When a health enthusiast lived her life by a particular diet, she decided her newborn child would do the same. With doctor’s disagreeing with her choice, did it all work out?
Now more than ever, people are finding new ways to enjoy food as they move to a more plant-based diet, but with that comes the big question regarding what children should and shouldn’t eat. If you decide to become a vegetarian, is it correct to raise your children the same? Or should you let me decide when they are old enough to? One lady faced this exact dilemma and some people were far from happy with her choice.
First Time Pregnancy
It was in 2014 that Shannon Cooper discovered, to her delight, that she was pregnant. As a first-time mother, she wondered what the best way would be to do everything. Unbeknown to her, once the news was out that she was pregnant, she would be showered with advice for everyone and anyone’s about how to bring her child up in the ‘right way’. But for her, she already knew her way would be unconventional.
A Way Of Life
As a health and wellness coach, Shannon had found the perfect diet for herself and one that suited her body and way of life more than any she had tried before and with that, she decided she would raise her child on exactly the same diet. The diet was one that even medical experts didn’t quite agree with and one that certainly caused controversary.
Knowing Her Stuff
Confident in her method, Shannon took the decision to go against what everyone was telling her, this was her child after all, and she believed what she was doing was the best for her baby. As it is her job to know about food and how it affects our bodies, she wasn’t going to let someone’s opinion stop her from following a method she had studied for years.
Her attitude was simple, she believed that you can either let food fuel the body, or you can let it poison it and due to her job, she knew she had the right information. Shannon loved her job and how it enabled her to find out what factor’s different foods hold. Because of certain things she had learned, she was confident she was doing the right thing for her and her child, even if no one else agreed.
Shannon modeled her life on the phase, “you are what you eat” and thoroughly believed in it too, although she added her own little twist. Taking onboard the statement, she adapted it to her own beliefs and phased, “you are what you eat ate.” Even though it might sound a little confusing, by this, she means the foods the animals eat will be consumed by us. Makes sense, right?
This is something Shannon lived by therefore she adapted her diet to fit her beliefs. She was stubborn with her thoughts but in all fairness, she had the right to be. With a background in science and animal health, as well as nutrition, she wasn’t about to take anyone’s advice over her own. In late 2014, Shannon gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Grace.
Putting The Baby On A Diet
From the moment she found out she was pregnant, Shannon felt it was important that her baby follow a healthy diet, and although others deemed it drastic and claimed it could possibly damage the baby, Shannon put her sweet daughter on a strict diet. As a wellness and fitness coach, she had a lot of confidence in her decision.
Fitness And Food Blogger
In the industry, Shannon was considered an expert in her field and had a huge following of people who followed her recommendations, but this was something that many declared they would not follow nor support. Shannon had a blog that opened her up to a vast amount of people and although she was confident, she actually couldn’t be sure if the diet would affect baby Grace.
Putting The Baby On A Diet
Unlike most new mums, Shannon didn’t allow herself to slip out of her diet and fitness routine, after all, it was her job, so, how could she? Many people felt that just because that was how she decided to live her life, it wasn’t fair to ‘push’ it onto Grace. A consciously strict diet would be fed to her daughter and one that Shannon refused to budge on.
Different Take On Baby Food
Shannon came up against many people who read way too much into the word ‘diet’, as they blasted her for restricting Grace’s food intake. From birth, Shannon raised her daughter on the disputed Paleo diet, as this was how she had lived her life for as long as she could remember. For Grace, this meant no processed or jarred baby food.
What Is The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is something that has been around since 1975 however it only became vastly popular in 2002. Another name for the diet is the “caveman diet” and that is because it is based around what humans would have eaten in the Stone Age, which consists of anything they could find in their path, meat, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables. But why did Shannon think it was so good?
Changing Her Diet Permanently
In 2010, when Shannon was studying nutrition, she discovered the Paleo diet and never looked back since, claiming the diet transformed her life. There was actually no proof that the diet would be appropriate for a baby, but she wanted to try it anyway, knowing how well her body and mind had adjusted to it. Following a long stint of being ill, Shannon made the decision to change to the diet full time.
Decline In Health
Shannon’s health had never been where she wanted it to and after various tests, she couldn’t quite put her finger on why she often felt so unwell, and that’s when she came across the Paleo diet. Through being sick, she learned she had a handful of inherent food allergies and that the foods she was eating weren’t making her feel good at all.
One Mans Poison
As well all know, every diet works different from one person to another. As they say, “one man’s medicine, is another one’s poison”. The diet meant she had to cut out all sugars, processed foods and carbs from her diet entirely. Explaining her decision, she said, “I just got sick of not feeling great… That had become my normal and (I decided) that wasn’t going to be normal anymore.” But what about the possible dangers of the diet?
Cavemen Had A Healthy Lifestyle
In theory, the diet sounds perfectly healthy however medical experts argue that way the diet cancels out processed foods with finding a replacement for them, for instance, whole foods. History shows that cavemen diets were full of a list of goodness including vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, all which are recommended for the healthiest way of living however the diet has medical critics.
How Would It Work
A main criticism of the Paleo diet is that it is a necessity to cut out dairy, grains, and legumes, which are nowadays considered, by a lot of people, as very important parts of a healthy balanced diet, especially for a growing baby. How could Shannon ensure this was a healthy option for Grace? Just because it made her feel great didn’t mean it would do the same for somebody else.
Something’s Only A Mother Knows
People openly expressed their feelings against the diet, after all, it is recommended that only adults use the diet because there is no proof that the diet cannot be dangerous to children, as it may affect their development. But for Shannon, even with doctors now coming forward to express their concerns, she trusted her mother’s intuition.
Approach With Caution
Despite what most people thought, Shannon didn’t just go ahead with the diet without seeking any professional advice. After speaking to a pediatrician, Shannon was told that there isn’t enough research on how the diet may or may not affect a child but to approach it with caution at least. Going ahead with the diet, there was one thing that Shannon knew she would have to change, for the sake of Grace’s wellbeing.
Breaking The Rules
For all the right reasons Shannon did have to break one rule of the diet and those who criticized her method were over the moon about it. She would include breast milk in Grace’s diet, this is the only possibility for a newborn baby. Shannon saw no problem with this as she herself strictly follows the diet. But she needed to learn a valuable lesson.
Formula For Paleo
During breastfeeding, a lot of mothers will, at some point, make a transition from breast milk to formula but for Grace that wouldn’t be possible. When looking into it, Shannon found a recipe by the famous chef, Pete Evans that claims it is the Paleo Diet’s equivalent to formula milk. At first, Shannon thought it was a great idea however the diet came up against a lot of serious worries, with one nutritionist commenting, “this could cause permanent damage and possibly result in death.”
Homemade Baby Food
When it comes to the time babies are ready to move from milk to solid foods, some parents will use jar baby foods, as they are quick and healthy but for Shannon, they were not good enough and she wanted to make all of Grace’s food from scratch, of course, sticking to the diet. Everyone wondered if the baby would be ok growing up on the diet, so, did it work out?
The transition from milk to solid foods is always a cautious time for parents. Shannon began introducing Grace to chopped vegetables and organic chicken during breastfeeding, to get her used to it. Shannon was more than happy to know exactly what her daughter was eating; her body was free from sugars and preservatives – which are factors to consider when buying jarred baby food.
When She Grew Up
Grace’s diet certainly meant one thing, that she would have no choice than to eat vegetables, which some children can have a hard time with. Shannon shared how easily Grace ate broccoli but for most, they still faired Grace was not getting the nutrients she needed from the paleo diet and no one would know how it affected her until she was older.
Grace always seemed to enjoy the foods as she ate surprising things like chia pudding, quinoa porridge, and sauerkraut. Shannon swears by the diet and claims it has made Grace’s immune system much stronger than other kids her age. She also knows it isn’t realistic to keep Grace are the diet forever but she hopes she is able to stick to it as much as possible as she grows up!