Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Son's No Sugar Challenge

So, the last month and a half or so, I've been struggling to find time.  Struggling to write and post without sounding hypocritical to myself and what I do.  But, hey, this is my blog, if I want to talk about fitness one day, and cupcakes the next, it's ok, because that's who I am- I love to exercise, I love to be fit, I love helping people get fit and feel good about themselves, I love inspiring people, I love sharing things I've made, especially food that is delicious, and I love challenging myself.

I finally feel like my food photography has progressed to a level where I feel I should be, so I can't wait to share some of the new recipes I've tried recently (warning, two are cupcakes).  Now, the hypocritical part (sort of):  Our crossfit gym did its first paleo challenge last month.  My son and two daughters come with me to coach, so they were hearing lots of info about the paleo challenge (essentially, no sugar, no grains, no dairy, no legumes)- immediately both my son and one of my daughters were jumping at the chance to do the challenge and had my boss weigh and measure them.  Honestly, I knew I wasn't participating in the challenge and didn't think either one of them would survive, but my son-- WOW he amazed me!

I knew that Nathaniel was a pretty picky eater to begin with, so I was not sure I could have him go completely paleo and still eat enough calories.  We decided for the first round, he would just eliminate sugar.  You would not believe how intense and serious he took this!  My 9 year old son went 4 weeks with no sugar.  I was thinking it would be interesting to see if I noticed any behavioral changes in him- which, for the record, I did not.  The one thing I noticed was that this kid has will power and determination.  He read labels on everything and would not eat it if it listed sugar.  I allowed him to cheat on his sister's birthday for cake and ice cream, and he kept double checking with me that it was ok.

Every morning, he had toast and bacon or multigrain blueberry pancakes that I made.  I made multigrain bread for him, so he could use it for lunch.  He started searching online for sugar free recipes and started making sugar free desserts for himself, like cake and cookies.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I do feel guilty that in the beginning I didn't have faith in him.  When he went on a ski trip to california, he baked his own batch of sugar free cookies to bring for the trip and freaked out because my husband didn't tell the ski school instructors he was not allowed sugar (luckily it was just a little bit in the jelly of his sandwich).  When they got back from their trip, I made hotdogs, and he had ketchup, before he took a bite, he ran to the fridge, pulled out the ketchup, saw sugar in the ingredients, and wiped it off his hot dog.  That is some determination!

I love that I'm teaching him how to be healthy and how to read food packaging.  He asked me why certain foods weren't healthy, which prompted me to take our next science lesson to the next level and we are studying nutrition and human anatomy- I'm loving it!

I've learned valuable lessons from this experience too.  One is never doubt your kids' abilities and the main one was that it is really hard to not feed your kids sugar.  Every snack, prepackaged food, drink has added sugar, it is really quite sickening how much sugar an average kid must consume every day.  Even Cheerios has sugar.

When the four weeks were up, he had to complete a crossfit workout, called the "Dirty Thirty", followed by a 1,000m row- I took him in and my boss ran him through the workout.  He worked the hardest I've ever seen him work in my life.  He got red faced and sweaty, which made him excited.  We reweighed and measured him- he had lost a pound and 1/2 " in waist and arms got a little smaller too- that was not the goal of course, he is 9 and growing, but I found it interesting nonetheless.  Since that day, he has been nothing excited about doing the WOD with the adults.  My boss told him that he had taken his workouts to the next level, and I know that made him feel special and proud.

Here's some pictures of him doing his workout:

What did we gain from this?  My son is a tougher person than I thought, I need to read labels closer than I already did, and my son knows how to cook now.

What can you gain?  Your kid can survive without sugar, kids have more willpower than we think, you can give them sugar, but notice labels, be aware of what's in your food.  The thing I try to live by is moderation.  I give them sweets, but in moderation- because I don't want them to be curious later on in life and go on a crazy binge.  Be smart and teach your kids to be smart- educate yourself and know why things are bad for you, they are more apt to listen to a solid reason than "it's bad for you".

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Nice work Nathaniel, I would be mortified to find out how much sugar my kids take in. Hypocrite because I was a human sugar repository when I was younger. Learn from mistakes and educate. I am going to find out exactly how much sugar they are eating...standby.