asktheNUTRITIONIST/ANSWERS TO YOUR FOOD QUESTIONS Melissa Diane Smith is an internationally known journalist and holistic nutritionist who has more than 20 years of clinical nutrition experience and specializes in using food as medicine. She is the cutting-edge author of Going Against GMOs, Going Against the Grain, and Gluten Free Throughout the Year, and the coauthor of Syndrome X. To learn about her books, long-distance consultations, nutrition coaching programs, or speaking, visit her websites: melissadianesmith.com and againstthegrainnutrition.com. Freeing Your Family When health crises prompt major diet changes, focus on the positive and patiently and persistently adopt new habits to move toward a therapeutic way of eating /// BY MELISSA DIANE SMITH : My son has just been diagnosed with the gluten-related autoimmune skin condition dermatitis herpetiformis, and we recently found out that my daughter is severely allergic to milk products and experiences digestive distress from all grains. My husband has irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, and asthma; I have digestive bloating; and all of us are overweight and don’t eat enough vegetables. Going on a grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet seems like it would be best for us, but I’m overwhelmed about how to go about that. Can you offer some pointers? —Tanya W., Madison, Wis. common for health crises to a:It’s compel transformation in diet, and summer is the perfect time to make the switch so your family can become accustomed to this therapeutic way of eating before your kids go back to school. And, really, it’s a good idea for everyone to adopt at least a few of these healthier dietary practices. “Changing your diet now can save you time, heartache, and money in the future,” says Leah Webb, MPH, author 44 • JUNE 2019 of the new book, The Grain-Free, Sugar- Free, Dairy-Free Family Cookbook (Chelsea Green Publishing). Families who are not in crisis mode might favor a more moderate approach to their diet, but getting grain- sugar-, and dairy-based junk foods out of the diet can benefit everyone. “Don’t settle for mediocrity when it comes to diet when the alternative feels so much better,” says Webb. Healthy Tip! Summer is the best time to make healthier changes to your family’s diet, so that everyone has a chance to get used to them before they go back to school. Parents have a responsibility to help their children learn and understand how to fuel their bodies in a healthy way. Feeding our kids the proper foods takes effort, but the payoff is substantial. Basics of Making Changes as a Family Start with yourself. Improve the way you eat and the effects will likely gradually cascade down to other family members. Next, serve only one healthy meal each at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t cook to order or offer alternative foods for individual kids. Try to pair new foods with something familiar that they like. But if your kids don’t want to eat the new foods, don’t get discouraged: Keep trying to offer them. Studies show that children won’t even try a new food until it’s been offered many times, according to Webb. Also, encourage your children to get involved in the kitchen and participate in small tasks during the food preparation process. Kids are much more interested in trying new foods if they have a hand in fixing those foods. Plus, the more they learn to do in the kitchen when they’re young, the more prepared they will be to make their own nutritious meals in the future.
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