Teaching Children to Love All Foods

We learned in our certification program and hear it over and over in our continuing education opportunities through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute that the way to help children eat a diverse and healthy diet is to explain what food can do for their body.  We learned to ask children what they like to do, what they want to be, what they wish they could do when they get older.  When you are armed with their response, you can then respond with a statement such as: Food X can help you have the energy to do Activity Y. This message seems great, makes sense, and I tell parents this all the time.  I tell them that it works and that children will listen to this and begin to make better choices and try new foods.  I tell parents that they may need to offer the new food many times, usually somewhere around 10-12, before they are even tried.  I tell parents with particularly sensitive children that the number of presentations is often closer to 20. Here is my confession.  I have been doing this since before our son could even talk.  We have been talking about the benefits (in a little kid appropriate way) of good food choices and how they will help make him grow strong and have energy to play, swim, play trains, etc.  We have done this until we are blue in the face and are left sitting at the end of the meal with a child in tears because he doesn’t want to try anything new and has only eaten the familiar food item on his plate.  This has been going on for almost 2 years.  To put it mildly, we were feeling disheartened and desperate.  We were following all of the suggestions we could find and all of the suggestions I provide parents.  The suggestions didn’t work.  I felt like a fraud. We didn’t give up because food is essential to life.  It should be enjoyed and it breaks my heart that my 3-year-old doesn’t love food.  We love food and want him to have that same pleasure in nourishing his body with great choices. It is important to remember that while the 3-year-old brain is amazingly intricate, it is not always able to make complex connections or reason through problems.  I know this, but we still talk about what food can do for...
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Nourishing your Body Series: Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Living

This week we have another installment of the Nourishing your Body series.  Our last post, by Norah, focused on gluten-free living.  This post continues to expand on gluten-free living, but also adds in a new component – casein-free living.  The Gluten-free, Casein-free (GFCF) diet has many wonderful benefits, especially for those with autism.  Before we go any further let me introduce Rachel, our guest blogger this week.  Rachel is married and has one son. After having success with the GFCF Diet, she started GoGFCF.com, a website dedicated to making it easier to start and succeed with the GFCF Diet. She is also the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Recipe Expert atStockpilingmoms.com. In addition to these endeavors, Rachel recently became certified as a L.E.A.N. Health Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute and offers a 6-week, online nutrition course that is tailored to the GFCF Diet. Finally, as a mom concerned about her family’s nutrition she is a distributor for Juice Plus (http://www.gogfcf.juiceplus.com), a whole food supplement that bridges the gap between our actual daily intake of fruits and vegetables and the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. I hope you will read below for more information on eating a gluten-free, casein-free diet, the benefits and challenges Rachel and her family have experienced, and check out the recipe that has become one of her favorites. Can you describe what it means to be gluten-free, casein-free for those readers unfamiliar with it? Glutens are plant proteins in the subclass monocotyledonae, found in wheat, semolina, bulgur, couscous, wheat berries, graham flour, whole meal flour, groats, malt, oats, barley, rye, triticale, and possibly spelt and kamut. Gluten is elastic and provides the stretchiness necessary in making yeast and non-yeast breads. Gluten-containing grains are the most common ingredients in breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, cakes, pretzels, matzah, Passover flour, farfel, cream sauces, thickening agents, and breading. Gluten derivatives are also found in malt, modified food starches, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), textured vegetable proteins (TVPs), and dextrin, and they are used in the following, unless labeled ‘gluten-free’: soy sauce, flavorings, instant coffee, some ketchups, mustards, commercial mixes, caked decorations, marshmallow creme, canned soups, deli meats, sausage, and hot dogs. Products labeled as corn bread or rice pasta may contain glutens unless otherwise labeled. Gluten is also found in some of the binders and fillers found in vitamins and medications, and even pastes and glues on envelope flaps....
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Nourishing your Body: Gluten-Free Living

This week starts off a series of posts written by friends, fellow L.E.A.N. Health Coaches, and children of friends.  There are a lot of ways to nourish your body through food.  Everywhere we turn there is a different “diet”, “meal plan”, or gimmick.  I wish I could say that one thing will work for everyone, but that simply isn’t true.  Some can’t eat dairy, some can’t consume animal products, some individuals are intolerant to gluten, and some are just looking for a way to be as healthy as possible in their busy lives.  Although there are a lot of gimmicks out there, there are also some really terrific focused diets that allow each person to find a personalized way to nourish their body, mind, and soul with food. This first post comes from Norah.  Over the last year I have gotten to spend some time talking with this adventurous, thoughtful, and really really knowledgeable 7-year-old.  She wants to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up, and you know what?  I think she would be a terrific dolphin trainer!  When you ask Norah about herself she will tell you that she has already lost 8 teeth, likes brussel sprouts, and loves art and music classes.  Norah made the decision to go gluten-free several weeks ago and has really been pleased with the results.  Read below for more information on eating a gluten-free diet, the benefits and challenges Norah has experienced, and check out the recipe that has become one of her favorites. Can you describe what it means to be gluten-free for those readers unfamiliar with it? It means you can’t eat wheat.  Sometimes lots of artificial foods have hidden gluten in them. What made you choose the gluten-free “diet” in particular?  Well, I had dark circles under my eyes and bumpy skin on my arms and legs.  Also, my stomach felt yucky a lot. What surprised you most about being gluten-free? I started feeling better right away.  My circles went away and my skin is getting smoother. What do you think would be most surprising to someone just starting out on a gluten-free diet? I was surprised that my gluten free bread tasted better than my old whole wheat bread. What are your favorite resources/sources of information on gluten-free (how did you learn about it)?  I use an app called Fooducate for Allergies.  You can scan the barcode...
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