Post Pledge 3: Some Decisions

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Okay, so last week I was struggling with how to move forward after finishing our 100-day pledge. Should I still bring our own food to birthday party and other social outings? Is it okay to just sit down and eat a piece of dark chocolate? What about making cookies for no reason? Should I say yes or no when my kids ask me for something that was previously off limits? I know that anything in moderation is okay, but (to quote my husband) the slippery slope was probably what was scaring me the most. Not to mention we worked incredibly hard to master the art of eating real food and experienced improved palates as a result.

On the flip side one of my other concerns was that I would end up spending more time worrying about the food we were eating than actually enjoying it. I definitely don’t want that to happen either, and I certainly don’t want my kids to have a negative association when it comes to food. So when seeking the happy middle where does one end up? I do have to say that all of the comments from blog readers on my “struggle“ post were very helpful in all of this. Thanks to those words of wisdom and some other deep thoughts, here are some very general guidelines to help us move forward:

  • When we are at home we are pretty much going to stick to our 100-day pledge rules except for special occasions like birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations.
  • When we are at a friend’s house or other social outing with friends/family we will eat whatever is available and not let ourselves worry about it.
  • When we are out to eat at restaurants we will try to order as much real food as possible, but we will no longer be talking to anyone kitchen staff or turning away the basket of bread!
  • I will let my girls eat treats at school for birthday and other holiday celebrations. Other than that I will try to keep things to a minimum if possible (for example they already give my 3-year-old a sticker instead of candy at the end of ballet class every week).

I am not saying these are hard and fast “rules” that we will follow 100% of the time because again moderation is key (three birthday celebrations in one day? I don’t think so). We also reserve the right to break some extra rules especially when we are out-of-town or having an unusually busy week. After our strict 100-day pledge we are very much warming up to the idea (and even beginning to embrace) the new freedom of flexibility!

So we dove right into our new “guidelines” by letting our 5-year-old eat what was served at a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party last weekend. I will say that I did give her some options before she went though. I asked if she wanted to eat the pizza at the party or have me pack her a healthier pizza instead. She made it clear that she wanted to eat the pizza AND the cupcake at the party. I said okay! I wasn’t there to see it, but from what I heard she scarfed down the pizza and cupcake (topped with neon pink icing) in record time. Although I can’t say I would have agreed, my daughter told me it tasted even better than she thought it would. I managed to be at peace with her happiness, but the weird thing is…(sorry for being a little graphic) about 24-hours later her poop was pink. Yep, pink. I couldn’t help but notice this very unexpected and unusual tint. What is up with that? Has anyone else ever seen an outcome (literally) such as this after lots of food coloring? Or did our recent “cleanse” have something to do with it?  I was perplexed.

There is one last non-real food event that I must mention. This one hasn’t actually happened yet. It all started last week when my 5-year-old’s teacher called from school to let me know that Sydney had accidentally dropped her lunch all over the floor…before eating any of it of course. The teacher offered to take her through the lunch line to get something else and my daughter refused wholeheartedly. I suddenly felt the guilt. Have I scared her away from making her own food choices or is the lunch line just a daunting task for a newbie kindergartner?

I always assumed my child would never buy lunch, and that instead I would always pack some sort of healthy real food ensemble for her. But never did it occur to me that some sort of accident like this could happen! I rushed some back-up food over to the school, but as hard-core as I am about eating real food I will be the first to tell you I’m not running food over there every time something like this happens. So I put some money in her lunch account, and this Friday my daughter will be buying and eating lunch from the school cafeteria (yikes).  This practice run will hopefully help her feel more prepared and more confident to handle things on her own if there is ever another incident. I am a little concerned she might like buying her lunch a little too much and possibly ask me if she can do it more often or even worse start purposely dropping her lunch on the floor. Please wish us luck with that one!

There will be some more exciting things coming up soon so stay tuned!

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38 comments to Post Pledge 3: Some Decisions

  • Brooke

    Ohhh, food coloring episodes. . . I decorated cakes at Dairy Queen in college. For my brother’s graduation, I made a very detailed sheet cake for my brother, all in black and teal (his school colors). We had dark teal masses in the toilet the next day. Ick! I don’t personally do food coloring anymore.

  • Ginger

    OMG… this exact thing happened to my daughter last week. I cringed at the thought of her eating school lunch. We decided to suck it up and also put some money on the account and let her start making choices on her own. We have begun to pick a day each week and discuss the options.

    I love your posts and have made some moderate changes in our home. You have truely inspired me.

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      Thanks so much for your comment! And my daughter did exactly what I expected…she asked me if she could get school lunch again the next day? I told her no, but maybe she could for her birthday (which is in Jan!). I am so mean…I know.

  • Victoria

    Last year for our Halloween party, my niece (an aspiring pastry chef) baked and decorated some awesome Halloween cupcakes and cookies for the party. They decorated bright green and orange, white, and red. My little Sebastian (then 1 and half yrs old) got of hold of who-knows-how-many cookies, while I wasn’t looking. The next day, he was pooping this bright, neon-green substance that really scared me. I know it was Halloween and all, but it was the type of scare I wouldn’t wish on any parent! Since then, I’ve been trying to bake my own cookies in order to get away from the processed junk. There are so many things that are just not natural!

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      I am just glad to know we weren’t the only ones to experience this! It is amazing how many people have a colored poop story to share now… :P

  • Kathie Rytenskild

    I found my kids would occasionally throw up after Mc Donald burgers, and I have to say they have probably not eaten one at all this year. I think very seriously before letting them attend a kids’ birthday party there (or at any fast food joint) as it really does terrify me as to what they are consuming. Since becoming very careful with preservatives, canola oil, over-processing, eliminating most sugar, etc – I find my taste-buds are extremely sensitive and the after-taste you get from certain foods is enough to not let my kids touch them. I consider myself, at times, a royal food-taster …… for the protection of my kids. But the educating is soooooo important as you may be making decisions for them now, but they need to learn how to make these important decisions for themselves too. My kids are allowed School Tuckshop once a week and I explain what I think are in the foods, and whether they think that would be wise food-choice. They usually end up with a chicken and salad wrap, or sushi!

  • Joyce

    Colored Poop– yep. We noticed it on those children’s flinstone vitamins back when my son was about 18 months. Green chewable= green poop. Blue chewable= blue poop. At the time, he was on a host of asthma and reflux meds. Over time, we found the Feingold Diet. We now know that my son’s reaction to artificial colors, besides colored poop, is asthma. Reaction to artificial flavors is usually behavioral followed by acidic diarreah.

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      I’ve heard of that diet and it sounds like it can really work for some people! It is probably similar to what we did (as far as cutting out artificial colors, flavors, etc.), but probably not quite as hard core. My daughter also used to struggle with wheezing and since we cut everything out at once I have to wonder if it was one thing in particular that was causing the problem for her. I am just so glad things are better for her now!

  • Ashley

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog and have made some moderate changes as well. Just the other day my son reminded me that we were out of wheat thins. I told him not to worry b/c I had replaced them with Triscuits (only 3 ingredients). He was bummed, but thankfully likes Triscuits! ;) I told him that we really need to watch all those ingredients that we can’t pronounce, etc. High fructose corn syrup has now become a huge buzz word at our house! I have known all of this for a long time, but your blog has inspired me to finally commit to “some” (baby steps) changes!

  • Elizabeth

    Ditto on the colored poop. Bradley bought bright blue cupcakes for the boys last week. They pooped bright blue (identical to the icing – honestly!) for 2 days. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not so bad – after all it just went right through them!

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      I guess that is one way to look at it Elizabeth! Although I have to wonder why colorful fruits and veggies don’t do the same thing? :) I don’t know if I want to know the details of that answer though!

  • Jan

    Oh it made me feel bad she dropped her lunch! I enjoy reading your post-rules decisions.

    http://90daysofchangeblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/day-23-why-buy-and-eat-organic-food.html

  • Sara

    Congrats on making “new” rules for yourselves!! I also think it’s harder for children sometimes to make good food decisions if only because their bodies process the “bad” foods better than ours do. I remember being able to eat sugar, straight up, when I was a kid – if I did that now I’d be regretting it the rest of the day in the form of a headache, etc. It wasn’t until my body started to react adversely to overeating, eating processed foods, etc, that I finally was encouraged to just avoid all of it completely. I still overeat on some whole wheat pizza now and then, but knowing what a “food hangover” feels like, I am usually discouraged from doing so ;)

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      That is an interesting point Sara because I have noticed one or two times I’ve had a stomach ache due to some “rule-breaking” food, but it doesn’t seem to phase my daughters. Maybe it is like you said that it just doesn’t affect them the same way as it does us “old” moms! :)

  • Nicole Joyner

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey!! I have enjoyed reading it!
    About the food dye…….YES it turns their poop colors, especially icing. Food dye is something that we are very strict about with out kids. We, like you, allow them to have it only at birthday parties. But they even know that if they are given the colorful goldfish, that they do not eat the dyed ones : )

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      I know the whole pink icing incident made me think twice when I was at a restaurant over the weekend and they served red tortilla chips with their dip. If it isn’t SUPPOSED to be that color then avoid it right!?!? :)

  • Robin

    Congratulations, while I have never commented before I have been following your blog for quite some time! I grew up on real food. While at the time I was often angry at my mom for not letting me have jello and embarrassed to invite friends over. At the same time, I actually loved most of the food and wouldn’t touch lots of processed food. I was so proud to have never eaten a school lunch. While school lunches were a struggle, together we found lots of meals that I loved. I had a japanese thermos (short and wide) which we filled with thick soups, noodles and ravioli (my favorite). I also brought a lot of sushi (nori, rice and veggies). My mom would just make balls instead of rolls. Some of my friends were even jealous. When I was older I brought salads, with homemade sauce in a separate tupperware.

    As a teenager I was so excited to finally get to eat what I wanted. But it didn’t make me feel good. I gained weight. Quickly I learned to cook for myself and learn about how food makes me feel (physically and emotionally).

    As an adult, I am once again eating as much real food as possible. I love to cook and am obsessed with learning to cook things from scratch. I love the taste of food and personally do not find it difficult to resist most processed food as it doesn’t have much taste. Some call me a food snob. Some call me a cook. And some want to learn more from me about healthy cooking. Keep it up, there is a happy medium. I think I live in a space similar to where you are now. It is possible!

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      I love the insight you provided from the young child’s point of view! I can only hope that my daughters’ secretly love the food I serve them and that they don’t really care about stuff like jello and school lunches! I do have one of those thermos cups too and try to use it often. My 5-year-old also loves sushi like you mentioned although I have not tried sending that in her lunch yet. I bet she would enjoy having some sushi at school, and it would surely cause some discussion amongst the other kindergartners!

      I love that you call yourself a food snob as an adult…I am definitely part of that club too! And that’s okay :)

  • . Hi my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include almost all important infos. I would like to see more posts like this .

  • My neighbor gave us some deviled food cake cupcakes a few weeks ago, and all my boys had very red poop, and we have just started this diet and are breaking a lot of the rules. So it is just that our bodies put the food coloring right through…

  • Alex

    I’m almost expecting your daughters to come out with memoirs in the near future about possible eating disorders they have/had.

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      Maybe it could be on the shelves right next to their peers’ books about childhood obesity and diabetes or what it is like to lose a parent to heart disease. Believe it or not my children care about their health (and their parents’ health), and they are learning so much from this experience about how to make – and enjoy – good food choices.

      • Laura

        Thank you very much for your honest and detailed descriptions of your whole foods journey. A sweet friend “liked” your site, and I am now enjoying it as well. I am trying to feed my family real foods but am meeting resistance from all of them. I really needed a site like this and am thankful that my Christian friend led me here. This post struck a nerve and I wanted to share another site that I have been studying for a long time. It is called Nourish MD and is written by a health coach and holistic pediatrician. They give lots of personal stories about how their children eat whole foods –sometimes following the two-bite rule and most often willingly scarfing down the Real Food their (not crazy!) mom serves them. Their children’s memoirs are going to say how much they loved their moms and dads for caring enough to try very hard to feed them Real Food (with the occasional Bridging Food) and teaching them to listen to their own bodies and know what foods feel good or bad to them. Check out http://www.nourishmd.com for some wonderful posts about this! And thank you again, Lisa, for being generous enough to share your time and energy to help the rest of us on this journey. Blessings!

  • Jennifer

    I have enjoyed reading your journey. What a huge undertaking & what commitment to stick with it. Thank you for posting all your hard work. It makesthings so easy for us. Funny to read all the poop stories. That happened to us on our eldest sons first birthday (almost ten years ago). He also was the one who turned orange from eating too many carrots. No joke.
    I also had one refuse to order school lunches. Found it was an issue of not knowing how to do it so he’d rather just go hungry. Just his personality with anything new.
    Your girls will be fine eating “differently” as long as they learn from you that this is the way we do the things we do. My children (well three out of four) love vegetables (raw and cooked) and salad. Going to try the frozen peas. I think they will like that. I alter the school lunches with carrots, celery, grape tomatoes,and mini peppers(from costco)for veggies. They eat them all willingly. Often at home they will ask for a roma tomato to eat like I would eat an apple. All that to say it’s nothing I made them do. We eat sugar, do too much fast food,drink soda& juice even frosted donuts with sprinkles ;-). But when at home the house is filled with fresh fruits & veggies the junk doesn’t usually come in with us. And they like to eat the good stuff too.
    I do have a kind of strict rule. The children are to eat what is served and may not complain about it. A small spoonful is all. If I am making a new dish I will ask them after dinner is over how well they liked it (although I can usually tell by how quickly it dissappears off their plate)I do that to teach them respect for the effort it took the person cooking to prepare the meal.If something doesn’t go over well I won’t make it again. There’s plenty of recipes out there.
    My health issues had me looking for some changes & I found many answers here. The biggest one being I just need to actually cook more. Dreading it a bit because we do not have a dishwasher. But good recipes at hand are half the battle. Thanks again for all you put into this. I am looking forward to reading the rest.
    Sorry for the long letter. I did just spend two day reading the whole thing to this point& just saved my thought for one stop.=-D

  • Rain

    I cant seem to find the very first post, is it still here, I want to start reading from day one…….can anyone help me out with that thank you so much ……..Rain

  • I know I’m late to the party. I just now found your site (and now I can’t remember how), but reading this post made me laugh. We eat a lot of fresh food at home and when my daughter started school this year she wanted to be able to order lunch. I told her she could order once a week and put $20 in the account thinking it would last til Christmas or so. She ordered french bread pizza the first week didn’t finish it. She refuses to order lunch now saying the cafeteria food is yucky. Seriously. I’m not sending her a gourmet lunch. It’s typically an all-nautral pb and j on whole wheat, stick cheese, piece of fruit and filtered water. if she’s lucky, she gets a no-nitrate deli sandwich. Kids!

  • The first time my son had blue/green poop, it shocked the daylights out of me. But then I remembered the Cookie Monster cupcake he had the day before. Gross.

  • Sarah

    Captain Crunch with crunch berries = bright colored poop.

  • Crystal

    Lisa – I’m so happy to read this post! I’ve struggled with wondering if I’m going too overboard on my house rules for real food. I’ve actually shed some tears at or after dinnertime when my toddler refused to eat any of the things I’d prepared. Two year-olds are quite a challenge in many areas, including feeding them! My husband, of course, was bewildered at my overreaction which lead to me explaining how truly important our food choices are to me and the hard work and commitment I put into planning, buying, preparing, cooking, storing, packing them for us all. Okay, okay. So, I gotta loosen up a bit, right!?! She’s only two for cryin’ out loud! I want our real food journey to have some real joy in it…which it did several weeks ago when my sweet girl stood alongside me on her chair helping me cook up some ‘Easy Cheesy Crackers’ and gave me a huge grin and Southern drawl ‘Mama, I li-ike it’ on our first taste test!

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      You hang in there!! I try hard not to bring my emotions to the table either (and to also act like it’s no big deal if my girls want artificial freezie pops with the neighbor kids every once in a while)…it’s not easy, but you can do it! Balance is key.

  • nancy

    Lisa loved the story and what I’ve read so far on your blog putting a bookmark in so I can come back. So many great ideas. My kids are practically grown and out the door, last one home is 15. He’s been more daring of late. I like the Chobani greek yogurt over ones like yoplait (been scared to try making it homemade but I will soon) and he finally tried it and now he likes it better than the yoplait type too. Go figure, now he usually eats it all sometimes before I even get one. @ Jennifer, so nice to hear others have a rule similiar to my mom’s and one I use too. Basically, “you have to try everything on your plate even the stuff you don’t like” All my kids do not like brussel sprouts but I’ve always put a half of one on their plate to try. I’ve told them to try new stuff and keep trying the old stuff you never know when your tastebuds will change. I was 25 before I fell in love with sweet potatoes.

  • Beth

    We have had our experiences with food coloring and BMs too. In fact, telling my MIL what happened after she gave my then 3 year old son a cupcake with 6 inches of neon frosting was the only way to convince her to respect our decisions regarding sugary sweets (she still buys candies and pastries I would prefer to avoid, but at least the crazy frosting is gone!)
    In regards to natural fruits and veggies coloring, my daughter, 21 mos, LOVES blueberries. And the day after a blueberry binge, we can expect to see a purplish tinge in her BMs. Obviously, not as weird or unnatural as neon food coloring, but it can happen!
    Thanks for your blog

  • Jennifer

    Colorful fruits and veggies are NATURAL, with those nutrients getting absorbed in one’s system. Food coloring is all chemicals- so the body’s flushing them out. Ughhhhhhhhhh! :)

  • Cortney

    I can say…my daughter eats cherry tomatoes like nobody’s business, and her poop is FREQUENTLY red. Also, when she eats bananas, her poop in kinda “sandy”, I guess from the little seeds in them. Thankfully she’s not really into sweets–the kid’s next thing to vegetarian! Her typical dinner is a handful of tomatoes, some kind of chip (my only ugh…she loves Pringles. Ugh. Sometimes I can get her to do pretzels, but ONLY if I’m eating them too. lol I think she just wants to try to eat more of them than me!) and either chocolate-covered raisins or dried cranberries. Sometimes a banana instead of those chips, if I’m lucky. She also LOVES chocolate milk, and as a kid who refused to drink ANY milk, I’m okay with that. Yes, it’s more sugar than she needs, but that’s not a battle I’m going to pick. But yes, you can occasionally get colored poop from veggies!

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