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With all of this recent talk about the importance of “Mindfulness” I remember years ago I was guilty of being slightly (okay, more than slightly) “mindless” when it came to feeding my children. I’d feed them ‘whatever.’ What do I mean by whatever? I would go to the grocery store and buy them boxes of foods that had cute cartoon characters on it because, hey, let’s face it, the food was for kids, right?  I shopped around the frozen food section and picked out whatever I could pop in the microwave and something my kids could hold in their hands like chicken nuggets, corn dogs or other finger food. Why did I do this? Because back in the day, I had NO clue about food or nutrition and how it’s truly connected to our health and the health of our children. I was overwhelmed, working full time, had three children and I, like you, was just trying to get through the day. Can you relate to this?

But as fate would have it, I was forced to do a complete 180 when my children started developing health issues and behavioral challenges with many diagnoses like chronic asthma, anxiety, ADHD, eczema, IBS, developmental delays and more. I quickly learned that the medications my daughter was on caused negative side effects like halting her growth for nine months (confirmed by her doctor) and I knew I had to do something different. Plus, even with the meds she was on, she STILL had asthma and oh, and did I mention pneumonia 3 times in an 18 month period?  That one is scary.  Because of this, the universe forced me to try to figure out the ROOT CAUSE of my children’s challenges.

After much research and learning, which truly opened my eyes, I became a nutritionally mindful parent. What do I mean by nutritionally mindful?  It means that instead of mindlessly giving my kids whatever foods I could get my hands on for ease and convenience (just trying to ‘get through the day’ foods); or whatever food looked cute and kid friendly – I started thinking about how the food I was giving them was impacting their health and behavior. I was shocked, yes shocked, that it could make such a huge impact. Let’s face it, I thought our kids were supposed to be able to eat what we pull off the shelf.  Who ever thought about what the food could be DOING to them, good or bad? Not me.

Below are the changes that I finally committed to making towards becoming a nutritionally mindful parent:

*I started reading food labels on processed snacks and eliminated all foods with toxic chemicals, additives and preservatives.

*I stopped giving them snack foods, candy and cereals with artificial coloring and dyes. They are actually banned in European countries.

*I eliminated High Fructose Corn Syrup and Hydrogenated Oils out of their diet.

* I especially found that eliminating specific highly inflammatory foods for them helped REVERSE my daughter’s chronic health issues and radically modify my son’s behavioral issues.

* I started doing more cooking at home so I knew what ingredients were in their food.

*I researched and formally learned nutrition, health, Natural Medicine and Functional Medicine and continue to do so today.

*I focused more on giving them a Whole Real foods diet and ditched the majority of packaged processed fake foods.

*I got my children involved in the food prep so that they would start experiencing healthy food and cooking as FUN.

If your children have health or behavioral issues and challenges, start to question, “Is it something they are eating or not eating?”

Our results: The difference in my children’s health and behavior improved significantly by changing their diet and adding in the good. I encourage you to become nutritionally mindful – don’t wait until your kids have ‘issues’ like mine. And if they already have ‘issues’ have hope they can they can be healed.

To your beautiful children,

FRANDI MARS
INTEGRATIVE HEALTH AND NUTRITION COACH, LCSW-C

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