Why I’m focused so much on food now!

Hi everyone, my followers from the start and the newest to join in.  Thanks!

I am Heidi and my mission is to inspire parents to take an active role in the early years of their children’s lives.  I am thankful that my 4.5 year old son gave me signs that I could not ignore that his health was suffering.  After looking into his eczema, ‘ADHD’, ‘Asperger’s’, candida issues/seasonal allergies, sleep apnoea, low immunity, bedwetting, ear infections, dark circles under the eyes and even rough/dry hair, I have:

  • realised the food/chemical sensitivities that not only Master 4.5 has but also our whole family
  • studied and studied the ‘truth’ about what causes these symptoms that many parents ‘put up with’
  • exhausted myself silly!! and taken on stress from others reactions to our approach to healing ourselves

In the meantime, I have also realised how DIRE our children’s future is if we do not start to realise that we are what we eat, many foods are a REAL problem for our children (even ones that the FOOD PYRAMID will tell you is healthy) and how chemicals can affect our health too.

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It is easy to think of these ‘little’ symptoms, such as eczema or behavioural issues, as ‘little’ issues.  However, it is easy to forget the affect it can have on:

  • your child’s development now
  • how uncomfortable these symptoms might be for your child (who often doesn’t know any different)
  • and their future health. These health issues are all linked to INFLAMMATION, which only continues onto later adult diseases, also linked to chronic inflammation

So with all of this in mind, I am starting to post more about how to get your family’s health more on track and how to do it slightly more easily than I have done it for the last couple of years.  I am not aiming to scare anyone with health messages, but more just to plant seeds in your mind so that you can share these either with others who might need it, or for the day you might need it yourself.

Please let me know if you would like more information on any health topic relating to your child.  I am currently studying to be a family health coach, to help families make small changes for a much healthier life.
And of course, the more you interact with my page, the more you receive posts.

Thanks for joining in! 🙂 Heidi

Fish nuggets, avo and sneaky coleslaw

An easy gluten-, dairy-, soy-, corn-, yeast-, grain-, additive-free, ‘Paleo’ dinner that ANYONE would love!  And introducing Master2 to coleslaw…. This is how it went.

FISH NUGGETS
Toss cut up, fresh fish pieces in egg then coat in:
– coconut flour
– turmeric
– salt/pepper

Adults can join in too!

Adults can join in too!


(Turmeric has so many superpowers including reducing inflammation, not to mention it gives the nuggets a great golden colour).

Fry in coconut oil at medium heat – to avoid processed vegetable oils or using olive oil which goes rancid at high heat (& not good for our health).  Keep your olive oil for when you’re not heating it, such as the mayo…

Our Thermomix is a saving grace at making homemade mayonnaise and coleslaw.  This way we avoid additives, sugar, gluten and other not-so-desirable ingredients in store-bought mayonnaise.  Of course, if you don’t have a Thermomix and can’t fathom making mayonnaise, compare ingredient labels to find one with few ingredients.

As you can see, I’ve provided plenty of fish, some avocado for good fats that will also fill Master2 up and THE SAMPLER of coleslaw.
As he’s never seen it before (that he can remember), I reduced expectations to even eat ANY and put out enough just for experimentation.
He wasn’t keen when it stuck to his avocado, although that was my plan.  However, we distracted him to focus on his fish.  By the time he was stabbing his avocado (with help from Dad), he unwittingly ate some.  No chance of a full scoop, but I’ll take some in the mouth a win!!!

We had ours with a pile of cherry tomatoes too.  That’s a challenge for both boys on another night!

I’m sure others are up for some yummy, easy toddler meals.  Go ahead and share your go-to one

🙂 Heidi

Inflammation equates to certain health issues, here’s how..

Everyone is better off gluten free?! Yes, and here is why..
Put all your health issues, chronic diseases, childhood issues, every single one out on the table. And then google this + ‘inflammation’. Pretty much every condition is related to inflammation.
Today, it’s not just inflammation that is of great concern but SILENT inflammation. The inflammation we can’t see or feel inside us. This is the precursor to chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders (very common, even among children) and cancer.
So whilst gluten will cause inflammation in the gut, it wreaks even more havoc by causing ‘leaky gut’ which in short, provides a direct route for food particles and toxins to make their way to our brain…hello ‘leaky gut symptoms’ by the dozen.

Of course it’s not just gluten that is responsible for this inflammation we aren’t aware of.  Add in vegetable oils, other refined carbohydrates and a reduced or zero intake of omega 3 oil (which can balance out this inflammation).
Obviously we can ignore and remain oblivious to the fact that our diet contributes to inflammation which contributes to chronic disease (and mostly before it’s too late) but being proactive, especially from childhood, means you’ll never be fighting an uphill battle. And covering issues up with medications…

If this post has caught your eye, you could look into ‘leaky gut’, ‘leaky gut symptoms’, ‘silent inflammation’ or the specific health issue you have OR start thinking about how much Omega 3 oil your family is taking and how you could reduce and ideally eliminate refined vegetable oil and processed carbohydrates (including those with gluten).

Some people have heard a lot about this already and others may not be so aware. The reason I am putting this out there is to start educating more people on the importance of reducing the inflammation in our bodies, whether you can see or feel it!
Amongst all my health lectures, inflammation and Omega 3 oil are the common denominators.

Let me know if you want more information. 🙂 Heidi

How can our family’s health story help your family?

A little update on the ‘saving my family’s health’ tale with some ways to spot whether you or your children are also as sensitive. The end is getting happier for us 😀

Today I am thankful to have my son’s brain working so much better than it ever has.  Many of you have seen how I have been on a journey with Master4, initially to eradicate his ECZEMA without the nasty creams, then to reduce his ‘brain inflammation’ (aka ADHD), then to improve his nutritional health and get rid of the DARK CIRCLES under his eyes and consequently, we got rid of his SLEEP APNOEA, improved his SLEEP out of sight, stopped the BEDWETTING and improved his IMMUNITY.  It sounds quite extreme but we have had to remove gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, corn, sugar, some grains (such as white and brown rice), some fruits/veges (such as kiwi fruit and capsicum) and of course all food additives.  We have also removed chemicals by way of many non-organic foods, soaps, sunscreen and regular toothpaste.

Yes Master4 is very sensitive!  Master2 and I are also as sensitive.  But instead this has made our family take on more of a NUTRITARIAN diet.  Making everything we put in our mouths be filled with nutrients instead of foods that do nothing for our health (many of those above) and it is still very much a work in progress!  And through thinking outside the box, I do manage to fill their lunchboxes each day 🙂 although I have spilt tears at making lunches some days!

After studying him closely, I’ve realised just one mouthful of gluten will inflame Master4’s brain for four weeks.  Four weeks of STRESS for the whole family.

Master4 flies off the handle at what feels like every minute of his day.  His brain can’t process language as well so you can’t talk him through his experiences.  He has little empathy for others which makes interactions with his brother harder.  He has no ability to direct himself to play nor much motivation.  He is more aggressive and shows less eye contact. He has about a 2second window to give an instruction or explain something.  I am forever saying ‘look at me, look at me, listen, LISTEN!’ His world is one big ‘gluten hangover’ (and what appears as Asperger’s Syndrome) and so we hold our breath and wait it out….

Last week, Master4 came out of yet another gluten hangover (from sampling a child’s Tiny Teddy at kindy). Can you hear our HALLELUJAH’s??!  He is now much more easy going, is smiling, plays imaginatively for hours, shares and thinks (a little bit!) about his brother, comes up with brilliant ideas, draws amazingly and can actually listen and be reasoned with.

This is the reason I have realised my life’s goal is to ‘save’ more families from scenarios like this and to improve children’s potential through health and well being.  All with diet and environment, not medications or putting up with it.  Right now, spare minutes are filled with me studying and organizing business logistics.

I hope everyone will benefit from some of the information I will soon have to share, after all who doesn’t count their family’s health as their #1 priority?  It is not easy but once you have seen the difference, you will never go back.

I am looking to start my health coaching business next year, but in the meantime, if you’d like any advice, please let me know.  Or if you know anyone that may need some direction, point them in my direction 🙂 Heidi

Would it matter on the moon?

We go through struggles everyday between the 2 boys over things that ‘don’t really matter’. But actually, who am I to say it doesn’t matter?  For them as a child, in that stage, maybe it does matter…  Or maybe they don’t know how to understand the situation any differently.

So I might:
– label their feelings – eg ‘you are frustrated he won’t give it back to you’ or ‘you had in your mind you were going to sit in that seat..you are disappointed’
– show them how to deal with it – eg ‘do you think you could show him a better way with different pieces, then he might not care about the ones you want?’ or ‘ask him “could we swap chairs?”‘
– OR I might say to Master4 ‘if we went on a holiday to the moon….do you think we’d care about this problem right now?’.  Thinking, he usually agrees ‘no we wouldn’t’.  So now I can say, ‘if we were on the moon…?’ and if he’s happy to leave it, phew!  If not, it probably does matter to him!

Do you go through these struggles over small things with your little ones?  How do you deal with it?

Vegetable hide and seek

What vegetables do you hide in bolognaise or slow-cooked meals?  Do you go for the same ones each time?  Do you leave some slightly chopped (eg carrot, mushroom) so your children will just notice them or do you whizz them all?
Along with zucchini, carrot and mushroom, I have also included some grated beetroot (yes they notice the colour but the flavour isn’t dramatically affected), brussel sprouts and even kale.

Don’t be shy of trying new vegetables!  These might be the ones you completely hide or for kale/spinach, I slice finely and then chop so there aren’t big, long ‘scary’ bits.  If the boys notice it, I don’t pretend it’s not there and I don’t make a big deal.  I might say ‘oh that’s just kale…gosh you’re doing a great job eating your dinner tonight’ or if they look terribly worried….well, at first I did say ‘it’s basil!’ as I know they eat that no worries. Once they were happy to eat it, the next time I was more confident to label it kale. The dark, leafy greens have so many health benefits…

Will you buy a bunch at your next shop to try?  Or get some brussel sprouts to finely slice?

Why your childrens’ gut health will determine their health both now and in the future

Do you dread the winter germs?  Are your children constantly sick?  Do you put it down to ‘it’s good for their immune system’?  Have you ever wondered why some children get sick far less often or present with much milder symptoms?  What if a strong immunity wasn’t just about exposure to germs?

These are many of the questions I have asked since I was little.  Why do I always get sore throats?  No one else does.  In my twenties, people were still saying, ‘oh you’re working with children, it’ll build up your immunity’.  But through many periods I suffered with sore throats more than I was well.  Mum gave me cod liver oil and Echinacea until I’d almost rather put up with the sore throat.  I never continued with these supplements, as they didn’t really work.

Enter my first born son!  Master now 4, from the start, presented with many symptoms that made me sit up and look at his health.  The eczema, the ‘ADHD’ behaviour, the redness to his cheeks, the inability to sleep… I started to look into it.  And one answer has kept coming up – THE GUT.

I will say up front, I am not an expert on the gut…yet!  But through my experiences and my current study to become a children’s health coach, I plan to know far more about the gut within the next year and spread the word wide and far.  Here is what I have learnt so far:

  • gut health is a HOT topic in scientific research and is being linked to all types of diseases, allergies and cancer, not to mention annoying symptoms such as skin issues, constipation/diarrhoea, blocked sinuses, headaches, fatigue, the list goes on and on.
  • this literally explains (in fine scientific detail of how the gut functions) how food is medicine.  Give your intestines the right foods and your intestines will keep you healthy.
  • our intestines contain more immune cells than the entire rest of our body, so good gut health is related to a stronger immunity.
  • an intact gut lining (which is only one cell thick and thus easy to disturb) and gut flora (the right balance of the ‘good bacteria’) determine gut health.
  • certain foods and other ‘nasty things’ break down the gut lining, resulting in ‘leaky gut’.  Take a look at this article, Leaky Gut Syndrome – in Plain English to see how it happens and find out how your symptoms might be related to it.  You will be quite amazed!
  • many people have leaky gut, without realising it.  This goes for children too.
  • the state of the mother’s ‘gut flora’ (the bacteria living in her intestines) is passed onto the baby in utero.  This explains my mother’s migraines, my sister’s eczema/allergies and my low immunity, sore throats and fatigue, let alone my boys’ food intolerances and associated symptoms.
  • the presence of probiotics in the intestines, prevents unwanted bacteria from growing there.  Whilst we can survive with minimal gut flora, our body will present with many undesired symptoms, let alone inflammation which leads to disease and cancer.
  • we do need to reconsider our love of completely germ- and dirt-free, antibacterial soaps, chlorinated water and each use of antibiotics.  This is all stripping away the bad bacteria but also the good ones.
  • our gut is now becoming accepted as our ‘second brain’ with up to 100 million neurons (as many as in our spinal cord), about 40 million neurotransmitters (as many as we have in the brain) and 95% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut.
  • our gut plays a major role in mood, appetite and sleep.

So how to get on top of a leaky gut?

  • Firstly, find what is irritating your children’s intestines.  We use kinesiology which is quick, pain-free and easy to test many different foods straight up.  For my boys and I, gluten is the main one, along with soy, dairy, most corn products, food additives, sugar and yeast.  That’s how ‘not flash’ the state of our guts were!
  • Eliminate all culprits as soon as you can.  This is MUCH easier said than done and is the inspiration for my new business, coming forth in the near future.  I hope to help parents transform their pantry, menus and children’s tastes, so they can make the switch as easily as possible, and discover better health.  Whilst quick elimination would get you quick results, often times it’s ‘slow and steady wins the race’.
  • Be proactive in healing the gut.  There are several foods that are wonderful for healing the gut lining.  Turmeric is a great spice to heal the gut and reduce inflammation.  Homemade chicken broth is also a fantastic healer due to the gelatin it contains, but also it’s ability to reduce inflammation.  Even slow-cooked zucchini and squash help to heal.
  • Remember that stress and emotions also play a role in gut health.  That goes for children too.  Master4 is not only physically sensitive but also emotionally sensitive.  We have literally seen stress manifest physically for him and have now learnt to work on this before looking at external factors.

And how to build up an army of probiotics?

  • Stop removing the ‘good guys’ by throwing out any ‘antibacterial’ product and using just good old soap.
  • Don’t be so quick to wash dirt off little hands or even organic fruit and veges for that matter, as good bacteria are supposed to be ingested in ‘natural ways’.  It’s the lack of good bacteria in our systems that’s making us sick, not so much the germs we come across.
  • Look at a good probiotic.  We used Inner Health Plus probiotic powder for a few years but this was sending us broke.  I finally learnt how to ferment, which brings cheaper and better probiotics, which unlike bought probiotics, are more likely to actually colonise your child’s intestines and stick around.
  • Kombucha (fermented tea) is an easy to make, cheap and wonderful way of not only bringing good bacteria to your children’s guts but it is also a delicious, fizzy drink.
5L of kombucha tea, teeming with living probiotics, you can literally see them!!!

5L of kombucha tea, teeming with living probiotics, you can literally see them!!!

  • Rethink commercially produced yoghurt as a good source of probiotics.  Most of the time it has more sugar or artificial sweetener than it’s worth for the few probiotics you’ll find left in it.  The hormones and antibiotics from the dairy also defeats the purpose, not to mention it’s pasteurized, destroying many of the enzymes and nutrients that might have been.
  • Coconut yoghurt is easy to make and has far less additives than dairy yoghurt (assuming you use canned coconut milk and not fresh coconut, which would have no additives!) and avoids all of the issues listed above.  Otherwise look for yoghurts that are processed as little as possible, with as few ingredients as possible.
  • tangy coconut yoghurt

    tangy coconut yoghurt

  • If you can fathom making fermented vegetables and enticing your children, this would be another great source of the ‘good guys’.  My next project in the making!  Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

And after you have done all of this for your children, like me, you might actually realise that your intestines have been screaming out for some love too.  Go with your gut and if you crave it, provide it with foods that heal the lining and probiotics that assist in proper digestion and fighting off unwanted germs.

Luckily I have been part of this test and I can happily say that I have had no more sore throats and feel so ‘strong’ without any of the above symptoms.  I will keep you in the loop at the end of our winter to hopefully announce how few sick days the boys have had too.   So far so good!  🙂

Let me know if you will consider looking into this for yourself or your kids!  The more people that get onto this, the more health the world will have 🙂  Heidi

* To be continued – with more information on how to make some of the super-gut-foods listed above as well as how to change your pantry towards better gut health.  But please don’t wait for me if you feel the need to start looking into this yourself!

 

 

10 tips to ensure your child grows to love vegetables

Yes, vegetables do play on my mind!  Here are a few things about veges and kids that I always keep in mind…

  • children need to eat a rainbow of vegetables for essential nutrients for growth and development.  Full stop!
  • exposure to a wide variety of vegetables is key.  If your child isn’t presented with vegetables, they will not stand the chance to get accustomed to them.  See I Create My Child’s Healthy Palate for more information on helping your little one to become a healthy eater
  • a child around the age of 2 years will start trying out their new found independence and say ‘no’ to a food.  This is not the time to hold back on serving up the vegetables (or any food for that matter).
  • the sooner children develop a taste for vegetables, the sooner they will have a stronger immune system, have more nutrients for their development, stay healthier for life & be more likely to come back to them…even after potentially coming off the bandwagon in teenage years!
  • education about the WHY, the importance of vegetables is crucial.  Help your child to appreciate vegetables rather than bribing them to eat their broccoli in exchange for dessert.  Even the mention of becoming a quicker runner, better dancer or growing up like their idol can be a great reason to start trying.  Moving towards talking about benefits for the body can also be started quite young.
  • it has been found that the variety of foods a child is eating at 4 years of age represents the majority of foods they will eat for the rest of their lives.  Don’t put off presenting new vegetables. 
  • you can hide vegetables but your child still needs to have the time to let their sensory system get accustomed to the different sensory properties, such as taste, texture and smell of the individual vegetable
  • a child needs the time to explore a new vegetable by looking at it, touching it and maybe even squashing it with a utensil or fingers, all with no pressure to eat.  They may need several occasions before they are ready to eat it.
  • involving children in growing or preparing vegetables is a step towards success.  See Interactive Eating – Rice Wraps
  • using different vegetables in slow-cooked meals or bolognaise can be a great way to get your child use to looking at and attempting new vegetables

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Before your next grocery shop, have a think about which vegetables you might try with your child.  Will you add some more ‘hidden’ vegetables or will you have some to present each night for the week to see how close you can get your child to trying some.

Hide and seek with chicken soup?

Yes that’s right.  The lengths I will go to, to encourage my children to be adventurous and healthy eaters!

It all started when I made chicken stock from scratch.  So I decided to make a creamy chicken soup with it… The problem is, Master 2 is still getting his head around mixed textures, let alone a soup, but I do have Master 4 who is becoming just so adventurous, I don’t want to hold him back for the sake of Master 2 eating a dinner with us.

So I held my breath and served the soup with a piece of their gluten-free toast and coconut oil to entice them to dip into the soup.  Taking a spoon to it would surely be too scary.  Both boys said ‘TOAST!’ and pushed the soup aside.  Hmm.

I knew I had a better chance with Master 4 so encouraged him to try the soup and I would put a Wiggles song on for him.  He did.  Now onto Master 2.

Knowing that Master 2’s sensory system would need some working to get him to eat the soup, I tried to encourage him to at least touch the soup, no eating.  Instead he became upset when I put a small dollop on his toast plate.  Hmm, so I was looking at this bowl of soup not even getting touched tonight….

Out comes the avocado offer!  Master 2 was keen.  But of course my trick was to throw the avocado into the bowl of soup so he would have to at least touch AND taste a small amount of soup.  He wasn’t impressed!

So I offered a bit of corn thin with two goals in mind – a bit of filler now that I could see this soup wasn’t going to be eaten and another object to put in the soup.  Master 2 wasn’t impressed but he did dig it out and try to wipe off the end.  Whilst he ate the dry end, I scooped the avocado out and left it on the table, making sure there was still some soup on it.  Master 2 fell for it and ate the avocado.  I made sure he knew he’d eaten a bit of soup, ‘hooray!!!!!’.

I tried with the corn thin again, and this time he ate it all!  So I backed it down to small pieces of corn thin dropped into the soup.  He was fine with it!  In fact, he enjoyed digging around for it.  And before we knew it, we were playing hide and seek in the soup.  I hid small pieces of corn thin in the soup, he would dig them out and eat half the soup that came with it.

Whilst Master 2 didn’t eat all of his soup, he touched it (crucial for getting his sensory system okay with the idea of eating it), tasted it and even ate decent amounts of it (probably half).  And after my first thought that he would finish dinner without having touched it, I call it success!

I’ll be making it again soon, so we can teach his sensory system more 🙂  Oh and Master 4 ate two bowls full!

Autism inspired me to learn more

Autism is where my interest in child development started.  A child with autism (or ASD) isn’t quite like us, but yet can possess some unbelievably amazing skills.  I have met parents of children with autism who have shown me what it means to ‘do all that it takes’ for their child & then deal with others questioning that.
Children with autism have difficulty communicating, playing, processing sensory information and understanding the social norms the rest of us just ‘get’.  Once you learn about where it can all break down, you realise how intricate our brain is.
I’ll leave you with a little pic that really does sum up how complicated social interaction is for a person with autism.
Happy Autism Awareness Month!
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