Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. It is a grueling struggle and battle, between wills, between good and evil, between family and society and on and on. In such a landscape, I have had an interesting experience with my own kids and brainwashing them.
My experience surrounds our society and food. My kids were born in to a fairly normal American family. A family that loved pizza, drank soda, ate out 2-4 times a week, and ate maybe 1 serving of vegetables every couple days. Once we had kids, my husband and I promptly tried to reform our diets some but it was easy to still eat the same way. Especially when our kids were just eating baby food, and not what we ate. Over the years, we had made some changes to improve our diets. We became more conscious about eating some more vegetables. We talked about eating to be healthy (verses to be “thin”). We talked about eating in moderation. We talked about not eating too much sugar…. and other normal things. Fast forward almost a decade later and now we are in a very different situation. I thought we were doing good then. I don’t think we were even close.
Just recently, two of my kids were diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Through in-depth discussion with their Naturalistic MD, we come to understand that not only are they gluten intolerant, but there is a list of other foods that mimic gluten in the body. If those foods aren’t removed as well, the body will continue to react as if it were gluten. What is the list, you ask? It’s call the Cross Reactive List. When I first really saw this list, I became overwhelmed. No milk, potato, rice, soy, wheat, corn, eggs… so what can my kids eat!!!
Thankfully, as I really wrestled to figure out what our diets would consist of now, I figured it out. And through that process, I have been very open with my kids about what they can and can’t eat, why, what impact it has on the body, and how to ensure they are getting good healthy food. I see it as having to brainwash my kids. They have grown up in a society that doesn’t bat an eye at eating an entire meal that comes from bags or boxes, when kids drink soda and eat a candy bar, and when an entire plate is full of yellowish bland colored food.
I have had to take back my kids’ mind and what they think they know about food. It’s a slow process, but through time, repeated talks, and my husband and I demonstrating good food habits, our kids are doing amazing well. My oldest daughter’s favorite breakfast is making her own hamburgers and bacon. My son’s favorite breakfast is a toss up between applesauce with cinnamon and craisins or gluten-free hot cereal made with ground flax seed, almond milk, and baking chocolate with a bit of maple syrup. And my two youngest daughters’ favorite breakfast is eggs with a side of apple slices and peanut butter. They eat smoked or grilled meat at almost every meal, accompanied with vegetables. They can tell you what has protein, what has carbs, what has good fats, and what has calcium. They know why it isn’t healthy to eat the way most of their classmates eat, and although one of them “cheats” at school on occasion (this is happening less and less), and the two that don’t have allergies occasionally get chips, crackers, or cheese, they are learning what it will take to live a healthy lifestyle.
I told my son the other night, although his allergies have caused him pain and heartache, I said that we can be thankful to God for them. Because without the food allergies, we likely wouldn’t have had the perceived need or motivation to make the fairly drastic lifestyle changes we have.