Why Your Child Needs the Right Foods
The stress of grocery shopping makes me want to hurl. Meal planning and list making, week after week, and watching the money be sucked from me… I dread it. But another week is here, and our family of 6 needs fed. I scour Pinterest for ideas. This is part of the problem. There are too many options. There are so many options that it becomes too overwhelming. You give in and order pizza, for the second time this week. You pull freezer meals out or grab a box of macaroni from the pantry. You can’t be perfect, trust me – I get it. But we are basically poisoning our children (and ourselves) by living this way.
It’s time to simplify.
My second child has the highest highs and the lowest lows, is overly sensitive, has severe speech delay, sensory processing disorder, food allergies/sensitivities, and a few other “quirks” as they’ve been called by doctors. All of these were ‘coincidence’ not related. And then the Mama Bear began to ROAR. A mom on a mission does more research than the CIA (this is actually how my love of researching began).
RECORD YOUR BABY'S HEARTBEAT IN AN ADORABLE STUFFED ANIMAL! I dug and dug deeper, read studies, medical journals, and started putting the pieces together on my own. I connected with other families doing the same thing. I then found an amazing pediatrician who not only believed me, but wanted to help us piece this puzzle together. The answer?
His Gut.The gut holds 80% of the immune system and is linked to the skin, the brain, the nervous system, etc. While all of my son’s issues could stand alone, if you listed them all together, they wave a giant flag toward his gut health. Whether it was stress or diet related while in utero, something triggered the foundation of his gut to be quite unhealthy. To make a long (LOOOOONG) story shorter, we had great success with IgG (food sensitivity) testing and following an elimination diet to learn his trigger foods. While truly healing his gut may not happen any time soon (it can be a hard, long process), his symptoms and chronic ‘issues’ become non-issues when we make sure to monitor his diet. Actually, we all benefit from his diet. While we are far from perfect, and we fall down the slippery slope of crap food only to watch it affect our child, we are trying. It is definitely a wake-up call. No one should be consuming things that can alter the body so much.
Why Your Child Needs the Right FoodsNote: Calories do not equal nutrition. Just because your child is eating meals does not make them healthy meals. Store bought, shelved cereal, bread, waffles, granola bars, sandwiches, cookies, crackers, French fries, the list goes on and on… these are not actually foods. They are processed and filled with chemicals, artificial items, and absolutely nothing that benefits the body. They are not just a filler though… they are harming the body.
Even the perfect gut should not be consuming these items.What happens when these chemicals, toxins, and other microbes overgrow in the digestive tract? They transform the gut from a source of nourishment to a source of toxicity. The food that comes along gets digested by this abnormal mass of bacteria, they convert it into hundreds of toxins that flow into the blood stream. These toxins travel through the body affecting different individuals in different ways. If the brain of the child is clogged with toxicity, all of this sensory information cannot be processed properly. This can symptomize as ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, just an emotional or overly strong-willed child. You may see eczema, bumps on the arms, or other rashes. Your child may wet the bed, sleep horribly, or be overly tired. She may have a swollen gut, constipation or loose stool issues. The list of possibilities is pretty long, but it all connects to the health of the gut. How you can help:
- Cut the processed foods out – Read labels and skip boxed and bagged items with a shelf life longer than a week.
- No food dyes – these should NEVER be consumed.
- Stick with whole foods – organic or local meats, organic or fresh dairy items, organic fresh produce. (Flash frozen works too!)
- Think Simple – Don’t spend days on Pinterest. Stick with 5-10 meals that everyone likes and rotate them. Simple meals taste wonderful and are significantly cheaper to prepare than elaborate ones.
There will be a nasty die-off period of detoxing from the sugars and chemicals that the body has come to rely on. A child may even seem worse for a brief amount of time before you see improvement. The hardest part comes after this. After surviving a toxic detox from a child. This is when you will be able to start figuring out which REAL foods affect your child. You can opt for an IgG blood test, or you can follow a true elimination diet (I highly recommend the GAPS diet). Once you have identified which foods trigger an inflammation of the gut (bringing back symptoms you have seen before or new ones), you will then begin to create a lifestyle full of all the foods your child responds well to! I am telling you from experience that this process is worth EVERY.SINGLE.HARD.MOMENT because once you have it figured out, the ‘hard moments’ become a thing of the past. From our personal experience, we had great success with the Whole30, partial GAPS, and the Feingold Diet.