Will My Daughter Choose To Be Paleo?
This is a guest post by Melissa Gavencak.
In my household, I’m Paleo, the dog is Paleo, and my husband isn’t.
Whatever baby Genevieve chooses to be we’ll support, as long as she understands our house philosophy regarding food. The majority of what we eat is grown, gathered, hunted, or caught by us or someone we know.
Every year we try to get that majority closer to 100%, but it takes time, money, some readjusting and patience. My husband spends 16-18 hours at a time offshore fishing for our food. Does he love it? Is he putting food on our table? Does he have control over our food from the time it is caught until it enters our mouths? Yes to all those questions. But, he also misses us. It takes away from family time. It is costly. And, sometimes a fisherman does come home with an empty boat. There are years when we have success with our garden, and years when 15 tomato plants (yes, I know, nightshade family) yield two eight ounce mason jars of sauce, but we get by. Around mid-winter I get sick of venison, but it works out to $2 per pound after processing, and we know where it has been from the point of being killed to warming in our crockpot.
Knowing what it took to get our food on the table is of major importance to our family. We want to know how the animal lived and died to feed us, and how our veggies, fruits and even herbs were grown. If nothing else, I hope my daughter learns this from us. Respect of food, all food, and how it got to the plate.
I’m a realist though.
I have spent many years working in schools, and my friends have children. Willy Wonka has nothing on an elementary school before Christmas Break. As a Girl Scout she’ll sell cookies. As a senior she’ll hustle nuts and popcorn for a class fundraiser to reduce the cost of her Prom ticket. Friends’ birthday parties will have cupcake towers. At Halloween she’ll dress up and go door-to-door looking for treats. No matter what I wish, my girl will grow up in a non-Paleo world.
Paleo is my belief, but I absolutely respect the side of pasta my husband occasionally chooses to have with his chicken. I eat Paleo to make myself feel better. Far be it for me to tell someone else what I believe would make them feel better. I won’t do it to my daughter. I will not be the mother that calls the school to complain about all the gluten being served in the cafeteria; I will send her with lunch instead. I won’t make her go to the Nurse’s Office to pick up her pre-approved snack that she can eat while everyone else in her class enjoys little Lisa’s birthday celebration. And, I won’t throw a party for her at my house with a caveman menu, but there will be Paleo options.
She will try everything, enjoy a lot of it, and make her own decision. Personally, I feel that the parents who hide the candy from their child, forbid them to eat it, and denounce all chocolate bars, are the parents with the children sneaking around to try and eat it. Growing up I knew someone with parents just like this. Her parents were die-hard yoginis oozing healthful lives. What did my friend do as soon as she was five states away from mom and dad and spending the summer with grandma? Carvel, fast-food, plastic packets of powdered sugar candy, pizza, ring pops…It was consumed with gusto. She would return home after the summer to two unsuspecting parents. Grandma and I always kept her secret. Namaste!
My prayers are for Genevieve to be a happy and healthy human with no dietary sensitivities. Meaning, she can eat any darn thing she wants. Without allergies and food sensitivities, eating Paleo becomes a matter of personal choice and a lifestyle that one must decide to adopt. Someone can’t force the choice on another and expect it to have long term results. If Genevieve is to become a lifelong cavewoman, it will only be because she decided for herself.
Daddy eats bread once in a while; mommy doesn’t. Forcing her to eat one way or the other is like pitting two parents against each other. Instead, we plan to let her grow to realize on her own that there are differences in what is on our plate, but not in our philosophy regarding food. When she asks why mommy eats one thing and daddy eats another, we will explain. Then we will tell her she can eat however she wants as long as she remembers to respect what she is eating and appreciate where it came from.