Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Starting to Eat Healthy

While traveling on the road, Paul and I meet lots of families with concerns about what they are feeding their children. Common questions that both Paul and I get asked a lot are “How do you start feeding young children raw foods?” and “What are you feeding Noa?”

It might seem a little overwhelming at first when you start to make healthy changes to your family’s diet, but once you get the hang of it, it starts to come naturally! A great place to start is to replace a meal or snack that might not be that “healthy” with something that is healthy. If you find a healthy alternative for a food in your diet that you know is not good for you, then you won’t even miss that food!

I know for me that learning how to make a few raw food desserts helped me resist the temptations of the unhealthy desserts I was so accustomed to eating. It is so simple to make a raw, fruit pie using nuts, dates and any fresh or frozen fruit as a topping. I often made these pies for my friends who weren’t familiar with the raw food diet, and they loved them! You can also make date balls with the same ingredients you use in the pie crust; dates and nuts. It is really simple, and children love them!

When we first began to introduce raw foods into Noa’s diet, she had just turned 1. We really tried to hold off on feeding her any foods because we did not feel that it was necessary for her to eat anything other than breastmilk from me. She barely had any teeth to chew any food either! We researched a lot about what age is appropriate to start feeding infants, and we decided that we would not introduce new foods until she turned one, and she was almost two before I really felt like she was actually eating. She mostly put food into her mouth, chewed it up, and then spit it out. I did let her put food into her mouth before she was one, like avocados and bananas, but she was not consistently eating solid foods. I admit too, there was a lot of pressure from family members and friends to start feeding her. I tried to explain nicely that we are waiting, and that she is receiving enough nutrients from me for it to be any concern.

Now that Noa is two, she is eating a diet similar to mine. We drink fresh green juices in the morning, which can include kale, collards, sunflower sprouts, celery, cucumber, apple, and carrot. For snacks, we eat blueberries, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, bananas, apples, cucumbers and lots of other fresh fruit, especially if it is in season. Black sapotes are in season now here in South Florida, they are also called Chocolate Pudding Fruit, and if you aren’t familiar with them, they are a delicious fruit, high in ascorbic acid. We have been making lots of recipes with the black sapotes that I will be posting soon. Noa loves them, and can recognize them in the market too. I love it when she says “black sapotes” and points to them before I can even find them! For lunch, we eat avocados and kimchi, and maybe sprouted and lightly cooked quinoa too. We really try and keep it simple, and we also adhere to the Daylight Diet.

If you are beginning to make the transition to healthier foods for your family, then try and make it fun for them. And try not to use the word “healthy” too, because that might trigger an automatic “ewwww” response. Just have fun and be creative, and your family will follow your lead!