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How To Choose A High Quality Whole Food Multi-Vitamin

July 7, 2010

If you know that your kids are falling short when it comes to their daily nutrition, supplementing with a whole food multi-vitamin is a great idea. IT IS NOT, however, a long term solution. Vitamins are still processed foods and can NEVER take the place of real, whole foods in your children’s diet. That being said, if you know you’re going to be traveling and won’t have access to the best food while on the road it is a good idea to being a high quality multi-vitamin along for your kids (and you).

Here are the criteria that your whole food multi-vitamin should meet.

Whole Food Multi-Vitamin Criteria

  1. MUST NOT CONTAIN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
    1. Hydrogenated Oils of any kind (trans fats)
    2. Preservatives (BHA, BHT, EDTA)
    3. Binders (magnesium stearate is most common – vegetable based stearates are a better option but still not ideal)
    4. Gluten
    5. Soy
    6. Corn (in the form of modified corn starch, corn starch, citric acid etc)
    7. Genetically Modified Plants of any sort
  2. Must be 100% Organic
  3. Must be 100% Whole Food Sourced (no synthetics)
    1. This will necessitate that it be a whole food multi-vitamin, and is either unheated or dried at low temperatures. Labels will tell you if the product is low temperature dried or not.
  4. USP Vitamin-Free (USP Verified vitamin supplements will contain synthetics and are not designed to create health – only avoid overt symptoms of disease).

Again, even a whole food multi-vitamin is not enough to replace real food. Build a strong nutritional baseline in your home consisting of well prepared whole foods and use vitamins when you know your children are not going to be sufficient.

Our preferred brand for a whole food multi-vitamin is Innate Choice.

Yours in Health and Happiness,

– Casey

How To Pick A High Quality Probiotic Supplement

July 7, 2010

Probiotics are the one thing that we recommend that every American child be taking. By virtue of the fact that you cook your food your children are going to be deficient in not only probiotic bacteria, but also the fresh plant fibers that are needed to sustain them. Supplementing regularly with a high quality probiotic will do tremendous things for your children’s health; from asthma to allergies, from sniffles to the flu, probiotics can help keep your children healthy, in school and performing at their very best.

Picking a probiotic supplement can be tricky. There are hundreds of them on store shelves, and the vast majority of them are useless or even potentially harmful. Make sure you are not wasting your money on a placebo. Here are the criteria that a high quality probiotic supplement must meet:

Probiotic Supplement Criteria

  1. Must NOT Contain Any Of The Following: dairy, goat’s milk, soy, wheat, corn, casein, magnesium stearate (binder), titanium dioxide (binder), artificial colors, preservatives, or sugars (this means NO yogurt-based probiotics!)
  2. Must be 3rd Party Certified for purity and potency.
  3. Must be refrigerated or come freeze-dried to preserve potency (don’t get the brands that are sitting out on store shelves).
  4. Must contain no fewer 5 billion CFU’s per serving. High end brands contain as many as 60 billion CFU’s per serving. (CFU’s are “colony forming units”, a.k.a. viable bacteria)

When it comes to probiotics you really do get what you pay for. If you can only make one supplement investment for your children, make it probiotics.

Our probiotic supplement of choice is from Innate Choice.

Dr. Mercola also produces a high quality freeze-dried probiotic that you can read more about HERE.

Yours in Health and Happiness,

– Casey

How Do You Define Developmentally Disabled?

March 29, 2010
by

This quote is one of my absolute favorites.  I really and truly believe in it, and I want to do everything in my power to help each and every child SHINE like they are SUPPOSED to.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

A LOT of the children I see today aren’t shining quite like they could be, or should be.  When I see many children around town, I see a lot of vacant stairs, a lack of energy, a lack of engagement and clarity.

Of course it’s not their fault, or the fault of the parents.  The parents obviously want what’s best for their children, and they are doing what they think is best.

They feed their kids based on the recommendations of the “experts”.  It’s very sad to say that today’s experts are the USDA, the FDA, and medical doctors.

Unfortunately, the experts aren’t concerned with helping children shine.  They are concerned with selling more food like products to parents and children, and preventing symptoms of disease. This is VERY DIFFERENT than helping your child SHINE.

So what will it take to help these children shine?

The Simple Answer:  Stop feeding them dead, cheap foods children (and adults) have no business eating, and give them Real Nutrition.

The Real Answer:  A huge paradigm shift, a different way of viewing the crazy world we live in.

Parents need these shifts in thinking in order to let their children shine like they are supposed to:

  • T.V. commercials never dictate what our children eat.
  • Do THE OPPOSITE of what food lobbyists (dairy, wheat, soy, corn, beef, etc.) advertise.
  • Get information from experts who study HEALTH and HEALTHY children (note: our current food and “healthcare” system studies disease, not health).
  • Food is a drug, use it wisely and most illnesses will disappear.
  • My child has the blueprint for awesome health, all I have to do is supply the right building blocks.
  • Pharmaceuticals are toxic, they should be the very last resort to any problem.
  • Movement is life.  We are designed to move around and exercise A LOT – movement stimulates the brain and allows the body to develop normally. It releases stress, it is an incredible nutrient for a growing mind- find a fun way to exercise and do it!  I guarantee you LOVE to move, if you’re having trouble with sticking to it, you just haven’t found the game/activity you love yet. We need to raise our standards when it comes to exercising.

Every Child was born to shine, the question is, how bright can your child shine?

Comment below and share your ideas on how to help all children shine.

Thanks for reading,

Fight for the health of the children,

Andrew
Health and Movement Coach
Co-Author of Real Nutrition For Super Kids

The Child’s Health Is The Parent’s Health

March 26, 2010
by

I try to be as understanding and compassionate as possible to everyone,
but I have to say it causes heart ache when I hear parents say:

“You don’t understand, I don’t have time to exercise, shop, cook, and eat healthy, I have kids”.

I believe I fundamentally understand:

So much is demanded of a parent, so much time and energy required to raise the children, go to work, live life. The stress can be overwhelming, how can a parent possibly fit any more into the day?

Actually, how can they not?!?

Your health is your child’s health.

If you’re not eating healthy, why should your children bother?  We are products of our environment, and if your children watch you ignore your health while you take on the world, they will do exactly the same.  Both of you, perhaps your grandchildren and beyond, will be stuck in a cycle, living less productive lives, dying early deaths, suffering from illness, low self-esteem, and physical limitations.

All because the parents are too busy to make a few fun, challenging, and rewarding lifestyle changes.

So the next time you find yourself skipping the exercise, stressing over all the little things, and eating food-like-crap, I encourage you to pause and reflect.  Try to see the health and vitality of your future generations beginning with the choices you make and the actions you take today.

Do it for the children,

Andrew
Health Coach
Co-Author Real Nutrition for Super Kids

How To Balance Omega 6: Omega 3 Ratios

March 9, 2010

What Are The Signs Of An Omega 6: Omega 3 Imbalance?

  • dry skin, alligator skin, “chicken skin” on back of arms
  • dandruff
  • lowered immunity and frequent infections (even once a year counts!)
  • dry eyes
  • frequent urination
  • fatigue
  • poor wound healing
  • irritability
  • dry, unmanageable hair
  • attention deficit
  • hyperactivity
  • learning problems
  • soft nails or brittle, easily frayed nails
  • patches of pale skin on cheeks
  • allergies
  • cracked skin on heels and fingertips

How To Balance Your Kid’s Omega 6: Omega 3 Ratio

1. Eating more fish isn’t good enough. While fish can be a very healthy food, simply including more of it in your child’s diet won’t balance their essential fats. You’ve probably heard that you should eat fish two or three times a week to get healthy fats. This is an overly simplistic solution to a much larger problem.

Omega 3's for kids from fish

First off, only certain types of fish have significant amounts of Omega 3’s. These are typically cold water species like salmon.
Secondly, the fish must be wild caught. Farmed fish are fed corn, which makes them deficient in Omega 3’s too. Farmed fish are also treated with antibiotics, which are bad for the environment and bad for you.

Thirdly, in order for your child to experience the benefits of increased Omega 3’s in the diet you must first decrease the amount of Omega 6’s. This brings us to number two.

2. Omega 6’s and Omega 3’s compete with one another. You must take steps to reduce the amounts of Omega 6’s in your child’s diet WHILE including foods rich in Omega 3’s in order to balance the ratios. Here’s what you need to eliminate.

Eliminate vegetable oils from your pantry and kitchen. This includes safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, canola and other vegetable oils. Stick with organic, preferably raw butter, olive oil, and coconut oil as your main cooking oils. These oils have nourished healthy populations throughout history. Adding in some flax seed oil is a good way to get additional ALA.

Processed foods have to go. They will be high in Omega 6’s because Omega 6’s can sit on shelves. Omega 3’s can’t. This leads us to number three.

3. Switch from white to green. One of the most effective ways to balance fatty acids is to forgo foods that are white in color (sugar, cookies, crackers, chips, breads – all processed stuff) in favor of ones that are green (vegetables, dark leafy greens). Including greenery with every meal is an excellent way to get your kids to consume consistent amounts of ALA, the parent Omega 3 fatty acid.

4. Say goodbye to the supermarket and hello to the farmer’s market. If you struggle choosing the green stuff over the white, perhaps the easiest thing to do is change where you get your groceries from. Farmer’s Markets are a great option, as everything sold there is fresh from the land or sea, and any processed foods you do find, like bread, will be much healthier than most supermarket varieties.

If you don’t have Farmer’s Markets in your area, don’t worry! Follow this one simple rule and you’ll automatically increase the amount of Omega 3’s in your kid’s diet as well as decrease Omega 6’s.

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Stick to the perimeter.

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When you go down the aisles of a supermarket you’re pretty much guaranteed to be surrounded by processed food, not a single Omega 3 in sight! Produce, dairy, and meat are typically laid out around the edges of the market. Avoid the corn syrup maze in the middle and you’ll already be way ahead of the game.

5. Only allow happy meat onto your kid’s plate. Unhappy cows, chickens, pigs, goats, turkeys and other livestock will be deficient in Omega 3’s. By unhappy I mean they are raised in crowded pens, often times never seeing the light of day, fed an artificial and genetically incongruent diet, and injected with antibiotics and steroids. Look for “100% Grass Fed” and “Humanely Raised” labels.


6. Supplement for success.
If your kid eats anything that comes out of a box, they’re going to need to take an Omega 3 supplement to get sufficient amounts in their diet and to compete with the large amounts of Omega 6’s in processed foods.

Human beings (and kids especially) are meant to eat nutrient dense food ALL THE TIME. This is not always an option in today’s modern world. If you know you won’t be able to do everything recommended in this post, making sure your child takes a high quality Omega 3 supplement is essential to keep them as healthy as possible.

Keep in mind that supplements are processed foods too. Taking a high quality fish oil supplement does not make it alright to let your kid have junk food. There are no “Get Out Of Jail Free” passes in this case.

Click HERE to read about how to choose a high quality fish oil supplement.

Andrew and I take Innate Choice’s Omega Sufficiency every day because it meets our requirements for purity and quality.

7. Remember, your child is not an exception to the rule. The health promoting effects of Omega 3’s have been documented in over 8,000 research studies. The “if” argument regarding the importance of Omega 3’s to human health has long since passed. What needs to happen now is for us to take a good, honest look at the foods we choose to provide for our families. We need to ask “Is this food going to produce sickness or health as a result of eating it?” Asking this question is a necessary part of creating health in today’s world.

Bottom line, your children need to have a healthy fatty acid ratio in their diet. If they don’t have it, they will not develop to their full potential and enjoy the radiant health that is their birth right. Metabolism happens whether we like it or not. Ignorance of the skewed ratio of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s in our diets and those of our children will bring about deleterious health consequences, that is for certain.

You’ve read this post, which means you’re interested in learning more. The most valuable thing you can do now is to TAKE ACTION and DO the things outlined in this post. Take action and watch your kids become super kids.

Fight for your family’s health,

– Casey

Where Did The Omega 3’s Go?

March 9, 2010

Omega 3’s have all but disappeared from our food supply for a number of different reasons, and all of them are tied to the industrialization of our food supply.

1) Omega 3’s And Store Shelves Don’t Mix

Omega 3’s do not store well. The parent Omega 3, Alpha Linolenic Acid, is TEN TIMES less stable than Linoleic Acid the parent   Omega 6. The vast majority of food that we consume today has been processed in one form or another in order to extend shelf life.

2) We Switched From Leaves To Seeds

We’ve made a switch from leaves to seeds. Our diets used to have a lot more green stuff in them. However, our diets are largely grain based now. Why? Because grain is a commodity crop. It can be stored and is thus subsidized. We also invented technology to extract oil from seeds, and thus we now have tons of different vegetable oils in our food supply that didn’t even exist 200 years ago! This all leads to a decrease in Omega 3’s and a HUGE increase in Omega 6’s.

3) Unhappy Cows Have No Omega 3’s

Animals from which we now obtain our meat from are unhealthy and deficient in Omega 3’s as well. Cows that eat green grass will have up to 4% of their fatty acid profile be Omega 3’s, whereas Omega 3’s are literally undetectable in feedlot cows today. Why? We started feeding cows corn and soy (same is true with chickens, pigs, and other forms of livestock – even fish!). This makes them sick and toxic with Omega 6’s.

Why Do My Kids Need Omega 3’s?

Having a proper Omega 6:Omega 3 ratio is absolutely necessary for normal (i.e. excellent) development. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are present in every single myelin sheath surrounding the trillions of nerve cells in your child’s brain. At no time in life is getting a proper ratio of Omega 6: Omega 3 more important than when we are developing.

The American diet is completely awash with inflammation promoting Omega 6’s and almost completely devoid of Omega 3’s to balance them out!

Read more about how Omega 3’s produce health, and how their absence leads to disease by clicking the links below.

Why your child MUST get Omega 3’s.

How to balance your child’s Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio.

Fight for your family’s health,

– Casey

Why Your Child MUST Have Omega 3’s

March 5, 2010

What Are Omega 3’s?

Omega 3’s are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Polyunsaturated means the carbon chain of these fats have two or more double bonds. Omega 3’s are so named because the first double bond is always 3 carbons away from the end of the fatty acid chain.

Omega 3 fatty acids, along with their counterparts the Omega 6 fatty acids, cannot be synthesized by the human body and must be obtained from the diet. This is why you’ll often hear them referred to as “essential fatty acids” or EFAs.

There are three different Omega 3 fatty acids that accumulate in significant quantities in human tissue.

Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)

Parent of the Omega 3 family and shortest, found in chloroplasts of green leaves, most abundant fat on earth, is elongated and desaturated to form EPA.

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)


Second longest of the Omega 3’s, acts as a calm and placid inter-cell messenger when released from membranes, is further elongated and desaturated to form DHA.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Longest of the Omega 3 family, is the “thinking and seeing” fat, found in highest concentrations in brain and eyes, can change into hundreds of shapes billions of times per second, allows “thinking and seeing” cells to transmit information quickly.

Why Are Omega 3’s So Important?

Omega 3 fatty acids are present in every cell in the human body. They get incorporated into the cell membranes and from there exert a tremendous influence on your child’s health AND metabolism, as researchers are starting to identify.

The Omega 3 fatty acid DHA is found in its highest concentrations in the membranes of cells in the eyes and brain, the cells in your child’s body tasked with massive data transfer and processing. We are able to see and think because of DHA’s rapid shape changing qualities. DHA is required for speed.

The next highest concentration is found in cardiac (heart) muscle. The heart beats 70 times per minute, every minute, of every hour, of every day, for a lifetime. That’s over 2 billion beats.

Starting to see a connection here?

DHA levels have also been linked to hibernation patterns in certain animals. The Yellow-Bellied Marmot of Colorado, for example, will NOT hibernate when it has high levels of Omega 3’s in it’s tissues. When food supplies change with the seasons and Omega 3 levels fall, their bodies will then slow down and go into hibernation.

Omega 3’s have been shown in animal studies to INCREASE metabolism as well. The cellular metabolism will change according to the amount of Omega 3’s present.

Here’s the basic idea math:  Higher Omega 3’s = Elevated Metabolism

While human studies haven’t established a direct link between Omega 3 levels (particularly DHA) and metabolism, it is reasonable to assume that Omega 3’s levels have a similar metabolism raising effect in our cells as well.

The American food supply is dangerously deficient in Omega 3’s, and we’ve seen a dramatic rise in childhood obesity in the past decade. While the Omega 3 deficiency is not the cause of the obesity epidemic, it is likely a significant contributing factor. We’ve got a bunch of kids whose cells are trying to hibernate while they’re consuming massive amounts of calories! There’s a recipe for disaster.

Omega 3’s are also snipped out of the cell membrane by special enzymes and then further metabolized to regulate a huge array of processes in the human body.

The Omega 3 fatty acid EPA is metabolized to form a variety of messenger molecules (eicosanoids) that exert a calming effect on inflammation levels throughout the body. They are the equivalent of a friendly knock on the door.

Likewise, Omega 6 fatty acids are metabolized to form messenger molecules that have an inflammatory effect throughout the body. They act more like a SWAT Team kicking in the door (door =  cell membrane!).

Here is the most important thing to know about Omega 3’s. The enzyme that snips the Omega 3’s out of the membrane is also the one that snips out Omega 6’s. The enzyme CANNOT differentiate between Omega 3 and Omega 6!!  Therefore, the amount of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory messengers depends DIRECTLY on the ratios obtained in the diet!

Deficiencies in Omega 3’s have been definitively linked to….

  • developmental disorders
  • learning disabilities
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • eczema
  • ADD and ADHD
  • violence and depression (serotonin and dopamine receptors are made from DHA!)
  • systemic inflammation
  • decreases visual and mental acuity
  • diabetes
  • arthritis
  • weight gain
  • cancer
  • heart disease

Learn how to fix the Omega 6: Omega 3 imbalance.

Fight for your health,

– Casey

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