I've been told all boys are wild. Wrestle Mania wild? Yes. Eat your furniture wild? I don't think so. Yes, my furniture has teeth marks in it. My Pottery Barn pillows have also been ripped to shreds. No, I don't own a dog. Yes, I have boys.
Having only experienced a dainty little girl before my two boys came along, I never thought I would have to peruse the safety aisle of a baby store. Toilet locks, outlet caps, bumper guards...I was baffled. What kind of animals were these parents giving birth too?! Ooooh, I get it now... they must of had a boy.
I've now accepted that my house will never resemble anything out of a magazine, or that we cannot keep anything nice for long (yes, I have used the see-this-is-why-we-cant-have-anything-nice line to my kids). I really, really have accepted it. But some behaviors hinted to me that all the destruction and the chaos CAN'T be that normal. It cant be OK. My first indication of a real problem with my son was the dreaded call from the pre-school teacher (gasp!)...while at work (just great!). I immediately knew what her concern was...fits. Destructive fits. He's also inattentive, defiant, rough, hyper, and hysterical at times. I already knew this about him at home, but this was different. It was a confrontation. I didn't have any answers for her. I didn't have a defense. So, I cried. Then, the best intrusive comment/question happened (sometimes needed for us stubborn ones), and it was awesome. "What does your son eat?" a co-worker asked. Well, we don't eat fast food and we don't drink soda. No candy, sugar or caffeine...aaaand I cook almost every night. My thoughts = we doing aiiight. Aaaand that's where I was all wrong.
Apparently, cooking every night doesn't cancel out the fact that most ingredients are filled with preservatives, additives, hormones, and chemicals; And research upon research has shown that negative side effects, such as allergies and behavioral problems, can occur as a result of these unnatural products being consumed. I've always been anti artificial sweeteners, but who would of guessed you need to be wary of your meat and dairy too. This was a whole different level of thinking about our diet. Call me naive, but It was all new to me. I never made the connection between behavior and food. I was lucky enough to be near someone educated on the matter, an aspiring health coach, to enlighten me; Lori was knowledgeable, and for me, was in the right place at the right time :)
I was willing to make the changes necessary to see if this would really work. I had nothing to lose. Today, I am happy with the results of our new diet. My son has been making great progress, and surprisingly he is now a "model student". I didn't expect to hear that from his teacher's follow up phone call...wow.
Here are some of the lessons I learned and the things I changed:
1. Know where your food is from.
Eating local not only benefits your own community, but it also gives you insight as to where your food is coming from and how it is produced. Visit your local farm. Ask questions. I am sure they will be happy to answer.
2. Eat organic when possible.
Try not to get deterred from eating organic. I know eating organic is more expensive, i'm not denying that. Many will also debate that there isn't a difference in nutritional value between organic and non-organic. Duh! People are buying organic to avoid ingesting pesticides and other contaminants...not because it has more nutrients.
3. Do your research.
Do you know the different types of preservatives? Do you know the various names used to label MSG? Can you identify what is harmful and what is not? Google the ingredients that don't sound familiar to you. It may be shocking to find out what they are derived from.
4. Check labels
There's a list of twenty ingredients on a packet of hot chocolate mix...that doesn't even make sense! Pass.
5. Eat out less
I'm fortunate to live in an area that promotes farm-to-table cuisine. Many of our local restaurants are listing seasonal and fresh dishes to their menu that I can feel good about feeding to my children. I tend to stay away from restaurant chains that serve processed food.
6. Don't be lazy.
You may not be able to afford organic, but there is no excuse for being lazy...especially not when your health depends on it. There ARE ways to make something quick without the use of "easy" mixes or instant packets filled with nonsense. How about a simple butternut squash risotto with fresh vegetables instead of a boxed mix. Get savvy with it and make it fun. Maybe try making your own your own hot chocolate. You may be surprised how easy it can be without resorting to a insta-packet :)
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