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Do kids need multivitamins?

Should My Child Take a Multivitamin?

If you were a child of the eighties like me, you probably took Flintstones Vitamins at some point. They were shaped like cartoon characters and tasted like candy. Plus they reassured Mom and Dad that you were getting all of your vitamins. Sounds great, right?

As processed foods were becoming more and more common, vitamin supplements were also growing in popularity.

It’s quite brilliant if you think about it.

Food manufacturers could produce cheap, lifeless food. Then add a few cheap synthetic vitamins and market the products as nutritious!

Do kids need multivitamins?

Do Kids Need Vitamin Supplements?

The cereal industry is the king of this strategy. Take cheap, GMO grains, overprocess them, add synthetic vitamins and minerals, sugar, and some food dyes – you have the ideal product to market to both parents and children. Maybe add a character to the box and a toy inside. Now they may also add fiber and a low-fat or heart-healthy stamp. Marketing genius. A highly processed food that takes up an entire aisle is a problem.

The milk industry is another big one. Confined cows are fed a slew of grains and antibiotics. The milk is is then ultraprocessed to remove the harmful bacteria. Which in essence kills the milk itself. This lifeless white water is then fortified with synthetic vitamins. Then even doctors get on board with telling parents that children should drink milk every day…low-fat of course. And while you’re at it, pair it with cereal!

If this is how a child starts each day, he or she will definitely be lacking nutrients like essential vitamins and minerals. So should kids take a vitamin supplement?

Do kids need multivitamins?

Are Vitamins Worth Taking for Kids?

It is very common for my clients to ask about a multivitamin to ensure their child is getting enough, especially if they have a picky eater.

The answer is always no.

It’s a hard answer to accept for many parents. They want that assurance, that safety net. But multivitamins for kids can actually do more harm than good.

Vitamins are considered micronutrients because we need them in smaller quantities, like milligrams instead of grams.

Vitamins are organic compounds obtained from living bodies – plants and animals. You must get them from food. They are also very fragile and heat sensitive, which means they don’t hold up well to processing.

We won’t analyze every vitamin in this post. But we’ll go through some of the most important ones.

Have you ever really looked at the label on kids’ multivitamins? There is a lot in them!

Do kids need multivitamins?

One of the first vitamins on the list is Vitamin A. Look in parenthesis. Nine times out of ten it will say beta carotene. While this is technically Vitamin A, it is not a very absorbable form since it comes from plants. It is considered pre-formed Vitamin A. The body has to take the beta carotene and convert it into retinol – the usable form. Which means if you are taking 100% of your daily value of beta carotene, you are getting far less actual Vitamin A (retinol) since the conversion is so poor.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient. It’s most important role is assisting copper. However, it must come from animals to be effective. Which means a vegan diet is out. Cod liver oil, butter, and liver are all great options for high quality Vitamin A.

Should My Child Take A Multivitamin?

As you go down the label, Vitamin C is next. This is another crucial vitamin for both the immune system and for supporing copper regulation (in conjunction with Vitmain A).

There’s just one problem. Just as with Vitamin A, most multivitamins for kids use a non-beneficial form of Vitamin C – ascorbic acid or citric acid. These both contain only the outer shell of the Vitamin C molecule. Instead of supporting copper regulation, this will actually impede it.

Many vitamins actually come in a citrate form. They are all problematic. so whether it’s zinc citrate, potassium citrate, magnesium citrate, calcium citrate, or any other citrate or ascorbate, you’re better off avoiding it.

The best way to give your child Vitamin C is with a wholefood Vitamin C. This simply means it comes directly from food. You can do this by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Or you can use a freeze-dried and powdered food source such as acerola or camu powder.

So far the multivitamin for kids is zero for two.

Do kids need multivitamins?

Should Kids Take a Multivitamin Daily?

As you move down the label you come to Vitamin D. Pretty much everyone has heard of Vitamin D supplements, whether you are into natural health or not.

Vitamin D is touted as a miracle cure for everything from mental health issues to the common cold.

But if you dig into the research a bit, you’ll find that there is more to the story. Vitamin D is actually a pre-hormone – a group of secosteroids. Vitamin D is synthesized by the body when sunlight hits your skin. Your body creates it. Just like your body creates estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, etc. Nobody calls those vitamins.

Excess Vitamin D will pull calcium from your bones. When analyzing Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis I can usually tell which clients have been supplementing with Vitamin D – their calcium is very high. This means their body is pulling calcium from the bones and dumping it into the tissues. Calcium hardens concrete, so imagine what it does in your tissues! Vitamin D supplements are a great option if you’re looking to slow yourself down and be arthritic.

I do not recommend Vitamin D supplements to anyone. You can read more about why HERE.

Do kids need multivitamins?

Children’s Mutlivitamin with Iron

Probably the most damaging nutrient added to many supplements for kids is iron. While this is not a vitamin, it is an essential mineral.

Iron is the most abundant mineral on the planet. We are surrounded by iron. Yet it is one of the most common minerals added to processed foods, especially grain products.

Have you looked at a cereal label recently? Chances are it has iron added. That may sound innocent. But it is literally iron shavings. Your breakfast is magnetic!

Iron becomes toxic quickly when a child does not have the co-factors to direct it. A couple important co-factors include Vitamin A from retinol (from animals) and Vitamin C (from whole foods).

If you or your child has ever been diagnosed as anemic, most of the time that’s not true. You don’t have a lack of iron. You have a lack essential vitamins and minerals putting iron where it belongs – in your blood, not in your tissues.

Iron causes oxidative stress in the body when it is not in its proper place. So skip the mulitivitamin with iron and the iron-fortified food.

What Are the Most Important Vitamins for a Child?

All vitamins are important for kids. But one of the most common vitamin deficiencies I see is B vitamins. Vitamin B is actually a complex of eight vitamins that are essentail for a host of processes in the body. These include:

  • B1 (thiamine) – regulates appetite, produces energy from carbohydrates, promotes cell growth, supports nervous system/mood/mental health
  • B2 (riboflavin) – deficiency causes cracks in mouth, skin irritations, tongue inflammation, sore throat, sensitivity to light; helps break down fats
  • B3 (niacin) – metabolizes sugar and fat, helps skin, brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, and digestive system; deficiency causes weakness, aggression, dementia
  • B5 (pantothenic acid) – deficiency causes fatigue, greying hair, numbness/tingling in limbs, supports hormone regulation
  • B6 (pyridoxine) – deficiency causes water retention, supports nervous system health, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure
  • B7 (biotin) – deficiency causes hallucinations, supports strength of hair and nails, breaks down fatty acids
  • B9 (folate) – creation of DNA – especially important in pregnancy
  • B12 (cobalamin) – break down all 3 macros, synthesis of bone marrow and nerve cells, cognitive function, cardiovascular system

The best source of all of the B vitamins is food, not supplements. 

Do kids need multivitamins?

Why Your Child Does NOT Need a Multivitamin

You’ve been told that kids need to supplement nutrients, all while filling their bodies with processed, lifeless food. Food manufactureres love this strategy so much they add the vitamins for you! Then tell you it’s healthy.

Unfortunately, the vitamins added to foods and used in many multivitamins are mostly man-made, synthetic vitamins that a child’s body does not recognize. Which means they are useless. And really they are more like toxins – something for the body to expend energy removing.

As mentioned above, many vitamin supplements contain unusable or even harmful forms of vitamins. This is in addtion to extra ingredients like colors, flavors, and various forms of sugar to make the vitamins taste good.

One of the biggest problems with mutlivitamins for kids is that they create imbalance in the body. Every child has unique nutritional needs. So a generic mutlivitamin will have too much of one vitamin and not enough of another that they need. This will only make a child’s health worse.

Finally, vitamins and minerals do not work in isolation. That is why it’s important to get them through food. The food will have synergistic vitamins and minerals that help each other and are in the right balance.

Do kids need multivitamins?

What Vitamins Should My Child Take?

At the end of the day, the most important thing to know is that kids should get vitamins through real, whole foods as much as possible. This requires intentionality for parents. But eating a wide variety of proteins, complex carbohydrates with fiber, and healthy fats will give your child a solid foundation of nutrition and essential vitamins and minerals.

Due to poor farming practices our soil, our grass, our produce, and our animals are less nutritious than they used to be. So be intentional about food sourcing and quality. Growing your own food in mineral-rich soil is one of the best ways to get nutrients in your food.

Another way to ensure your kids are getting sufficient vitamins and minerals is through nutrient-dense food sources like animal products, aceraola (use code TAKE10), cod liver oil (use code Mary10), desiccated liver (use code TAKE10), bee pollen, and non-fortified nutritional yeast. These contain a lot of nutrition in a small package.

In addition to key vitamins, focus on macro-minerals like magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Minerals are just as important as vitamins.

You and your child can learn all about minerals in the Nutritional Navigation eCourse HERE!

Both vitamins and minerals are essential to your child’s health and well-being. Multivitamins for kids are not the solution. Real, nutrient-dense food is!

Do you use any vitamin or mineral supplements? Share in the comments!

Nervous System Regulation for kids!

Nervous System Regulation for Kids

About twenty seconds after getting home from a visit to the orthodontist, my son was criticizing his sister. Before I even had my shoes off he was starting a fight.

I sighed. Here we go again. I had to admit it was impressive speed this time.

As I paused for a moment to collect myself before joining the situation, it dawned on me.

It’s not one of his food reactions. It’s not his blood sugar. He’s not even actually mad at his sister. In fact, it has nothing to do with her. It’s his nervous system!

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

Signs of a Dysregulated Nervous System in Children

How did I kow my son’s nervous system was dysregulated? I’ve been studying the nervous system for a while now. And there are some key signs of nervous system dysregulation to watch for. These include:

  • angry outbursts
  • hiding
  • mood swings
  • coping behaviors like OCD, escaping reality in books and video games
  • mysterious pain or repeated illness
  • sensitivity to lights, sounds, touch, or crowds
  • constant fatigue
  • insomnia
  • stomach pain or upset
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • food cravings or appetite changes
  • difficulty focusing or completing tasks
  • frequent urination
  • hormone imbalance
  • anxiety or panic
  • constant slouching
  • withdrawl from normal activities

Any of these can happen periodically with no cause for concern. But if you start noticing any of these happening regularly or in relation to certain events, situations, or environments, it could be nervous system dysregulation.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

What is the Autonomic Nervous System?

Nervous system regulation in kids refers to the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

Some functions of the body happen by choice. Like deciding to get up and walk or playing the piano. But some functions happen without you even thinking about them. Nervous system regulation focuses on the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – the automatic body functions, such as breathing, heart beat, body temperature, sweating, and digestion – the stuff happening all the time to keep you alive without needing to think about it. Can you imagine trying to tell your heart to beat all day long?!

The ANS is sort of like a ladder. You want to spend most of your time on the middle rung, where you feel safe – not too high, not too low. This is called the parasympathetic state. Some refer to it as the rest and digest state or social engagement state where you feel calm and relaxed yet fully alive and energetic…and all of those automatic functions run smoothly.

When you encounter something your body perceives as stressful or overwhelming, your body initially goes into the stress resposne (up) and then either stays there or goes down the ladder to handle the situation.

Going up means you enter a fight or flight state (also called a sympathetic state). This is a HIGH energy state. It should be short-lived, so you can get back to the middle of the ladder and feel calm.

Going down can mean you are really scared, and instead of fighting or running, you simply freeze. You don’t know what to do, so you do nothing. This can also be referred to as trauma or overwhelm. It is the opposite of the high energy state. The bottom of the ladder is a place of exhaustion, a very LOW energy state.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

Why Children Have a Dysregulated Nervous System

Each of these positions on the ladder is essential for survival. They keep a child’s body safe. But sometimes the ANS gets stuck at the top or the bottom of the ladder and struggles to get back to the middle – the calm state. Sometimes a child’s body completely skips the middle and goes from the bottom to the top and back again. A child’s body is not sure what to do. Whether they are stuck at the top or the bottom, this is when a child feels the symptoms of dysregulation. 

Why does this happen? An event or experience is the trigger for nervous system dysregulation. But it is an individual’s response to that experience that determines whether or not it will cause dysregulation.

For example, Jill and Tina are building a tower of blocks together. Lisa walks over and knocks the tower down for no reason. Jill laughs and thinks it’s funny. She’s ready to start the tower again. However, Tina feels sad and angry. She shouts at Lisa and then runs away crying.

Two kids in the same situation with very different responses. Jill remained in the middle of the ladder – the social engagement state. While Tina went into the fight or flight stress response. It wasn’t the event that caused the dysregulation. It was how the event was experienced by each child’s body and nervous system.

We are all created uniquely and have had different experiences in life. So what will cause nervous system dysregulation for each child is unique.

Practical Ways to Help Kids Regulate Their Nervous System

What’s important is not so much what triggered the dysregulation but how it is handled. Let’s look at two endings to this story.

Scenario 1: Tina runs away and finds her mom. As she stands there crying her mother says, “You don’t need to cry about that! It’s just some blocks. Go back over there and play.” And her mother goes back to talking with other moms.

Scenario 2: Tina runs away and finds her mom. As she stands there crying her mother pulls her close and holds her tight. She lets her cry as long as she needs. Then when Tina starts to settle down she asks her what happened. After listening to the full story her mother validates her feelings, “That made you feel sad to see your hard work undone. Sometimes I feel sad like that too.” Then they walk back to the blocks together and her mother sits and plays with her until she feels comfortable on her own.

In the first scenario Tina is left by herself with big emotions and feels shame about them. She might go into the freeze state and just sit by herself, alone and tired. She might also go back into the fight or flight response and try to get even with Lisa. Either way her body is learning not to feel sadness. It’s not safe and it will not allow her to be close to her mother.

In the second scenario Tina learns that she can express big emotions safely and her mother will help her come back to the middle of the ladder.

The key component here is safety. Feeling safe is the most important part of nervous system regulation for a child. And adults need to help young children experience that safety.

When my four-year-old is upset I never tell him, “That’s enough crying.” Instead I hold him and let him cry until he has fully experienced and expressed that emotion while feeling safe. Then we can talk about it and shift back to the calm state together. If you’ve ever experienced this with your child it’s a beautiful thing.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

How Nervous System Dysregulation Can Cause Picky Eating in Kids

As you can probably gather by now, nervous system dysregulation is at the heart of many behaviors and symptoms. Picky, or selective, eating is no exception.

While picky eating seems like a personality issue or defiance, there is much more to it.

Kids are not born picky. There could be a physical reason a child can’t eat well, such as tongue tie or oral sensory processing disorder. You can learn more about this in my Mouth Assessment Guide.

But if the mechanics are working well, there is usually something that triggers the nervous system to create the symptom of picky eating.

When my youngest daughter was born she struggled with breastfeeding. She reacted to so many foods (that I was eating) that eating meant pain. She began to fear eating. And it created a downward spiral into the freeze/trauma state. She and I were both very dysregulated.

It took many years to get her to not fear food. She is a good eater now; however, she still goes into the overwhelm state very easily. If anything is hard she shuts down and says, “I can’t!” Which is true. In the overwhelm state the logical/reasoning part of the brain stops functioning.

So the next time your child refuses food, don’t get angry. That will perpetuate the dysregulation. Instead, try to figure out how your child’s nervous system is responding.

  • Are the lights too bright?
  • Is there too much noise?
  • Are there too many textures?
  • Are there too many new foods?
  • Is everything mixed together?
  • It may simply be too much food on the plate!

Eating can be a very overwhelming experience for a child. Help make it a safe space and watch the picky eating subside.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

Somatic Experiences for Kids

The most effective way to help a child become regulated is by allowing him or her to experience safetey and containment. This is done through somatic experience exercises.

I recently heard a doctor say, “You have to feel in order to heal.” This is such a profound statement. A child can not talk their way to safety or think their way to safety. They have to actually feel safety in the body. This is accomplished through somatic experiences.

What makes a child feel safe? A common experience is receiving a hug. This may come from a trusted adult. But sometimes even that does not feel safe, depending on the relationship and the degree of dysregulation. And that’s OK.

A child can give himself or herself a hug in order to allow the body to feel a sense of safety and support.

Another option is to support the heart. Simply place the child’s hands over his or her heart to feel loved and supported.

There are many simple somatic exercises that kids can do on their own. Try this Superhero exercise with your kids!

 Helping Kids With Parts Work

Another nervous system regulation concept is parts work. Some refer to it as Internal Family Systems.

A child may feel conflicting emotions in certain circumstances. For example, Max sees the neighbors playing baseball. Part of him wants to go join them. But part of him is too scared and wants to stay home where it feels safe.

These opposing parts can be confusing. Which one is right? Which do I choose?

Each part has a purpose. Helping your child understand his or her parts can be helpful for decision-making and for avoiding coping behaviors.

Nervous system regulation for kids - how to recognize it and what to do about it.

Self-Regulation Strategies for Kids

Nervous system regulation is so important for kids. It’s also important for the caregivers to be regulated. Parenting or caring from a place of dsyregulation will impact the child’s nervous system. So what are some simple strategies for self-regulation in kids?

There are quite a few! These include:

  • Tapping (EFT) (learn how HERE)
  • Spinal flush (learn how HERE)
  • Somatic exercises (like THIS and THIS)
  • Parts work
  • Deep breathing
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Rhythmic movement
  • Gargling water
  • Going barefoot outside or wearing barefoot shoes
  • Humming
  • Jumping on a trampoline or rebounder
  • Receiving long hugs
  • Weighted blanket
  • Sensory swing
  • Wrap up in a warm blanket
  • Listening to music

Allow your child to decide what nervous system regulation tool or practice sounds best to him or her.

How to Help Your Child with Nervous System Regulation

As an adult you can be the silent observer. You can help figure out what triggers your child’s nervous system and sends it into the fight/flight or freeze state.

While we were at the orthodontist my son told me his stomach hurt because he was so nervous. Of course he was able to hold it together while we were there and for the car ride home where he was contained. But as soon as he walked into the house, into a familiar environment, his stress response kicked in.

He went into the high energy fight state and needed to take action instead of feeling the uncomfortable nerves any longer. Unfortunately his big sister was the first person he saw. So she took the brunt of his dysregulation. This happens often. And it’s not fair to her.

I am working on teaching my son how to recognize his own dysregulation and what he can do about it. He is eleven, so he is old enough to start recognizing things himeself. In the mean time I help facilitate his nervous system regulation.

I remove him from the situation. Then we talk through what he feels would be most helpful in the moment. One of his favorite practices is to get cozy in bed with a weighted blanket. This allows him to feel safe and supported while his body comes down from the stress response.

It is often followed by the freeze response, meaning he has very little energy. He is learning how to come out of the freeze response as well. It’s a learning process, and he is gradually becoming more and more aware of his own reactions to triggers and events. This anger actually comes out whenever he has been around other people and then comes back home. So teaching him how to stay regulated while in social settings will help prevent the stress response afterwards.

Kids will not be perfect at nervous system regulation. But starting at a young age will give them the tools to continue learning as they grow.

A great place to begin teaching your child about nervous system regulation is the Nutritional Navigation eCourse! There are seven modules dedicated to the nervous system. It’s that important! Learn more HERE.

Do you see signs of nervous system dysregulation in your kids? Did you learn something new or have any lightbulbs go off? Share in the comments!

Healthy Breakfast Butterscotch Milkshake

Nutrient-Dense Butterscotch “Milkshake” for Kids

When it comes to great recipes I have a theory – most of them are created by accident. And this nutrient-dense butterscotch milkshake is no exception!

As an Analytical Eater I get in food ruts very quickly. Just ask my family. But one day as I was making lunch I was just sick of my usuals. Instead I was in the mood for something cold and creamy. Ice cream sounded awfully good. Back in high school I would have just eaten ice cream and called it a meal. But being a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner I knew I also needed nourishment.

What I really wanted was something chocolate. But my body does not tolerate cocoa well. So I tried to create a carob smoothie, hoping my odd concoction of various forms of protein and frozen fruit would satisfy my craving.

I wasn’t sure it would taste good at all. But to my surprise the end result was the most amazing smoothie that tastes like butterscotch!

My kids all insisted that they had to try it. I only ended up with half of my smoothie. But my protein-packed butterscotch “milkshake” was born.

Healthy Breakfast Butterscotch Milkshake

Healthy Drink for Kids

Nutrient-dense drinks are one of my favorite tools for nourishing under-eaters and selective eaters. Smoothies loaded with desiccated liver and collagen (use code TAKE10 for 10% off) literally saved my daughter’s life! Read more about her story HERE and HERE!

So I’m always trying to create new healthy drinks for kids.

When I say healthy, I mean a drink has a balance of complete protein, complex carbohydrates (think fiber!), and unprocessed fats. This combination is essential for blood sugar reguatlion in kids.

But it also has to taste good. I’ve definitely made my share of smoothies that were loaded with nutrition but were not very palatable. Think way too many greens. Kids need the right balance of nutrition and flavor.

Nutrient-Dense Butterscotch Milkshake for Kids

Easy Protein for Picky Eaters

Hands down the most difficult macronutrient to get selective eaters to consume is protein. This is a top concern for many of my clients – especially when it comes to snacks and breakfast.

This easy butterscotch milkshake is your solution!

The recipe starts with hard-boiled eggs. Yes, you read that correctly. It sounds crazy, but you can’t taste them. The eggs add thickness in addition to nutrients like protein, B Vitamins, and healthy fat.

The second ingredient is sunbutter (or any nut butter you like). More protein and healthy fat!

The next two ingredients are whole milk and collagen. Even more protein! This breakfast butterscotch milkshake is a protein powerhouse. Using two eggs, two tablespoons of sunbutter, three fourths cup of milk, and two scoops of collagen gives you 44 grams of protein!

It serves two-to-four kids. So each child gets 11 to 22 grams of protein in one drink!

Adults, you can drink this as well. Even if you only drink half of this you’re still getting a great start to your protein goals for the day. And you can always add an extra scoop of collagen or an extra egg to boost it even more.

Dairy-Free Butterscotch

Don’t feel disappointed if your child is dairy-free. This butterscotch milkshake can definitely be made dairy-free! Simply use your favorite milk substitute (like homemade rice milk) in place of the whole milk.

If you don’t have any milk substitutes simply use water. It will still taste great. And there will still be 38 grams of protein!

Delicious dairy-free butterscotch is possible.

Nutrient-Dense Butterscotch Milkshake for Kids | Loaded with proatein and healthy fat!

Breakfast Butterscotch Milkshake Recipe

Many kids struggle with breakfast. It can be a sign of low blood sugar, low stomach acid, or even nervous system dysregulation. Whatever the cause, serving an easy-to-consume, highly palatable breakfast can help things turn around.

The healthy dose of protein will help a child with low blood sugar. The easily absorbed nutrients will help a child with low stomach acid. And comforting food will help a child with nervous system dysregulation.  You really can’t go wrong with a butterscotch milkshake for breakfast.

It can be a stand-alone breakfast. Or you can serve it alongside other nutrient-dense options like:

Nutrient-Dense Butterscotch Smoothie

Whether you call it a milkshake or a smoothie, the taste and the nutrition is the same. If you have a selective eater, butterscotch milkshake probably sounds more appealing.

My kids like it really thick. By adding extra ice it gets so thick it’s almost like ice cream! Sometimes I even serve it with a spoon.

While I do love serving smoothies with breakfast, my kids love this nourishing drink any time of day. Sometimes we have it for a snack. Sometimes we have it with lunch. The other day I even made a batch for the whole family to go with our Friday breakfast-for-dinner meal.

No matter when you serve this nutrient-dense butterscotch smoothie, it’s a kid-pleasing way to nourish your child!

Do you ever serve milkshakes for breakfast?!

Nutrient-Dense Butterscotch Milkshake for Kids

Butterscotch Milkshake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2-3 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sunbutter or any nut butter
  • 3/4 cup whole milk or milk substitute or water
  • 2 Tbsp. collagen
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. carob powder
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. Real Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen, sliced bananas
  • 1/2 - 1 cup ice

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients in a high-power blender until smooth. The milkshake will be thick.

  2. Add more ice if desired for extra thickness.

Nutrient-Dense Butterscotch Milkshake for Kids

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

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

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

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

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

What is Oral Sensory Processing Disorder?

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

The child…

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

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

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

Eating Styles Membership

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

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

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

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

Orthodontic workTesting and Therapy for Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

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

Oral Sensory Feeding Problems

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

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

It’s always helpful to figure out your child’s Eating Style to meet their unique needs.

You can also assess your child’s mouth function with my Mouth Function Assesment Guide HERE.

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

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

I’d love to hear what works for you!

How should you feed a child?

What is A Child’s Eating Style?

A nourishing diet and healthy lifestyle play a huge role in your child’s health. But understanding his or her emotional health is just as important! Let’s learn about Eating Styles and how they factor into good health.How should you feed a child?

One of the most common questions I get from parents is how their parenting and food philosophies will impact their child’s mental well-being.

  • If I make my son eat all of his broccoli before he gets dessert will that teach him that food is either good or bad and that some should be treated as a reward?
  • If I teach my kids about healthy food will that make them obsessive about it?
  • If my daughter can’t eat the same foods as her friends will she feel isolated?
  • How do I avoid forcing my kids to eat?

You get the idea.

Here’s the thing. All of those scenarios could prove true. But then again they might not. And you’ll find experts in both camps. And, yes, I have use the force feed method myself…for a very particular case.

But what it really boils down to is your child and how he or she views the world.

Tom may become obsessive about healthy food if you tell him how bad sugar is. While Lucy might not put much thought into it.

Anna might focus on friendships and spending time together, regardless of what everyone is eating. Whereas Steve might be hypervigilant about feeling different.How to feed a picky eater

How Children Respond Differently to Feeding Stress

I’ve seen it firsthand in my own kids.

When my youngest daughter was little she had some severe feeding issues. Her response was to become a thumb sucker, struggle with breastfeeding, and shy away from food.

On the other hand, my youngest son, who also had feeding issues, turned to me for comfort and started nursing more. He also started viewing food as good and helpful from a young age, often declaring, “I’m a good eater! This will help me grow big.”

So what was different?

It certainly wasn’t me!!

My response to both of them during the struggle was the same. I was anxious and stressed. Not ideal. But that is how I reacted (wish I knew then what I know now – hindsight).

What was different was how my kids view the world. They each have very different Eating Styles!How to feed a picky eater

What is an Eating Style?

My daughter is an Intuitive Eater. When it comes to food and eating she needs comfort. I did not help create a comfortable environment for her, instead focusing on the stress and her limitations.  In turn she shied away from eating. Food had a negative connotation.

My son, however, is an Adventurous Eater. When it comes to food and eating he likes anything new and exciting. Simply looking at books or talking to him while he ate was enough to create a fun environment for him. And he gravitated towards the food. Food had a positive connotation!

A child’s Eating Style helps you understand:

  • the essence of your child’s true nature
  • how they relate to the world, to people, and to their environment
  • what makes them feel loved, supported, and confident
  • how they uniquely view food.

I like to call it a child’s food language!

Once you understand how to speak it, feeding becomes so much simpler!! Knowing your child’s Eating Style will help answer many of your feeding questions.

  • Does my child need comforting food or quick food?
  • Does my child like meals to be a surprise or to know exactly what’s on the menu?
  • Does my child like soft, easy-to-chew food or really crunchy and chewy food?

The Eating Styles will help you identify the answers to all of these and so much more!Eating Styles Membership

What are the Eating Styles?

There are four Eating Styles:

  • Intuitive Eater: slow, emotional, connected
  • Analytical Eater: still, structured, bold
  • Adventurous Eater: happy, animated, curious
  • Active Eater: fast, loud, intense

Every child has a primary Eating Style and then overlaps a bit with a second style. It’s fascinating to figure out what describes your child(ren) best. Eating Styles is a powerful tool to help your child eat better without feeling like he or she has to change his or her personality. It also helps aleviate any feeding challenges without power struggles with you!

For example, the term “picky eater” is used a lot when it comes to feeding kids. I really don’t like that label.

I think all kids are great eaters! We just have to understand how they eat to be able to bring the world of food alive to them.

All four types of eaters have their own challenges and strengths. Which means they each require different feeding strategies…and it might not align with the way you like to eat, Mom and Dad!

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of an Intuitive Eater and strategies to help feed this child.Intuitive Eater

How an Intuitive Eater Eats

An Intuitive Eater is the true “picky eater.” This is the child that will have a very strong opinion about what they will and won’t eat…and there is no convincing them otherwise (for good reason!).

Most parents looking for help with extreme pickiness are dealing with Intuitive Eaters.

Some characteristics of an Intuitive Eater include:

  • Slow eater, can’t be rushed through a meal
  • Needs someone close by (especially 2-5 year olds)
  • Doesn’t like food mixed
  • Eating impacted by emotions (can lead to under or over eating)
  • Struggles with breakfast – slow to start the day
  • Eat by a process (i.e. finish all of one food before moving to the next)
  • Struggles with eating meat
  • Unwilling to try new foods

Some feeding strategies for an Intuitive Eater include:

  • Let them start a meal early to have enough time to finish
  • Sit with them for the whole meal/until they are done – they need to feel connected
  • Seat them next to mom or dad
  • Let them help plan and prepare the meal
  • Give them options/let them decide what to eat (teach them to listen to their bodies)
  • Don’t tie emotions to food. How much/what you eat does not equate to good/bad – remove parent emotions from meals even if undereating
  • Let them take breaks/come back to a meal
  • Serve foods separately and let them combine if desired (tacos, casseroles, stir fry, etc.)

As you can see, my stress reaction to my Intuitive Eater’s struggles was the complete opposite of what she needed. Now that she is older we focus on being positive about food and connecting at the table. In turn she is a great eater that loves a wide variety of nutrient-dense food.

We are now digging even deeper to remove her limiting belief that she is small and weak, instead helping her believe that she is healthy, nourished, and strong! Because she is.

She is still my child with the strongest opinions about her food. But that’s OK! I am honoring her Intuitive nature when it comes to eating.How to feed a picky eater

How to Figure Out Your Child’s Eating Style

That was a small taste of one of the four Eating Styles. Maybe it resonated with you, and you think your child is an Intuitive Eater. Or maybe it doesn’t sound like your child at all! You could have an Analytical, Adventurous, or Active Eater.

To quickly figure out which type of eater(s) you have, use this short quiz! It’s fun and fascinating to understand how the whole family eats!

 

If you are ready to dig deeper and use the Eating Styles as a tool to eliminate picky eating, it’s time to join the Nutritional Navigation eCourse. It includes all of the Eatying styles!

Become an Eating Styles Member Today!

You might even find the information helpful in other areas of life. I now understand why my Active Eater stuffs his mouth at every meal AND why he’s so intense about everything he does. Which allows me to be more patient with him.How to feed a picky eater

Picky Eating is NOT About the Food!

Feeding your kids well is more about the HOW than the WHAT.

It all boils down to mindful observation and understanding your child’s nature. Using the strategies in the Eating Styles you’ll become the expert on how to feed YOUR child. Then the food will easily follow.

Eating Styles is part of the Mindset component of my Mind-Movement-Minerals Method to get your kids to say, “MMMM” to nourishing food without a battle. It’s a simple step you can take at home with huge rewards!

Are you ready to end the mealtime drama and keep your kids nourished? 

Nutritional Navigation eCourse for Kids

So far we have talked about the foundations of good healthNutritional Therapy for kids, and HTMA for kids – the physical aspects of health. Today we introduced how mindset impacts feeding your kids and how the Eating Styles can help. But there is still more! Next up I’ll be discussing more tactics for handling the emotional aspect of feeding. Stay tuned!

How I Gave My Daughter A New Start: Natural Remedies to Help Mouth Breathing

Does your child seem to sleep poorly or wake up grumpy? There are many causes, one of them being how your child breathes. There is natural help for mouth breathing to get a well-rested child.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Every parent does it. Every night.

Before you get in bed, you check on your sleeping child.

You stand there for a minute watching them lay there so peacefully.

Unless your child is a mouth breather.

Then you see covers strewn about and a child tossing and turning. You hear snoring and snuffling.

Sleeping While Mouth Breathing Looks Anything but Peaceful

Not only does it look bad, it is bad. Mouth breathing has a big impact on health and behavior. Here are some of the effects of mouth breathing.

  • Restless sleep/change positions constantly.
  • Lack of clean oxygen to the body (that comes through the nose).
  • Bad breath and body odor.
  • Sensitive teeth/chewing problems/dental problems.
  • Adrenal fatigue/lack of sleep.
  • Sleeping problems/hard to settle down/inability to nap.
  • Lack of focus/symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Mood swings/tantrums/meltdowns.
  • Oral sensory processing disorder.
  • Narrow mouth/palette.

This list of symptoms should not describe any child. But it does. My daughter included. She had displayed every single symptom on this list at only seven years old.How do I stop mouth breathing in my kids? We are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion. #mouthbreathing #oralspd #kidshealth

Why do Kids Mouth Breathe?

Mouth breathing happens during the day and night and can have a variety of causes. For my daughter the root issue is environmental allergies.

Her first symptoms started at a very young age with chewing problems and sensitive teeth. She needed pureed foods until age two. But things really started to get worse around age three when she stopped napping and could no longer settle down during the day.

We played around with diet and removed gluten and anything artificial. We saw some improvement, but not enough.

How Allergies Impact Mouth Breathing

At five years old we had her tested for allergies and discovered severe dust mite and mold allergies. The allergist put her on a steroid nasal spray. Although hesitant we tried it for a while with no improvement. So we turned to more natural remedies.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Natural Treatment Options for Mouth Breathing

My daughter is now 13 and breathing through her nose most of the time. It is quite amazing to see the difference in her health, mood, and behavior. She has been given a new start after years of mouth breathing.

Every child is different and responds differently to treatments. But if your child is a mouth breather it is important to figure out what works for him or her and find a way for him or her to get quality oxygen and sleep. Here are the treatments we have used.

  1. Speech therapy – We saw a speech therapist for three years. It is great for calming the body, integrating reflexes, and training the mouth. Being able to do exercises at home that open the nasal passage is also wonderful.
  2. Remove food allergies – Allergies to food can cause inflammation anywhere in the body, including the nose/airway. You can figure out allergies through formal testing, an elimination diet, muscle testing, or trial and error. Cut the offending foods out completely while you work on healing.
  3. Craniosacral therapy – Sometimes breathing problems are due to a restriction in the body. CST releases tension and alows the airways to open naturally (learn more about CST here).
  4. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis – When a child is lacking in minerals, is out of balance, or struggles to detox heavy metals, he or she can have numerous symptoms, including inflammation, allergies, and breathing difficulties. HTMA helps get to the root of the problem and get the body back in balance (learn more about HTMA here).
  5. Clean the whole house and clear out the bedroom – Dust and mold allergies are some of the biggest offenders. Dust mites live in mattresses, pillow cases, couches and stuffed animals. Dust collects quickly on dressers, toy boxes and bookshelves. There are some simple solutions.
  • Use dust mite covers on the mattress and pillow case.
  • Change bedding weekly and wash it in hot water.
  • Remove stuffed animals from the bed.
  • Clean the floor regularly. Wood floors are ideal. If possible remove carpet.
  • Remove as much clutter from the bedroom as possible.
  • Dust regularly in the bedroom and the whole house.
  • Keep windows free of mold.
  • Diffuse essential oils – Essential oils can provide a tremendous improvement in breathing. A blend of lemon, lavender and peppermint diffused through the night is effective for clearing airways. Purification is great too.
  • Palette expansion.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Palate Expansion for Mouth Breathing

Palate expansion has had the biggest impact on my daughter’s health. Her mouth breathing has caused her palate to gradually become narrower and narrower. We found a naturally-minded dentist that focuses on expansion plus reshaping the jaw. It is not just the typical expander for a few months and then move on to braces.

There are a few different methods of expansion. We are using Biobloc Orthotropics. It is a three-year process with several phases. First the mouth is widened to allow room for all of the teeth and to open the nasal passage. Then the jaw is reshaped.

My daughter is breathing through her nose more in the night and getting better quality sleep. She is using mouth exercises to practice keeping her mouth closed during the day to retrain her jaw. No more sitting with her mouth wide open!

We also use tape over her mouth at night. I know it sounds strange, but our orthodontist suggested it…and it really works! You can buy special tape already cut in strips or use a hypoallergenic medical tape. Just avoid it if your child has a cold or is really stuffy. You can read more about mouth taping here!

No more bad breath! She is also much more efficient at eating. Instead of a meal taking an hour she can finish in about ten minutes.

Mouth breathing is just one challenge that originates in the mouth. There are many conditions that start with the mouth! So how do you know what it is? Use this quick and easy Mouth Assessment Guide!

How do I stop mouth breathing in my kids? We are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.Can you Eliminate Mouth Breathing?

We have many days now of greatly improved focus and attention and with less hyperactivity. She is able to quickly get herself ready for school in the morning and stay on task at school.

Her adrenal health is gradually improving as she gets more sleep and we continue with a nutrient dense, allergen-free diet. Her hair and nails are stronger. She has not had severe skin problems this winter for the first time in years.

The mouth breathing is not 100% gone, but it is drastically decreased. We are still using tape at night and doing mouth exercises during the day.

Is Your Child a Mouth Breather?

Don’t let it go untreated. It will change the shape of the face and impact overall health. Find the root problem (i.e. allergies). Then seek appropriate treatment to eliminate it.

Finally, consider palate expansion to undo the structural damage, keep the nasal passage open, and create a beautiful smile with enough room for all of your child’s teeth. I’m so thankful we stopped the mouth breathing in its tracks, and my daughter has been given a new start. Her smile says it all.

Help for Mouth Breathing

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

Natural Remedies to Help Breastfeeding

When it comes to feeding baby, breast is best. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy! Breastfeeding a baby can be a big struggle. Here are some simple natural remedies to help breastfeeding go more smoothly.When it comes to feeding baby, breast is best. But that doesn't mean it's always easy! Breastfeeding a baby can be a big struggle. Here are some simple natural remedies to help breastfeeding.

When my first child was born I knew I wanted to breastfeed. But I didn’t know much about how. I learned as I went. She nursed fine, but would nurse for 1 – 1 1/2 hours at a time. I had no idea that wasn’t normal (though now I know it’s related to her oral sensory issues). She also spit up a lot. Both things we just dealt with. It was a full time job feeding and cleaning up after her!

Then came my oldest son. He was a champ when it comes to nursing. Twenty minutes and done. Eat every two hours. Easy. I did change my diet a bit for his reflux, but overall he did great. And his growth proved it! In fact he didn’t even want solid food until he was about ten months old. No pacifier, no thumb, no blanket. He just liked to nurse.

I had two decent breastfeeders. I felt confident I knew what I was doing. So when my third child was born I could tell something was off from the start. The longest she would nurse was about three minutes. I had to feed her very often. Eventually we found out she had a tongue tie. She also reacted to many foods I was eating. She even got to the point that she was barely eating at all (read how we resolved it here).

After three different breastfeeding experiences I thought I had it figured out. Wrong. When my fourth was born it was back to square one. He would resist nursing most of the time. I tried all the tricks I knew, but nothing worked. I didn’t want to relive what I went through with my daughter.

After four weeks of stress I waved the white flag and met with a lactation consultant (something I now think all new moms should do!). I learned so much from her and from my son. I’m so happy to be able share all of my natural remedies to help breastfeeding with you!When it comes to feeding baby, breast is best. But that doesn't mean it's always easy! Breastfeeding a baby can be a big struggle. Here are some simple natural remedies to help breastfeeding when the journey is hard. #breastfeeding #naturalhealth #breastisbest #feedingbaby

Common Breastfeeding Problems

For something so “natural,” there is  a lot that can go wrong with breastfeeding! Here are some of the common breastfeeding challenges.

  • baby won’t latch at all
  • baby frequently unlatches
  • baby fusses with nursing/refuses to nurse
  • baby nurses for a long time (over one hour)
  • baby only nurses for short periods (2 – 6 minutes)
  • baby is overly gassy
  • baby spits up a lot (reflux)
  • baby is in pain before or after a feeding or when laid down, baby gets hiccups often (silent reflux)
  • low milk supply
  • fast letdown/oversupply
  • baby refuses to nurse while teething

Breastfeeding Tips and Natural Remedies

My first piece of advice is to not give up! I know it can be hard. Feeding your little one can consume your life at times. But it’s worth the effort!

Aside from sticking with it, here are some tried and true natural remedies to help breastfeeding.

Body Work

Both in utero and in the birthing process baby’s spine and muscles can get out of place and tighten. This can lead to tension in the body where it shouldn’t be, restricted head and tongue movement, torticollis and plagiocephaly (flat head). As you can imagine any of this could make breastfeeding both uncomfortable and challenging for baby.

One of the best things to do for baby (really for all babies, even if they are nursing fine) is body work. Craniosacral therapy, chiropractic care and occupational therapy can all help get things back in place and relieve tension. Be sure to find a therapist that is trained to work with babies.

Tongue and Lip Tie Revision

Tongue and lip ties are quite common these days. And they can make breastfeeding very difficult as baby has limited tongue movement and can’t latch properly. It also often causes mom a lot of pain. Anyone would feel like giving up if baby isn’t latching and mom is in pain!

Find a preferred provider that does laser revision for a proper evaluation and revision if necessary. The first few days or weeks after a revision can be challenging. Baby might be in pain and will have to relearn how to latch. But the long-term benefits are so worth it. Not only for breastfeeding but for proper tooth development, overall mouth structure and speech.

Elimination and/or Rotation Diet

I know not everyone will agree with me here. I’ve read so many sites that claim it is rare that mom’s diet can have any impact on baby. But it’s just not true! What you eat can absolutely cause problems for your little one (learn more about why HERE). I have had to alter my diet for all four of my kids. Whether it’s just one food that causes more reflux or a whole host of foods that cause rashes, hives and blood in the stool. Changing diet can make a world of difference.

This does not mean your little one necessarily has allergies or that they will have allergies when they get older. It’s more a sign of poor digestion and possible vitamin and mineral imbalance. The good news is that it is usually very temporary.

Start by cutting out all common allergens and any other foods you suspect could be a problem (acidic foods, gassy foods, etc.) until you have a more content baby. Then rotate foods on a four day rotation (learn more about rotating foods here). Gradually add food back one at a time and watch for reactions. Once you have pinpointed problem foods, keep them out for a few months before experimenting again. This will give baby’s gut time to mature and heal.

Improve Gut Health

Babies are born with an immature digestive system. Many breastfeeding struggles like reflux, excessive gas and food reactions are a reflection of that. Not to mention many babies are exposed to antibiotics and other drugs from the moment they are born. Also, if mom has food allergies or intolerances and eats one of her problem foods, baby can react to it as well. But on a larger scale. So it is very important to focus on gut health for both mom and baby.

A good quality probiotic daily is a must (I like this one and this one for babies. I use this or this for myself). For baby I simply mix the probiotic with a small amount of expressed breastmilk and administer it with a syringe. You can even put a small amount directly on the nipple at the start of a feed. If you bottle feed, mix it right into the bottle.

There are a few other natural remedies that can be combined with probiotics. Digestive enzymes (I like this brand) will help both mom and baby break down food properly. Mom can take the pills with each meal. A little powder can be mixed with breastmilk for baby.

Cell salts can be helpful for getting minerals into the cells. Mag Phos is great for gas and colic. Nat Phos helps many babies with reflux.

Essential oils that help digestion can be beneficial. Make sure you use one safe for babies, administered properly with a carrier oil.

Nursing Positions

Sometimes something as simple as changing positions can have a huge impact on breastfeeding success. Many moms find that laid back nursing works well. This is especially helpful for babies with reflux and for moms with a fast letdown. In a laid back position gravity helps instead of hinders.

Some moms enjoy lying on their side for nursing. This makes night time feedings easier. A football hold might work too.

My little guy with reflux does best when I’m bouncing on a balance ball or standing and bouncing. It’s a bonus that I get a little exercise!

You can also breastfeed while wearing your baby (a skill I have yet to master!). This keeps baby upright (great for reflux) and keeps you from getting sore arms. This is really helpful in the early days when baby is the most fussy.


If you’re wondering what else besides a great carrier is a must for those first couple months check out Think Baby. They’ve got all sorts of great info on pregnancy, feeding, infants and toddlers. Even some tips for surviving sleepless nights and the benefits of baby wearing.


Try all different positions to find what is most comfortable for you and baby. There is no right or wrong way.When it comes to feeding baby, breast is best. But that doesn't mean it's always easy! Breastfeeding a baby can be a big struggle. Here are some simple natural remedies to help breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Diet and Milk Supply

Even with all of these natural remedies to help breastfeeding, sometimes it’s still a struggle! I totally understand. There comes a point where you have to take a step back and look at the big picture. The most important thing is keeping baby healthy.

You may have to pump and bottle feed either part time or full time. It takes some extra work, but baby is still reaping the benefits of mom’s milk. Which is the most important part.

Some women have success using a nipple shield. Often it is only necessary in the early months and baby can transition off of it.

If baby does very short feeds and is not getting the hind milk try block feeding. Continue to offer the same side at each feeding until it is drained. You can also massage your breast while nursing to mix the fat in. You are basically homogenizing your milk. This actually makes it easier for baby to digest!

Having a fast letdown or oversupply can be just as challenging as low supply. Your body produces new milk ducts with each pregnancy. So the milk flow gets faster with each child. This can be hard for baby to manage. Try taking baby off the breast when the letdown starts and use a towel or burp cloth to catch the milk. Put baby back on the breast after the flow has slowed. This will help baby not to swallow so much air and become extra gassy. You can also pump for a few minutes before a feed to soften the breast and make it easier for baby to latch. This will also help you work around the letdown.

If your supply is low try eating lactogenic foods and teas and drinking plenty of water. It is also critical to take care of yourself. Eat plenty of nourishing food, including sufficient carbohydrates. Sleep when baby sleeps. And do not do any strenuous exercise. Undereating, eating low carb, and overexercising are all stressful to your body and can prevent it from producing milk.

If you simply can’t produce enough try to find donor milk or make your own formula.

Natural Teething Remedies

Sometimes what appears to be a latch issue or refusal to nurse is actually just teething! Many moms are shocked to hear that teething can begin at birth! How do I know this? That was my fourth child. By six weeks old he was a slobbery mess, chewing on his hands non-stop. By eight weeks old I could see his first two teeth!

While some babies aren’t bothered by teething, some really struggle. The pain while suckling can be very intense. Three out of four of my kids had a very hard time with teething and would go on a nursing strike due to pain. I’m thankful for my oldest son that was the opposite. He wanted to nurse more while teething!

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about natural teething remedies until I was three kids in. My oldest daytime weaned at 11 months due to teething pain. I tried and tried and cried and cried, but it just wasn’t happening. I pumped to keep her exclusively breastfed until one year old. But it was very hard for me emotionally.

On the flip side, in spite of our struggles, my youngest daughter nursed until she was two and a half years old! My youngest son is two and still going strong with breastfeeding.

My favorite teething remedies include:

  • Copaiba essential oil rubbed along the jaw line
  • Boiron Camilia homeopathic drops
  • Gentle Baby essential oil
  • Amber teething necklace
  • Bach Rescue Remedy flower essences

All combined they ease the pain and help baby feel calm.

Understanding Your Child’s Eating Style from Birth

A fun way to improve your breastfeeding experience is by understanding your nursling’s Eating Style. Even at such a young age you can use this knowledge to meet their needs.

If you have an Intuitive Eater, she probably needs a lot of sleep, a lot of comfort, and may be a thumb sucker. However, if you have an Adventurous Eater, he may sleep sporadically and get easily distracted by noises and his surroundings.

You can learn more about your baby’s Eating Style HERE.

Breastfeeding Benefits

Many women quit breastfeeding because of challenges. I know just how hard it can be. I’ve struggled through it too. But I encourage you not to give up! Many struggles improve significantly after the first few months when baby’s digestion and body control are more mature. And when your supply regulates.

Some obstacles like teething and reflux are temporary.

Keep in mind that this is not just about breastfeeding. Resolving many of these issues now – like tongue ties and poor digestion – will help create good eaters down the road.

Nursing your little one into toddlerhood is an amazing experience that has both physical and psychological health benefits. I hope you use some of these natural remedies to help breastfeeding and find success on your journey.

What have been your biggest breastfeeding struggles? What has helped you the most?

If you’ve tried many of these and you’re still struggling, I’d love to help! Let’s hop on a chat and see if we can work together to find a soltion 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.

Is Vitamin A Really a Vitamin?

VAD Diet update

 

What if everything you thought you knew about about nutrition was wrong? Are vegetables really good for you? Do you need loads of Vitamin D and calcium? Is Vitamin A really a vitamin? Let's dig into these questions!

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.

Are There Vitamin Impostors?

I will preface this by saying that you need to have an open mind. Forget what you know about nutrition for just a moment and listen.

We’ve all been taught since grade school that we need vitamins. They are important for our health. There are water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, K, etc.). There are lots of important minerals as well (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc.). We get these vitamins and minerals from our food. Our bodies use them to function well. Pretty straight forward.

But what if I told you there were a couple impostors in that list?

It is well-documented that Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin. It is a hormone. [source] Yet, people are supplementing with “Vitamin” D left and right. Somehow we’ve been told that everyone is Vitamin D deficient. Here’s a little secret…you’re not! And if your Vitamin D truly is low (you can find out with a blood test), supplementing is not the solution. A low level of Vitamin D (low is below 25 ng/dL. Ideal is 25-40 ng/dL…don’t think you need sky high Vitamin D levels) is an indicator that something is not working properly in your body (often times a Vitamin C deficiency). So you need to figure out what that is and fix it. Supplementing is like putting on a band aid. It might change your symptoms, but it’s not actually fixing anything. Here is what is actually happening.

Supplementing with Vitamin D is like taking hormone replacement therapy. And people are doing it to their children!! Even infants. Vitamin D drops, cod liver oil, multi-vitamins. You don’t need it. The excess fills your liver and then gets stored in your tissues (joints, digestive tract, kidneys, skin, etc.). You wouldn’t give your baby estrogen or testosterone drops. So why give hormone D drops?

Think about DHEA. Most people consider it good for health…but that doesn’t mean we call it a vitamin!

Isn’t Vitamin D Good For Your Bones?

Wrong again. Actually quite the opposite. One of the roles of Vitamin D is to maintain calcium levels in the blood…not the bones [source]. So it does whatever it takes to maintain that balance, including drawing calcium from your bones. All that extra Vitamin D you’re taking displaces the calcium in your bones. So if you want to guarantee that you have weak bones and teeth and that you will develop osteoporosis, keep taking Vitamin D supplements. Or keep drinking tons of Vitamin D fortified milk…and see if you develop arthritis or kidney stones.

Ok, that was kind pf a tangent. I just wanted to give you an example of a common health claim that is totally bogus. This post is really not about Vitamin D. It does relate to the rest of the post, though. If you want to learn more here are some great articles.

What if everything you thought you knew about about nutrition was wrong? Are vegetables really good for you? Do you need loads of Vitamin D and calcium? Is Vitamin A really a vitamin? Let's dig into these questions!

Is Vitamin A Really a Vitamin?

Now for the real heart of the matter. Vitamin A. Is it really a vitamin?

Let me start at the beginning.

After my fourth was born I started having some odd symptoms. I was already experimenting with my diet to help my nursling feel better and nurse better. So I was very observant of how I felt and how he felt in relation to what I ate.

I started noticing the symptoms appeared when I ate desiccated liver. That was odd. I’ve always thought liver was a super food loaded with nutrients (like Vitamin A and D). Knowing that it is one of the highest sources of Vitamin A I started to wonder if you could get too much Vitamin A.

I stopped eating liver and felt a little better. Ok. Maybe I didn’t need it or I wasn’t tolerating it. No big deal.

Then I happened to see this post from Matt Stone…all about Vitamin A. Good timing I thought. It was interesting. And helped me decide to stop the desiccated liver completely. Back to my crazy life trying to figure out why my kids won’t eat.

Then I saw Dr. Garrett Smith, ND post on Facebook about how Vitamin A is toxic. I started following him a few years ago at the suggestion of my Nutritional Therapy Practicioner (NTP), but hadn’t seen any posts from him in well over a year (and you know how picky Facebook is…why would I happen to see this one?).

I watched one of his videos and thought it was interesting, but a little out there. Carrots and spinach are bad for you? Avoid egg yolks? I don’t know about that. Those are super nutritious!

I was elbow deep researching histamine intolerance and methylation. So I focused on that and figured I’d ignore the Vitamin A stuff. It just sounded a little too strange for me.

Breastfeeding Challenges

At the same time my son continued to struggle with breastfeeding. My four-year old was not doing well either. She had an eye infection, followed by a month of full body hives and then stomach aches and poor appetite. She was back to hardly eating. It was getting so bad we had her pediatrician order a bunch of blood work.

I was praying daily for wisdom. I was on a low histamine diet since many of my symptoms match histamine intolerance. But I knew that was just a temporary fix. Not a true solution.

God Gives Wisdom if You Ask!

Over the next few weeks I saw daily posts about Vitamin A toxicity. I tried to ignore it. But God wouldn’t let me. It was on the top of my feed every time I got on Facebook. Ok, ok. I’ll listen to the information.

And that started our new journey of healing. The more I read and listened, the more it made sense.

And it explained all of my symptoms, all of my son’s symptoms and every other feeding challenge we have faced over the last ten years. Every. Single. One.

What is Vitamin A Toxicity?

So this is where I’m starting (hopefully you made it this far to get to the heart of the post!). Today I’m telling you a little bit about Vitamin A Toxicity (Hypervitaminosis A) and giving you some resources in case you want to dig in for yourself. If you want to hang back and just watch how it goes for us, that’s fine too. I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I’m just giving you the information.

And I will forewarn you…once you read about it you can’t unread it. And it could change your views on health and nutrition forever.

A quick Dr. Google search will tell you that hypervitaminosis A is a real condition[source]. You can have hypervitaminosis of any vitamin (true vitamin or substance called a vitamin) really. Yes, hypervitaminosis D is very real too! The list of symptoms hypervitamimosis A is lengthy. It includes:

  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased pressure on the brain/headaches
  • Blurry vision or other vision changes
  • Swelling of the bones
  • Bone pain
  • Poor appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Dry, rough skin
  • Itchy or peeling skin
  • Cracked fingernails
  • Skin cracks at the corners of the mouth
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Yellowed skin (jaundice)
  • Orange skin (carotenemia)
  • Hair loss
  • Respiratory infection
  • Confusion
  • Softening of the skull bone
  • Bulging of the soft spot on the top of an infant’s skull
  • Double vision
  • Bulging eyeballs
  • Inability to gain weight
  • Coma
  • Fluid-filled cysts
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Autism
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Picky eater/refusal to eat
  • Oily skin and hair
  • Osteoporosis
  • Eczema
  • Food intolerance/food allergy
  • Cradle cap
  • Asthma

Did you catch all that? Crazy, huh? And those aren’t even all of them.

Another search will tell you that pregnant women should not get too much Vitamin A because it can cause birth defects. I wish I had known that! Sadly I listened to the WAPF pregnancy guidelines that claims you shouldn’t worry about too much Vitamin A. Just one example of something they got SO wrong.

Where Does Vitamin A Come From?

Vitamin A is found in many common “healthy” foods today:

  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • dairy
  • brightly colored vegetables
  • pork and lard
  • avocado

Really most foods have at least a little Vitamin A. Meat and grains are probably the lowest in Vitamin A. And the body can handle a little.

The problem arises when the liver gets saturated. Which, you can see, won’t take long if you eat a healthy diet by today’s standards or from a traditional diet. The WAPF dietary guidelines for pregnancy would give a woman an overabundance of Vitamin A! Truly excessive amounts.

Initial symptoms usually impact the skin (dry skin, eczema), hair (thinning, graying), eyes (dry, red, itchy, poor vision) and bones (osteoporosis, weak bones and teeth, joint pain). But as the toxicity continues it will gradually break down other systems. The inflammation reaches the intestines (think Crohn’s, Colitis, IBS, leaky gut, food allergies), the brain (cranial pressure/migraines, ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s) and other important organs (thyroid, kidneys and heart).

Does that sound like you or anyone you know? Or everyone?

Where “Healing” Diets Fail

And what is the solution these days? A “healing” diet like GAPS, AIP, Keto, Nemecheck. Where you load up on brightly colored fruits and veggies, bacon, lard, egg yolks, liver, sweet potatoes, unrefined coconut oil. Are you seeing the irony here?

What if our “Eat the Rainbow” mentality was actually doing more harm than good? In the plant and animal world bright colors are a sign of poison (called aposematism). Plants are brightly colored to keep animals from eating them (should we be doing the same?). Animals that are poisonous are often brightly colored (think snakes and frogs). It is a warning sign. Yet we have come to see them as the holy grail of nutrition!

You may be thinking, “But we have soil nutrient depletion and other factors now.” True. But they aren’t enough to cause such a drastic increase in health problems and autoimmune diseases and conditions like autism in recent years.

Is a Standard American Diet Less Toxic?

And what about people that don’t eat healthy? What about people on the Standard American Diet?

Well, they don’t have it much better. Somehow the government has thought they know better than we do what our bodies need. For the past fifty plus years now our foods have been fortified. All pasteurized milk must be fortified with Vitamin A and D. Most grains/flours, cereals, milk alternatives, yogurts and snack foods are fortified. We’re all told to take multi-vitamins and random supplements without any kind of testing.

Everyone worries about not getting enough vitamins and minerals. But we are bombarded with them…certain ones at least. And it’s causing so much overload and imbalance. Excessive supplementation will not fix anything. It will just make problems worse. God designed our bodies to get nutrition from food and to maintain balance. Our bodies now have to compensate for all of the over-supplementing and it is causing big problems (you can read more about the dangers of supplements HERE).

Unless you and your children somehow fall in the middle (no processed/fortified foods AND no abundance of veggies and traditional foods) you probably have Vitamin A Toxicity. That’s right. Just about everyone has it.

What About Vitamin A Deficiency?

But wait. Isn’t Vitamin A deficiency really serious? That depends on your view. IF Vitamin A is actually a vitamin and IF the established symptoms are truly from a deficiency, then yes. The problem is those could both be false assumptions.

Are you still with me? Do you think I’ve lost my mind yet?

In the 1930’s when Vitamin A, the first vitamin, was discovered, the experiments were done incorrectly. The scientists were actually loading the rats with Vitamin A instead of depriving them! They were poisoning the rats instead of inducing a deficiency.

If you look at the symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency and the symptoms of Hypervitamonosis A (listed above) you’ll notice something odd…they are the same! Whether or not that’s possible I’m not sure. Whether Vitamin A deficiency is actually a condition I don’t know. I’m not sure there have ever been any true studies to prove it. Would you actually go blind without Vitamin A? I don’t know. It would take a long time to actually get it all out of your system (could be 5+ years!). How did everyone not go blind hundreds of years ago without supplements and without orange veggies?

It turns out that Vitamin A may actually not be a vitamin at all.

Our bodies can handle some. But too much is toxic. Where that threshold lies is different for everyone and depends on the health of your liver (this is key!).

That rainbow we’ve been told to eat…could be acting more like poison if you are overloaded. (side note – the “five a day” and “eat the rainbow” campaigns were completely arbitrary recommendations).

Now What?

I don’t like to leave you hanging. I just told you that you could be poisoning your family after all! But I also don’t want to overwhelm you with information. And this could take a while to digest.

Plus I’ve got homework for you.

I’ve got more posts coming on other factors that contribute to Vitamin A Toxicity, what happens to Vitamin A in your body and what you can do about it. That’s really what we all want, right? A solution!

There is one. And I have a new book that will help guide you through it. This could be the definitive guide to solving all of your feeding challenges. I know that is a bold statement. But I truly believe it.

I also want you to do some reading and research of your own. And you may know just about as much as I do if you actually do all the reading. So if you just can’t wait, get started!

Engineers Are the Best Problem Solvers

All of this information started with some personal experimenting from an engineer named Grant Genereux (I truly believe engineers make some of the best doctors since our passion is finding root problems and coming up with a solution. Yes, I am an engineer too). He was diagnosed with eczema, an autoimmune condition, and told he would have it for the rest of his life and there was nothing he could do for it. 

Not an acceptable answer for an engineer.

He healed his own autoimmune condition and wrote two very detailed books about his research on Vitamin A.

They are totally free and totally worth reading every word. I could not pull myself away. If you really want to understand Vitamin A Toxicity I suggest you read his books. At the very least his second book, Poisoning For Profits. It will blow your mind.

To be fair, I also wanted to point out that often times engineers are Analytical Eaters (see my Eating Styles for more details), myself included. Analytical Eaters tend to get in food ruts and cause excesses and deficiencies. So whether or not Grant had created a severe Vitamin A Toxicity in himself I don’t know. Just an observation on my part. So he may just be one more extreme case, not the norm.

Here are his FREE books:

Poisoning For Profits

Extinguishing the Fires of Hell

I know, not everyone has the time or interest to read 400-page books on vitamins.

Here is another great blog post from Butter Nutrition about the symptoms of Vitamin A Toxicity.

So, Is Vitamin A a Toxin?

I applaud you if you made it to the end of the post. And even if you do now think I’ve gone completely mad I hope this at least got you thinking. Let it sit a while and come back to it if you need to. That’s what I had to do. And lots of praying for wisdom. But I feel this is truly where God is leading me.

Big changes are always hard. Changing your perspective on health and nutrition is very hard. But change can also be good.

As I said at the start of the post, I’m always researching, learning, and experimenting. After a year on the Vitamin A Detox Diet I’m still not fully clear on my views on Vitamin A.

I truly believe that it is toxic in certain doses (and probably lower than people think) and that a state of toxicity is quite easy to reach these days with fortification, supplements, superfoods, glyphosate, and other toxins.

I also think the health of your liver and your body’s ability to detox is of utmost importance and a key factor in the whole equation. But whether or not Vitamin A is a toxin I’m not sure.

Unfortunately most scientific studies are done in the extremes. They are either trying to prove the impacts of toxicity or deficiency. But we are supposed to live in balance. There are no studies in the balance zone. What that balance is, I’m not sure. Do we need certain amounts of Vitamin A to balance other things? Does eliminating all high Vitamin A foods create other imbalances? There is a LOT we still don’t know. Just because there are studies that show the seriousness of Vitamin A Toxicity does not mean there can’t also be a deficiency? I’m not sure a true Vitamin A Deficiency study has ever been conducted!

Bio-individuality and listening to your own body is also critical. Regardless of any scientific study or prescribed diet, you have to do what works for you and makes you feel your best.

After a year on the Vitamin A Detox Diet we are learning that we have developed some serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies and most symptoms have returned. We are adding in foods that we tolerate and finding a new balance.

Have you ever heard of Vitamin A Toxicity? Have you ever wondered about over-supplementing?

How Raising Animals Helps Picky Eaters

Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard someone ask if you can’t have eggs because you are dairy free. Let that sink in a minute. Eggs…from chickens. That has nothing to do with dairy. It’s a completely different animal! Unless they know a secret I don’t and can milk a chicken!

What’s really sad is that it is adults asking this. Adults. That don’t know eggs are not dairy. Just because they are close together in a grocery store (as if that means anything about where they come from!). That doesn’t bode well for the future of our children. Food knowledge is not being passed down.

Kids have no idea where their food comes from or why it even matters.

This needs to change. I think food education (about REAL food) should be taught in schools and should be fundamental knowledge. It’s hard to make good choices about how and what you eat when you don’t even know there is a choice to make.Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.

Parents are Responsible for Food Knowledge

It is up to parents to turn this around. Because let’s face it – kids are bombarded with neon-colored packaged junk everywhere they turn. From a very young age my kids help in the garden, planting, weeding, harvesting. They also help in the kitchen (with their skills from Kids Cook Real Food) preparing food from scratch. And they help raise animals.

Right now we just have chickens. We hope to expand to other animals in the future. But for now we are enjoying our little flock.

My seven year old feeds the chickens and collects the eggs every day. All of the kids like to help care for our hens. They are learning by first-hand experience.Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.

Raising Healthy Chickens

But I am adding a new tool for learning. I recently received the book Proven Techniques for Keeping Healthy Chickens by Carissa Bonham.

It is a great resource for all of your chicken questions. And I love how easy it is to read! Every subject has one page (kind of like a daily devotional). So you can quickly browse the whole book or go right to the topic you want and easily find the answer you need.

Since my oldest two can read they will be reading this book to give them a better understanding of chicken care. We have some chickens that are molting. So I’m going to let my kids use this book to figure out how we can help the hens through it.

Prevent Picky Eaters

Not only does this give them knowledge and a better understanding of how to care for God’s creation, it helps them not be picky eaters.

My kids know all the work that goes into raising healthy eggs. They appreciate the nutritional value. And they know not to be wasteful. For them it’s not just about food on the plate. It’s everything that goes into getting the food there.

The same holds true for our garden produce and our apples. A jar of home-canned applesauce isn’t just applesauce. It’s pruning trees, picking apples, making and canning the sauce.

I hope to instill an appreciation and love for well-raised food in my children. They can turn up their noses at processed pseudo-foods. But when it comes to real, nourishing food they will be the farthest thing from picky eaters.Can raising animals help picky eaters? You bet it can! By teaching the new generation about where their food comes from we will raise adventurous eaters and healthy individuals.

How You Can Raise Adventurous Eaters

Whether or not you raise your own food or animals, it’s important that your kids know where their food comes from. You can visit a local farm or even just try growing a tomato plant in a pot.

And grab some good books about raising animals like Carissa’s Proven Techniques for Keeping Healthy Chickens. Your kids will learn a lot. And the pictures are so cute. Who doesn’t love page after page of adorable chickens and eggs?!

I did not grow up farming, so I’ve been learning a lot about chickens myself from this book. Even as the one that mostly only deals with the food once it’s in the house. Carissa’s book taught me about  how to properly clean eggs to prevent spreading bacteria. I had no idea you shouldn’t run them under water!

Food knowledge is so important for this new generation. And feeding kids real, nourishing food will improve health and help prevent picky eating.

Whether you’re raising your own chickens or you just want to learn more, check out Carissa’s book here.

How much do your kids know about where their food comes from? One simple step you can take today is to provide quality books about real food for your kids to read.