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Convincing slim, healthy children to go primal.

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  • Convincing slim, healthy children to go primal.

    Can anyone give me some advice about how to convince my children that primal eating is important for their health? All but one of my 5 children are struggling with the idea of eating primal because most of the information I have to present them is primarily focused on weight loss, and they don't need to lose weight. ***The question has arisen as to the ages: 21, 18, 17, 15, 12.

    My wife and I are both on the paleo lifestyle (thanks to her), and she's been coming up with incredibly flavorful meals. They (the kids) just don't think they're in any danger, since, at this point, they seem absolutely healthy.

    I'm especially concerned for my three step children (BTW, it's only at moments like this that I refer to them as "step" children since their father passed away and I'm their earthly father figure at this point) since their father passed away at the age of 46 from a massive chunk of plaque blocking his artery. He was the picture of health and had no symptoms of poor health until the day he passed. His (my) children think I'm off my rocker because the Primal Blueprint and Wheat Belly books (both of which I highly recommend) place so much emphasis on weight loss and I can't seem to get them to read past that part of it.

    My fear is that, whatever has caused their father's early passing along with a big family history of the same outcome, is going to happen to them, since they all tend to have the same dietary lifestyles. But I'm REALLY struggling with how to talk to them without them taking it as though I'm somehow saying they're fat, or unhealthy at this time in their lives.

    I could ramble on for pages about this thought, but I won't. If anybody can point to some information that ISN'T weight-based, but more muscular, brain, cardiovascular focused, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Grok-on, my fellow cave people.
    Last edited by ThomE; 03-10-2013, 01:14 PM.

  • #2
    Lead by example. You won't convince a young mind to do anything it won't want to do unless they want to do it. Same goes for adults.

    I would assume you didn't always follow the primal way of life either.

    Let them be kids and do the usual kid stuff, when they mature they will follow their own path just like you did.

    My 15 yer old crunches sugar cubes and drinks coke by the bucket full, so did I. But since my recent change to a healthier way of living iv never felt better and Im 48 this year.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much.
    Caution! My replies may contain traces of nuts!. My posts are just my opinion based on my experience with the primal way of life, there is no assurance it will work with others in the same way.

    Started Primal 15th October 2012
    Height 5'9"
    Start weight 200lb
    Loss so far 33.8lbs, now 166.2lb
    Goal was 168lb's


    • #3
      Well I just started reading Whet Belly, so I don't know what comes later, but I just got through the section referencing schizophrenia, autism and ADHD... (chapter 4, if you want to go back to it). Present it to them in terms of concentration, classmates with behaviour problems, etc. That section really resonated with me because my brother had ADD as a kid, and i see so many kids now being diagnosed. Where is this all coming from?

      And just because they aren't fat now doesn't mean it wont happen in the future - it's called being proactive in taking care of your health. Are they children, or teenagers? Has the great hormone hit happened yet? All bets are off then...
      28 years old, insurance broker
      starting weight 195 lbs (5'4")
      working on losing weight, getting active, and curing my GERD


      • #4
        Your house, your rules. Lead by example. I didn't suddenly announce to my family that things were going to change...I just made small, gradual changes.

        YOU decide what and when to eat, THEY decide if and how much. They can't eat what's not in the house. The CAN eat whatever you prepare and put in front of them. Let them know that they can help themselves to unlimited fruits and veggies any time, day or night. Feed them ample potatoes, rice, fruit and other carbs with meals....growing children need the extra energy.

        Make sure that you reiterate that this is NOT a weight loss plan, its an 'eating for optimal health' plan. And all that weight loss is a natural result of eating healthy. A grain based, seed oil based, processed food diet is not healthy.

        Assure them that THEY won't lose weight because they will eat as much as their growing bodies need. And in adolescents and teens that could be two or three times as much as a full grown, slightly sedentary 195lb adult.

        The older they are, and the more time they spend away from home, the less control you have of their eating choices. All you can do is educate and lead by example. Elementary aged kids are under your watchful eye much more, so you have more control of their food choices.
        *My obligatory intro

        There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo



        • #5
          Depends on how old they are, right? If they are actually pre-tween, just say this is how it is and explain why. It is healthy and tastes great. If they are tween or older you can use more logic and just make the food but you will have a hard time forcing them. Lead by example and dont have junk in the house.

          You might also try explaining the moral side of it to them. Why eating like this is good for us and the world at large. Explain pollution and desertification and starving children and CAFO and mono-cropping and cute little gophers being homeless from all the wheat and corn that said mono-cropping causes.

          Explain how our WOE will bring life in all it's multi-varied diversity back to our world. Oh yes and garden so they can see it.
          Primal since April 2012 Male 6' 3" SW 345lbs CW 240lbs GW 220lbs and when I get there I am getting a utlikilt. This one actually.

          Join me at, where all the cavemen hang out.


          • #6
            I think it has to come down to "this is the food we eat here now". You're feeding them good food. If they want something else, it's not a requirement for you to cater to their wishes. In the end, they will have to decide for themselves.


            • #7
              The best thing you can do, assuming your wife is on board, is start moving the household to the paleo/primal way. Meals and snacks eaten at home will thus be healthy and wholesome foods. No need to convince them of anything... they'll eat what mom (or dad) puts on the table or they won't eat at all. No different than any way of eating in that regard.

              What they do when they are at school or with their friends? You can't control that, and shouldn't try. Lead by example, reap the benefits, and know that you are doing the best you can by nourishing them with healthful foods at home. Most of their food intake will be paleo/primal and that is something you can feel good about.

              Some suggestions:

              - Make homemade potato (or other veggie) chips with healthy oils for dinner sides
              - Make homemade banana almond butter ice cream with chocolate chips (no ice cream maker required) for dessert a couple times a week
              - Egg banana pancakes with real maple syrup and bacon on the side. SO GOOD for sunday mornings.
              - If you do buy soda every now and then, stick to the fanciful ones in glass bottles made with real sugar. -They are tasty but much harder to overconsume, especially since you only buy a few at a time. This returns soda to a special treat a la the soda fountain days of yore, rather than the standard beverage
              - Don't quibble over having pizza night every now and then, especially if they want to have a sleepover or something - no kid wants to feel like a freak or have parents who make coming over suck in any way

              Ultimately with kids, and teens, and heck even adults... food needs to be fun and enjoyable. Eating should never be a chore, or something to be dreaded. Make it delicious, make it fun, make it "normal" and eventually they will do as you do and start making better choices when out with friends too.


              • #8
                How old are they? That will guide the discussion to an appropriate response.

                My kids are 2 and 4, so I just switched what we eat. Although I'm still battling my DH a bit. He's slowly coming around the more I talk about the mental effects.


                • #9
                  They are children. Children do what they're told. Or does it not work like that anymore? Anyway, if my own mother had made me primal cakes and treats making the switch would have been an improvement. We weren't allowed to do/eat/buy anything that was cool.
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                  • #10
                    Maybe recommend that they read Perfect Health Diet? It's got a chapter on weight loss, but the theme of the book is nourishing yourself.
                    My Walk From West Coast to East Coast



                    • #11
                      A 12yo can probably still be told "this is what you are going to do," at least while parents are around. (I do not give my kids "you must do this" instructions if I'm not going to be there, because I can't really enforce that.)

                      The older ones are going to have to make up their own minds, which they will do over time if they see that it works well for you. Things like energy and health are probably going to be bigger factors for them than weight, itself.

                      But you can still say "this is what we are serving" or "this is what I am buying." If they want to do something else, they can provide that for themselves, and you aren't really going to be able to stop them.

                      In my experience, the harder I try to convince my kids, the more they fight things, but if I say "here is what I'm finding, make up your own mind" they are less defensive and therefore more likely to actually think about what I say.


                      • #12
                        You can lead a horse to water....
                        Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                        Griff's cholesterol primer
                        5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                        Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                        TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                        bloodorchid is always right


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Little Women View Post
                          In my experience, the harder I try to convince my kids, the more they fight things, but if I say "here is what I'm finding, make up your own mind" they are less defensive and therefore more likely to actually think about what I say.
                          My kids are still little, but I'd say this is exactly how I would have thought at your kids' ages.

                          Actually, as a youth, I wanted to rebel against everything my parents did. My folks were die-hard meat eaters, and I went vegetarian then vegan in my teens and twenties. So yeah. But that was me. The classic rebel without a clue.

                          Aside from leaving primal/paleo books lying around and hoping they pick 'em up and read 'em, I don't think there's a lot you, as a parent, can do to influence kids that age. You can talk to them. Have reasonable conversations. Live by example. But ultimately, their acceptance will have a lot to do with their personalities, their willingness to try new things, and their desire to change their diet.

                          Kids will be kids. Some are headstrong and rebellious. Some are open-minded and accept their parents' viewpoints. A lot of how you should handle this depends on your children's attitudes toward you in general.
                          Female, 40 yrs old, 5', 120 lbs (post-pregnancy)
                          Went Primal January 2, 2012!

                          Paleo Cooking for Cavekids cookbook


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by banananutmuffin View Post
                            Kids will be kids. Some are headstrong and rebellious. Some are open-minded and accept their parents' viewpoints. A lot of how you should handle this depends on your children's attitudes toward you in general.
                            And some are/were/can be beaten into submission. Metaphorically speaking, of course. You don't like what's for dinner? Go to bed without dinner then. Or if they are older, you don't like what's for dinner? Go get a job.

                            Or, more positively, and I wish my own parents would have run our family like this: get them involved. My neighbor friends growing up each had to plan and cook one of the family dinners each night. They had to put the ingredients on the shopping list and cook the meal and it was homemade from scratch, not just stuff in a box.

                            My mom wouldn't let me use the stove. Only do dishes like a slave.
                            Last edited by sbhikes; 03-11-2013, 07:06 AM.
                            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.