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People might ask why my family is willing to sacrifice other things to prioritize buying organic healthy foods. The extra dollar we spend now on nutrition for us and our children saves us $100’s/$1000 in medical bills later on in life. Many people say “you are what you eat”. My parents believed this and valued feeding me and my siblings well. My parents had fresh milk delivered in glass bottles from a local farmer which my mom would churn into butter. She ground wheat from wheat berries to make fresh bread. My parents never bought sugar cereal or boxed mac and cheese. We ate healthy home cooked dinners most every night, but unfortunately my parents raised us to be vegetarians.  

 I grew up loving fruits and veggies, beans, lentils, nuts etc but I lacked many essential minerals, nutrients, and fats because I didn’t grow up eating meat or drinking cows milk. When I was 23 years old I had my cholesterol levels checked to qualify for insurance at my first job as a nurse. They said I was so healthy when my HDL&LDL came back in the teens. I had no idea this was so harmful and that it was actually an indication that my body wasn’t healthy. I am thankful I married a man who loved eating meat and now my cholesterol levels have risen nicely but the stress that was caused to my body due to the lack of healthy fats growing up lead me to have multiple autoimmune issues. 

Since nutrition is the building blocks for our children's life it is essential to provide the best quality food for children. Hormone functions and even genetics are controlled by the vitamins and minerals we feed ourselves and our children. So, when we don’t provide the nutrients they need we set our children up to have their genes turn on/off with the genetics they are predisposed to have (epigenetics). This means we are creating dysfunction in our children by allowing them to eat junk and not making them eat the food they need.

I never disciplined my children for refusing foods when they were little but when I look back I wish I had been more strict with insisting that they eat better as toddlers and young children. Thankfully, our kids have never been very picky which was helpful when we moved to Taiwan for 6 years. Teaching our kids what IS healthy and what is NOT healthy is fundamental for them to learn to be healthy teens and adults. That means moms and dads also need to know what is healthy and not healthy.

There are some foods that are more unhealthy than others so I am not trying to say I never let my kids have ice cream or sweets on occasion, but as kids grow they should have the knowledge and training to read labels and know why they don’t eat foods that contain things like seed oils, food dyes, or fake sugar. Parents shouldn't be afraid to say “no” to kids when they want unhealthy foods. They should be taught that those products are poisonous to their bodies. 

  We DO need to provide alternatives that are tasty especially for growing teens. We have two teenagers who are hungry all the time, especially during sports seasons. It is crucial to have nutritional snacks on hand. I encourage my children when they are hungry to first eat fruits and vegetables and then nuts, cheese, meat sticks, granola bars, and yogurt. We try to make sure we have nutrient dense choices for them like blueberries, avocados, and eggs but variety is the key! 

Setting an example always speaks louder than just telling them how to eat. When they see mom and dad choose foods like cottage cheese and fruit rather than ice cream they will do what we do. Ideally, if we start young to demonstrate and teach these principles children will grow up to view Doritos and Skittles as poison and not treats/snacks.

The choice to buy real food that is organic and pasture raised takes sacrifice. It takes a big financial sacrifice which should be worth it for every family. Parents have been given the responsibility to raise their children well and feeding them clean nourishing food is part of that responsibility. In this world that is filled with foods that are marketed heavily it is imperative we raise children with the knowledge to discern what is nourishing and what isn’t so they can create a legacy of health for generations to come! 

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