Low-Carb is your child’s best friend, and that’s a fat!
Healthy eating is something that has become quite big in my life lately. I knew the basics of what was healthy, but after a while I noticed I had terrible pains after eating the usual pasta or breads. I grew up with “rys, vleis en aartappels” (a saying used in Afrikaans to describe a typical Sunday lunch especially at gran’s house). I never had these pains when I was younger, but then again, I was more active. Nonetheless, after all the recent pains I always used to wish that I was forced to not eat those things so that it would be easier to control the weight. Well, careful what you wish for. After a couple of months with so much pain that I struggled to walk, a few trips to the doctor for blood tests and pain meds, it turns out I am gluten intolerant. I am now forced to stay away from pasta and breads, pizza, and pretty much all of my favourite things. I started doing more research on the type of diet I should follow, and poor hubby endured all the trials and errors with me until I found a lifestyle that really works for me.
So why I am sharing this? Growing up, talk about gluten and gluten free products was really not a thing. In actual fact, breads, pastas, and other carbs were said to be an important part of the diet. It was really only recently that these types of foods started affecting me and quite to the extreme. If your child does experience pain after eating and you are not sure where to begin, keep a food diary and take it from there. It has really helped me identify the certain foods I can and cannot eat.
This is me at age 10 when I had to dress up as a vegetable for a church production.
Taking “you are what you eat” to a whole new level.
Since I have been on my new journey this past year, I want to share with parents the effects and benefits from eating fats. Yes, you read right-fats! I don’t mean the chocolates and sweets and ouma’s malva pudding. I am talking about your good fats, your true fats (if I could put it like that). Since I have been using this in my own life, I noticed the rise in my energy levels, improvement on my concentration, and this was also the only lifestyle that helped me lose those extra kilos that I always struggled to get rid of after high school (after not staying so active).
Some of you reading may think that I am leaning towards a topic on the banting or keto diet. Even though this is the foundation of my lifestyle, it is not always possible to follow these diets one hundred percent. It can get expensive, and it can take a lot of time, so I had to find something that works for me. It can also be very tricky to keep making meals that don’t have the carbs when feeding kids. The idea is just to choose the right carbs.
So, I am sharing this to encourage you to try a low-carb diet with your kids. It is not necessary for them to have NO carbs, the idea is to limit the carb intake because of how it affects your child’s energy and concentration levels. By training your children to have a healthy relationship with food, to avoid the processed foods, the fizzy drinks, restricting the carbs, you are helping to improve your child’s mental abilities and you are preventing serious health issues later on in life. It has been found that a low-carb and high fat diet is highly recommended treatments for autism and epilepsy. What basically happens is the body burns fat and not carbs, and the carbs turn into glucose which is important for brain function. When the body is provided with no carbs, “the liver converts fat into ketone bodies. These can be used by the brain as a source of energy and has been shown to lead to a dramatic decline in seizure occurrence in epileptic children” (Nokes, 2016). As I mentioned, it is not necessary to go ‘full banting’ for the whole family, but you can make slight changes and encourage your children to make different choices when it comes to feeding their brains and bodies. As a Kids Life Coach, I coach children in understanding various functions of their brain and empower them to make their own positive food choices with consequences in mind.
If you are interested in getting started, I highly recommend following the secure link to ‘The Ultimate Guide to Low-carb Kids’. Here is where you will be able to get some low-carb lunchbox ideas, tips and tricks, printable guides, and more in-depth information on the effects of refined sugars and processed foods. Give it a try, you have got nothing to lose. It changed my life and together with some regular exercise I have never felt better in my life. Explore this with your kids and find out, with them, what works for their body and what doesn’t. Try new foods, try new recipes, let them record their personal experience each week. You can always have a special day in the week where you can still enjoy the treats, but I can assure you that once you and your kids start exploring a low-carb diet, you will see the many treats you can still enjoy without adding any of those nasty sugary chemicals and preservatives to your bodies.
To end off, I would like to leave you with five simple guidelines to live by that can make this lifestyle so much easier for you as parent.
1. Avoid any processed foods and choose foods that are fresh and whole.
2. Limit the grains such as pastas, bread, or pizza. I sometimes opt for the gluten free choice if I have a treat (rather pay a bit extra than endure the awful pains). You could also replace these foods with zucchini and make zucchini noodles, or sweet potato chips instead of deep fried ‘slap chips’. There are many helpful sites to guide you on healthy food replacements to make your life as parent easier. No need to think of new meals or shop in funny places that cost a fortune. You may also want to consider swapping out the breakfast cereals filled with sugar for a boiled egg or my hubby’s favourite, ham spinach egg cups, which are so easy and cook while I get ready and do the things I need to do in the morning.
3. Try plan ahead and involve the kids where you can. Sit with a food list and let the kids choose their favourite, then agree on a menu. Kids are also more likely to try new things or actually eat the foods they said they would if they feel involved in the process and feel as if they had a choice.
4. Remember that fat is not the enemy. Foods like avocados, double cream yoghurt, coconut cream and so many more similar foods keep you fuller for longer (so no snacking on chips or sweets that are quick and easy), it improves concentration and brain function and more. Fat only becomes the enemy if you have a high-fat and high-carb food intake. I might also add that once I got to know where to shop and when, these good-fat foods did not break my budget.
5. Still enjoy life. Enjoy that treat with your kids now and then. Be lenient and enjoy the process. It may take time, but it is so worth it in the end.
Nokes, T., Proudfoot, J., Creed, S.A. 2016. Little, Brown Book Group. London: UK
Kids Life Coach
Play Well Live Well Kids Life Studio®
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