Invest in Their Food!

 
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Hey parents! I know you’re tired! I TOTALLY GET IT! I have a two and four year old and the two year old STILL DOESN’T SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT! We are tired over here. Believe me, I know when we get tired and in a hurry it’s so much easier to feed the kids a bowl of cereal, some toast slathered in jelly, a pop tart, chicken nuggets, or just stick some frozen waffles in the oven and soak them in syrup. You know what I mean. I’ve done all this! There is no judgment here. But after six years of digging deeper, studying real nutrition and learning everyday, I have realized these shortcuts with conventional processed foods are extremely hazardous with practically zero nutritional value. I now understand this ‘any food will do’ convenience (and even desperation) is not doing my family, especially my kids, any favors. By being too rushed or tired to feed them what they really need, I am also short-cutting their long-term health and development, not to mention the trap of sugar and grain addiction.

We work very hard to invest in our kids education, college funds, school activities, we worry about how much screen time they have, we want them to get plenty of exercise and be happy because we all want the best life and opportunities for our kids! However, most of the time we rush through and drop the ball on the biggest opportunity we have to impact the rest of their lives and their children’s lives, feeding them food high in natural nutrients, healthy fats, and antioxidants. These types of foods and food habits will give them a body and brain that will grow strong and be TRULY HEALTHY. My research on Primal Eating has been a wake-up call, this approach to food and eating is the keystone to a long and healthy life.  

You may think this is the same over-used warning about kids eating their vegetables, but it’s SO MUCH MORE!! 

Did you know that what we are feeding our kids can literally alter their genetic expression? Over time this can also affect the genes they pass on to their children and their grandchildren. WHAT WE EAT CAN DIRECTLY AFFECT THE WAY OUR GENES WORK! THIS AFFECT CAN BE POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE DEPENDING ON THE FOOD SOURCE, COMPOSITION, AND VOLUME. But you don’t have to take it from me:

“More than just determining your fixed heritage traits, genes are responsible for continually directing the production of the proteins that control how your body functions every second. Genes turn on or off only in response to signals they receive from the environment surrounding them-signals that you provide based on the types of food you eat, the types of exercise you do (or don’t do), your sleeping habits, sun exposure and so forth.”

-Mark Sisson, Author of ‘The Primal Blueprint’

What I ate when I was pregnant could have had an affect on my babies genes before she was even born.  What on earth does that mean??? Well, in a nut shell we are all born with genes that are pre-wired to work well for us. Especially well for thriving in a clean, natural environment. These genes tell our body to burn fat, grow tall, grow strong, fight disease, etc. When we eat a poor diet (conventional American diet) those genes can become “lazy” from the lack of nutrients or from harmful, chemical laden foods we consume. The genes basically don’t do their job the way they were intended. What we feed our children directs how their genes perform, if those genes perform inadequately our children can pass along these “lazy” genes to their children and so forth.

This is literally the TIP OF THE ICEBERG. To learn directly from a recognized expert, check out the book ‘Deep Nutrition,’ by Dr. Cate Shanahan. But to intervene quickly, I suggest ditching all vegetable oils, ditching the insulin spiking foods such as grains (yes, all bread) and sugar. In place of these, add healthy fats, fresh meat, raw fresh vegetables and fruit (limited amounts of fruit), fats such as avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, real organic butter, organic eggs, full fat cheeses, whole milk, and so on are the best, and taste 100x better!

You may ask, are grains and sugar so threatening? My pantry is packed with grain products and food items containing sugar, maybe I should consume this supply before making a change? I know it is difficult to feed a family on a budget, and especially so to toss out conventional food already purchased. I offer, that health science and Primal Eating will convince you that these products aren’t actual food items at all. To attempt a short explanation, when we feed our children grains and sugars we are making it much harder for them to learn and have energy through the day. Grain-based carbohydrates and sugar (both sources of glucose) trigger them to have an insulin release. This insulin release results in a drop in energy and corresponding hunger stimulus two hours later. Much like a marathon runner who is conditioned to burn glucose (carbohydrates/sugar) as their fuel source, this quick burning, low nutrient fuel must be frequently replaced to maintain energy (whether at peak endurance levels or otherwise). Thus our runner needs to consume glucose dense food (goos or gels) through the race in order to keep going. Kids who are glucose dependent (sugar/grains) will most likely hit a low during the day (possibly more than one) and have to get that glucose spike again to restore energy and concentration. Over time this glucose-crash-glucose-crash cycle and corresponding insulin rebalancing may lead to a scary array of health issues, the most visually noticeable and tragic is childhood obesity.

The alternative to this conventional carbs and sugar diet is Primal Eating. By consuming raw, fresh vegetables, healthy fats and proteins (avacados, eggs, chicken, bone-broth, etc.) we can optimize our bodies to burn fat for energy. This energy source happens to be the original (primal) human energy source and is a perfect design, as most natural systems and cycles are. Metabolism of fat for energy doesn’t result in abrupt and uncomfortable ‘crashes’ requiring frequent re-fueling or addictions to certain food types (sugar/carbs) . Primal man ate plenty of plants and animals which could sustain him over the course of days until he could catch and kill his next meal. The biggest bonus of this fat burning, all natural way of eating, was and is health and longevity. Eating conventional, industrial age, FDA sanctioned, glucose producing foods in high volume is a ticket for poor mental and physical health, sickness, medical interventions, and life maintenance through medications.

Now let’s talk about brain function. STUDIES SHOW THAT LOW-FAT DIETS REDUCE INTELLIGENCE IN ANIMALS! What we eat affects our brain function and the brain function of our future children as genes are passed on. Let’s give our kids the upper hand! Give them those healthy fats to make their genes and brains function the way nature intended! Do you plan on having children? Maybe you are pregnant now- changing your approach to food by choosing high healthy-fats, low carbohydrates, and low/no processed sugar can strengthen your genes and the genes of your unborn baby. I am by no means a doctor or a scientist nor do I pretend to be, I’m just an engaged and motivated mom who reads everything I can to learn about how to give my kids the best and healthiest life possible. 

Let’s slow down and MAKE FOOD A PRIORITY. If we don’t have time to feed the kids good quality food, then maybe the activity we are rushing to should take the backseat, not the meal. I know school mornings can be tough, but starting them out with fresh eggs, avocado, peppers, bacon or any other healthy foods will keep them going stronger all day and teach them good eating habits for the rest of their lives.

Eat well, Kate