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.
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.
Note: Since Kelly mentioned probiotics, I thought I’d include my list of up-to-date probiotic recommendations (this gets updated a couple times a year, no matter what):
Some Quality Probiotics
Some of these I’ve used, some I’m planning to use, and some have been recommended by friends and professionals alike. It’s good to remember a few things about probiotics: 1. People should get different colonies of probiotics, so switching brands/strains every so often (6 weeks?) is good practice. 2. What works great for one person’s needs doesn’t always work for another. These can be very different! A one-day trial to Probiotic Advisor might help you get up on current research quickly if you’re really digging in; otherwise, here are some to narrow down the thousands of brands out there.
I’ve personally tried:
- Just Thrive Probiotics – this one can be taken during antibiotics and not be rendered ineffective, which almost all other probiotics are! It’s the top recommended probiotic overall by Paleo Mom Sarah Ballantyne. 😮
- RightBioticsRX – the top recommended probiotic of all soil-based options by an expert I’ve been working with. Read more here. Use Subscribe and Save to save more!
- Note: If you’re struggling with digestion, especially constipation, or you feel like you really need to populate your gut with healthy probiotics, I would recommend Saccharomyces Boulardii in addition to any other you choose (except the 2 above which include this strain). Saccharomyces Boulardii is research-proven to get through the digestive tract without being killed, which is rare.
- Seed Daily Synbiotic – the new player in the field but recommended by superstars like Chris Kresser for its unique probiotic/prebiotic synergy. Here’s my full review including a number of surprises for my thinking and a 15% off code!
- Balance One probiotics with a unique time-release formula (use the code KITCHENS15 at either Balance One’s site or even Amazon to save 15% either place! Wow! Use the code at checkout on Amazon btw.)
For Little Ones (we use all of these):
- Mary Ruth’s liquid probiotic is a soil-based, liquid probiotic that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and tastes like…nothing! It’s my new favorite for administering to kids!
- WellBelly by WellFuture (9 strains of probiotics in apple and banana carrier – it’s a powder)
- Buddies in my Belly probiotic powder (2 strains of probiotics + potato starch carrier and prebiotics) or chewable tablets
Recommended by experts I trust:
- Biokult – highly recommended by many, including the GAPS diet
- Klaire Labs Pro-biotic complex V-caps or Ther-Biotic Complete (25 billion CFU)
- Probiophage DF (7 dairy-free strains)
- Transformation Enzymes (5 billion CFUs that may get through digestive tract…)
- Primal Blueprint (6 strains, 10 billion CFUs)
- Pharmax high potency (4 strains + FOS) or long-term HLC maintenance (2 strains)
- Pro-Bio from Enzymedica (8 strains)
- Syntol from Arthur Andrew Medical (13.6 billion CFUs with prebiotic, spore germinating blend, yeast cleanse)
- Dr. Mercola’s probiotics