Thursday, January 31, 2013

Josh's Food Choice

To continue talking about how unschooled kids learn to self regulate with things like food and screen time, How Josh (8y) chose to cut sugar and wheat out of his diet-

To give back story, Papa and I try to eat a Paleo diet, but we don't force that on the kids. Neither do we force meal times or restrict particular foods. I'll ask them often throughout the day if they're hungry to try and make sure they're eating enough, but whether they eat or not is completely up to them.

One regular day Josh got up and didn't want breakfast. He instead went to play at the neighbor's house. He played most of the day, had something very junk foody for "lunch", and more junk for dinner. That evening he mentioned his head felt "spinny". I advised him that he was likely getting dizzy because he hadn't eaten any protein that day, instead eating mostly sugar products.

He didn't think so, he thought he just needed some water. Alright.

A little later he got a headache. I don't know that he'd ever really had a headache before, he was really hurting. I suggested maybe he lay down in his room with the lights down. He took my advice this time. I went in his room with him, bringing a book I have full of natural/nutritional remedies. I read aloud the sections about dizziness and headaches so he could choose what he'd like me to do to help him feel better. He chose to have a cool pack on his head.

The section I read him about headaches mentioned limiting certain foods, including sugar, gluten, nitrates, etc. After he was feeling a little better, Josh asked me-

J- Does this mean I have to be on a paleo diet now?
M- No, you can eat whatever you want, but I think its important to listen to what your body is telling you when you eat certain foods or don't eat enough of other foods.
J- I don't want to eat only paleo.
M- Alright, that's fine.
J- This means I have to give up my 3 musketeers! (He gets one at checkout at the grocery store every time we shop)
M- I'll still buy you a 3 musketeers if you want one.
J- But they have tons of sugar and I don't want to get headaches. This feels terrible!
M- I don't want you to feel terrible either. It's your body and your choice whether you want to eat sugar or not.
J- (really upset now) I wouldn't be able to eat ice cream either!
M- Ice cream does have sugar in it. Maybe you could consider eating sugar in moderation and being sure to eat enough protein to balance if eliminating sugar is upsetting you so much.
J- I don't want to get headaches anymore. I don't want to eat sugar. But what can I eat for snacks?
M- We've got almonds, carrots, pears, berries...
J- I don't like those. Do we have cheese?
M- We don't have any right now, but we can get some tomorrow. How about we go to the store and find you plenty of snacks with protein in it, so you've got them on hand?
J- Yes, that sounds good. Let's do that.

So the next day we did just that. We went to Whole Foods (a real treat, as our budget doesn't allow us to frequent there) where he was able to sample different produce, cheeses, and other snacks.

When you give children control over their bodies they will make choices in their best interests.

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