What would happen if you raised a child without ever feeding them any sugar at all, starting from birth?
What would happen if you raised a child without ever feeding them any sugar at all, starting from birth? Would they suffer as a result of that decision? Would it be child abuse? Or would they go on to live a happy, healthy life? One mother tried it – and here’s how her daughter turned out years later.
Depending on which expert you believe, many different types of food can be good or bad for you. Some people believe that red meat is a potential cause of cancer, whereas others say that eating red meat helps the heart muscles. Different studies seem to confirm different theories about food.
One food type that causes a great deal of controversy is sugar. Almost everybody knows that having too much sugar is bad for you, but it’s generally believed that a little sugar is necessary to keep the body ticking over. Sugar does, after all, occur naturally within the human body.
Meet Shannon: The Health Enthusiast
Having spent years studying diets, how our bodies respond to certain foods and various food processes, Shannon Cooper gained a deeper knowledge about healthy foods and which foods to steer clear of. Cooper knows too well that “you are what you eat”, and strongly believes that certain foods can provide your body with the healthy fuel, whilst others can be poison for your body.
For much of her adult life, she had carried this notion and incorporated it into every aspect of her life. So it seemed natural that her lifestyle choices would affect how she would bring her daughter up…
You Are What You Eat, And Whatever That Has Eaten, Too
Many people have heard of the well-known catch phrase, ‘You are what you eat”. But Cooper takes this one step further as she believes that you are what ‘whatever your eating ate’. Put simply, this means that if your eating an animal, then the food that this animal ate will affect your body.
So by this line of thought, it’s better to eat free-range eggs than caged eggs, as the free range hens live healthier and produce more omega 3. Cooper carried this concept into every aspect of her diet.
Cooper Wasn’t Just A Food Enthusiast
Cooper was actually so much more than just a food enthusiast, she had a degree in agricultural science. For her degree she studied the way plants are grown, science and animal health and their effects on human consumption. So its fairly safe to say that she has a deep understanding about nutrition.
She believes animals which are fed low-quality nutrients on farms can pass those low-quality nutrients on to us when we eat them. She’s not a vegetarian, but she never eats anything without knowing exactly where it came from.
Cooper Knew What She Wanted For Her Baby
When her first daughter Grace was born in 2014, Cooper wanted to teach Grace to have a happy relationship with healthy food. This in turn led to her dramatic decision…
Whilst Shannon had experience in animal and plant health, she had also trained as a wellness and fitness coach. So Cooper was pretty much an expert on healthy living and her blog is mainly based on being careful to put the right food inside our bodies. Naturally Shannon wanted to instill these ideas into her daughter. Nonetheless, whilst she had Grace’s interests at heart, she would have no idea how this healthy diet would affect her newborn…
Cooper Decided To Raise Grace On A Strict Diet
Shannon was determined to stick to her beliefs and not to let motherhood affect her healthy lifestyle. After all, she was a wellness coach and couldn’t just throw away everything she stood for.
This meant that she wouldn’t raise Grace in the same way as other parents. She chose a different path and was determined to raise her on a conscious diet, being careful about what she would feed her.
Grace Has Been On The Paleo Diet Since She Was Born
Most parents might be shocked to hear that a mother put her newborn baby on a diet, especially as she was definitely not born over-weight. Nevertheless, Shannon, made the conscious decision before Grace was even born to place Grace on a special diet.
Since Cooper herself was a devoted supporter of the Paleo diet, it was a natural decision that she would raise Grace in the same way. This meant Grace wouldn’t be eating processed or jarred baby foods like other babies…
The Piece Of Advice That Cooper Ignored
Some parents naturally transition from breast milk to formula after the first year or so. And whilst there are a few make-shift Paleo formula recipes out there, Cooper decided not to follow one of these. In fact, it was probably a good thing she didn’t follow this advice. Celebrity Paleo chefs like Pete Evans famously developed one of these formulas, and a nutritionist said it could cause “permanent damage and possibly result in death.” That’s because the formula didn’t contain the right nutrients for a growing baby and contained others that babies weren’t able to digest. Still, Shannon was strict about other ideal when it came to Paleo…
The exception that Cooper made was that she allowed Grace to have breast milk. Since Grace was too young to digest meats and plants, breast milk was a natural way to ensure she got all the nutrients she needed. Some of you may not be surprised that she made this exception, but many Paleo parents are strictly against any form of milk. However, Cooper believed that since she was already eating a healthy diet, she would pass this on through her breast milk. Nonetheless, there was still so much to learn…
No Jars Of Baby Food In The Cooper Household
There was one thing Shannon was clear about after she weaned her baby off of breastmilk. That was there would be no jars of baby food in her household. Instead, Cooper insisted on cooking her babies food the Paleo way.
That’s because although baby food is not known to be harmful, it can contain traces of preservatives and sugar. Cooper wanted to ensure Grace would start her life eating wholesome, nutritious food. But what would happen once Grace started growing up?
Cooper Knew Exactly What Went Into Grace’s Diet
While Grace was still breastfeeding, Shannon started slowly introducing her to the Paleo diet with tiny plates of organic chicken and veggies. She hoped that this would make it easier to made the gradual transition onto solids. Shannon was happy with the fact that she knew exactly what was going into her little girl’s body, since she sourced and made all the food by herself.
Each of Grace’s meals were prepared without sugar, preservatives and nothing was processed like most baby food at the supermarket. All she could do was to wait and see how her meals would affect her baby as she grew up…
At 13 Months, Grace Was Eating Healthier Than Most Adults
Since Cooper gave birth to Grace, she started to share photos on her blog and social media channels of the meals she prepared for her. So from day one, fans have watched Grace eat broccoli without a care, as if it was a chocolate snack for other kids.
In fact, Grace actually followed a healthier diet than most adults. Still, by the time she was 13 months, many critics were concerned if she was getting enough nutrients to help her grow. Cooper however still had faith that she would soon see the results when Grace grew up…
Grace Has Never Tasted Sugary Snacks Or Carbs
By the time Grace was 13 months, she had never tasted carb or sugary treat like other kids. Instead, she was used to eating a diet rich in fruits, veggies and even some more sophisticated dishes like sauerkraut, chia pudding, and quinoa porridge. While most kids would dread the day their mom fed them broccoli or sprouts, for Grace it was the only diet she knew…
Although many skeptics might think a baby Paleo diet sounds strange, it actually was not as radical as it seems. After Grace transitioned to solids, her typical daily diet included eggs and veggies from the previous night for breakfast. When it came to lunchtime, Grace would eat veggies and roast chicken. For dinner she would have meals like spaghetti bolognese with noodles made from zucchini. As a snack Grace would eat fruit instead of sugary treats or cakes. In fact, for her first birthday Shannon made a Paleo-safe strawberry panna cotta. We all wondering what Grace looked like when she got older!
The Paleo Diet Gave Grace A Strong Immune System
Although you ‘re probably thinking Shannon kept Grace in some sort of bubble to keep her away from any illness, she assured Daily Mail Australia in 2015 that “she spends a lot of time around other kids who are sick all the time. [The other kids] have snotty noses, coughs, colds – but she just doesn’t pick it up.
It’s certainly not because I’m shielding her from any of that stuff. I absolutely think a nutrient dense diet is giving her a strong immune system.” In another twist, Cooper doesn’t just attribute this to only the Paleo diet either…
While Cooper was inundated with positive responses for raising Grace on a healthy diet, she also attracted a lot of negative comments. Once her story became viral it seemed everyone on the internet had something to say about her decision to raise her baby on such a strict diet.
Cooper later said that she doesn’t understand why there are still many negative comments and why it’s such a big deal for them. Cooper doesn’t get how parents can casually feed their kids fast food, but criticize her for making healthy food. “You do the right thing you think for (your) kid. Why people think it’s offensive to eat a plate of vegetables (over) a piece of bread – that’s bizarre.”
The Doctor Who Publicly Said The Diet Is Invalid
Cooper is mostly unfazed by critics or negativity, but there have been plenty of people who tried. Daily Mail Australia featured a well-known dietitian Dr. Rosemary Stanton, who publicly stated that she doesn’t believe the diet is a good idea.
She reasoned how “It’s really not usually a good idea to put a child on such a restricted diet, particularly when there’s no valid grounds for it… Depriving her child of grains and legumes will make it much more difficult to achieve a balanced diet… I’d certainly sound a note of caution (to other people considering following her).”
Cooper Believes In Eating Whenever You Want
One unconventional concept that Cooper believes in, is that you can eat whenever you want. Instead of the sticking to traditional concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
She told the GoodnessMe Box Blog how “I have finally arrived at a place in my life that I feel like I can eat more intuitively rather than just eating because it’s ‘lunch time’ etc. Some days I eat a huge brekkie and no lunch and a big dinner.”Other days I don’t feel hungry in the morning so I will eat my first meal around 11 am. I listen to my body and hunger signals.”
Shannon Cooper Helps Others Live Healthy Too
Cooper’s blog, My Food Religion is filled with healthy recipes and ideas that incorporate various diets. Shannon also offers individual classes and workshops to educate people on how to prepare healthy recipes and learn healthy lifestyle choices.
Cooper insists in her blog that whilst she believes in wholesome nutrition “healthy does NOT have to equal bland.” Cooper adds how “I love to cook nutritious, wholesome food that is preservative, additive and artificial everything free. I prefer to use ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible and have been through minimal processing.”
Cooper Says That These Things Can Transform Your Lifestyle
While Cooper is an avid Paleo champion, she also believes that changing your diet is just one of the ways to transition to a healthier lifestyle.
She also advocates other healthy habits such as meditation and shares her knowledge of how to incorporate wellness into our daily lives on her Instagram page and blog. She also shares tips and honest reviews of products she tries.
CBF Paleo Kids
Cooper is pretty pleased about the effects of the Paleo diet on her daughter Grace, so she hopes to inspire other parents to follow some of her healthy ideas, tips and recipes for their kids with her ebooks.
She also happens to have a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, so one of her ebooks is hilariously titled ‘CBF Paleo Kids: For people who really want to feed their kids well but Can’t Be Fu$ked. 5 ingredients or less. Real food for big kids and little ones.” Well that’s one way to say it!
Cooper hopes to inspire and educate Grace by involving her in her healthy lifestyle choices and sharing her diet decisions with her. She hopes that by educating Grace from day one, Grace will be inspired to make healthy and informed decisions when she’s older.
On her Instagram she let’s Grace unpack and test out new products, like this healthy and organic goodie box from Goodnessmebox. It’s also a great way for her to bond with her daughter.
Cooper Is Still Learning Just With The Rest Of Us
Cooper admitted that one of the main reasons she champions the Paleo diet is that it transformed her own life for the better. She found this was the best way to cleanse her gut and feel healthy every day.
Shannon writes on her blog how, “I have a huge passion for gut health & cannot get ENOUGH of learning all about the gut microbiome and how it affects so many aspects of our body!” In case you weren’t aware, the microbiome is the environment for microorganisms that live on a living being. So now you know!
The Thing About Diets
On Cooper’s site ‘My Food Religion’, she does highlight how every body is different, so there’s no ‘one diet fits all’ rule – you have have to find the right diet for your body. She explains, ” The thing with food and nutrition is, everyone’s body responds differently to different macro and micro-nutrients…
You can’t “broad brush” nutrition which is why so many “diets” fail, they are not one size fits all. Our digestive and physiological make-up are a direct result of a life-time of conditioning: How many meals/day are you used to consuming, how large or small are your portions, have you consumed predominately carbs, proteins or fats throughout your ‘eating life’?