Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Children and GAPS

I have been ask to write about children and GAPS. I can't say that I am the best person to do this. Our children are eating full GAPS 6 days out 7, with the exception of one day a week when we visit my mum and she cooks for them. Also I haven't made our children do intro. However in saying that they have done intro with fruit and carrots. We have always been a household were the children weren't allowed to be fussy. I normally keep fruit on hand, if they don't like what I am making and don't eat it, I won't make them something else, and I ask them to at least try what is on their plate. Dessert is a privilege and one that must be earnt by eating your dinner. If you can't eat your dinner you can't eat dessert. In saying that as well we don't often have dessert.

So I don't have a lot of experience with picky eater, as I'm sure some of your out there will have, please share your experience and tips in the comments.

Anyhow here are some of the things that I do with my family
- Get the children involved in the cooking process.
- Talk with the children about why we eat these foods.
- Have lots of food for children eat or snack on.
- Grow what you can.
- Try not to make a big deal out of eating.
- Have fun experimenting with a different way to cook.

Getting Children Involved
Starting a journey like GAPS for some means a heap more time in the kitchen, cooking things that they aren't use to, or not had to cook in the past. It can be very overwhelming at times. My advice, if you have children that can help, use them! Clearly some of you won't be able to do this, your child/ren are too ill, or too young. As my older children (6,7,8) love Breakfast balls in the morning I have taught then, if they want them for breakfast, they need to get the meat out of the freezer the night before. They are also capable of smooshing the meat, herbs, salt, pepper, and egg together and rolling them into balls ready for me to cook. Of course, I supervise, while doing another kitchen job. Two of my younger children (3 and 5)can get the carrots and veggies ready for our morning juice/milkshake.

I am also in the process of teaching my older children to care for the milk kefir. They love Kefir icey poles, so for them it means that they also get to make some icey poles. As they and I get used to this routine, I will get them involved in more an more.

Talk with the children about why we eat these foods
When we first started this diet I think that hardest concept for my children to get their heads around was why not these foods. After all we have spent the last several years teaching them that fruit was healthy and good for you, and now all of a sudden we weren't eating it. It took I think the first month to explain to them that fruit was still healthy, it's just that our bodies were not, so our bodies couldn't get the goodness out of food. We had to let our bodies heal so that we could eat those things again.

Also my children really love it when I can explain to them what part of their bodies each food is helping. Ie Walnuts are good for the brain, Carrot's are good for the eyes, and so on. I often find them telling me "Look Mummy I'm feeding my heart" while eating a tomato. :0)

Have lots of food for children to eat or snack on
GAPS food is easy to digest so the body doesn't have to do a lot of work to absorb it. So many people, children included feel hunger a lot when they start GAPS, especially if you start with intro. So having extra cooked veggies, boiled meats, boiled eggs(when you get that far) in the fridge is really handy. You really don't want to be a position with children saying they are hungry, when everything you can feed them takes an hour plus to make.

Grow what you can
This point has a double purpose. One it can help with the ever growing food bill, and two, much research has been done into getting children to eat veggies, and growing it themselves, along with cooking it, is seeing many parents and school succeed in this area. Even if you only start with one product, like tomatoes. The is no tomato like a home grown one, Once you eat your own you won't want to turn back. As you go along give your children a veggie that is theirs to grow, put them in charge of it. You will be teaching them a valuable life skill, and giving them something to be proud off. When we eat food that our children have grown we say a special thank you to them at the dining table. I love seeing their faces light up when we say how much we like that particular veggie.

Try not to make a big deal out of food
While we have the rule that if you don't like what your given then tough!, we try not to make a big deal out of it. The children know the rules, they don't need us repeating it over and over. If they are hungry they can have some fruit or a carrot, but there will be nothing else until the next meal time. However in saying that we do make them try what is on their plate before they leave the table, and there have been times when I know they haven't even tried the food and are just being stubborn, in which case I have made them sit at the table until it is eaten. Which in most cases has them sitting there for a good amount of time, refusing to eat it. Then they finally give up and eat it in a few short minutes. When these situations arise, and we make a stand, we don't back down. However I don't sit there talking to them about it, putting pressure on them, I simply carry on with what I am doing, until they relent. I don't think it is necessary to do this at every meal, with every child. You know your child and you know all the other factors around that moment. Be wise, pick your battles.

Have fun experimenting with different ways of cooking
For many moving onto the GAPS Diet, going through the stages will having you cooking things you may never tried before, or cooking in ways that you have never done before. Or in most cases cooking with out things you are used to using. Have fun with this process, if you have fun, they will have fun, and the whole experience will be much more enjoyable for everyone. There are some amazing foods that you enjoy on GAPS, you just need to be open to them, and open to the creative process.

Like I said before our children are not 100% full GAPS, however we have seen positive changes in their bodies, and minds. They have also learnt that eating junk makes them feel unwell, gives them eczema, for Elijah it induces vomiting at times. For others it can cause bed wetting, headaches, generally unwell. Which I see as a valuable lesson.

I hope this has helped you some. For more ideas, recipes, and testimonies, I will put some links below for you to check out.





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