I’m in need of some info in fairly quick order. I teach high school health, and my nutrition unit is 100% Paleo.
As you can imagine, I’ve had more upset parents when teaching this unit than I have with sex ed.
Once a kid goes home and informs the parents that they can’t eat grains, legumes and dairy, the parents get a bit pissed.
To my question:
What are your top 5 (science based) reasons to not eat…? 1. Grains 2. Legumes 3. Dairy
That's a ballsy tactic, I'll give you that! Personally, when I incorporate teaching more primal eating into my very rigid Canada Health Guidelines recommendations, I use a much sneakier approach (oh, I hope dearly my supervisors don't haunt forums in their spare time).
Instead of saying "Hey guys, you should never eat grains, legumes or dairy", I focus more on "Hey guys, here's the best way to eat- whole foods! Nothing processed! Nothing out of a box! As few ingredients as possible!". I mean, who's going to have something negative to say about that?
When it comes down to the details, I emphasize consuming plenty of greens, vegetables, safe starches, and "good proteins" (fish, beef, shellfish, chicken, duck etc). When we construct meals for examples, that's when the grains kind of naturally slide out of the picture. I talk about the importance of being aware of gluten intolerance, because it is highly under-diagnosed, and recommend that if they have ever experiences digestive upset/rashes/anxiety/bloating/allergies/asthma they may be at risk of having a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, and it's something they should consider getting tested for, or eliminate temporarily to see if any of the conditions improve. I ask them to try and replace the lower nutrient density foods, like rice or barley or other grains, with higher nutrient dense vegetables, like turnips or broccoli or kale or sweet potatoes.
I think you will rarely get a welcoming or positive response if you just come out and say "Hey everyone, here are all the things you should never have and are bad for you". People don't want to hear that, especially parents who now have a confused kid who is bugging them about everything. Taking a positive, whole foods approach will cause a lot less headache for you, and consequently, the parents.
Instead of forcing it onto the students, why do you have them discover the advantages of eating whole foods? Have them design a day of food on Cronometer with the requirements that they meet nearly all nutrient needs in a reasonable calorie budget.
Or do as Richard Nikoley does, have them compare equal calorie amounts of a variety of foods and the nutrition they provide.
Discovery and inquiry is much better for learning that rote memorization and lecturing. Preaching paleo comes off as pushing an agenda, something that'll get you in hot water. Instead, let students come to the logical (paleo) conclusion themselves. And certainly, it's not the only way to eat, so if they come to a different conclusion, that's fine too.
I have a better idea...
Why not explain to the kids and parents all of the amazing foods they can eat? I think its easier to explain to someone in simple terms why beef, seafood, veggies, fruits, raw whole fat dairy, etc. is great for you. It's whole, real food. Bread is not whole food. Tell them to look at the ingredients of their loaf.
Just tell the parents to look at the ingredients of all of the food they buy. Then ask them what the ingredients are in the foods you recommend to them. That may "convert" a few...
If I was a parent, I'd be upset too. There is still so much we don't know about these foods - look at all the division and debate among even the leaders of Paleo. So to tell impressionable kids that "grains, legumes and dairy" are bad, full-stop, seems a little heavy-handed. It's a sure-fire recipe for family conflict around the dinner table (given that the parents are probably feeding them grains, legumes and dairy) not to mention possible eating disorders, striking fear in impressionable minds about food.
I agree with others - focus more on how whole foods are healthy, and processed foods contain chemicals and additives.
I agree with you teaching kids to not eat grains, because the vast majority of humans are intolerant to them, especially wheat's gluten, and especially the US version, which is more selected than the European variety and more difficult to break down.
For legumes, it depends on the kind of legume, and how it's been prepared. For example, lentils soaked on water for 12 hours supposedly removes most lectins, and they're generally safe. Plus they have lots of iron, manganese, folate etc. Some other legumes are more dangerous though, the Paleo-similar SCD diet has a list of which legumes are more safe than others.
I don't agree at all with you teaching kids to be away from dairy though. Sure, there are many who are dairy-intolerant, but that's mostly for cow milk (which is A1 casein instead of the more human-compatible A2 casein), and for non-fermented dairy. It's super-healthy for example to consume home-made goat kefir, fermented for 36 hours to remove most lactose. It's a super-food and a gut-healing one too. For those who are not super-intolerant, getting dairy from goats/sheep, and only butter/cream from cows, is ok. In Greece, where we mostly have goats/sheep, I never met any dairy-intolerant person. It seems that they're all in the US...
Why would you delete your account (in response to your newest response)? Healthy debate is part of education. If your "agenda" is something you are passionate about, it makes sense to get a sense of other perspectives. Otherwise, how are you going to respond to these parents if you aren't willing to even give people online a chance to speak?
I don't really have much to add, but as someone who did child assessments, curriculum work and home visits with Head Start populations, I'm pretty shocked that your low-income students' parents are even involved with their children's education. Parental involvement is nearly non-existent due to perspectives of their roles in their child's lives, work schedule/obligations, beliefs in the importance of education so major props to them for voicing their opinion. The complete opposite was what I ran into in real-life and in papers.
Anyway, if free and reduced lunch is all they have access to, what do you suggest they do? It seems like even if they wanted to make better choices, they don't have the opportunity to. And school lunches in high school aren't perfect, but students can still make wiser choices.
"Once a kid goes home and informs the parents that they can’t eat grains, legumes and dairy, the parents get a bit pissed." That seems to indicate that you placed emphasis on avoidance of these items.
I rushed home after work today excited to see what info you would have for me.
To say I was disappointed is a gross understatement.
Not a single person actually answered the question, and many made massive assumptions on how, and what I teach. Many had “personal agenda” in their comment. When I said, “I teach 100% Paleo,” I think many think I only teach my personal version of Paleo, or a Whole9/Wolf template.
What I should have explained is that I do present all other ideas, and let the kids decide for them selves. Paleo to me is real food (I think most of you understand the whole food thing), and that is what I teach my kids to be able to recognize.
Your version of grains and dairy are not the same as what is fed to my kids everyday. With 80% of my students on the Free/Reduced lunch program, you might understand that Sugar Smacks w/ skim chocolate milk and a muffin for breakfast, is not what we should be feeding kids at school. For lunch, they get French toast dippers with all the high fructose syrup they want. The late day snack is always some highly refined carb, usually cooked in vegetable oil.
My students don’t have access to raw dairy, or the means to buy quality dairy products. If I taught them how to eat grains WAP style, I would be wasting my time. Most have zero idea what “grass fed” actually means.
I should also add that 60% of the school is obese (by BMI standards), and type 2 is rampant.
I’m on the district Wellness Committee, the head of our district curriculum team, and have had approval of everything that I teach.
I came here for some help, but instead got judged and ridiculed.
With that, I say good-bye PaleoHacks. I’ll take my “agenda” elsewhere.
Note to moderators: Please delete my account.
I am conflicted. One the one hand, I think it's dangerous to have teachers teach their own agenda, and the better tactic, as many others have said, is to teach investigative skills and curiosity, present options, and let kids make their own choices. And let's face it, children don't make dietary choices, their parents do. Ideally, when they get to buy their own groceries, they will make great choices thanks to you.
On the other hand, I can understand that you'd feel irresponsible teaching what you think is a dangerous diet. It's really just a war of theories, and if you feel it's worth the risk to your job, maybe it's more ethical than teaching the book. Goodness knows I have no love for public school rigidity or the FDA.
Perhaps the best way to not have angry parents is to bring them in on the front end. Say you want to present some new and different options for eating healthy, and let families choose if they want to participate. Make it easy for them - don't just drop a "No potatoes, no pasta, no milk" bombshell on them via the (not necessarily accurate) voice of their child. Instead, give some recipes they might want to try that do certain things: tasty ways of making healthy vegetables, replacing pasta, cooking sauces without cream, etc.
Helps parents feel like they are participating in an experiment for class, not being told how to eat. Helps kids learn how to eat healthy within a pyramid-structure food world.
I'll admit my question was not a good one. The lead up was poor at best. But, at the same time, I really only wanted to know your quick 5 science based answers to the grains, legumes, dairy questions.
I wrote the question after 8 straight classes, coaching, picking up three infants, feeding them, doing dishes and laundry, with about 10 seconds to ask my question. (I know, not "paleo" for some, but as a widower, I take care of my own.)
The Socratic method is all good and well in an utpoian society, but I do not live there. Debate was not the question, or asked for.
While I enjoy the cristal ball approach of reading into a question, nobody has even tried to answer the original one.
Call me a bad person, judge me, or what ever. But before you do, at least answer the actual questions I asked.
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