Detoxify Your Kids!
Well the holidays celebrations are finally over and the kids are going back to school; speaking with a large number of our clients they inform us that every year around this time when the kids head back to school their teachers tell the parents that they have seen a higher than normal increase in their level of misbehavior. This has led to the parents asking us why this is happening, and we have a theory that from our experience is proving to be quite true.
Think about all the holiday foods that kids are consuming much like the adults; this includes all the desserts, the fat laden rich side dishes, and all the unhealthy snacking in between. We posted on facebook earlier regarding the amount of calories the average adult consumes during the holiday season and the same can be said for kids; they are probably not consuming the 4500 calories on average that adults consume during the holidays however if you add up all the holiday treats, candies and other assorted empty calories you would be shocked at the amount of sugar that is assaulting their brain! It is no wonder that kids are misbehaving; in my own house I saw when the grandparents gave my kids sugary treats their behavior changed as well!
Here are 3 ways that sugar and heroin are similar:
- Similar Refining Process: The first way sugar and heroin are similar is in how they are manufactured. Heroin starts out as opium extracted from the poppy plant. Then, it’s refined into morphine and further refined into heroin. Originally it was touted as a new “non-addictive” painkiller. Now it’s simply the most addictive drug in the world… besides sugar. Sugar, similarly, begins as juice pressed from the sugar cane and is refined into molasses. Then, it’s further refined into brown sugar and then white sugar. The resultant white sugar crystals we’re all familiar with are completely stripped of any of their original nutrients (just like heroin). Our bodies don’t know how to react to the constant deluge of sugar. It throws our systems out of whack.
- Addictive in Similar Ways: Both substances create an immediate rush (though heroin is much stronger initially). Heroin particles attach themselves rapidly to endorphin receptors, creating a rush of euphoria. Sugar creates a smaller high and lands in the liver until it’s redistributed through the body as fat. Sugar, like a drug, is incredibly addictive and habit-forming. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 95% of people are addicted to some degree or another.
- Organ Damage: Heroin does most of its damage in the brain before moving to the heart and lungs. Most people never break the addiction and wind up over-dosing. Sugar-related damage in the body is much slower, but no less destructive. In fact, there’s a case to be made that since sugar is ingested in such large quantities, the damage it does to the body is more pronounced and widespread.
So think about the all the damage sugar does physically but it also does quite a bit if not more damage in the brain! We wonder why our kids are out of control when they are being assaulted on so many levels with sugar which can be considered a legalized drug!
All this being said we try help our clients get their kids back on track in terms of behavior through proper nutrition. We DO NOT advocate trendy detoxify diets rather reintroduce kids to nutrient dense foods; more importantly how do we do that?
Our research and experience shows kids are attracted to different shapes, colors, and textures like we all are when we eat food. Speaking as a parent I try to introduce at least one new nutrient dense food to my kids at least once a week, this may not seem like much but it has an aggregate effect(it adds up) and my kids enjoy eating very healthy foods that are not only healthy but are fun for them as well!
Here are some quick tips to help detoxify your kids from the holiday sugar invasion:
- Provide food that look like their favorite foods; examples spinach nuggets are a favorite in our house as they look like chicken nuggets and they can dip them in MUSTARD(not ketchup!).
- Give different textured foods on the same plate; for example serving soup with meals changes the texture and also is a great way to help develop their motor skills.
- Provide foods that are different fun shapes; for example crabcakes, or kale patties with spinach and chickpeas. Mix in the healthy stuff(spinach, kale, chickpeas) with potato patties to get them at least on the right path towards liking healthy foods.
- Introduce ethnic foods! I grew up in an Indian household and Indian food was a constant staple in my house then and in my house now and my kids love it! All the different colors, textures, flavors, make it a party on their plate!
- This is the most important tip of them all and that is LEAD BY EXAMPLE! Kids will always look to you for guidance especially at a young age so while you help yourself to eat clean it will also give them the confidence to do the VERY SAME! Remember this does not happen overnight so repetition is the key and the more you do to introduce new healthy options your chances will be that much higher that your kids will find a nutrient dense food they will love!