Have you been convinced yet that what you feed your child has a significant impact on their health?
My notes from a talk by Kelly Dorfman, author of What’s Eating Your Child?, (Cure Your Child with Food) seemed to resonate with many people. It’s always so clear to me that what we eat affects our health, our mood, and our children’s behavior.
It’s not so clear to the rest of the world.
I was pleased to get a chance to sit down with Dorfman after her talk and have a one-on-one chat with her about nutrition. I brought questions from readers and my own curious thoughts, and here’s what we talked about.
How Diet Affects Behavior
Kitchen Stewardship: Why is it so hard to convince doctors and the general population that diet affects both behavior and health?
Kelly Dorfman: They’re just not trained. You don’t ask a plumber about electricity – medical education is subsidized by medications, so that’s what they learn.
Do GMOs Cause Allergies?
KS: What’s with gluten sensitivities being so prevalent nowadays?
KD: GMO grain combined with higher exposure because gluten is in everything.
KS: Can some food allergies or sensitivities be reversed through a gut cleansing diet? Which ones? Is there a difference in probability of “healing” with gluten intolerance/sensitivity and a true allergy (celiac)?
KD: Yes, it’s definitely possible; it doesn’t always work cleanly and neatly, but it often works. You can’t just remove the trigger food, but you have to eat foods that heal too…Probiotics and enzymes, etc.
Celiac is a narrow type of reaction, an auto-immune disease – but gluten sensitivities can have just as many reactions as a true celiac.
Celiac takes 11 years on average to diagnose. [That probably won’t get any better, as there’s] no push to get quicker at it because there’s no cool drugs to treat it. Traditional diagnosis for gluten sensitivity is to rule out celiac, and if you still have gluten problems, you are sensitive.
[Every person has a total] gluten load, the amount of gluten in a lifetime that your body can handle. At some point you reach your load and then the colon stops functioning.
We chatted a minute about my husband, who has Crohn’s and a gluten sensitivity, but we’re not sure what the gluten does to him, really. Kelly mentions VSL-3 as the strongest probiotic on market – by prescription only and great for Crohn’s – in 21 days, many see positive changes in healing in IBD. (It’s wayyyy pricey though.) She also said Garden of Life probiotics (what we do take) is not strong enough. Nothing wrong with mixing it up and taking 2 a day of EACH one. (Ugh, more expensive yet. Food for thought for me; I haven’t done anything other than look at the website and make note of the high price.)
Why is Sugar Harmful?
KS: How does white sugar harm not just those super sensitive to it, but everyone who consumes it?
KD: Nature isn’t wasteful; God didn’t create junk. Sugar is just space – taking calories of diet with no nutrients with it. Dead space. It’s not unusual for a person to eat 20% of their diet in sugar – [if you do that,] you’re operating at 80% efficiency.
Honey is a whole food and has other nutrients with it. I’m not a fan of agave. Although the sugar alcohols are non-caloric, xylitol is fermenting – yeast will gas you up with them. Erythritol is non-fermenting, but still not good. The diabetic candy [with it] makes some people have diarrhea. Unrefined cane sugar is marginally better, but still pretty concentrated.
Are Beans Good For You?
KS: Do legumes play a role in a healthy diet?
KD: Legumes are a hard sell for kids, but they absolutely have a role in healthy diet. Even vegetarians under-utilize legumes. Americans don’t have great bean cuisine.
It felt like we had a much longer interview than my notes would make you think – so much more I probably could have asked her!
Be sure to check out part one of Kelly Dorfman’s talk about good nutrition for children.
Should We Worry About Parabens in Food?
On a very related note, I was testing the new Berkey with red food coloring yesterday and noticed something alarming. As bad as I know food coloring is already, I’ve often said that I use it in my own home so infrequently (birthdays and Easter eggs) that I’m just not willing to take the time to learn fancy alternatives.
I might have to figure some out.
There are PARABENS in my food coloring!
So now whenever I let my kids have candy, not only are they getting yucky sugar, excitotoxin food coloring, but also parabens, which I just told you on Monday that I wasn’t allowing in our house anymore to put on our skin?!?
I didn’t throw all my food coloring out yet, but only because I will need to test the Berkey’s efficiency every 6 months. Oh, and I’m incredibly frugal and that kills me.
But I do know how food dyes impact behavior on top of the paraben thing. We really should all avoid them.
This interview was eye-opening. But really just scratching the surface. What we feed our kids truly has a HUGE impact on their health, not only physically but mentally. We all need to make smart(er) choices when it comes to feeding our children.
See my full disclosure statement here.