We are featuring a new series on the E2 blog all about parenting. We have lots of plant-strong parents raising plant-strong kids.
Being that this Sunday is Mother’s Day we wanted to highlight one of the wonderful Mom’s in our community, Loni from Whole Food Mommies .
My name is Loni, I am happily married to the love of my life, Ben. We have four daughters ages 9, 6, and twins who are 3 years old. We changed our diet three years ago, immediately after listening to “The China Study” on a long car ride. I carry a breast cancer gene (BRCA 1). When Dr Campbell started sharing the links between diet and breast cancer specifically, it was an answer to prayers for us. Each of our four daughter has a 50% chance of carrying the gene as well, preventative surgery was the only real option for me. I worried about cancer and my girls daily. Now I know that if we can give them the proper nutrition starting at such young ages their odds will just continue to decrease. This new information was hope and peace! It gave me back the power and the fear of cancer has dwindled.
After we listened to The China Study, I knew everyone needed to hear this stuff! I had no idea that NOT everyone on the planet wanted me to share this new found knowledge with them. I was telling people left and right. Inviting people over for plant-based goodness. It didn’t take long for some friends to stop joining us for meals or for our families to be fearful when we visited. They did not now how to cook for us or if I would lecture them on what they were eating. I learned quickly that the best approach, as with anything, is to love not judge. (and be ready ready to share when they are ready to listen).
The First thing we immediately eliminated from our diets was dairy, that was a big change for us. We were not big milk drinkers, but yogurt and cheese were used daily if not at each meal. It took some time to get use to new flavors, we certainly missed our cheese. Lucky for me, my kids were still young enough to not complain too much. As they are getting older and spending more time with friends, they see a lot more of the “normal” stuff and will ask for ice cream or string cheese. It always give me a great teaching opportunity. I get to share with my daughters the power of eating healthy. There are times when I will let them choose. I do think it’s important that they learn to listen to their bodies as well. My oldest two daughters can now feel the difference in their bodies depending on what they chose to eat.
I think the biggest challenge with feeding my children plant-strong is SCHOOL (lunch). Now, don’t get me wrong, I make their lunch everyday. It’s the trading or sharing with a friend and the class parties where all the processed sugary junk get tasted. I educate my kids, but I know that they will get treats. It also give me another opportunity to teach them to listen to their bodies. I do not want to force this lifestyle on my children just to have them run off to friends’ homes and binge on garbage. I want them to notice how they feel and why. My nine year old came home from a friends house after playing for a couple of hours, she was sick. She told me what they ate… oreos, popcorn, popsicles, and she was offered soda. She told me how glad she was that I cared what she ate and that she doesn’t have to worry about food at home. Friends play a key role and now that she has had the opportunity to experience that sick to her stomach feeling, she makes better choices.
Another huge benefit to eating plant-strong: My kids were sick from October to May every year. I just planned for ear infections, coughs, colds, runny noses, and then springtime allergies. The first winter after our diets had changed we had one bout of sickness, none of the regular ear infections. No need for antibiotics or hours waiting in the doctors office. We were THRILLED! I could not believe these healthy happy kids for the whole winter, we could go sledding and actually enjoy the winter! There is no greater blessing than healthy children!
I know its not an easy road for parents just starting out. I would love to suggest start by eliminating dairy and adding a lot more greens. I let my kids take turns picking the greens for dinner. I think there are a few important keys to helping your children become plant-strong. First educate them at their level, take them grocery shopping with you and allow them to pick a few new veggies, then let them help prepare meals. If they play a role in the process of preparing they are more likely to try their creations! Most important, be patient and don’t give up! It takes time for their little taste buds to appreciate all the new flavors.
Thanks for the opportunity to share
Thank you Loni! We appreciate you sharing your story.
Do you have kids? Are you starting to pave the plant-strong road with them? How is it going?
If you’d like to write about your plant-strong parenting adventures, we’d love to hear from you! Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org