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What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA for Kids?

HTMA for kids is a non-invasive test that uses a small hair sample for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. The goal of HTMA for kids is to rebuild and balance minerals while removing toxic metals in a safe and gentle way so your child can feel his or her best!What is HTMA for Kids?

I talked a couple weeks ago about the health struggles we faced with our oldest. But through it all I was never concerned about her not getting enough to eat or her overall physical health.

Unfortunately we entered the world of stress, anxiety, and severe feeding challenges when my youngest daughter was born.

Being my third child, I felt pretty confident. I knew how to handle breastfeeding, sick babies, diaper blow-outs, etc.

But I was not prepared for the journey to come.

From day one my daughter could not breastfeed well. Three minutes was a “good” feed for her. She was often uncomfortable. And she slept a lot more than my other kids did as infants.

Although she was my biggest baby at birth (nine pounds!), her chubby baby status didn’t last long.

During her first year of life we learned about the profound impact of tongue and lip ties. We had them clipped twice.

I also had to restrict my diet to such a severe degree that I feared we would run out of safe food. But it was the only way she could breastfeed without screaming. And no formula was safe, so that was not an option.

She developed an allergy to coconut and all things from palm trees. Even if I took a vitamin that contained Vitamin A Palmitate she would not nurse. She would scream in pain. I could not get one speck of coconut, dairy, and many other foods in my mouth or she would react. I even stopped eating gluten-free because most gluten-free grains were off the list and we both needed to eat.

Sadly, I learned the hard way the dangers of Big Pharma’s favorite way to introduce toxic substances and heavy metals into children (I won’t use the word here). Had I not made the connection when she turned one, our outcome would have beeen much different. As it was she was convulsing in my arms, her tongue was swelling, and she could not eat.

At 18 months old my daughter was nursing every 45 minutes just to try to keep her alive. And those feedings were each just a few minutes. She rarely had a wet diaper. She hadn’t gained weight in months. I fed her a lot by syringe. But the pediatrician would not help us. He simply looked at her and said, “she looks fine to me.”

That was when I learned I had to be my duaghter’s doctor. Nobody wanted to help us.What is HTMA for Kids?

Feeding Challenges in Infants

My daughter’s story is sad, but what is even worse is that I’m not alone in my experience. I know so many other moms have been through extreme health and feeding challenges in their infants but have not gotten the support and help they need.

What do feeding challenges in infants look like?

  • colic
  • reflux/GERD
  • silent reflux
  • tongue and lip ties
  • resist solid food
  • inability or difficulty breastfeeding
  • failure to thrive
  • dehydration
  • delayed development

Most pediatricians do not know how to properly diagnose or treat these symptoms.

Some may prescribe antacids, which do more harm than good in the long run. Some may suggest ways to supplement. But that is about it.

For the most part, Mom is left to struggle through on her own.What is HTMA for kids?

Feeding Challenges in Childhood

As your child gets a little older, things may get easier. But the feeding troubles may persist or even get worse.

What do feeding challenges in childhood look like?

  • refusal to eat
  • refusal to try new foods
  • can’t handle certain textures
  • will only eat a handful of foods
  • food allergies or sensitivities
  • oral sensory processing disorder

If you have a child that is labled as a “picky eater,” “problem feeder,” or “selective eater” you know what it’s like. You know the day-to-day struggles and stress.What is HTMA for Kids?

Common Childhood Disorders

What many doctors and parents don’t realize is that the picky eating is actually just the tip of the iceberg. It is a symptom of something much deeper.

It’s very rare that I have a client that struggles with feeding that does not also have one or more of the following common childhood disorders and symptoms:

  • speech difficulties or delays
  • developmental delays
  • low weight
  • rings under eyes
  • sick often
  • ADHD
  • food allergies
  • anxiety
  • neurological disorder
  • weak bones and/or teeth
  • learning difficulties
  • slow/stunted growth
  • overweight

Though these may seem like separate issues on the surface, they are all connected.

Nutritional Balancing for Kids

Sadly, we have a generation of very sick kids. Although children grow up in different homes, different environments, and different cultures, the root cause of their health problems are the same.

Two of the biggest culprits of childhood disorders, including feeding challenges, is mineral imbalance and heavy metal toxicity.

This also includes overall mineral deficiency.

While I am not a fan of oversupplementing our lives, most kids these days are getting very few nutrients in their diets.

Typical kid food is void of nutrition. Then we add stress and sugar on top to deplete any minerals that were available. It’s a downward spiral into poor health that is happening at younger and younger ages.What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA for Kids?

HTMA stands for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. And it can be a life-saver for kids.

When digging for answers, most doctors run blood tests. And that can be helpful.

But when it comes to certain minerals and heavy metals, a blood test is not accurate enough. It only gives you a snapshot of that one moment in time when the blood was drawn. And some levels fluctuate throughout the day. So you could get signficantly different results depending on when the blood was drawn.

HTMA, however, shows mineral and heavy metal patterns for a three-month window. It’s like getting an in-depth look at your child’s health.

In addition, the body will do whatever it can to keep blood levels in a very narrow range. This is a survival mechanism. If blood levels are low, the situation is serious.

But looking at tissue levels (hair), you can see if the body is actually putting the minerals where they belong or if the body is storing heavy metals.

For example, a child may have a normal blood calcium level. However, an HTMA for kids may show a very high tissue calcium level. This means that although child’s body is maintaining a sufficient level of calcium in the blood, his or her body is also dumping calcium instead of putting it into the bones.

HTMA for kids uses a small hair sample to assess mineral and heavy metal status. It is a non-invasive procedure that is ideal for kids.What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA Used For?

Many kids these days are deficient in key minerals, have minerals that are out of balance with each other, or have heavy metals stored in their tissues at toxic levels.

Unfortunately, when minerals are not present, heavy metals take their place, making it harder for the body to remove the metals.

The goal of HTMA for kids is to restore the balance of key minerals and support the body in removing heavy metals.

This is not a detox program. This is simply giving the body what it needs in order for it to function properly and remove what it does not need. In other words, the goal is to balance and restore.

Heavy metals and mineral imbalance can both contribute to a host of symptoms, such as those mentioned above. They can also be the cause of food reactions. Rebalancing a child’s minerals allows him or her to think better, feel more energetic, and act like a kid.

Child Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

When my daughter was one, I was searching and searching for answers and help. I came across HTMA.

At the time I was really struggling with my own health as well. I could hardly eat anything due to my daughter’s restrictions, and I was so stressed that I had daily heart palpitations. I knew I was so out of balance.

I started by doing HTMA for myself in order to get both my daughter and I back in balance. We made slow progress because there were very few safe supplements and such a limited diet.

But I did learn some key information about how Vitamin D suppelements were harming us. I was able to add desiccated liver (use the code TAKE10 for 10% off) to our diets, and it was truly a life-saver for my daughter.

By doing HTMA I was able to make some simple changes that had a profound impact. My daughter got some key nutrients while allowing her body to remove some heavy metals.

As we turned the corner we were able to gradually add more foods to our diet and continued to make progress.

A couple years later I did HTMA for my daughter herself. Once again we were able to keep balancing her minerals and watch her health steadily improve.What is HTMA for Kids?

She is now six years old and a very active and energetic little girl. She has almost completely eliminated her food restrictions.

What could have turned into a tragic story instead became one of hope and healing.

Mineral Balncing for Kids

Even though we have come so far from that little infant struggling to survive, we still have work to do. My daughter is my only child that battles severe leg pains at times and has some cavities (likely due to Vitamin D supplements). We will continue to use HTMA to get her minerals in balance and remove toxins. But I know that she has a bright future thanks to HTMA for kids!

I am so excited to be adding HTMA for kids to my own practice very soon! Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, or my newsletter (best way) so you will find out as soon as it is available.

So far we have talked about the foundations of good health, Nutritional Therapy for kids, and HTMA for kids – the physical aspects of health. But there is still more! Next up I’ll be discussing more of the mental aspect of eating. Even as an infant, a child can develop psychological blocks to eating well. Stay tuned!

Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

Nutritional Therapy for Kids

When my first child was born, I pretty much knew nothing about parenting, including how to feed kids. I had never heard the term “Real Food.” I thought low-fat meant healthy.

I followed the typical advice for introducing solids, starting with infant cereal and a few purees. Graduating to American cheese and sweetened yogurt.

But it didn’t go as well as I had expected.

My daughter was not very receptive to food. She gagged. She spit it out. She almost seemed over-stimulated by it, her whole body moving at meal times.

But we pressed on. In the toddler years she would hold one piece of food in her mouth for over 30 minutes. Eggs would go in and come right back out. And forget about raw fruits and veggies! She was still eating purees well past two.

As she got a little older it wasn’t just the feeding challenges that stood out. I started to notice other symptoms that just didn’t seem quite right.

She didn’t play with other kids, just observed. She was (and is!) insanely smart and could read for hours. Yet something as simple as getting dressed or brushing her teeth could end in tears.

As the symptoms started to pile up, so did my concerns. And I know this is not unique to me. So many parents live the same struggles day after day.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

Why are Kids Unhealthy?

Our culture does not prioritize a child’s health. From day one they are bombarded with fillers, gums, sugar, heavy metals, synthetic vitamins, pesticides, herbicides, and an assortment of chemicals to sanitize their environment.

In turn we have kids struggling with:

  • ADHD,
  • diabetes,
  • sensory processing disorder,
  • autism,
  • feeding challenges,
  • food allergies,
  • asthma,
  • obesity,
  • and even cancer…

at younger and younger ages.

This is not how a child should have to live.

I recently shared my Foundations of Good Health. These apply to everyone, kids included. And at the top of the list is Nutrition!Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Good Nutrition for a Child?

Sadly most doctors will tell you all of this is normal. It’s just how your child was born, and there is nothing you can do about it.

No, it is not normal!

But it is common in our modern, diseased world.

My goal is to turn this around. It is my mission to allow kids to feel like kids again.

What we really need to do is get at the root of the issue…which is poor nutrition.

Typical “kid food” is keeping our children sick and diseased. This includes:

  • cereal
  • candy
  • processed meats
  • fast food
  • Lunchables®
  • frozen pizza
  • chicken nuggets
  • toaster pastries
  • food dyes
  • refined sugar
  • genetically modified foods

The list could go on and on. These “foods” are a stark contrast to nutrition. They are actually void of nutrients.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

So what is the solution? What can parents do to turn this around?

This is where Nutritional Therapy for kids comes in!

Food is medicine. What a child eats directly impacts how he or she thinks, feels, and behaves.

This includes:

  • how your child interacts with family and friends
  • how your child performs in school
  • what food choices your child makes
  • your child’s mood
  • how your child handles stress
  • your child’s weight and activity level

If you give a child proper nourishment, he or she can thrive!

Nutritional Therapy centers on the idea that real health can be achieved through a holistic and bio-individual approach to nutrition and lifestyle.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What are the Goals of Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I take the whole child into account. I do not focus on one symptom, but instead look deeper and support the whole body.

I take a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on the importance of a properly-prepared, nutrient-dense diet paired with a well-balanced lifestyle.

I understand the importance of honoring the body’s own feedback system and its incredible capacity to restore, regenerate, and correct itself when given the tools and nutrients to do so.

In other words, I focus on removing barriers and building up the body. The goal of Nutritional Therapy for Kids is to give them the proper nutrition and support to get back in balance.

Nutritional Therapy is ideal for parents and kids that want to avoid prescription medications and illness, but instead use diet and lifestyle to support the body and allow it to function optimally.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

How Can Kids Improve Nutrition?

One unique aspect of Nutritional Therapy for kids at Just Take A Bite LLC is my use of Eating Styles. This is like understanding your child’s “food language.”

This takes bio-individuality to a whole new level.

I do not just look at the physical dietary needs. I also take into account the emotional and mental aspect of how your child views the world and his or her food.

Two children may be lacking in quality protein. But an Intuitive Eater will need easy-to-chew, comforting options while an Active Eater will prefer tougher cuts.

Using the Eating Styles, I can help you go that extra step to knowing which foods and recipes will be ideal for your child.

Understanding your child’s Eating Style will even help you create an ideal eating environment. An Analytical Eater will prefer quiet and maybe even eating alone sometimes. While an Adventurous Eater will enjoy trying new foods and changing the seating arrangement every night!

Adding in this extra level of bio-individuality means less frustration for Mom and more success in improving your child’s diet and health!

Food Language Quiz

What is a Healthy Diet for Kids?

My daughter is now almost a teenager (gasp!). I’m so proud to say she is an amazingly talented young lady with a big heart.

Over the years we worked with a speech therapist, occupational therapist, functional neurologist, psychologist, chiropractor, and orthodontist. Each of these contributed to our success.

But it was Nutritional Therapy that had the biggest impact on my daughter’s health and overall life!

At five years old we removed gluten and food dyes.

Almost overnight it was like somebody turned on a light switch in her brain. The sparkle appeared in her eyes and she could feel the difference.

Since that day we have made adjustments here and there to meet her needs. She is an Adventurous Eater that has very different tastes in food than I do. And I honor that and let her help plan meals and make food decisions. Almost every afternoon I find her in the kitchen creating a unique snack!

We periodically assess her body and how each system is functioning to tailor diet and lifestyle accordingly.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

As we enter the teen years this will be of the utmost importance with shifting hormones and different sleep and nutritional needs.

Just the other day she mentioned how she has been thinking better after we put a focus on some key B vitamins.

Gluten-free and dye-free in addition to whole foods is what works for my daughter. But every child has a unique set of challenges and a unique environment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to health. That is why Nutritional Therapy is so amazing!Nutritional Therapy for Kids

Is Nutritional Therapy Necessary?

I truly believe that all children can benefit from Nutritional Therapy. It is a great way to support the whole child in a non-invasive manner.

Even seemingly healthy kids can benefit by targeting specific body systems and supporting them with key nutrients.

I’d love to support you and your children on your journey to better health with Nutritional Therapy! If you want to learn more, let’s talk!

Book a clarity call!

Beyond Nutritional Therapy for Kids

There are times when even Nutritional Therapy is not enough. Or times when a feeding problem has gone beyond a simple dietary adjustment.

If you’ve been hesitant to take action and take charge of your child’s health, it could get worse.

This is where Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) for kids comes in. Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll share my youngest daughter’s journey when she went from eating nothing to a healthy, active child. HTMA was a life-saver!

How have you seen diet impact your child’s life?

Foundations of good health giveaway!

The Essential Foundations of Good Health

There are so many opinions these days when it comes to what is and isn’t healthy. In this post I’m breaking down my essential foundations of good health, layer by layer.Foundations of good health

I struggled with digestive dysfunction, an overactive bladder, and anxiety from the time I was very young. I can still remember at five years old being scared to get in the car because I knew I’d have to use the bathroom as soon as we got on the road. Even if it was just a short drive to church or the store. And my dad hated to stop.

That anxiety around basic bodily functions that were out of my control gradually grew over time. In junior high there were days I was in pain and could barely sit up in class. I would just watch the clock until it was time to go home so I could lay down and get relief.

High school ushered in disordered eating to try to feel some sense of control in my life and to manage my symptoms.

But as I journeyed into my twenties my anxiety reached a head, turning into panic attacks and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My digestive issues came right along with it!

But I had no clue how to get out of the vicious cycle. I feared I would have to suffer this way for the rest of my life.

Being a natural problem-solver, I couldn’t accept that answer. So even though no doctors could tell me what was wrong, I kept on searching for answers.

Is There a Way Out of Poor Health?

Over the course of the next fifteen years I gradually found most of the avenues I needed for healing. But it took a lot of trial and error. It took a lot longer than it needed to.

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels on a healing journey?

Maybe it’s your own health that is suffering. You have…

  • no energy
  • joint pain
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • brain dysfunction
  • poor digestion
  • life just seems sort of blah.

Or maybe it’s for your kids. They…

  • only want to eat sweets
  • can’t focus in school
  • have extreme mood swings
  • struggle with skin reactions
  • have daily stomach aches
  • can’t sleep well.

Nobody wants to live this way. It’s hard to really call it living. It’s more like surviving.

Is there really a way out? And where do you even begin?

What is your first step in order to get your life and health back on track?Foundations of good health

How to Begin the Healing Process

Let’s start with the symptoms of poor health. They truly are that – just symptoms. Just like picky eating is a symptom of much deeper issues, most bothersome symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg. It is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong at a deeper level.

But the solution is not found in treating symptoms. Sadly, that is exactly what allopathic medicine does. And it keeps you chasing symptoms while remaining sick.

Before you can start the healing work, you must get to the root of the problem first.

How to Improve Health and Wellness

When it comes to helping the body function better, I have discovered four essential foundations. These are the layers that you must work through to support the whole body. Not just physically, but spiritually and mentally as well.

Healing is sort of like peeling an onion. You go through it layer-by-layer.Foundations of good health

There are four layers in my essential foundations to good health.

  1. Spiritual life
  2. Diet and lifestyle
  3. Emotional and mental health
  4. Supportive and maintenance modalities

Each layer impacts the others. And you will go back and forth between them on your journey to better health. Let’s dig a little deeper into each foundation.

How Does Faith Impact Your Daily Life?

I believe the most important foundation in your life is spiritual health. This is central to everything else. Without a sense of purpose and hope, it is hard to want to make change.

For me spiritual health means faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Everything else I do in life stems from my faith.

Having a central focus – a solid foundation – is essential.

What you believe in is a very personal decision. But it is the first step towards a healthy life. And I encourage you to start with this foundation, no matter what physical and emotional symptoms you’re dealing with.Foundations of good health

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

The next step on your journey towards wellness is getting your lifestyle in check. This includes:

  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Stress-management
  • Movement
  • Sun exposure

All five of these components are important.

Nutrient-Dense Diet

A healthy diet includes nutrient-dense, whole foods that your body tolerates. It does not have to include overly-restrictive eating or cutting out whole food groups. Simply eat Real Food that meets your bioindividual needs.

If you’re not sure how to tailor a diet to your body, Nutritional Therapy can help!

Sleep

Sleep is just as important as what you eat. You can’t out-eat lack of sleep! Trust me, I’ve tried.

How much sleep is essential is different for every person. An Intuitive Eater tends to need extra sleep, while an Active Eater may be able to thrive with less.

Sleep is very restorative to the body. While you sleep your body works through emotional stress. This is also when your body does a lot of its healing work since it does not need to put energy into all of the functions that are needed during the day.

Stress Management

Stress affects the body both mentally and physically. While you can’t always eliminate the stress in your life, you can learn to be stress resiliant. Foundations of good health

Movement

It is essential to move your body every day. This does not mean you have to become a marathon runner. In fact, it’s healthier to be active and incorporate movement into your daily life than it is to sit all day and then do an hour of intense exercise.

Find ways to walk more, move your body in unique ways, and stand instead of sit. Having meaningful work at home helps as well. This can include landscaping, gardening, house repairs, raising animals, painting, cleaning, lawn mowing, and organizing. Keeping your body moving throughout the day is the key.

Sun Exposure

Finally, sun exposure and getting outside are foundational to your health. There is a lot of talk about Vitamin D supplements these days. While I’m not a fan of Hormone D supplementation in most cases, I do think everyone should get outside daily. Even if it’s just for a short time. Fresh air and sunshine are so healing to the body.

If you need help with any of these healthy lifestyle habits I’d love to connect! Nutritional Therapy addresses diet (tailored specifically to you!), sleep, stress management, movement, and sun exposure. Hop on a clarity call today to see if it’s the right fit for you and your kids!

Book a clarity call!

Emotional Vs Mental Health

The next foundational layer of good health includes your mental and emotional well-being. These are two distinct things. But I am going to put them together since they influence each other so much.

  • Mental health influences your thoughts and actions. It includes your psychological, social, and emotional well-being.
  • Emotional health includes your awareness of and expression of your feelings.

This is where many people get stuck in their healing journey, myself included.Foundations of good health

After you anchor your life on a spiritual foundation and adjust your diet and lifestyle, sometimes there is deeper work that needs to be done. This is because your brain and your body hold on to trauma and express it in a physical manner. You can’t talk or logic your way out of it. You can’t eat your way out of it either. Again, trust me, I’ve tried.

This is where some alternative therapies come into play. And you have to research and figure out which one or which combination will work best for you. My favorites include:

  • Craniosacral Therapy
  • Reiki
  • Tapping (EFT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Accupuncture

In all of these it’s about going really deep, past the logical brain and getting at the stuck thought patterns of the reptillian brain.

So if you feel like you’ve put in the work with diet and lifestyle but there are some symptoms that just never budge, it’s time to go deeper.

Here are some great resources to get you started!

How Does Diet Affect Mental Health

I mentioned earlier that these layers will overlap a bit, and you’ll go back and forth between them. The connection between diet and mental health is a great example.

Many mental health symptoms are caused by a nutrient imbalance or deficiency.

For example, lacking some of the B Vitamins can lead to depression and mood swings.

Low magnesium levels can be at the root of anxiety.

An imbalance between zinc and copper can cause mood swings, headaches, and hormonal imbalance…which definitely impacts your mental health!Foundations of good health

I prefer to adjust diet before trying to tackle the deeper emotional work because it can releave some of the symptoms. But each person is unique. Sometimes you may not have the ability to handle even small lifestyle changes if the mental health problems are severe enough.

This is where Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) comes into play. This non-invasive test gives great insight into your mineral levels, mineral ratios, and toxic load. I will be offering HTMA to my clients soon!
Foundations of good health

Natural Supportive Care

Finally, we get to the outer layer – the supportive care. These are modalities of wellness that many people think of as “natural treatments” or “natural remedies.” Some of my favorite forms of natural supportive care include:

  • essential oils
  • chiropractic care
  • homeopathy
  • supplements
  • flower essences
  • cell salts
  • herbs

These can be very helpful in many cases. But remember that they are supportive therapies. You can not rely on them alone.

For example, you may find relief from joint pain by using an essential oil topically. But it is not treating the source of your pain. You still have to get to the root of the inflammation and address that.

Natural supportive care often helps allieviate symptoms, but does not often address the root problem. Using these supportive modalities in conjunction with the other foundations of good health can make the healing process easier and faster.Foundations of good health

My Journey to Wellness

Over the past 15 years I’ve tried so many ways to get healthier. I waffled back and forth between the physical and mental aspects of my health.

I spent ten years doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a psychologist. It helped. But it wasn’t until I changed my diet and lifestyle that I really made progress. I removed the nutritional barriers to healing, which allowed me to be able to process the mental aspects.

Now, fifteen years in, I’m moving into some much deeper emotional healing. It all started as a child with digestive and kidney dysfunction, that turned into something traumatic. I’ve carried this trauma with me my entire life, and I’m ready to let it go and eliminate the symptoms that nothing else can change. I can’t wait to share more of my journey as I’m able.

I am also utilizing HTMA to get my minerals back in balance and toxins out after years of processed food, fertility treatments, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and restricted diets. Even though some of those ended many years ago (like the toxic food and pharmaceuticals) the damage is still there. It took a long time to get sick. It takes a long time to recover.

But I fully believe healing is possible as I continue to get to the deeply rooted emotional source of my physical symptoms.

I have already put in the diet and lifestyle foundational work. It’s time to move to the next layer.

How to Begin Your Health Journey

I fully believe better health is possible for you and your family as well! And I want to help you get started.

As we enter this New Year with uncertainty and a heightened awareness of health, I want to give you a feeling of hope. There is always something you can do to feel better and make positive changes.Foundations of good health giveaway!

So I am giving away some of my services to help you! There are four prizes you could win.

  1. Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters (my nourishing drink book)
  2. Why Won’t My Child Eat?! (my guide to getting any child to eat)
  3. Eating Styles Membership (remove the daily feeding battles by understanding how your child eats)
  4. Nutritional Therapy session

Be sure to enter below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where are You?

So where are you on the journey towards better health? Are you tired and overwhelmed on a daily basis? Are your kids struggling to simply feel like kids?Foundations of good health

If you are new to a natural lifestyle, start today by making one simple change.

  • Add vegetables to your lunch.
  • Put away the screens.
  • Get outside for a walk.
  • Get your hands in the dirt.
  • Take a nap.
  • Read a book.
  • Drink an extra glass of water.

If you’re ready to go deeper and start getting to the root of your symptoms, it’s time to look into Nutritional Therapy.

Stay tuned as I’ll be going into more detail about what Nutritional Therapy is in my next post.

But if you’re ready to get started now, join me on a clarity call to see how Nutritional Therapy can help!

Book a clarity call!

Better Health for Kids

I love working with fellow moms to get their health back on track. If you are not caring for yourself, it’s hard to care for your children effectively.

Foundations of good health

But my expertise is nourishing kids.

These foundations of good health apply to children as well as moms. And it’s never too late to get off the Standard American Diet train and give your kids the gift of clearer thinking, better focus, more energy, and overall wellness.

As you can see from my own story, intervention when I was young could have prevented years of struggles. Had my parents helped me get to the root of my physical symptoms right away, my life would be very different.

Don’t waste another day hoping your kids will “grow out of” their picky eating, lack of focus, or stomach aches.

Give  your kids the gift of better health NOW!

Be sure to enter the giveaway above. Then take one step today towards nourishing your kids. Scheduling a clarity call to figure out if Nutritional Therapy is right for you and your family is a great first step!

Book a clarity call!

it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

The Best Natural Bath Products for Kids

Considering your skin is your largest organ and that it absorbs whatever you put on it, it’s important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I’m talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

When my oldest daughter was five, she would come home from school every day with red, dry, cracked hands. The back of her hands were so itchy and painful.

We had just entered the world of food allergies. So at first I wondered if it was related to something she was eating. Then I learned that they had to use hand sanitizer at school…a chemical storm right on the skin.

I immediately asked her teacher if my daughter could simply wash her hands instead of using the sanitizer. That helped some. But she still needed relief from the damage that had been done.

As a newbie to natural health, I reached for coconut oil. Can’t that cure everything?

Turns out no, it can’t.

If your kids are struggling with skin issues, skip the coconut oil! It actually dries the skin out and makes the irritation worse. Lesson learned.

Thankfully I have some knowledgeable friends that steered me in the right direction. And seven years later we still use the same natural skin care products on our kids. Today I want to tell you about my friend Emilie of Toups & Co. Organics and how her products have changed our lives.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Why Natural Skin Care is Important for Kids

Your skin is your largest organ! It must be pretty important. Turns out it is.

Skin is the first line of defense for your innate immune system. It is the barrier between your surroundings and your internal environment. Your skin protects you from all sorts of invaders.

But the skin is also very porous. It absorbs whatever you put on it, and gets it right to the bloodstream. Unlike ingesting something, which goes through the digestive system and is filtered before entering the bloodstream, the skin is a fast-track to the blood.

This means that whatever you put on your skin is immediately absorbed (which is why using magnesium lotion is such an effective way to increase magnesium levels!).

Kids are bombarded with toxins these days. Especially harsh chemicals in soaps, cleaners, and hand santizers. So, now more than ever, it’s important to use natural skin care products on your kids.

My motto is, “if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin.”

What is the Best Lotion for Kids?

While coconut oil has its place in natural health, when it comes to skincare, tallow reigns supreme. Tallow is beef fat.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Gross! I don’t want to rub stinky tallow all over my kids.

No worries – there are ways to make tallow lotion that doesn’t stink.

Our favorite is Toups & Co. tallow balm or baby balm. Kid-safe essential oils make it smell amazing. The tallow is soft and soothing. My kids reach for it any time they have itchy or dry legs.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

What is the Best Natural Baby Wash?

Once I started researching lotions, I began to question everything I was putting on my kids’ skin. We had a lotion figured out. But what about bath products?

By this time I had a new little one with a host of food reactions. Which also meant skin problems. I needed something gentle, safe, and effective. Did that exist?

Thankfully it did…and does!

Once we found Toups & Co. Baby Body Wash, we never looked for another.

It suds nicely and washes effectively. I love that I don’t have to worry about my little ones getting some of the water in their mouths or even about the soapy water running down their faces.

I use this whenever I give my kids a bath. Truth be told, I’ve used it for myeslf too! It’s that good.

What is the Best Shampoo for Kids?

I didn’t use any shampoo for my boys for a long time. A wet Norwex body cloth was good enough on a little bit of hair. But my girls have long hair. My youngest daughter was born with a full head of curly locks. I avoided the shampoo for a little  while. But at some point I had to do it.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Thankfully the Toups & Co. Body Wash doubles as shampoo!

When I give my little ones a bath I literally pour a bit of the body wash on their heads, rub it in, and just work my way down the body. Then one big rinse and we’re done! I can have my toddler’s bath done in about three minutes if need be (like when dinner is cooking but I have to squeeze in bathtime).

What is the Best Chemical-Free Soap for Teens?

Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers don’t take much work to clean. They don’t get sweaty and stinky. Sadly, we can not say the same thing about our teens.

Around age eight or nine it’s time to start using some stronger soap. If you have kids in the eight to eighteen age range, you know what I mean.

This is also a time when hormones are kicking in, oil glands are on overdrive, and the skin can be very sensitive.

If this is the phase your child is in, you’ll want to try both the Toups & Co. Everything Bar and Charcoal Bar.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. Can a bar soap really replace our shampoo? Can charcoal really clean my daughter’s skin well? But it only took a few uses for my daughter and I to both be believers.

The Everything Bar literally replaces everything. We use it from head to toe as shampoo, soap, and shaving cream.

The Charcoal Bar is great for cleaning the face. It washes away all dirt, grime, and makeup. It leaves your skin feeling so clean and soft. And if you run out of the Everything Bar, you can use the Charcoal Bar for shampoo too (ask me how I know).

Giving teens safe, natural health and beauty products is so important at this critical phase in their development. Hormones are already going a bit whacky. Adding hormone-disrupting chemicals in traditional products to their skin just compounds the problems.

And while you’re at it, you might as well grab some safe and effective deodorant for your teens! This is what my 12 year-old daughter uses. It won’t be long before I’m buying it for my son! Thank goodness for some more “masculine” scents and even an extra strength version. We may need it.

Safe Chapstick for Kids

We’ve covered kid-safe products for hair and skin. But don’t forget about the lips! Many kids like to use chapstick both for dry, chapped lips and simply for feeling a bit grown up.

It is essential to use safe ingredients here as they will get in the mouth when a child eats or licks her lips. I’m thankful Toups & Co. offers several flavors of chapstick that are made from tallow. No dangerous ingredients.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Natural Bath Products for Kids and Babies

If you are in the market for natural bath products for babies, kids, or teens (or even yourself!), I recommend Toups & Co. Organics. They are staples in our home. I hope they will be staples in your home too! My favorite and most-used products are the Baby Body Wash & Shampoo and Toups & Co. tallow balm.

Natural Skin Care for Mom

I love to talk about kids’ health. But I couldn’t write about Emilie’s products without mentioning her makeup line. I searched for YEARS for a natural makeup that actually works and doesn’t completely break the bank. I tried all sorts of powder mineral makeups. They were OK, but not great.

I finally tried the Toups & Co. liquid foundation and immediately fell in love. This is the makeup I’ve been searching for. It goes on so smoothly and blends right in. I can hardly tell I have makeup on. It lasts all day too. At the end of the day I’m almost sad to wash my face because it still looks so nice.

When it comes to makeup, I’m about as minimal as you can get. Partly because that’s just me. I like to keep things simple. But partly because of past experience. I used to try to wear eye makeup…and would wake up the next day with painful, swollen eyelids. I swore off eye makeup about seven years ago after a really bad reaction where I could barely open my eye. It was so painful.

So I was hesitant to give it another go. But I finally tried the Toups & Co. mascara. To my amazement I had NO reaction. I wore it all day without any problems. Then I tried it again the next day…and the next. No problem!

I’m so happy that for the first time in years I can wear eye makeup. Since I was having so much fun with makeup I also decided to try some lipstick in bright red. And I love it! I’ve avoided any makeup but the bare minimum for so long. I’m thankful I can enjoy putting my face on a bit again. It’s fun to feel really good about how I look when I want to get dressed up.

If you’ve been on the hunt for natural makeup, give Toups & Co. a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Toups & Co. Organic Tallow Balm for Kids

After the hand sanitizer and cocnout oil, my daughter needed relief. Thankfully we tried Emilie’s tallow balm. It was like magic. My daughter’s hands returned to normal, and we have a quick solution if the dry skin ever flares.

Now with four kids I have a bit more experience under my belt. If one of them has dry skin or eczema I immediately reach for the tallow balm. In fact, we only keep two kinds of lotion on hand – tallow balm for dry or irritated skin and magnesium lotion for restless legs, trouble sleeping, growing pains, bed-wetting, and anxiety. There is no need for anything else!

Are you ready to do the “ditch and switch” with your health and beauty products? Check out Toups & Co. Organics as a one-stop shop for all of your family’s needs HERE!

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

How To Begin A Rotation Diet for Kids

When it comes to allergies, diet is key This includes rotating foods.. Wondering how to get your kids on a rotation diet…and avoid the resistance? Let them have control!

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

One of the hardest things about an allergy diagnosis is taking food away from your child.

Who wants to say, “Sorry, no more apple slices”? Or “Your sister is having cheese, but you can’t have it now”?

Then you break the news. You also have to rotate your food. The raisins you like to snack on every day? Now you can only eat them every four days. I hope you enjoyed that banana. You can’t have another until later this week.

How to Follow A Rotation Diet

This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. Using a rotation diet for allergies is one of the most important things you can do. It certainly does not make dealing with allergies easier. But it will help in the healing and prevention process. By rotating the food you eat on a four-day cycle, you allow the body time to heal. It also prevents the development of new allergies, which is so common. Eating the same foods day after day when you have allergies is a recipe for disaster.

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

If you have never heard of or tried a rotation diet be sure to read about how a rotation diet works and why it is critical for those with allergies!

So just how do you get your kids on board with this new way of eating?
 

How to Get Kids on a Rotation Diet

Today I’m at Kitchen Stewardship sharing fun tips for getting kids of any age on a rotation diet. Read the full article HERE.

I’ve also got a super cool FREE printout to help you get started. Get your copy now.

The Best Strategies for Feeding a Child with Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

Are meal times a battle? Is your child’s diet limited due to flavors and textures? Is chewing a chore? Would a delicious treat like leftover muffin bread pudding be out of the question because it’s “too mushy?” Take heart! I’ve got the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory issues.child refusing to eat

I have two kids with oral sensory issues. But I didn’t even know it until I wrote this post! To clarify, we’ve been working on my daughter’s sensory issues since she was a baby. But I didn’t realize some of my son’s behavior was related to sensory issues until I did more research.

Why is that? They are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Some kids with oral sensory issues fear stimulation. It is the most obvious with refusal to chew, eat, etc. That is my oldest. I still remember being so excited to feed her solid food when she was six months old. Such a milestone with your first child! But it did not go as well as I had hoped. Everything came right back out. Little did I know we’d be battling that problem ten years later!

Some kids crave stimulation, like my son. He eats pretty well…but he always stuffs as much food in his mouth as possible and is constantly chewing on things (non-food items like clothes, toys and his hands). He seeks out oral stimulation. Maybe that’s why he loved nursing so much! Though he really had no interest in solid food until about ten months old.Are meal times a battle? Is your child's diet limited due to flavors, textures and trouble chewing? Here are the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory issues.

What is Oral Sensory Processing Disorder?

As you can see there is such a difference just between two kids in the same family. So you can imagine that the spectrum of oral sensory issues is quite broad. Here are some of the common symptoms.

The child…

  • won’t use utensils/eats with his hands
  • won’t stay in a chair during a meal
  • puts more food in his mouth than fits
  • chews with her mouth open
  • chews with her front teeth
  • chews on toys and clothes
  • holds food in her mouth for a long period of time
  • will only eat certain textures, sizes, shapes or colors of food
  • gags on food easily
  • refuses to try new foods
  • is afraid of eating
  • pushes food forward with his tongue instead of back

As if getting kids to eat a nourishing diet wasn’t hard enough. When you add Oral Sensory Processing Disorder it just compounds the problem. But take heart. It can be done! It just takes some work figuring out how best to meet your child’s needs.

I have a collection of strategies for feeding kids with all sorts of challenges. Some are simple tricks to try at home. Some require help from therapists and doctors. Start with one and keep working through the list to figure out what works best for you. I’ll share our own successful strategies as well.

Eating Styles Membership

Also keep in mind that every child has a unique Eating Style that dictates how they eat. What seems like a sensory issue could in fact just be how they express themselves through eating. Learn more about your child’s Eating Style HERE!

Are meal times a battle? Is your child's diet limited due to flavors, textures and trouble chewing? Here are the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory processing disorder. #oralspd #pickyeaters #feedingkids

At-home Tools for Feeding a Child with Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

  1. Try different textures.
    It goes without saying that food texture is a huge obstacle with sensory issues. Mushy, chewy, crunchy, crispy liquid, solid. I’m sure your child has a multitude of categories. Figure out what textures your child is comfortable with and serve those foods first. Gradually try introducing new textures. Just one bite at a time is sufficient. Go at your child’s pace. You don’t want to make eating stressful or scary. Over time you can try larger quantities. If your child is a fan of smoothies I’ve got tons of healthy ones in my book Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters.
  2. Let kids play with food.
    One of the best ways to get a child with oral sensory issues comfortable with a particular food is to let them play with it. Create a lunch with various dips, spreads and crackers. Make a snack of fruits and veggies and let them make a picture out of it. Don’t put any pressure on the child to eat it. Just let them have fun creating things.kids cooking
  3. Teach kids to cook.
    This is one of my favorite strategies. Not only does teaching your child to cook often get them to try new foods, it also sets them up for success as an adult. They’ll get feeding therapy and life skills all in one! We’ve been using the Kids Cook Real Food ecourse for over two years now. It has been amazing to watch my kids build confidence with their skills and be willing to try so many foods! It’s a win-win.
  4. Make meals fun.
    It never hurts to cater to a child’s playful nature. Try fun straws for drinking smoothies and pureed soups. Cut sandwiches into shapes. Use an assortment of cups with different shapes and textures. Or maybe get a new cup or straw as a prize for trying something new. Relate a meal to a story you just read (i.e. porridge from Goldilocks). Anything to associate eating with fun.
  5. Exercise the mouth.
    For some kids the physical act of eating is truly hard. Exercises can help train their muscles. Kind of like lifting weights for your mouth. Have them practice sucking from a straw, blowing bubbles, making sounds, chewing chewy and crunchy food. Anything that gets their mouth moving in different ways.
  6. Use different utensils.
    It drives my husband and I crazy that our two oldest rarely use utensils unless we tell them (force them!) to. I never really thought about how the utensils feel to them. Or that they could be challenging to manipulate (especially since our three-year old uses them so well!). If this is the case for your kids experiment with spoons and forks of different materials, sizes and shapes. Find something your child is comfortable putting in his mouth.
  7. Experience food away from meals.
    Kids learn that they are expected to eat at meal times. Which creates pressure and sometimes anxiety. Offer your child exposure to food away from a meal time, without expectations. Give her a plate of fruits and veggies to snack on as she pleases. Let her play with them. Make sure she knows she can eat the food if she wants or leave it all there. It’s up to her. This will help her relax and build confidence.
  8. Use body movement before eating.
    Another struggle for my kids is sitting in a chair to eat. Some kids just need to move to satisfy their need for stimulation. Body movement before a meal can help this. Before coming to the table have them try some jumping, rocking, hanging or climbing. Other forms of touch that might help are hugs and being wrapped in a blanket. Ease their senses first. Then start the meal. Or let them stand or sit on a balance ball to eat.
  9. Use chew toys.
    It may sound strange, but some kids just need to chew! They need constant oral stimulation. They can’t eat non-stop (though sometimes it seems they try to!). Candy and gum are not healthy options. A simple solution is a chew toy. There are special ones designed for older kids/kids with oral sensory issues. I’m tempted to get one for my son so he’ll stop putting his hands and toys in his mouth. For a long time I thought maybe he was cutting molars. But after a few years of the behavior I know he just needs oral stimulation.sweet potato burger
  10. Experiment with flavors.
    Generally kids with oral sensory issues need very bland and mild-flavored food. But that isn’t always the case. Some kids like a lot of spice. Talk to your child and experiment with different flavors. Salty, sweet, spicy, bitter, bold, mild. My oldest can’t handle any spice. But she loves tons of salt. My son, on the other hand, enjoys spicy food. Again, that difference between sensory avoidance and sensory stimulation is obvious.
  11. Improve gut health.
    Oral sensory issues are related to the nervous system, which is controlled by the brain. A nervous system dysfunction often points to leaky gut, where foreign invaders (such as food particles and toxins) leak through the intestines and cause an immune response. They also impact proper function of the brain. The solution is to work on gut health. This can include daily probiotics, digestive support like enzymes and sometimes a specific diet (remove allergens, elimination diet, rotation diet, etc.). 
  12. Stick to a schedule.
    Kids with sensory issues like routine. They want to know what to expect. They fear unknowns. Sticking to a regular eating schedule can be calming. They know when food is coming and when they are expected to eat. It is important to keep up the routine even on weekends, vacations, etc.

Orthodontic workTesting and Therapy for Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

  1. Orthodontic work to correct the palate.
    Oral sensory issues often coincide with structural problems with the mouth. Orthodontic work to expand the palate can help make the physical process of chewing and swallowing easier. It will also help with proper breathing. While traditional orthodontics may help, we found that Orthotropics was much more effective. You can read our story here.
  2. Speech and occupational therapy.
    Sometimes oral sensory issues point to a lack of proper reflex integration. All reflexes of the body should integrate during infancy if the child is developing properly. But it doesn’t always happen. My oldest still has her tongue thrust reflex, meaning she pushes food forward with her tongue instead of back to the throat for swallowing. Both speech and occupational therapy can help get all of the reflexes integrated properly and train the mouth to chew well.
  3. Craniosacral therapy, chiropractic care and functional neurology.
    All of these therapies focus on the whole body structure and how things work together. Tension in the neck and spine can cause the tongue to feel restricted, making chewing difficult. Getting the whole body in alignment and loosened will let your child relax and have an easier time eating. We have used all three of these therapies to help with breastfeeding issues and sensory problems in older kids.child chewing
  4. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies and imbalances.
    Nourishing food is a must when dealing with oral sensory issues. The root problem can be a vitamin and mineral deficiency and/or imbalance. It can also be related to heavy metals. Hair tissue mineral analysis is the best way to find out where your child is lacking and develop a plan for supplementation and dietary changes. Some simple supplements to start with are probiotics and digestive enzymes. These are beneficial to all children.
  5. Tongue and lip ties.
    Revising a tongue and/or lip tie can give a child more ability to chew and swallow properly. It will also improve speech and overall oral structure. Find a preferred provider (that treats with laser) to do the evaluation. A tongue tie may not be obvious to you.

Oral Sensory Feeding Problems

If your child is struggling with eating due to oral sensory issues there is a lot you can do to help! Try a few of the at-home strategies. And don’t be afraid to seek help from professionals. It can be life-changing for both you and your child.

Looking to dig even deeper into your child’s feeding struggles? I’ve got more tips and strategies in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!. Grab your copy here!

Or figure out your child’s Eating Style to meet their unique needs.

Would you prefer 1:1 support? See if Nutritional Therapy is right for you!

Have you tried any of these strategies for oral sensory feeding issues? Do you use others?

I’d love to hear what works for you!

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements?

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Vitamin D. You certainly hear a lot about it these days.

As in everyone is all of a sudden deficient.

Whether you are into natural health or you stick to western medicine, Vitamin D supplementation is constantly growing in popularity. It’s a miracle cure for everything it seems.

But before you nod your head in approval and accept that we all need more, let’s take a deeper look at this essential “vitamin.”

What is Vitamin D?

The first thing you need to understand is that Vitamin D is not a vitamin at all. It is a hormone, or pre-hormone some say. More specifically it is a group of secosteroids. I will still refer to it as Vitamin D throughout the post, but it is really hormone D.

Vitamins are nutrients the body can not create; that you must ingest. Vitamin D, however, is synthesized by the body when sunlight hits your skin. Your body creates it. Just like your body creates estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, etc. We don’t load up on “high testosterone foods.” We might eat foods that help our bodies create testosterone. Or there may be other ways to help our bodies make the process run smoothly. But we don’t have to ingest a hormone.

That alone should tip you off that nation-wide Vitamin D supplementation is not a good idea.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you? #vitamind #supplements #naturalhealth

Should We Consume Vitamin D?

I find it almost comical how much bad information is available on Vitamin D. An article by Everyday Health states:

Nature provides many great sources of calcium, but only a few that are high in vitamin D — including fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel; fortified foods, like orange juice and milk; and some cheeses, liver, and eggs. 

Thankfully, food companies have fortified many foods with vitamin D2, making it possible for anyone, regardless of whether they eat fish or dairy, to get some amount of vitamin D through their diet.

Did they really just say that nature provides fortified orange juice?

Also, if you really read what they just said, you’ll notice a huge point – nature only has a few foods with Vitamin D. If you are into natural health this should be significant. If we are meant to consume large amounts of Vitamin D, it would be in a lot of food. But it’s not.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

It is not natural to have access to large amounts of cheese and liver. If a family has a few cows for milk and beef they might make a small amount of cheese and would only have enough liver to eat a few times a year. Just because we now have access to these things on a daily basis does not mean we should consume them that way.

Any nutrient that we are told we can only ingest enough of through supplements is the sign of clever marketing. How did people survive this long if Vitamin D supplements are necessary for health?

In other words, we are meant to get Vitamin D from the sun. Not our food. So get out in the sun. Don’t start popping pills.

Are Vitamin D Supplements Safe?

Vitamin D is fat-soluble. This means excess is stored in fat instead of in water. So extra is not flushed out through urine or sweat. Your body must find a place to store it so as to not create in imbalance in your blood.

So while it seems like a little extra Vitamin D is no big deal…it actually is a really big deal.

Hypervitaminosis D is a very serious condition of toxicity. 

Excessive amounts of vitamin D in the body can cause calcium levels in the blood to rise. This can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood). Symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • excessive thirst
  • excessive urination
  • dehydration
  • constipation
  • irritability, nervousness
  • ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea, vomiting
  • dizziness
  • confusion, disorientation
  • high blood pressure
  • heart arrhythmias

Long-term complications of untreated hypervitaminosis D include:

  • kidney stones
  • kidney damage
  • kidney failure
  • excess bone loss
  • calcification (hardening) or arteries and soft tissues

In addition, increased blood calcium can cause abnormal heart rhythms. [source]

Take note that the above says calcium levels rise IN THE BLOOD, not in your bones. Calcium is actually pulled FROM your bones to balance the high levels of Vitamin D in your blood.

I am thankful that many doctors actually test Vitamin D levels these days (though MANY people still supplement blindly). The problem here is that they use faulty ranges. So someone with a healthy Vitamin D level is still told to supplement.

The ideal range of Vitamin D blood level is about 25 ng/mL – 50 ng/mL. This range is linked to the best health outcomes and longest life span. And yet somewhere along the way someone told everyone this isn’t good enough (maybe supplement companies??).

Some doctors now say 50 ng/mL – 100 ng/mL is ideal. There are still others (even in the natural health world) that advise levels above 100 ng/mL!

There is no way that is normal or natural. And definitely no way it is healthy!

Blindly taking Vitamin D supplements is a dangerous practice. And yet so many people do it. They even give it to their kids (cod liver oil, multi-vitamins, fortified foods,…).Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Is Vitamin D Good for Your Bones?

The common belief is that adequate Vitamin D levels are necessary for strong bones and to protect against osteoporosis. 

According to Medical News Today:

Excessive consumption of vitamin D (hypervitaminosis D) can lead to over calcification of bones and hardening of blood vessels, kidney, lungs, and heart. 

The human body is smart. It does everything possible to keep a very delicate balance of calcium and Vitamin D in the blood. If you have an imbalance the body will take the extra calcium and store it places you don’t want it and/or pull stores from your bones. So you can get hardened blood vessels and weak bones from too much Vitamin D.

Sadly most doctors prescribe either a high calcium diet or calcium supplements along with Vitamin D to treat osteoporosis. As you may have guessed this does not work. In fact it has the opposite effect, causing more harm than good.

This is a great article showing just how much damage Vitamin D can do.

Vitamin D supplements are also linked to gallstones. Again, the body has to move excess around to maintain balance. It will do this at all costs to stay alive (short-term survival)…even if it creates disease (slow death).

The Link Between Vitamin D and Vitamin A

There is more to the story than just Vitamin D and calcium. There is a third and critical factor – Vitamin A.

It is also possible to get excess Vitamin A in your diet in our current culture. Both Vitamin A and D are added to every food we eat and pushed on us left and right.

In an article by Mercola, it states:

It’s highly unfortunate, but many people in developed countries are potentially sabotaging the multitude of health benefits they could receive from adequate vitamin D by taking excessive amounts of vitamin A, either in the form of multi-vitamins or cod liver oil.

I spent many hours reviewing this issue in the latter part of 2008, and as a result, I issued a revision of my long held recommendation for cod liver oil. If you missed that important update, please take the time to review it now.

I had recommended cod liver oil as a source of vitamin D for quite some time, prior to this revision. My stance was based on the fact that cod liver oil contains vitamins D and A in addition to healthy omega-3 fats.

These vitamins are essential for most everyone who cannot get regular sun exposure year-round.

However, as I began reviewing the latest research, I realized there was compelling evidence that the ratios of these two vitamins may be of paramount importance in order to extract optimal health benefits. And this latest study appears to confirm that theory.

Web MD actually calls Vitamin A a bone poison.

High levels of Vitamin A lead to weak bones as it impacts the balance of calcium and Vitamin D.[source]

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Why We Need Sun Exposure

One big factor in the Vitamin D issue is sun exposure. We NEED sun. That is how we are meant to make Vitamin D – through sun exposure.

But these days people (even kids) spend so much time inside.

On top of that we have all been convinced that we need sunscreen on day and night year round for fear of the big, bad sun.

The sun is such an important part of life and health. My kids and I studied chemistry and physics this past year. One of the first lessons taught to elementary students is that the sun is our source of energy. It feeds the plants. The plants then give that energy to us and to animals (which then give it to us as well). The sun is a vital part of our health.

Somehow we’ve been convinced that sun exposure is dangerous and sunscreen is the answer. Quite backwards.

When you wear sunscreen you prevent your body from producing Vitamin D (nullifying sun exposure), which in turn prevents your body from detoxing Vitmain A.

Not to mention the ingredients in most sunscreens are toxic, actually contributing to skin cancer. Your skin absorbs whatever you put on it. In fact, what you put on your skin may have more impact than what you eat! It is absorbed instantly instead of being filtered through the digestive system. So if you wouldn’t eat the ingredients in your health and beauty products, don’t put them on your skin.

How many people do you know that slather toxic suncreen on every time they go outside to “prevent skin cancer?” Really they are just preventing their bodies from detoxing and from making Vitamin D. The complete opposite of what you want to do to prevent cancer. Maybe that is why everyone feels Vitamin D deficient?

If you are sensitive to the sun, wear sun-protective clothing if you are going to be out for a long time. You should still get in the sun daily for at least a little exposure for adequate Vitamin D.

The only time our family wears sunscreen is if we are going to be outside near water for several hours. And if that is the case we use quality sunscreen without toxins (here is the best list of how over 100 natural sunscreens measure up!).

Our whole family is naturally very fair-skinned. Yet my kids are quite tan! They play outside for hours every day without sunscreen and haven’t gotten a sunburn once.

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Exist?

Although hypervitaminosis D is more common, it is possible to have a truly low Vitamin D level (below 25 ng/mL). But even in this case I don’t believe Vitamin D supplements should be used.

A low Vitamin D level means there are other things out of balance in the body. You need to test and figure out what they are.

How Vitamin D Supplements Ruined My Health

I don’t write all of this to be judgmental or criticize. I write it because I wish someone had written it for me years ago. I wish I wouldn’t have made the mistakes I made.

In 2013 I was really struggling health-wise. I’d been doing the whole real food/WAPF thing for a while, but was still struggling. I finally decided to bite the bullet and see an osteopathic doctor, even though it meant paying out of pocket. She ran all sorts of blood work and did a hair analysis.

The results were quite overwhelming – food intolerances galore, candida, low thyroid, low Vitamin D,…

I wasn’t as knowledgeable back then as I am now. So I just listened and took her word for everything she advised. Food restrictions, tons of supplements…and of course high dose Vitamin D. I think it was 50,000 IU once a week.

I was still breastfeeding, had just come off GAPS (big mistake to do that diet!), my adrenals were shot, and my metabolism was almost non-functional. What I needed was more sleep and more food. Instead I got a super restricted diet, unnecessary supplements, and a lot of anxiety.

My Vitamin D level was 28 ng/mL, which I now know is PERFECT. Just where it should be. But she had me supplement…and I got my levels up to 75 ng/mL!! So much damage and imbalance from that one recommendation.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

In June of that year I had a miscarriage. Following the miscarriage I gained 25 pounds in about three months. I also had to significantly increase my thyroid medication.

I wasn’t sure how it all related. But now I know it was Hypervitaminosis D and A. Together they impaired my thyroid and messed up my hormones. It was one of the hardest years of my life, feeling like I was trying to do everything right while quickly seeing my health decline. I could only find ONE picture of myself from that time because I was so embarrassed by my declining health and how I looked. If you’re looking for a quick way to gain weight, add a Vitamin D supplement to your routine!

In 2016 I found a new Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and did HTMA (who also inspired me to become an NTP myself!). Thankfully she was smart enough to advise me to avoid all sources of Vitamin D because supplementing had messed up my calcium so badly. That was 3 years ago that I stopped taking Vitamin D supplements.

Here we are in 2019…and I am STILL dealing with toxicity from Vitamin. My hormones and thyroid are still not functioning well. I still have all of the symptoms of hypervitaminosis D.

So if you have been convinced you are deficient in Vitamin D, please reconsider before taking a supplement. Get your levels checked. Are they truly low? If so, treat the root issue. Are they actually high? You need a detox.

Have you ever supplemented with Vitamin D? Have you found it helpful or have you noticed the negative impact over time?Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

The Simple Mineral Solution to Anxiety in Kids

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting.

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

When I was little I hated traveling. I mean hated.

Leaving home gave me so much anxiety because I had an overactive bladder. I knew that as soon as I got in the car I would have to use the bathroom. I would spend entire car rides staring out the window watching for the next rest area sign.

It became a vicoius cycle. The car made the anxiety worse. The anxiety made the bladder issue worse (which I later discovered was actually a bowel issue). And it continued into adulthood.

By the time I got married my travel anxiety was so bad that I feared going anywhere. A two-hour drive across the state to see my family was a huge undertaking for me. I hated it. My husband had to reassure me every time we went somewhere that we could stop at any time.

But it didn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t have been that way.

There was a key nutrient missing that could have changed my life.

Magnesium.Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

What is Magnesium?

In my mind, magnesium is a miracle (as I’ll explain later). But technically speaking, magnesium is a very important mineral that is involved in over 300 enyzmatic reactions in the body.

Magnesium is known as a natural tranquilizer, as it helps with relaxing muscles, including both skeletal muscles and smooth muscles (like blood vessels and the digestive tract). This is why sufficient magnesium intake helps with slow digestion. It helps the muscles of the digestive tract contract properly.

Magnesium plays a role in energy levels as well. Because it aids in passing nutrients back and forth across cell membranes, magnesium helps in the release of energy. This may also lead to aiding with nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and muscle cramps.

Although important, magnesium does not stand alone. It must be in balance with calcium, sodium, and potassium for optimal health.Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

Symptoms of Low Magnesium in Kids

The symptoms of low magnesium levels in kids are many. They can include:

  • fatigue
  • anorexia
  • irritability (tendency towards blood sugar dysregulation and acting “hangry”)
  • insomnia (anybody have kids that struggle with sleep?)
  • muscle twitching and cramping (restless legs and growing pains)
  • decreased learning ability and lack of focus (ADD, ADHD)
  • confusion
  • poor memory
  • rapid heartbeat
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • constipation

Today I’m going to focus on a big one – anxiety.Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

Why Do Children Suffer From Anxiety?

Children should not have to deal with daily anxiety. But in our current world it’s more common than not.

And while we can’t control all of our circumstances, we can control how we respond to stressors and how we care for our bodies. Which means parents have an essential role to help their children work through anxiety and stay healthy.

When minerals are in balance, children are more resiliant and can handle tough situations without becoming overly anxious.

Often the root cause of anxiety is not a tough situation, but rather a mineral imbalance, namely low magnesium.

What to Give a Child for Anxiety

The most common treatment for anxiety is medication. However, this is not an ideal solution, especially for kids.

Anti-anxiety medications act as a band-aid. They alter how you feel. But they don’t actually address the problem. So unless you continue to take the medication, the anxiety will return. Not to mention they have unpleasant side-effects.

Instead, a simple solution for anxiety in kids is to increase magnesium levels.

Other complementary therapies include essential oils, flower essences, herbs, and homeopathy. But these should only be used to support the process, not as the solution. Getting the body in balance is the key to reducing anxiety.Magnesium for kids - why they need it

Foods With Magnesium for Kids

As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner that specializes in helping children feel their best, I always take a food-first approach to proper nutrition. I try to avoid supplements for kids when possible. Which means children need a diet rich in magnesium on a daily basis.

Foods high in magnesium include:

  • avocado
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • leafy greens
  • beans
  • molasses
  • dark chocolate
  • yogurt
  • fish

These are all delicious foods, and should be incorporated into your diet often. But even when eating some of these daily it can be hard for kids to have sufficient magnesium levels. Magnesium is used up very quickly since the body uses it for so many functions. It is also depleted by stress, anxiety, and sugar intake. So it’s hard to have sufficient levels from food alone.Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

How to Increase Magnesium Levels in Kids

Thankfully, when it comes to magnesium, the best way to increase levels is through the skin! Which means no supplements or potential digestive upset. And no pills for kids!

There are a few options for topical magnesium, but magnesium lotion is the most effective and easiest way to increase magnesium levels in kids.

You can make your own lotion with a few simple ingredients (we like THIS two-ingredient magnesium lotion recipe and THIS DIY magnesium lotion recipe).

Or if you’re like most parents, and you just don’t have the time or energy, you can buy pre-made magnesium lotion.

There is only one brand I use on my kids – The Magnesium Lotion Shop.

This is a small, family-run company that uses high-quality, safe ingredients (only four total!). And the end product is amazing! It goes on easily and doesn’t itch. My kids use it almost daily!

You can grab a jar…or two or three…HERE. Trust me, you’ll want to stock up!

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

Does Magnesium Reduce Anxiety in Kids?

As I mentioned earlier, I consider magnesium to be a miracle because of the impact it has had on my own health. My travel anxiety and digestive issues came to a head in my 20’s when I was diganosed with a rectal prolapse and had major colon surgery to correct it. Something that usually only happens in elderly people. I now know it was due to anxiety from digestive issues, which in turn put pressure on my bladder. The overactive bladder then made the anxiety worse, which made the digestive issues worse. It was a cycle I could not escape.

After over 30 years of struggling with anxiety and a fear of traveling, I figured out that I had very low magnesium. Not only was it a partial cause of my anxiety, it was also causing an imbalance with other minerals (for years I didn’t tolerate any high potassium foods) and my sluggish digestion.

After regularly using both magnesium lotion and a magnesium supplement, I now have much less anxiety. In fact, the last two times I’ve traveled I was actually MORE relaxed than at home. Not once my entire life has this happened! I was so relaxed that my digestion was almost perfect while we were away, and I had more fun than I’ve had in a long time. If you don’t believe me, just ask my husband. I’m sure he was amazed to not hear me complain about a stomach ache one single time!

The only thing that I wish I could change is figuring it out sooner. I wish that as a child I could have used magnesium to reduce my anxiety, aid my digestion, and help me enjoy life the way kids should.

I now use magnesium regularly with my own kids when they are dealing with anxiety. I also use it for growing pains, bed wetting, and insomnia. It has truly become a miracle for our whole family!

Additional Magnesium Sources for Kids

If you feel like lotion alone is not sufficient, you can add a magnesium supplement to your child’s diet. We use THIS powder mixed into water. My kids love it and ask for it almost every evening. If we miss a night my oldest can tell as she struggles to fall asleep.

Do your kids struggle with anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. But now you know there is something you can do about it! Get your anxiety-reducing magnesium lotion HERE.

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Should You Force Feed a Picky Eater?

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track! Here is my secret weapon to get any picky eater back to fully nourished status and enjoying lots of real food again.

I am a big fan of gentle parenting. I like to let my kids make decisions, learn from their mistakes, listen to their bodies and follow their passions.

Really it is a great way to parent.

I want my kids to mature and be independent thinkers, not control their every move.

But that went out the window with my youngest daughter when she was struggling to eat anything. She couldn’t listen to her body anymore because all she heard was fear.

Food meant pain. Food meant allergic reaction after allergic reaction. And she was too little to communicate how she felt. So she simply stopped eating.

How to Feed an Under-Eater

What did I do?

I forced her to eat.

Now, before you become alarmed, let me explain what I mean by force feed.

When my daughter was at the point of being afraid to eat I had to convince her brain and her belly that food could be safe. Which meant getting a few bites down.

Sometimes that meant giving her a few tortilla chips. Sometimes that meant offering her a cookie. The actual food didn’t matter. Just getting something in her empty stomach was the key.

But sometimes there was no food that would entice her enough to take a bite. And yes, sometimes I did have to try physically pushing a little bit of food into her mouth to get past the initial fear. But she sure is good at dodging that!

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track! Here is my secret weapon to get any picky eater back to fully nourished status and enjoying lots of real food again.

Nourishing Drinks for Picky Eaters

Enter my secret weapon – nourishing drinks!

Often with picky eaters or children having allergic reactions half of the battle is the chewing process. So I skipped that and started offering delicious drinks. To my great joy my daughter started drinking them!

Want to know what happened next?

She started eating solid food again! Simply getting some safe, nourishing food in her system was enough to replenish nutrients and stimulate her appetite. And that is such a critical point.

To be clear, this did NOT happen over night. This was a long process with many setbacks like new reactions and illness. Then it was back to square one of living on nutrient-dense drinks until she was refueled enough to eat again. This has been a two year journey!

he idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Variety for Picky Eaters

One key to using drinks for nourishment is variety. We all need an assortment of vitamins and minerals every day and every week. This is especially true for kids with allergies that need to rotate food.

Picky eaters are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. In fact, these deficiencies often cause picky eating in the first place! 

So I set out to create an assortment of delicious drinks that covered a broad spectrum of nutrients to alleviate the picky eating. And I want to share it with you!

If you struggle with any of the following in your child, this book is for you!

  • picky eating
  • oral sensory processing disorder
  • allergies
  • refusal to eat certain textures
  • slow weight gain/underweight
  • won’t eat many fruits and vegetables
  • won’t eat meat
  • craves starch/carbs
  • holds food in mouth/struggles with chewing

Want to know who else it’s for? Any parents that want to boost their child’s nutrition! Yes, this book really is for everyone.

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Grab your copy HERE!

Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters

I offer simple, nourishing drinks to help get any picky eater back on track to full health and appetite. Kids and adults alike will love these drinks that include fun flavors like apple pie a la mode and peach cobbler. The recipes in Easy Nourishment For Picky Eaters work for those with allergies. They are even safe for children as young as 6 months. Don’t let picky eating get in the way of good health. Drink your way to a well-nourished body.

Yes, there are some days that I still have to “force” my daughter to eat…just get her to take one bite and remind her that food is not scary. Her favorite way is with a “chocolate shake” loaded with healthy fats and gut-healing collagen. That is my kind of force feeding!

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track! Here is my secret weapon to get any picky eater back to fully nourished status and enjoying lots of real food again.

It can be hard to feed an undernourished child. But take heart! He can be nourished with simple, nutrient-dense drinks. The best part is he won’t even know. And hopefully you won’t have to force feed him!

Do you have a picky eater? Did you know there could be a root cause?

Boost those nutrients and watch that picky eating turn around!

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track! Here is my secret weapon to get any picky eater back to fully nourished status and enjoying lots of real food again.

Looking for more than nourishing drinks? Check out my other book Why Won’t My Child Eat?! that has in-depth information about how to assess and deal with a picky eater.

Why we stopped the VAD Diet

Why We Stopped the Vitamin A Detox Diet…and Why Healing Diets Fail

Ever heard of the Vitamin A Detox Diet? Wondering if it is the cure you’ve been searching for or just the next dietary fad? This is our family’s journey on the VAD Diet and why we stopped it after a year.

Why we stopped the VAD Diet

I hope this is the last one.

The last post I ever write saying why yet another diet failed.

The last time I go to an extreme in the search for healing.

The last prescribed diet I ever attempt.

Though I can’t make any guarantees. I’m a tactile learner. I have to try things before I can assess them.

But I’ve done it before. I’ve done all sorts of experimenting with high this, low that, add this, remove that. Then I went on the GAPS Diet in 2010 and got my health way off track. After recovering from it, I told myself I’d never do it again.

Well, never say never. I did it again.

What is the Vitamin A Detox Diet

In November of 2018 I embarked on the Vitamin A Detox Diet, spear-headed by Grant Generux and Dr. Garrett Smith.

The theory is that Vitamin A is not actually a vitamin, instead it is a toxin. I wrote about it in detail in my post answering the question “Is Vitamin A Really a Vitamin?” It was my first post on Vitamin A – published exactly one year ago today!

I thought it was the answer I was looking for. I did a lot of reading and research. My infant was struggling with breastfeeding issues that nothing seemed to help. So I dove in.

The basic idea is to eat a very low Vitamin A diet in order to drain the body of stored Vitamin A. This in turn should resolve most health problems.

Good theory. Not so good practical application. And not sufficient evidence to support it aside from extreme examples.Why we stopped the VAD Diet

Why We Stopped the VAD Diet

Our journey started out great. I cut out high Vitamin A foods. I did HTMA to assess my body’s needs. I faithfully took my supplements. Even when the recommendations seemed to change on a daily basis. Add this. Wait, no, that will make you worse. Try this. Oh, wait, that’s not good at all (if only I could have all of the money back that I wasted on strange supplements that either didn’t work or made things worse!).

This food is on the ok list. Now it’s horrible. Oh, now it’s ok again. I knew it was a new theory and we were all learning. But the wishy-washy recommendations were a red flag.

The original time-frame of the diet was anywhere from one to six months. That seemed doable. But as time went on it kept extending – one year, two years, five years. Hmmm…

We did see some progress at first.

Then we got to the 6-7 month mark. And things changed.

I went from feeling good to my digestive system basically shutting down overnight. And six months later it still is not very functional. It’s been a hard setback to accept as I had worked so hard for years to get where I was.

My oldest went back to struggling with focus.

My eight-year-old’s eczema and food reactions started coming back.

My five-year-old’s leg pains and poor appetite returned.

My nursling started to sleep poorly and react to foods again.

Basically it all came crashing down.

I know how it goes. Detox is a crazy process. Sometimes you go two steps forward and one step back. So we stuck with it. I thought maybe it was just a bump in the road to full healing. But that bump turned into one month, then two, then three,…

It wasn’t detox at all. It was deficiency.

Does a Low Vitamin A Diet Cause Deficiencies?

I intentionally worked with a naturopathic doctor when embarking on the VAD Diet to avoid problems. As I mentioned, I was breastfeeding and of course run down from lack of sleep. I didn’t want to make things worse.

But even with multiple HTMAs, my increasing deficiencies were not addressed. I had to figure that out on my own.

The biggest deficiencies from the VAD Diet that I experienced were:

  • magnesium
  • all of the B vitamins, especially B1
  • an imbalance of macrominerals
  • zinc
  • possibly Vitamin E
  • and likely Vitamin A!

As time went on some of my symptoms got worse and worse. These included:

  • tinitus (ringing ears – multiple times daily)
  • tingling hands and feet/extremities going numb
  • low energy
  • low milk supply
  • inability to focus/think clearly
  • slow digestion
  • food intolerances
  • gallbladder pain
  • eye twitching
  • excessive thirst/inability to hydrate
  • candida/yeast/rashes/itching
  • edema
  • hypothyroid

I hit my breaking point. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Well, I was going insane. I had to change directions. And I did.

At first I was going to go gradually. But then my body started to crave so many nourishing foods. I just let go of rules and ate what sounded good. It was wonderful!

I have still had to use supplements to get back in balance. My body is so depleted from pregnancy, breastfeeding, and restriction. It is going to take a while to get where I need to be. I look forward to the day when I don’t have a pile of supplements to take every morning!Vitamin A and thyroid health

Does Vitamin A Impact Thyroid Health?

I briefly want to address thyroid health. I was diagnosed with hypothyriodism in 2006. I’ve been on medication to control it ever since.

Ultimately my goal is to heal enough to get off of medication and control things with diet and lifestyle. But so far I’m not there. And I suspect I won’t get there until I am done breastfeeding and have some time to focus on just my health. I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past twelve years!

So for now I need medication. While on the VAD Diet I started lowering my dose. I thought I was getting better. I heard others talking about improving thyroid health. So I took a risk and reduced my medication. But I think it was a big mistake.

I started to feel all of the same symptoms I had after my miscarriage in 2013. Weight creeping up no matter how little I eat or how much I exercise. Feeling puffy all the time. Lowered body temperature. Extra tired. Sluggish digestion. All of my hypothyroid symptoms returned.

In June of 2018 my thyroid labs were great! Then I started lowering my meds on the VAD Diet. In February of 2019 my levels were getting worse. But I ignored the numbers. I felt ok for a little while. Then not so much.

I just had a new round of bloodwork (January 2020). Sure enough, it shows things have gotten worse. Actually a lot worse. I need to really bump up my medication dose. Back to where I started. I know it’s temporary, but still disheartening. My Free T3 has not been this low in years. In June of 2018 it was at the top of the range (ideal). Now it is at the bottom. My Free T4 is on the low end as well. It should be mid-range.

Now I know why I’ve been feeling some of my old symptoms return. I’m in a serious hypothyroid state right now.

So does Vitamin A impact thyroid health? I think so. There are many factors. But a low Vitamin A diet is not a diet I would recommend for improving thyroid health. It definitely made my thyroid issues worse. Do kids need Vitamin A?

Is Vitamin A Essential for Kids?

So far I’ve mostly talked about my own health. But I do want to address my kids as well. They were all on the diet. Though I never had my oldest three on full restriction. And in hindsight I’m so glad! They were able to transition off the diet pretty easily and have been making strides ever since.

Thankfully they still ate some eggs and pork to help minimize deficiencies.

What I really want to focus on is my toddler. He was on the full diet with me from day one. We ate the same foods.

On the whole he seemed to do well for a while. He was growing well and nursing well.

But there was one major red flag that I should have picked up on sooner. His speech.

All of my kids have been early talkers. My oldest knew all of her letters and could count to twenty before she was two! So when my youngest wasn’t saying anything by his first birthday I was concerned.

Just as we were starting the diet (7/8 months old) he was starting to talk. He was saying “mama” and “chick” (when he saw our chickens) and “out” (when he wanted to go outside).

And then that all stopped. No more words. Just “eh” every time he wanted to say something. He was frustrated. We were all frustrated.

I could tell he’s very smart. He loves to read and will sit through book after book and you can tell he remembered every picture and knew what everything was. But he couldn’t say anything. There was a disconnect.

I have heard others complain of this symptom as well – they can’t find the right words or finish sentences. There is some type of miscommunication between the brain and the mouth. And it impacted my son big time.

Until we stopped the diet. It was crazy. Within a couple weeks he started saying more. And now he basically repeats every word he hears. He says all of his siblings names. He names every animal and picture in the books we read. It’s so fun to see him be able to communicate effectively.

Just the other day my husband commented, “His speech has exploded in the last two months!” It truly has. My Father-in-law also commented on my son’s speech when he visited for Christmas. He couldn’t believe the difference. His poor little body was deficient as well. I’m so glad we are getting him back to full health! It gives me such joy.

Whether it is Vitamin A or the other deficiencies that had the biggest impact I can’t say. I’ll probably never know. But I do know that the VAD Diet negatively impacted his development.

I also wanted to mention his size. While his speech was delayed, his growth was off the charts! That might sound like a good thing, but I’m not sure. At his last checkup he was in the 97th percentile for height. If you’ve ever seen my family, you know that we aren’t even remotely close to anything called tall.

Most people think my eleven-year-old is seven or eight because she is so short. I’m only 5’3″. My husband isn’t very tall either. So having our youngest several inches taller than his siblings were at this age seems strange.

It could just be a different mix of genes. We have extended relatives that are tall. But it could also be the diet. I have heard some claim they are getting taller on the VAD Diet. I also heard the other day that one of the best predictors of longevity is height, specifically the shorter you are, the longer you’ll live. If those statements are both true, then it would seem that the VAD Diet is shortening life span. Just an observation. But I’ll be curious to see if his growth continues at this pace or if it slows down now that we are off the diet.

Interestingly, a few days before publishing this post a reader that had been on the VAD Diet contacted me and expressed concern over her young son’s growth – how tall he was! So there may be something to it.

Salt for health

Why Salt is Important for Health

When starting the VAD Diet and working with my ND, I was told to stop eating unrefined sea salt – that it contained toxins. So I switched the family to basic salt – sodium chloride.

At first I also added potassium chloride to it to get a balance of minerals. But the potassium gave me horrible anxiety. So I quit that.

Back to just plain salt.

But it never felt right. I could hardly taste it. I had to put so much on my food. Not a big deal I thought.

But it started to be a big deal when I could never get hydrated. I would guzzle glass after glass of water without quenching my thirst. I even added extra salt to my liquids, but it didn’t help.

Then my legs started swelling on a daily basis.

My electrolytes were so out of balance. My sodium intake was too high compared with my other macrominerals.

As we were coming off the VAD Diet I switched back to Real Salt. It was wonderful!

I could taste my food again. I could feel things absorbing. My insatiable thirst went away, and my swelling went down.

Why Healing Diets Fail

Last year I tried a new diet that made big promises. And it failed us. In quite a few ways as you can see. But it’s not the only one. Ultimately most healing diets fail.

That may sound extreme. I mean, they all have some merit and of course success stories. But they also have potential problems.

All healing diets have their own spin on what food/nutrient/component is toxic/inflammatory/etc. They all have their own spin on what is healing and restorative.

But at the end of the day they are all restricted diets. And any restricted diet done long term is going to cause problems – not only deficiencies and imbalances, but also anxiety, mental struggles and orthorexia for some.

You can find some healing with pretty much any major dietary change. It doesn’t have to be a diet with a label. Any time we shake things up, it will help our bodies do some detox and healing. Within about two weeks of starting the VAD Diet I had a noticeable detox. I wish I would have stopped there.

This is why most people see progress on any healing diet for up to six months. But as they go longer they see problems arise. Their bodies get out of balance. Deficiencies are created. They have lost their ability to eat intuitively and based on their needs day in and day out.

So if you want some healing – a little detox to propel your health forward -just make a change. If you eat a lot of nuts, cut them out for a month. If you eat an apple every day, switch to grapes for a few weeks.

Any time you eat the same foods over and over you could be creating some inflammation.

Don’t jump right to a restricted diet as the solution. Just make a change. After a few weeks your body will naturally do a little detox and rebalancing and you’ll probably feel better.

It’s good for your microbiome to make changes and feed different bacteria. That doesn’t require a long-term restrictive diet.

Life After the VAD Diet

So, now what? How are we eating and how are we feeling? That is what most people ask me.

First, I don’t have any rules about how we eat. Just real, whole foods that sound good and that we tolerate. That’s it.

My girls drink raw milk. My boys don’t tolerate it. The oldest three eat eggs. My youngest doesn’t tolerate them. We all eat homemade sourdough. But other than that we are gluten-free.

I’m always playing around with foods and finding out what balance and ratios work best for us. It varies day-to-day. But it is highly individual.

As I study to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner I am reminded of the importance of bio-individuality. We each have a unique set of genes, stresses, circumstances, health issues, environments, and more. Even the weather and the seasons play a role. So how we live and eat on a daily basis is so individual. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

That is how I will approach my practice, my one-on-one work with clients. Every person has different needs and by looking at both the big picture and the details we can help figure out what works best for them.

A few areas of progress since going off the diet (mostly my own) have been:

  • ear ringing is rare
  • eye twitch is gone
  • gallbladder pain is gone
  • tingling in hands is gone
  • excessive thirst is gone
  • swelling is mostly gone
  • skin is clear and healthy and soft – no more cysts!
  • hair regrowth like crazy
  • more energy and the desire to move! I’ve even done a little jogging (instead of slow walking) and have increased the intensity on my stationary bike.
  • milk supply is good
  • able to think and focus much better
  • toddler’s speech

Some things that we’re still working on:

  • digestion
  • liver health
  • candida/yeast
  • hypothyroid
  • daughter’s leg pains (we use magnesium lotion for them)
  • food intolerances for everyone

How diet impacts emotionsThe Emotional Component of Healing Diets

I also wanted to mention the emotional, mental and social impact of a highly restrictive diet. We are used to having food restrictions. We’ve been dealing with food allergies for six years. And before I even had kids I was playing around with diet.

But limiting our food choices to such an extreme takes a toll on the family. My husband was frustrated that our menu was so limited and that we couldn’t eat anywhere besides home. We even had a garden full of food that only he was eating.

It puts a strain on relationships. And it’s hard to feel so different. Not only are you going against the grain with the way most people eat (Standard American Diet). But you are also going against your group of real food friends. It’s very isolating.

Is Vitamin A Toxicity Real?

That’s a tough question to answer. I do think that you can become toxic from just about anything in large enough amounts. And there are numerous case studies of patients with hypervitaminosis A. So I do think it’s a real condition (my opinion).

But is Vitamin A a toxin in and of itself? I don’t think so (again, my opinion). I’ll leave it at that. Do your own research to come to a conclusion.

Is the Vitamin A Detox Diet Healthy?

This is another tough question since there are so many unknowns. And again, it’s very individual.

At this point in time I can’t recommend the VAD Diet to anyone. Even after writing a whole book on how to do the diet with kids, I can’t support it.

I took my book down. Even though I spent a lot of time and energy creating it. Even though it was one of my few income sources at the moment. I don’t do things just for money.

There is no real way of knowing if the progress we made at the start of the diet was from the reduced Vitamin A or if it was simply from making a big diet change and adding supplements. What I do know is that done long-term it caused serious deficiencies.

To me a detox diet is meant to be both healing and short-term. You get a toxin out and then get back to being able to eat a wide variety of food. If the toxin is in most of the food, it’s not really a detox diet. It’s a permanent lifestyle of restriction. And if that lifestyle is only sustainable with supplements because it’s causing deficiencies, it’s not a good one. Just like I don’t think a vegan diet is healthy.

If I want to detox aluminum from my body, I follow a protocol. Then once it’s out, my body is functional and I can eat a variety of food, still trying to minimize exposure to aluminum. If the toxin is in the food, then a return to “normal” is not possible. Or if you do return to what was your normal diet, then it’s hard to say you believe Vitamin A it a toxin. Else you wouldn’t consume it.

And if it is a toxin, why is it in so many foods? There are still too many questions that just don’t have good answers.

A better long-term solution is to work on the health and function of your digestive system, liver, and gallbladder. If they are healthy, your detox pathway is healthy, and you can deal with toxins effectively.Moving on after the VAD Diet

The End of the VAD Diet

As I wrap up this post, I am putting an end to my involvement with the VAD Diet for the time being. Or maybe for good. I’ll watch from a distance. It is an interesting theory. And I’m curious to see how others fare on the diet.

But I will not be writing or talking about it any more.

I am disabling the comments on this post. I have given my reasons for why we stopped and talked about our journey. This is where it ends for us. If you have an earnest question you are always welcome to email.

I am heading into 2020 with renewed energy and focus. I am getting back to my passion – to give parents hope that they can overcome any feeding challenge.

I am focusing on my schooling to become an NTP and be certified to do HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis). I am focusing on opening my practice to work one-on-one with moms and kids.

And I’m excited to continue expanding my Eating Styles Membership.

Lest anyone think I regret the past year, I don’t. Sure there are things I would have done differently had I known then what I know now. But that is how I learn. And boy have I learned a LOT this past year.

Not only about my own health and my family’s health, but health in general. I have learned what I believe and how I want to move forward.

I have also learned to be careful who I work with and associate with. Character means a lot to me. I’ve had numerous amazing partnerships this year, but also a couple that do not align with my beliefs. In the future I will be a bit more cautious before I work with individuals and brands.

I’m learning about the work of Ancel Keys right now in the book The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. I thought this quote about him was very profound and holds true for so many trying to do groundbreaking work in health and nutrition.

Keys wanted his hypothesis to be presumed right until proven wrong. Yet – and this is an important point – science is not like the justice system. Whereas Americans are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, scientific knowledge is just the opposite: a hypothesis must not be presumed right until a pile of significant evidence grows up behind it, and even then, you can never be entirely sure. All that one can ever really say is that the preponderance of the evidence tends to support one idea over another. Keys’s unwavering belief in his own hypothesis, even in its formative stages and even in the face of conflicting evidence, however, suggests he was willing to stray from these scientific principles to defend it.

The fame and the desire to be right overpowers the desire to actually practice good science.

I loved this quote as well:

Resisting these ‘idols of the mind,’ as the great seventeenth-century theorist Francis Bacon dubbed them, is exactly what the scientific method tries to do. A scientist must always try to disprove his or her own hypothesis. Or, as one of the great science philosophers of the twentieth century, Karl Popper, described, ‘The method of science is the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refute them.’

If someone makes a health claim and only tries to show you support of it, question them. A good scientist will try to DISPROVE his or her hypothesis. If there is no way to disprove it, then it might be valid. But if there are numerous cases/studies that don’t support it – that is a red flag. To me, that is what is happening with the Vitamin A Detox Diet. Proponents are trying to prove it, but not allowing any talk of cases where it is disproved.

As Pete Ahrens stated in 1957:

When unproved hypotheses are enthusiastically proclaimed as facts,  it is timely to reflect on the possibility that other explanations can be given for the phenomena observed.

In other words, there is far too much we don’t know yet to so boldly claim that Vitamin A is a toxin and has no purpose for the human body. This being a very small-scale epidemiological study does not prove anything. Maybe cutting some of the high Vitamin A foods simply changes one’s fatty acid balance, giving more anti-inflammatory fatty acids to balance the pro-inflammatory ones? There are many ways to look at it.

Lastly, I did want to say that today’s post was about the main reasons we stopped the VAD Diet. There is definitely more to the story on both a personal and professional level. But I choose to keep that private. So if what I wrote seems a bit incomplete, it is. But it will have to do.

Just today in my devotions I read this:

Fulfilling God’s purpose is better than popularity. Loving God’s people is better than pleasure. Having God’s peace is better than possessions. – Pastor Rick Warren

That pretty much sums up my mindset heading into 2020.

What is a healthy diet

Does a Healthy Diet Exist?

Absolutely healthy diets exist! But you won’t read about them in a best-seller or an eCourse. What is healthy is up to you. Your body knows what it needs.

I have not tried AIP, keto, carnivore, or even a candida or parasite cleanse. I don’t really intend to either. In the end they generally lead to the same destination. Not listening to your body’s needs and nutrient deficiencies.

A healing protocol should be temporary. Supplementation should be temporary. Any deviation from a balanced diet should be temporary and just a stepping stone to get back to variety and good health.

What that looks like is different for every individual. The time-frame is individual. Circumstances are individual.

I know we live in a world where everyone is looking for a magic pill or cure or that one thing that will turn everything around. Even in the realm of real food where grains are the root of all health problems and liver is a life-source. We all just want to feel good.

But feeling good will not come from one supplement or one dietary change. Feeling good takes work every single day. It takes moving your body, getting enough sleep, minimizing toxin exposure, taking time to relax, chewing well, and more. Health is a lifestyle, not a detox diet or vilifying a single food or nutrient.

Thank you for going on this journey with me. I hope you have learned right along with me, and I hope you are ready to pursue a healthy lifestyle as we enter the New Year.

With that I’m saying goodbye to the Vitamin A Detox Diet. Time to move on.