10 Signs Your Child Needs a Diet Change | Diet For Children

“Don’t Eat Anything Your Great Grandmother Wouldn’t Recognize as Food.” 

Our kids are overfed and undernourished.

It’s time to stop blaming the child for the chronic issues that he cannot help.  It’s time to dig deeper than a simple diagnosis to something chronically plaguing your child.  It’s time to find the patterns, connect the dots, and look at the bigger picture.  It’s time to stop making excuses, and follow your instincts. This is not a “Stop eating gluten” post – or a post meant for parents to jump on the latest food bandwagon.  I am writing with the hopes that parents will be able to truly help their children.  Our guts, and our children’s guts, are in bad shape.  Even if you have an organic garden outside of your back door, there may still be reason to work on healing your gut.  I suggest reading The Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride.  Through her research, she has determined a distinct correlation between unhealthy intestinal flora, poor digestion and toxicity from chemicals created by undigested foods, which can severely affect brain chemistry. The research for this article hits me at my core, as I have a child with more than one symptom on this list.  We have helped him through diet, but it will be a lifelong dietary acceptance on his part, and truly healing the gut to prevent the chronic symptoms and to heal himself. This research also has me looking more closely at my other children.  Small signs that have gone overlooked for years (due to us figuring out our one child’s gut issues) are rearing their ugly heads and making me realize it’s time for a diet overhaul in our home. Note: Even if you were told your child was born with one these conditions, or that he was genetically predisposed, remember that in utero, a fetus is exposed to the gut flora of the mother.  Those bacteria become the foundation to his own gut health, which can be the very reason a doctor is telling you his ‘problems’ were inherited.

10 Signs Your Child Needs a Diet Change

This is a list of outward signs that the gut is in distress.  While there are several other possible signs, these are the most commonly seen and easy to relate to.  While every child is different, and how you will heal your child’s gut will vary from the next family, it is possible to alter the diet, eliminating the processed foods, dyes, and artificial sugars, and remove trigger foods.  The key is figuring out what your child’s trigger foods are.  If anything on this list jumps out at you, please look into closely following an elimination diet.  (My family has used Whole30, partial GAPS, and the Feingold Diet – with my son showing huge success on Feingold with other food allergens and triggers eliminated.) Red Flags:
  • Sporadic Emotions: High highs and low lows; sudden tantrums or more extreme tantrums than normal.
    • Research shows that essential fatty acids (specifically Omega3) aid the body in balancing emotions and keeping a stable feeling of contentment or happiness. The body is not able to create essential fatty acids on its own, so you have to get them from what you eat. There are two forms of EFAs (omega-3 and omega-6), and they are found in the membranes of every cell in the body.
  • Bed-wetting
    • One of the first ways the body excretes toxins is through urine.  When toxic urine comes into the bladder, it irritates and causes a chronic underlying inflammation in the mucous membranes of the bladder and urethra. As a result, the child does not have a chance to get to the bathroom – and may not even wake.  (Daytime urinating is more frequent)
  • Thrush/Yeast Infection
    • Most infants (and mothers) will experience this with breastfeeding, and almost everyone assumes it is just normal.  They use a natural yeast killer or take a prescription (which is then a double-headed sword! An unhealthy gut being fed an antibiotic!) and continue on without a second thought.  The truth is that the yeast is a sign of an unhealthy gut.
  • Hyperactivity
    • Hyperactivity is related to the brains ability to process information and remain calm at the same time. Children with hyperactivity tend to have poor intestinal flora and digestion. Put down the prescription and pick up the GAPS book. A prescription is going to mask the symptoms while worsening the underlying issue.
  • Dry Skin, Rashes, Acne, Eczema, Cradle Cap, Dandruff
    • Fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K are linked to keeping the skin moist.  But a diet rich in sugars and carbohydrates, processed/refined food, caffeine, alcohol, rancid oils and fats leads to skin irritations.  The gut is directly linked to the skin; heal the gut. Heal the skin.
  • Anxiety or Depression
    • While both anxiety and depression are thought to be neurological illnesses, the gut is linked directly to the brain. Studies have shown that inflammation may be involved in the development of depression. Depression is frequently associated with gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases, all which can be treated through diet and gut repair.
  • Delayed Speech
    • (This one really hits home with my son) B12 deficiency is linked to speech delays.  While increasing the natural sources (organic chicken and beef, wild caught fish) have your child tested before supplementing.  As speech is processed in the brain, the ‘wiring’ may not correctly connect due to an unhealthy gut.
  • Cavities
    • While sugary foods, or a bottle of sugary milk at bedtime can cause cavities, I am talking about chronic cavities.
    • Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist known for his theories on the relationship between teeth and nutrition, found that cavities resulted from a deficiency in proper minerals, and also a deficiency in fat soluble vitamins that are needed to absorb and assimilate the minerals.
  • Obesity
    • When we eat foods that aren’t nutrient dense, our bodies are hungry. The body becomes starved for good nutrition and that’s why you won’t feel satisfied when eating highly processed foods and/or foods devoid of nutrients. Our bodies were meant to feel satisfied with a balance of all foods.
  • Frequent Illness (Colds/Flus)
    • It is easy to blame childhood colds on school, playdates, or surrounding environments, but the truth is that healthy children don’t get sick.  A child with a healthy gut has the proper bacteria to increase immunity and is less susceptible to other children’s germs.  There’s something to be said about serving a homemade bowl of Grandma’s chicken soup to help you feel better.  Chances are that soup consisted of a bone broth simmered for days with local, fresh raised chicken or beef bones.  This explains why it actually made people feel better. (Canned soup? Not so much.)
I know that I said this was a list of ten, but I feel like these VERY obvious signs needs mentioned:  FOOD ALLERGIES  (If your child has food allergies, there is reason to ensure that all foods that cause any reaction are eliminated from his diet) and Chronic Constipation or Diarrhea. Research shows that iron and vitamin D deficiency are both common in children without showing obvious signs, but can be linked to many illnesses and chronic problems. These levels should be tested annually.   Resources: http://www.isodisnatura.ca/conseil_d_utilisation.257.htm https://www.womentowomen.com/inflammation/balancing-your-omega-3-fatty-acids-essential-for-health-and-long-life/ http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/11/probiotics-send-signals-from-your-gut-to-your-skin.aspx http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19931062 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/06/can-inflammation-in-this-organ-be-at-the-root-of-your-depression.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/12/beware--bacteria-growing-in-your-gut-can-influence-your-behavior.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/03/probiotics-impact-brain-performance.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/05/adhd-glyphosate.aspx http://realfoodforager.com/the-meat-of-b12-deficiency-interview-with-sally-m-pacholok-r-n-b-s-n/ http://www.westonaprice.org/book-reviews/gut-and-psychology-syndrome-by-natasha-campbell-mcbride/ http://www.moodcure.com/good_mood_foods.html http://www.youandyourchildshealth.org/youandyourchildshealth/articles/leaky%20gut.html                 [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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