936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
On Wednesday we learned a little bit about the various diets Brittany has utilized in this fight against her Crohn’s disease. One of the most difficult challenges for Brittany in sticking to a specific diet is that she loves food! Brittany is a lot like me in that she just really enjoys trying new flavors, experimenting with her cooking, and eating all kinds of delicious foods. She’s a foodie.
This past Spring, Brittany began posting on her Facebook some of the whole food meals she was making at home. Every photo she posted made my mouth water. We had the privilege of trying some of her whole food creations when she brought us over a couple of meals after our second son was born.
Unfortunately, Brittany’s love for food sometimes comes back to haunt her. As she experimented with more and more whole foods, she got a bit carried away and introduced too many new foods at once for her body to handle. A Crohn’s flare up forced her to back off and begin eating very simple, bland foods again to help heal her body.
Another complication arises as Brittany’s body often changes its mind on what foods it will tolerate. This Summer she had to reign in her food explorations, as introducing too many foods at once–even whole foods–resulted in her becoming very ill. Brittany has to constantly adapt, being ever so attentive to the signals her body is sending her; sometimes those signals are subtle, and sometimes they are devastatingly clear. She must cater to the spontaneous whims of her disease.
Fortunately, Brittany does not wage this battle alone. Her husband Scott has been by her side from the moment she was diagnosed.
Brittany says that Scott is very supportive of her as she tries new foods. The Olson’s fridge and pantry can look very different from month to month, depending on what nutritional theories they are exploring at the time. She says that Scott remains patient as their kitchen and dinner table undergoes transformation after transformation. As their menu changes, he remains a cornerstone to Brittany’s endeavors to better her prognosis, as well as the health of their family.
Although supportive, at times it is difficult for Scott to understand why Brittany pushes the limits in trying new foods. He witnesses first-hand just how much certain foods hurt his wife, and so when she experiments too broadly, introducing too many foods at once, or “cheats” a current diet she is trying, it only frustrates Scott to see her suffer the consequences. Brittany told me that Scott really wishes she could just choose one diet to try, and keep at it long enough to see if it alleviates her symptoms. Of course, that’s easier said than done; especially when you love food!
If catering to the whims of Crohn’s was not challenging enough, Brittany is also catering to the finicky taste buds of her two children! This adds a whole new dimension of conflict in the kitchen. As a mom, I know full well that the objections of these little mouths and personalities at the dinner table can cause stress levels to rocket sky-high with only a moment’s notice!
Brittany is fortunate; her children seem to be more amenable in trying new foods than my little guy is. She did say, however, that her son Noah (almost 3), often eats different foods than what’s on the menu for her. No matter the diet she is trying to maintain, she keeps foods that Noah enjoys in the house, which makes it more difficult for her to stick to a certain diet, since there are quicker, more tasty options in the kitchen.
I’m more than familiar with this scene. Whole foods take time to prepare, and who wants to face the rejection of a two-year-old after pouring time and energy into creating something for them to eat? Oftentimes–no, always–it is so much simpler to throw an easy snack, although not necessarily up to whole food standards, in front of a hungry toddler. This is the frustration that I, Brittany, and other moms like us face daily in helping our children to develop a taste and preference for whole foods over today’s convenience and junk foods.
With my own autoimmune disease, there is a lot of confusion and little research on the role genetics plays, and if Addison’s disease can be passed down from a parent to a child. This made me wonder how Crohn’s might affect Brittany’s children, Noah and Eloise.
Brittany said that there does seem to be a link between genetics and Crohn’s, but there is no guarantee one way or the other. No one else in her family has the disease. For now she just watches, prays, and does what she can to protect the health of her children.
Brittany is in the midst of a very arduous journey. The opposition is fierce, for she is battling both against Crohn’s disease, as well as herself; resolving to discipline herself in discovering and eating foods that her body will accept and thrive on. As the Olson family navigates through this illness, they are overcoming the challenges, embracing the successes, and growing stronger as a family as they rely on God to sustain and guide them. There is no happy ending—not yet. Brittany battles this disease on a daily basis. But with God’s grace and the support of her husband, they are pressing on to find a way of eating that Brittany, as well as their whole family, can thrive on.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!