It has been so long, and I have so much to tell you! I don’t know where to begin. The first thing on my mind is always food, so I’ll start there. I have been a bit overwhelmed lately with changing our eating habits. We have discovered through careful observation and food elimination that Ben is extremely sensitive to sugar and starches. We have known this for a long time, but in the past year his behavioral reactions to sweets has become more intense and far reaching. It has become clear that it is not just refined flours and sugars as we had originally thought, but all grains and sugars, including fruit. It is difficult for me to take in that I can’t let my kid eat a piece of fruit! I used to be thrilled that he loved to eat apples, bananas, grapefruit, you name it. Now I cringe when he is offered anything sweet because I know we have to say no. At school he had been eating “ketchup sandwiches” which is white bread dipped in ketchup. This is awful to me for many reasons, but especially because of his sensitivity. He is also frequently given candy at school even though we have asked that he not be given candy, especially things like jellybeans and lollypops, considering his dental situation. It was our recent trip to the dentist that really sealed the deal for us with the dietary changes. He said that grains can cause inflammation in the body leading to tooth decay.
I have become increasingly aware of the effect that grains and sugars have on my own body and mind, and Mo has been trying to have the most healthful diet possible since he had some health problems a few months ago. Therefore, we have decided to cut out grains and sugars (including honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar, which is all we were using already). Ben is off fruit, Mo, Ella and I are still having some fruit, but we don’t want to make Ben feel left out, so we are mostly going along with his dietary needs.
As I am researching more, and revisiting information that I have known about for a long time, I am realizing that we are continuing to slowly move toward the healthiest lifestyle for us. Our bodies are guiding us through our intuition to find the best way to feel great. For now, I am doing my best, day by day to figure out what to eat and what to feed my family. I feel like every time I think I have it figured out, I realize that I’m missing a step.
For example, I cut out grains and sugar, but we are still eating beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. According to the book Cure Tooth Decay (which basically summarizes research from Weston A. Price and others) these foods need to be properly processed before the nutrients are available, and “anti-nutrients” are neutralized. Beans and nuts are basically what we are leaning on right now in the absence of grains, so I feel a bit discouraged that the nut butters and raw or roasted nuts we are eating may not be helpful.
Even though we have been eating a “healthy” almost exclusively home prepared whole foods diet for a long time, I am pretty overwhelmed with the most recent changes we’ve been making. I feel encouraged that the changes in Ben’s behavior are obvious, and I am feeling a lot better in certain ways. I feel like we are still at the beginning of our journey to find what works best for each of us, individually, and as a family. I hope that as I try new ways of preparing the foods we already eat, and add other in nutrient dense foods, we will find the healthy balance that we are looking for.
All of this thinking about food and making sometimes uncomfortable changes in our diets inevitably brings up all sorts of difficult feelings. Like most people, I sometimes use food to deal with my emotions. After a hard day, a bowl of ice cream is just about the most soothing thing I can think of. When I’m stressed with the kids I have been known to comfort myself with a little dark chocolate. I try not to keep cake in the house because once I have a bite I want to eat it all! These things may sound harmless. However, I have been on a path of trying to actually address and process my emotions instead of avoiding them, with substances or otherwise, so I think it is important to take this step of eliminating the foods that seem to be detrimental to our physical (especially dental) and mental health. I do hope that one day we can call enjoy a piece of cake or at least fruit! In order to get there it may be an interesting road of healing through dietary changes. I will let you know how it is going!
Do you have any encouraging stories to share?