it’s funny how when you decide to do something “crazy” like spend 30 days eating no common “problem” foods like dairy, sugar, grains, and legumes, all kinds of life events seem to pop up and get in the way of that decision. we were determined, though, not to let it stop us from what seems like an amazing opportunity to get in touch with these awesome bodies we’ve been given and learn how to really take care of them. so, when our littlest’s birthday landed in the early days of our adventure, we determined to let this be a real-life experience for our whole 30 kids to learn and grow!
it’s a tradition in our house to serve breakfast in bed for the birthday person. in order to help him make “compliant” choices, we made a little “room service” menu for him to fill out the day before, and then littlest had a say in his special treat! (he chose “coffee cake” with the “help” of his big brother; we walked him through a better choice…) click here to get your own printable copy of our “room service” menu!
now here was an interesting parenting moment: the day before his birthday, little got teary-eyed. were we REALLY going to withhold birthday cake from him? and potentially ruin his day? (side note: doesn’t the enemy of our souls always try to make us believe we’re lacking something that’s “good” for us, when we try to give up what isn’t-so-good?!!)
we had the most tender conversation where i assured him again how much we love him, and how “cake” doesn’t really translate to love, and that we wanted him to learn how to treat himself with what’s good for his body. and whew, did that conversation speak truth to my own heart!!!
but next came the real test… could we throw a birthday party for some of our favorite kiddos and stay true to the whole 30 plan… without them thinking it was super-weird or lacking in food-fun??!!
(these boys have been the biggest blessing to our family. moving into a neighborhood with friends who spend hours exploring the outdoors together was a gift better than we could’ve asked for!)
i decided that a breakfast birthday party would give us the chance to serve some fun foods that were healthy, too. so we invited the gang over for breakfast and board games. one of the mamas even joined me for coffee and goodies.
for this “apple crisp” (for whole 30 purists, i wasn’t trying to recreate a dessert for our sweet tooth, but rather give a healthy breakfast item a familiar name the kids would appreciate…), i sauteed apples and bananas with lots of cinnamon and orange-almond flavored coconut oil, sprinkled them with almond meal and then crisped in the oven in our iron skillet. we recreated this dish later while camping, it was so good!
fruit salad sprinkled with lime juice and fresh mint from the backyard herb garden was a bright pop of color and flavor, and a vehicle for the birthday candle… which no one seemed to think was too weird at all! 😉 my favorite was when one of the boys excitedly asked, “is that MINT? CAN I PLEASE EAT THE MINT??!!” i said, “of course you can, gardener’s son.” (his dad gardens and has been an inspiration to our whole neighborhood with his passion and green thumb!)
we also served home made turkey sausage and seafood/veggie egg cups, and “splurged” with all-juice boxes for the boys. here’s a recipe i used before the whole 30 – i simply replaced the butter with ghee, and replaced the sausage with chopped frozen seafood from trader joe’s, or all veggies.
the boys spent time playing board games while mom sipped coffee, and then played this game i remembered from childhood. since the big siblings couldn’t be there (oh, i mourn the days when “real life,” in the form of jobs, interferes with real life, in the form of memory-making…), they participated by making up fun tasks the boys had to do when they popped balloons. this was a huge hit; afterwards they played balloon volleyball with a makeshift “net” we set up in the living room. (clear the breakables!!)
we had a blast and we learned that we can honor what we’re learning about being healthier, while being hosts to some rollicking fun times! i think the birthday boy was pleased.
**when you read the book it starts with food, the instructions are very clear: no cheating. doing so, even with “healthy versions of unhealthy foods,” can disrupt the body and mind’s journey to re-learning what is really nourishing to us as individuals. i will say up front that we decided for our family, we were going to allow one “cheat,” on the night of blue’s birthday, in the form of a paleo dessert. we encouraged him to sort through a book of gorgeous recipes and pick out one to try. he settled on meringues from the amazing book my paleo patisserie, and i modified them by leaving out the chocolate chips and sprinkling with cocoa. we told the other kids they could make the decision, and to be honest, i worried about their decision. our son whom i know struggles with a sugar addiction, opted to abstain, having read that it could make his struggle harder. and do you know what? he gave me the courage to do it, too!
have you made hard choices for your kids’ best interest? have they ever given you the courage to do something hard?