• Exclusion diet/ Food intolerance/ Health/ Immune system - healing/ Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

    Food Intolerance in Your Children stats reveal all

    Food_Intolerance_and_your_Children

    Food intolerance and Autoimmunity are epidemic but are harder to spot in children and yet this younger generation are likely to be much more affected than their parents. So how do you deal with food intolerance in your children?

    10 Signs Your Child Has a Food Sensitivity and What to Do About It

    If your child has a food allergy, you are probably already aware if, for example, he gets hives after he eats strawberries, or he can’t breathe around peanuts. Because of this immediate immune response or IgE reaction, food allergies are typically very easy to determine.  Harder to pinpoint however are food sensitivities, which are IgG or delayed immune reactions.  These IgG reactions can be very difficult to recognize because of the vague and often wide range of symptoms that may take up to 72 hours to display themselves.

    Food sensitivities can develop over time, often because of over consumption of these foods and imbalances in the gut microbiome.  The top five food sensitivities I see in children are: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs.  The potential consequences of consuming these foods if your child has a sensitivity to one of them are inflammation which can lead to a leaky gut and chronic illnesses such as autoimmune diseases in the future.

    So what are the signs of food sensitivities in your child and how do you test for them?

    10 Signs Your Child Has a Food Sensitivity

    1. Stomach aches

    2. Constipation and diarrhea

    3. Fatigue, joint pain, and muscle pain

    4. Frequent infections, especially of the ears and throat

    5. Skin irritation and rashes

    6. Behavioral issues

    7. ADD/ADHD or other problems with concentration

    8. Unexplained weight gain or loss

    9. Frequent bed wetting

    10. Autism Spectrum Disorder

    via 10 Signs Your Child Has a Food Sensitivity and What to Do About It – Amy Myers MD

    If you are concerned then the way forward is to do an elimination diet for at least two weeks. During this time it is important to leave out all traces of the suspect foods – do not believe that you can get away with ‘just a little’ as this will trigger an immune response that can last quite awhile.

    I will not pretend that it is easy to do this with a child, especially if they are not with you all the time. Maybe starting during a school holiday could make it easier and being prepared before starting is very important. Plan meals and ideas, shop in advance and put all eliminated foods out of sight. The good news is that your child might start to feel and react better within just a few days and therefore they won’t necessarily want those foods.

    Children react better when they know why they are doing something therefore, depending on age, explain that you want them to feel better so you would like to try some different meals and maybe do some prep or cooking together. Try not to get into a situation where they want something and you haven’t got a good substitute on hand!

    If avoiding wheat and gluten then there are good pastas made from brown rice, gluten free breads, and gluten free cakes – but these can be high in sugar and it is cheaper and safer to make your own.

    If avoiding Dairy there are several milk alternatives – coconut, almond, rice milk, dairy free spreads, dairy free cheeses etc. There is dairy and soy free chocolate and there are recipes for easy desserts using these.

    Gelatin is a substance that helps heal the gut lining, so if your child likes jelly this is good addition to their diet.

    The symptoms listed above are all symptoms that the gut and maybe the brain’s natural barriers have become damaged and foreign proteins are getting into places they shouldn’t normally. This causes inflammation and poor communication between cells. One of the foods that can add to this reaction is sugar and processed flours and cereals. In adults I always advise cutting these out of the diet while doing an elimination but in children I would normally say just to cut it down as much as possible. One thing that helps stabilise the blood sugar is to eat fat and protein at the same time therefore to have a little something sweet with a meal is much better than having it between meals. My son doesn’t like eggs so for breakfast he would have a rice cereal with coconut milk and then a slice of ham.

    Healthy fats like olive oil, olives, coconut oil, avocado, nut butter (pref. not peanut initially), eggs, fatty meat and oily fish are very beneficial. If you have read some of my other articles you will see that we are moving more to a LCHF diet (Low Carbohydrate High Fat diet) and this is very beneficial for children. The brain is made of mainly fat and it burns fat very well for energy. Breast milk is 25% saturated fat and that is what a fast growing body needs. if a child has enough fat in their diet they will have much more sustained energy.

    After an elimination diet you may decide to leave some of the foods off permanently or some you may find you can reintroduce one at a time with no ill effect.

    Their Health, and yours, will definitely improve if you can maintain a more LCHF diet.

    Here are some more LCHF tips from a Mum of three who has made a success of it at home and through getting the message out across the world – so that the next generation will be healthier and happier.

     

    Low Carb Kids

    The importance of whole food nutrition in children’s health and development cannot be stressed enough. All children will benefit from lowering their sugar and carbohydrate intake, especially from processed and junk foods.

    For Low Carb Kids the emphasis should be on feeding them tasty nutrient dense meals. Children shouldn’t be relying on sugars, grains and high carb snacks. Low carb is all about going back to basics – meat, vegetables, low sugar fruit, seeds, nuts and healthy fats. Real food is simple food.

    Many critics think we advocate no carb, but we are low carb. The biggest sources of carbs should be vegetables, nuts, dairy and berries, rich with vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.

    Children need to receive all the nutrients required for their growing bodies but can easily do without the sugars and carbs of the modern diet. By removing processed junk food from their diet, children become low carb almost by default.

    High carb vs. Low carb

    By reducing processed food and high carb foods from children’s meals you reduce their risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay and other diseases of metabolic dysfunction. You improve their nutrition, concentration, mood, immunity, energy, and develop their appreciation for real food over processed foods.One of the most valuable lessons we can teach children is the importance of real food, cooking, nutrition and health. What we feed our children will have an impact on their growing bodies now and will have an impact on their health in the future. Chronic diseases don’t happen overnight, but over a period of time with extended periods of exposure to high sugars, high carbs, unhealthy oils and inflammatory foods.

    Why lower the carbs? When children eat low carb nutritious meals they avoid the high/low blood sugar roller coaster, they avoid energy slumps and more importantly, they avoid all the inflammatory elements of our modern diet. Children do not need the volume of carbs they consume. Many parents are unaware of how much sugar is hidden in everyday foods. 77% of processed food has added sugar. Take a look at the 2 lunchboxes and compare their carb values.

    The rapidly absorbed carbs, which spike blood glucose, also crowd out nutrition. For example, the nutritious element in a chicken salad sandwich is the filling, the bread is just a bulking agent that adds almost nothing nutritionally to the meal. In fact any vitamins the packaging may claim have probably added during the manufacturing process. By removing bread/pasta/rice from a meal, your children will fill up on fresh vegetables, good quality protein and healthy fats instead.

    What about fat? – Healthy fats are essential for hormone production, healthy brain function, tissue development, appetite control and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Children especially need Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy eye and brain development. Avoid the low fat products as they generally have added sugar to improve the flavour and texture. Choose healthy fats such as olive oil, butter, coconut oil, oily fish, nuts, seeds, eggs and meat. Stop using seed oils which are inflammatory and incredibly processed.

    Fruit and vegetables? These should be the biggest source of carbs for children. They are also a valuable source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Fruit and vegetables should not be seen as equal. Fruit is incredibly high in fructose so choose low sugar fruits such as berries and limit them to once or twice a day. Cut back on tropical fruit such as melons and pineapple and avoid dried fruit completely. Fruit juice can contain as much sugar as some sodas. A glass of juice is not the equivalent of eating 6 oranges, it is equivalent to the sugar in 6 oranges. Eating whole fruit is self-limiting due to the fibre, drinking juice is not. Many “fruit juices” are actually sugared water with fruit flavours.

    Why grain free? Don’t be fooled by the healthy wholegrain message. Modern wheat is not the same as what our ancestors ate. Wheat and grains are now found in almost all processed foods and so many people are now consuming grains at every meal and every snack, crowding out nutrition and increasing inflammation with high blood sugars. Grains are used to fatten animals before slaughter and force-fed to geese to produce fatty livers (foie gras). Eating more vegetables by far compensates for any loss of fibre and vitamins from a wholegrain roll. Grains are high carb and rapidly absorbed, leading to sugar and insulin spike.

    So instead, let’s crowd out the junk. Encourage your children to eat more vegetables, meat, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. Encourage and teach your children to cook. Encourage them to choose new things from the vegetable aisle. Praise them each time they try something new. Help them develop a taste for real food and enjoyment of cooking. Cook and prepare food together. Have fun.

    With encouragement and guidance you too can help your children eat real food.

    Top Tips

    1. One meal at a time – if you have a fussy eater, your household will not be a happy one if you go straight in and change everything overnight. Change or remove only one element at a time. Remove (or reduce) the most obvious place sugar lurks such as sweets, cakes and ice cream, then cut back on bread, pasta and other high carb foods. Be proud of any changes you make, and strive for improvement not perfection.
    2. Be organized – plan your meals and have plenty of fresh food at hand. Have some boiled eggs in the fridge, leftovers in the freezer, fresh vegetable pre cut in containers, tins of tuna in the pantry. Prepare extra vegetables each night, ready for the next day’s snacks or lunch box.
    3. Make double dinners – leftovers are king and are such an easy way to prepare for school lunches. Cooked sausages, roast meat, quiche, meatballs or eggs any way are always popular options. Fill your freezer with leftovers. Learn to love your freezer!
    4. Reduce the bread – try bread free lunches once or twice a week, increasing until you are bread free. Try thin wraps or open sandwiches to cut back for really reluctant children.
    5. Involve your children – give them a limited choice of healthy foods to choose from so they feel they have some control.
    6. Choices – allow them to leave one vegetable on their plate. This is the trick that really turned my 8 year old around. He felt he had the final control of his dinner, unbeknownst to him I give him more of everything to begin with.
    7. Plan meals – allow them go through LCHF recipe websites and cookbooks to choose meals and recipes. Let them collate their own special cookbook.
    8. Picky eaters – all children love picking at food and eating small platters. I often put out a selection of vegetables, cold meats and cheeses for their afternoon tea. Buy a lunchbox with small compartments and serve them a buffet.
    9. Healthy fats – at meal times encourage your children to eat their vegetables by putting healthy fats on the dinner table such as butter, grated/shredded cheese, salad dressings and healthy oils. Not only will the flavour be enhanced, it helps them absorb the fat-soluble vitamins from their meal. Pack dips, salsa and sauces to dip their vegetables in at school.
    10. Drinks – start serving water only. Stop allowing them to drink juice or soda. These can be the biggest contributor of sugar in their meal.
    11. Beware – read the labels of foods traditionally given to children such as raisins, muesli bars, fruit yoghurt and cereals. These are often the worst culprits. Find or make your own low sugar alternatives. You will know exactly what goes in them.
    12. Feed them a rainbow – a colourful meal is so more attractive packed with a variety of colour and nutrients.
    13. Stop buying kids meals – most kid’s meals are highly processed junk food packed with inflammatory seed oils, grains and carbs. Pizza, nuggets, pasta, toast and spaghetti with sauce. Start ordering half an adult meal, or split and adult meal between siblings.
    14. Try and try again – moving children onto real food can really be a challenge. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen. Continue to introduce new foods and remove others.

    Don’t be daunted at the start. You can do this. It’s getting back to basics and ditching the processed junk. Here is a month of my children’s school lunches for inspiration (insert link). Have fun preparing meals together and discovering new recipes. So many families have commented that they are cooking for the first time, learning to appreciate real food and excited at the prospect of a healthier lifestyle.

    Don’t think you are depriving your child of junk food, you are teaching them how to eat healthy and remain healthy. You are feeding them the healthy fats and good sources of protein their bodies truly need.

    • Roll ups – use slices of cold meat, nori sheets or lettuce as a wrap and fill with cheese, salad or dips
    • Vegetables – cut in different shapes with a variety of dips
    • Low carb baking – make your old favorites but using sugar and grain free recipes
    • Nut butters
    • Smoothies – with plenty of healthy fats and flavours, it’s amazing what you can hide in a smoothie
    • Tins of tuna
    • Boiled eggs
    • Mini quiches – add their favourite vegetables and meats
    • A variety of nuts
    • Cheese sticks/cubes/slices
    • Billtong/beef jerky
    • Avocados

    We are all busy parents and we do the best we can with what we have. Don’t think this is an impossible task. We are simply feeding our children real nutritious foods. Meals don’t have to be complicated, fussy or difficult, to the contrary, they are generally simple, colourful and fresh.

    Action plan

    1. Stop buying sugary sweets, drinks and baked goods
    2. Start buying real unprocessed whole foods. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket for the fresh produce
    3. Avoid all seed oils and trans fats
    4. Eat nutrient dense foods
    5. Increase your omega 3 from oily fish, avocado, grass fed meat and nuts
    6. Cook at home, eat together

    Remember – we are LOW carb, not NO carb. The emphasis is on the real whole food approach, healthy fats, fresh vegetables and good quality proteins.

    via Low Carb Kids – How to Raise Children on Real Low-Carb Food – Diet Doctor

     

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  • Health

    Constipation in children

    What is normal and what is constipation in children? Normal poop should be soft and easily passed and if it occurs less often than every other day then constipation is likely or could be starting. In babies who are breast fed the poo is paler and yellow and more liquid than formula fed babies. In babies who show signs of constipation the first line of treatment is to supplement boiled and cooled water in between feeds and check their temperature as the most common reason is a degree of dehydration.

    Constipation in children under 5 years old seems to be becoming a much more common and worrying problem. It can affect their behaviour, their appetite and their concentration and it can cause them tummy ache and to feel sick. First actions should always be to get them checked out by their Doctor especially if they have any other symptoms like swollen tummy, severe pain, excessive thirst, weight loss or any blood in their poo. It is important to rule out any underlying disease or condition. If no cause is found then it is called idiopathic constipation and it may respond to increase in fluids, fruit and vegetables and a little prune juice or pure apple juice but in 1 in 3 children it becomes persistent and long-term. Persistent constipation in children can be a symptom of gluten intolerance and /or Dairy intolerance.

    So what goes wrong and why is it worrying? We now know that within the digestive tract we have a huge amount of good bacteria that are essential for our well-being. These bacteria make up what is called our microbiome and it is our own internal ecological system that supports our digestion, nutrition and immune system. We start life with just a few species of bacteria that we acquire from our mothers, in the womb, when giving birth and when breast feeding. Even though our knowledge about the microbiome is fairly recent it has been acknowledged for centuries that the first breast feeds give the baby colostrum and that is very important for the immune system. In the first 6 months the baby will only have about a dozen different species of good bacteria in their gut but by the after the age of 2 years the number of species increases rapidly as the baby interacts with the environment and starts to eat more foods. An adult should have about a thousand different species of good bacteria but this is increasingly not the case and the main reason is antibiotics.

    The younger you are when you have antibiotics the more damage they will inflict. Some antibiotics when taken for a 5-7 day course will alter the microbiome for a couple of years or it may never be the same. If your child has had antibiotics (or the mother has while breastfeeding), or had a severe case of gastroenteritis, it is vital that you try to repair the damage. The main symptoms may be constipation, excessive crying and wind,  poor skin (dry or eczema), poor immune system, failure to thrive and fatigue. Worse and the symptoms may be severe allergies, Asthma or Attention deficit disorders.

    So what are your treatment options? In many cases your Doctor may say that the child is ‘stool holding’ and because it has hurt when they have been to the toilet then they resist the urge to go and it just gets worse. The problem with this is that it doesn’t occur without constipation being a problem in the first instance so it is not a helpful diagnosis on its own. If the Doctor feels that the constipation is severe he may prescribe a laxative. The most frequently used for children are:-

    • Lactulose, an artificial sugar that absorbs water and changes the acidity also discouraging the growth of some of the bacteria in the bowel.
    • Movicol Paediatric plain or Miralax which are osmotic laxatives made of polyethylene glycol, a petroleum derivative similar to ethylene glycol (anti-freeze). These are not approved for children, or adults for more than 7 days use. The FDA has received over 7000 reports since 2001 of adverse symptoms of neurological disturbances and kidney problems.
    • Glycerine Suppositories that have to be inserted into the rectum with a lubricant and the glycerine acts as a stimulant/irritant plus lubricant to make it easier to pass hard stools. This may not work if the suppository is not pushed far enough in or if it is not held in the rectum for at least 20 mins. It can be quite painful and cause some gut spasms. If it does work you still need to follow up on other treatment to get the stools moving down from higher up or it may only be a short-term fix.

    Safer treatments that have the benefit of increasing the immune system are :-

    • Milk of Magnesia for ages 3-12 with a maximum of 30 ml in 24 hours and not for more than 3 days (only use for children under 3 on the advice of your doctor.
    • Prune juice, pure Apple juice & pure Pear juice are well tolerated.
    • Syrup of Figs for children over 1 yr. old following dosage on bottle.
    • Magnesium oil spray on the skin or Magnesium Flakes added to a warm bath before bed and peppermint or fennel warm tea that may help ease wind discomfort and contains natural poly-phenols that also help feed good bacteria and
    • Probiotics – there are good ones available for babies and infants (and breast feeding Mums) by companies like OptiBac and Saccharomyces boulardii that is a specific probiotic that can help kill bad gut bacteria and yeasts.
    • Effervescent Vitamin C drinks of 500 mg -1500 mgs can also be a way of softening and speeding up elimination as the body has a tolerance level of about 2-3 grams for adults and the dose should be lower for children.

    At the same time adjust the diet according to age and stage of weaning by leaving out gluten grains, bread, pasta, processed foods, sugar and increase fibre like porridge, brown rice, freshly ground flax seeds, fruits separate from main meals – especially raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, plums and prunes. Vegetables like sweet potato, jacket potatoes with skin, peas, olives, cucumber, broccoli and Olive oil, coconut oil and ghee or butter and live yoghurt if tolerated, and chocolate/cocoa. Encourage plenty of sugar free drinks like water, herb or fruit teas, as well as pure fruit juice diluted with water a couple of times a day. Re-introduce gluten grains, bread and pasta gradually when bowel movements are normal and if constipation or other symptoms return try omitting them for longer.

    Exercise is always beneficial – get them to learn to Hula Hoop! Specific Yoga moves like doing the Cat and pulling in stomach muscles or lateral twists where you lay on the floor with your arms out to the side and then draw up your knees together and roll them from side to side, while keeping your shoulders on the floor, are good and can be made into a game. Gentle massage to the abdomen is beneficial but only if you start in the bottom right-hand corner and work up in circular movements then across under the ribs and down the left-hand side.

    Most of this advice is just as appropriate for adults with constipation and I will cover digestive well-being for all in a other posts.