If you’ve been reading Lou Lou Girls for a while, you know that I have a 5-year-old little girl (Gracie) that has been having a REALLY hard time in school. She’s only in Kindergarten, but she just could. not. sit. still and FOCUS. It was really hard for me to accept when the teacher told me that she had to move into an all-day program. I know she is smart, in fact, I think she’s incredibly smart. I didn’t want my child to be the one that was disrupting the class, and I definitely didn’t want her to feel like she was dumb or not smart enough. I started doing some research online and found numerous articles that suggested that food dyes, sugar, and general bad gut health could contribute to ADD, and make it hard for children AND adults to perform their best. I read the book It Starts With Food, and we started making changes right away. (I highly suggest you read it.) We basically started a cleanse by eliminating sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, and any processed foods. So if it came in a package, we didn’t eat it. All whole foods, all the time. My kids are 8, 5, and 3-years-old. Oh, and did I mention, I’m pregnant… It wasn’t easy, but we did it, and so can you! The results were remarkable. After the first week, Gracie’s teachers started noticing a difference, and after 4 weeks, the change was undeniable. She was finally able to finish her work at school! She could finally do her homework on her own, without me constantly nagging her, and she didn’t throw fits anymore. I still remember sitting in her class, watching her participate in the lesson, and seeing her write the word frog on her own, without any help. I literally started crying. I was so happy for her. And she was so proud of herself too. So now you’re wondering, “How in the world did you get your kids to stop eating mac n’ cheese, suckers, treats, cheese snacks ,and fruit snacks?” Well, I’d be lying if I said it was easy sailing for all of us, because we had some really rough moments, especially with the 3-year-old. But here are my top tips for getting your family on board. 1- Start reading labels on your food! There are dyes in EVERYTHING. There is sugar in EVERYTHING! I bought a jar of pickles and there was dye in it!? What the… I don’t care if my pickles are glow-in-the-dark yellow. And frankly, I’m sure you don’t want that shiz in your food either. I think knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better choices you can make for your family. 2- Talk to your kids about food. Show them the label on their favorite cereal. Explain that you want them to be able to run faster, and concentrate better in school. Talk about your family food goals and plan a fun activity for everyone to do together when you’re done with your cleanse. 3- Start cleaning out your cupboards. You can either throw everything out right away, or you can simply run out of the foods that are off limits, and choose not to purchase it again. We started eating whole a week before our kids did, but we all ate the same food at home for breakfast and dinner. The big change occurred when we started sending a home lunch every day, and told their teachers, family, and friends that sugar was off-limits. 4- Planning is key. Go to the store and stock up on tons of fruits, veggies, eggs, and protein. Make a homemade mayo and ranch dressing. It’s an easy recipe, and it makes everyone’s life a lot easier. Click here for the recipe we used. Buy lunch boxes and a thermos for the kids or you to take for lunch. Pin recipes that you think your family will like and buy the ingredients to make them. 5- Think of it as a lifestyle change, not a diet. No one wants to put their kids on a diet. We just told them we were doing Whole 30 so we could clean our bodies and see if there were any foods that didn’t agree with our tummies. The kids really seemed to be on board with this, and I was impressed when I heard Gracie telling her friends she wasn’t eating sugar because she was trying to eat healthier. I also got a hug from my oldest, Max, one night. He said he was so glad he had parents that taught him how to be healthy. I cried…I’m pregnant after all. 6- Don’t get mad or upset if the kids mess up. Gracie came home one day and told me that someone ‘accidentally’ poured milk in her mouth, and she ‘accidentally’ drank it. She was so worried I would be mad at her, and I wasn’t. I told her I always love her, and I wasn’t mad that she drank milk, but I wanted her to be honest, because no one has that great of aim to spill milk directly into someone’s mouth. After that, her teachers told me that she reminded them that she couldn’t have sugar whenever someone brought a treat to class. 7- Expect people to think you’re crazy. Most people don’t want to feel guilty about the foods they’re eating and so it’s easier for them to tell you that you’re crazy then it is for them to admit that they could be making better choices. Stick to your guns, you know what’s best for your family and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. We are now just adding foods back into our diet. We all feel a ton better. We haven’t had a soda in weeks, and we’ve found healthy ways to make treats for the kids. My husband lost 10 pounds, and I lost 5, so I’m still below my pre-pregnancy weight. *I asked my doctor before I started the cleanse and he gave me the go ahead, but you should talk to your doctor before you start any new diet. Especially if you’re pregnant. I feel awesome! I don’t feel bloated and disgusting, and I haven’t had heartburn since we started; which is amazing, since I had it with ALL of my other pregnancies. I’m sleeping better, and we’re convinced that this is the way we are going to live from now on. We won’t ever buy processed foods again, we won’t eat food dyes, and we will cook our own meals more, and eat out less often. Of course, there are going to be birthday parties and holidays, and we’ll eat some foods that are off- plan. But, we don’t want to go back to the way things were. It’s really easy to do when you have a kid that needs extra help. I challenge you to read It Starts With Food, and see if there are some changes your family can make to improve your health and concentration. You can do it! Jessica 🙂
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