There are a good many things I wish I had done differently when I look back over the choices I made when I homeschooled my children. Too often, I abided by the “rules” of the status quo, focusing my curriculum selection on areas that would have little application in the present or future lives of my children. I would have focused less on geometric theorems, for example, and more on practical subjects that would help my children maneuver their way more effectively through adulthood. But, as they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I’m happy to share some of my thoughts with those still actively engaged in home education.
Healthy nutrition is a subject that is grossly overlooked and needs to be brought to the forefront of the life of a child. Too often a mother has a difficult time improving the family diet because she has allowed poor choices to become staples in her kitchen/pantry.
Most moms recognize the health benefits of breastfeeding over processed formulas. But, as the children grow, the heavily-processed American diet works its way into their lives and stomachs. As the mom begins to realize the effect this has had on her own physical well-being and attempts to make a change, the resistance of children and husband can be quite discouraging.
In my case, right after I had my third child at the age of thirty-nine, my doctor advised me that I should stay away from wheat. His exact words were, “If you don’t make this change, you will be looking at colon cancer in ten to twenty years.” I took his advice to heart, and actually followed it for a while. But, the fact that my family rejected the idea that my diet had to be theirs finally made me give up. I went back to eating just like everyone else so that my life would be easier.
My doctor was twenty years ahead of the popular “gluten free” diet of today. Interestingly, years later, both my husband (because of arthritis) and my daughter (because of ulcerative colitis) were advised to give up wheat and gluten products. Both have found positive relief as a result. As a result, it was easy for me to return to the original advice I had been given. Oh that I had stuck to my guns and educated my family on the wisdom of the dietary change and avoided these issues!
Along with teaching children the catechism, times tables, and the parts of speech, etc., it is imperative that we begin early on to talk to them about nutrients, how the body uses and digests food, what is beneficial in a diet, and what is not. They need to understand how processed food and a diet full of sugar (sodas, desserts, etc.) will have a cumulative effect on their health in years to come. Why wait for a small section of a biology textbook to begin this discussion when your children have already established eating habits? You can start with some simple concepts and continually build upon them.
I had a rude awakening this past summer and, by God’s grace, have been able to make some substantial changes in the way I view my responsibility for my own health and the health of my family. It’s funny how a scare will do that to you. But, I desire to do more than just keep what I’ve learned to myself. I want to help women regain control of the health and well-being of their families (like women of previous eras did) by learning how to prevent disease and promote longevity.
Sure, we are all going do die someday. But I am committed to do my best to die healthy!!
4 thoughts on “Food for Thought”
Thank you for talking about this subject! It’s one that seems to be overtaken by either New Ageism…or legalism…or folks wanting more governmental control in order to mandate “reform” in the agricultural business…but I believe it is a highly important area for my generation of Christians to really stop and consider and learn about in light of Scripture.
My family has been gradually adjusting our eating habits over the past several years, as we have continued to learn more and more about nutrition and the effects of diet on our health. One of my younger sisters was really unable to read and do math until my mother took all wheat out of her diet, after considering some research she did connected with an “autistic” cousin who lived with us for a while. (My sister wasn’t autistic, but she definitely had learning problems – and my mother was not about to let some Army doctor put any of her children on drugs….) So she did her own study. That was many years ago now, but what my mother did that seems to be different from many families in similar situations is that our entire family also stopped eating wheat; and later we added sugar to the list of things we do not eat at home. And, in God’s providence, this has proven a great blessing to us all in the long run. The reason why I say this is because now we are all dealing with chronic Lyme disease and co-infections to some extent – and our diet, which we are continuing to refine as we learn more and more, is proving to be vital in our healing. The wheats, the sugars, and the unhealthy oils which we have taken out of our customary diets set us back when we do get into them when eating out, for example. Anyways…I just realized I am rambling…but the point of what I am trying to say is that learning how to take care of our bodies in the area of what we eat (and also how we approach the subject) is important not only because our bodies are one of the things God gives to us to steward, but also because if we are blessed to not have severe health-related trials in our families, we will be sure to know others who do. And legalism in the matter of food – or trusting information put out by Monsanto or the AMA – is not the answer. So thank you for broaching the topic….
Thanks for sharing this. There is more to say on the topic, and your comments have added to the discussion. It is so true that when we learn things that benefit ourselves and our families, we can become beacons of light to and for others. Keep up the good work!
This is a great reminder and encouragement to spur me on in this area. I am amazed at the difference in how my body feels since eating better, and I know I still have so much to learn. I was very consistent when pregnant, but am less so now. So again, thanks for writing this! Do you have any books you recommend on this very wide subject? I know there are a lot of “schools of thought” out there, but I am interested in where you have found insight in the health realm.
You are correct that there are many schools of thought on this subject. Some stress removing slow-acting carbs from your diet. Others harp on no fat, no salt, no animal products. Rather than jump on any one bandwagon too soon, I advise learning the terrain and strive to understand the premises of each of these orientations. This many mean you need to brush up on or learn certain aspects of biology, chemistry, nutrition, etc. so that you can make sense of what they are basing their theories upon.
At this point, learning the various symptoms and ramifications of metabolic syndrome (a precursor to diabetes, heart disease, and potentially cancers), will give you a handle on the foods and other substances that are beneficial in preventing or reversing it OR contributes to it.
I’d be happy to chat with you as you have questions as you go through your reading. I may be better able to advise you at that point which resources to pursue.
Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination!