Thursday, 19 April 2012
Paleo, eating disorders and raising healthy kids
I haven't blogged for a few days as I've been flat out working, training, looking after Sophia and generally trying to fit 24 hours worth of activity into 12. But I really feel a need to put this out there as I'm feeling a bit conflicted at the moment.
To be honest I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole paleo trip; I feel like I've never cooked so much or thought about food so much in my life. The last time I was this focused on my eating habits I was in the midst of an eating disorder and I do worry that this is veering rather close to the obsessive attitudes I had back then.
I am also struggling with the idea of raising my daughter in this lifestyle for a number of reasons, some of which I've outlined below;
First off, we never drink soft drinks (soda) and we don't go heavy on highly processed foods, we're not big on lots of dairy and try to eat a healthy, well rounded diet (by Western standards). So it's not like we are coming from a place of take away food and cola.
On the other hand we both enjoy the odd chocolate biscuit or lollipop, my daughter has the odd drink of juice (too sweet for me) and sometimes we eat some chips or popcorn, but it's far from being the bulk of our food intake and we're just as likely to have watermelon or greek yogurt with raw honey and nuts for a treat or snack.
My daughter gets multigrain or wholemeal sandwiches for lunch and toast for brekkie, she enjoys my pasta dishes (and no wonder- I'm a good cook) and she loves rice. I have recently cut out grains in my diet but it's so expensive eating high protein that I don't know how long I can afford to maintain it. The reality is that pasta or rice can stretch 1 chicken fillet into 3 or 4 meals and that's kinda important when you live on 22k a year (and rent alone is around 12k).
Another thing to remember is that my daughter was a severe IUGR baby, weighing in at less than 1400 grams at 36 weeks- she was actually the size of a 29 week gestation baby when she was born. So, physically speaking, she has always been on the small side.
Hell, she wasn't even on the growth chart for the first year of life and remains a very slender girl at 8 years of age. I mean, she's not scrawny at all, she has good muscle mass, but she's pretty lean and always has been.
In other words neither of us are obese or anywhere near it and my daughter's IUGR means that she is unlikely to ever be so. So is it fair of me to restrict her dietary intake of things like brown rice, legumes, pasta and bread because I want to drop body fat?
And speaking of body fat levels, do I want to risk going back to this? because the physical ideal I am striving for may have more muscle, but she's still lean as fuck.
Is it even possible to reach these goals without engaging in disordered behaviour?
So I feel very torn at the moment;
Do I want my daughter to fear sugar? Do I want her to see food as "good" or "bad"? Because that's how I saw food when I was starving myself and that's one legacy I don't want to pass on- I don't really know how to overhaul our eating habits without demonising certain foods, and that worries me.
I guess what I am trying to figure out is where do I draw the line? At what point do my personal choices regarding diet impact on my daughter's right to enjoy a "normal" childhood?