Sugar addiction is a global problem, and our children are raised believing that sugar and sweets are a reward for being good or a way to celebrate a special occasion.
Thus, the birthday cakes are the most important thing on a birthday party, our holiday tables are full of sweets and just think about the entire celebration of Easter, with the chocolate bunnies, or Halloween, and Trick-or-treating.
As more and more research emerges, many are becoming aware of not only how addictive sugar is, but also of the potentially damaging effects that result in long term use.
More and more young children are developing Type II diabetes, a disease that used to be only be referred to as adult-onset diabetes. As a result of this, many people have begun to be more conscious of the food that they are putting into their bodies and making healthier choices. If these people are or are becoming parents, there is no doubt that this will have a positive impact on the lives and health of their children as well.
Yet, the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, Grace Cooper, decided to omit refined sugar, dairy, grains, and processed foods from her diet, and follow the Paleo diet.
Her breakfast contains carrots, roasted sweet potatoes, eggs in coconut oil, steamed broccoli, a quarter of an avocado, and a spoonful of sauerkraut, while her dinner consists of organic chicken and vegetables.
Shan, the mother of Grace, claims that her daughter’s immune system is extremely strong, so she has only had one cold so far. Yet, she maintains that even though she will still guide Grace when she is older, she will not force her to follow this diet.
Despite sugar, baby food is full of chemicals, sodium, preservatives, lead, and fluoride, all of which can have disastrous effects on the health of children and toddlers.
On the other hand, as the taste buds of babies are developing and sensitive, there is no need of eating refined foods since they can be perfectly satisfied with some organic sources of sugar.
Numerous baby foods are extremely high in sugar, even though their labels are deceiving. Namely, the vegetables and fruits are processed using ultra-high heat and shipped to baby food manufactures, which boil them down, eliminating most of the nutrients, and leaving only the high sugar levels.
What Does The Diet Consist Of?
This diet completely cuts out grains and dairy and anything processed. Shan insists that this diet is responsible for Grace’s strong immune system; she plays with children with runny noses and coughs, but Grace has only had one cold, and for a child of her age that is pretty remarkable.
Shan believes that children are intuitive eaters, but as we reach adulthood we begin to eat emotionally as an escape from any pain or sadness we may be feeling. She wants to teach her child to know which foods actually make the body feel good and which ones don’t and to eat for health and not to escape.
Grace’s Mom says that soon, “She’ll be old enough to know she can choose whatever she wants to eat. She’ll probably come home one day jacked up on sugar and cake and say, ‘mum I don’t feel very well.’”
Breakfast: Eggs (fried in coconut oil, scrambled, or even poached) and left-over vegetables from the night before, including roasted sweet potato, carrots, potatoes, and steamed broccoli.
On Thursday, her meal also included a quarter of an avocado and a small scoop of sauerkraut
Lunch: Organic roast chicken as well as roasted, including those mentioned before, and steamed vegetables such as broccoli if she feels like it (all leftovers from the evening before)
Snacks: Grace will eat any fruit, her mother says, but her strawberries and bananas are her favorites
Dinner: Spaghetti bolognese with organic beef, using zucchini noodles in place of pasta noodles with organic tomato sauces
Dessert: Although Grace does not typically eat dessert, Grace’s mother made her a strawberry panna cotta with coconut cream for her first birthday in October.
‘She still had a cake, it just wasn’t full of flour and sugar,’ Ms. Cooper says.
For instance, take a look at the nutritional values of two 71- gram servings of commercial banana purees and an actual mashed banana:
*Sugar: 8.7 grams (naturally occurring )
Sodium: < 1 milligram
Fiber: 1.8 grams
Earth’s Best 1st Bananas
*Sugar: 12 grams
Sodium: 20 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram
*4 grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar
Gerber 1st Foods Banana Purée
*Sugar: 13 grams
Sodium: 5 milligrams
Fiber: < 1 gram
How this happened
Shan, Grace’s mom, stated publicly that when her daughter is old enough to understand what she likes and doesn’t like, she is not going to force a strict diet on her, she is just trying to create a solid foundation for the future of her child’s health. Which seems completely fair to me.
According to Shan, “If she eats a piece of bread I’m not going to have a conniption,” Shan told the Daily Mail when the girl was only 13 months old. “She’s going to go to kids’ parties and eat what’s there. I’m never going to go to Grace, ‘You can’t eat anything at this party, but I packed you some kale, here you go.’’
Shan had been struggling with various food allergies for many years, which had already given her the inspiration that was needed to redesign her diet around them. This prompted her decision to cut out dairy, gluten, and processed foods.
When her baby daughter, Grace was born, it only just made sense to continue this diet and to carry it on to her little one.
When it comes to the safe amount of sugar our children can consume, according to Dr. Svetlana Pomerantes, MD:
“Let’s start by looking at the American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations. The new guidelines call for less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for children ages 2 to 18 years. That includes no more than 8 ounces of sugar-sweetened drinks per week. I advise parents to read food labels, find ‘sugar,’ and do the math — every 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. “
“The worst sugars are in processed foods, sports drinks, pop, desserts, and fruit juice. Don’t rush to introduce fruit juice — it has no nutritional value.”
Similarly, Dr. Edward Gaydos, DO, says:
“Children younger than 2 years should have no sugar at all”, and adds that “eating brings joy, but that joy should be geared toward the process of satisfying hunger and spending time with family. Children can’t choose a well-balanced diet. But adults can, and should — right from the beginning.”
Sugar is highly addictive and leads to obesity and type-2 diabetes, you should work hard to lower your child’s consumption of refined sugars, and here are some useful tips:
-Lower your sugar intake to set an example
-Try to eat at home as often as possible
-Try to explain the benefits of healthy foods and make sure you have food rules when going out
-Avoid keeping sugar-rich foods at home
-Explain your goals to other members of your family, so they can support you
-Do not reward your children with candy
Yet, if you have a sweet tooth, do not despair, as you do not need to forget about desserts if you decide to ditch refined sugar from your diet, since there are perfectly healthy alternatives you can use instead, like honey and pure maple syrup.