I’m sitting here feeling like I’ve found the golden key and simultaneously like I know nothing and am at the very beginning again… The whole30 is it’s own beast, and one that has me back to studs in my heart trying to discern what tastes good/what feels good/what “feel good” means/and where the heck I got the idea that donuts once a week was “fun” or felt good or was good for me or my kids.
Somewhere around day 5: The girls were begging for noodles (a very frequent meal around here :/) and I whipped them up a bowl of noodles with pasture butter and fresh parm (good stuff! right?) and as Nolie was shoveling spoonful after spoonful into her mouth, and I was feeling satisfied to see her finally eating a meal that day, she started to squirm. “My belly hurts. It hurts but I don’t want to stop eating. I want to feel fuller.”
oh. uh. what?
I know that feeling. It’s exactly what I feel when I eat bread (homemade or franz, bakery or store-bought…) like I just want to keep eating, even though my stomach hurts, I don’t feel “full” I just feel… not done? It’s the same feeling that motivates me to eat a whole Sourdough Boule from Trader Joe’s (with Brie, yum) and then bemoan(or just moan) my choice for the next few hours while I sit on the couch feeling overfull and underfed.
I don’t know when or how my five year old got to that… but I do know that it’s because of what I was putting out there. Of my weird notions about what she “would like” or “could eat” or “she’d NEVER like that”. Because, the thing is, Nolie is an AWESOME eater. But the foods she likes take effort (on my part). She loves roasted vegetables (Primarily beets!) and dark meat on a whole roasted chicken, and buttery quinoa, steamed broccoli… like, she would eat those foods for every meal. But that meal? Hours of time. Prep. Money. Energy. Workworkwork. So? Noodles became my go-do to get them full during the day.
It wasn’t till we started this whole30 (a modified elimination diet, but not at all a legit one, as it’s all self led/instagram led 😉 and not persribed by a doctor or naturopath) and began to eliminated grains/dairy/sugar from our home that I noticed how worth it the work was, and how I could prep ahead and be ready to feed my family well.
We’ve started prepping meals… roasting chicken, roasting veggies, sautéing greens, baking eggs, having all the protein/greens/fats/fruits on hand and closer to us than a bowl of pasta. And the proximity? It’s working. There are plenty of meals that on days 1-15 the girls just saw/wouldn’t touch and would request something else (our go-to’s if you aren’t a fan of dinner are apple/PB, turkey/ham and nuts, yogurt and honey. I’m always willing to serve something easy to the kids if they aren’t a fan of dinner and I would never remove an entire food group from a kiddo unless it was obvious that they had an allergy). But the most amazing this has been happening… as these foods are on our table more and more, as restaurants are becoming a distant memory (sob sob!), those foods are becoming more and more normal to the girls and, without pressure, they are trying and loving them!
The effects on Nolie are less obvious, an expanded pallet, easier time falling asleep, and a general level of energy/calm instead of high highs and low lows.
But on Ever? It’s been crazy. She’s 2.75 and has always had big feelings. But recently her emotions had been getting huge and scary and seemed to be out of her own control. I reached out to friends, Facebook networks, books, and kept coming up pretty blank. “developmentally normal” or maybe sensory related? She would, seemingly without a trigger, just completely lose it. Her eyes would go glossy, she’d scream as loud as she could, pinch/hit herself, pull her hair, throw herself on the ground… it was awful, heartbreaking, and impossible to help her till she just, eventually, came down. She was having one or two a day, most days, and we were just weathering them while I clung to the hope that this developmental stage would pass.
Then we started the whole30, the girls weren’t on it 100% at all, but their consumption of gluten/dairy became HUGELY reduced. Their consumption off highly processed sugars (donuts…oops? every week. oops?) was drastically cut back, and the fruit/veggie consumption sky rocketed. And one week in… It dawned on me that Ever hadn’t had a single freak out. I brushed it off and assumed it was a fluke. But the days kept going by, the meltdowns were small and normal and not at all near the caliber they had been, and she began to sleep at night. We are now about two months into having a gluten/dairy free home (for the most part) and the two times that we’ve let her have a big amount of gluten… she’s had a huge and heartbreaking meltdown. So, now, we are limiting gluten in a big way.
I am pretty shocked by this. I have never been an advocate for putting kids of elimination diets unless there is a VERY good reason. But I am beyond thankful that this happened so naturally, and that it’s been by and large easy to keep out of our diet and home.
We have no intentions of going back to gluten or dairy with any kind of regularity, and so far the girls don’t mind at all. It’s amazing what having healthy option on the table, meal after meal after meal after meal, can do for a kiddo pallet. They didn’t want/try/like things the first, second, third, or even fourth, but often times the 5th time they saw it, they would try it! Or the 10th time, they would like it! Slow and steady, and healthy. I am in shock and so thankful!