Do you feel a connection between spirituality, food, and the ability to fulfill your work and purpose?
To me, eating is a spiritual act as much as a physical one. I have experienced the profound difference between how I feel after eating nutrient-poor foods versus foods that are as close to nature as possible.
And there’s a reason for that! Food isn’t just fuel—it’s a gift from God. Jesus gave thanks and broke bread. And we’ve been given the bounty of the Earth to help our bodies thrive and even heal so that we can do the work God has called us to do.
I believe that paying attention to the spirituality-food connection means using whole, nutrient-dense foods to feel my best, allowing me to do this work.
And I wanted my kids to feel this connection, too!
I woke up one morning, the week before the world shut down from COVID-19, inspired to write a nutrition curriculum for kids. I had never personally taken on a project this big, and it was one of those dreams that gets you excited but also makes you nervous and anxious at the same time.
I knew that other families might benefit, too.
I hear from many of my one-to-one nutrition clients that when they begin making healthy changes for themselves, they often struggle with their kids. These clients get burned out preparing separate meals for various family members. They often ask me for tips on how to pass along healthy habits to their kids.
These conversations validated my behind-the-scenes project of writing Growing Up Nourished. Eating and living holistically is very much a family effort, and I could use this curriculum to ease the burden that my clients described.
So my boys and I got to work!
My two young sons gave me great feedback on each lesson and even some fantastic ideas for hands-on projects they wanted as part of their homeschool experience.
I knew that with their help, the program would be “kid-approved.”
But I also wanted it to be fact-based, and effective. Did you know that 2.5 billion dollars are spent annually on advertising that targets our children? Another 2 billion is allocated to the marketing of food products. Sadly, less than 3% of this advertising is for healthy food. A largely unhealthy message is being sent to OUR children!
Further, rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are increasing, and we’re seeing these illnesses hit kids earlier and earlier.
But if we can raise the next generation to value the importance of nourishing their bodies, I believe we can change that trajectory. As parents, we must fight back and take the physical and spiritual health of our kids back into our own hands.
So, the big question is, how do we navigate this and teach our children to become healthy eaters when the world is telling them differently?
Rather than feeling confused by all the diet misinformation or falling prey to fad diets as an adult, I want to foster my childrens’ respect for the nourishing, healing, and spiritual power of how they eat.
Over the years, I had to remind myself that forcing my kids to eat is not my job. When my sons are grown and living independently, do I want them to be healthy and eat their vegetables?
Yes, of course. What parent doesn’t?
But when I take off my “nutrition hat,” what I truly want is for them to learn and understand how their body feels when they eat certain foods. I want them to understand what their body feels like when they have a blood sugar crash after a sugar high. I want them to notice the calm and grounded feelings they have after eating a balanced meal. I want them to learn how strong their bodies are with the right foods.
I want them to understand how food impacts their energy, mood, brain function, immune system, and even their spiritual relationship with God.
We have come so far from natural, whole foods. Processed foods fill the grocery store shelves—items our ancestors would not recognize. We have come to fear real salt and natural fats like full-fat milk and butter.
With Growing Up Nourished, children and parents can learn a new approach to nutrition that may be different than what they’ve learned in the past. One that’s based less on fear, deprivation, and politics and more on getting back to the foods that have been staples of our diets for centuries. Click here if you’d like to learn more about Growing Up Nourished: A Nutrition Curriculum for Kids. I’ll send you a free lesson so you can see if it’s the right fit for your family. And I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.