For me, finding courage over comfort has taken a whole new meaning over the past several years. In fact, I want to clear the air on what is possibly a big misunderstanding!
Over the past few years, I have had so many conversations with moms and dads who have been inspired by our story and the healthy changes we have made…AND…are so frustrated because they feel they’re not doing enough!
Well, when I think about those conversations, I certainly hope that their interpretation and feelings are not due to the fact that they think WE have it all together, and that when I put healthy, nutrient-dense foods in front of my family, they smile from ear to ear and gobble it up with joy.
Because truly…that’s far from the case.
So, here’s a little dose of reality that I hope will encourage you to keep on keepin’ on!
When my little Dani was diagnosed with high risk ALL, I was a nutrition teacher by trade, but I didn’t have nearly enough of the appropriate tools in my toolbox, and the ones I did have were pretty lame…think traditional food pyramid, or plate, or whatever it is right now?!
Anyways, I was blessed to be quickly connected with my girl, Season Johnson, who had started her journey with Kicker just a month earlier. Season enlightened me in ways I will never be able to truly thank her for, and our entire family is soooooo much healthier because of her influence!
But please let me very clear…in all honesty…it’s definitely been hard at times!
Like really, really hard!
My kids didn’t grow up eating kale and salmon and kefir. They STILL give me guff about anything green on their plate. I mean, we came from a place of me thinking I was a freaking ROCKSTAR that our PB&J’s were made with whole grain bread and our mac and cheese was the organic brand.
So, for the group of you reading this who also started your journey from a similar place, who still want to make changes in your family or who feel discouraged at times because serving brussels sprouts at dinner literally induces tears…I FEEL YOUR PAIN!
And you know what?
It can totally suck sometimes! Like…on every! single! level!
But finding the COURAGE to push through the frustration, to be consistent and to not give up are some of the bravest and most admirable moves you can make! You CAN do this!
So, stay steadfast in your WHY and take baby steps. The changes in our family did NOT happen overnight, and we still struggle at times.
To help, here are a few suggestions…assuming you don’t have a huge and overbearing health condition that requires an abrupt overhaul…
- GO SLOW! Make ONE change per week. Start with ONE meal at a time. Breakfast was our starting point.
- Find what works…but don’t give up on what doesn’t work right away. It took SEVERAL tries for much of the changes we made in our home, and I would remind my kiddos that their tastebuds would change all the time! So, play games to see if they do change, and then always make a big deal and act surprised when they say “YES…MOM…they changed, and I kinda like this now”. It’s a great little game!
- Find balance and CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES. Did they literally puke over brussels sprouts? If so, then take it down a notch and start with green beans or broccoli. Sauté the veggies with bacon or melt a little raw cheese on top because you KNOW they like bacon and cheese! Call things fun names, like baby trees, or make it into the shape of something fun. I know…is it extra work? Yep, it is! But, does it work? YEP, trust me!
- And when it gets hard…like really, really, really hard…think of your sweet ones battle. My Dani had no choice in this, and neither does your fighter. They deserve the best. They deserve to thrive and not just during their treatment but for a lifetime afterwards. It is a fact that the food we put in their bodies can either be full of nutrients to help rebuild their systems as the meds tear them down…or…it can be full of synthetic and inflammatory toxins that will give their bodies even more to process as their systems try to rebuild. And for me…that changed my perspective, my drive and my focus pretty quickly.
I definitely do not have all the answers for how to make this work!
However, what I DO know for sure is that we’re doing a hell of a lot better than we were before! And…my daughter absolutely thrived throughout the 2 and a half years of her high risk leukemia treatment and has rebounded post-treatment in ways our oncologist says he has never seen.
I also know that the rest of my family is better off because I was encouraged to step out of my comfort zone, deal with the arguments from my kids, fight through my own frustrations and press on…despite the pressures from naysayers that said, “it doesn’t really matter anyway”.
So, keep your head up and fight on!
What you’re doing is admirable, important and IT MATTERS!!! And mark my words, there will be one day that your child will thank you for caring enough about them to choose to fight and do the exact same thing that THEY had to do over and over again throughout this whole ordeal…
…choose COURAGE over COMFORT.