My food philosophy for my MTHFR Kids is a formula based on one part lazy, one part necessity, one part empathy and many parts luck. Here’s how it breaks down:
If I’m being honest, I just have to include one part lazy. It’s a lot of work to be diligent about what goes into (and onto for that matter) your kids’ bodies. This also directly ties into the next part…
One part necessity. I need things to be easy since I’m a full time working mom, help raise two (wild) kids, manage a wonderful Facebook group and am a part-time blogger. Oh, and I’m also going back to school in the fall. For me, easier has to be part of the equation because my energy is literally sapped by 8 o’clock at night and I struggle to do anything after that. (Like stay awake.)
Then there is one part empathy. I have empathy for my kids and don’t want them to feel so left out of fun food related things at school or at parties. This part is only by the grace of the last part which is…
…many parts luck. We’ve had no extreme health issues related to food that have necessitated us to be more active in monitoring what they eat outside of the home.
I want to quickly note here that I highly respect all the moms and dads who have to be, and are, diligent about dealing with their children’s food restrictions. I know it’s a lot of work from the little I do have to do. So, kudos to you all out there.
My Food Philosophy for My MTHFR Kids
Here’s my food philosophy summed up:
My kids eat well at home and I will not stress (much) about what they get outside of the home.
When I say my kids eat well at home, I mean they really eat well at home. We have prioritized spending money on whole, organic foods and presenting them with a wide variety of options. And they love it: yams, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, mangos, kale, beans… you name it, they will likely eat it. For the most part. (Quinoa. Quinoa is a challenge.)
I pick and choose when I’m going to ‘stress’ about food. At parties I ask my kids to choose between juice and a piece of cake. (I’m shocked at how many times they choose juice.) I do make sure they are eating vegetarian. Depending on the restaurant, I might avoid certain menu items. Overall though, I just feel we all eat so well at home that we make up for any less then optimal food they may occasionally be getting elsewhere.
Again, we are lucky in that we don’t have any major health issues related to food that we’ve had to address. This might change in the future though. I am likely going to try completely gluten free for my son soon, and in the fall we’ll be seeing a new integrative pediatrician who may impose some restrictions. Most importantly, I’m being flexible — I think you have to be. New information emerges and kids are changing all the time. I also like to try different things to see what works and what doesn’t. A lot of this is trial and error.
Here are some of my other philosophies which tie into food…
Find the Right Doctor to Work With
I firmly believe it’s important to find a healthcare provider that will collaborate with me. Our pediatrician has been a fantastic partner. She has always been willing to listen to my concerns and ideas, no matter how far they veered from her conventional medicine training. She worked with me on spacing out vaccinations and advised me on which we could hold off on and which we should address sooner. While she was unfamiliar with MTHFR mutations, she willingly looked it up and said she’d order a blood test if we wanted.
I’m excited that my son will be seeing an integrative pediatrician this Fall because I feel it’s the next progression in our health care. I’m looking forward to working with someone who understands the influence of gut health and nutrition on mental health and overall wellbeing. I hope this new doctor will be versed in MTHFR, but if not, I hope they’ll be willing to learn about it from me, and then go off and do their own research. I have to feel like we’re being heard and taken seriously and if I feel like we aren’t, then the search for the right health care provider will continue.
Conservative on Supplements
Since I’m not a doctor and we don’t yet have a doctor to help us figure all this out, like many of you out there, I’m doing the research myself and figuring it out as I go. Learning about the right foods to eat, which to avoid, and what supplements might help.
And when it comes to supplements, I’m conservative. I first looked for a basic children’s multivitamin with methylfolate and methylcobalamin (B12) and left it at that for a while. After a time, I wanted to try GABA (an amino acid neurotransmitter) for my son to find out if it could help him with impulse control and anxiety.
So, I tried the supplement on myself first.
My son and I are super similar physiologically and share a lot of the same hereditary traits which GABA is suspected to help. I figured if I tried the supplement first and noted any effects it had on me, then I could see if it was worthwhile to give to him. I feel it’s a safer way to test how supplements might or might not work for my MTHFR Kiddos until we are under a doctor’s guidance.
Create Your Family’s Philosophy
Every family’s philosophy is going to be unique just by nature of the different challenges we have and our individuality. You may even need different philosophies for different family members. Here are some key questions I asked myself to get started:
- How critical is it that I control the foods my kids eat when out of the house? How strict do we have to be based on their unique needs?
- What changes can our family afford to make in terms of both time and money? Do we want to splurge on high quality food and supplements and find another area in our lives where we can save money?
- Do I feel comfortable supplementing my kids based on my research alone or is it important to me to work with a doctor?
My philosophies on caring for my MTHFR Kids have evolved over time, and I feel that it needs to considering all the changes they are going through. Figuring this stuff out requires us to be flexible, open, patient and persistent. I feel it has, and will continue to, pay off in the end.