Childhood Nutrition: Every Parent Needs to Know - Paula Owens

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Childhood Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Childhood Nutrition (vaccines, chemicals, ADHD, autism) - Paula Owens, MS - Holistic Nutritionist and Functional Health Practitioner

Childhood nutrition, raising healthy happy kids, to vaccinate or not, autism, ADHD, medicated kids: these are hot, emotional topics nowadays. Recently, I’ve been presenting information on Childhood Nutrition, Health & Wellness to the Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) in the Phoenix, AZ area, and wanted to share this valuable information with you as well.

In our quest to live happy, healthy lives, raise healthy kids, and look, think and feel our best, we’ve come up against a few challenges in the past couple of decades with the influx of:

  • Exposure to pesticides, GMOs and harmful chemicals in our food, water and environment
  • Overly stressful lifestyles, over-filled schedules and non-stop busyness
  • Lost art of cooking meals at home and sitting down as a family during meal time
  • Minimal (if any) spirituality, prayer or God
  • Chronic cell phone use and screen addiction
  • Living on stimulants, sugary, nutritionally-void processed foods
  • Excessive overuse of antibiotics, OTC and Rx medications
  • Excessive and multiple vaccination schedule
  • Doctors over-prescribe antidepressants, antibiotics, and psycho-stimulating drugs instead of using high dose fish oil, testing for and ruling out infections, looking at food sensitivities, low blood sugar, poor diet, toxic load, chemical exposure, nutrient deficiencies, and heavy metal toxicity.

Rates of autism, cancer, diabetes, depression, mental health problems, autoimmune disease, and obesity are skyrocketing and at record highs. What’s to blame?

Research has found that as many as one in every 45 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism. Although there isn’t one specific cause for the rise in autism, it is believed that risk of autism, ADHD, asthma and other childhood problems occur from a combination of the following:

  • OTC and prescription medications taken during pregnancy
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) taken during pregnancy or given to babies
  • Environmental toxins and chemical exposure
  • Infections (viral infections and yeast, fungal, bacterial, parasites, H.pylori, Candida overgrowth) during pregnancy
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Methylation problems and defective MTHFR gene
  • Inflammation. Women with high levels of inflammation have a significantly greater risk of having a child with autism combined with intellectual disability.
  • Multiple vaccinations
  • Gut dysfunction, leaky gut and an altered microbiome. Studies have found that there is a direct link between autism and decreased gut microbial diversity.
  • Inborn errors of the metabolism
  • Food sensitivities
  • Multiple nutrient deficiencies

Every person with behavior problems, depression, ADHD, an autoimmune disease or autism is unique. “Treating ADHD, behavioral issues, depression, and even autism as a body disorder that affects the brain gives us many treatment choices. Children treated in this way can often have dramatic and remarkable, if not miraculous recoveries.”  — Mark Hyman, MD

Childhood Nutrition, Health & Wellness

What Every Parent (and parent-to-be) Needs to Know

Use food as medicine. Feed your children (and yourself) real food. Real food is nutrient-dense, unprocessed, anti-inflammatory, organic, humanely-raised, tastes better, provides satiety, and nourishes the body (and the brain).

Childhood Nutrition - Real Food for Lunch Nutrition is the initial key to turn around any behavioral problem, mood disorder or health condition that already exists or to prevent one from occurring, raise IQ, and improve school performance.

Start the day with a protein-rich breakfast and include some healthy fat and fiber from veggies, leafy greens or berries. Diets that are higher in healthy fats have a highly beneficial impact on brain function and behavior. Pack a healthy school lunch. At home, offer your children only nutritious choices. Food is medicine or food is poison.

Food sensitivities. Common culprits include sugar, pasteurized dairy products, casein, corn, wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, peanuts, tomatoes, artificial sweeteners, HFCS, food additives, colors and dyes, and chemical-laden, nutrient-deficient, addictive, and processed frankenfoods. Start by eliminating one item at a time every couple of weeks.

A study in the journal Lancet concluded that food dyes and the preservative sodium benzoate (found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings) trigger significant hyperactivity and distractibility. This study also found that food additives and dyes can do as much damage to children’s brains as lead found in gasoline.

Radical improvements are seen in autistic, ADHD and in fact all children when dairy, wheat, gluten, grains, sugar, sugary beverages (milk, soda, fruit juices), corn, artificial sweeteners and processed junk foods are completely eliminated from their diet and they’re nourished with real, nutrient-dense foods.

Cook meals at home. Teaching children how to cook, grocery shop and educating them about the importance of healthy foods by preparing meals at home is crucial to improving their health, behavior and performance. Value the importance of sitting down together as a family during meal time. Families who cook and eat together are healthier, have stronger relationships, do better in school, and are less likely to overeat.

Grow your own food. By exposing children to gardening, they can explore where their food comes from and learn to appreciate it more! Kids are five times more likely to eat vegetables when they have grown it themselves. Students who participate in school gardening score significantly higher on tests. Their habits and attitudes about fruits and veggies change, which can encourage healthier eating choices. They also learn about the environment and nature.  Add in cooking lessons and some daily meditation at home and in the classrooms, and we’d see profound transformation in their attitudes, behavior, health, and lifestyle.

Sleep! Kids need sleep and they’re not getting it. Sleep deprivation affects mood, behavior and concentration, and is often misdiagnosed as ADHD. Prepare your child’s body, mind and environment for restful sleep. Circadian rhythms are produced by natural factors within the body and also affected by the environment, specifically artificial light. Disrupted circadian rhythms are a major source of stress and have a negative impact on sleep quality, hormones, performance, energy levels, mood, gut microbiome, physical strength, and behavioral, hormonal and metabolic function.

Our natural innate state wants to go to sleep with the sundown and awake with the sunrise. Humans and animals have done this since the beginning of time. This is especially important for growing children.

Minimize screen time. Children’s brains are extremely sensitive to EMFs. Heavy use of electronics overload the sensory system and deplete mental reserves. Heavy electronic use has a significant negative effect on children’s behavior, communication, problem solving and social skills, mental and emotional health, sleep, mood, memory, cognition, attention, and school performance. Keep electronics out of the bedroom. Do NOT use a tablet or any electronic device as a babysitter for infants and toddlers. Less screen time allows the nervous system to return to a more natural state. Children become calmer, stronger and happier.

Educate before you vaccinate. Too many infants and children are being affected, poisoned and injured.

In 1962, there were 5 vaccine doses for children in the U.S up to age 18. In 1983, it increased to 24 doses. In 2016, 72 doses (39 doses by kindergarten)!!!! No studies have been done on the safety of this schedule.

Parents (and parents-to-be) should be well-informed on the excessive vaccination schedule and the neurotoxic, immunosuppressive ingredients in vaccines, including the flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The following substances are found in flu vaccines: aluminum, antibiotics, egg protein, formaldehyde, human aborted fetal apparatus (dead human tissue), monosodium glutamate (MSG), aluminum and thirmerosol (mercury).”

Develop a spiritual connection. Teach children how to meditate, pray, have God time, relaxation techniques and calming breathing exercises. Teaching kids stress management and coping skills such as meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, positive self-talk, and mindfulness helps them balance the nervous system.

Vitamin N (nature) and Sunlight. Play outside. Encourage more outdoor activity and sufficient sunlight. Let kids play in the dirt! A close connection with nature has so many positive benefits. It’s very therapeutic in addressing ADHD, depression, angst and other problems faced by so many kids today, plus spending time in nature naturally increases vitamin D, boosts immunity and improves sleep quality. Research shows that time outdoors, especially interacting with nature restores attention, lowers stress and reduces aggression.

Build strong immunity, limit immune suppressors, avoid prescription and OTC drugs. Instead of running to the doctor and getting a “pill for the ill” or injecting your child (or yourself) with neurotoxic, immuno-suppressive flu vaccines, opt for alternative therapies and natural remedies to support healthy immune function.

Less is more. Back off on some of the extracurricular activities. Many children are over-scheduled and exhausted! Your child doesn’t need to play every sport, instrument and participate in every dance class.

Gut health rules! Test for and rule out underlying gut pathogens with a comprehensive digestive stool analysis. Support a healthy microbiome with a high-quality probiotic supplement. Nearly all autistic children have Candida overgrowth and some sort of gut dysfunction. These toxins greatly influence brain chemistry and lead to all sorts of behavioral problems. An inflamed gut is an inflamed brain. A leaky gut is a leaky brain. Fix the gut!

Basic lab tests: thorough blood work, DNA stool test, toxic metal test, organic acid test, IgG food sensitivity panel, and genetic testing. Testing both the father-to-be and the mother-to-be for underlying infections, heavy metal toxicity, nutrient deficiencies and markers of inflammation prior to conception is so important. In today’s crazy time, people should be planning a pregnancy a year in advance and getting their bodies ready. This starts with comprehensive and extensive blood, urine and stool testing.

Everything’s interconnected. Be aware of what your children read, hear, watch, and listen to, who they spend time with, what they eat, and what they’re exposed to. Set a good example.

“It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.”

Build strong children. Early life experiences influence the developing brain. Trauma, stress or abuse especially in early childhood during the developmental phase of the nervous system changes the stress response, impacts the psycho-neuro-endocrine-immune system, and increases risk for developing a variety of chronic, lifelong health conditions including depression, behavioral and mental health problems, addictions, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disease and cancer.

Supplement with the basic nutrients: essential fatty acids (omega-3s, EPA and DHA), probiotics, multi vitamin/mineral, magnesium,  vitamin D, iodine/iodide (a common deficiency with ADHD), and methylated folate and B12 (if deficient).

Toxins, toxins, TOXINS! Minimize chemical exposure. The environment has more toxins now than ever before from pesticides, herbicides, plastics, PCBs, heavy metals, petrochemicals, GMOs, glyphosate, flame retardants, excessive and multiple vaccines, aspartame, Splenda, chlorine, fluoride, triclosan, BPA, factory-farmed meat, obesogens and more!

Estrogen dominance is not just prevalent in women and men, it’s affecting many teens and adolescents too. Children, infants, fetuses and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the detrimental hazards from pesticides, plastics, insecticides, glyphosate, GMOs, EMFs, and chemicals found in food, water, personal care and cleaning products, and the environment. Many autistic children have high levels of toxic heavy metals.

According to scientific research, the umbilical cords of newborns today contains over 250 toxic chemicals! This means that the genes that each generation is passing down are weaker as a result of adults being more toxic and inflamed than ever before. Chemicals can alter gene expression. Genetic misfires in the womb may be permanent, and all subsequent generations could be at greater risk of diseases too.

We’re exposed to more chemicals and toxins nowadays in a 30-day period than our grandparent’s generations were exposed to in their entire lifetime!

Prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and after birth, the health and nutritional status of BOTH Childhood Nutrition, Health & Wellness: Healthy Mom, Healthy Babythe mother-to-be and the father-to-be matters greatly. Underlying infections, MTHFR defect, nutrient deficiencies, thyroid dysfunction, and heavy metal toxicity must be ruled out prior to conception.

Caution is warranted for women to avoid pesticides, GMOs, chemicals, and all prescription and OTC drugs including acetaminophen (Tylenol) during pregnancy. A healthy microbiome, correcting nutrient deficiencies, reducing chemical exposure, avoiding OTC and prescription drugs, optimizing thyroid function, and a nutrient-dense organic diet are crucial.

Childhood Nutrition, Health & Wellness F.Y.I.

  • Antidepressants taken during pregnancy is associated with autism and developmental delays. [John Hopkins University]
  • Research on MTHFR, autism and ADHD suggest that sufficient prenatal intake of folate (not folic acid), both in the period 3 months before conception and during the first month of pregnancy in particular can reduce these risks.
  • Pregnant women who take acetaminophen (Tylenol) while pregnant give birth to children who are 40% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, and an increased risk of autism and asthma. Just one acetaminophen contains more endocrine disruptor potency than the combined exposure to the 10 most prevalent currently known environmental endocrine disruptors during the entire pregnancy.
  • Even mild iodine-deficiency during pregnancy is associated with lower intelligence, and an increased risk of mental retardation and ADHD in children.
  • Infants are given 250mg of aluminum when given the hepatitis B vaccine! Avoid the Hepatitis B vaccine at all costs. And, consider the pros vs the cons of the multiple vaccines given to infants these days.
  • Pregnant women are especially at risk for hypothyroidism since the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone during pregnancy. Uncontrolled thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy can lead to preterm birth, mental retardation and hemorrhage in the postpartum period
  • More than 14% of pregnant women are prescribed opioids for pain at some time during their pregnancy! [Journal Anesthesiology]
  • Pregnant women who live near areas where pesticides and glyphosate are applied have a 60% higher risk of having children with autism.
  • Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides sprayed on our food have been linked to birth defects.
  • According to senior research scientist, Stephanie Seneff, PhD, glyphosate exposure will cause 50% of all children to have autism by 2025.
  • Pregnant women exposed to lead, mercury, aluminum, pesticides or cigarette smoke increases the risk of mental problems, autism and ADHD in offspring.
  • Children exposed to PCBs in utero have reduced cognitive function and increased TSH levels.
  • Never, ever give your infant or child OTC drugs such as MiraLAX for constipation. It’s a derivative of antifreeze.

The microbiota of babies born vaginally vs those born via C-section is very different. Babies born vaginally get healthy microbiotics from their mother’s vagina and from the mother’s fecal material, whereas babies born by C-section are more likely to suffer from a host of health problems: allergies, asthma, eczema, type 1 diabetes, Celiac disease, and a compromised immune system compared to vaginally born babies. They are more likely to be hospitalized for gastroenteritis, and more likely to put on weight and become obese versus babies born vaginally.

The key to good health and mental wellness is awareness and making healthier choices. Improving your child’s health and helping them formulate good habits starts at home and begins with you. You are responsible for your health, your child’s health, the choices you make and the quality of your life not your doctor, the pharmaceutical industry, the government or anyone else. We must acquire the knowledge to maintain and promote good health, childhood nutrition, and commit to making healthier choices. The choices we make today greatly impact our health and well-being tomorrow. True health is a balance of physical, bio-chemical, mental, emotional, environmental, and spiritual aspects.

Set small goals and build upon them. Yes, it can be overwhelming. Start with one or two things that you want to change, develop or improve upon, and commit, dedicate and pour your energy into it. The effort is well worth it as you notice improvements in your child’s health, mood and behavior. Small changes add up over time…that’s how life changing transformation happens! That’s empowering!

Be proactive! Share this valuable, important childhood nutrition information with your doctor, family and friends. You never know whose life you’ll impact. Thank you!

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