In the summer of 2009, at the age of 50, I became a registered dietitian. After 3 years of post-graduate study, I was ready to help other parents navigate through the maze of nutrition information and raise happy, healthy children. My own three children were 20, 22, and 24, yet still fresh in my memory was the day I learned that my family had been following a lot of wrong dietary advice for our first 14 years. An internet search in the summer of 2001 led me to the Weston A. Price Foundation and to the guiding principles of traditional ancestral diets. I was shocked and even angered to learn that the USDA low-fat Food Pyramid was not based on any substantial science, and that the low-fat diet could be causing permanent harm to growing children due to a lack of essential nutrients compounded by toxins in modern foods.
I immediately began to change our family’s diet, not an easy task with children who were already 10, 12, and 14. My husband and I managed to persevere despite their resistance to unfamiliar foods and to the removal of some of their long-time favorites. Mealtime was not always uneventful, and looking back I realized that I probably should have been a bit more flexible, but overall our new way of eating was definitely a change for the better.
All three of our adult children now embrace what we taught them and regularly cook and eat nourishing, traditional foods. We also experienced overall health improvements, and though none of us had ever been chronically ill, there was a marked decrease in the number of colds, flu, strep throats, etc. In fact, I am certain that our “new-old” diet gave me the renewed life energy to complete a demanding internship and master’s degree program, and then go on to start my own nutrition counseling practice. I feel blessed to have learned all I did when I did, and I strive to keep learning. It is my hope that the words I share here will help other families as they raise children fully able to meet their unique potential.