I have three healthy kids and with each of them I have learned a lot of things. When my first one was born, I learned a lot more than just changing diapers. Santiago was born allergic to dairy. I didn’t know it at first, but he started showing symptoms since day one.
It was a tough start, trying to figure out what he had and why he cried so much, but we found our way out. When we discovered his prognosis, my husband and I had two options. We could give him an allergy treatment for life or we could get rid of all the dairy around the house. We decided to tackle the issue from its root.
In this process I learned a lot about our food system and how toxic it has become for us. I got rid of all dairy and all junk food at home. I was super determined to keep my kids as healthy as possible. I started to implement new rules and ways of eating.
I have to confess: I became obsessed with everything my kids ate and all of my new “rules.” After living the symptoms of a very bad reaction to dairy with my son and seeing him get well through dairy-free food choices, I was determined to keep it that way.
I was always being positive about our new ways of eating. But for my kids it was tough, especially at school when they were the ones with the “weird” food in their lunch box. For a very long time my bag was full of healthy snacks, which my kids then traded for the junky stuff. There was a point where I got so strict with our diet that they started lying and hiding from me the new foods they would try — like a piece of cake, store-bought crackers, or even fast food.
When I caught them my first reaction was total shock, but then I realized that it’s a part of growing up. As they have gotten older, they have become more curious to taste new things. I realized that as much as I want to protect my kids from highly processed foods, I just couldn’t do it by separating them from reality. It was way more important for me to have their trust than the green leaves they were suppose to eat.
I know that the world we live in is not the healthiest food-wise, so I started implementing the 80/20 way of eating. This means that we should eat 80 percent of our meals at home and in a very healthy way, and save 20 percent to do some “cheating.” So every single day all of us drink a green juice or smoothie. We have a super healthy breakfast and for lunch and dinner a gigantic salad full of nuts, raw veggies, and healthy fats. This gives me peace of mind that they are being well nourished and it gives them mom’s green light to try new things. I learned that I had to let go of my bag of healthy snacks and trust my kids. I discovered that being flexible with their diet made them eat better and have less temptation to junk food. Now they know I’m going to say “yes” when they ask to try a cookie. They even tell me, “I’ll eat an apple with it.” Santiago knows that if he is going to eat chips, he has to eat them with freshly made salsa or an avocado.
I realized that they tasted the unhealthy food out of curiosity and that it was a good thing to do. It also helped me gain their trust back. There’s no need for hiding when eating treats as long as they have their salad.More On