3

votes

Should I let my kids eat properly-prepared grains?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 01, 2012 at 7:50 AM

As someone who's recently gone paleo from a WAPF diet I have gradually decreased my own grain consumption to currently being gluten/grain free and feel a lot better myself, but I am still giving my kids sourdough, rice etc. I don't want them to think I am a complete food nazi (they already think I am obsessed with food!) or give them food issues (my sisters and I all had eating disorders) but I am happy they know what healthy food is. The problem is I am not totally convinced well-prepared grain is bad for those with healthy guts and they like bread - I also think kids need more carbs than adults (my two active ones certainly do) and potatoes are not too popular round here, neither are sweet potatoes although they like rice and I could do more rice noodles etc as I already buy rice pasta. Neither have any food allergies, illnesses, or even get sick very often, both very strong and healthy kids.

I just want to feed them as best a mother can so should I take them full paleo with safe starches and completely ditch bread at home or allow them a few slices of sourdough? Oh, my husband is not very supportive, thinks I am too strict already and buys them bagels when he's home at the weekend!

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 04, 2012
at 07:36 PM

Thanks, UncleLongHair, it is difficult to know how far to push it with kids and family - like you, my spouse is not paleo, I've done WAPF for a few years, with pretty minimal grain consumption on my part but am making the leap by cutting out that last bit of sourdough with my eggs (though I still waver!). I'm the same with my kids, try and do as many safe starches as possible (even buy rice pasta which probably isn't great but not as bad as wheat), absolutely NO proecessed foods and my son (nearly 9) likes liver too! Thanks for the answer, I do think what we do is much better than SAD at least

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on July 04, 2012
at 12:15 AM

+1 Nice answer ShaBam.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Thank you, Jessica, really I beat myself up about this too much. Like you, I thought differently before I became a parent but sometimes it is hard!

07243c7700483a67386049f7b67d90a4

on July 01, 2012
at 05:59 PM

I think you're bang in the money and is totally what I would do.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on July 01, 2012
at 05:24 PM

Karen, I too suffered some of the same confusion about grains when it comes to the medical literature. However, most of the studies done on grains that show benefits have been done on rats/mice or other animals that actually CAN digest unprocessed grains quite well because they consume those foods in nature, whereas we don't. There's a few studies that do show that grains are bad for non-celiacs (translation: this applies to everyone on this planet pretty much.) That being said, I do love a good sourdough but in my opinion if you're eating grains, you're not eating paleo.

Fd1c5e35538fbe2ea5eccb8acd7ae546

(496)

on July 01, 2012
at 05:19 PM

It's the phytic acid in grains that's bad and gluten,not carbs.We are talking about little kids.I would give them grains,but not in the form of bread,cause later they will crave it

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 03:55 PM

Don't get me wrong, I DO agree with you that you're not missing anything by skipping the grains, it's more my own reluctance to impose a big change on an already-healthy family, especially when my husband is not behind paleo at all. That's what I meant by wishing I'd known about it before I had kids, so I could bring them up this way without getting nearly 9 years down the track! I don't buy kid food either and grains are not a big part of their diet, definitely second to grass-fed meat, butter, veggies, even liver, so we'll see how it goes. All the best.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 01, 2012
at 03:44 PM

I may have overstated my confidence in the science (vegetarians thought they were right for a very long time), however I have read a TON on this and I'm pretty well convinced. However, even if I am wrong, there's nothing that you can get from eating grains that you can't get from eating something else that's also more nutritious. That's the approach I take: try to maximize nutrients. So I see no upside to eating grains, a huge possible (likely) downside, and I can get more nutritious calories elsewhere. I'm not missing anything by skipping the grains.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 03:27 PM

Hi miked, good for you, you're lucky to be so certain you're doing the right thing! My problem is that reading the science I'm NOT sure grains are poison. I don't necessarily think they are optimal which is why I limit them but I've never seen any study to prove that in ordinary folks with healthy guts it causes the kind of destruction that is claimed. And whilst I completely agree ED are in part caused by nutritional deficiencies they are also caused by mothers neurotic about food! If I'd known about this when they were born I think it would be different, in many ways I wish I had.

8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

(2830)

on July 01, 2012
at 02:13 PM

This is true - if you ban, when they're in a position to make their own food choices, they might choose the "forbidden fruit".

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 01:15 PM

Thank, thank you, everyone, it's so nice to feel I AM actually doing better than the average person! I have two happy, healthy kids, a boy of 8 and a half who actually eats everything happily, liver, sauerkraut, says his favourite food is crab (!) and a daughter of 4 and a half who is pickier and probably would mainline sugar/refined carbs if I let her but still happily eats rice, beef in bone broth, eggs, fish, fruit so I can't really complain. Really I feel so much better reading all your kind comments, I tend to be a perfectionist (my husband knows it!) and sometimes good enough is enough.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 01, 2012
at 01:06 PM

There is 0 benefit to 'soaking oatmeal'/sourdough bread. I say let them eat bread/oatmeal/rice, they will be fine. Its the HFCS, 27X a day alongside high fat that has ruined people not the paltry amount of carbs in 2 slices of bread, a cup of rice, or a bowl of oatmeal.

3558d8feb56bc681144f87e67140f885

on July 01, 2012
at 01:03 PM

Well said! :-) :-)

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 01, 2012
at 11:29 AM

And, I don't have kids, but I'd guess it's much better to subtly subvert their eating of crap than to overtly ban. To overtly ban is to set up for conflict and make something more appealing via its inclusion on the forbidden list.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 11:14 AM

Very good advice!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on July 01, 2012
at 09:59 AM

Do they like bread? If they do - why deny them? If the don't really care for it, you can feed them whatever you are eating. Kids are very adaptable - they will get used to whatever they are fed. Except for one or two things. I hated cream of wheat when I was a child, but my parents made me eat it. I still hate it and will hate it for the rest of my life.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 09:52 AM

By properly prepared I mean, fermented in WAPF style i.e. sourdough bread, soaked oatmeal etc. I think I might look for inspiration from some of the paleo sites that have kids - in a way you're right, if I won't eat it why on earth should I let my kids eat it but I think they have stronger gut flora than me so should be able to digest at least some grains just fine. I also REALLY don't want them to feel weird they eat totally differently and set them up for bingeing on junk when they escape me!

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6 Answers

3
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on July 01, 2012
at 12:58 PM

Yes. I think you should. Your husband's opinion matters and if he thinks you are already too strict then why try a diet that is even more restrictive? Peace and happiness should not be undervalued. If your family thinks you are obsessed with food you need to listen to that especially given your own history of a disordered relationship with food. I don't think a few slices of sourdough bread should be allowed to cause disharmony within the family.

If you want to change then do it VERY gradually. Offer fewer and fewer grain choices over time. Look at some paleo bread options. I'd keep the rice. Maybe look at offering some buckwheat options (pancakes/cereal) as you start to drift from gluten grains? If potatoes aren't too popular perhaps you could try some new recipes? (just wondering if you are withholding fat or cooking them in such a way that they are not very tasty?) I've never met a kid who doesn't love mashed potatoes or hash browns or fries (even baked).

Good luck! (you are NOT a bad mother no matter what you decide here)

3558d8feb56bc681144f87e67140f885

on July 01, 2012
at 01:03 PM

Well said! :-) :-)

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 01:15 PM

Thank, thank you, everyone, it's so nice to feel I AM actually doing better than the average person! I have two happy, healthy kids, a boy of 8 and a half who actually eats everything happily, liver, sauerkraut, says his favourite food is crab (!) and a daughter of 4 and a half who is pickier and probably would mainline sugar/refined carbs if I let her but still happily eats rice, beef in bone broth, eggs, fish, fruit so I can't really complain. Really I feel so much better reading all your kind comments, I tend to be a perfectionist (my husband knows it!) and sometimes good enough is enough.

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on July 04, 2012
at 12:15 AM

+1 Nice answer ShaBam.

3
8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

on July 01, 2012
at 12:04 PM

Kids are more resilient, but they're also pickier and constantly growing. Their brains are still developing - they need calories. There are times when you've got to feed them whatever they'll eat. I probably would've thought differently before I became a parent - when you have a toddler whose eating habits often border on what looks like starvation, sometimes you've just got to do what works. I would never deprive my kid of food knowing he'd happily eat some rice.

Also, if you're feeding them properly prepared grains, you're doing legions better than most people, and perhaps setting up their guts to be healthy and grain-friendly for life. I read somewhere (don't recall where, so let's call this anecdotal) that we become averse to grains around age 30. Giving them grains prepared in a way that make them more digestible and make their nutrients more available is probably a lot better then giving them industrial bread.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Thank you, Jessica, really I beat myself up about this too much. Like you, I thought differently before I became a parent but sometimes it is hard!

2
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 01, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Well, my point-of-view is that kids are just little people. My little guy only gets what we eat, and that's pure paleo, no grains, no special kid food. He's doing really well, and since he can't go out and drive himself to the grocery store, he doesn't get to complain about the choices (though, he never has, and loves the food we give him).

I don't worry about the whole "eating disorder" problem by being so concerned about food. I believe it was in "Good Calories Bad Calories", but it could have been in one of the other books I read, I can't remember exactly. But it's the wheat messing with your dopamine signalling that often drives people into eating disorders, especially anorexia. There were a bunch of studies quoted where getting people off the grains caused dramatic turn arounds in anorexia because their brain chemistry normalized.

So since he's not getting any grains or other "stuff you can eat" only gets real food, I'm not too concerned. Plus he's growing crazy fast and getting super strong, and hasn't been sick EVER (he's been 100% paleo since birth, and mom was 100% paleo for pregnancy). I think if food is good for me, it's good for him; likewise, if it's bad for me, it's bad for him. If I wouldn't eat something because I consider it poison (after reading the science), then why would I give it to my kid?

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 03:27 PM

Hi miked, good for you, you're lucky to be so certain you're doing the right thing! My problem is that reading the science I'm NOT sure grains are poison. I don't necessarily think they are optimal which is why I limit them but I've never seen any study to prove that in ordinary folks with healthy guts it causes the kind of destruction that is claimed. And whilst I completely agree ED are in part caused by nutritional deficiencies they are also caused by mothers neurotic about food! If I'd known about this when they were born I think it would be different, in many ways I wish I had.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 03:55 PM

Don't get me wrong, I DO agree with you that you're not missing anything by skipping the grains, it's more my own reluctance to impose a big change on an already-healthy family, especially when my husband is not behind paleo at all. That's what I meant by wishing I'd known about it before I had kids, so I could bring them up this way without getting nearly 9 years down the track! I don't buy kid food either and grains are not a big part of their diet, definitely second to grass-fed meat, butter, veggies, even liver, so we'll see how it goes. All the best.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on July 01, 2012
at 05:24 PM

Karen, I too suffered some of the same confusion about grains when it comes to the medical literature. However, most of the studies done on grains that show benefits have been done on rats/mice or other animals that actually CAN digest unprocessed grains quite well because they consume those foods in nature, whereas we don't. There's a few studies that do show that grains are bad for non-celiacs (translation: this applies to everyone on this planet pretty much.) That being said, I do love a good sourdough but in my opinion if you're eating grains, you're not eating paleo.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 01, 2012
at 03:44 PM

I may have overstated my confidence in the science (vegetarians thought they were right for a very long time), however I have read a TON on this and I'm pretty well convinced. However, even if I am wrong, there's nothing that you can get from eating grains that you can't get from eating something else that's also more nutritious. That's the approach I take: try to maximize nutrients. So I see no upside to eating grains, a huge possible (likely) downside, and I can get more nutritious calories elsewhere. I'm not missing anything by skipping the grains.

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 04, 2012
at 01:56 PM

I tried the WAPF diet but it just didn't work for me, because of the grains, even if "properly" prepared, so I am full-on Paleo. No grains at all, no corn, and almost no refined sugar of any kind (even honey).

My kids (7 and 9) would never deal with my diet. I do think that kids have different metabolisms than middle aged men like me so that is probably ok. They also have different tastes due to probably legitimate evolutionary reasons (avoid bitter vegetables due to toxicity, favor quick and easy calories and lots of small snacks/meals).

I don't push my diet on my kids or family but I do set some guidelines. We don't ever have fat-free or fake foods in the house, everything is full fat, and made from good fats. 90% of the cooking is with good fats. I never buy bread, pasta, or any processed foods, though my wife might (she is not paleo). I make it a point to make "safe" starches (sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice) as often as possible. We have large portions of vegetables with every dinner and insist that the kids have at least 3 or 4 bites of greens with every dinner.

These subtle changes have really changed their diets. We now have pasta once every week or two instead of 3-4x per week as we used to. They rarely have bread at home. Both of my kids love crispy roasted kale which we now have several times per week. They enjoy the safe starches (who hates a roasted potato with butter?). My son has even taken a liking to liver. They are not paleo, but i think are hittingg many of the high points with occasional "cheats", maybe they are 60% paleo which is a lot better than most of their peers who are 0%

However, they still get some treats and snacks and i make them chocolate chip pancakes every now and then. They know from me that this is a treat and not great for them but they are allowed to eat it for now, and i hope that this will cause them to make good food choices as they grow up.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 04, 2012
at 07:36 PM

Thanks, UncleLongHair, it is difficult to know how far to push it with kids and family - like you, my spouse is not paleo, I've done WAPF for a few years, with pretty minimal grain consumption on my part but am making the leap by cutting out that last bit of sourdough with my eggs (though I still waver!). I'm the same with my kids, try and do as many safe starches as possible (even buy rice pasta which probably isn't great but not as bad as wheat), absolutely NO proecessed foods and my son (nearly 9) likes liver too! Thanks for the answer, I do think what we do is much better than SAD at least

0
3558d8feb56bc681144f87e67140f885

on July 01, 2012
at 12:43 PM

How old are you kiddos? Mine are almost 6, 3 and 1 and we've been paleo (or at least, gluten free) for the past few years. I think you've just got to do your best. I agree wholeheartedly with Jessica - especially if you're the only one in your family eating this way! That's just going to make it exponentially harder.

Soaked and fermented grains are better than what most people are eating! If you're already fighting an uphill battle, give yourself a break. Those are my two cents.

But also, try to include as much good stuff as possible!

0
C1e224cddefc9c865c47409fd6fe801b

(140)

on July 01, 2012
at 09:21 AM

Kids are more resilient than adults. Why feed them differently than yourself? Why feed them what you yourself won't eat?

Also, what is "properly" prepared grains?

Fd1c5e35538fbe2ea5eccb8acd7ae546

(496)

on July 01, 2012
at 05:19 PM

It's the phytic acid in grains that's bad and gluten,not carbs.We are talking about little kids.I would give them grains,but not in the form of bread,cause later they will crave it

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on July 01, 2012
at 09:52 AM

By properly prepared I mean, fermented in WAPF style i.e. sourdough bread, soaked oatmeal etc. I think I might look for inspiration from some of the paleo sites that have kids - in a way you're right, if I won't eat it why on earth should I let my kids eat it but I think they have stronger gut flora than me so should be able to digest at least some grains just fine. I also REALLY don't want them to feel weird they eat totally differently and set them up for bingeing on junk when they escape me!

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 01, 2012
at 01:06 PM

There is 0 benefit to 'soaking oatmeal'/sourdough bread. I say let them eat bread/oatmeal/rice, they will be fine. Its the HFCS, 27X a day alongside high fat that has ruined people not the paltry amount of carbs in 2 slices of bread, a cup of rice, or a bowl of oatmeal.

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