In the paleo community, you have to admit there are a lot of different ways to approach the diet and lifestyle. There are the diet fad people who will try anything to lose weight and have so far enjoyed the effects of paleo living, the people who went paleo because it lines up with their preexisting dietary restrictions, and the paleo-lifestylers who are all about treating the human body the way it evolved to be treated. The first group is the most numerous, the second group the most private, and the third is where we get all these cool ideas and recipes for improving our own paleo lifestyles. However, people who live paleo, adapting to thinking in terms of natural foods and the right balance of protein, fat and vegetables are not just doing themselves a favor, they are also changing the lives of their children for the better.
Childhood Obesity is Very Anti-Paleo
Children come in every natural size and shape from the tall skinny ones to the short round ones but the one thing that a natural child isn’t is obese. There are many stages of development where a child may put on some weight, often before growing upward. Children who get eat only natural foods when they’re hungry and get plenty of exercises simply don’t have the rising problem we see today of unhealthily obese children.
Where does the obesity come from? There are three primary contributors and the paleo lifestyle is strongly against all of them. The first is processed food that has been made “too efficient”. Rather than spending hours digesting something crunchy and fibrous, kids can eat bread, cookies, chips, processed cheese, and pasta that digests in the belly directly into energy or is stored as fat.
The second reason is an unhealthy mentality about eating caused by a society built on food, snacking, special meals, social eating, and the expectation to clear your plate even if you didn’t serve your own portions. Kids get into a place where they feel that eating snacks is something to do all the time and overeating is the norm. When you stack this onto the third reason, a sedentary life, it’s no surprise when kids wind up overweight.
How Paleo Parents Make the Difference
What exactly is so different about parenting paleo that can help to ensure your kids are fit, healthy, and the correct weight for their age and body type? In many cases, the difference is simply putting thought into your meals. Rather than coasting on automatic, making ‘traditional’ meals (made with modern processed ingredients), paleo parents think hard about building the right balance of meats, vegetables, and starches. The challenge of working with natural foods and avoiding grains inspires both creativity and nutritional consideration. Talking to your kids about why the portions are the way they are will build an awareness of healthy eating and form the beginning of healthy eating decisions as adults.
The other half of it, of course, is a simple combination of vegetables and an active lifestyle. Paleo parents who are thinking about how human bodies developed to eat and act are more likely to send their children outside to play, go on family camping trips, and limit screen time. With this approach, kids have to find new, creative, and active ways to entertain themselves.
By choosing to raise your family in the paleo lifestyle, you have the opportunity to save your children from a societal epidemic. If you teach them not to count calories like a dieting neurotic but instead to count their vegetables and starch in relation to their proteins, your children will be eating healthily for the rest of their lives.