Monica’s Back to School Health Tips

BTS!  Yes it’s that time of year again where we start prepping for the kids to go back to school and the return to ‘normalcy’ after what was likely a rip-roaring summer for many of you.

This time of year there is a lot thrown at you as the consumer to buy back to school clothes, supplies, backpacks, lunchboxes and things of that nature.  But what about the stuff that’s going to keep your kids healthy and thriving when they hit the battles of school?  Things like schedules, homework, meals, direct immunity challenges (viruses, bacteria, preservatives, additives, chemicals, GMO’s), sleep deprivation, and the oh so many, many, many activities that can all bring on way more stress than their growing, sensitive brains and bodies are able to endure?

To help you and your family out this BTS season, I have compiled a quick list of my holistic recommendations, tips, and products geared towards healthy living for kids both young and old ๐Ÿ™‚

My goal is to help your kids come out victorious and thriving not just surviving this season of life.

1)      Hydrate them

Kids need water just like adults do, not juice, not soda but water.  Shoot for ยฝ their body weight in ounces of water daily with 1/3 of that before lunchtime.  Swap out a plastic water bottle with either a stainless steel or glass bottle to eliminate toxins and estrogen-containing compounds that accompany plastics.  Kids not like the taste of plain water?  Add a drop of Citrus Fresh, Lemon, Orange or Grapefruit essential oil to their water or a slice of real fruit to jazz things up a bit.

2)      Nourish their bodies
Fuel those bodies with real food.  Real food doesn’t come out of a box or a bag as processed foods contain tons of ingredients that wreak havoc on those little people we love so much.
Meat, vegetables, healthy fats like grass-fed butter, gheecoconut oil, palm oil, pastured lard or bacon fat from healthy sources, avocado, nuts, seeds, some fruits and occasionally small amounts of gluten-free grains are what build the healthiest children into thriving adults.
Also, consider branching out this year and buying food directly from the source such as your local farm.  Check out the Weston A. Price Foundation as a resource list for local farms and other sources of high-quality foods where you live. 
3)      Support their brains
The human brain is not fully developed until age 25 (the female brain actually fully develops a few years sooner) so your kids need high-quality fish oil and liberal amounts of saturated fats to build that critical organ in addition to the proper hormones that they need for a healthy functioning body.
My favorite product by a longshot in this category is properly produced cod liver or salmon oil.  There are flavored versions and capsules too so don’t worry there.  Combined with high vitamin butter oil your child’s brain and dental health will be thriving and much happier with all this added support.  With fish oil, you get what you pay for so don’t opt for the wholesale club version of 1 million pills for $9.99.  Cheap fish oils can do more harm than good relative to increasing inflammation and levels of omega 6  to omega 3 fatty acid ratios if you’re not careful with your sourcing.
4)      Seed their guts
Include fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha into their daily diet in addition to a high quality probiotic for kids.  This helps to fuel and support the healthy or good gut bacteria that produce a high functioning immune system.
5)      Sever their relationship with sugar and gluten 
I have heard people say that sugar and kids go hand in hand.  Unfortunately, this relationship is literally killing our kids and creating chronically ill, drug addicted (as sugar is highly addictive and significantly disrupts the sensitive palate of a child making it harder for them to stop wanting it when you attempt to do so with them).  These young consumers are being set up to become dependent on the medical and pharmaceutical industries much earlier in life than previous generations.  In fact, for the first time ever this generation of children is not expected to outlive their parents.  Trajic isn’t it?
In addition to being incredibly addicting, refined white sugar is currently at the time I am writing this blog, a genetically modified organism (GMO).  So the body does not recognize it as food but rather a toxin that disrupts metabolism and presents a huge burden on the health of the gut, proper digestion, hormone balance and immunity.
Do your kids get sick often?  Sugar freezes immune cells for 12 hours upon consumption so if you want the healthiest kids possible, ditch the smack.
Gut health is directly related to brain function (ever heard of the gut-brain connection?) and there is a growing mountain of problems in children and young people these days that have health problems that are directly connected to gut health.
Children that suffer from ADHD, ADD, Autism, anxiety, depression, autoimmunity and many other disorders are dealing with flora (bacteria) imbalances in their gut that either creates or perpetuates problems within the function of their brains among other factors.  
This goes on top of digestion issues from a dysfunctioning digestive system, mineral imbalances from their inability to absorb the nutrients from their foods (this is called assimilation) and of course don’t forget that their detoxification pathways are quite often impeding the healthy elimination of toxins at the cellular level for a myriad of different reasons I won’t go into here. No wonder their odds for outliving mom and dad are so low ๐Ÿ™
As for gluten, the gluten-free movement is not a fad.  Modern-day gluten is what has made well over 50% of America gluten-sensitive and that number is a very conservative estimate that will only get worse before it ever gets better.
Just to review, gluten is the protein found directly in the following grains:  wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats and triticale.  Modern-day gluten wreaks havoc on the gut and just like refined sugar is a GMO mess to the gut-brain connection.  Modern-day wheat metabolizes similarly to refined sugar (yes you read that correctly) so keep that in mind when you are giving little Billy or Suzy whole wheat toast for breakfast over that bowl of Apple Jacks thinking it is “much” better.  Opt for a sweet potato instead.
Modern-day gluten breaks down the lining of the intestinal wall creating holes in it where those gluten proteins then get into the bloodstream among other things that should never go there.  The immune system sees those proteins as invaders trying to destroy you and then the body starts to fight itself (also known as autoimmunity).
Most folks don’t understand this whole gluten-free thing very well yet and the movement to make the changes necessary to help their little tikes with the health problems they face.  When your family is dependent on the majority of their food coming from the “whole grains” food group it can be daunting to start changing that reality all at once.  But we must if we all want to live healthier, better AND longer.  I encourage you to check out my eBook How To Master The Art of Going Gluten Free which can help you take the necessary steps to this lifestyle transformation.  Start small and be consistent for the best, long-term results.  I know this is a lot to take in, seriously, I get it.  It takes time but it is worth it!
Small changes + Time = Big Lasting Changes 
6)      Get them tested for an MTHFR gene mutation 
Duh right?  Of course, you didn’t expect this one but boy I sure wish my folks had been told by someone to get tested when I was young.  I learned only a couple of years ago that I have a mutation in this very specific gene that doesn’t allow me to detoxify as well as someone that does not have the mutation.  So my whole life, my body has struggled to rid itself of toxins that eventually played a HUGE part in me getting very, very sick with chronic Lyme disease, mold illness, parasitic, viral and other bacterial infections and a myriad of all sorts of other terrible, chronic health issues. 
If my folks had known the long term effects of not supporting my body with a simple supplement I truly wonder if I would have gotten so sick later in my life.  Since I have the mutation, at least one of my folks has it and my children have a 50% chance of having it also and so on.  A huge number of people I work with these days have an MTHFR mutation and when they learn more about it and start to support it AND emphasize detoxing their bodies regularly, their health turns a sharp corner in the right direction.  Mine sure did.
Talk to your doctor about getting your kids and you for that matter tested as soon as possible.  For more info check out my man Dr. Ben Lynch, he’s awesome with this stuff.
7)      Let them wiggle and move!
After a long school day with minimal time within that day to break free from the routine position of sitting down, kids need to move!  In addition to breaking the sitting pattern from the “work day”, they need to build proper movement abilities for the sake of their brain and neurological systems.
Movement is a great way to detox those small bodies as well as burn off energy and eliminate the wiggles that we all know kids have lots of.  I still have them!  So establish the time to move or better yet, move outside after school before any homework, tv, computer or video gaming time can begin.  Want to take your high school aged child’s movement or athletic ability to a higher level?  Contact me to discuss personal training or some of my other fitness services.
8)      Establish a positive pattern of sleep preparation
Kids hate going to bed earlier than Mom and Dad, let’s face it, most of us adults didn’t want to either simply because we think we are going to miss something good!  FOMO is real.  So set strict bedtimes in addition to get-ready-for-bedtime times each night.  Ideally, this is one hour to 1 ยฝ hours before bed.  This is the time to get their brains and bodies prepared for rest so no television, video games, computers, tablets or Smartphone use.  This prevents their brains from staying wired and impacting their brain’s ability to produce melatonin which helps them ease into their sleeping rhythms naturally.
Keep room lighting on low or use candles or low night lights for minimal brain impact.  Keep this up on the weekends as well as kids need the routine to be consistent.  Need help getting them to bed?  Try adding a drop of Lavender essential oil or Stress Relief to the bottom of their feet before bed or in a diffuser in their bedroom.
9)      Let them be kids 
Kids today are involved in so many activities and the pressure on them to perform and do it all and do it all well can easily consume them and become too much to bear.  Kids need rest and they don’t have the capacity to handle stress like adults do.  The long lost art of “entertain yourself” can easily make a comeback and I believe it will when we realize how much we are taking away from our kids by having them partake in so many activities all of the time.  Consider throttling back for a season or two and letting them not participate in an activity but to just be kids.  They have the rest of their lives to be committed to things they can’t opt out of ๐Ÿ™‚
10)      Feed them a protein enriched breakfast 
Ditch the cereals, heavy grain-based breakfast and opt for more protein to support those babies’ brains and hormones first thing in the day!  This will help their blood sugar to be controlled better and limit the meltdowns that can occur before they even get to school.  A significant portion of kids I test these days through my Metabolic Typing and Functional Nutrition coaching services are identified as what we call Fast Oxidizers.  This means that their metabolism converts carbs to fuel VERY quickly so when you feed them sugar based carbs and drinks all day long, it’s like pouring gasoline onto an out of control fire.
When that fire is out of control they themselves cannot control their bodies and brains as well as you would like for them to.  Instead of making an appointment to put them on Adderall, let’s roll back a bit and look at how we are preparing them to face their day.
I hope some of these tips help you and your kiddos thrive better this school year!

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