Nutrients are foods that we need for energy, growth and bodily functions. ‘Macro’ means large, so ‘macronutrients’ are needed in large amounts in our body. ‘Micro‘ means small. Micronutrients are required in small amounts in our body and they include vitamins and minerals.
There are ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ types of each of these groups.
Many children are missing out on the protein and fat groups, particularly at breakfast time. Throughout the day they are also consuming more of the ‘unhealthy’ types than ‘healthy’ types, particularly when it comes to fat.
…is essential for growing children. It is used for muscles, tendons, organs, skin, hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). With the running around, focusing and thinking, communicating and learning children do at school, adequate protein is hugely important to optimise their school performance. Increasing protein at breakfast time and in their lunchboxes is critical. The usual breakfast of cereal or toast, followed up by some fruit, then a vegemite sandwich at lunch won’t contain near sufficient protein for your child’s learning capabilities. Adding an egg to breakfast, some seeds (nuts when outside of school) or a container of dip such as hummus will make sure they start the day right. Eggs are a perfect snack and can be eaten whole, or made into patties, muffins or quiches that are bite size and perfect for lunch boxes.
…is an essential macronutrient for brain and nervous system development. The types of fats that are in snack are foods are trans-fats or hydrogenated fats. These are the ‘unhealthy’ fats and can be found in biscuits (sweet and savoury!), snack foods, store bought cakes and muffins, chips, margarine, salad dressings, and in high amounts in take away foods. Trans fats increase our risk of high cholesterol and heart disease, which many mistakenly believe doesn’t matter in kids as “they’re still young”. But with the rates of obesity rising, heart disease in children is also increasing. “Healthy” fats are generally unprocessed. Olive oil, coconut oil, oil from fish and plants such as avocado are all good for you.
…are also best consumed in their most unprocessed form. The best type of carbs? Vegetables! 🙂 The worst type? Sugar 🙁 Processed cereals such as Nutri-grain, Coco-pops and Froot-loops, which are popular with the kids are extremely processed, contain large amount of sugar and minimal protein and fat. While Weet-bix is lower in the sugar count, it is unfortunately also unbalanced in macronutrient status. Mueslis containing nuts and seeds, eggs and wholemeal toast with toppings higher in fat and protein are much better alternatives at breakfast time.
Give it a try!
It does take some experimenting and trial and error due to the fussy nature of some children. But the long term health benefits and good habits beginning early most definitely do pay off. Not just in health but behaviour, academic performance and emotional stability.
Imagine you’re sitting, scrolling through Facebook or your emails and someone lets a tiger into the room. What would you feel and what would you do? Naturally I would expect a few things such as:
A beating heart
A rush of adrenalin through your arms and legs (tingling, pulsing, shaking)
Lack of focus
This is your “fight or flight” response. You’re either going to stay and wrestle the tiger to the ground. Or you’re going to run for your life. Either way you need your body to:
Open your blood vessels to provide more blood flow to your arms and legs so you have the strength to fight or run
Increase your heart rate so you can pump that blood around
Increase your blood pressure as the blood pumps around
Increase your breathing rate so you have enough oxygen for those muscles
Tighten and tense neck and shoulder muscles
At the same time your body stops or changes the balance of:
Immune system function – fighting off that virus someone has just coughed into the air is not as much of a threat to you as the tiger
Hormones – its not important to be making babies when there’s a tiger around
Digestion – Digesting food is not important when you’re about to be something else’s food
Sleep – it’s not safe to fall asleep otherwise the tiger will get you or your family
Everything is aimed at survival
This is driven, controlled and stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system.
These changes also happen in our everyday lives. It’s what helps to keep our body in balance. These changes happen when the boss puts pressure on our work output, when the kids test their boundaries, when we argue, whenever we feel pressure in life and believe it or not, the very action of sitting at a desk is actually a stress on our body.
To be fair to our sympathetic nervous system also helps out in positive situations. It helps us to keep our blood sugars in balance, our blood pressure even so we don’t get dizzy when we stand up, it dulls down loud noises and protects our eyes from bright lights. This also helps us to survive as these are vital functions for our body to maintain homeostasis (balance).
Perception of pressure is stress
Stress stimulates the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in our body.
When these stressors continue our body spends more and more time in “fight or flight” until that is our new normal. We spend our lives on edge. Waiting for something to happen. This is sympathetic dominance and it begins to manifest in other ways:
Lower immunity – frequent colds and flus
Digestive system upsets – diarrhoea, constipation, gas, bloating, food intolerances
Hormone issues – irregular cycles, polycystic ovaries, infertility, heavy and painful periods, long or short cycles
Sympathetic dominance has far reaching effects on the body.
Screen time including ipads, mobile phones, laptop computers
Turning up to a job each day that we hate
Unresolved childhood traumas
Poor diet high in processed sugars and processed foods
Nutritional deficiencies such as zinc, magnesium and B vitamins
Toxins such as those in fast food, cosmetics and other personal care products, the environment or medications
So what can you do about this?
As I have explained in the Health Triad blog post, all health conditions are best approached from all sides of the triangle: physical/structural, mental/emotional and biochemical/nutritional.
Reducing physical and structural stressors using exercises to reverse poor posture, participating in light exercise rather than vigorous exercise everyday, stretches to counteract the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day and of course, chiropractic adjustments will all help to keep the body physically well.
Dealing with unresolved stress with methods such as meditation, NeuroEmotional Technique, taking time out for yourself each day, getting some sunshine, participating in hobbies you enjoy or spending time with friends are all good to reduce our mental/emotional stress.
Reducing the toxic load on our bodies through natural cleaning products, organic personal care products (don’t put anything on your skin you wouldn’t put in your mouth) and eating organic foods where possible will help with biochemical stress. Drinking plenty of water, which means 30mL per kilogram of body weight (1.8L for a 60kg person) each day helps to flush out toxins and keeps us feeling fresh. Plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and well-sourced meats, rather than junky, processed packaged food which is full of chemicals is important to reduce biochemical and nutritional stress on our bodies.
I have just completed my Practitioner Certification in the SD Protocol. Please let me know if you have any more questions about sympathetic dominance.
Below is a video from Dr Wayne Todd, developer of the SD Protocol:
I love hot cross buns. Who doesn’t really. Since finding out my body loves life a little more when there’s a little less gluten in it, I have been trying my hand at gluten free hot cross buns each Easter.
However, another blow to my hot cross taste buds came with the results of a food intolerance blood spot test. My body is also not so happy with bakers yeast and brewers yeast, which now rules out any GF breads. Happy tummy, happy me.
But in the lead up to Easter, those spicy buns really get to me. So this year I had an idea: Hot cross biscuits!
Truth be told, they’re just biscuits. But they’re GF, can be DF or vegan with substitution, yeast free to keep my belly happy and quite low in sugar. And I’ve added in spices, sultanas and the crosses on top!
Before I make my next point, there is nothing wrong with gluten free flour. It’s easy, pre-mixed for what you want and comes in many different varieties depending on what you’re making: bread, pizza bases, cakes, etc. So long as there are no ingredients that could possibly cause allergies (potato starch affects some tummies) it’s all good. However, GF flour is still often based on grains, some of which have been found to be inflammatory (check out Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter). And there are so many other options out there and I think there’s a lot to say for experimentation.
Some grain-free flours include:
Each one has it’s different properties which make it better suited to some recipes than others. That’s a blog post for another day…
Here they are:
Hot Cross Biscuits
1+1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter (coconut oil for DF/vegan)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1 egg (1 chia/flax ‘egg’ for vegan)
1/3 cup sultanas
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp clove powder
Mix buckwheat, salt, baking soda, vanilla powder and spices in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter/coconut oil and sugar until fluffy.
Blend in ‘egg’.
Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones and the sultanas. Here I used my hands to really mix it together.
As the buckwheat has no gluten to glue the biccies together (and your insides…gluten does that by the way) pop the mixture into the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up.
Now you can preheat the oven to 175*, line your tray with baking paper and pop the kettle on ready to make a cuppa to have with your fresh biccies.
Divide the mixture into 10-15 biscuits. The photo below is a division into 10 but next time I would do maybe 15 and get them lasting longer.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden on the edges.
Optional are the crosses. I just did that so I felt more like I was eating the real deal and for aesthetics. The crosses are made with 40g buckwheat flour, 50g water, 1/4 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Mix it all up in a blender of some sort (I used a bullet) and pipe it onto the biscuits.
You could also make the choc chip hot cross biscuits with either choc chips or cacao nibs. That insightful food intolerance test I did also showed up a slight reaction to cacao, so I decided to minimise my exposure and save it for Easter Sunday.
10 freshly baked Hot Cross Biscuits
Cup of tea with a Hot Cross Biscuit. My actual morning tea this morning! 🙂
Have you experienced NET? Have you tried to explain it to a friend…”you hold your arm up and they say words and I don’t know, it just makes me feel better.“
Here is a great video explaining the concepts of NET. So if you’ve been wondering what it’s all about and how it works, or experienced the positive effects and would like to know more…take a look here!
Founded by Dr Scott Walker and co-deveoped by Dr Deb Walker
Taught for the first time in May 1988
There are currently over 8000 practitioner who use this technique
“NET is a tool that can help improve many behavioural and physical conditions using a methodology of finding and removing neurological imbalances, related to the physiology if unresolved stress.”
“Neuro-Emotional Complex: A subjective mal-adaption syndrome adopted by the human organism in response to a real or perceived threat.”
NEC’s are the patients emotional reality. Think about how you feel after a nightmare, you wake up with a racing heart, but the dream isn’t real. You are still having a physiological response.
After we process an emotional experience, its normal for the body to come back into balance. This does not always happen.
Muscles that are previously ‘strong’ will test weak when saying a non-congruent statement. This has been scientifically validated by Dr Daniel Monti.*
We are NOT talking to the body, asking the body questions or predicting the future!