The Foundational Trifecta For Resilient Health
"Is he eating well, sleeping well and pooping well?" I wish those were the very first questions parents were asked when their child starts struggling with mood, behavior learning.
Sadly though, they're overlooked too often.
Yup, I know, they seem to have nothing to do with the brain (which is why they're overlooked as the first order of business in treatment plans). But actually, they have everything to do with the brain.
They're so incredibly important to brain health that I call them The Trifecta For Resilient Health.
Listen.... you are working hard to improve you child’s health & resilience and for that I give you a standing ovation.
No parent wants to see their child sad, angry, scared, in pain, feeling stupid or incapable. None of us wants to see them underestimated or mis understood or excluded because of their troubling behaviours.
If you're like me, there is nothing you want more than to see your child thrive; see that sparkle in their eye as they experience curiosity and success. And I'm glad you're here because if you engage in this community you'll start to develop an unwavering confidence in your ability to help your child do just that.
So this is where I suggest you start. With the Trifecta.
I'm sure you've been on the hunt to fill your tool bag with tools and have probably had to sort through all kinds of opportunities.
There are medical tools, behavioral therapies, physical therapies, nutritional interventions, lifestyle shifts, energy work, educational assessments.... all worthy strategies to explore.
But here's some truth.....
To have a healthy brain, your child needs to have a healthy body.
If your child isn't eating, sleeping and pooping, they don't have the healthiest body possible and they're not feeling or functioning their best.
So that means their anxiety, their fear, their inattention, their tantrums, their aggression, their sadness - even if it's gotten so bad that they qualify for an official diagnosis - can all be exacerbated by health imbalances; things like nutritional deficiencies, gut problems, blood sugar issues, food allergies.
If we start to resolve those foundational health issues by using food strategically, we get a healthier child who feels and functions better.
See how that works?
So the very first question to ask yourself is: are they eating well, sleeping well, pooping well?
When these three things are off-line they get in the way of ev-er-y-thing else you’re doing to support your child. Here's why:
Sleep is when our kids detoxify, grow, reset their hormones, integrate their learning. Without enough quality sleep your child will be irritable, moody, they won’t be able to learn, pay attention, respond to expectations. It will be harder for them to regulate their blood sugar and hormones, reactions and mood. I've even seen picky eating resolve when kids get better sleep. Your school-aged child needs 10-13 hrs of quality sleep. Are they getting that?
Poop is something my clients have to get comfortable talking about because it gives us a wealth of information about what’s going on inside the body. Our poop is one of our main exit routes for anything the body doesn’t need. If that exit is blocked, slowed, or inflamed, our kids have extra stress to deal with. Plus, our digestive system is our source of nourishment; it's where we extract nutrients from our food so they can be used by our cells. So if the digestive system isn't working well, our kids get a double-whammy that erodes their health: a load of extra stress and a reduced ability to extract nourishment from their food. They should be having at least 2 well formed bowel movements a day. Are they?
Fact is, nutrients drive every function in the body. I think of nutrients like the workers in a company: if they aren’t there, stuff doesn’t get done. Things might look fine for a while, but eventually the breakdown becomes noticeable. So we need to keep the nutrients flowing into our kids and teach them that eating whole, nutritious food is a non negotiable. It has to happen. And if it’s not happening, we need to figure out why so we can start to make it happen. Many many many of my clients come to me with picky eaters so I've addressed this elsewhere on the blog. Here's a good post to start with here.
That’s the trifecta.
If they are not eating, sleeping and pooping (and doing those things well - so we’re talking quality and quantity) you’re likely to hit a ceiling.
You’re likely to stall out and get frustrated with all the other interventions you might be trying as you search for the best way to help your child feel better, focus better, have fewer tantrums, be less anxious, learn better, get sick less often, have more stable energy and emotions.
This trifecta is the first thing I assess with my private clients, and we spend a lot of time in the Resilience Roadmap coaching program addressing it as well.
Let me put this another way...
Restless sleep (and not enough of it), constipation, diarrhea and picky eating are foundational obstacles to optimal health.
Are they issues in your family?
If so it's time to focus your energy on working through them. They are in your way, and they are figure-out-able.
You can browse the blog for some strategies to start with, but since sleeping, pooping and eating are so important to overall health, I pulled content out of the Resilience Roadmap Group Coaching Program and created mini resources to address each of them.
These are short, action-oriented information resources to get your child sleeping, pooping and eating. No fluff. I created them to save you time.
We look at the most common nutrition-related contributing factors to sleep problems, constipation & diarrhea, and picky eating, and I give you checklists of strategies I’ve seen work (along with a little insight into why this matters so much to add some motivation).
But you need a starting point. Start with the trifecta.
My goal is to help you simplify things; focus your energy on what matters most and get practical so you can move the needle of your child's health and success, and so that all those other great things you're doing with your child can be more effective.