Feeding the Brain: The Foundation, Pt 1
In today’s society, brain issues are running rampant. We have an epidemic of children with learning and behavior challenges. We have young adults and even teens who are experiencing symptoms like ‘brain fog’ and forgetfulness. Over 50% of children today have some chronic mental or physical condition. We have a growing number of children diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).
So, what are parents to do? I cannot count how many emails or phone calls I’ve received over the last ten years seeking help in how to handle some behavior issue in a child. In this series, I will be discussing specific nutritional suggestions to help improve the health of the brain. Please realize I am not suggesting anyone to go off medication. I’m not a medical doctor. I have studied brain health for a number of years. I’ve concentrated on the gut/brain connection since earning my MS in Mental Health Counseling with Play Therapy Certification. I hope to inspire parents to research and take some steps to improve the gut health of their children and family members. This information shared through this series comes from a variety of books and docu-series I’ve watched over the past 8+ years.
There is a growing body of research about the gut/brain connection. While I was reading the ‘Brain Maker’ by Dr. Perlmutter, I learned that this gut/brain connection was actually discovered over 80 years ago. Yet, this knowledge has been suppressed until the last few years.
Today’s article will deal with the foundation of health. When working with my clients, these are the steps I give before I address their personal issues.
The first step in improving brain health is to clean up the diet. A whole-foods, plant-based diet has been shown to be the best choice for overall health. Today, many Americans tend to eat fast, easy to fix ‘convenience’ foods where a packaged can be dumped into water. Use ingredients to help lessen the chemical load on the body and brain.
The next step is to assess for food sensitivities. Because of today’s Standard American Diet, there are many chemicals added to our foods and bodies through various means. We also have GMOs consumed that are not recognized by the body to be able to be processed. Food allergies are easy to recognize since they often show up as respiratory distress or a rash in a short time span. Food sensitivities are a bit harder to discover. The body may take up to 48 hours before reacting to a food intolerance. I strongly suggest keeping a food journal.
There are various ways to assess for food sensitivities.
IgG Elisa blood test
Food elimination diet
After cleaning up the diet and eliminating food sensitivities, the next step would be to detox. We are exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals a day through the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the cleaning products we use, and the personal care products we put on our bodies. These chemicals can upset the body’s ability to clean itself of toxins.
There is a proper order to detox. First step would be to open up the elimination pathways. A simple way to do this is to drink dandelion root tea 2-3 times a day, 3-4 weeks, depending on toxicity levels. Each elimination organ has various natural products that can be used to clean it up. Dandelion root works on all of them.
From there, the next step in detoxing would be to work on parasites and mold. Again, there are specific protocols that can help with these. After mold and parasites, then heavy metals are detoxed. This requires very specific steps and takes time to do safely. Please consult a health professional to help in heavy metal detoxing.
After detoxing, it is time to supplement for nutritional deficiencies. There are some deficiencies that are common for specific brain disorders. These deficiencies can come from lack of real food or they can come from genetic mutations which causes the body not to be able to process certain nutrients. Leaky gut can also cause the body to be unable to properly process nutrients. We will be discussing ways to heal leaky gut in a future article.
In addition to diet, food sensitivities, detoxing, and supplementing, it is important for brain health to make sure your child is drinking enough pure water. A good standard for water amounts is to use half of your body weight in ounces. If you are thirsty, you are dehydrated. If a person consumes caffeine, they need to add two additional cups of water per cup of caffeinated drink.
Exercise, sunshine, and getting proper sleep are also part of good brain health. The majority of people today do not get enough sunshine, exercise, or sleep. We will go further in these points in another post.
Here are the foundational steps to good brain health:
Whole food, plant-based diet
Assess for food sensitivities
Supplement for nutritional deficiencies
From here, a parent can help a child improve their brain health by adding specific nutritional steps depending on the challenge. I hope these articles will encourage a parent to take the needed steps, even if not always easy, to help their child become all they can be by improving their brain health.
I help parents in working on these changes to improve their and their child’s brain health. If you would like to schedule an initial consultation, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.