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Our Fabulous Food Event in Cranford!

by Louise Kuo Habakus

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On behalf of Fearless Parent™ and The Thinking Moms’ Revolution, we’d like to express our deep appreciation to the wonderful speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers, and attendees who came together to create a fabulous food event in Cranford, NJ on Saturday, May 3 at the Calvary Tabernacle Church called Stirring the Pot — How Food Makes Us Sick, Keeps Us Well, and Drives Us Crazy.

The half-day conference featured two expert speaker panels, a bustling exhibitor area, and untold numbers of sustaining mini conversations packed with support, ideas, and inspiration. The room was filled with parents and practitioners, researchers, dentists, doulas, chiropractors, gardeners, nurses, writers, grandparents, and activists. We even had a 6-day old baby bring his mom!

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If you attended, please share your observations in the comment area below, and send us your pictures, too. If you weren’t able to attend, the event was filmed! You are invited to pre-reserve your copy of the DVD by contacting us.

After the event, we reached out to some of our most experienced colleagues who attended and asked for the insights they gleaned. They are seasoned moms, many are also professionals, who are working hard to heal their children. They have worked with some of the biggest names in biomedical treatment and alternative medicine, and are very familiar with most healing protocols.

crowd-Cranford-5-3-14-cropWhen we asked them what they learned, they sent us bite-sized “knowledge nuggets,” which we highlight below. Many of these nuggets, along with recipes, links, and other details are provided in the speaker handout that was distributed at the event.

14 Pearls of Wisdom From the Event

#1: Give Your Children “Food Memories.”
“I love this idea. My daughter and I are doing a lot of cooking together. We assembled laminated recipes over spring break. Though I am getting her involved and working with her to help make food a way of life, I had never considered the idea to give her food memories. That so resonates with me.

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#2: Top Five Detoxifying Food Categories. “While I had thought of them as foods that are good for us, I had never thought of most of these foods (except chlorella, parsley, and cilantro) as detoxifying.” (From the handout.)

#3: Get A Rainbow Of Colors Daily.
It’s not enough to eat greens. We should look for vibrant colors packaged by Nature. These include red cabbage, orange peppers, red beets, blueberries, pomegranates, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, pumpkin or sweet potato, and more. They contain phytochemicals and nutrients, occurring naturally only in plants, that promote good health and lower disease risk in ways that we don’t fully understand.

#4: Top Five Raw Goodies.
No having to measure out ingredients! Keep it simple. Just feel your way while having fun. Kids will love “raw pies” and playing “hide the date.” (From the handout.)

#5: Top Food Related Podcasts.
“Dan the Forager” shared his top five podcasts in the handout. Fearless Parent Radio™ is featuring innovative voices in food and nutrition, including guests Chris Kresser and ThePaleoMom (Sarah Ballantyne), and hosts Kelly Brogan, Judy Converse, and Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist. Load them onto your phone or iPad, and listen during meal prep or your commute.

#6: Get The Food Schedule in September.
Ask your child’s teacher for the food-related calendar in advance, and have a conversation. By planning ahead, you won’t get smacked with the need to come up with alternative foods at the last minute. You’re also sending the teacher the message that it’s important to your child’s health and enlisting her as an ally.

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#7: Teach Your Kid To Be A Food/Mood Detective.
When they eat something that causes a tummy ache, an itchy rash, or irritability, make the connections for your children. It’s a big idea that’s worth impressing on them early. They may resist at first, but keep at it. Children also want to feel good.

#8: Watch The Clock For Food-Related Meltdowns.
Parents can be food detectives, too. When your child has a meltdown, make note of the time. The next day, 30 minutes prior to meltdown time, feed your child a slow burning carb with quick glucose availability, such as sweet potato chips, and see if that makes a difference.

#9: GAPS-Friendly Honey Caramels.
Yum! (From the handout.) The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet has its foundation in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and is used for healing digestive disorders.

#10: Paleo Smoothies.
Customize ingredients based on picky palates. Protein sources include ghee, nut butters, pastured egg yolks, coconut oil, hemp or flax seeds, and collagen hydrolysate. For sweetness and flavor, try tart cherries and/or other favorite fruits and raw cocoa powder. Add coconut butter, and/or fermented coconut water, coconut milk, or filtered water. Blend! (More breakfast ideas in the handout.)

#11: Recipe Means “Prescription” In French.
Who knew? This isn’t a new idea, that food is medicine and has the power to heal.

#12: Go To Bed And Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day.
The biological processes of living things, including plants, humans, animals, and bacteria, are governed by rhythms, routines, and schedules that synchronize with the light cycle (day/night). We’re not meant to eat and sleep haphazardly. Standardizing meals and rest will go a long way towards promoting health (for one, it helps to regulate your adrenals!).

#13: Find The Sweetness In Life.
Humans are programmed to love sugar. We evolved to crave it, store it, and use it. For millions of years, all was in balance, because sugar was rare. It’s no longer rare, to put it mildly. Between the sugar we eat on purpose and the sugar we eat by accident, we’re eating mind boggling amounts. However, food isn’t all that’s sweet. How about a kiss, a hug, a love note? Perhaps we’d eat less sugar if we consciously added a bit more non-food sweetness into our lives.

#14: Stop The Apologies and Be Fearless.
“After listening to the many, varied speakers and panelists, I feel more confident and reassured about what I’m working so hard to do in my family. I felt at home surrounded by so many like-minded people who, at the heart of it all, just want to heal and provide a safe environment for their children and loved ones. I was in awe listening to so many unique yet similar stories of parents making great strides in healing their children’s physical and developmental symptoms and illnesses. I’m going to stop apologizing for my food choices. If we are not fearless, how can we expect our children to be?”

Event DVD available for donation or purchase!

Reflections From Our Medical Director
Kelly Brogan, MD talks about health all day long. She speaks with patients in a clinical setting. Her friends and family, colleagues, and random people off the street ask her for advice. And she attends and speaks at a lot of conferences. I asked what she thought about our Cranford and other Fearless Parent events:

“While personalized medicine is a journey of guided exploration and investigation into a patient and how she lives in her own ecosystem, these events offer an opportunity to provide wellness information, dispel injurious health myths, and to provide resources to the audience. I had the chance to speak with many women after the presentation and felt able to guide them in these ways. It’s incredibly satisfying.”

Attendees were grateful to have access to our experts throughout the day, during the Q&A, and at their exhibitor tables.

Fantastic Ideas From Our Exhibitors

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As we do our research and start to make changes, it can feel scary and uncomfortable when we realize we need to be using different stuff. We seek community for support. We also rely on a constellation of high integrity providers for new products and services.

Our sponsors know the struggle. Many of these businesses are founded by individuals who have been on their own healing journey. Some have children with special health concerns. They stepped up to provide better products and services for all of us. We believe in them and appreciate what they do. They’re listed here.

I have to say, it was difficult prying people away from the exhibitor area. The room was filled with samples and giveaways, raffles and auction items, and rustling gift bags from nearly 100 exhibitors, sponsors, and vendors. It was an intoxicating mix of knowledge, resources, and the sheer fun of discovering a new product or service.

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Exhibitor highlights included:

  • health coaching and nutrition services
  • new snack, food, restaurant options
  • organic and wheat-free markets
  • benefits of a compounding pharmacy
  • all natural insect repellent
  • vegetable gardening services
  • Cranford-5-3-14-48How Food Makes Us Sick, Keeps Us Well, Drives Us Crazy
    nutritional supplements and digestive enzymes
  • nature as an astonishing source of food, medicine, nourishment, and sacred connection, and
  • some of the most pure, innovative, and indulgent personal care products infused with organic ingredients, essential oils, and flower essences.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, attendees walked away with a ton of stuff, including food, supplements, massages, restaurant gift cards, books, a beautiful photography package, a mood elevating session and guided hike, backyard organic gardens, and gorgeous food and skincare gift baskets.

We are cooking up new ways to collaborate with our likeminded sponsors. If you’d like to learn more, contact us!

What’s Next?


How Food Makes Us Sick, Keeps Us Well, Drives Us Crazy

You tell us! Fearless Parent is growing. We’re adding team members, radio show hosts, sponsors, volunteers, and groups that want to collaborate with us. We’d love to hear from you. What should be the topic of our next event? Do you have some great speakers to recommend? Send us a list of the best books you’re reading this summer. Blog for us. Tell us what’s on your mind!

Louise is especially grateful to the dedicated team of event volunteers led by the amazing Valeri Sewald. And she thanks Cornelia Mazzan and Alison MacNeil for so many things, including their help with this post.



  • Amanda Smyth

    I just want to thank Fearless Parent for making going against the grain (no pun intended) a bit easier. Sometimes I feel a little crazy out their on my own and I felt so grounded and empowered to take control of the choices I am making for my family’s health. This event was wonderful, I found the speakers to be so helpful, I came away with some new ideas and wonder products. I’ve been able to share some of the info from the goody bags with some dear friends who are just beginning this journey. Thank you for the incredible effort to bring about change! Words can not express my gratitude!

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