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Foundations of good health

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 combined with Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis 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. Learn more about my HTMA programs HERE!
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.

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!

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.

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.

Magnesium for kids - why they need it!

Why Kids Need Magnesium – And How to Get It!

In our world of degraded soil, processed foods, and toxic pesticides, almost every child is magnesium deficient. Today I’m going to tell you why that matters – why kids need magnesium and the best ways for them to get it.Magnesium for kids - why they need it!

Call my kids weird, but they were so excited to get their own jars of magnesium lotion as stocking-stuffers for Christmas. It might seem like an odd thing for a five-year-old to smile about. But she knows just how amazing magnesium is for her health.

I’m not even exaggerating that she put it on about ten times the first day she had it! And she wouldn’t let anyone else touch it. Around here, magnesium lotion is a prized possession.

Let’s find out why magnesium is so magnificent!

What Does Magnesium Do?

A better question might be, “What Doesn’t Magnesium Do?” Magnesium is an essential macromineral that is involved in several hundred enzymatic reactions in the body.

Considered the “anti-stress” mineral, magnesium is a natural tranquilizer. This can help with relaxing muscles, including both skeletal muscles and smooth muscles as in blood vessels and the digestive tract. Which is why sufficient magnesium intake helps with slow digestion.

Magnesium also plays a significant role in heart health, again relaxing muscles and preventing coronary artery spasms. It can also lower blood pressure and is sometimes used to treat pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.

If you struggle with recurring kidney stones, it is likely due to a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium helps prevent the calcification of tissues and blood vessels (including kidney stones, atherosclerosis, and even cavities!).

Magnesium plays a role in energy levels as well. Because it helps nutrients pass 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.

Magnesium has been shown to impact blood sugar regulation, type 2 diabetes, ADHD, migraines, and Alzheimer’s too.

These are just a few of the many roles of magnesium in the body. As you can see, it is a very important mineral!Magnesium for kids - why they need it

What are the Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?

So how do you know if you or your kids are magnesium deficient? These days if you don’t supplement you are likely deficient. It’s sad, but true. Here are some of the common symptoms of magnesium deficiency:

  • 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
  • numbness and tingling of hands and feet
  • recurring kidney stones
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • constipation

Low levels of magnesium can impact all parts of the body. So if you are struggling with any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it might be time to change your diet or add a magnesium supplement.

Why are Kids Magnesium Deficient?

There are many factors that contribute magnesium deficiency. These include:

  • a diet low in magnesium (see the food list below)
  • soft water
  • produce grown in magnesium-deficient soil (most magnesium comes from plants)
  • processed foods in the diet (with lack of magnesium but an abundance of synthetic counteractive nutrients)
  • poor liver function
  • malabsorption (digestive dysfunction)
  • excess sugar intake (depletes magnesium)
  • high stress levels (depletes magnesium)
  • too much Vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium in the diet (no, Vitamin D supplements are NOT a good idea) that cause an imbalance

It seems like this should only pertain to adults. But sadly, kids are born into a magnesium-deficient world. Moms are magnesium deficient while pregnant. So baby starts off without sufficient levels. Then kids are fed processed foods with high amounts of synthetic vitamins and minerals but lacking in magnesium. Vegetables are grown in nutrient-depleted soil, so even if you eat your greens you’re not getting the amount of nutrients you need.

Plus so many kids struggle with digestive problems and even autoimmune conditions that inhibit them from absorbing the magnesium they do ingest.

Kids have to deal with a lot more stress these days – from more intense school work to less time outside to EMFs to technology to pharmaceuticals to toxins to lack of sleep to poor posture…it all adds up. And stress rapidly depletes magnesium stores.

Then there is the big push for Vitamin D supplements. I’ve talked about it before –  it’s just not a good idea. It will lead to imbalances in the body, including lowered magnesium levels.

As you can see, it is very easy for kids to be magnesium deficient these days. In fact, it’s probably rare to have kids that aren’t deficient. Thankfully there are solutions!Magnesium for kids - why they need it

Best Sources of Magnesium for Kids

It is essential to get sufficient magnesium in your diet – whether from food or supplements. Some of the best food sources of magnesium include:

  • dark, leafy greens
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • beans
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • buckwheat
  • cocoa
  • molasses
  • whole grains
  • fish

Although I am a huge fan of a food-first approach, it’s not always possible to eat enough magnesium-rich food. Especially these days when most “healing diets” exclude almost everything on that list! A lot of the magnesium-rich foods are hard to digest and include problematic components like oxalates, allergens, and gluten. If your diet is lacking magnesium, you can also supplement. Some good supplement options include:

  • magnesium lotion
  • magnesium oil spray
  • epsom salt bath or foot soak
  • magnesium malate
  • magnesium lysinate, glycinate, chelate (I use THIS brand)

Topical magnesium is more easily absorbed and utilized by the body. So if you don’t need the laxative effect of a magnesium supplement, opt for lotion, spray, or bath.

Also note that magnesium is an alkaline mineral. Which means it can reduce stomach acid. So if you are going to supplement, it’s best to do it away from meals, before bed, or in combination with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Can you Get Too Much Magnesium?

Although very rare, it is possible to have magnesium toxicity. Most excess magnesium is eliminated in the urine or feces.

If calcium intake is very low and magnesium intake is high (via supplementation), you can have an imbalance.

Symptoms of magnesium toxicity include:

  • muscle weakness
  • fatigue
  • sleepiness
  • hyper-excitability

Unless you are supplementing with doses of 1,000 mg or more a day, this is likely not an issue. But always strive for balance, no extremes.Magnesium for Kids - why they need it

Does Magnesium Help Kids Sleep?

As mentioned earlier, magnesium has a tranquilizing and calming effect. It helps you relax. It helps your muscles relax.

This is so important for kids. In my mind, kids should be running around all day, getting exhausted, and crashing hard when they hit the pillow at bedtime.

But that is not the reality for most kids. Even my own kids struggle with sleep sometimes. Especially my oldest. Some nights she lays in bed awake for hours. It pains me because I know it makes her worry. Then the lack of sleep on top of that worry is more stress.

A dark room and a calm bedtime routine are both helpful. But our go-to solution is magnesium lotion. My daughter can actually feel the difference. She rubs it on her legs and belly before bed and usually falls right to sleep. It’s like magic.Magnesium for Kids - why they need it

Magnesium Lotion for Growing Pains

My youngest daughter is a good sleeper…unless she has leg pains. Some nights she wakes up just sobbing in pain. We’ve taken her to the doctor and done x-rays. No physical problems.

It’s what doctors call “growing pains.” It’s sort of a bogus term because it really just means they don’t know what causes it. I say it’s magnesium deficiency!

If we are faithful about using magnesium lotion every night, my daughter is pain free. But if we start to slack, it comes back. She calls it her magic lotion. I do too. I hate seeing her in pain. The other night it was so bad I had to resort to OTC pain medicine. None of my natural remedies would help. That was my wake-up call. We need to be diligent about using magnesium lotion every single day.

In adults these same pains are often termed restless legs. It’s a big red flag for magnesium deficiency. If you or a loved one suffers from restless legs, work on magnesium levels. Sufficient magnesium will reduce or eliminate muscle cramps and spasms. Topical magnesium lotion right on the legs is great for this!

How to Make Magnesium Lotion

After reading all of that you want an easy solution, right? Well, I’ve got one. Sort of.

The first step in treating magnesium deficiency is always to work on diet. Increase food sources of magnesium when possible.

After that my favorite solution is magnesium lotion. Oils are good, but they are sticky and itchy (not great for kids). Epsom baths can work, but you don’t always have time for it. Plus it’s not an ideal solution for young kids as you can’t really regulate the magnesium levels.

That’s why I love magnesium lotion. I did a whole tutorial on how to make DIY magnesium lotion with just TWO ingredients. You can read that HERE.

For stocking stuffers I also went a step further and made a really nice lotion for my girls. I used this magnesium lotion recipe and then added some essential oils to fit their personality and needs. It was a bit more work, but totally doable. And the end product is awesome. My girls are raving about how soft it is.
Blog Photo 5

The Best Magnesium Lotion for Kids

But let’s be honest – how often do we have time to make lotion? And who has shea butter and bees wax sitting around all the time?

The easiest way to get quality magnesium lotion is to buy it. There are quite a few brands of magnesium lotion. I’ll be honest – I don’t trust most of them. They have questionable ingredients. And frankly they smell strange and still make you itch.

Except for one. The only magnesium lotion that I trust and buy is from The Magnesium Lotion Shop.

This lotion is made with only four pure ingredients. It goes on easily and smells nice. Plus I always love to support small, family-owned businesses versus big corporations. Check it out HERE.

All of our products are made by hand in small batches. Our primary goal is quality, and we encourage customers to contact us directly if they ever have any issues. Our product has passed both micro bacterial testing and the USP 51 preservative challenge test (for consumer safety), results can be seen here. We use only natural ingredients: Magnesium Oil, Apricot Oil, Mango Butter and Beeswax – no funny, artificial, hard to pronounce substances are in our product. Out lotion is preservative free. – Mike Crumbs

Sufficient magnesium is such an important factor for good health. I’m thankful there are numerous ways to increase magnesium levels, including transdermally through magnesium lotion. It’s the perfect solution for both kids and adults!

Do you struggle with magnesium deficiency? What is your favorite way to supplement? Have you seen any health improvements when using magnesium supplements?

Having trouble navigating all the different types of magnesium? This guide will help you!

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

The Secret Ingredient Hiding In Your Natural Food: What Is Natural Flavor?

It’s not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods…but of higher quality. But just what is natural flavor in your “natural” foods?

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

It’s been over six years now since we cut out food coloring/food dyes from our kids’ diet. As in absolutely none. No exceptions. Artificial flavor is limited to a few times a year in a treat of vanilla ice cream.

Food dyes are connected to behavior – and not in a good way! Eliminating them has made a big difference in how my children feel and behave. It is literally like a drug for my oldest. Sometimes it makes her insane. Sometimes it makes her super mellow. Either way, it’s impacting her brain and is not good.

Of course cutting out artificial ingredients naturally lends itself to a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Who doesn’t love that?!

Instead of artificially-flavored fruit snacks you buy organic gummies or even make your own homemade fruit snacks! Instead of Trix yogurt with food dyes you get organic yogurt. Instead of traditional candy you buy organic suckers made with fruit. Sounds great!

Why Eliminating Food Dyes is Not Enough

That was us…for a while. Until I noticed my daughter was exhibiting the same behavior as when she ate the foods with artificial colors and flavors.

Being the investigator that I am, I read labels, I observed her, I kept a food journal. She had already been gluten-free for a long time. And no other food seemed to be causing the problems.

The one thing that I came up with was the ingredient common to all of these “natural” foods…natural flavor.

What is Natural Flavor?

Since then I’ve been doing more research. Both experimenting with diet and reading any information I can find. I really want to know…what is natural flavor??

Not surprisingly I came across article after article that said natural flavor is basically the same thing as artificial flavor. The only real difference is the ingredient(s) it starts with. Natural flavor starts with real food. But it still undergoes various chemical processes which result in a product not much different than its artificial counterpart.

How is Natural Flavor Defined?

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors, include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants.”

Per dictionary.com enzymolysis is: “Chemical change or cleavage of a substance by enzymatic action.

So, natural flavor can come from a chemical change of bark and it’s still within the guidelines. Interesting.

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

Is Natural Flavor Harmful?

According to dailyburn.com:

“Natural flavors are coming from natural sources — the original ingredient is found in nature and then purified and extracted and added back into the food.

But, that doesn’t necessarily mean the “natural flavors” in your blueberry granola bar are simply…crushed-up blueberries. Rather, they probably consist of a chemical originally found in blueberries, enhanced and added into your food in a lab.”

“Added flavoring, both natural and artificial, could contain anywhere from 50 to 100 ingredients. And all of the extra ingredients in flavors often aren’t as innocent as you’d hope they would be. The mixture will often have some solvent and preservatives — and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume [of the flavoring]. In the end product, it’s a small amount, but it still has artificial ingredients.”

NaturalNews.com states:

“Regulations for the word “natural” only apply to flavors; anywhere else you find it on food packaging means absolutely nothing regarding quality. Secondly, the FDA definition of “natural flavors” and “natural flavoring” allows for the substance to be extracted from plant or animal “matter.” So when you buy something that’s organic, vegetarian, or vegan, and it has “natural flavoring,” you could be eating a pig, cow, turkey, chicken, or lamb which was shot up with growth hormones, fed GMO pesticide-laden corn and grain – probably mixed with other animals of it’s same breed, then shot up with antibiotics due to infections and diseases from living in confined quarters on slats covered in feces.

Monosodium Glutamate is a neurotoxin that can be legally hidden from you and/or be labeled “natural flavors” in the ingredients list. MSG is not a natural flavor – in fact, it can cause brain lesions, neuro-endocrine disorders, and neurodegenerative disease in humans, but you won’t hear any doctors of Western Medicine mentioning that at your next extreme migraine emergency visit. There are more than 25 names for MSG, so sometimes you find it spread out a little, just in case the manufacturer gets “checked out” by anyone other than the FDA.”

Foodbabe.com says:

“With the words “natural flavor” food chemists and companies can put whatever they want in your food that is “generally regarded as safe” including excitotoxins. Natural flavor can legally contain natural occurring “glutamate” bi-products like MSG – which are known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins are some of the chemicals that cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food. Excitotoxins overexcite your cells literally until they die or are damaged causing “injury” and “incapacitating” you with disease. When consumed over time, excitotoxins can cause nerve disorders resulting a myriad of diseases from stroke to Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. And lots of other side effects too – like obesity, migraines, fatigue and depression.”

Remember what I said about “natural flavor” acting like a brain-altering drug for my kids? It’s not so far fetched when you really do some searching. My observations were spot on.

Do Manufacturers Lie About Ingredients?

None of it sounds very appealing and certainly doesn’t put my mind at ease.

But I know you can’t trust everything you read. So I set out to do my own investigation.

I called some popular organic food companies and some conventional food companies to ask them about the ingredients in their food (I’ll be kind and won’t name names). Sadly most of them had no answer for me.

I told them I was a mom of kids with tons of allergies. I need to know a full ingredient list or I can’t give it to my kids. Simply avoiding the top eight allergens does not cut it.

These are the responses I got:

“Natural flavor is listed so we can keep the full ingredient list from our competitors. The natural flavor in X product contains apple, corn, black raspberry, cherry, cranberry, lemon, lime and strawberry. I don’t know how it’s processed, but it does contain those ingredients.”

“The natural flavor is outsourced. The ingredients for each flavor can change by the season so we can’t tell you what’s in it. It is made from fruits, vegetables and/or spices. And they can’t be modified. There are no major allergens.”

“The natural flavor comes from a natural source. I don’t have a specific list of ingredients.”

“It is a proprietary formula that I can’t tell you. It is an all natural food or something.”

“The Natural Flavors in our products will follow our same Brand Promise to be Gluten-Free and Free-From the top defined food allergens. We have only aligned ourselves with business partners and ingredient suppliers that can adhere to our strict allergen requirements.”

One website directly stated:

“All our Natural Flavors in our certified organic product are Organic Compliant Natural Flavors and conform to the regulations of both the FDA and the very strict National Organic Plan (NOP) by the USDA.These natural flavors do not contain anything we would not be proud to put in our family’s mouths.

Please note that we consider our Natural Flavors to be secret recipes so we do not reveal the contents of our Natural Flavors. We are aware that some people may not be able to eat some of our flavors because we are unable to reveal the secret recipe and we are truly sorry for this inconvenience.”

Does Anyone Know Where Natural Flavor Comes From?

Since I was getting nowhere with the food manufacturers I tried contacting some natural flavor manufacturers directly.

No surprise…I couldn’t get any response from them!

Why Natural Flavor is Dangerous for Food Allergies

As a mom of kids with allergies it concerns me greatly that I am not allowed to know what is in just about every packaged food. Even simple foods like canned tomatoes and salsa. It also concerns me that these “natural flavors” are so common that nobody questions them.

The word natural has no real standard. It can mean just about anything. Don’t let it fool you too. If you are conscious of avoiding artificial flavors and colors, you might want to add natural flavor your list.

If it is so “natural,” why don’t you just tell us what it is??

How to Avoid Natural Flavor

I’m not just a bearer of bad news. I want you to have hope! Don’t feel discouraged! You can still live a natural lifestyle. And it does NOT have to be complicated or involve convenience foods with suspicious ingredients.

You can learn to replace store-bought products with DIY options that actually work (like homemade fruit snacks and granola bars) and are easy to make. You feel better (and even look better, too). Healthy living becomes less stressful and more enjoyable.

Our family has felt so much better by making changes to the way we eat, the products we use, and how we take care of ourselves. It’s made all the difference in the world and I want the same for you.

The use of natural flavor has been my biggest “natural food” complaint for many years. It really has no place in our food. And food companies that make quality, whole foods should be more than happy to tell consumers exactly what ingredients they use.

Do you avoid natural flavor?

If you are looking for a simple way to keep your family healthy and thinking clearly, avoid natural flavor. This mystery ingredient has no place in real food.

Before starting any new diet you need to know if it is a permanent lifestyle change or a temporary situation. Find out how to come off the Vitamin A Detox Diet before you even start! My last post introduced the Vitamin A Detox (VAD) Di

How to Come Off the Vitamin A Detox Diet

Before starting any new diet you need to know if it is a permanent lifestyle change or a temporary situation. Find out how to come off the Vitamin A Detox Diet before you even start!Before starting any new diet you need to know if it is a permanent lifestyle change or a temporary situation. Find out how to come off the Vitamin A Detox Diet before you even start!

NOTE: I no longer support the Vitamin A as poison theory. All information in this article is purely to help you understand what it is based on. It is possible to get too much Vitamin A by overdosing supplements or liver. But that doesn’t happen often and can be quickly remedied if it does. Vitamin A from animal sources is an essential part of the diet. Beta Carotene can cause carotenemia (as my son had) but will not overload the body with Vitamin A. I encourage you to research and make your own decisions. You can read our update/why we turned and ran from the Vitamin A Detox Diet HERE.

My last post introduced the Vitamin A Detox (VAD) Diet. And here I am a week later telling you how to come off the Vitamin A Detox diet.

I did this because I know it is a big hangup for many people. Before starting a diet they wonder how quickly they can go back to eating “normally” or if the dietary changes have to be a permanent lifestyle. I want to ease your worries and give you some guidance.

First and foremost any new diet should be experimental. If at any point you feel like it’s doing more harm than good, scrap it. Don’t stick something out because it’s supposed to work. Do what works for you and your child.

The VAD Diet is quite different than any other healing diet out there. And it isn’t easy. So it’s natural to want it to be as short as possible.

For some kids it could be as short as three months. For others it could take six months or more. It just depends on the severity of the toxicity and how well you adhere to the diet.

Start With Symptoms

Taking note of symptoms and their severity throughout the VAD Diet is very important. What are you hoping heals or is totally eliminated? What are your goals for the detox? Assess them when you start the diet and then every couple months throughout.

When you feel like your child is sufficiently detoxed and the toxicity symptoms are gone it is time to come off the Vitamin A Detox Diet. Start experimenting with adding foods back.

This will be a very gradual process. And the end goal is not to go back to “eating the rainbow” and loading up on liver. The ultimate goal is to find balance where your child can eat a variety of foods without getting back to a saturated state. What this looks like will be different for everyone.Before starting any new diet you need to know if it is a permanent lifestyle change or a temporary situation. Find out how to come off the Vitamin A Detox Diet before you even start!

How to Reintroduce Foods on the Vitamin A Detox Diet

Start by making a list of foods you would like to add back to your child’s diet. Then add them one at a time, starting with the foods with the lowest Vitamin A content. Starting with green vegetables is a great way to do this. Even vegetables that you have been eating peeled are great for starting. Leave the peel on and see what happens.

I’ll give you an example of an introduction. You may want to add green beans, red peppers, peanuts and milk. Start with a small serving of green beans and see how it goes. If symptoms flare you know that your child needs more time on the VAD Diet to fully clear the liver. If no symptoms return move on to the peanuts. Give each food a week or two before adding anything else. Again, you are watching for Vitamin A Toxicity symptoms. If they come back with even small amounts of Vitamin A added your child needs more time on the VAD Diet.

There are no rules about how to reintroduce food. But try to go slowly and observe.

The Goal is Moderation

Keep adding back new foods as long as your child’s symptoms do not return. Remember that the end goal is moderation. Even after detoxing you can’t expect your child to be able to eat anything any time. He may be able to tolerate a glass of milk or a dish of ice cream here and there. But drinking milk with every meal will build up the Vitamin A stores again quickly. In fact, you may decide to stick to a dairy free lifestyle.

This will be a lifelong experiment. There may be periods of time where your child can tolerate more Vitamin A and times where she can tolerate less. You have to make adjustments over time to keep the liver from becoming saturated again.

As a child becomes a teen and an adult his storage capacity will continue to change. Teach him how to monitor his own symptoms.

Remember that the end goal is moderation. You never want to go back to a high Vitamin A diet. It will not go well. We are not meant to eat that way. And living in a world loaded with glyphosate makes it even more complicated. It’s hard to change your mentality about what is healthy (lots of brightly colored veggies). But hopefully after enough time on the VAD Diet and seeing your child’s health improve you’ll make the mental switch.

Maybe you will want to remain on a relatively low Vitamin A diet permanently. That’s ok too. See how you and your child feels once the detox phase is over. Create your own new normal.

Vitamin A Testing

There are some tests to check Vitamin A levels. Currently they are limited. Serum Vitamin A checks blood levels. If your child’s liver is saturated, then the additional Vitamin A dictates the blood levels. Unfortunately Vitamin A in the blood will not start decreasing until the liver is fully cleared. So your child may be close to clearing the liver, but blood levels will remain the same.

It is good to check serum Vitamin A at the start of the VAD Diet to get a baseline. Then if a retest shows a decrease you know that the liver is detoxed and working to now clear the excess from the blood.

If you don’t do testing you can simply watch for symptoms. It should be obvious when your child reaches the point of clearing the liver. Symptoms should quickly reverse at that point.

As you can see this is all individual and experimental. But it could change your child’s life forever. Stick with the diet until symptoms are gone. Then gradually add foods back, one at a time, watching for the return of Vitamin A Toxicity symptoms.Before starting any new diet you need to know if it is a permanent lifestyle change or a temporary situation. Find out how to come off the Vitamin A Detox Diet before you even start!

What is the Best Diet?

In the end you have to do what works for you and your family. My kids have seen a significant health improvement in less than six months on the VAD Diet.

But that doesn’t mean we’re jumping ship now. My kids are still dairy free (except for butter and a little sour cream here and there). We still avoid peanuts, cashews, nightshades, most red, orange, and yellow vegetables, and dark leafy greens.

My kids seem to do ok with green beans and peas. They eat a little bit of pork and egg yolk, though definitely not daily. We are even starting to experiment with sourdough bread (made with wheat) after six years of eating gluten free.

We know what symptoms to watch for now. And we can quickly adjust our diet if need be.

A strict low Vitamin A diet is not necessary for life. But you will always have to be conscious of Vitamin A levels in our toxic world.

Are you considering the Vitamin A Detox diet? Have you already started?

Are you ready to overcome Vitamin A Toxicity and get your child back to full health? I've got all of the details of the Vitamin A Detox Diet to get your started.

How to Overcome Vitamin A Toxicity: The Vitamin A Detox Diet

VAD Diet update

Are you ready to overcome Vitamin A Toxicity and get your child back to full health? I've got all of the details of the Vitamin A Detox Diet to get your started.

NOTE: I no longer support the Vitamin A as poison theory. I do not recommend it to anyone, especially children. All information in this article is purely to help you understand what it is based on. It is possible to get too much Vitamin A by overdosing supplements or liver. But that doesn’t happen often and can be quickly remedied if it does by stopping the supplements. Vitamin A from animal sources (retinol) is an essential part of a nourishing diet. Beta Carotene can cause carotenemia (as my son had) but will not overload the body with Vitamin A. Retinol is required for regulating both copper and iron. I encourage you to research and make your own decisions. You can read our update/why we turned and ran from the Vitamin A Detox Diet HERE.

Today we’re discussing what you’ve all been waiting for – how to overcome Vitamin A Toxicity.

It’s really quite simple.

I also wanted to note that I will be focusing on the Vitamin A Detox Diet in relation to children since that is my area of specialty. That being said, everything will be applicable to adults as well.

Finally, know that this is VERY NEW information. So new things are coming to light left and right. I will do my best to keep up with anything that changes and give you the most up-to-date information.

How Does Your Child Get Vitamin A Toxicity?

A person becomes toxic when the liver is saturated with a particular toxin and can’t handle any more. Too much toxin = toxic. Once your bathtub is full of water it will start spilling over the edges. You can’t truly drain the tub until the faucet is completely turned off.

In other words, you have to stop taking in Vitamin A (intox) in order for your body to get the built up Vitamin A out (detox). You need the Vitamin A Detox Diet.

To clarify I do NOT mean detox in the sense of a juice cleanse or starving yourself. I’m using the word detox purely to mean the act removing the toxin. Not the widely held beliefs about the methods of detox.

The idea of no more in, drain the stored amount out is pretty simple and straight forward. I’ll go into more details on how specifically in a moment.

First I want to address how we got here in the first place.

Are you ready to overcome Vitamin A Toxicity and get your child back to full health? I've got all of the details of the Vitamin A Detox Diet to get your started.

Why Are Children so Loaded with Vitamin A?

If you’re like me you’ve been trying hard to nourish your kids and make sure they are eating lots of fruits, veggies and whole foods. Maybe you add extra egg yolks to smoothies or some desiccated liver to your meatballs. Your kids take cod liver oil weekly, drink raw milk or organic whole milk, eat sweet potatoes, carrots, avocados, peppers, beets, spinach and kale. An assortment of healthy food.

How about a multi-vitamin added in for good measure? Just to “fill in the gaps.” Some whole food Vitamin C too?

Well, maybe not. Each of those things contains Vitamin A in the form of retinol, beta carotene or other carotenoids. And they add up. Quickly.

Humans did not eat this way thousands or even hundreds of years ago. Nobody ate the rainbow 1,000 years ago (I think we’ve forgotten how healthy white fruits and veggies are!). It just was not an option. There were no supermarkets with produce from around the world shipped in daily. People ate what was available.

Or maybe you’ve raised your kids on a typical diet these days of processed foods and pasteurized milk. They are all fortified with Vitamin A. Did your child ever drink formula? Fortified. In this case the government is dictating that your child needs large doses of Vitamin A on a daily basis.

How our Food and Diet Have Changed

I’m going to get technical just for a second here to explain some things on a deeper level.

Our bodies have a variety of receptors (molecule that responds to/”receives” specific substances like neurotransmitters, antigens and hormones). These substances are called ligands. Scientists have labeled one of the receptors RXR (Retinoid X Receptor). It is a poor name since this receptor can, and should, accept more than just retinoic acid.

RXR can also accept DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and phytanic acid, two types of fatty acids (there are others it accepts as well). These are actually the intended ligands for the RXR. Think of them as keys that unlock the RXR. And when they are present, they block the RXR from accepting Vitamin A.

DHA and phytanic acid should come from our food, specifically from ruminant animals. Ruminants eat grass, break down chlorophyll into DHA and phytanic acid. Then we consume them in beef fat and dairy fat. Both DHA and phytanic acid speed up the enzyme that breaks down Vitamin A in addition to blocking it from the RXR.

But this process has been interrupted. What are animals fed these days? Grains. No chlorophyll. On top of that the grains are usually covered in glyphosate. So there is much less DHA and phytanic acid to breakdown Vitamin A. And there is glyphosate that prevents the breakdown of Vitamin A (read all about the glyphosate Vitamin A connection here). A double whammy.

The popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets has also been a factor. We need red meat and animal fats from grassfed animals to get sufficient protein (to make retinol binding protein), DHA and phytanic acid. But those are missing on these restricted diets. Then add Vitamin A supplements on top of that “to prevent deficiencies.” It’s a recipe for disaster. If you know anyone that has gone on a vegan or vegetarian diet and felt great for a bit and then all of a sudden started to feel awful…this is why. They may actually be inducing an autoimmune disease!

As you can see our food supply and recommended diet has contributed greatly to this imbalance of Vitamin A. Plus the abundance of glyphosate is preventing us from detoxing Vitamin A.

How My Children Became Toxic

I’m right there with you when it comes to having children with Vitamin A Toxicity. 

When my son was two he started itching his legs like crazy until they would bleed. Eczema. I did not know it then, but eczema is actually classified as an autoimmune condition. We had him tested for allergies. Oh boy. A laundry list of foods, including dairy and nuts. Time for big diet changes.

So over the years I got creative and made everything dairy free (or tomato free when avoiding nightshades) using pumpkin or squash as a replacement. He also couldn’t have potatoes. So he always got carrots instead.

When he was five (after multiple rounds of testing and we’d had to carry an epi-pen for a year due to a severe nut allergy) he had more allergy testing. The new allergist took one look at him and noted that he had orange feet!! Carotenemia…an overload of beta carotene…Vitamin A Toxicity. I’m sure he was overloaded before that (why he had the eczema in the first place). But this took it to a whole new level.

We’ve struggled for years with him having stomach aches, up and down eating, skin issues, minor fevers, mood/behavior issues. Now we know why!

Vitamin A Toxicity in Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my third I was being so “good” eating every nutrient dense food possible…with liver added. And a multi on top. I’m sure I was getting extremely high amounts of Vitamin A. And it’s passed to baby both in utero and in breastmilk. God designed babies to detox the Vitamin A from mom since baby’s liver is healthier. Great design. But not so nice for baby in this world we now live in.

So my daughter had a tongue tie, feeding issues and extreme vaccine reactions as an infant. She basically stopped eating. And of course I tried to get her back to health feeding her squash and liver smoothies!! She is now 4 1/2 and still struggles. She has complained of bone pain since she was old enough to verbalize how she felt. She has frequent stomach aches and a low appetite. Again, now we know why!

Thank goodness after a short time on the VAD diet and using our simple magnesium lotion her leg pain is gone, and she eats so well!

Of course I did not know anything about Vitamin A Toxicity back then. So when I became pregnant with baby #4 I ate the same way. So much nourishing food…or so I thought. Salads piled high with a rainbow of vegetables, avocado, fried eggs and desiccated liver. Washed down with a big glass of raw milk.

Now I’m dealing with the consequences again. Or should I say my son is. Feeding troubles from birth. Food reactions. Flat spot on his head. Weak bones. Horrible teething pain. Body tension and tongue restriction. All because I tried to follow current health advice.

Are We All Overloaded with Vitamin A?

But it didn’t even start there. Like most people I’ve been overloaded with Vitamin A my whole life. My parents probably were too. Maybe my grandparents were too! I was born in 1980. Processed food was what everyone ate. And all processed food, infant formula, and pasteurized milk are fortified with Vitamin A.

Then glyphosate was added to everything, making it much harder for our bodies to detox Vitamin A.

So it didn’t matter which extreme I was in – I was filling up on a toxin. And then passed that on to my children. Even my oldest. She was born before I had ever heard the term Real Food. But she still got the Vitamin A overload from me, then compounded with vaccines. And it impacted her neurologically.

All this to say, many people are overdosing on Vitamin A whether they realize it or not. Plus nobody is able to detox in our toxic world. That is a big problem. And it needs to stop.

How Do You Stop Vitamin A From Coming In?

  1. The easiest way to start the process is by eliminating all supplements containing Vitamin A or D and foods fortified with Vitamin A or D from your child’s diet. Immediately. They can be sneaky. Alternative milks and yogurts, flours, cereals, crackers. Not sure why our government thinks we are all Vitamin A deficient and we need it added to every food.
  2. The next step is removing Vitamin A foods from your child’s diet. Well, mostly. Unless you go to extremes like eating only beef and rice for the next six months you will be getting some Vitamin A. But the goal is to make that as minimal as possible. The less comes in, the faster it gets out. I will talk more about particular foods later.
  3. Then you have to look at what you put on your child’s body. Soap, shampoo, lotion. Even essential oils. If it comes from brightly colored plants (even green herbs) it has carotenoids and your skin will absorb it.
  4. Another critical aspect of your child’s food is to make sure it is organic. Glyphosate amplifies the effects of Vitamin A in the body. Try to avoid it as much as you can. This is particularly important when it comes to grains. Washing your produce well is also helpful.
  5. Finally I highly recommend doing HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis) with a skilled practicioner to find out what supplements your child truly does need short term to get in balance and to help the detox process.

Vitamin A Detox Diet

So what exactly does the Vitamin A Detox Diet look like? And how do you get started?

That’s where my new book comes in! I have created a guide for parents to walk them through the process of detoxing their children.

The diet does not eliminate any major food groups. You can still eat meat, veggies (all these white ones are awesome!), fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, beans and fats. So in that sense it is quite easy. You definitely won’t go hungry!

But it does eliminate a lot of foods you are probably used to eating. Like most red, orange, yellow and green veggies, pork, fish (due to contamination), dairy, egg yolks, olive oil, lard and unrefined coconut oil. In that sense it’s a big change from the traditional food diet we are used to. It’s hard to make that mental shift. And it can be hard in social settings.

My book has a long list of recipes and sample menus to help get you going. And it has the approved food list.

One critical aspect of the VAD Diet is protein. Your child must get adequate protein. Remember that Retinol Binding Protein we discussed in an earlier post? It is the only way to safely transport Vitamin A out of the liver. And it is a protein…so you need protein to make it. There are many sources of protein, but meat from ruminant animals is an essential one of the VAD Diet (read why here).

Getting Started on the Vitamin A Detox Diet

If you want to jump in now, a general rule is that if it’s colored it’s out and if it’s white it’s OK. This does not apply to all fruits as many get their color from substances other than beta carotene. But some do, like peaches and nectarines. Most grains are OK and most meat is OK (except pork). There are also some foods that don’t contain Vitamin A but do impact the body’s use of Vitamin A, like certain nuts and fats. So it is important to get the full diet.

The Vitamin A Detox Diet is generally a very short process for kids. I’d say a few weeks to a month or two is all that is needed.

Kid-Friendly Vitamin A Detox Diet Foods

I’ll keep sharing some new Vitamin A Detox Diet recipes.

My four-year old has been the easiest to feed on the VAD Diet. She asks for my food all the time.

Some of our favorites right now are:

  • roasted parsnips
  • rutabaga fries
  • crinkle cut homemade french fries (yes, you can eat white potatoes!)
  • peeled cucumbers or rice crackers dipped in homemade hummus
  • rice and beans
  • baked or roasted chicken dipped in honey
  • roasted cauliflower
  • roasted green cabbage
  • gluten-free banana bread topped with sunbutter or butter
  • fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, bananas, pears, apples, cherries, white peaches)
  • grassfed beef meatballs