Updated: Jun 7
As parents we spend a lot of time telling our kids to clean up their rooms etc., and whilst kid’s bodies do need dirt for the microbial effects, we also need to help them clear what they don’t need or what isn’t working for their individual bodies.
An excess of toxins can manifest as mild symptoms like constipation, hives, headaches, and due to genetics will look different in every child. If we disregard these symptoms, the problems may amplify into something much more severe.
Therefore, for optimal wellness, we need to remove from the body what is hindering it.
To start, food as a definition is something that provides nutrition and nourishment, it transforms cells into ones that function well. Therefore, if the food is causing adverse effects or what we know as inflammation, then it isn’t nourishing them at all.
It can feel very daunting to reduce processed foods. It is in our nature as mothers to want to feed our children, and it is difficult to take away food that they enjoy especially when they’re often already fussy. In my own home it is about balance, if I feel they are eating well and being nourished at least 80% of the time, then I can be relaxed if they want a treat or are at a party or playdate. You can also steer ‘treats’ in a better direction.
Food allergens and sensitivities: How even ‘Healthy’ Foods can hurt
Removing troublesome foods can be the first step towards complete resolution of symptoms for a large amount of children. Even if a ‘condition’ isn’t cured, the change in diet can mitigate symptoms – they might get a full night’s sleep, or suffer less anxiety, be able to reduce some types of medication, or perhaps just GLOW and run around that little bit more.
The best way to work out which foods contribute to your child’s symptoms is to eliminate it for a month, and then reintroduce to see if the symptoms reoccur. Of course, only remove for a longer period under the guidance of a professional such as myself so that you can ensure they don’t suffer deficiencies. Allergies and sensitivities often mean the gut and the immune system are disordered and this involves more complex work and support, but this doesn’t mean that they will persist for life.
Artificial Foods: flavourings, dyes, preservatives, toxic additives
Food additives are used for one reason, to deceive. Instead of investing in real ingredients from fresh food which give the flavours that our bodies really need, the food industry use cheaper chemicals to produce ‘products of food’ that are, well, not food! However, since most parents really do have best intentions at heart, industry experts purposely use labelling to mislead them and make them think what they are buying is ‘natural’ and ‘fresh’. When in fact most food dyes are made from petroleum products. Nearly every pre-prepared food also contains additives – that’s dyes, preservatives, flavourings, binders and texturisers, all designed to make their processed food look like the real thing!
Some examples of the damage food colourings can do; yellow dyes – tartrazine and sunset yellow are xenoestrogens which disrupt our kids hormones, they have also been shown to influence learning behaviour in not just one generation but several after that – known as epigenetics.
Food dyes are in the obvious products – sweets, fizzy drinks, brightly coloured cereals, but even added to seemingly natural foods like yoghurt, soup and even bread.
In 2010 the EU required warning labels to be applied warning of the effects of these things but this often just forces food companies to get more creative with their marketing. The bottom line is that processed food should only form a minimal part of a child’s diet and avoiding these is the first step to healing from a cellular level.
Hint: look out for any ingredient list that has the name of a colour in it.
Sickly sweet food: sugar and sweeteners.
Children desire sugar like nothing else. Whilst there are some children that occasionally miss a dessert, most can be convinced to do anything for a sweet treat. Sugar has become ever-present in food, and it is marketed like mad to children by the food industry. Find out more about the wide prevalence of sugar as well as how you can control cravings in your family and improve your health and happiness in this new e-book.
a. Sugar can be listed as many names or not even listed at all. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup or any corn based syrups.
b. Beware of some protein bars or so called ‘health’ bars, or ‘healthy’ drinks such as vitamin water. ‘No added sugar’ is a ploy. c. Compare carbohydrate and sugar content in processed foods, organic brands usually add less or none. d. Cook for yourself so you can control how much sugar goes in. e. Diet sugars and sweeteners are just as harmful and can have long term effects on the gut, but that’s for a separate post! f. If your child needs sugar then try and look at what else he or she might be craving – try calming herbal teas, foods high in vitamin C, more sleep and activities that promote relaxation and joy.
For more information and ideas for cutting down on sugar in your family, download my free e-book – The Sugar Solution using the sign up link above. Enjoy! Download: https://linktr.ee/functionalherbology