My oldest son, Keenan was the first love of my life. As soon as I found out I was pregnant with him, my journey into a healthier lifestyle began to emerge. I started looking for alternatives to chemical laden cleaning products, began to think about what I ate, learned to cook, and started yoga by myself in my living room. He was my catalyst to change my own paradigm. I wanted to provide a lifestyle much different from the one I was given as a child.
My mom was a special case, by the time I was 14 years old she had checked completely out of motherhood and I had to grow up pretty quickly. At that point, I relied a lot on vending machines at school and my grandparents’ bologna sandwiches. The next year, I got my first job in an arcade and started grocery shopping for myself. My diet at that time consisted of yogurt, cheese cubes, Granny Smith apples, Twinkies, Healthy Choice frozen pizza bread, and often fast food on the weekends. I also had free rein with the candy at the arcade. My dietary choices were pretty lifeless.
The independence and desire to be different from my family started my journey toward many levels of healing and wellness. For my son, I am seeing his independence emerge– and he is the challenge point in our new dietary changes. He had a similar birth experience as his younger brother, however he rebounded quickly without any major outward symptoms. However, he exhibits minor signs of food sensitivity with near constant eczema and some digestive issues, so having him on board would be ideal. At this point in his life, status in middle school is gained in the lunch room. The “cool” kids get to microwave their macaroni and cheese in the “Eagle’s Nest” hangout, they bring Starbucks each morning, and my son’s newest obsession is to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies from a friend to share. Although, much to my surprise he did buy the gluten- free version.
Peer pressure is real. Keenan typically does a good job leading and rising above much of what he hears, although there are some moments. Food and technology are our current battles. The meltdown of this past weekend was because of a habit change. We are eating all of our meals at home, and a usual habit would be to go out to a restaurant. Keenan was craving a restaurant and had to vocalize how we were ruining his life by going lectin- free–oh, the drama ;). Ezra will eat whatever we place in front of him, and Keenan was that way when he was one.
The only thing I know to do as a parent is give boundaries, be flexible when it is appropriate, and leading by example. Hopefully, witnessing his brother’s health changes will speak to him. At least on a subconscious level. I have been playing around with recipes, adapting a few things like chicken nuggets or chocolate chip cookies to fit in our parameters so he does not feel completely deprived. I also occasionally use the changes to educate him further on why we make these choices– maybe I’ll steer him to research the poultry or wheat industry for one of his next projects. Mom tactics at their best!