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  1. #1
    Michelle1015's Avatar
    Michelle1015 is offline Junior Member
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    Primal with kids

    Primal Fuel
    Hi, my name is Michelle and I am new to the forum but have been reading Mark's books, blogs, and visiting links from this site for about a month now. My husband and I decided to go primal about a week ago after much discussion and are doing alright with the diet, but my main problem is my children. Specifically, my four-year-old son. Since we have cut out his favorite foods (mac and cheese, pizza, and pancakes) he has been awful. He cries at the drop of a hat, refuses to eat anything green, and begs for McDonald's, which is weird because we never ate McDonald's before. Is he going through withdrawals, or maybe just trying to exert what power he feels he can over his food choices? Also, he and my seven-year-old daughter are constantly hungry now, asking for a snack as they clear their places from the table. Are there any other parents out there who went through this? I have searched this forum and other blog posts but can't seem to find the answers regarding children that I am looking for. Does it get better? Help!

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    I have an almost 2yo DD and 4yo DD. They have days (today) where they seem to eat constantly, primal or not. I offer healthy choices and only resetrict if it's 30min or less before meal time.
    Are you willing to make grain free versions of old favorites? They won't taste exactly the same, but come close. I make pancakes every few weeks for the kids using coconut flour and honey. I make enough for leftovers and they eat them during the week while I go back to eggs. I also make a grain free pizza with mozz cheese and cream cheese for the crust. DH is even coming around on it.
    Can you involve your kids in meal planning? Take them to the store and let them choose some veggies that look appealing? The more you include them, the likelier they will go along for the ride.

  3. #3
    Sandra in BC's Avatar
    Sandra in BC is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome. I chose to transition the family gradually. I've been adding new recipes and ways of cooking to the menu, and cooking the old standbys much less often. We've gotten rid of idustrial seed oils, HFCS and soy, and reduced our dependence on wheat and grains to some degree. My kids arent 100% primal, but they are eating clean, unprocessed, home cooked foods most of the time. They have become more in the habit of eating veg & fruit, and we rarely have juice in the house. I try to feed them substantial meals that they enjoy, and lessen the dependence on snacks.

    I'm the only one who chooses to eat grain-free, though my 12yo daughter is paying attention and making good choices more often.

    Unless your kids have nutrition/health/behavior issues that need to be addressed through diet, there is no need to force them to go cold turkey, or even go 100% primal. Just cutting out HFCS, corn and soy will eliminate probably 90% of processed foods. There are some good paleo/primal recipe books and blogs for kids and families.
    Sandra
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    billp's Avatar
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    My view is that children need a lot more carbohydrate in their diets than adults, especially overweight adults. As I understand it (and going on how I feel after weightlifting) cell division requires sugar. So children (and an adult engaging in super-intense exercise) can just absorb sugars and carbs and then a little while later want more.

    What I do is offer things. I offer eggs, fried, boiled and even raw, I offer meat, I offer animal fats and skin. Some of it is taken up. I find demand for carby/sugary food goes down, and behaviour improves. So demand for bread and pasta is reduced, but not eliminated. I replaced wheat with buckwheat for pancakes, and I offer rice instead of pasta, but I don't refuse to make it and I provide bread.

    I think that for the sake of your sanity, short of a medical reason to avoid wheat, I don't think it makes sense for force children to follow your lead, and I rather suspect they have totally different dietary needs anyway.

    I suspect you son is not getting enough sugar and carbohydrate in his diet now, and feels hungry and unhappy as a result. I feel a bit like that in the days after heavy weightlifting if I don't eat enough carbs and sugar - I need some ice cream and get achy without it.

    Why don't you just stick to replacing veg oil with animal fats and offering primal/paleo foods as filler, without completely removing food your son likes from his diet? Same with HFCS - you could completely replace it with sugar, which is more sating anyway.
    Last edited by billp; 05-07-2012 at 02:04 PM. Reason: clarity

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    I would encourage you to be sure they're getting plenty of carbs. There are many reasons kids shoudln't be on a restricted carb diet. Potato and rice are good options for them. Along with sufficient fat and some protein, it'll keep them fuller, longer.

    I think the "go slow" camp has some really, really good points. But my kids aren't picky to the point where I need to go that route.

    Paleomom and nomnompaleo (paleo lifestyle/food blogs) both have picky kids - picky to the point of not eating when rubber hit the road so they have really helpful perspective.

    In practical terms, I have one who won't eat eggs and egg yolks are *super* important for brain development and cognitive function. So I sneak them into things. Things I make:

    50/50 cooked grassfed ground beef w/white rice that's been cooked in bone stock, 2 large diced chopped roasted red peppers, 6 egg yolks cooked in, 1/2 cup (or so) tomato sauce, salt, pepper, trader joe's every day seasoning. The picky one loves it! Served wtih some kind of veggie, veggie soup, and/or salad.

    tiny steaks (little bit of ribeye) with equal amount mashed potato, veggie like roasted winter squash (very little starch so imo they don't count much for a starch), salad/other veggie.

    egg drop soup with potato and more egg than seems reasonable (homemade stock, coconut aminos instead of soy)

    pot roast from simplyrecipes (with potato, sweet potato, veggies, salad.....plenty of butter and salt on veggies so they'll eat them!)

    fajitas! but instead of tortillas we eat them with rice or just with a potato cooked in the microwave, peeled under cold water, then mashed

    gordon ramsey eggs (see youtube) with fried potatoes (diced, mixed with diced onion which they don't know is even there), veggies, salad

    chicken mirabella with rice, veggies, sweet potato

    google "asian wraps site:nomnompaleo.com" (without the quotes). Can't believe it but my kids eat and love it, and it's a 1:1 ratio of ground beef and mushrooms (which everyone claims they hate). Again, I always add an appropriate starch.

    We also make pćo de queijo which are brazillian cheese puffs. I always keep some (with and without cheese) in the freezer b/c just a few can be baked in the oven as needed: Pćo de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Puffs) | Perfect Health Diet

    Such a strong, strong case has been made by many of the scientifically minded paleo bloggers that it's clear there is no benefit to avoiding them and indeed possibly many risks - except of course for adults who are metabolically challenged or for those for whom bingeing is triggered if any starches are ingested.

    Also, it's important to note that starch consumption does not preclude ketosis. They can be done simultaneously with consumption of sufficient coconut oil.



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  6. #6
    crossfitmom's Avatar
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    He very well could be going through withdrawals. I have a 3 year old, and the transition wasn't too bad.. but it wasn't easy. I just told him we were having XYZ for dinner and he could eat it or not eat. He eventually starting eating it, and now he requests the good foods! It's so exciting!

    I'm sure it will be difficult for a while, but eventually he will get that this is how he eats now.

    My son is always hungry too, but I think that's just part of being a kid. I make sure to have good snack choices on hand for him to easily eat. Also, sometimes it helps if I offer choices instead of a yes or no answer. "Would you like broccoli or carrots with dinner?" is better than "Would you like broccoli with dinner?"
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    billp's Avatar
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    I am pretty wary about green veg too. I read that children have a very short gut and cannot cope with lots of high fiber food like an adult can. And I also read that it was this age group that was most prone to appendicitis, and that when they opened them up to remove the appendix they invariably found a great plug of indigestible fiber stuck inside the appendix. For this reason I *never* force vegetables, although I offer them. I have only ever seen starchy veg get eaten, like peas or carrots, and usually raw for some reason. I reckon sufficient animal fat and water is perfectly ok instead of fibrous foods.

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    We tried with our kids, but had to 'back off' on the breakfast front. Now the kids alternate between ricies and porridge for breakfast.

    I think that part of controlling the narrative with our kids is actively looking for things which are treats which they enjoy. The biggest thing our kids have is wanting bread, which we no longer buy. We don't stop them from having bread when they are out, and occasionally (once a month) might cook home-made pizza. And they love beef jerky, which we had never homemade before.

    Funny story: I hurt my finger last night and iced it with a couple of pieces of bread that were frozen in the freezer. The kids found them left out this morning and happily devoured them as a 'treat' (dry, freezer burned bread. go figure).

    Our kids love steamed carrots and broccoli.

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    Michelle1015's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks everyone for the input and ideas. Some things mentioned above we have tried without success even before going primal, but there are a lot of tips here that will be implemented in the coming week. Maybe some homemade french fries and occasional gluten-free mac and cheese can alleviate his appetite along with the homemade jerky and coconut pancakes. Thank you everyone!

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    It definitely gets easier. My kids are 11 and 12 and went primal 7 months ago when we did. They complained some, we just tole them what we hqd available and they had to pick from that or make their own reasonable suggestion and write it on the grocert list. They eat 90% primal at home because that is all there is to eat. They are a little heavier on the fruit and raw milk than we are. They can cook their own eggs and we always have cooked burger patties, hard boiled eggs, grass fed beef sausage, brisket, pork butt, ribs or something in the fridge. They grabwhatever they want and microwave it. They usually eat after school before we get home from work, sometimes they will eat whatever we cook. They make their own breakfast lunch and dinner most days. They know they can eat anything in the house anytime they want. It took me a while to stop making them eat when I thought they should. As long as they feel good, I'm happy and they obviously aren't starving. After 7 months of being primal they are better at sports, faster and clearly leaner and healthier.

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