The Munchies- A Happy, yet barely tolerable side-effect of Cannabis

Do you remember that time when you got high and you couldn’t stop eating? When your hunger was insatiable and nothing stood in the way of you and repeated trips to the kitchen? Anyone who has toked up knows this feeling very well, and we fondly call it the munchies. There is little one can do to end the driving hunger that continues to pang even louder with every sweet-toothed thought for food pops into your mind. Cheetos, M&M’s, freezer burritos, PB&J, Cereal, Ice Cream. Everything that you can think of is a sugar charged, starch-laden dopamine receptor activating hunk of unhealthiness that tastes absolutely divine while high.

Choosing to consume an entirely organic, vegetarian diet, the munchies evolve. You go from grabbing the big bag of chips, a 44 ounce soda and candy bars to grabbing an apple, granola bars or yogurt. You go from breezing through a McDonalds drive through, to choosing a recipe, preparing and making a meal at home. Things change, but the munchies stay the same, even when eating healthy and organic; you still crave those “tasty” things in life- Every cannabis user, medicinal or recreational can attest to this. As an adult it is not too difficult a task to show some discipline in your diet and make healthy food choices even when you have the Munchies. Children on the other hand are an entirely different story.

What do you do when your child has the munchies?

With more and more parents choosing to use Cannabis as a therapy for their child’s condition, it becomes increasingly clear that children will undoubtedly experience the munchies. They will take their dose of Full extract Cannabis oil and be well on their way to a euphoria riddled with laughter and hunger. As they step out of the shadow of their illness and shed the pain and lack of appetite they will begin to eat- at first little by little, and then suddenly their appetite is insatiable and they are voraciously eating you out of house and home. No parent will complain of this, as lack of appetite is ever present with many childhood diagnoses, and feeding tubes sometimes accompany these issues causing compounded problems of their own.

Some parents gladly receive this change whole-heartedly and let their child eat themselves silly allowing that little belly to be bombarded by any food they can stuff in their little mouths. Sooner than later all the lost weight returns, and the gains begin. Pounds are gained, filling out their famished bodies, cheeks no longer look gaunt and recessed, and the hunger keeps driving them incessantly into the kitchen accompanied by the Mommy and Daddies happily unwrapping and handing.

There comes a time though when the lack of oversight on the nutritional content of the foods being consumed begins to take a negative toll on the body. Most all of today’s modern processed food is devoid of real nutrition; instead it is infused with all manner of additives: stabilizers, mold-inhibitors, preservatives and coloring agents. High-Fructose corn syrup reigns as king of sweeteners in 90% of products available on store shelves. I have even found Corn Syrup in applesauce, Wheaties and many other commonly thought of as healthy products. In today’s marketplace it is as if the food is imported from an alien world, genetically modified, processed, re-processed, put into a box and dumped into your stove-top pot where it will be cooked up and consumed by you. I won’t even get into the realities of fast-food and the havoc it wreaks on your organs, it is a mostly well-understood albeit slightly taboo subject to breach in this article.

As a parent of a Cannakid you have to be able to balance what your child eats, as well as know when to say no. Kids are picky eaters to begin with; the texture, the looks and smells of new or exotic foods intimidate a child right out of tasting and enjoying. Children lack to knowledge and understanding of what diet is to the body, most of today’s adults suffer the same condition. How many modern Americans cook food from scratch the way nature gave it to us? Those of you thinking, “I do,” are born of a dying breed. Convenience and taught consumerism has plagued the Betty Crocker right out of most men and women. Instead meals are made from a box or taken from a drive-through window.  Children have learned this behavior from you, as well as taught from corporate advertising.

As a parent of an ill or disabled child, you already have your plate full; learning what diet is best for your child’s specific condition can be difficult for some. This sometimes involves learning new cooking methods, searching out new recipes to try; and a lot of hoping that the kids will eat them. Many parents retreat from sternness with their child’s diet due to the inability to win the war with a stubbornly picky eater. Hours can be spent sitting at table in front a plate in a child’s mind- the imagination can run wild and the food can be forgotten until they are sent to bed.  These parents commonly turn to the stand by junk foods in hopes of not losing the joyful gains in weight over the preceding weeks.

If you are lost on what to do with the munchies, you have to take a step back and think about what you are expecting from your child. Are you expecting your child to become a nutritionist and make only healthy food choices that ensure a long healthy life? Or are you expecting your child to be a child and eat mostly good foods while avoiding the peppers and mushrooms? Everyone expectations are different, and none are wrong; though some are harder to achieve than others. Once you have your expectations figured out, you can try these ten steps on for size.

                          10 Steps to achieving the munchies peace of mind:

1.       Introduce healthier elements into foods that your child already likes.For example, offer blueberry pancakes covered in cinnamon applesauce instead of syrup, carrot muffins, finely diced bell pepper in a potato salad, steamed veggies and pineapple over rice. Try and hide hemp seeds in everything you can.
2.       Include your kids in the prep work. By being involved in grocery shopping and food preparation, your kids will have more interest in the food at mealtime. If they feel some ownership over the meal, they may be more likely to eat it, much like curiosity and the cat; If they make it, they will have to try it J
3.       Don’t buy unhealthy foods. Out of sight, out of mind. Throw out the Corn Syrup! If the chips and cookies aren’t around, your kids can’t eat them. They may resist at first, but when they get hungry, they’ll start munching the carrot sticks and apple slices. Keep healthy foods lining the pantries — Water and 100 percent juice instead of colas, Kool-Aid and other sugary drinks; a bag of apples instead of a bag of chips.
4.       Schedule snack time and stick to it. This one is a very difficult one even though most kids enjoy routine. If your kids know they will only get food at certain times, they’ll eat what they get when they get it. Try to have snacks incorporate two food groups. For example, offer cheese and quinoa crackers or apple slices with an organic vanilla bean yogurt or cottage cheese with mandarin oranges.
5.       Have healthy finger foods available. Kids like to pick up foods, so give them foods they can handle. Fruit and veggie chunks (raw or cooked) are the best and healthiest finger-food options. Please do away with the cold hot-dog theory that should have died out long ago.
6.       Repeal the “clean your plate” rule. Kids know when they’re full just like you do, so let them stop. Overeating is one of the major reasons we get too many calories and end up overweight. When you switch from processed man-made foods to earth grown and natural foods, your body reacts to the amount of these foods differently- they are more filling.
7.       Encourage kids to “eat their colors.” This game works well with younger kids. Food that’s bland in color often also lacks nutrients. Eating a variety of brightly colored foods provides more nutrients in greater variety.
8.       Don’t cut out treats altogether. Think moderation. A scoop of ice cream or a serving of cookies is all right occasionally. If you cut out all the goodies, your kids will be more likely to overeat when they do get them. Make sure to moderate the treat consumption. You can also make homemade pies, cobblers and sweetbreads as a treat that is even better.
9.       Veg out at the dinner table, not the TV. Eating in front of the TV is distracting, and kids may not notice that they’re full because they’re wrapped up in the show. Respectively, the kids may get lost in the show and forget to eat. Eating as a family is a great time to catch up- if you don’t have a family sized table, sit on pillows around your coffee table.
10.   Be a good role model. The best way to influence kids is by example. Don’t expect them to eat spinach if you won’t touch it. If you as a parent state that you do not like a particular food or dish, 99% your child will take suit and be just like you, only because you said so. So Moms and Dads- it is time to get over the dislikes and pickiness, take up your forks, keep calm and carry on, spinach, Swiss chard and kale really are delicious and nutritious.

If all else fails:
Resort to Yo Gabba Gabba for their lovely, encouraging, effective and highly entertaining, “Party in My Tummy” song.



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