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When Paleo is Accepted the Same Way as Vegetarianism


When Paleo is Accepted the Same Way as Vegetarianism

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Erica, like many folks when they start at Roots, is a little nervous about going overhead. What's the best way to cure this? Practice, repetition, and attention to form.

When Paleo is Accepted in the Same Way as Vegetarianism

Yesterday my friend told me two stories.  The first – she had just come from buying her daughter M&Ms that were required for her school project. I knew this was difficult for my friend to do having made an effort to remove all the sugar from the house and spending the past year moving toward a Paleo + Dairy world for her family.  The constant sugar craze of the holidays didn’t help as sour moods and bickering ensued amongst her kids.

The second story was of her daughter’s play date. After warming up some turkey soup for the kids’ lunch, the little girl said, “I can’t eat that, I’m a vegetarian.”

Discussing these two stories with Wendy over at The Cup we thought it interesting that it is acceptable for an 8 year-old child to reject meat, and feel comfortable enough to say so to an adult serving her lunch, but it is unacceptable for a child or adult to reject sugar, fat-free stuff, crackers, grains, you get the picture. You’ve all been there.  You say no thank you to the dinner roll or the whole wheat pasta and you get questioned and interrogated.

How do you help your kid learn to voice (and defend?) their food choices? How do you help them feel as comfortable as a vegetarian kid to say, “I don’t eat crackers.”  How do you do this without making them feel that the world revolves around them (and that every place they go should accomodate their personal food choices – because there are problems with that too!).

Post to comments, because I have no idea!

15 Responses

  1. shane

    This is a great point. I had never thought about it that way. Well not having kids, and still being one myself, I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to answer this.

    I would say that it has to begin with the parent though. Monkey see, monkey do.

  2. Hank

    Lots to say on the paleo-parenting, but first I’d like to suggest something radical…

    Paleo isn’t a widely-accepted diet (like vegetarian, vegan, no-dairy, kosher, whatever) simply because not enough people are asking for it. So, why don’t we start asking for it? I bet if everyone at Roots, who is interested in eating in this way, were to start talking about it more at restaurants (“Do you have any Paleo options on the menu?” conversation ensues… menu deconstructed) I think something could happen. But nothing is going to happen if people out there aren’t talking about it. We live in Boulder, what better place to start a new diet fad?!?!?! Oh shit, late to WOD.

  3. Scott G

    I’ve heard people(Robb Wolf I believe) say also that we need a paleo celebrity… Right now, Vegatarians have a lot of famous people in their court talking about what they eat (Bill Clinton for one!) plus lots of movie stars, etc… easy people for kids to emulate.

    Paleo needs famous spokespeople that the public values for their celebrity rather than their qualifications.

    Regarding kids, I have two thoughts:

    1. I think its easy for a kid to decide not to want to kill things and eat them. Health is so far removed from their brain that the normal arguments won’t work. But I hope when the time comes, emphasizing getting meat from humanely treated (grass-fed, free range, etc) local animals will help.

    2. I have more difficulty getting my kids to eat anything right now than anything specific. I’m not ready for the battle and when I asked Dr. Cordain this, he said he didn’t make his kids eat paleo — mostly because of fear they would go nuts and binge when away from the house. But its just what they served at home.

    How you eat is the new Religion – and we’re having the same conflicts we have with that. How do you teach your kid about religion?

  4. Scott, all good points. The only thing I have to point out is that in the few instances I have seen personally, it was not the kid who decided they did not want to eat meat, it was the parents raising them in a vegetarian household and making that decision for them.

    Sure, when kids get older they make those decisions for themselves, but 5 year-olds and 8 year-olds? I’m not so sure.

  5. Scott G

    Agreed completely. Parents make their kids go to church too — so maybe we can approach schools with a ‘separation of Food and State’ so at least they won’t use M&Ms to spread their Foodism.

  6. Caps

    Drew Carey is on a paleo diet, but he doesn’t call it that. He also might not be the best spokesperson because he says he “dropped all carbs” when he means “dropped all grains and processed sugar.”

  7. Scott – LOVE IT!

    In line with Hank’s statement, that worked at The Cup! While it’s not on the menu, Wendy offers the Paleo Breakfast with your choice of sausage or bacon.

    IT’S DELICIOUS and Wendy and I discussed all the ingredients etc. when she first made it. I’ve even heard people order it who are not Roots members so obviously enough people have seen Roots members (maybe lots of Dave C??) getting it and followed suit.

    I know it could be added to the menu but common, it’s always fun being able to order the secret thing:)

  8. Bones

    I eat lunches around my office near 9th and Pearl at a variety of places where I either eat an already paleo option (e.g., at The Kitchen, the Roast Duck frisee is awesome, and a Chipotle steak salad is very nice and relatively inexpensive) or modify a choice that is close or easily paleo-fied. Lots of discussion frequently follows when I modify a dish, often beginning with “So, you’re on a no-carb thing?” and my response, “No, I’m on a no-death thing, eating lots of carbs through fruits and veggies”. So I think we can slowly make a difference. Now if I only looked good enough for them to say “I want to do that, too!”, then we might make some headway. (Aesthetics will beat out fitness every day in such matters.)

  9. Stephanie

    Kids and food… hmmm.

    I struggle with the balance of eating well while maintaining some humility about the fact that we, in the US, have the privilege of even being able to decide what we eat. When it comes to food choices, let’s face it… this often ends up being done as a family. Certainly, if kids are aware of why they eat that way then they are as empowered as they can be to make good choices when they are away from home. If kids eat (Paleo) healthy foods 80-90% of the time… would that be a worthy accomplishment?

    When it comes to food away from home, I think anticipation is key. Maybe avoiding meals at homes where there is no chance of compatibility or packing them a healthy snack which they would then share or…?

    Perhaps more importantly for me, I also hope to raise kids that will not insist on special food options – whether at home or away from home. Chances are, they would do okay and not starve in either case. Instead, I hope they will eat what fits into their eating choices and skip what doesn’t and then still say thank you to the person that fed them… anything!

  10. Dave

    What happens in the Paleo Breakfast at The Cup? Or is part of ordering it a vow of silence not to tell others about it? I’m certainly interested in knowing if nobody’s going to get whacked for talking about it.

  11. Hank

    Dia, my wife, says to me this morning, “Have you noticed that the dark circles under Rex’s eyes are fading away?” Sure enough. Rex is our 5-yr-old – a vivacious, energetic, thoughtful, lean, strong kid. He also has eczema, asthma, dry, itchy skin, and various allergies. You know, the typical American kid… apparently healthy, but riddled with chronic inflammatory diseases.

    Today is January 6th, which means Rex has been paleo for 6 days. In less than a week, it is very obvious to Dia and me that Rex’s overall health is getting better.

    How have we gotten Rex (along with our 10 & 12 year olds) to go paleo? By giving him the paleo foods he wants. In Rex’s case, this means fresh fruit. True, fresh fruit has a high sugar content. However, Rex understands that he needs to first eat meat or eggs at meals, which he does, along with a few no-thank-you bites of whatever is green. Then he hits the fruit. He loves it all and at Whole Foods right now you can get great pears, apples, blueberries, grapefruit, clementines, mangos and pineapple. For desert a couple nights ago, the family shared a fresh pineapple. What a treat!

    Don’t get me wrong, it certainly has its challenges. Rex informs me every evening that he hates what I’m giving him for dinner. Bummer. He comes around when everyone else is eating and there are no alternatives… and… he ends up actually liking what I’ve made, or at least he’s resigned to the fact that it stands between him and his fruit. Whatever the case, the kid is paleo and the chronic inflammatory issues seem to be receding.

    One last point, no one wants to be a food nazi. I don’t, but in fact, I’m too fanatical for my wife’s taste. I don’t know where the right balance is. I tell my kids that sugar is poison because I believe it. Does that mean I never, ever have sugar and expect the same from my kids? No. However, the problem with being loose, especially around sugar, is that: a) the shit is addictive (I saw it draw down the emotional and physical health of my family over the holidays.) & b) it ruins your taste so that sweet paleo things, like fruit, don’t taste sweet. One thing my family is really learning is how really sweet fruit can taste when you wring all the extra sugar out of your diet.

    Regarding kids and paleo, I strongly suggest promoting the great foods they do get to eat, instead of mourning what’s been lost. For instance, now that Rex has gone paleo, he gets to have 2 deserts instead of 1. His 2 deserts are both fresh fruits, but HE GETS 2 DESERTS!!!! That is so cool for a 5-yr-old.

    Good luck. It’s a jungle out there.

  12. Olivia

    This is such an interesting post..
    My knowledge of kid’s eating behavior is only to the extent of those around me but I do notice that they are very much so conscious of how things make them feel. My 7 yr old niece saw that her mommy was gluten-free so it “didn’t hurt her belly”. Out of her own will, she adapted a gluten-free diet and will not touch gluten with a ten foot pole..she KNOWS she feels better as her intestinal bleeding and terrible stomach aches are gone. It almost seems as if kids can be more “in-tune” with their bodies than adults are…by the time we are saturated in the modern American, high carb/gluten contaminated/chemical laden “diet”, our datum of what normal is has been recalibrated to tolerate feeling crappy all the time. When I got diagnosed with celiac’s, I thought my eroded esophagus was NORMAL.
    And I swear..if I see one more 100 calorie pack of manufactured poison….
    Ahh! PS. I read a new story yesterday predicting that 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050 and that 87% of people will be considered overweight by 2030. .

  13. Stephanie

    So I realize all my thoughts on this topic are without my own personal experience… but bear with me.

    Generally speaking, I think there is a lack of encouraging healthy foods enough and, in some cases, an active recruitment of kids to eat processed foods.

    It seems possible to me that kids actually end up eating crap because, let’s face it, sometimes it is easier to say yes? In other words, it is hard to get your kids to eat the “green stuff” when they really might want nothing but mac and cheese. So, kids might end up eating mac and cheese because parents don’t want their kids going hungry. And, pretty soon, 4 people at a table are eating totally separate meals. Really?! I applaud all the parents who are not giving up and giving in but sticking to their built-by-protein-and-vegetable guns!

    It also seems possible that processed foods are actively being pushed on kids. Get this… I have observed in a few instances parents actually pushing sugar on their kids. “Really, you don’t want ice cream? Surely you want ice cream?” Meanwhile, the kid is shaking their head no but ends up eating ice cream. Or, the 10 month old who is not interested in the donut is literally having the donut pushed in their face by their overweight aunt. Whoa!!! Pretty soon that kid is reaching for the donut.

  14. Odie

    Hey guys I think I may have left my iPhone at the shop tonight, or at least I hope or else im screwed. If anyone finds it can you just give it to Nicole or whoever is there in the morning. I will pop in there tomorrow morning and hopefully one of you will have turned it in. THANKS!