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Living Naturally: Counter-Cultural Health and Kids; When Its Hard To Be Different

Yesterday, Chris’s Money Matters article focused on Counter-Cultural Finances…which loosely translated means “how to cut costs and maintain a budget, while your friends think you’re weird and cheap because you don’t have an ipad, but you come to realize that that is ok…because there are more important things in life”.  And for the record, yes, we here at Cheeky Bums do believe that there are more important things in the world than owning an ipad (disclaimer: Apple, If you would like us to review a complimentary ipad, well, we’d take one for the team… ;)) 

So today, lets take a look at Counter-Cultural Health.

Back in the day, when our family traded in Wonder Bread and Velveeta, for sourdough and aged cheddar, well, quite frankly, that was kinda weird to a lot of people.  We were the “food snobs” that shopped at the health food store.

You know the type.

They make everything at home.  They don’t use coupons very often.  And they buy flax seed, kefir, kombucha and whole wheat flour. AND they know what to do with them.

OK, so that might be a bit of a sarcastic stretch, but my hubby and I both grew up with a steady diet of tv dinners and pb&j on white, sans the crust thankyouverymuch.  When we started looking into the causes of our (and our childrens’ ) allergies, our entire perspective on nutrition changed.  All of the sudden, we were “not like every one else”.  We didn’t eat what most people ate, and we were MUCH more selective about what we were putting in our bodies.

This was totally fine for the hotty hubby and me.  We truly didn’t mind if people thought we were crazy, because physically, we felt SO.MUCH.BETTER.

But what about our kids?  My daughter and I both have ADD. I know what happens when she eats much processed food, refined sugar, or anything resembling a soda – diet or otherwise.  But to her, they are the forbidden fruit.

So what do you do?

Well, I’d love to say “Here’s my list of 10 things that you can tell your kids to make it all better”. But I’m no where close to that…(And if anyone does have a list like that, please link up here, because I’d LOVE to read it!!!)

But I can tell you how we fumble along try to handle it.

  1. Don’t try to deter them from junk by telling them that M&Ms are gross.  That’s a lie.  If they didn’t taste so good, then by golly you wouldn’t want to eat the entire bag.  Be honest with your kids so that they know that they can trust you.  They’ll see right through the M&M ruse. They’re little, not stupid.

  2. Provide alternatives.  When my daughters recently attended the birthday party of a friend, I told the mommy in charge of my daughter’s food sensitvities and asked if I could bring another dessert to share with the group.  She was TOTALLY fine with that and even made a little something else for the party, so that the birthday guests had options.

  3. Teach them WHY.  I know – much easier said than done, but explain to your kids WHY, as a family, you’ve chosen not to eat certain things.  More than likely, they won’t follow you and they will have no clue what an enzyme is, but engage them in your family decisions so that they feel included and important, even if it doesn’t make perfect sense.

  4. Put it all into perspective.  My daughter is not at risk of death if she eats a small slice of cake.  Will we have a miserable next few days?…well, yes. more than likely.  However, there are certain times and certain special events that cannot be avoided, and if possible – shouldn’t be avoided.  When I was growing up, once a year, on vacation, we would stop at this tiny little ice cream stand, just outside of Traverse City, Michigan after spending a day at the beach.  When I was older and could take my own kids, we continued the tradition.  This ice cream stand defies all meaning of the word “healthy”.  However, watching sun-bronzed little girls in swimsuits with wet hair slurp down mint chocolate chip ice cream is the stuff of memories.  We indulged and I don’t regret it.  Put everything into perspective, and unless medically necessary, don’t miss out on special occasions or the chance to make a memory because you were afraid of a sugar-rush.

  5. When you consume less, then special treats really are SPECIAL.  We recently attended the wedding of a very close family friend.  The reception was amazing…there was an entire dessert BAR…candy gallore.  The rest of the kids at the wedding had found a permanent perch in front of that rainbow colored, sticky gooey heaven.  We were “those parents” that allowed our children to share one item.  The funny thing is, our kids were fine with that.  Now don’t get me wrong: would they have jumped head first into the chocolate fountain if we had let them. ABSOLUTELY.  But “treats” really are a treat in their mind and not an extension of dinner.  Teach your children to cherish “special” things and those things no longer become “rights” or expectations.

  6. And sometimes, there’s no easy answer.  We all want to be included and fit in.  We want the easy (a la microwave dinner) solution and we don’t want our kids to be “THAT kid in class that eats those weird things”.  However, as much as we want to protect our kids, shelter them, indulge them…sometimes…[gulp]they just need to be different.  As mommies, we want to hold their hands and make sure that no one ever dares make fun of them or says degrading things to them.       It’s not possible…So train them, teach them, love them and show them that being a Counter Culture is okay, because the choices that you are making as a family truly are better than the norm. They just are.  Not because you’re elitists, but because you know cause and effect, action and consequence.  One of the greatest lessons that we can instill in our children is self confidence – so that when the rest of the culture looks on questioningly, they don’t waiver in what they know to be truth.

So during vacation this summer, on the way home from the beach, will we stop and get ice cream? Yup, probably. We’ve made other life style changes to better our health for the long term, so one ice cream cone?  and is that ok? sure is…

Have you started switching to Traditional Foods?  How is your family adjusting?


This post was linked to:  Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking Traditional Food, Simple Living Wednesday at Our Simple Farm, Women Living Well Wednesday at Women Living Well, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Your Green Resource at A Delightful Home, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food, Whole Health, The Sunday School Blog Hop at Butter Believer, Seasonal Celebrations at Natural Mother’s Network, Monday Mania at The Health Home Economist, The Welcome Home Linkup at Raising Arrows, Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead

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