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Mirror, mirror

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2013-04-23


Every so often, life presents a reflection other than the one in the looking glass.
It could be a messy kitchen or a cold caught after final exams.
The lightbulb goes off and all of a sudden it’s as clear as a spring day. . .Something critical has fallen out of my regard.
As parents, the worst of these reflections exhibit themselves in the health and well-being of our children.
I’m not talking about Junior having your eyes, sporting your attitude or picking up on the nuances of your speech. Instead I’m referring to how the things we choose for them, the ways we direct them, the expectations we have of them, reflect those that we have of ourselves.Standards we set for ourselves are those that we impose upon our kids.
Often unknowingly.
In my practice I might see this as a parent who can’t bear to eliminate sugar or dairy from their child’s diet ~ when it’s clearly causing a related health problem ~ because of their own attachment to certain foods. Conversely it may manifest as a parent who exercises their dietary control on their child when they cannot maintain any parameters themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with either of these scenarios.
We all do it in some way or another.The gift is in the recognition. Seeing the mirror for what it is.
And then, taking action.

This past week the mirror in front of me was full-length, crystal clear, and not very pretty.

It came in the form of an orthodontic apparatus in my son’s mouth.

The device, called a Herbst contraption, was put in Gilbert’s mouth last Wednesday. The stress immediately hit when I realized he’d have to eat a liquid diet for a few days ~ his teeth didn’t touch anywhere except in the front, which reduced chewing to the limited capabilities of a little mouse.

I wasn’t prepared for a full liquid diet.

I hadn’t shopped for such a venture.

I get in my busy flow and I know quite well how to throw together healthy meals, but seldom are they entirely liquid, at least for my growing son. But, as my friends said to me: If anyone can make a liquid diet nutritious and delicious, it’s you.
I told myself the same and soldiered on.

Yet it’s the soldiering on, in the face of the extreme, that ultimately caught my attention in the mirror.

Five days passed. My counter top was crowded with the Vitamix, the Nutribullet and two different sized food processors. Gilbert didn’t complain of anything save for a little soreness on the inside of his mouth where the mechanism was rubbing against and slightly tearing his inner cheeks.

We bought Manuka honey to heal the wounds. I chopped, cooked, blended, whirled. The mini food processor broke from so much use. Gilbert had to miss an overnight class trip because I didn’t think he could manage it on a liquid diet with open sores in his mouth.
And I’m laughing at myself as I write this!

Because I continued to soldier on. Throw me a curve ball and I’ll figure out how to catch it and keep running! So much so that I don’t even realize I’m doing it or how it may be affecting me.

I don’t realize, that is, until I see it the mirror.

And there it was. . . in my son’s thin frame growing skinnier by the day, in his difficulty taking in any form of nourishment ~ no matter how many spins through the blender, and finally, the breaking point, Day 9, when it was clear that his mood and constitution were being affected by the lack of sustenance.

All in the face of a tenacious and valiant effort to adapt and succeed.

His efforts or mine?
Mirror, mirror on the wall. . .

And there in the reflection was the call to action.
First things first: Get that mouth gear off! It was no easy task and came with more pain and tears than the entire ordeal prior. Yet the return of my son’s energy, constitution and hunger for a gluten-free tempeh burger with “not” fries and ketchup were all music to my ears.
Next up: Humble apologies. At this age (12) my son can comprehend the confession of my awakening.
Not to be forgotten:How do these same patterns appear in my life?

This is where some sadness sets in, because, as I said, the reflection is not very pretty. It’s not horrible, but its one that deserves my attention. Where, like the reflection presented by my son, am I malnourished, not in the traditional sense of the word (I tend to that quite vigilant there). But elsewhere?

It’s this mirror I’ve been sitting with these past few days. It’s this question that’s on my plate.

And while the uneasiness of the meditation may lead me to run to the comfort of the cookie jar or the corn chips, I’m choosing instead to seek optimal nourishment. Instead of soldiering on and conquering, I will nurture. First me. And in turn, my sweet boy.
Please join me for the opportunity to nurture your biggest internal guardian and protector, your liver, in the upcoming Rejuvenate Cleanse, where I’ll be practicing full-on self-loving support. YOU deserve this too.


Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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