Young (and old) brains need certain raw materials to function properly. Just as the best cars need high quality gas to run optimally, our brains need high quality nutrient dense food to run optimally. All brain activity, including thought, vision, movement, breathing, heart beat, emotions, subconscious, and even sleep, occurs because of chemical and electrical messages. It makes sense that we need to take care of, and properly support this delicate system, especially in our developing young.
Ultimately, as the saying goes, you put garbage in, you get garbage out.
Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Not so simple.
As a mother of five and step mother of two, I know how difficult it is to keep this "garbage" out. Most grocery stores make it nearly impossible to avoid the lure of processed foods. They are EVERYWHERE and marketed very well. To make matters worse, these processed foods, devoid of nutrients, often with addictive chemicals and food colouring, have some sort of health check or "natural" designation.....
It is no wonder so many kids are unable to focus, unable to function/behave properly in society, why depression is at an all time high, why disease is so prevalent, and why even sleep is poor..... it all starts with the food and knowing which foods are actually healthy.
Our school systems are not making it any easier for children to learn how to eat and stay healthy. The school our two youngest children attend, for instance, has "hot food days" three days a week to make money for extra school activities and equipment. When "selling" this food day to the children and the parents, the school advocates that the food choices follow Canada's Food Guide and has been cross referenced with a nutritionist. (I believe the food guide needs a drastic revision, but that will be a subject for a subsequent post). An example of our school hot lunch program is the Friday Pepperoni Pizza Day. Every Friday. Sure, it follows the food guide. It has dairy- cheese, fruits and vegetables- tomato sauce, meat and alternatives- pepperoni, and grains- pizza crust. My children, who are taught daily about nutrition at home, attempt to argue this point with me. This is our educational system... In the past, I tried not to make a fuss for the sake of my children, but I am older now, and much less tolerant of a system that is supposed to look out for our children and teach them well.
For us, we opted out of the hot food days.... of course, but unfortunately, we are the minority (if not the only ones that opted out). Because of this, my kids need to stay strong daily, have ample willpower, and be proud of their healthful lunch (or so I tell them). Their are, however, days when they come home asking, with a very convincing sad face, if I could give in "just once". "It smells so good". "All the kids have it except me...".
Essentially, I am having to punish my children to stay healthy.
I imagine they feel that they are missing out. Our older children "get it", and appreciate how they look and feel, connecting that to their diet. But for the younger children, I try to impress upon them that it is the other kids that are missing out...... Missing out on nutrients. Missing out on a clear focused mind. Missing out on a great immune system. Missing out on being disease-free. Missing out on really delicious food that is not laced with chemicals, dyes, and toxins.
It is amazing that this should even happen in our schools, in our grocery stores, and in our communities, when scientifically, we KNOW so much about what these children REALLY need to stay healthy. I can not shelter my children from the world, but goodness, some days I wish I could!
I started this blog because I want to make positive changes to the present food situation for our children. I look around me and see obese children, depressed children, children with diseases unheard of 100 years ago, focussing issues, behavioural issues, sleep problems, motivational issues, lack of energy.... The list goes on. These kids don't deserve these problems.
As adults, we intuitively know that processed food and "junk" food really has no nutrients. If we ourselves choose to eat this food, we choose to live with the consequences of disease, lowered mental ability, lowered energy, lowered mood, skin issues, gut issues, etc. Garbage in, garbage out.
Our children, on the other hand, do not necessarily know this. They rely on us to feed them what we think is best and to properly take care of them. They do not have a choice, to a great degree, in what they eat. They are much more likely to fall for the marketing on the processed foods.
Bottom line, it is our responsibility to nourish them. My goal is to educate and promote healthy food choices.
If we want to break free from the marketing scam of processed foods and have our kids reach their full potential, we must first feed them what their brains and body's need, and not feed them the food that their bodies do not tolerate. You will be amazed at how quickly kids regenerate health and mental abilities once their diet is changed into nutrient dense foods.
So, what does a healthy brain need?
A healthy brain, according to leading neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter and Dr. Mark Hyman needs specific raw materials to function optimally, and it needs to avoid certain substances. I will elaborate on all in future posts.
Need: - Whole Foods (fruits all colours, vegetables all colours, nuts, seeds, beans)
-Good Fat (avocados, olives, seeds, coconut oil, MCT oil, krill oil, seafood)
-Probiotics (very important)
-Protein (quality not quantity)
-Magnesium (devoid in most food presently)
-Vitamin D (sunshine best)
Avoid: -Sugar (at all costs)
-High Fructose Corn Syrup (at all costs)
-Dairy (yep.....all dairy)
-Vegetable Oil (all sources)
As discussed above, the grocery stores, the Food Guide, our schools, are all against us. If you are reading this post, you want to make a difference.
Help be the change. Your kids are worth it. Might be cliche, but they are the future.....
Let's make them unstoppable!