Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Children as Nutritarians?

3 year old Skye seeing fresh nutritarian spiced oatmeal-almond raisin cookies

Should Children Be Nutritarians?

I have been a nutritarian now for coming up on two years. This April will be my 2 year anniversary, in fact. I also have a toddler of 3 years old, whom at this very moment is determined to intervene on my writing this blog! Heh. Toddlers, right? All this time I have been in turmoil with regards to his eating. My Husband is not a nutritarian, and with that brings many challenges when it comes to what's for dinner and what my toddler prefers. I will also add that he is very supportive of me and of feeding Skye like I do myself! After my lifestyle revolution, certificate courses at Cornell University in Plant-based Nutrition, and of course the most amazing, reading Dr. Fuhrman's books, I've felt irresponsible to NOT be feeding my son in a manner that will allow him to avoid the common "Diseases of Affluence" now plaguing most Americans in their middle age where they should be just enjoying life and freedom.

"I've felt irresponsible to NOT be feeding my son in a manner that will allow him to avoid the common "Diseases of Affluence"

I am talking about heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure. Instead they are having heart attacks in their 30's and 40's and on blood pressure meds and statins, feeling broken, afraid and stressed. Not only that, but it is expensive! Those meds add up and only lead to more meds. Ever wonder how much those bypass surgeries cost? Ever heard how they place a stent? You could buy a VERY nice car for the price! Forget the retirement dream home, you have to pay for the bypasses to come. Just like the chip slogan "Betcha can't have only one".

Heart problems just get worse and worse, like a ticking time bomb. Not my idea of what I want to be doing at that time in my life! Also and more importantly in turn, not my idea of what I want for my child. The authorities are saying for the first time in history children today are not expected to outlive their parents. Seriously! Look it up. But it is so hard, especially with him getting more and more aware of junk food and all it's "pleasures".  I am intoxicated by his smile, how can I rob him of that which gives him joy? I want to give him everything he wants and more! I'd give him the moon if I could.

"This is the time to shape him for the rest of his life, but is it worth it and fair to make a three year old a nutritarian? That was my question..."

I had to put forth a lot of effort to free myself from food addiction and a host of medical problems in my early 20's. Actually my medical problems started around 9 with strange bumps on my arms that wouldn't go away, followed at 15 with acne, then by 17 migraines,  20 joint problems, depression, anxiety and high cholesterol to name a few. I had to fight for what I am now! Free from these ailments and more.

"Two years ago when I looked in the mirror I saw a shell of a person who was not a reflection of what was kept inside."

 Now, I see ME. Inside and out, healthy and fit, what I want to be---in control, free. When I think back to when I started eating this way, I remember wishing I had just always been served this kind of food from a young age so that it wasn't so hard adjusting and coming down from the sugar/salt cravings. I remember thinking how lucky Dr. Fuhrman's kids are to not have had to go through this pain and searching and battling. Then I think of my young little son, again, and wonder why I am allowing him to follow in my painful footsteps, allowing him to eat whatever he wants instead of teaching him without compromise. Come to think of it, growing up my Mom used to feed me cheerios instead of fruit loops, which I detested, but it was how it was, and I dealt with it. Was she a bad Mom for depriving me of sugary cereals? No, just trying to set me up in the best way she knew how, for success later in life. Nevermind that they were cheerios. She made boundaries, I followed. Why should I be any different?

"I've reflected on birthdays I've had in the past full of delicious cakes, frosting on noses, fresh warm and gooey chocolate chip cookies from Momma's oven..."

I've tossed and turned over whether having a child eat as a nutritarian (for health) is cruel, depriving them of experiences or not, and over the top. I've reflected on birthdays I've had in the past full of delicious cakes, frosting on noses, fresh warm and gooey chocolate chip cookies from Momma's oven...all things that are precious memories. I've wondered how on Earth I could live with myself if I took all that away, would that make me a bad Mom? Would he resent me for it later? Would I steal those precious moments I got to enjoy, nevermind the consequences and the many years of pain and tears it ended up causing? I couldn't figure out where I stood, so I opted for allowing him to choose and living by example. My three year old son, thank goodness, did choose a lot of my foods over Daddy's foods. He developed a preference for my foods that lasted for a while but started waning as he grew older, more aware of culinary possibilities and being able to remember what we have behind closed cabinet doors, and outside at our favorite cafes. He started to stray more and more from eating some of both of our menus and more eating towards Daddy's menu, and then worse. You can imagine my stress levels started rising, and the winds of change came upon us.

"A new day has come indeed..."

It was four nights ago that I got my final wake up call. It came in the form of an email from www.diseaseproof.com  Dr. Fuhrman's blog. The article was written by Emily Boller, one of Dr. Fuhrman's most publicized success stories, and someone I am proud to know even if it is only through the internet hehe. That article can be found at the link above. It really hit a nerve with me, I made a comment at the end of it, and then decided I had answered my own question. Food is just food, it's the PEOPLE that make it special and memorable.

I can't control everything in his life. There will still be birthdays with cake at friend's houses in the future I am sure. Halloween will come and go, easter baskets will be found, candy canes will be eaten...but his "normal" will be the same things I eat. End of story. We will make beautiful nutritarian Thanksgivings he will never forget (or know any different). I am not willing to sacrifice his health and longevity for the false and temporary "happiness" disease promoting foods bring with them. When he gets older, when the time comes, he may choose for himself what to eat away from home.  By then, he will feel the difference for himself when he eats those other foods and can make his own educated decision. I said "Tomorrow was a new day" in my comment on that post, and indeed it was. The first day my son, age three, became a nutritarian.

"Food is just food, it's the PEOPLE that make it special and memorable..."

The funny thing is, of all things I worried about: Telling him no when he sees a donut at the cafe, wants french fries for lunch, wants a lollipop for going potty (we're potty training) seeing food at a friend's house he can't have, asking for eggs at breakfast etc). All of them have been so easy to handle, and really,  he is happy to eat whatever he is given and is enthusiastic about it even and easily accepts my guidance without tantrums. The things I feared the most have been so easy, I cannot believe I let those fears eat me up all those years!

He has eaten so much better too, more enthusiastic about the enjoyment aspect ("Mmmmm so yummy! Delicious Mimi!")  as he ate his orange this morning.  Asking for more and more salad for breakfast, having a blast making it himself (putting lettuce in bowl, sprinkling on beans, raisins and oranges and homemade nut and fruit dressing we made together)  jumping up and down and getting wide eyed at getting raisin boxes as treats for using the potty instead of the usual "balls of internal destruction" we call lollipops (lol that is humor there don't freak out!) So as you can see from my badly fragmented sentences (anyone wanna be my permanent editor? lol) this change has not deprived him of anything, but yet, actually has added to his enjoyment of life and time with his family.

We have had so much quality time making things together, talking about healthy foods, and enjoying them together. To top off the wonderfulness of the evening, we made my very own recipe for nutritarian spiced oatmeal-almond raisin cookies. As we sat there making cookies together, me watching his smoosh his face on the oven window to see them baking and sniff the air "Mmmmm Mimi it smells GOOD!" I couldn't help but smile. It's been three days since then, what an amazing and wonderful journey. Best yet, my heart feels light and that guilty burden is gone.

"My fears were absolutely relevant, but easily disproven.."

If you have thought about feeding your kids like you feed yourself, as a nutritarian, I urge you to just try it and allow the reality of the outcome guide you. My fears were absolutely relevant, but easily disproven. Making those cookies together was so special to me, it was truly the icing on my (nutritarian) cake. It showed me once and for all he can and will have a fulfilling and wonderful life filled with sweet memories, as much as a kid who eats tollhouse cookies with their parents on cold fall evenings, only we'll be eating my cookies instead...and that's a-ok.  I am what makes them special to him, so go ahead Moms, give yourself a little credit and realize that YOU are what makes those memories special and not the food. If your Grandma made nutritarian Thanksgiving Dinners all your life, you would grow up fondly remembering them instead of a bird.

It's all relative to perspective, life really IS what you make it.

In Health and For Wellness....



  1. GREAT article, wonderful advice!
    ~ Kacy (www.TYOK11.blogspot.com)

  2. I found your blog through the member centre at drfuhrman.com, and I have to say you are an inspiration. I'm 18 and have been struggling to stuck to the eat to live plan for about two years... I've been successful at losing weight a couple times, but havnt managed to keep it off. As a dedicated vegan, I have thought about how I will raise my kids when the time comes. I want them to be healthy, but not seen as "freaks" or "poor" kids whose parents don't let them eat good food. Thank you for this post, I will be a regular follower from now on!

  3. Thank you Kacy ;) Anon, I am so glad you found me then! I can certainly relate, and though my blog is a bit slow due to my own laziness hehe, I want to help all I can! I totally understand about the "poor deprived kid" syndrome, but keep reminding myself of how many parents I have witnessed burying their kids due to heart disease later in life (not outliving parents) and just remind myself that this is a matter of life and death. Whe you look at it in that serious light, the opinions of others seem rather unimportant and irrelevant. Welcome to the blog, and keep in touch! What's your name? hehe I'd love to recognize you on the forums at Dr.F!

  4. Wonderful article with really great advise.

    But you are also lucky with a child that isn't a "difficult" eater. I have a 3.5 and a 1.5 year old boys. My 3 y/o is an extremely difficult eater. He will not even eat a slice of homemade pizza (cheeseless since we're milk/soy/egg/nut free household due to allergies). He will not try anything other than his chicken nuggets and pasta. He eats this every single day. I get sick looking at them. I always offer other foods and I have learned to make amazing dishes without milk/soy/eggs/nuts but he has no interest. My 1.5 year old thinks my food is the best and will eat anything and everything. He eats veggies and fruit without a problem. My 3 y/o never liked to eat fruit / veggies, even when he was 1 years old. Made me realize that there are different types of children.

    But this article is making me want to work even harder on how he eats. I was starting to give up a little.


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