The following is an excerpt from the forward of my book, Raising Resilience.
Ready for your copy? Scroll down to the end of this post.
What I experienced when I had my first child was all too common. After the initial bliss wore off, worry and fear shadowed my days. Feeling overwhelmed somehow became my new norm.
We were living in a quiet log cabin in the woods—a safe haven of sorts— but still, too much of my energy was focused on worry. I worried about chemicals in infant PJs, about car exhaust, that my baby would fall out of bed, or slip out of my hands in the baby bathtub. I was afraid of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), vaccines, illness, pesticides, rashes, and formula.
I struggled with breastfeeding, formula caused eczema; we struggled with food intolerance and constipation. I was given conflicting information about supplements and feeding strategies. He was a picky toddler. I wondered if his behaviour and development were normal. I worried about autism.
A primal fear that I would fail to protect my child kept me up at night. I doubted my instincts and didn’t know where to turn.
The more I learned, the more I worried; the more I wondered if I was a good mother.
My children are older now, and I am at a different stage of parenting. While fear and worry still rise up, I now recognize that they do so when I’m faced with the unknown.
Knowledge and experience are the two ingredients that build confidence. When we don’t have them, it’s so easy to feel powerless, judged, afraid, and confused. We get drawn into panic and obsession on the one hand, or to apathy and defeat on the other. We have to work hard to find a middle ground.
As we grow, our game plan starts to evolve. It expands and changes as we gain insight, and as it does, our confidence increases. Some parenting theories and strategies stick because they resonate, while others get caught by your filter and discarded. If we don’t create this filter carefully and consciously, it becomes too easy to be thrown into despair and self-doubt again. An expert interview compels us to throw out groceries and change our menus. A blog article makes us question our style, and a random social media post riddles us with guilt and self-judgment.
If you’ve ever felt this way, I encourage you to work on your filter.
Raising Resilience is about the food and feeding part of your parenting game plan. It is about what to feed your family, and how to fit healthy food into your busy life. But more importantly, this book will bring you renewed confidence in the role you play in your child’s health.
I have worked with the most amazing parents over the years who, when they truly embrace their influence, create massive transformation in their children’s health. Sleep improves, focus improves, tantrums reduce, learning improves, allergies reduce, growth improves—once parents become active and educated participants in healthcare.
The greatest tool at your disposal is food.
The choices you make in the kitchen and grocery store hold profound potential to impact your child’s health, but family nutrition is a hard road to navigate and figuring it out can take up an inordinate amount of energy, brain space, and heart. This book will guide you through the clutter and keep you focused. It will give you knowledge and strategies that will instil confidence and help you find a clear path forward.
Let me tell you why you are getting such mixed messages right now about food and health It’s because we are in the midst of a paradigm shift. Over the last ten years or so, revolutionary discoveries have been made about how the body works and how our health is influenced. More details continue to surface and it can be hard to keep up.
Just a short time ago, we didn’t know that the gut and brain talk to each other via the vagus nerve, that microbes act as metabolic regulators, or that DNA expression can be altered by nutrients and chemicals, and that the digestive tract has its own nervous system. We weren’t aware of the intense health effects of inflammation and immune dys-regulation, or how those processes can be influenced by our thoughts, behaviours, and food choices.
These radical new discoveries have shed a whole new light on what we thought we used to know. They have blown the “dietary-fat-is-bad” myth out of the water, given us new perspectives on the root causes of mental illness, and allergies, given new insights into aging and brain development, and opened up discussion about artificial sugars, gluten, genetically modified foods, and the Standard American Diet as a whole.
But it takes time to flesh out new ideas, and for them to take hold or change behaviours and policy. At this point, we have one foot in the old concepts and one in the new. You and I are caught in the midst of change and are left wondering how best to support our kids.
On the positive side, this paradigm shift actually simplifies things. In my nutrition practice, it has helped me boil everything down into a two-pronged process and core strategies that I have seen accomplish amazing health improvements in a very short time.
The process I take you through in this book will bring you to a place where confidence is allowed to drive, strategy is the trusted co-pilot, tools are in the back seat, and fear ... is in the trunk. The key is to focus on resilience.
Resilience: “The ability to adapt to stress and adversity; the ability of some- thing to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.; the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.” (Merriam-Webster.com 2016)
This is what I want for children; for your children, for mine, for all children; maximal ability to self-regulate when confronted with change, adversity, infection, or turbulence. Regardless of the particular challenges or abilities, the family situations or personalities, strong resilience allows children to become the best version of themselves.
This book outlines some very practical strategies, based on solid scientific research and my years of professional practice, which actively support the development of that resilience.
Raising Resilience is about hope, simplicity, and action. It combines my ongoing efforts as a mother with my work as a pediatric nutritionist. Raising Resilience will help you understand your child’s body and unique needs, recognize indicators when those needs are not being met, and access tools to support them. It will take the focus away from current nutrition dogma and keep your eye on what’s most important, so you can relax about the headlines and achieve your health goals without losing your mind in the process. You’ll be able to forget about what the rest of the seven billion folks are doing, about the latest trend in Japan, and the latest superfood that you can’t get your kids to eat. You’ll be able to read a blog post with curiosity rather than self-judgement, deciding with confidence what advice you are willing to let through your filter. You’ll be able to ask the right questions of your health care teams and confidently explain your decisions. You will take your rightful place as an active collaborator in your child’s wellbeing and growth. You will spend your limited time and energy learning to tune in to your child’s body and understand his/her unique and dynamic needs.
Whether you simply want to finally gain some clarity and assurance about your food and feeding strategy, or your child is struggling with a particular problem you want to find a solution to, the plan laid out in this book will help you help your kids become healthier and stronger and will give you renewed confidence in your parenting.
I’m excited to dive into this with you.
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