The Secret To Good Health, Calm and Confidence
I created my resources so parents could efficiently course-correct their child's health and resolve mood, learning and behavior issues.
Things unravel fast when your child starts to struggle or you get a diagnosis.
Where do you start? What do you read? What do you do?
This post outlines the pillars we cover in our coaching. These are the things you need to explore if you want to use a drug-free approach to improve your child's health, behavior, mood, development, anxiety, learning or focus.
==> Feel like you're doing everything you can but your child's still struggling with anxiety, moodiness, ADHD symptoms and anger? Click Here to download a strategic summary outlining why nutrition is the missing piece so you finally get some traction!
Your child's body is designed to function well as long as it gets the right fuel and isn't overly stressed.
Symptoms are a signal that function is faltering. There could be two reasons: insufficient cellular nourishment, or a stress load that has become unmanageable. In most cases there's a combination of the two... a "perfect storm", so to speak.
So our work together involves nourishing deeply and removing hidden stress so function can return. It's a process we call Raising Resilience.
(related video post: What's Raising Resilience All About?)
Nutrition Is At The Core
Resilience is your child's capacity to manage and tolerate stress.
Stress is an inevitable and important part of growth - but we want our kids to grow from stress rather than become crippled by it. Nutrients fuel our stress response so we made nourishment the core of what we do for kids.
Nutrients affect how kids feel in their bodies, how their brain functions, their energy balance, their anxiety, their ability to learn and cope with expectation.
Getting them the right nutrients can actually influence how your kids express who they are in the world. It amazes me every time I see it and think about it.
I have seen shy kids turn into social butterflies.
I have seen obsessive kids stop worrying.
I have seen anxious kids say 'yes' to new opportunities.
I have seen angry kids become loving kids.
I know it takes a leap of faith on your part to believe me, but it happens when we nourish the nervous system with the building blocks it needs. And over the years, after helping family after family integrate a nutrition strategy into their treatment plans, I've been able to distill a framework to make it easier for you to find answers quickly.
Our Framework Keeps You Organized
Parents who don't have a framework as they scramble to help their kids, end up gathering more and more information without knowing what to do with it. They also end up playing whack-a-mole with symptoms and getting caught up in a guessing game.
I don't want that kind of overwhelm for you, so I offer you the framework we use in The Resilience Roadmap and Calm & Clear Kids (our two core programs).
There are three parts to our Framework that cover 3 missing links to a child's mood, behavior & capacity to learn that most parents don't know about. I call them The Pillars Of Resilient Health™.
1. We Nourish.
Nutrients build the structure of our bodies and drive its function.
Remember... symptoms indicate a break down in function, so that means there might be an insufficiency in nutrients somewhere. We need to play detective and figure out what's missing and why.
I always start with nourishment when it comes to kids. If we were talking about adults I might not start here, but we're not. We're talking about kids and we have to make sure that they are getting nutrients in while also developing a positive relationship with food and with you, in the process.
(I feel really strongly about this!! Whether we decide to work together or not, please read this related post: The Top Mistake Parents Make When Changing Their Child's Diet)
There are 8 categories of nutrients your child needs every single day: fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, bacteria. When we can't get those needs met through food alone we can use supplements to help.
Some kids are picky, some have certain genetic needs, some kids just aren't extracting nutrients from food sufficiently. We need to know what's going on.
Got a picky eater? I get it. I wrote this for you.
2. We Reduce Stress & Irritation (aka reduce inflammation).
Stress of any kind - whether the source is outside the body, like a family conflict or an exam, or inside the body like a parasite or infection - will cause inflammation and a cascade of hormones.
Think of this stress response like water filling a glass. We have a remarkable ability to keep our glasses from overflowing; to tolerate the inflammation and hormone changes. But we can only manage so much.
If that stress isn't found and relieved it keeps a body "stuck" in a state of chaos. And when we get close to the top of our threshold we start to feel symptoms.
Maybe it's headaches, or fatigue, or constipation, or moodiness. Maybe it shows up in our skin or sleep.
When we overflow we get the diagnosis.
Maybe it’s Allergy, Autism, ADHD, ODD, DMDD, OCD, Psoriasis or Asthma. The symptoms that used to come and go, just don’t go away at this point and your child meets a certain diagnostic criteria.
Diagnoses don't tell us what's filling the glass.... they just tell us the body's becoming overwhelmed.
Some possible hidden sources of stress and inflammation we need to explore are...
- foods that are not being well digested
- parasites or infections in the gut
- a lack of beneficial microbes in the gut
- a lack of certain nutrients like antioxidants
- chemicals in the environment
- infections like strep or lyme
- blood sugar instability
Another way to think about it is this... symptoms signal that stress load is dangerously high; diagnoses indicate that stress has outweighed the body's ability to handle that stress.
What we do in this pillar is empty your child's glass by finding hidden stressors and reducing inflammation.
(Related Post: Food Allergies In Children)
3. We Support Digestion From Tip To Tail.
If you haven’t heard about the profound influence your digestive system has on your entire body, I expect you are new to my world… so, welcome!! (I talk about gut, poop and all things digestion a lot)
Your digestive system is an interface between the outside world and the inside environment of your body. It houses most of your immune system and contains more neurons than the spinal cord.
Your gut is in constant conversation with your brain.
The microbes in your gut educate your immune cells, contribute to the digestion and absorption of your food, help you detoxify, help regulate your appetite, protect us against pathogens, create vitamins, hormones and neurotransmitters.
On and on it goes…. good digestion is key to good health.
Tip… if there's no conversation in your health care team about what’s going on in your child's gut, I suggest you add someone to your team who will have this discussion with you.
If you're wondering, Jess, if it's so important why is supporting digestion left to last? Good question.
Actually, it's not. Every step of the way, starting with nourishment, we're working towards better digestion.
This phase involves doing a deep dive into what's happening in the gut using targeted diet and supplement strategies and stool testing as needed. It also helps you establish habits to maintain gut health once it's been achieved.
(Related Post: The Microbiome: The House Of Health)
The Role Of Functional Lab Work
Functional tests are exactly what you need if you're tired of shooting in the dark chasing symtpoms, and you want to accelerate your progress and become efficient with your time and energy.
They're also extremely helpful if you're trying to help your older child learn to take control of their health, mood and emotions!
These labs are like windows in a house; letting you peer inside so you can see what's going on. But they are not enough on their own. We need to use them alongside our knowledge of how the body works and detective work around symptoms to decide which diet, lifestyle and supplement strategies will be most helpful to leverage.
The more windows you have from different perspectives, the better sense you get of what's going on with basic pillars of function: hormones, immune function, detoxification, digestion, energy production, nervous system function.
Some of functional tests we use in conjunction with our medical partners are:
- Nutrigenomics tests to give us a blueprint of your child's genetic weak links
- Organic Acid tests to get a "snapshot" of neurotransmitters, nutrients, metabolism, detoxification
- Methylation, Pyroluria and Nutrient tests to see if your child's body has the building blocks it needs to manage stress
- Microbiome tests to assess the state of the microbial ecosystem
- Digestive function testing to see how food is being received and broken down by the body
- Food sensitivity testing to assess whether foods are sources of stress and irritation
Functional lab tests are not diagnostic of any illness or condition. They are tools to assess how the body is functioning so we can find hidden stressors and areas that could use some support.
The Bottom Line
As a practitioner of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and Holistic Nutrition I don't diagnose or treat anything specific. But what I can tell you is this: exploring these three area will help you find the stressors that contribute to your child's mood, behavior and learning issues and identify powerful opportunities to improve their health and function.
Calm & Clear Kids is our introductory program to help you understand these phases better and get started with first steps without making major family changes.
Our Resilience Roadmap explores them all in-depth, systematically, and offers a drug-free approach to helping kids feel and function better.
Either way, this framework keeps us organized and strategic. It helps you understand why you're doing what you're doing and makes sure you're not missing anything.
For many families it also helps clarify why they maybe didn't see the results they hoped for when they tried the few things they tried - they missed a phase or two!
So What Now?
If reading through this gives you heart palpitations and you don't know what to do next, it's because you're in the weeds. The person you love most in the world is suffering and you want to solve this for them yesterday. I get it. I have kids too.
Let me just say this: there is massive value in inviting an outside perspective - someone who can help you see the forest and the trees. You have a few options for getting support.