The idea that one can learn to feel and know one's own body and choose foods accordingly is shocking to most people. I wouldn't have thought it sensible or possible, when I was younger, but having given my three children the option to turn down any food, and to try any food, to choose their own quantities of food has shown me a whole different aspect of human learning and instinct.
It should make sense. Early people wouldn't have continued to eat what wasn't good for them if they weren't starving. If they had options, they would have chosen the things that seemed (for whatever range of reasons they might be choosing) good. There are food taboos and preferences all over the world. Some are credited to religion or superstition. Some are medicinal. All were, originally, local.
In a situation in which there is an abundance of food shipped and traded all over the world, then how does one choose? This is what is coming to be called "a first-world problem." In terms of learning, though, in the context of the life of a family choosing unschooling and mindful parenting, the question is answered every time food is bought, presented, consumed or considered.
Joyce Fetterolll, on facebook, on July 20, 2012, in response to someone complaining about
*** the idea that children can eat whenever whatever. ***
It bothers you because you fear that kids can't discover what their bodies need. You fear that certain foods have power to override need.
Those of us who have been radically unschooling for 15+ years had to take it on faith that kids could freely explore food and not become slaves to chemicals and sugar as the natural foodists were certain would happen.
With now adult radically unschooled kids it's safe to state that chemicals and sugar don't control what they eat. They make choices freely based on what they prefer. Kat was a skinny baby, a round pre-teen, a skinny teen and now is an average weight 21 yo. She doesn't crave or avoid sugar. I've seen her leave a single bite of brownie on a plate. She eats what she wants -- and her choices are naturally quite healthy. She stops when she feels done. She *could* have had candy and ice cream and cake for breakfast. But she *chose* more standard fare.
(In fact if she wasn't hungry right away in the morning, the signal that she was ready to eat was sometimes her dipping into the candy bowl that was on the way to the kitchen. I'd then ask if she wanted me to make her something. I can't ever remember her saying no thanks in order to eat candy instead.)
This is very typical of radically unschooled kids.
The Full-Plate Club