Brain Food for Kids of all Ages
Last week I went grocery shopping and happened upon an aisle of foods labeled for “back-to-school”. Can you guess what foods were included? There were no apples, oranges, or even peanut butter and jelly and bread on this aisle. No, stacked in attractive formation were cases of Mountain Dew, Pepsi Cola, Lay’s potato chips, Fruit Loops, “Dora the Explorer” fruit snacks, and Little Debbie snack cakes!
Having myself been a previous casualty of modern convenience “foods”, and seeing an epidemic of children today who can’t think straight or behave themselves half the time, I am concerned.
I am of the firm opinion that nobody is truly prepared to handle medical issues in a disaster or collapse scenario unless they are healthy NOW and free from dependence on pharmaceutical drugs. In the past 30 years there has been a 20-fold increase in the prescribing of drugs for ADD/ADHD. Not only are these drugs not working in the long-term, but today we are experiencing shortages of drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin — a sign of what may be to come in the event of an economic collapse here at home.
Today is the time for us to get healthy, get off our drugs, and as independent of the medical system as possible. This is essential if we are to thrive in the event of an economic collapse. And besides, it will make life in the mean time a lot more satisfying even if disaster never strikes!
ADD/ADHD, Autism and the Diet Connection
A few days ago I published an article on using essential oils and some other strategies for ADD/ADHD and autism. In this article, I focus on the diet connection.
Sadly, the diet of average American child today includes ample amounts of processed foods, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, food coloring, and other toxic substances. Combine that with multiple rounds of antibiotics and upwards of 50 vaccine doses from birth through age 6, and it’s little wonder we’re seeing epidemics of illness among the young. Add to this the fact that the vast majority of women giving birth in the last decade or two were themselves products of fast food, vaccines, and the overuse of antibiotics, and we have a recipe for disaster on our hands.
Why is this? One important and chronically-overlooked aspect of health is the state of our gut flora — the bacteria that live in our bowel and aid digestion. A bad diet, frequent antibiotic use, and vaccines can kill this good bacteria. When this happens, it can lead to an overgrowth of yeast, parasites, and a leaky gut that spills toxins from the bowel into the body. Bad gut flora can lead to brain imbalances such as ADD/ADHD and autism (as well as depression, OCD, schizophrenia, and more) because 90% of neurotransmitter production takes place in the gut – the body’s so-called “second brain”.
No responsible mother would allow her young child to use meth — a substance that destroys the brain and could potentially disable her child for life. The tragic thing is that many mothers unknowingly allow their young children to eat foods and use substances that poison their gut, can set their child up for a lifetime of poor health, and can cause literal brain damage in the process. And when a woman gives birth to a baby, the infant inherits her gut flora. With each generation, gut flora can get progressively worse.
Whether damage to the gut manifests as a brain imbalance or any number of other issues related to bad gut flora, including allergies including to foods, eczema, digestive disorders, autoimmune illness, diabetes, obesity and more, correcting the gut flora problem and healing the lining of the gut is essential to healing so many ills America’s children experience today.
What is the GAPS Diet?
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, neurologist and neurosurgeon, developed the GAPS Diet after her two-year-old son was diagnosed with autism. She did an immense amount of research and was able to cure her son’s autism with the diet. The GAPS Diet omits the foods that feed the bad gut flora and yeast (sugar and grains) while adding in foods that nourish, soothe the gut lining (homemade meat broths), and repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria (homemade fermented foods, supplemental probiotics).
The GAPS Diet is not a long-term diet, but a diet to be used over the course of a year or two to help the gut (and therefore the brain) to heal. It helps to re-set the body so that a more normal, balanced diet with whole grains, fresh produce, quality proteins, and even small amounts of sugar may be tolerated just fine later on, after the gut flora imbalance and leaky gut is corrected.
Thousands upon thousands of families have implemented this system with amazing results. I won’t lie and say that it’s easy to implement the GAPS Diet, especially with children who may be picky eaters (as many brain imbalanced children are). My cousin Sharon has put her family, including five children, on the GAPS Diet. It has not always been easy for her to keep her children from some of the foods that are poisoning them. It’s definitely work to prepare homemade foods day after day. But the calmer behavior and clearer thinking of her children, as well as her own increase in energy and well-being, have been worth it.
Should I Try the GAPS Diet?
I suggest that there are three ways for each and every person to interact with the GAPS Diet. First, if you and your family are in good health with no real problems, I would suggest you limit the consumption of processed foods and antibiotic use. Be sure to include fermented foods in the diet as a preventive measure or supplement with a good probiotic like Life 5.
If you and your family have some health problems but it’s nothing too bothersome, I suggest implementing principles from the GAPS Diet including the advice above. I would go further, however. For me, I am limiting the amount of sugar and wheat I eat as they appear to make me gain weight and feel sluggish. I am supplementing with Life 5 as well as eating fermented foods such as saurkraut and whole plain yogurt. I also make homemade chicken broth about once a week to keep the lining of my gut happy.
If you or a family member are at a crisis level with health problems including brain and behavior issues, I would suggest you take the leap to implement the full GAPS Diet as soon as possible. What do you have to lose? And what do you have to gain? Perhaps a healthy, more functional child.
Kid-Friendly GAPS Diet Recipes
Kids like to fit in, and so it may be important to send them to school with food that doesn’t appear to be “too different”. When I was a kid, I had a bag of chips with my lunch just about every day. Corn or potato chips are not allowed on the GAPS Diet, but the diet will allow for homemade chips made from such things as seasoned, dehydrated kale and zucchinni. Crackers, of course, are also out because they are made with grains.
Here’s a tasty recipe for seed crackers that Sharon and her family have enjoyed, and which we made together earlier this week. These grain-free crackers are delicious and satisfying — a great choice even if you aren’t on the GAPS Diet!
1 c. ground pumpkin seeds
1 c. ground sunflower seeds
1 tsp. salt
1 large or 2 small eggs
1-2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Optional — add a clove of chopped garlic, or Italian herbs (we used garlic in ours, and it was delicious)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Blend all ingredients with an electric mixer in a medium bowl (or put the seeds in a food processor until ground, then add the rest of the ingredients)
The dough will be very stiff. Vary the amount of olive oil based on how dry the dough seems — if it is wet enough with one tsp. then omit the second one.
Grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle it with coarsely ground pumpkin seeds.
Pat the dough into a ball shape and place it in the middle of the cookie sheet.
Beginning in the center and moving outwards, flatten the dough with your hands You can also cover it with waxed paper and roll it out with a rolling pin if you prefer, to about 1/4 inch thick.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven, and slice crackers into desired size and shape. Cool before eating.
(From the cookbook Internal Bliss)
Whether you switch to the GAPS Diet or not, try out this recipe and let me know what you think! And if you embark on the GAPS Diet, I definitely recommend the cookbook Internal Bliss.
Stay tuned for more kid-friendly GAPS Diet recipes and be well!
Julie Behling-Hovdal is a reflexologist/holistic healer and founder of Essential Survival where she teaches people how to prepare for the #1 cause of death in the event of an economic collapse — lack of access to medicines. In 2005 Julie was able to get off 4 prescription drugs and heal from a 6-year stint of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia with products from Young Living Essential Oils. Get a copy of her free report “Fast Track Survival Medicines” at http://essentialsurvival.org/fast-track-survival-medicines/.
Statements made about the essential oils that come in the Essential Oil Survival Kit and other products offered by Essential Survival have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician.
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