Living naturally, most of the time.

Putting a public face on “holistic”

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. *** Before I was interviewed by CNN about High Fructose Corn Syrup last year, I fretted about how to present my case in a way that would inform without preaching. I didn’t want to turn off parents who would sooner dismiss me as one of those crazy health-freak moms than hear out my concerns. I once posted about a condiment-making class on a mainstream moms club email list and found out later that one of the moms had had a fit over the teacher’s language promoting the class: “If you love them, make the ketchup!” She felt criticized and judged. So I wanted to take a stand that I was comfortable with as a “real food” advocate but not judge people who haven’t followed the same path and come to the same place. Sure, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want all parents to read labels and stop buying food with HFCS. I honestly believe we would all be healthier without this industrial food product in our bodies. But as I’ve learned many times (often the hard way), few people are swayed by someone else’s hardline position or “my-way-or-the-highway” tack. So I tried then, as I usually do when talking with people or sending email responses to more mainstream lists, to simply come from a place of personal experience. I have a better shot at reaching open minds if I share my own gratitude for figuring out how gluten (and vegetarianism) were problematic for my body and how turning to a traditional diet helped me heal (and get pregnant) than if I simply complain or preach. Everyone is different, and a how-to discussion might not resonate. But tales of triumph often do. I have shared a lot of my stories in person and online — here and on email discussion lists. In encountering moms of all stripes, I’ve heard more than once something to the effect of “you should be some kind of health counselor with all you know!” It was nice to hear thanks and often — sometimes months, sometimes years later — I’ve heard back from people how something I shared started them...

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