How to Create Calm in Your Family

Today I welcome Loren Waller from The Food Werefolf as my guest blogger. Loren is an Australian mother-of-two with advanced qualifications in psychology and education including Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psych), Post Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology and Graduate Diploma in Education…! Through Loren’s personal experience with children’s food sensitivities, she has applied a scientific approach to researching, observing, actioning and managing change to achieve an additive-free lifestyle for her family. The resulting program – the basis for The Food Werewolf – has procured huge behavioural improvements in her children. Loren is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience outside of her client base to other families and has developed The Food Werewolf program to educate, initiate change, and ensure permanency.
With the influx of social media and easy access to everybody’s world, we are becoming so good at putting more and more pressure on ourselves to be the perfect Mum.  Aren’t we all supposed to look like Angelina Jolie when we wake up in the morning and rejoice in the wonders of our little beings 24/7?  

Expectations are high and not just on our abilities as parents, but on our kids too… on their behaviour, their ability to learn and wow the world with their amazing-ness.  So now more than ever, it’s important to keep a check on these expectations and visions of perfection and find ways to make sure we are running at optimum level within a balanced life that is based in reality.  I’d like to share with you a little secret to finding a balanced, calm and happy place in your world and for your family, where everyone is running at their best, able to cope with what comes along and expectations of perfection are diminished. 

How I discovered this secret…

When our first child chose us for parents, I pretty much loaded all the expectations in the world onto myself as a Mum.  Trouble was, things didn’t live up to my expectations, I wasn’t coping and we had a little baby boy who was crying all the time, not sleeping, had reflux and was covered head to toe in eczema.  What happened to the perfect little world I expected to be living in?!
I always like to investigate why things are they way they are, so I decided to do some research into my baby’s behaviour and physical symptoms to try and solve the problem.  I figured if I could fix his problems, I’d fix mine too because things wouldn’t be so hard and I’d be able to cope.  Turns out I was kind of right… I found a solution to our problems and this little secret remedy certainly came in handy when we added a beautiful little girl to our brood too.

What I discovered…

So with lots of research, experimentation and fine-tuning over the years, I discovered that both our kids have food sensitivities (and turns out I do too).  What does this mean?  Basically, when they eat certain foods, especially those with colouring and preservatives, they turn into little werewolves.  
Now despite my expectations for everything to be perfect (including my tolerance levels!), there’s only so much I can cope with, before needing a transformation to calmer waters!  So for my own sanity as much as my darling little werewolves, I needed a solution to our food sensitivities.  I trusted my intuition and went back to good old basics to improve our family’s health and lifestyle and the results were nothing short of amazing.  Our kids tantrums became few and far between, their ability to learn and concentrate is now fantastic, and my ability to cope is much better when they’re being ‘normal’ kids and testing boundaries.  Life is now calmer all round.

So what’s the secret formula for a balanced, calm and happy family life?

For our family, and plenty like ours, the secret is changing to an additive free lifestyle. Going additive free helps to keep the peace, create calm and have a happy sane Mummy!
We all recognize the importance of finding peace and happiness from within, and wish only the utmost happiness and health for our kids and family.  Going additive free helps your family achieve this, but even better, it also helps parents find happiness and sanity too!  Which is most important, because if you’re at your highest energy, you can give more love and energy to others.

Why are additive free foods the answer?

Here are four things worth knowing about food additives:
1. Food additives can affect your feelings.  They can mess with your body’s ability to moderate moods on many levels – right down to the hormones you create to regulate moods.  So additives can give you a whole gamut of unrealistic feelings – from feeling overly good (otherwise known as overactive or hyperactive) to overly horrible (otherwise known as depression and/or aggression).  There are a lot of extremes and not a lot of balance when additives are in the picture.
2.  Food additives can affect your body physically.  They can affect your digestion, skin, taste and ability to sleep.  We all know what a lack of sleep does to us, and our behaviour!  Food additives also give our body mixed messages, about what tastes good versus what is good for us.  This ultimately affects our judgment about what we need to nourish our body and leads to making a habit of unhealthy food choices.
3.  Food additives can affect your behaviour and actions.  Your ability to see reason, think clearly, learn, concentrate, react appropriately and behave nicely is all affected by food additives.  In short, you can get anything on the spectrum from misbehaving kids throwing tantrums way too often, to the rather stigmatized and over-diagnosed ADHD. 
4.  Food additives can affect adults and kids.  While adults have more self-control to disguise these effects, kids don’t and will freely express themselves (even if they don’t know what they’re feeling or why J).  Plus, as adults, we’re bigger and more able to absorb effects without noticing them or linking them to food.  But when it comes to our kids, the effects of additives increases a heck of a lot more in their pure little bodies.
When food additives are involved, it’s unrealistic to have expectations of a perfect happy family with clever, attentive, well-behaved kids and parents who can keep it together 24/7.  How can we expect to feel good, share our love and energy with others and deal with day-to-day life when our body balance is out of whack physically, mentally and emotionally?  Likewise, how can we expect our kids to behave, learn, deal with emotions and respond to us if they have food additives confusing things?
Going additive free helps make your life easier by decreasing the situations that put stress on you as a parent.  The moodiness, the tantrums, the arguments, the defiance and the sleeplessness can often be greatly reduced with a change in the way your family eats, giving everybody more of a chance to function at their best and cope with any situation. 
So, the secret is out… If you’re finding it hard to balance your emotions and daily life, or feel there are too many extreme behaviours and emotions in your kids, a good start point for a calmer life is to eliminate food additives.  We are all wonderfully imperfect beings who deserve maximum input to give maximum output.  Transform those little werewolves into calm happy beings, and find balance in your family with pure, fresh, additive free food! 
Be kind to you…
Loren x

What successes have you had in changing to an additive free diet? 
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Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman. She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is self-employed as a content writer, copywriter and social media manager and is a Mum to her seven-year-old son, two-year-old daughter, five chickens, Benny the dog and wife to Mr G. They all live happily, mid-renovation, in their little worker's cottage in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

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  1. July 16, 2014 / 2:00 pm

    Thanks so much for this information Loren. It’s really really made me think about some of Elliott’s behaviour i.e. tantrums, sleeping and eating habits and if some (or all of them) are related to additives in foods. I always look at ingredients but perhaps I may need to be a little more stringent.

  2. Loren Waller
    July 16, 2014 / 4:44 pm

    Absolute pleasure Eva! Thank you! Yes – additives can be sneaky… If you feel you’re being really good with food choices, it may be something as simple as toothpaste that’s hiding the additives and causing unwanted behaviours… 🙂

  3. July 17, 2014 / 12:46 pm

    I’m quite fortunate that I have two fairly chilled-out little gals who only seem to have the regular toddler tantrums every now and then. But that’s maybe because I let them watch too much TV haha 😉

  4. Lisa Berriman
    July 18, 2014 / 8:32 am

    I have never really noticed too much difference in my children’s behavior as they are fairly calm girls generally. Although we are fairly careful with what we feed them (except for party food and occasional treats) and that is probably what makes the difference. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. July 18, 2014 / 7:48 pm

    All the time. Sometimes it is the only thing that will make Zee stop and pay attention to me long enough to stop whinging, or let me get her changed (she is going through that hates to have her clothes changed stage!) and I find being silly helps when Punky is on the verge of a meltdown, sometimes it can stave it off for a while.

  6. NorthMelbourneMum
    August 13, 2014 / 11:11 pm

    Couldn’t agree more – not that we really needed it – but they give us permission to be as silly as we like