Every parent has their own say in how to raise their children. A strong believer in this statement is health and wellness coach Shannon Cooper. The health and wellness coach opted for a unique way of raising her newborn baby despite how unorthodox it may seem to other parents.
Shannon didn't want to give her baby girl Grace even a gram of sugar or carbs. This decision caught the attention of the media and of social media influencers, attracting both positive and negative feedback. Even medical experts had something to say. Read on and be amazed too with how truly incredible the result was.
Sticking With The Saying
The old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” While this is no hidden fact, Shannon Cooper, who lives in Brisbane Australia knows this better than anyone else. She is so dedicated to the point of spending most of her adult life working to understand what different types of foods do to the human body.
Shannon believes that any food can only be either one of two things: fuel for our bodies or pure poison. This is the motto that she diligently lives by. Moreover, it was a major factor to her decision that would later affect the people around her, some of which would even find this decision downright controversial.
More Than What You Eat
The saying “You are what you eat” might be common and all, but you probably have never heard “You are what your food ate”. Much like the other one, this is another concept that the health and wellness coach firmly believes in. Apparently, the food that we eat is not the only one that affects us.
She sticks to the belief that our body also receives what the animal itself ate. A good example of this is a free-range hen whose eggs can contain up to 19 times the Omega 3 content than that of caged hens’. The same goes for free-range cattle. Shannon herein developed an outlandish idea to put this notion to the test.
Being the health and wellness coach that she is now, Shannon Cooper already has lots of experience in food and healthy eating in her back pocket. She was still very young when she first got into the field and pursued a degree in agricultural science, a Biology strand that focuses on the growing and treating of plants that are due to be used for human consumption.
Shannon had a baby girl whom she named Grace, and that is when she made a lot of decisions regarding exactly how she was going to raise the newborn. Of course, the mother wanted was her daughter to be as healthy as possible. Her lifestyle led to a surprising decision, though.
Trust The Expert
When it comes to health and wellness, Shannon is definitely an expert, especially since her occupation is a health and wellness coach. Accordingly, she definitely knows what she is doing when it comes to food. Shannon dedicated almost her entire life on the human body and what we put in it.
Therefore, it only made sense that she wanted to be involved in the health of her family when she decided to start one. Shannon helped out the best way that she knew how: with food. However, not a single person would have guessed just how it would affect her daughter.
Certified Health Fanatic
Shannon Cooper has a new role to play aside from being the health and wellness coach that she is: being a mother. It was natural for her to cut out on the sugar, carbs, and preservatives being the health fanatic that she was. Nonetheless, Shannon wasn’t going to be anywhere near ordinary when it comes to her newborn daughter.
Likewise, Grace’s childhood isn’t going to be normal. The decision that Shannon made involves very strict choices regarding the foods that she was going to feed her daughter. True enough, she put Grace on an exclusive diet.
Gut Health Is Important
Upon hearing the word diet, the first thing that comes to mind is an overweight person trying to reduce their weight. Grace, on the other hand, is not overweight at all! And that’s not the reason why Shannon put her on a special diet just as she had done for herself. In fact, she had been on this diet for a large part of her adult life.
A self-proclaimed “gut health enthusiast,” Shannon wasn’t about to feed her daughter baby food out of a jar. She believes that those are overly-processed and preserved. Instead, she went for something much more healthy and natural for precious little Grace.
The Paleo diet firmly advocates a diet that consists only of foods that the Paleolithic people were able to hunt and gather for themselves. It is also known as the cavemen diet or the stone-age diet. Thus, meat and fish, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables are the only foods allowed.
Ever since Shannon learned about the diet back in 2010, her life was completely transformed. To put it simply, the diet promotes eating more natural and unprocessed foods. The diet became more of a lifestyle for the health fanatic mother, though. It is indeed curious to know how this lifestyle would affect such a young child.
Unfortunately, Shannon had past health issues and these were the main reasons why she adopted Paleo as a lifestyle. The gut health enthusiast suffered from food allergies for years to the point that she felt like the food she was putting into her system was poison and not fuel.
At one point in her life, Shannon has been taking food that was making her feel unwell; the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be doing. Consequently, she changed her entire diet to feel better and have more energy throughout the day. The Paleo diet worked for her, but it doesn’t guarantee that it would also be good for others.
Thankfully, the Paleo diet worked for Australian mother Shannon Cooper. It made her feel better, gave her more energy and made her feel a whole lot healthier overall. The entirety of the diet promotes total avoidance of sugar, carbs, preservatives, processed foods, and other additives. Moreover, it controversially requires one to avoid dairy products, grains, and legumes.
“I just got sick of not feeling great. That had become my normal, and [I decided] that it wasn’t going to be normal anymore,” she shared in an interview. On the other hand, experts have an opinion about the Paleolithic diet themselves.
The Paleo diet certainly has its pros and cons nonetheless, as said by the medical experts’. Eating as our ancestors did is the main idea behind the infamous diet, and lots of experts actually agree that our ancestors ate a lot healthier than we currently do in modern times.
Our caveman ancestors ate more fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fat, and more vitamins and minerals. This means that they ate around three times more produce than that of the typical American. Still, Shannon is about to learn if what worked for the cavemen may also work for a modern baby.
Unwavering Shannon might be all the more reason you might be asking yourself what the downside of the Paleo diet is. One thing for sure though is that the health and wellness coach tend to overlook the fact that our hunter-slash-gatherer ancestors weren’t models of spotless health.
In fact, a number of parasites, infectious diseases and hardening of the arteries are only some of the sufferings of our Paleolithic ancestors. We can all agree that over-processed foods do us no good. Although, we can’t ignore the fact that the Paleo diet also forbids eating grains, legumes, and dairy foods. The question lies whether Shannon’s efforts were actually harmful.
Regardless of the experts’ different opinions regarding the Paleo diet, it obviously works absolutely fine for Shannon. She is now full of energy and feeling great, a far reality from what it was before. This is what pushed her to decide to raise her own daughter on the same diet.
One question still remains, despite all of the success it has brought Shannon. Would the Paleo diet be as healthy for a growing baby? What does research say about raising children on the diet? Shannon consulted with her doctor regarding the radical decision.
Caution Is Advised
To get the answers she was looking for, Shannon first went to consult with a doctor about the diet and whether it would be as safe for a growing child as it was for her. Not much information exists on the topic, much to her disappointment. Her doctor particularly warned her about putting her daughter on the diet.
The health and wellness coach was determined in raising her daughter on the Paleo diet since day one. However, she was forced to allow one important exception to the restrictions of the diet as it would ensure that her daughter would receive all the nutrients that she needed to grow.
The Only Exception
Still firm on her decision, Shannon decided that she would put Grace on the Paleo diet just like she did with herself. There is one exception to the rule, though, that she should allow breast milk. The health fanatic mother agreed on breastfeeding Grace for the first few months of her life.
Shannon’s decision was based on the consideration that babies can’t eat things like raw vegetables and meat. It might be pretty obvious, but there are still parents who completely leave out the breast milk when putting their children on the Paleo diet. Nonetheless, this exception had Shannon briefed by her doctor on other serious risks; ones that she should be ready to take all in.
DIY Paleo Milk
Apparently, there are numerous recipes for DIY Paleo infant formulas. Not all of them, if any are safe for newborns though, experts say. Celebrity chef Pete Evans even made one, but one nutritionist claims that it can “cause permanent damage and possibly result in death.”
Chef Evan’s recipe didn’t seem to meet the legal standards to be called a formula, nor was it safe for infants. Hence, he was forced to change it prior to the publication of his book. It seems that the original recipe contained extremely high levels of certain nutrients that babies cannot digest. Nonetheless, these Paleo babies must have something.
Essential Baby Food
Parents usually move to the mass-produced glass jars of baby food we all so know well upon weaning babies off breast milk. On the other hand, baby Grace isn’t going to eat any of those peas in a jar. Her health fanatic mother will be making her food instead.
Shannon didn’t even consider feeding Grace processed mush in a jar as an option because she wanted her daughter to get nutrients from natural and healthy food that she prepared herself. Hence, Shannon knew exactly what she was feeding her daughter. Many parents cook and prepare their babies’ food, but would Shannon’s Paleo ingredients be as healthy for baby Grace?
Sticking By The Guidelines
Shannon firmly stuck to the Paleo guidelines when it comes to preparing Grace’s Paleo meals. Even before that, though, she had been feeding the little angel healthy food. From when she was still breastfeeding, Shannon made sure to give Grace small plates of vegetables and organic chicken.
The gut health enthusiast prepared food free of unnatural processing sugars and preservatives. That in itself is much healthier than other commercial baby foods available on the market. However, Shannon didn’t know that the diet will have this unexpected effect on little Grace.
Not An Average Joe
On a regular basis, Shannon uploaded on Instagram photos of Grace and the meals that she prepared for her. One photo shows that Grace is happily chomping down on a piece of broccoli – a food that most other children would gladly push off their plates.
Thirteen-month-old Grace is already feasting on meals that were far healthier than foods than many adults eat. Still, one question remains unanswered. Was Grace getting all the nutrients that she needs? What would the long-term effects of the Paleo diet have on a growing little girl? Shannon seems to feel her way on an unlit path.
Grace grew into a healthy 13-month-old girl and her meals included quinoa porridge, sauerkraut and chia pudding. These foods would make most young children throw a tantrum, but there is something even more impressive about Grace – the food she has never eaten.
All her life, Grace has never eaten carbs or other sugary treats. Most children her age would have only had those as snacks, but this little girl only has one thing to say about her food. As her mother revealed, Grace “loves it.” Nonetheless, there is still more to this healthy baby’s awesomeness.
The Much-Awaited Results
Shannon Cooper disclosed that the effects of the diet on Grace is just what she had hoped for – simply amazing. The health and wellness coach claims that her little girl has only gotten sick once in her life, and it was just in the form of a mild cold. A pretty amazing feat, especially given the fact that children are known to be prone to illness in their early years.
Moreover, Shannon says that Grace “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.” Thanks to the Paleo diet, as Shannon emphasized, Grace is in good health and has a healthy immune system.
Heavy-Duty Immune System
People from the outside might only see the side of Shannon Cooper being an overprotective mother who shields her daughter from getting sick. That certainly isn’t the case, though. Shannon even said that regarding catching illnesses, “It’s certainly not because I’m not shielding her from any of that stuff.”
“I absolutely think a nutrient-dense diet is giving her a strong immune system,” the gut health enthusiast added. As the affectionate mother that she is, Shannon felt so strongly about the Paleo diet to the point that she authored a number of cookbooks with the goal of instructing others how to make healthy meals.
Shannon may sound strict and all, but she is actually not. She claims that she isn’t “vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, fat-free, carb-free or any other food ‘denomination’ in its entirety,” as she also 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,” the health and wellness coach shared. Children don’t have a reputation in being easy to stick with the diet long-term, contrary to what Shannon is planning on doing. But has Shannon ever prepared for any possibility of Grace breaking the diet, like at birthday parties?
A Realistic View
The health and wellness coach acknowledges that Grace will eventually eat other foods from time to time, despite raising her on a fairly strict diet. Instead of it upsetting her, Shannon realizes that her little girl will sooner or later eat some sugary foods, regardless of the reason.
“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,” the mother expressed. Still, there might be things that Shannon might have overlooked. One more question is, what she would do if Grace decided to make dietary decisions for herself.
Healthy and Happy at the Same Time
All in all, the health fanatic mother believes that she is raising and educating Grace on a diet that makes her feel healthy and happy at the same time. Mommy Cooper initially planned on letting Grace decide for herself what types of food she wants to eat when she gets a bit older.
Grace will most likely come home from a friend’s party and not feeling well, having eaten too many cupcakes or something of that nature; as Shannon shared admittedly. Nonetheless, that learning experience may teach her to eat less sugary foods the next time. People’s positive and negative feedback come to any decisions in life, and Shannon would, unfortunately, have to face a lot of the latter.
Through it all, Shannon obstinately stands behind her parenting tactics. Her parenting practices hit social media; however, many people were not happy with the thought of putting a very young child on such a strict diet regimen.
Among the responses are both positive and negative ones. Sadly though, a large percentage of the feedback was highly critical of Shannon Cooper’s decision to put Grace on the Paleo diet from such a young age. There’s a good reason why this feedback left Shannon in a daze, nonetheless.
Questions as Answers
On the other hand, Shannon doesn’t understand why these parents who take issue with her feeding Grace nutritional foods but settle with feeding their children fast foods and other things that have no nutritional value at all. All the negative feedback left Shannon in a puzzled state.
“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 expressed. Nothing could still have prepared her for all of this mayhem that her simple parenting decisions caused.
Brewing A Media Storm
Unintentionally, word of Shannon and her raising her daughter on the Paleo diet took the media by storm. Soon enough, people from all corners of the world chimed in unison with their opinions on the matter, while there are some experts who even raised their voices and commented on the peculiar parenting tactic.
“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,” dietician Dr. Rosemary Stanton stated as she cautions other parents against putting their children on the fad diet. Among her recommendations of additions to Grace’s diet are grains and legumes such as alfalfa and chickpeas.
Not Weird At All
The health and wellness coach took the advice with a large grain of salt, despite its being contrary to her beliefs. Grace couldn’t be healthier and she loves the food she eats, which Shannon believes firmly. Other people might not eat what Grace does, but that doesn’t mean that the food she feeds her is peculiar at all.
“[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,” Cooper stated. All the naysayers cannot refute this one important fact, though.
On The Right Track
What’s important to Shannon is that her little girl is happy and healthy. Now at three years old, Grace has still been sick only once in her life which proves that the health fanatic mother is definitely on the right track. That is nothing short of 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 shared in an interview. She would know more than anyone which foods make people feel good, and she has taken this knowledge and made a difference in the world with her one project.
Extending a Helping Hand
Shannon Cooper works from her hometown in Australia as food, health, and wellness coach. At the same time, she runs her own website called 'My Food Religion’ Her background in science and animal health helps her make the quality of other people’s lives better through consumption of healthy and nutritious food.
In addition, Shannon also caters to private classes and workshops to help teach people how to prepare healthy foods. People are learning more of what they should be putting in their bodies and which foods to avoid at all cost. Fast forward to today, what are Shannon and little Grace up to?
Stepping Into Kindergarten
Little Grace is not so little anymore; she started kindergarten in August 2018. On the other hand, Cooper shared with her fans and followers the strange and incredible feeling of her seeing her baby growing up so fast. How healthy Grace looks and feels is what amazes her the most, and this, she believes, is the result of 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,” she said on one of her posts. Would Grace pursue her mother’s footsteps as she grew older, though?
On Vacation Leave
Shannon doesn’t want, in any way, to force a way of living onto Grace. So far, though, Grace is loving and sticking to her Paleo diet. The healthy duo went vacationing in Mykonos, Greece and as they munch on strawberries, Shannon and Grace couldn’t look any happier.
As Shannon Cooper belief goes, life can be just as fun on a Paleo diet, and the many recipes on her blog and social media accounts are up and available to prove it. The dishes that she so religiously posts online look so delectable that anyone fantasizes on eating them.
For Shannon Cooper, the Paleo diet encourages and has enough room for indulgence – the main reason why she shares her yummy recipes with the rest of the world through her Instagram posts. One of the many delightful examples of healthy snacking is these “Nut Free No Bake Fig & Quinoa Bars,” which could curb any sweet cravings.
Her advocacy dictates that healthy eating can be just as delicious; if not better than processed sugary foods. These Quinoa Bars don’t even have to be baked, given that Shannon is not a fan of standing in the kitchen for too long. Nonetheless, food isn’t the only thing up on Shannon’s Paleo agenda.
Reflections and Other Things
Paleo lifestyle is not limited to just sticking to a strict diet, and this is among what the health and wellness coach make a point to explain through her channels. She promotes it alongside meditation and the use of innovative products to help with sleep. Indeed, keeping healthy is not just about the food you consume.
If anything, Cooper’s Instagram account is a platform for her to share advice, as well as a place for others to share their expert and friendly opinions with her. She found this power of dialogue and sharing so wonderful that she wants to pass it onto little Grace.
Even Bonding Sessions Are Healthy
As her personal way of sharing everything with her daughter as she gets older, Cooper shares her lifestyle and diet decisions with little Grace. Her objective is to enable Grace to make informed decisions about the Paleo diet and lifestyle for herself without having to feel obliged.
Above all, she wants her daughter to understand her decision of feeding her Paleo foods from the moment she was born. Shot from a video Shannon shared on her Instagram is this image of Grace unpacking a package form Goodnessmebox. It is a company that shares organic and healthy foods as part of a monthly subscription. There are still other things that Shannon has to share with the world about her daughter and lifestyle.
Health Brands Faves
The health and wellness coach is also an advocate and promoter of health brands. She works on it, not just for the sake of it, but because she likes to practise the proven and tested path. Her method is experimenting and working with companies and brands herself, and the sharing them on her website.
Topping the list of the healthy lifestyle companies that Shannon firmly believes in is the home workout program PrimalThenics. Alongside it is a natural skincare brand void of toxins and chemicals named Cleanse Skincare, and organic coffee brand Crema Coffee Garage which she loves drinking.
One Talented Woman
A lot of Coopers’ talents, interests and hobbies have already been mentioned, but there is still one left. Coffee lover, mother bacon addict, and health and wellness coach are just among the things that describe her. Apparently, Shannon also loves writing and sharing her recipes and experiences through her own ebooks.
By now, Cooper has already written three books filled with nothing but delectable and delicious Paleo recipes. Her main goal is to show people how a no-dairy, gluten-free, and no-sugar and-grains diet can be achieved with many other whole foods. As if those weren’t enough, she also makes it a point to make her food look so good, that people can't resist.
The Happy Belly Workshop
Shannon’s love for traveling around Australia is actually for a good cause and allows her to help and inspire people across the country. It is still a part of her Paleo diet journey, as she spreads her message of health and wellness. Along with other bloggers and professionals that she partners with, they give talks about all things Paleo.
This way of life changed her body for the better by performing a simple role – cleansing her gut. Regardless of all the negativity, she has been receiving from many people, she still likes to portray exactly what Paleo means to her without holding anything back. Nonetheless, her mission goes beyond her books and workshops.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
As a part of their mother-daughter bond, mommy Cooper and baby Cooper love sporting matching looks together. One instance is them adorably paired in these matching unicorn pajamas. In every aspect of life, this lovely duo loves to match, whether it is in healthy eating, cooking aprons, or sleepwear attire, and it’s nothing short of adorable.
Even in posting their precious moments like these on social media, Shannon still has an objective in mind, which is to show how happy her Grace is. This is a strong emphasis that her daughter is as healthy and happy as can be without forcing anything upon her, against the many critics who see her diet choices as a form of abuse. Thankfully, Shannon is not the only one who believes that.
Keeping It Positive
There are people who criticize her choices, but then there are also those who believe in Cooper’s vision of what it means to lead a healthy lifestyle through sticking to Paleo diet. Proof of this is her collection of positive testimonials on her website entitled My Food Religion.
Her fan’s words of encouragement and support do wonders as they speak for themselves, making Shannon choose to present them on her website. Among her beliefs is that no one should ever be forced to do anything they don’t believe in. She knows that people will get hooked once they heeded her advice, just as what happened to her. Filling her with love and happiness, this is what makes her strive to work and communicate the health world worthwhile.