If you are at all familiar with the ideas behind radical unschooling , you probably know that removing arbitrary limits is a priority. This is going to be a two-part post. For this post, I am going to give some background into my food history and how that has shaped our journey, and in the next part I will be talking about what removing arbitrary limits around food looks like in our home.
I will be transparent and tell you that this has been the area that I have struggled with the most, yet has yielded not only benefits for my children, but for me as well. I was raised in a home in which there was not much offering of fresh, whole foods; lots of very processed foods, and boxed and canned foods were a staple. However, that was never my taste. I always have loved fresh fruits and veggies. As a kid, if we went to a buffet, I loaded up on salad. My parents just did not eat that way often though.
As a young adult who was cooking for myself and my husband, I tried to cook very healthy. The ideas of what healthy was morphed over time, but I ended up being very extreme with food. I was very strict on myself, was very harsh on myself if I ate something I did not consider healthy, and tried to control what my husband ate as well. I put immense pressure on both of us to the point of being very unhealthy. I also hate to admit it, but I have judged others for their food choices many times. There are personal reasons from my past that I believe this extreme control around food emerged from, but I won’t get into that. Let’s just sum it up by saying, I thought I knew what was healthy, and I was determined to make sure my family ate mostly only that.
After I had my daughter, I was super strict with her and what she ate when she began eating solid foods. That was pretty easy, because she was in my control and under my watch. Over the first few years, I tried many different styles of eating, including, paleo, gluten free, Weston A price, etc. I thought I was giving her a gift, not allowing her to have foods that I deemed poisons. I have a sad memory of turning around to see my toddler eating a sucker offered by a restaurant host (my Mom had been holding her and allowed her to have it), and yanking the sucker out of her mouth telling her how bad it was.
I did not realize at the time, that I was on a mentally unhealthy path. I did not yet completely understand how the stress, guilt, and pressure surrounding food can create physical health issues as well. It was not until I found radical unschooling and chose to attempt to apply some of the concepts in our lives, did I realize how much food baggage I had of my own. I have healed so many personal wounds while trying to help prevent my children from having to deal with so many food issues of their own. The next post will talk about real life examples of food freedom from our lives.