processed baby snacks, processed toddler snacks, cakes, cookies, pizza, chicken fingers, mac n cheese– I mean just look at a kid’s menu at a restaurant. Where’s the nutrition? Nutrition is vitally important for a little growing body, proper gut health, and longevity. I will give my baby the best start in life that I can, and that includes real, whole, unprocessed foods. It’s simple, it’s less expensive, and it’s so much better for her.
It Encourages Healthy Habits
You crave what you eat, and I want to see my baby have healthy habits, tastes, and cravings. I know that I crave what I am eating most frequently, and I want her to know what real food is, how good it can taste, and how much better it is than processed junk food. I want her to know how to snack the right way and plan ahead for healthy eating, and how to cook and take care of herself when she moves away. I want her to understand moderation, that it’s okay to indulge from time to time, and to not obsess about food either. I want to set her up for a lifetime of high quality eating habits that come naturally. It’s never to early to start guiding her in that direction, and that’s why I started as soon as she was nursing with my own eating habits.
Because, “I Ate It and I’m Okay” Isn’t Good Enough For Me
Surely we’ve all either heard this excuse or said it ourselves. Unfortunately, the food industry has been spreading lies for a long time, and the “experts” have been changing their opinion on what’s healthy every generation. What we ate when we were kids and was considered the “healthy” choice, probably wasn’t. There was a long time where low fat, fortified foods were seen as the best food choices, and of course we know that healthy fats shouldn’t be feared and vitamins are best when coming from their natural source. However, many of us probably ate quite a bit of junk food and came out on the other side alive. Still, that’s not a good enough argument for me. That’s not good scientific analysis for one thing, and more often than that it’s an excuse to justify choices people feel uncomfortable about making.
No, I’m Not a Judgmental Crazy Person
Of course I’m not nit picking every decision other people make, and sitting on a high horse thinking I’m the best mom. What I am doing, is offering real and solid explanations of why I do what I do, and offering education and advice for those who are looking for it. No mom should ever feel she can’t afford or execute a healthy diet for her babies if that’s what she wants to do. I believe as mothers it’s our job to navigate through the murky waters of advice everyone (including those silly bloggers!) is trying to give us about our children, on top of raising them, keeping them fed and well, and taking care of our own lives. In my opinion, if there is not time to search for the right information, find a trustworthy source who has done the research and has the training and listen to them.
I won’t be crazy. I won’t freak out if she goes to a birthday party and eats ice cream or panic if we have to buy snacks at a gas station. But, I won’t stop fighting for her, against the grain, against the culture, against this public health disaster we’ve created by feeding our kids sugar, pizza, fries, and fried chicken at school’s lined with soda and vending machines. For the first time in my life I have personally experienced how the proper nutrition for my body can impact my health, well-being, and life for the better, and I want that for her. She deserves it!
Do you agree? What do you feed for kiddos?
What to do next?
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