Making health decisions for your family isn't always the easy choice.

Before my daughter was born my husband and I discussed how we would raise her in regards to dietary choices. Just a few months prior to birth I discovered my gluten intolerance and so after doing my research I knew we would keep her gluten free. But what about birthday parties? What about sweet treats? My husband would ask me. Why can’t we allow her to do what “normal” kids do?

Why is it assumed “normal” for kids to eat candy, junk food, processed sugar and food colouring? Well because that’s what we both were brought up on so it must have been ok then right? I used to drink more soda then water, eat more processed food then fresh and what I had because of it was health concerns, mood disorders and autoimmune disease.

The more I learned the more I knew I didn’t want that for my daughter. So my husband and I came to the decision we would avoid those “normal” kid treats or discover healthy alternatives.

So when we were told about this place while visiting Kauai we had to go. Organic, food dye free shaved ice!! Yes! I have not had a shaved ice in who knows how long and this was a first for my kids. Have they seen others eat them before yes of course but they never got to experience it because those were all packed full of numerous food dyes which my kids know we avoid cause they are bad for their brains.

Did they enjoy it? Yes! Did they finish that huge bowl? No way. Maybe half way and they were done.

Is it the easy route when junk food, candy and food dye filled treats are so easily accessible? No of course not. I have to tell them no and why they can’t have things all the time. It’s not that I don’t want them to not enjoy these fun treats every now and then but I do want to empower them with healthier choices. For them to learn why I have made the choices I have so when they get older they can make the choices for themselves.

Advocating For Our Kids

Parents it’s up to us. We are the advocates for our kids. We as parents need to educate ourselves and think deeper and outside the traditional box. The box where following the methods of our parents and doing just what the doctors says is crumbling. Times have changed.

When I was a child I never heard my mom really question what she was feeding us or what the doctor told her to do. The internet wasn’t around then so to find alternatives, learn about dietary issues or complications with traditional routes you would have to seek a professional in the field or go to the library for some books.

We now live in a society where we have access to information at our finger tips. We can find research articles in a search engine. We can become educated and find professionals in various fields and book appointments through the internet. So my question is — why are some of us not utilizing these tools? Why are we still going off of what our parents did or only what the western doctors say?

Now don’t get me wrong, doctors are brilliant people and needed, but most are only trained in medicine. ‘Medicine’ meaning you have an ailment, they confirm it, give medication that is applicable and send you on your way. Most often they are not looking at underlying possible causes of why you have the ailment to begin with. Most medical schools require very little nutrition. On average just 8 hours of training in nutrition is required, and again most are not educated on possible natural alternatives.

That’s where we parents come into play. We need to be the ones to dig and ask questions. We need to seek out the answers and often times need to get a team around our children to support their needs. If we don’t ask the questions then how can we find any answers? We cannot just blindly do as we are told anymore. We are not blind and we have the tools that our parents did not.

holistic health

I am passionate about this for two reasons:

  • If I didn’t advocate for my son and dig deep then he would have most likely been medicated at the age of 3.
  • Children need us to make this stand for them. Our kids, our future, are being heavily medicated.

Now you may think it’s not that big of a deal that just a few kids are getting prescribed medications. But did you know that a report published in 2013 by the IMS Health company (the largest vendor for US physician prescribing data) 1,080,168 children ages 0–5 years old were on some type of psychiatric drug. These drugs include: ADHD drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications. 0–5 year olds! Now 8,389,034 is the total number of kids on the same type of medications from ages 0–17.

What effect do you think these medications would have on a developing brain? What about addiction? Medications causing side effects? In 2004, a black box warning was placed on antidepressants because they may cause suicide in children and teens.

Do you think there may be another option? What about the root cause? What about diet? Alternative therapies? This is where we as parents are the ones that can turn this upward trend back down again. Now, I will state that in some cases medication is necessary, but also digging deep to root causes and making needed adjustments or implement alternative therapies alongside the medication can possibly lead to decreased dependency on the prescription. My goal is to open parents minds to ask questions and seek out options.

As stated earlier, if I didn’t take the steps needed for my son he would have most likely become one of those children taking medication for a behavioural issues. When my son started preschool at the age of 3 he was “different”. He had trouble concentrating, was speech delayed, was disruptive to the other children and was loud. He was also extremely bright so this put up some red flags with the school. They suggested I go get an evaluation and possibly diagnosis. Well that was my last resort. I wanted to dig deep first and see what I could find.

So we booked in to see our holistic doctor and got some tests. Food intolerance test to see if something he’s eating is affecting his gut health which would in turn affect his brain, we got a hair analysis to check for nutritional deficiencies and heavy metals. The last test was a urine neurotransmitters test.

I was surprised by the results. Intolerant to peanuts, eggs, pineapple, and corn. Hair shown a lot of mercury, aluminum and lack of magnesium. And the neurotransmitters tested showed he was high in dopamine. After the initial shock I was extremely grateful to the school to push me down the path. I found things that would absolutely be affecting his brain and behavior and I could implement natural alternatives to help balance him out.

We have eliminated the foods, got him on probiotics, used natural detoxing options like vitamin c and cilantro and added supplements to help increase serotonin and thus decrease his dopamine levels.

He is doing great! He’s speech has improved since making the changes and getting him into speech therapy, he is thriving in school and only has the best reports.

So my question to you is what may be hiding underneath the surface? Can you dig deep? Can you question the norm and make a stand for your child?

The adjustments originally were not easy but without me doing the work, finding the team to rally around him, and saying no to the traditional route first where would my son be now? On medications at the age of 3?