Toxins Lookout! How to Detox for Children

Unfortunately, our children are routinely exposed to toxins every single day in today’s world. In many cases, we have no control over the exposure, as is the case with our air and water. Here are five simple ways to help detox your children every day to keep their body healthy and functioning optimally.

Before I jump into how to detox your kids, let’s take a look at where kids are exposed to the most toxins.

COMMON TOXIN EXPOSURES FOR KIDS

Food– Just one look at typical kid cuisine will show you just how toxic it really is. From boxed dinners to fast food, kids frequently consume rancid oils, food dyes, refined flours and sugars. Foods with so little nutrition that they might as well be eating cardboard. Indeed, some ingredients are not too far removed from cardboard.

Air– On any given day, you can drive through your town or neighborhood and see someone spraying pesticides or weed killers. It’s really frustrating that these chemicals have not been banned seeing as how they cause cancer, disrupt hormones, and pose a threat to human health in general. Now, we also have to worry about massive spraying campaigns due to concern about things like Zika virus along with pesticides being sprayed on airplanes.

Water– Most cities add fluoride to their water supply because it’s believed to improve dental health but it actually causes harm, especially to growing children. Studies show that children living in areas with high fluoride exposure are at risk for low IQ, among other health issues. Not only that but chlorine is added to water to sanitize it, which is harmful to the microbiome, as it kills good gut flora. Finally, we also have to be concerned about heavy metals that are often found in water especially in places where lead pipes are used.

Everyday chemicals- From the cleaning supplies we use to our shampoo, harmful chemicals abound in most modern homes. Kids are exposed to toxins via the sheets and mattress they sleep on; the clothes they wear; the soap and toothpaste they use… you see where I’m going with this. There is not a lot of regulation when it comes to these household products and as a result, our kids have a lot to contend with.

It may seem impossible to help our kids live toxin-free, as the above list is pretty daunting. While it can be frustrating that we have so little control over some of the toxins our children are exposed to, there is plenty we can do to eliminate exposure and support their bodies!

HOW TO DETOX KIDS DAILY IN FIVE SIMPLE STEPS

FOCUS ON NUTRITION

While we can’t be sure our kids eat perfectly all the time, we can support their bodies through proper nutrition so that the occasional indulgence can be tolerated.

The best thing you can do is make sure your children eat a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, pastured eggs, raw dairy, and grass-fed meats. It’s debatable whether children need grains or if they’re even healthy at all. I personally believe that they should be limited to occasional, gluten-free, properly prepared consumption, if at all. Even more importantly, make sure your child isn’t eating food dyes, MSG, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup or white bread (and other refined grains)!

JUICING

While a well-rounded diet is one of the best things you can provide for your kids, targeted nutrition through juicing can be incredibly helpful. Not only does juicing provide easily digested vitamins and minerals, but also you can put specific fruits and vegetables in your juice that can target specific detox mechanisms.

Here are a few things I like to include in juices:

Beets- especially good for the liver and for cleansing the blood
Cilantro- helps the body to detox heavy metals gently
Ginger- helps to fight unwanted organism and reduce pain
Turmeric- combats inflammation
Lemon- helps to detox the liver and provides enzymes that aid in digestion

I find that as long as I use several carrots and some apple, my kids not only tolerate our morning juicing routine, but they really like it!

PROMOTE GOOD GUT FLORA

The immune system resides mostly in the gut and also dictates how well your child’s body can deal with the influx of toxins they are inundated with daily. When we support the gut we support the immune system, thereby rendering the body capable of detoxifying on a regular basis.

When the gut flora is compromised, the body is less able to handle the daily assaults of our toxic world and toxins begin to build up. This can result in any number of conditions affecting so many children today including autism, asthma, eczema, ADHD, and so on.

A good probiotic can make all the difference in the world for your child’s gut health and overall ability to detox. A probiotic healed my daughter’s eczema quickly and without major diet changes! You should also incorporate lots of raw and fermented foods in your child’s diet to promote good gut flora.

LET THEM PLAY

Kids should run around barefooted and play in the sunshine every day, as much as possible. Our modern sedentary, indoor lifestyles (facilitated by long school days and video game habits) don’t do our children’s bodies any favors.

For one thing, vitamin D is necessary for our immune systems to function properly that I mentioned above as a necessity for helping children’s bodies detox. Midday sunshine is the best source of vitamin D and allowing kids to play outside and soak up as much vitamin D as possible is one great way to strengthen their bodies’ detox mechanisms.

Additionally, connecting bare feet to the earth is known as “earthing” and it helps with detox function in a number of ways. Earthing can help combat the negative effects of electromagnetic frequencies, improve organ function, reduce inflammation, and improve sleep, all of which promote detoxification.

DETOX BATHS

Finally, get your kiddos in a special bath to promote detoxification through the skin. Detox baths are an easy way to help your child’s body deal with toxins in a manageable way.

To turn an ordinary bath into a “detox bath,” there are a number of additives you can put in the water:

  • Epson salts
  • Baking soda
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Betonite clay
  • Essential oils

These ingredients not only draw out toxins but have health benefits of their own, which help to strengthen the immune system and nourish the body further promoting detoxification.
To make a detox bath, use as hot of water as your child tolerates (for my kids, that’s not very hot), and add a cup of one or two additives, along with a few drops of essential oils, if you’d like. (Make sure your child doesn’t drink the water!)

Encourage your kiddo to soak until the water is cool or at least for 20 minutes. With a few toys, it’s pretty easy to get kids to play in the bath for a while!

USE WHAT WORKS

No doubt, our kids come into contact with more toxins than most of us would like. Instead of fretting about it, get proactive! You can use the above tips, which are all geared towards activities kids like doing anyways.

Use what works for your child and make it fun! Serve juice up in a cute stainless steel cup with a stainless steel straw, make frequent outdoor activities a regular occurrence, and incorporate things they like into their detox routine. With just a little effort, you can make a big impact on your child’s toxin burden and overall health!

(This is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with your physician for a detox program appropriate for your children and family.)

Spring Renewal: A Natural Home Cleanse

Out with the old and in with the new.  A friend of mine who moved once told me that rather than finding the process chaotic, she found it cathartic. A time to take stock in what was truly needed in her home and to start fresh. Generations ago our ancestors undertook this domestic overhaul in the spring, scrubbing off months of soot and grime that had accumulated in their homes thanks to winter fires, kerosene lamps, and the impracticality of beating carpets in the snow. These days, few of us have to worry about creosote in our kitchens, but the annual ritual of spring cleaning prevails because it just feels so good when the job is done. This year, use this time of renewal to revisit your goals for living cleanly. Take a critical tour of your home, assessing how you’re living up to your own healthy standards. Have you fallen back on great intentions? No worries – we all do. Now is the time to get back on track.

Clean Up the Kitchen

What is under your sink? Purge those cleaners that claim to have magical powers but don’t list ingredients – or who’s ingredients are clearly questionable (if it is purple and smells like a meadow, it probably is questionable). Replace them with non-toxic, plant-based alternatives and avoid sprays, which disperse much of the cleaning agent into the air. It is also easy to make your own effective, inexpensive cleaners using household ingredients such as white vinegar, cornstarch, lemon, and baking soda (see recipes at eartheasy.com). Be sure to check the sink itself for leaks that may keep this area damp and attractive to mold.

How about the cabinets? Clean out old water bottles and food storage containers (including bags) and replace them with non-BPA alternatives that are now readily available at grocery stores. Eliminate non-stick cookware, or at least get rid of any that is showing signs of wear such as scratches or flaking. Consider switching to enamel or cast iron, which will become non-stick if properly seasoned. The fact that it may introduce iron into food is actually a nutritional benefit!

Detox Laundry

Ever think that maybe it isn’t a good thing that your clothes smell like perfume days after they’ve been washed? Artificial fragrances (which often contain hundreds of synthetic chemicals) and funky colors aren’t necessary to clean clothes. Use natural, environmentally-friendly detergents that are just as effective at removing dirt and odors – not masking them.  These products usually list ingredients on the package for consumers.  Hold the same standards for other laundry products like dryer sheets, stain spray, and bleach. Try natural brands that are up front about what they contain (and what they don’t).

Healthier Sleep

Dust mites be gone! Actually, it is impossible to be completely rid of these microscopic creatures, but it is relatively easy to manage them. Wash all bedding – including comforters, mattress pads, bed skirts and pillows – in very hot water. For items that can’t be laundered in hot water, adding tea tree or eucalyptus oil to cooler wash water kills the mites, and smaller items can be put in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Use a couple of teaspoons of essential oil mixed with a pint of water to damp dust furniture and clean floors. You can also buy allergy covers for the pillows and the mattress and create a physical barrier.

Move alarm clocks, phones, and other electronics away from beds to limit exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Consider using a salt lamp. By naturally flooding an area with negative ions, salt lamps may improve air quality, reduce stress, improve sleep, increase energy levels, and reduce allergy and asthma symptoms. They’re great for every room in the house!

A Better Bathroom

How’s your medicine cabinet? Clear out the post-date products and ensure a good supply of basics including supplements such as a whole food multivitamin (such as IntraKid and IntraMax) a probiotic, vitamin D and fish oil. Take a close look at your health and beauty products, eliminating those that will expose your body to irritating and harmful chemicals (see www.EWG.org and www.SaferChemicals.org) such as parabens, formaldehyde, triclosan, and phthalates in products such as moisturizers, soaps and shampoos, cosmetics, nail polish, and deodorant. Women should pay special attention to feminine care products and lubricants which may expose sensitive, highly absorptive areas to toxic chemicals. If a product doesn’t list its ingredients, move to one that does. Cotton products may pose less health risk than synthetic fibers (such as rayon), and it is best to avoid scented tampons and pads.

Take it Outside

As bulbs push their way through the soil, so do weeds. Few of us have the patience to individually pick them from our lawns (kudos to those of you who do!), so we’re understandably tempted to engage a chemical lawn care service to feed our obsession with perfect turf. STOP! Herbicides, pesticides and fungicides widely associated with neurological damage, reproductive harm and cancer are routinely used in chemical lawn care, and there are safer alternatives. Find a service that provides organic lawn care using natural fertilizers such as chicken poop. There are also many organic options for do-it-yourselfers available online or in hardware stores.

The act of spring cleaning can itself be therapeutic, so embrace the ritual! Set aside time to detox your home and start afresh. Then sit back, relax, and be mindful of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Three Steps to Fight Brain Fog

Dr. Perlmutter is someone I consider a mentor.  Check out his 55-second video below for three tips to beat brain fog and help you focus.  In particular, I want to draw your attention to the mention of managing a healthy gut, or the gut microbiome.  There are so many benefits to keeping a healthy gut that I talk more about here.

Powerful Food-Medicine for the Heart

 

Nearly half of cardiovascular disease deaths in the United States can be prevented by improving diet according to new research presented at an American Heart Association knowledge sharing event. Researchers claim that 400,000 deaths are due to lack of healthy foods in our diets and/or over-representing unhealthy foods in our personal eating habits.

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.”

– Dr. Ann Wigmore, N.D.

Researchers showed, “Low intake of healthy foods such as nuts, vegetables, whole grains and fruits combined with higher intake of unhealthy dietary components, such as salt and trans-fat, is a major contributor to deaths from cardiovascular disease in the UnitedStates,” said Ashkan Afshin, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., Sc.D., lead study author and acting assistant professor of global health at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle. 

The American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of eating a healthy dietary pattern that is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry and limited in fatty or processed red meat. The association also suggests limiting sugary soft drinks, salt (sodium), saturated and trans fats.

As a pediatrician seeking to optimize health and push patients into feeling great, I would further suggest a quality multivitamin and liquid probiotic.

SOURCES:

http://newsroom.heart.org/news/unhealthy-diets-linked-to-more-than-400-000-cardiovascular-deaths?preview=ef83

You are so full of it your eyes are brown

I believe behaviors are strategies to get a need met and this drastically changes how I parent.

My daughter has an incredible sense of self so her needs are usually clearly stated while her behaviors are sometimes outrageous. She recently went on a pro-Chloe marketing campaign around the house. Everyone started to find “I love Chloe?” printed on the house, gutters, plants, driveway, etc in black sharpie ink. I am not certain why she included the question mark. Was this a punctuation of humility? Naivety? Or simply a red herring so that her sisters would be blamed for the graffiti? No one will ever know her self-promotion need, as she is not talking. I accept it though as a creative outlet – I may not have been so accommodating a few years back, though.

The mind of one of my children works differently than most peoples’ minds. It was no surprise that she easily qualified for the gifted program at school. I was surprised when she repeatedly decided not to turn in homework on time and subsequently lost her place in the gifted program.

Acceptance of a child’s actions is sometimes hard. I was disappointed as a parent at this wonderful lost opportunity. I was accepting as a parent who loves his child and sees each of their actions as a reflection of a need.

She needed more structure and more self-expression. Not turning in assignments was a behavior to get a need met. I focused on the need and discussed the behavior. Once she knew I understood her need, she willingly listened and we worked on a solution together. This created the empathetic space for us to have a dialogue rather than creating a power dynamic where she felt coerced and unheard.

She is always ready with a logical excuse to vindicate her action, even when she is clearly in the wrong! What’s worse is that it usually makes sense and is disarming in its humor. I happily listen to these entertaining forays.

A good case in point: At the store, Chloe told grandpa that she needed a chocolate bar. He said, “You’ve eaten so much chocolate that your eyes are brown (she has brown eyes,) and if you eat one more bar it will come out of your ears!” Her instant reply, “It doesn’t work that way Grandpa, the chocolate comes out of the bottom, so you can put more chocolate on top!”

Intelligence is a double-edged sword. As a parent, you can overthink yourself and end up in trouble with your children as they grow. You mistakenly focus on your needs and your perceived needs for the child rather than listen to their explanations and needs as well.

The child will internalize respect, clear communication and belief in their own abilities if you give them the space to grow while learning to state their needs with you listening and visa versa. An amazing consciousness will develop in both of you.

Our intelligence and wisdom are gifts allowing us to see with clarity and understanding, enabling the ability to solve problems quickly. Use these gifts to make life wonderful for your children while allowing the child to learn, as they need to.

Anyway, I forgot to ask if grandpa ended up buying her a chocolate bar that day as I was so amused by her wit.