Health and wellness coach Shannon Cooper decided to raise her newborn baby in a way other parents find very unorthodox. After all, no kids come with a manual. However, Shannon took a drastic decision not to feed her baby girl Grace even a gram of sugar or carbs as part of one particular healthy eating plan. Naturally, this decision took the media by storm with both positive and negative feedback, even by medical experts. Being the health fanatic mother that Shannon is, she had a very interesting observation about Grace as her ultimate comeback to all the naysayers. Read here to find out just exactly what this incredible result was.
1. You Are What You Eat
As the old saying goes, ‘you are what you eat.’ No one knows this better than Brisbane, Australia resident Shannon Cooper. She has spent much of her adult life working to understand what types of different foods do to the human body.
According to Shannon, food can either be fuel for our bodies, or it can be pure poison. And that’s a motto that she lives by. This would lead her to make a decision that would affect others around her, and some would find this decision downright controversial.
2. You Are What You Ate
So, you’ve all probably heard the saying ‘you are what you eat,’ but have you ever heard the saying that ‘you are what you eat ate?’ This is another concept that Shannon Cooper strongly believes in. It’s not just what we eat that affects us.
The foods that the animals we eat ate can also strongly affect our bodies. For example a free range hen’s eggs can contain up to 19 times the Omega 3 content than that of caged hens. The same can be said for free range cattle. In light of this, Shannon had an outlandish idea to put this notion to the test.
3. A Shocking Decision
Shannon Cooper has lots of experience in food and healthy eating. She got into the field at a very young age and pursued a degree in agricultural science, a specific strand of Biology that focuses on the growing and treating of plants that are due to be used for human consumption.
So when Shannon had a baby girl, named Grace, she had a lot of decisions to make about just how she was going to raise Grace. Shannon, of course, wanted her daughter to be as healthy as possible but her lifestyle led to a surprising decision.
4. The Expert
Shannon is an expert when it comes to health and wellness; she even works as a health and wellness coach. So when it comes to food, she knows what she is doing. Her entire life revolves around the human body and what we put in it.
So, when Shannon Cooper decided to start a family, it only made sense that she wanted to be involved in the health of her family and help out the best way that she knew how: with food. But no one would have guessed just how it would affect her daughter.
5. A Health Nut
Apart from being a health and wellness coach, Shannon Cooper was also now a new mother. Being the health nut she was, and cutting out sugar, carbs and preservatives, Shannon wasn’t going to be any ordinary mother to her newborn daughter Grace.
Grace wasn’t about to have any normal childhood. Shannon made a decision that she would make very strict choices regarding the foods that she was going to feed her daughter. In fact, she put her newborn daughter on an exclusive diet.
6. Gut Health
Before you start thinking that Shannon put Grace on a diet because she was overweight, think again! Shannon put Grace on the Paleo diet, just as she had done for herself. She had been on the Paleo diet for much of her adult life.
Shannon, who is a self-proclaimed “gut health enthusiast,” wasn’t about to feed her daughter baby food out of a jar, as it was overly-processed and preserved. No, she opted for something much more healthy and natural to feed her daughter.
7. The Paleo Diet
The Paleolithic diet, also known as the caveman diet or the stone-age diet, advocates eating only foods that the Paleolithic peoples were able to hunt and gather for themselves. Meaning, eating lots of meat and fish, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Shannon Cooper learned about the diet back in 2010 and it completely transformed her life since. The entire diet promotes eating more natural and unprocessed foods. But to Shannon, the diet became more of a lifestyle. But just how would this lifestyle affect such a young child?
8. Health Issues
Paleo became a lifestyle for Shannon due to her past health issues. For years she suffered from food allergies and felt like the food she was putting into her body just didn’t make her feel good. It was as if the food was poison and not fuel.
The food that Shannon Cooper was once putting into her body was making her feel unwell. This was quite opposite of what it was supposed to be doing. So she started looking into changing her diet to feel better and have more energy throughout the day. However, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.
9. Out with the Sugar!
For Shannon Cooper, the Paleo diet worked. She felt better, had more energy and overall felt healthier. The diet advocates avoiding sugar, carbs, preservatives, processed foods, and other additives. But the most controversial foods that the diet requires one to avoid are dairy products, grains, and legumes.
“I just got sick of not feeling great,” Shannon candidly told the Daily Mail. “That had become my normal, and [I decided] that it wasn’t going to be normal anymore.” But what exactly do the experts say about the Paleolithic diet?
10. Medical Opinions
According to the medical experts, the Paleo diet certainly has its pros and cons. The main idea behind the diet is to eat like our caveman ancestors did, and lots of experts agree that our ancestors ate healthier than we do in modern times.
Our caveman ancestors ate around three times more produce than that of the typical American. They ate more fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fat, and more vitamins and minerals. They also ate far less saturated fat and sodium. While this might have worked for the cavemen, Shannon Cooper was about to learn if this diet was healthy for a modern baby!
11. The Cons
So, given how adamant Shannon is about it, you might be asking yourself what the downside of the Paleo diet is. Well, one thing that Paleo diet enthusiast tend to overlook is the fact that our hunter-gatherer ancestors weren’t models of pristine health.
Our Paleolithic ancestors suffered from a number of parasites, infectious diseases, and also hardening of the arteries. While we can all agree that over-processed foods aren’t good for us, the Paleo diet also forbids eating grains, legumes and dairy foods. So were Shannon Cooper’s efforts actually harmful?
12. Something’s Working
While the experts may have differing opinions on the Paleo diet, it is obviously working well for Shannon. She is full of energy and feeling great. So she made the decision that she would also raise her own daughter on the diet.
But one question still remains, would the Paleo diet still be healthy for a growing baby? And what does research say about raising children on the diet? Read on to find out what Shannon’s doctor had to say about the radical decision.
In search of answers, Shannon Cooper went to consult with a doctor about the diet and whether it would be safe for a growing child. Unfortunately, not much information exists on the topic, and her doctor cautioned her about putting her daughter on the diet.
Shannon decided that she would raise her daughter on the Paleo diet from day one. But she was forced to allow for one very important exception to the rules of the diet. Something that would make sure her daughter would receive all the nutrients that she needed to grow.
14. The Exception
Shannon indeed decided that she would put her daughter on the Paleo diet, just like herself, but the one exception that she would allow was breast milk. For the first few months of Grace’s life, Shannon decided to breastfeed her.
Considering that babies can’t eat things like raw vegetables and meat, Shannon made a wise decision. That, you might think was pretty obvious, but not all parents who put their children on the Paleolithic diet necessarily allow for breast milk. Besides for this exception, Shannon still needed to be briefed by her doctor on other serious risks. Would she be ready to take that all in?
Numerous recipes exist for Paleo DIY infant formulas. But according to experts, not all of them, if any, are safe for newborns. One nutritionist even went as far as to say that one DIY formula, by celebrity chef Pete Evans, can “cause permanent damage and possibly result in death.”
Luckily, chef Evans was forced to change the recipe prior to his book’s publication as it didn’t meet legal standards to be called formula, nor was it safe for infants. The original recipe contained extremely high levels of certain nutrients that babies simply cannot digest.
16. Baby Food
Once weaning babies off breast milk, parents generally move to the mass-produced glass jars of baby food we all know so well. But baby Grace wasn’t going to be fed peas in a jar! Instead, her mother would be making her food.
Shannon Cooper never believed that feeding Grace processed mush in a jar was an option. She felt that she wanted her daughter to receive her nutrients from natural and healthy foods that she prepared herself, so she knew exactly what she was feeding her daughter. The thing is many parents cook and prepare their babies’ food, but would Shannon’s Paleo ingredients be as healthy for baby Grace?
17. Paleo Guidelines
Shannon prepared Grace’s meals according to the Paleo diet guidelines, but even before that she had been feeding her daughter healthy food. Even while she was still breastfeeding she made sure to give her daughter small plates of vegetables and organic chicken.
The food that Shannon Cooper made was free of unnatural processing, sugars, and preservatives, which in itself is much healthier than other commercial baby foods available on the market. But what Shannon didn’t know was the unexpected effect that the diet would have on little Grace.
18. Not Your Average Baby
Grace’s mother, Shannon, regularly uploaded photos of her daughter and the meals that she prepared her on Instagram. In one photo, Grace can be seen happily chomping down on a piece of broccoli, a food that most other children would shy away from.
By 13-months-old, Grace was already eating meals that were much healthier than foods that adults eat, but one question remained: was Grace getting all the nutrients that she needed? And what would the long-term effects of the Paleo diet have on a growing little girl?
19. Sugary Treats
By the time Grace was 13-months old, she was eating meals like quinoa porridge, sauerkraut, and chia pudding. All foods that would make most young children throw a tantrum. But what’s even more impressive is the foods that Grace has never eaten.
Grace has never in her life eaten carbs or other sugary treats that most young children love to snack on. But what does Grace have to say about her food? According to her mother, “she loves it.” But there is still more to the story that this.
20. The Results
According to Shannon Cooper, the effects of the diet on Grace have been simply amazing. She claims that Grace has only gotten sick once in her life, and it was a mild cold. That’s pretty amazing considering children are known to be prone to illnesses in their early years.
“She spends a lot of time around other kids who are sick all the time – who have snotty noses, coughs, colds – but she just doesn’t pick it up,” Shannon told the Daily Mail. She exclaimed that Grace’s good health and immune system are all thanks to the Paleo diet.
21. A Strong Immune System
Some people might think that Shannon Cooper is just an overprotective mother and shielding her daughter from getting sick, but that certainly isn’t the case. “It’s certainly not because I’m not shielding her from any of that stuff,” Shannon says in regards to catching illnesses.
“I absolutely think a nutrient-dense diet is giving her a strong immune system,” Shannon added. The dotting mother feels so strongly about the Paleo diet that she has even authored a number of cookbooks to instruct others how to make the healthy meals.
22. A Potpourri Diet
But Shannon isn’t as strict as she might sound. According to her she isn’t “vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, fat-free, carb-free or any other food ‘denomination’ in its entirety.” She says she takes bits and pieces from a variety of different options.
“I take what I like from different food approaches and recipes and adapt it to suit what makes me feel good,” Shannon Cooper said. Knowing children though, it certainly isn’t going to be easy to stick with the diet long-term, but that is exactly what Shannon is planning on doing. The question is whether Shannon has prepared for the day when Grace might break the diet, like at birthday parties?!
23. Being Realistic
Even though Shannon is raising Grace on a fairly strict diet, she realizes that her daughter will eventually eat other foods from time to time. And that doesn’t upset her. She acknowledges that Grace will eventually eat some sugary foods.
“If she eats a piece of bread, I’m not going to have a conniption. I’m not going to not let her go to kids’ parties. She’s going to go to kids’ parties and eat what’s there,” Shannon said. But there were still more things Shannon Cooper seemed to overlook. What’s more, what would Shannon do when Grace decided to make dietary decisions for herself.
24. Happy and Healthy
Shannon believes that she is helping to raise and educate Grace on a diet that makes her feel happy and healthy. When she gets a bit older, Shannon Cooper plans on letting Grace decide for herself what types of foods she eats.
Grace’s mother admits that she will most likely come home from a friend’s party and not feel well, having eaten too many cupcakes or something of that nature. But that will be a learning experience and maybe the next time she will eat less sugary foods. With any decisions in life comes people’s positive and negative feedback. Unfortunately, Shannon would have to face a lot of the latter.
25. Accepting Feedback
Shannon adamantly stands behind her parenting tactics, but when word of what she was doing hit social media, there were many people who weren’t happy with the thought of putting a very young child on such a strict diet regimen.
Some of the responses were, in fact, positive but a large percentage of the feedback was highly critical of Shannon Cooper’s decision to put Grace on the Paleo diet. This feedback left Shannon in a stupor, but there’s a good reason why.
26. A Little Puzzled
Shannon Cooper doesn’t understand why so many parents are okay with feeding their children fast foods and things that have no nutritional value, but that they take issue with her feeding her daughter nutritional foods. The negative feedback left Shannon puzzled.
“If you want to feed your kid one of the most nutrient-void pieces of [nonsense] ever, knock your socks off. [But] people think that it’s offensive to eat a plate of vegetables [over] a piece of bread. That’s bizarre,” Shannon declared. However, nothing could have prepared her for the media storm that was brewing over her parenting decisions.
27. A Media Storm
The news of Shannon and her raising Grace on the Paleo diet took the media by storm. Pretty soon people from all over the world were chiming in with their two cents. Even some experts raised their voices and commented on the unusual parenting tactic.
One dietician, Dr. Rosemary Stanton, decided to speak up and caution other parents against putting their children on the fad diet. “It’s not usually a good idea to put a child on such a restricted diet, particularly when there are no valid grounds for it,” the dietician stated. She also recommended adding grains and legumes, such as alfalfa and chickpeas to Grace’s diet.
28. Not Weird
Shannon, however, took the advice with a large grain of salt. She believes that Grace couldn’t be healthier and that she loves the food she eats. She claimed that the food that she feeds Grace isn’t weird or anything that other people wouldn’t eat.
“[What Grace eats now] is not weird, or anything that normal people wouldn’t eat. She loves it. I don’t feed her toast or cereal or anything like that. [But] I think, ‘That stuff is not going to kill her.’ If she eats a piece of bread, I’m not going to have a conniption fit,” Shannon Cooper firmly stated. There is just one important fact that gives Shannon the one-up on all the naysayers, and it’s something they cannot refute.
29. Doing Something Right
The most important thing to Shannon is that her daughter is happy and healthy. Little Grace is now three years old and has still only been sick once in her life. Shannon is certainly doing something right, as that’s amazing.
“I don’t want there to be any disordered eating around here. Females particularly have enough problems with eating disorders. I want Grace to eat what makes her feel good,” Shannon told the Daily Mail. And if anyone knows what foods make people feel good it’s Shannon. It seems like she has taken this knowledge and made a difference in the world with her very one project.
30. Helping Others
Shannon works from Australia as a food, health and wellness coach, and runs her own website called ‘myfoodreligion.’ She has a background in science and animal health and works to make the quality of other people’s lives better through food.
She also offers private classes and workshops to help teach people how to prepare healthy foods. Thanks to Shannon and her work, people are learning what to put in their bodies and what to avoid at all costs.
So what are Shannon and little Grace up to today? Has Grace taken to her mother’s way of life?
31. Off to Kindergarten
As Grace got bigger and started kindergarten in August, 2018, Shannon Cooper shared with her fans and followers how strange and incredible it feels for her to see her baby growing up so fast. What amazes her the most is how healthy her daughter looks and feels, which she believes is due to their Paleo lifestyle.
“Slow down bebe. How is my baby girl almost off to Kindy. As much as she drives me nuts some days I know this time will be gone in the blink of an eye,” Shannon wrote. But as Grace grewolder, would she continue in her mother’s footsteps?
Shannon doesn’t want to force any way of life onto her daughter, but so far Grace is loving and sticking to her Paleo diet, even when vacationing in Mykonos, Greece. Munching on strawberries, the mother and daughter duo look as happy as can be.
Shannon Cooper believes that life can be just as fun on a Paleo diet, and she has plenty of recipes on her blog and social media accounts to prove it. In fact, her dishes look so good that anyone would want to eat them.
33. A Foodie Connoisseur
Shannon believes that Paleo diets encourage and have room for indulgence, so she shares her yummy recipes with the rest of the world on Instagram. These “Nut Free No Bake Fig & Quinoa Bars” are just one example of healthy snacking to curb any cravings.
Shannon advocates that healthy eating can be just as delicious if not better than processed sugary foods. What’s more, these Quinoa Bars don’t even have to be baked, as Shannon isn’t the biggest fan of standing in the kitchen for too long baking. But food isn’t the only Paleo thing Shannon is up to.
34. Meditation and Things
The Paleo way of living isn’t just about diet, and Shannon Cooper explains this through her channels. She promotes mediation and using innovative products to help with sleep, as keeping healthy isn’t just about the food we put into our bodies.
Shannon’s Instagram account is a platform for her to share advice and a place for others to share their expert and friendly opinions with her. It’s the power of dialogue and sharing that she wants to pass onto her daughter Grace.
35. Healthy Bonding
In order for Shannon Cooper to share her lifestyle and diet decisions with her daughter Grace, she believes in sharing everything with her as she gets older. This is so Grace an make informed decisions about the Paleo diet and way of life for herself without it having to feel imposed.
Shannon wants Grace to understand why she made the decision to feed her Paleo foods from the moment she was born. This image is from a video Shannon shared on her Instagram of Grace unboxing a goodie box full of produce from Goodnessmebox, a company that shares the latest organic and healthy foods as part of a monthly subscription. In this way, Shannon can try new products and share her honest opinion on her website.
Read on to discover what else Shannon has to share with the world about her daughter and lifestyle.
36. Shannon’s Favorite Health Brands
Shannon Cooper doesn’t just advocate and promote just any old health brand for the sake of it. She likes to do the tried and tested path by experimenting and working with companies and brands herself and then shares them on her website.
Some of the healthy lifestyle companies Shannon firmly believes in are PrimalThenics, a home workout program, Cleanse Skincare, a natural skincare brand void of toxins and chemicals, as well as Crema Coffee Garage, an organic coffee brand she loves drinking. These are just a few of the brands she loves.
37. Writing Guru
Shannon Cooper is a woman of many talents, interests, and hobbies. Not only is she a self-proclaimed coffee lover, mother, bacon addict, and health and wellness coach; she also loves writing and sharing her recipes and experiences in her very own ebooks!
Yes, that’s right! Shannon has written three books loaded with delicious Paleo recipes. She wants to show people how following a no dairy, gluten free, as well as no sugar and grains diet can be achieved with many other wholefoods. The best part is that she makes her food look so good.
38. Workshops with Shannon
As part of her Paleo diet journey, Shannon Cooper loves to travel around Australia on the mission of spreading her message of health and wellness. She pairs up with other health bloggers and professionals and chats about all things Paleo.
She feels that this way of life changed her body for the better by cleansing her gut. Many people have been negative about her message, which is why she likes to portray exactly what Paleo means to her without holding back anything. But her message doesn’t just end with her books and workshops.
39. Matching Unicorns
Grace and Shannon love sporting matching looks together, looking particularly adorable in these unicorn pajamas. This mother-daughter duo, loves to match in every aspect of life whether its healthy eating, cooking aprons, or sleepwear attire, and it’s nothing short of adorable!
One of the reasons Shannon shares precious moments like these on social media, is to show how happy little Grace is. Many naysayers see her diet choices as a form of abuse, while Shannon emphasizes that her daughter is healthy and as happy as can be without forcing anything upon her. And she’s not the only one who believes that.
40. Positive Testimonials
Many people believe in Shannon Cooper’s vision of what it means to lead a healthy lifestyle by means of maintaining a Paleo diet. The proof is in the pudding with all the positive testimonials on her website called My Food Religion.
Her fans’ words of encouragement and support speak for themselves, which is why she chooses to present them on her website. Shannon doesn’t believe anyone should be forced to do anything they don’t believe in, but she knows that once people try out her advice, they get hooked. And this is what makes her work and message to the health world worthwhile.
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