In our new series, Ask the Coach, our expert panel of Primal Health Coaches answer your questions on everything from how to transition from a Standard American Diet to how to eat Primally on the go. If you didn’t catch the first post in our series, you can check it out here.
Today’s Ask the Coach post answers your questions about nutritional needs for kids, Primal health coaching for seniors, eating Primally at holiday events, and more.
What advice do you have on the nutritional needs of kids? Should they be following a general Primal food diet? Also, how can I help a picky kid get more interested in Primal eating? – Lisa K.
Tina V.: Kids are growing! They need healthy, whole foods more than ever! I have a high schooler who’s also an athlete, and it’s important to fill him with good sources of protein, fats, and carbs. If your child is interested in learning how to cook, this can be a great way to instill healthy eating habits while also forming a bond between you.
Rachel P.: I think the earlier, the better! Not to say that kids can’t make better choices later in life, but I think the earlier you teach kids about WHY they need healthy, nourishing food in their bodies, they will probably be more receptive to it. Plus, most kids love to cook and experiment in the kitchen! You have to make it fun for them! Participation is a great way to get them more involved and interested in Primal/Paleo eating.
Monica L.: Absolutely kids should be eating a general Primal food diet! But I believe they can tolerate and need more carbs in the form of fruits, starchy veggies, and some grains. Teaching a child to eat is a full time job with some kids, and it can really wear you down. This can be even harder when transitioning to a Primal eating pattern. After all, wasn’t it a good ‘ol french fry fried in seed oil with tons of salt that you first used to quiet him at a restaurant? Your child’s health and wellness begins with the food you put on his plate—and training them, even in eating, is our responsibility.
Nanette M.: Helping kids is my specialty. Exposure, repetition, involvement, variety, love, and patience. People often ask me how I get my kids to make the choices they do. I forbid nothing. At home, they eat what I make. If they make a bad choice when they are on their own, they see how it affects them. So I’m not the bad guy, they get it.
Linda B.: There is no reason for kids not to follow the Primal food diet. There is no downside to eating real, nutrient dense foods. Just make sure to hit all the food groups to supply a well-rounded supply of nutrients for a growing body. If this is going to be a big change for your kids, then start slowly, making “behind the scenes” changes along the way. As an example, if your kid normally eats cereal for breakfast, make scrambled eggs and bacon to go with that, and tell them they need to eat those first before they can eat the cereal. Make Primal pancakes out of coconut flour instead of wheat flour, and top them with a little fruit instead of syrup. Make spaghetti and meatballs over zoodles (zucchini noodles) instead of wheat noodles or some other high-carb unhealthy noodle. If they are in school, make their lunches, too. If you are just starting out with a young one, feed them the same real, nutrient-dense foods you are eating. That will become the norm for them, and as they grow up, these are the foods they will gravitate to even when faced with other choices.
How do you manage eating Primal at events, or as a guest at someone’s house where there are limited food options? I always eat the homemade cake because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. – Mary R.
Rachel: I gently explain that I eat a Primal/Paleo diet, and there are certain foods I don’t eat due to health concerns. When in doubt, call or ask ahead of time to see what’s going to be served so you can prepare. If it’s a potluck situation, bring an awesome Paleo-style dish that you know will be a hit, and that way you’ll be guaranteed something healthy to eat, and hopefully others will want to try your dish also! It definitely opens up the door to conversations with others about a healthy lifestyle as well.
Monica: When attending events, I skim over the menu options beforehand if possible. If not, I simply go into the event with the mindset that I can always eat when I get home, or that this is going to be a time of applying the 80/20 rule! If I have to, I choose starchy carbs over sugar, so I forgo desserts. At someone’s home, I always offer to bring something so I know I can make a Primal dish that I can eat. When it comes to dessert, most people are not offended by forgoing this when you simply say, “Dinner was wonderful and I am too full for dessert.” We do it at restaurants, why not at people’s homes?
Nanette: Always take something you can eat, and hopefully there will be other options as well. It is rare these days that there is nothing for us to eat. There is always a meat or a vegetable. Cake? I don’t think I hurt anyone’s feelings by not eating it, “no thank you.” My kids and husband will sometimes partake. I don’t sweat it, our diet is mostly solid.
Summer D.: I eat what I want to eat. If it’s something that I know will make me feel icky or bloated, I stay away. I remind myself I can always eat something later. Usually letting people know that I don’t eat sugar or grains keep them from getting hurt feelings.
Linda: I think it’s easier to eat at events than it is at someone’s house because generally you have more choices. Make the best choices you can when at an event, that’s all you can do. Eating at a friend’s house is harder because you are stuck with what they make. Eventually, you will need to speak up if what they generally cook is something you don’t want to eat. And NEVER feel obligated to eat dessert. Also, my secret weapon is to never go to anything hungry, I always eat something before if I’m not familiar with what is on the menu or if I don’t want to eat what is on offer. A full stomach is the best way to avoid temptation!
What does Primal Health Coaching offer to seniors, especially those that have some minor health issues but are willing and open to making changes in their lifestyle? – PrimalGrandma
Rachel: This is a great question, because my mom is a baby boomer and this generation can sometimes be set in their ways, but you mention longevity, and that’s a great way to present the concept of Primal to seniors. Unfortunately, many seniors are not necessarily in the best of health and don’t always know what to eat to feel optimal. If you really want to see what’s possible, just look at Mark Sisson. 🙂
Monica: The beauty of being a senior is that you won’t be dealing with the same hormonal concerns as those in their childbearing years. The downside is that you’ve been eating a certain way for a long time! I just worked with a woman in her 60s, and going low carb helped her lose 20 lbs. Implementing good protein, high fats, fasting, and low-level movement can make drastic changes to your health, and a coach can show you how.
Nanette: Kids, adults, seniors—really it is no different. Usually seniors are more disciplined, which is great. Once they feel the difference from eating a clean diet, they are all in.
Linda: The Primal diet has everything to offer. It’s never too late to make changes and improve your health. Giving up processed foods and focusing on REAL, nutrient dense foods, healthy fats, the recommended amount of protein, and daily movement can only bring improvements to your life whether it be the elimination of a health problem or weight loss. If you have any health problems or are on any medications, you will want to work with your doctor so that they can monitor your medications while you transition. It’s possible that over time the dosages may need to be changed or the medications stopped altogether. All good!
I’m considering joining the Primal Health Coach Institute program. How long did it take you to complete the course? Are you working as a coach on a part-time or full-time basis? Is it everything you thought it would be? – Jordan M.
Rachel: My primal coaching certification took a little over three months to complete, but it really depends on how much time you have to devote to studying each week. And it’s important to remember that it’s not a race to the finish line! Everyone finishes at their own pace, and it’s important not to rush. As far as coaching goes, I do it on a part-time basis because I’ve realized that I can make it whatever I want it to be. I’m hoping to provide workshops and build partnerships with other local, health-centered businesses, get into speaking to the public about health, and connect to them by sharing my ‘why.’ I’m also going to start offering content marketing services to other practitioners in the health space, because I have a marketing background as well. Everyone has their niche, and it’s about figuring out how you want your knowledge and experience to be applied to your practice when combined with your own personal talents and gifts.
Monica: It took me awhile to finish the course due to a busy life. But when I really put my time into it, I finished it in a total of 2 months. I am working part time—not looking for full time. It is totally flexible and rewarding. I do not like blogging, which many people are doing to get their business out there.
Nanette: I took several months to finish. I am currently growing my business part time because I own another business. My passion is health coaching. My goal is to retire from the other. Yep, love it!
Linda: I had a lot of other things going on at the same time as I was taking the course, so it took me about a year. I have just launched my business, so currently it is part-time. The training and the support from The Primal Health Coach Institute are exceptional and I couldn’t have hoped for more. They endlessly support us, and are always updating or adding new information.
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