There’s nothing more magical than bringing a tiny human being into the world, and holding your child in your arms for the first time is a moment you’ll never forget. As soon as they take their first breath, you make it your mission to look after them for the rest of their lives and make sure that they are as healthy and as happy as possible. This is why when Shan Cooper gave birth to her baby daughter Grace, she already had a very strong idea of how she wanted to raise her kid. But what she didn’t know was how controversial her decision would be among her friends, family and, eventually, the media.
Striking a healthy balance
Everyone strives to be healthy in their day-to-day life, and Shannon Cooper is one of those people. Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, this woman has devoted her life to living happily and healthily, simply by eating the right kind of food. She is very conscious of what we all put in our bodies, and she has since brought another of her family members on to this healthy bandwagon. However, this has proven to be a rather controversial move on her part…
You are what you eat ate
When it comes to food, Shannon doesn’t just buy the first thing on the shelf. Every time she stocks up on new produce, she thinks about the same phrase: “You are what you eat ate.” While this may sound a little confusing, the concept is fairly simple. We rarely think about what the animals we eat have eaten themselves, but this can have a drastic impact on our own health and wellbeing. For example, free-range hens lay eggs with much more Omega 3 than caged hens.
A head full of knowledge
Shannon is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to food because she actually has a degree in agricultural science. This degree focused on the plants that are grown for human consumption, and it made Shannon really step back and look at the world. She knew she had to make changes in her life, and when she welcomed her daughter into the world, she knew that she wanted Grace to eat as healthily as possible. This led her to a rather unpopular decision, but one that she stands by.
An expert in the field
In fact, you could say that Shannon is an expert in the field. She not only has a degree in agricultural science, but she has also made a career for herself as a health and wellness coach. She lives her life around the notion of staying as healthy as possible, and when she decided to have a child, she knew that she couldn’t let her daughter grow up in an unhealthy environment. She decided to change her stance on food once and for all.
Striving to be healthy
As a new mother, Shannon had a new priority in her life. Grace was her pride and joy, and she would do anything to keep her out of harm’s way. Because of this, she knew that she would have to make some sacrifices in terms of her eating habits. She didn’t want her daughter to be around anything that was going to stunt her growth or development, and decided to devise a special diet for her newborn. Shannon was determined to stick to it.
Good for gut health
Of course, Grace wasn’t put on a diet because she was overweight. Shannon decided to put her daughter on the Paleo diet because she had followed the same diet throughout much of her life. When Shannon first heard about the Paleo diet, she was impressed with the fact that it was so good for the health of your gut, and she wanted to provide her daughter with food that was completely natural. She wasn’t going to let processed baby food affect Grace’s health.
The Paleo diet
The Paleo diet is known officially as the Paleolithic diet and follows the rules of the caveman. The general premise is simple: If a caveman couldn’t hunt or gather it themselves, then you shouldn’t be putting it in your body. This diet consists of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as meat and fish, and aims to completely cut out processed foods. Shannon first decided to try the Paleo diet out in 2010, and it soon became a part of her everyday life. She was hooked.
Dealing with health problems
Shannon decided to stick to the Paleo diet, because just a few weeks into this new eating regime, she felt a change in her body. Before switching up her diet, she had suffered from countless allergies, and she never felt as though she was on top form. She knew that her eating habits probably had an effect on this, but she was reluctant to take the plunge. When she finally did, she found that she had more energy and felt better in herself.
Making a change
By 2010, Shannon was fed up. She didn’t want to feel lethargic any longer, so she decided to give the Paleo diet a go. Before she knew it, her whole life had changed, and she knew it was because she had stopped putting “poison” into her body. She cut processed foods, carbs, additives, sugar, preservatives, legumes, and grains from her diet. Almost instantly, she couldn’t believe how much better it made her feel. The Paleo diet is incredibly controversial, but what do health experts say on the matter?
It’s safe to say that the medical world is divided when it comes to the Paleo diet. Many experts suggest that eating natural food is healthier than the processed food we eat in today’s day and age because it is rich in the minerals and vitamins we need to thrive. This diet also cuts out the likes of fat and sodium, which can both have adverse effects on our body. It was perfect for the cavemen, but is it healthy for a newborn baby?
A few negatives
Although many experts suggest the Paleo diet is healthy, there are others who have their doubts. While our cavemen ancestors were strong and fairly healthy, they were also incredibly vulnerable to diseases and parasites from the meat and plants that they ate. Alongside this, it’s also been confirmed that these cavemen also had hardened arteries, which can cause major blockages later in life. This can then lead to more serious health conditions, such as heart disease, heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes.
While those in the medical profession still can’t come to a conclusion on whether the Paleo diet is harmful or not, Shannon has had an extremely positive experience from her Paleo journey. She feels as though she now has a new lease of life, and she feels healthier than ever before. She was intent on raising her daughter on the same diet, but was it really the right thing for her to do? Should she really stray so far from the normal diet of an infant?
Approaching with caution
Of course, Shannon knew that she shouldn’t just go full steam ahead with Grace’s diet plan. She approached the idea with caution and even asked a doctor for their opinion on the matter. Was it healthy to raise a child on this diet? Because there is very little research into raising babies on the Paleo diet, the doctor could not give Shannon a proper answer. She would need to make that decision herself. She decided to go ahead with the plan, with just one exception.
Making just one exception
If Shannon were to follow the Paleo diet properly, Grace would not be allowed any breast milk. However, Shannon knew that she had to make an exception on this matter. She wanted to breastfeed her daughter for the first few months of her life, and she knew that it was the best option. After all, babies can’t eat meat and handfuls of vegetables. She would have to disregard this rule for a while, at least until she could find an alternative for baby Grace.
Finding an alternative
Because more and more people are adopting the Paleo diet, you can now find recipes for Paleo baby formula that you can make at home. Although many parents are choosing to use this, experts are warning new moms and dads against this route. In fact, one health expert has noted that certain DIY formulas can “cause permanent damage” or even be fatal to the child. That’s because these formulas include nutrients that are too complicated for babies to digest or break down.
Making it herself
After successfully breastfeeding her daughter, Shannon made the decision to gradually move her daughter onto her own homemade baby food. She did not want to buy any processed jars, because she could never know what was truly going into her baby’s body. So, she bypassed the baby food aisle in her grocery store, and instead opted to blend up fruits and vegetables into a paste that would be much more nutritious for the growth and the development of her child.
Making a smooth transition
Shannon made an incredibly smooth transition into solids. Instead of breastfeeding one day and giving her homemade food the next day, Shannon tried to incorporate solid food onto Grace’s plate one small step at a time. She would gradually up the quantities of food, and decrease the amount of times that Grace would breastfeed. This was the only way for Shannon to really know what her daughter was eating. Little did she know this diet would have a drastic effect on her daughter.
A special bond
As Grace finally made her way onto full plates of solid food, Shannon made the decision to document the food that they would eat together. She would create colorful plates of vegetables, fruit, and meat, and she would get Grace to help her prepare these meals. This was not only a great way for them to bond, but it was also a great way to get Grace involved in the healthy lifestyle she was adopting. However, those who saw the photographs were a little concerned about this.
Keeping them at bay
In fact, by the time Grace was just 13 months old, she was eating healthy meals that many adults have still not tried to this day. She would go about her day with a stomach full of chia pudding, quinoa porridge, and sauerkraut, and she was apparently loving every second of it. Yet, Grace’s Paleo diet was not just about what she was putting in her body. She was not allowed to eat carbs or sugary treats, which most children eat as youngsters.
No sign of illness
Shannon has kept a close eye on Grace throughout the Paleo diet, and it’s safe to say that she has been delighted with the results. The mom notes that her daughter is always full of life and energy, and is rarely ever ill. In fact, she has confessed that her daughter has only had one small cold over the course of her life! She believes that her heightened immune system is all thanks to her Paleo diet, and she can’t believe how much healthier she is.
Making a name for herself
Many critics have fired back at Shannon and her decision to raise Grace on a Paleo diet, but Shannon stands by her choice. She has seen the results for herself, and she has seen her daughter in comparison to other children. She believes that Grace is much healthier, and she believes that she is also much happier. Because she feels so strongly about this diet, Shannon has since made a name for herself as an author, and she has released numerous Paleo cookbooks.
Taking from everything
Shannon also rejects the notion that she is raising Grace on a specific Paleo diet. Instead, she likes to suggest that she is simply raising her daughter on a healthy diet. She takes certain elements that she likes from various different diets and ways of life, and hopes to incorporate these onto Grace’s plate. While Shannon is convinced that her daughter will stick to this diet as she grows older, there are skeptics who believe otherwise and believe that she may get jealous when she sees other kids.
Not stopping her
Shannon has been incredibly clear about how she feels on this matter. Although she is now trying to raise her daughter on a very specific diet, she knows it may not last. She doesn’t want this to happen, either. The last thing she wants is to feel as though her daughter resents her because she can’t have a slice of cake at her friends’ birthday party, and she knows that Grace will eventually experiment. Shannon will not stop her from doing this.
Educating her daughter
For the most part, Shannon wants to know that she is educating her daughter on healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle. When she gets older, Shannon is more than willing to let her daughter move away from the Paleo diet if that’s what she wants. However, she also hopes that when Grace tries these sugary foods and carbs, she will know enough to understand that these foods are not beneficial to a healthy diet. She wants her daughter to make the right decisions in her life.
A bout of criticism
Although Shannon stands by her decision to raise Grace on a Paleo diet, there are other people who aren’t so convinced. She has received huge bouts of criticism over the years from those who do not agree with her strict diet regime. Many suggest that Grace should be able to live like any other kid and try out the foods that might not necessarily be the healthiest for her, and others believe that Shannon is forcing something onto Grace that she might not want to follow.
Confused at the response
While the mom accepts that everyone has their own opinions, she does not get the logic behind these haters. She is often confused as to why parents are so shocked by the fact that she feeds her daughter healthy fruits and vegetables, while they themselves let their children eat takeout and fast food. In her eyes, her way of raising her child is much more healthy and beneficial, but she had no idea that this was just the start of the media storm that was coming.
Something to say
It seemed as though the whole world has had something to say on Shannon’s decision, and she has received messages and comments from people across the globe. As if that wasn’t enough, Shannon has also had nutritional experts reach out to her and criticize her choice. One particular expert told her that it was not healthy to give a young child such a regimented diet and that there was no scientific proof to say that the Paleo diet was beneficial in any way.
It’s completely normal
Although Shannon has listened to what everyone has to say, she has also stood by her decision. She has seen with her own eyes just how healthy, and happy Grace has grown up to be, and she doesn’t see anything wrong with her diet. She has noted that Grace does not eat anything a regular adult wouldn’t eat, so why should it be an issue? To finish up her argument for the Paleo diet, Shannon has one last piece of information to win over those who don’t agree.
The main thing that Shannon has discovered about her daughter is that she is healthy and happy, and there is nothing that matters more to her than that. She puts this down to the good food that is going into her gut and the fact that she enjoys what is put on her plate. She does not grumble but actually loves to eat the food that her mother makes her. At the end of the day, Shannon wants her daughter to “eat what makes her feel good.”
My Food Religion
Because she has seen the effects of healthy living for herself, Shannon now dedicates her life to helping others make changes to their health and wellbeing. As well as working as a health and wellness coach, she also has her own portion of the internet that she calls “myfoodreligion.” This is where she showcases her cooking skills, her tips and tricks, and even a few exercises to help others make the most of their bodies. But what does Grace think about all this?
In August 2018, Shannon shared a photograph of her daughter on her Instagram page, and caught them up to date with the fact that Grace was off to her first day of kindergarten! She couldn’t believe that her baby had grown so quickly, and she noted that she was over the moon to have raised such a healthy and happy little girl. Fans were quick to congratulate the mother and daughter duo, but there were still concerns about the longevity of this Paleo lifestyle.
Taking a little breather
From the get-go, Shannon Cooper has always stood by the fact that she will never force her daughter to do something she doesn’t want to do – and that includes her Paleo diet. However, it seems as though Grace sticks to her healthy lifestyle even when she doesn’t have to. When Shannon and Grace made their way to Mykonos in Greece for their summer vacation, Grace was happy to fill her stomach with strawberries and other healthy treats. She’s been able to make healthy fun.
Room for more
Although the Paleo diet largely consists of fruit, vegetables, and meat, Shannon knows that those foods can often get pretty boring. In fact, she knows there is always room for more – especially when she has a craving for sweetness. She often shares her sweet recipes for her fans on Instagram, and it’s fair to say that her “Nut-Free No-Bake Fig & Quinoa Bars” always go down a treat. In Shannon’s eyes, there’s always room for something to round off a meal on the Paleo diet.
Not just food
However, the Paleo diet isn’t all about what you are and aren’t putting into your body. To follow Paleo accurately you need to adapt to the whole lifestyle, and Shannon often writes about this on her website and through her social media channels. She will often meditate, and she will even use natural remedies to help with her sleeping patterns and her beauty regime. She hopes that her daughter will continue to follow in her footsteps as she gets older, and continue to live this way.
Sharing the experience
One of the main reasons why Shannon feels so positively about Grace’s Paleo diet is because they are sharing the experience together. They are able to bond over something extraordinary, and Shannon is being as open and honest about the lifestyle as possible. She informs Grace of everything she is cooking or baking because she wants Grace to make her own decisions as she gets older. Of course, Shannon hopes that Grace will choose to stick with the Paleo diet, but she will not force her.
Tried and tested brands
Now that Shannon has been living the Paleo lifestyle for almost a decade, she feels as though she has tried and tested numerous companies that all promote a healthy way of life. She has been able to whittle down those that don’t quite hit the mark, and she has been able to determine which ones would be beneficial to her and her daughter’s lifestyle. These include beauty brands, fitness brands, and even a brand of organic coffee that Shannon just can’t get enough of.
Writing everything down
Because Shannon is passionate about living a healthy life, she has decided to make it easier for others to follow her tips and tricks. She has written everything she knows down and has made them into three ebooks that can be bought by those wishing to change their health and wellbeing for the better. Within these books, she writes all of her yummy recipes that all follow the Paleo diet, and she tries to make it easier for people to get rid of “poisonous” food.
Traveling the country
Yet, Shannon’s helping hands don’t stop there. As well as releasing her own books, updating her website, and inspiring others on social media, Shannon has also decided to meet fans in person. Today, she travels around the country and sets up workshops and demonstrations for those who want to get into the Paleo lifestyle. She shows them how they can make these changes in their lives, and she gives them firsthand knowledge of her own experiences on the diet.
The perfect pairing
Although many believe that Shannon focuses too much on the Paleo diet in her family, that just isn’t the case. Shannon makes sure that she always has mother-daughter time to truly enjoy their lives together. Shannon and Grace love nothing more than getting into their matching unicorn pajamas and chilling out on the couch. It’s during these moments that she gets to really learn and grow with her daughter, outside of the kitchen. It’s also during these moments that she makes sure her daughter is happy.
There are many critics who still believe that Shannon should not be getting her young daughter to live a Paleo lifestyle, but it’s fair to say that her knowledge has also not gone unnoticed. Her website, myfoodreligion, is constantly inundated with positive feedback from those who have used her information to transform their own lives. Thanks to this, Shannon feels even more inspired to continue sharing her Paleo journey with the rest of the world – and this includes Grace’s journey.