Meet baby Grace, who has been on the Paleo diet since birth. Her mum Shan is speaking out against the backlash of her lifestyle choices.



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Shan Cooper blogs at My Food Religion and recently spoke to The Daily Mail about her “paleo baby”. What she didn’t expect was the “scandal” it caused.

Her 13 month old daughter, Grace has ‘never had a carb before’, only eats meat, vegetables, nuts and fruits –foods that a ‘caveman might eat’.

Shan told The Daily Mail “It’s certainly not because I’m shielding her from any of that stuff. I absolutely think a nutrient dense diet is giving her a strong immune system.”

“(What she eats now) is not weird, not anything strange, that normal people wouldn’t eat. She loves it,” she said.

“I don’t feed her toast or cereal or anything like that. Again I think, ‘Sure that stuff is not going to kill her,’ said Shan, “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,” said Shan, “She’s going to go to kids’ parties and eat what’s there.”

“I’m never going to go to Grace, ‘You can’t eat anything at this party – but I packed you some kale, here you go’.”

‘She’ll be old enough to know she can choose whatever she wants to eat.

‘She’ll probably come home jacked up on sugar and cake and say, “mum I don’t feel very well”.

‘And next time instead of eating 12 cupcakes she might only eat three.’

‘I don’t want there to be any disordered eating around food.

‘Females particularly have enough problems with eating disorders … I want Grace to eat what makes her feel good.

‘That’s the reason I eat this way. I don’t think eating a piece of bread is going to kill me.

‘When I go out with dinner with friends.. .I’m just going to eat what’s on the menu. I’m not going to be a jerk about it.

‘(Why) eating real food is such a scandalous topic is just bizarre,’ she said, asking why people take their children to McDonalds for dinner are not being given the same advice.

‘If you want to feed your kid one of the most nutrient-void pieces of crap ever, knock your socks off.

‘I’m not going to internet troll you.

‘You do the right thing you think for (your) kid.

‘Why people think it’s offensive to eat a plate of vegetables (over) a piece of bread – that’s bizarre.’

I think she has made some good choices. There is certainly nothing wrong with it, and like she said she is not going to go all crazy if her daughter does eat bread or cake. She certainly got people talking though.

The backlash

Shan has since shared on her own blog My Food Religion how amazed she was by the response…

“Well what a goddamn scandal. Who knew that NOT eating processed cr@p every day would upset so many people!? Well, actually, I did because people get upset at things that challenge what they think they know and things that might make them question their own choices.  People also become VERY brave on the other side of their computer screen…. Even when they haven’t even bothered to READ the article in question. As Ms Swift aptly sings,”And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”.

How dare I deprive my child of what is basically kindergarden grade glue (flour & water…. Also known as bread) as a staple in her diet in place of whole foods!! Man, I’m a jerk. Grace might end up with ‘gluten-deficiency’….. Oh hold on, there’s no such thing. Now don’t get me wrong, what they left out of the article (OF COURSE) is that I am not going to have a melt-down if my kid shoves some bread down her gullet at some point, or eats a piece of cake at a kids party. If Grace  (and I) eat things on occasion that are less-than-ideal, so be it but those things will not be making up the majority of our diet. Do I think a bowl of pasta is going to cause her or I major health problems? Hell no, BUT, what I do think, is that if she’s chowing down on on a big bowl of pasta, she’s not chowing down on a big bowl of veggies and they win in the nutritional stakes. Every. Single. Time.”

Read her full response here.

Share your thoughts below.

Image via My Food Religion.

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  • Every step towards eliminated McDonald’s type food from our children’s diets should get a gold star. While I prefer more plants – including beans and pulses – than meats there is still so much good in providing other choices than the typical ‘party stuff’ which has unfortunately become the norm of junk, every single day for so many families.


  • My family and I have just started eating Paleo and my 22 month old is eating Paleo meals too. Its a really good way to make sure the kids are getting their vegies and nutrients.. I think something everyone forgets is that carbs don’t just come from breads and cereals etc but also from vegies


  • Good on her – most parents complain their children won’t eat vegetables. I think she is doing a great job bringing up her children her way.


  • Good on her. I just don’t understand why people get so worked up about people choosing to eat real food!! Shouldn’t this be the norm – that we all feed ourselves and our kids real food, not food that has been manufactured containing ingredients made in a lab?! Also, do we so harshly judge those who choose to be vegetarian or vegan and raise their kids the same way?


  • I really can’t believe this caused such a scandal and fuss! I think Shan has made some very good points too! It’s great to also hear she’s not overly and ridiculously pedantic about the whole thing too! I can’t see how feeding your kids nutrient dense foods whilst avoiding sugary, carb loaded junk should be such a contentious issue! Forge ahead Shan! It sounds like you’re doing a great job to me!


  • Everyone has the right to raise their kids how they see fit. Isn’t it better that she cares about her daughters health and is feeding her good food rather than letting her eat whatever she wants? She doesn’t seem to have an deluded ideas and is practical when it comes to kids parties etc


  • people are so judgmental to parents, from reading this she has made a informed decision based on all the facts as she has them right now.


  • yeah it is the mother’s choice as to what she feeds her child. simple enough and i am sure that she has done her research and is aware of what nutrients that her child needs. i don’t think that this is a drastic big deal or anything.


  • just imagine if there was a baby who had some allergies to food and is allowed to eat paleo type of food would there stil be some backlash off people???? her choice, her family, shes doing whats best for her baby, I congratulate her as her baby is healthy and happy which is the main thing. some people just need to get a life and use common sense sometimes.


  • I don’t think the kid is missing out on anything much…for example sweet potato and pumpkin are about 90% carbs, so it’s not like she’s missing out on much.


  • Kale or fairy bread at a party! ;)


  • I thought carbs were in just about everything even veggies! I know there are high carbs and low carbs


  • sounds & reads to me like Shan & now Grace have a pretty good relationship with food & Grace is by the looks of the photo happy & healthy. The fact that Shan is good with occasionally going off meal plan is a healthy attitude too. The Paleo is not completely for me & my family but we do use aspects of it and definitely try to stay off processed foods as much as possible – it works too – my child by her own choice does not do fast food burger joints at all for the food. Good for Shan & Grace.


  • Lke kr


  • I understand in general that Paleo Diet has a lot of benefits. And eliminating “bad food” is surely wise. But there are some aspects of the Paleo Diet that I really don’t understand. Why eliminating pulses and beans for example? They are healthy and good for our body. They are “bad” if you don’t cook them. But nobody eats uncooked pulses and beans. I could never follow a strict Paleo Diet, but I completely agree that is necessary to eliminate processed food as much as possible.


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