Sunday, January 13, 2013

'Detoxing' Your Toddler After the Holidays

Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Recovering from the Holidays  
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 written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.

Phew, its over, thank goodness!

Am I the only one who feels this way about the festive season? In my opinion the whole month could be celebrated very differently to how the media, and society at large, currently want / hope we will celebrate it, and I plan to change many things about how we spend Christmas and New Year next year, so stay tuned for that! :) But, alas, this year we succumbed to yet another festive season eating too many sugared goodies, spending FAR too much money on gifts for family and friends and generally spending our 'holiday' time in the total opposite way to how we would have liked to have spent it.

African Babies Don't Cry : 'Detoxing' Your Toddler After the Holidays

Normally, Jesse is on a strict and healthy vegetarian diet, with drastic avoidance of any type of sugar, dairy and minimal amounts of gluten, or anything processed. With the holidays, and because I ate far too many of my grans yummy homemade mince pies, we slowly became more and more relaxed with Jesse's diet. We would never compromise on a vegetarian diet, not until he is old enough to request that we do, but I became more lenient of exactly what is unhealthy. Homemade treats (made with sugar, dairy and gluten) all of a sudden became the lessor of two evils. The effects of this lapse started to show. I have found that my dreaded eczema which I have had under control for years, has flared up, and I have found a small patch on Jesse's leg. I noticed that I have started suffering from sugar cravings, and Jesse too, has started preferring bread to fruit. Jesse became more 'clingy' and prone to 'tantrums' and battled to sleep.

With all this in mind, we embarked on a complete revamp of our diet. I, once again cut out all dairy, sugar, processed foods and anything containing gluten. I wouldn't force a detox on a child, but because he is only two years old, improving my diet instantly improves his, and while he asked for toast a couple of times on the first morning, when he realised that we really didn't have any bread in the house he was happy with his green smoothie.

There is only one way to improve a child's diet - stop stocking unhealthy items in your pantry and fridge! By only offering healthy, wholesome foods at every meal - perhaps starting with things you know they like - your toddler will eventually learn to enjoy their green smoothies again. And most importantly, ensure that you are only eating healthy foods, and enjoy them! Even if you have to pretend in the beginning ;) Just like mine, Jesse's taste-buds needed to reset to enjoy fresh, raw fruits and vegetables again. I admit, this was harder on myself than him, he took it in his stride as usual. If you need ideas on what foods your toddler should be eating on a daily basis, see my toddler nutritional requirements printable here.

You can also read more about overcoming fussy toddler eating, and how to incorporate healthier foods into your child's diet here.

African Babies Don't Cry : 'Detoxing' Your Toddler After the Holidays

Another 'side-effect' of the holidays I noticed, is that all of a sudden my normally independent and confident toddler needed constant attention and support in everything he did. As an attachment parent I am happy to give attention whenever he needs it, but I love the fact that he is able to play independently every so often. I found that having all the relatives around, delighting in how gorgeous and intelligent he is, every second of every day, made him less independent. This was easy enough to remedy, mostly because my easy going, Sagittarius son enjoys his own company. The first day that we spent just the two of us, I spent plenty of time with him, starting activities such as playing in the sand box, and quickly nipping to the kitchen or bathroom, promising to be back soon, and keeping my word. I would slowly stay away longer and longer, and by the end of the day my son was happily exploring the garden with the chickens. A bit of independent play each day makes for happier children and parents, I firmly believe that, and is a great alternative to sticking your kids in front of the television for some peace and quiet :)

What 'side-effects' did the festive season have on your family? 

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting this March!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
  • Seven Recipes for Beans - Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
  • The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
  • Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance...
  • Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she's helping her 3 year old recover.
  • 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
  • 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
  • Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
  • Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
  • Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
  • The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
  • Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn't find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
  • Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
  • do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
  • 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
  • A Two Year Old's ResolutionsThat Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year's goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
  • How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
  • Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she's found new directions in life, but while she can't make too many changes to her life right now, she's inspired and excited about the future.
  • Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year's festive season, as well as her New Year's resolutions.
  • Detoxing' Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don't Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
  • Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
  • We're Saving their First Christmas for Next Time — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
  • A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
  • On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn't just recovering from the holidays, she's recovering from a lifestyle.
  • We Never Left the GrindErika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
  • Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly--taking one day at a time--while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
  • 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
  • Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
  • I'm Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.


  1. This is great! We're slowly transitioning our sons to not eating grains, and it's been a mix of highs and lows (begging for things we don't have, yet also sometimes graciously accepting substitutes — it varies!).

    Independent play is awesome. I'm so glad my older son is finally getting into that, and that my younger has always been more independent.

    I can't believe how big Jesse is getting!!

    1. Oh yes, I can relate, I find it varies depending on how happy Jess is that day, whether he needs a nap etc... just as with anything. All in all, I seem to battling more from grain withdrawals than him ;)

      I know right!? Time is just flying by! :)

      Thanks for hosting Lauren!

    2. Thanks for sharing. I also found our diet slipped this Christmas season, so easy to do as you say. We have just found out my husband is coeliac, meaning he has to emit wheat and gluten from his diet, so we are now all embarking on a healthier diet where we are reducing our wheat and gluten intake. We are also vegetarian, and find this means our diet is generally quite healthy anyway, but with the news of my husbad's dietary requirements we are being even more careful now, a good thing for us all. Your printable sheets look useful, thanks a lot.

      Check out my recovering from the holidays carnival blog post at

    3. All the best with the new diet, from experience the transition period is the worst, but once you are into it, it really becomes quite easy :)

  2. Oy. I wish I could replace some of Kieran's toast requests with green smoothies. I'm going to skip the bread store the next time we run out and suggest the green smoothies instead. Will you hold me accountable? :)

    1. Lol, I can hold you accountable! ;)
      Make it easier on yourself and Kieran and start with chocolate smoothies: banana, raw cacao powder, honey or dates, you could add hemp seed protein too :)

  3. I adore independent play - not to hide from Jemma, but to see what she comes up with! Just the other day she was playing in her little kitchen and brought be a bowl full of veggies - she told me that she had made a salad for me!

    1. Oh yes, I often catch myself watching Jess while he is deep in play :)

  4. What an awesome diet you normally have! My adult kids are lifelong vegetarians, and being vegetarian has made a huge difference for our family. This Christmas, my 22-year-old daughter was on a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diet as part of a 6-month nutrition and health experiment. It made a tremendous difference for our whole family! Even though we weren't all as strict about what we ate as my daughter was, it was a much healthier holiday for us all ... and my daughter has been noticing amazing changes! Deb @

    1. I have found that being vegetarian has improved my diet too :) I wish your daughter the best of luck with her experiment, I had a look at her blog and look forward to seeing how it goes for her.

  5. Very good portrait. Very pretty, looks very happy.

  6. I have seen the same effects on my toddler through the holiday season. Since we were eating the gluten and sugar that we don't normally had, he got tastes here and there too. For that reason, I am glad that it's January and we can get back on track with eating our regular non-processed diet. I can't wait to try out your green smoothie recipe!! It is so beautiful and looks delicious.

    1. It is surprisingly delicious! :)
      All the best with getting back on track Shannon!

  7. What a fantastic post Christine. I've gained SO MUCH from it. Because we've not been in our own home, and things are just SO different here, I've become a regular at the kids section of the dvd rental place. I 'hate' it, but still do it every other day! With all the family around, Ameli has become entirely 'incapable' of independent play. I'm going to utilise your strategy! Also, this line: "stop stocking unhealthy items in your pantry and fridge", is annoyingly true. For mama and babies!

    1. Ah man Luschka, I know how hard it can be, so don't be too hard on yourself. She will soon get into independent play, once you are back in your normal routine. All the best! xXx


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