Snacking is the primary means we use to address dips in our children’s blood sugar, even if we don’t always consciously think about this.
Learn about snacking from a functional perspective: how can a good snack be the difference between a regulated and a dys-regulated child?
To learn more about Gut Health for Kids and how you can improve focus, moods and learning through attending to the gut, get your free tool kit here:
Disclaimer: The information in this Podcast is for educational purposes only. Vaishnavi Sarathy, Ph.D. is an educator, not a doctor, specifically not your child’s doctor. Please consult your physician before implementing any supplement or diet recommendations.
You’re listening to functional nutrition for kids, you know, the spiel by now only ever 20 Minutes or Less hosted by me Vaish. This is a podcast that covers the brain gut access the role of food, and the very neglected role of assuming competence of assuming capability of even assuming intelligence. I
‘m coming to you this week from Austin, Texas, where I am with my son as he is enrolled in a Wheatley camp, to refine his letter boarding technique, which is his preferred method of communicating with the world. This would have been the perfect podcast to talk about assuming competence and the role of this immensely powerful mindset in working with focus in working with hyperactivity in working with so many behavioral symptoms, including anxiety and aggression, right. But I promise that next week or the week after will be about this and more.
Now, of course, one of my aims in doing this podcast is I come here to do research, to interview to immerse myself in the world of functional nutrition, you know, new research and ancient food traditions. And I’ve spoken about this right, new attitudes, new inclusion, and assumption, always, of competence and inner intelligence. I’m here to share these with you. So we can live in a world that actually nourishes our kids mind, intellect, soul, and body. And I just want to tell you that because I’m in my not usual place for recording this podcast, it is possible that the audio may be something that you are not used to. But I’ve tried my best to keep my equipment the same as you continue to enjoy, and hopefully learn from the series of podcasts. If you have podcast suggestions for me, if you have things that you want me to research, to interview, to just bring more information about to dig something up, you know where to find me, right? It’s www.facebook.com/functional nutrition for kids.
You can also email me if you would rather not post on the Facebook group at functional nutrition for kids.com. Now I’m beyond passionate about all of us changing the framework with which review health and intelligence. So if there are others that you think would either benefit from this podcast or would simply like this podcast, please send them a link. Let’s move on together in knowledge, the Sanskrit term for this as one of my favorite, and it is Sangha Chatwin.
Let’s move on together.
Coming back to today’s podcast, we’re going to be talking about the wisdom and pitfalls of snacking. I’ve been trying to label podcasts as basics, or under other categories, right basics are these non negotiables. Now snacking is definitely not a non non negotiable, it’s a technique to address blood sugar. And the balance of blood sugar is a basic, it is a non negotiable, right? When I started the idea of this podcast, by the way, my aim was also to get opinions from kids, especially kids with disabilities to see how food choices impacted them. I was actually not able to get a quote from my son this week. But this continues to be my aim. So if you know kids, or if you have kids, with or without disabilities, whether speaking or not, and if they have something to say about their experiences, in the world of nutrition in the world of understanding the gut brain access in the world of experiencing the gut brain access, I would love to host them on the show. And I’d love to add a snippet even or a quote or an interview. Okay.
So coming back to the aim of this podcast, if you remember last week, we spoke about the effects of blood sugar imbalances, and how that looks so similar to what we think of as attention deficit, or hyperactivity, etc. I’m going to repeat that point because it’s a really important one, and just not spoken about enough. This is what low blood sugar looks like. Low Energy, craving for sweets, irritability, having the jitters, mood swings, being anxious and agitated, etc. and high blood sugar looks like this. Fatigue afternoon says general fatigue sometimes even before meals, constant hunger, craving for sweets, weight gain and so on. Can you see how many of these symptoms overlap with those that are associated with specific diagnoses and labels? And medications?
The minute I say medications, I always feel like this is disclaimer time. So let’s get into the disclaimer. What am I not saying? I am not making this an always statement or denying the legitimate role of medication sometimes, what I am saying is that we are jumping to conclusions too often we’re jumping to labels, and it is not that hard to look at the most common root cause of the symptoms. What is it? Blood sugar, right? For one I mean, there are other but blood sugar for one. How many times has your medical practitioner even mentioned this to you for your child? behavior. And actually, this is a general this is a genuine question. I’m not just being rhetorical or sarcastic. If your medical practitioner has mentioned this, please drop a note. I love to hear about doctors and other practitioners who are upon the research looking into the body’s biochemistry before they prescribe a pill right.
Now, why do children snack? Why do we snack? It’s usually because we simply don’t have enough fuel to make it from one meal to another. This fuel this energy comes primarily from our macronutrients, okay? What are macronutrients fat, protein, and carbohydrates? Everything else is generally a micronutrient. In fact, this order fat protein and carbohydrates is exactly the order in which these macros are digested and metabolized, generally speaking, meaning very simply that fats last longer than carbs in sustaining you or your child with respect to energy.
Now, blood sugar balance depends on a lot of other things like stress, the quality of your meals, the distribution of macros, the amount of fiber that you have, in them, the glycemic index or load of the meals. Did I mention stress? That feels like that has to be completely another podcast. I would really like to devote 20 minutes to what stressed us to your blood sugar. Traditionally, as far as my research takes me anyway, traditional cultures did not snack. Again, if you know, to the contrary, let me know. They definitely did not snack as we do. I mean, how many of us just graze all day, right? And we’ve been told that’s actually a healthy way of eating.
I love this ancient I already quote that my favorite ayurvedic doctor, if you don’t know what I will say that is it is a traditional form of Indian medicine. Dr. John du yd, who is my favorite one of my favorite direct doctors mentions this quote in his book, it is not his quote, but he mentioned this. And the book, I believe, is the three seasons diet. One who eats once a day is a yogi, a balanced person, right? A person in control of his body, his senses, and his mind. One weed twice a day is a bogey. A bogey is someone who enjoys life who’s living the good life. One who eats thrice a day is a rogue. And rogue means a deceased person. And if that hasn’t hit you yet, let me repeat. Someone who eats once a day is a yogi, twice a day is a bogey. And thrice a day is a ragi or a deceased person. Hmm. What does that make us? I don’t even want to go there.
Let’s come back to this concept that in traditional cultures, it was considered normal to eat once or twice a day. Honestly, I don’t know if it was considered normal for children. But I remember my mother talking to me about how she used to eat when she was a child. And I believe at most it was four times a day. To put it very simply, the purpose of snacking is to stabilize blood sugar. If it’s not doing that for a moment and causes more fluctuations in an hour. So that’s a bad snack.
That begs the question of what kind of food stabilizes your blood sugar. Here are the four rules and you can take notes there are actually five rules I’m going to add a fifth one, some good fat. Okay. Do you know what good fat is? Okay, it isn’t what it’s not is refined vegetable oils, oxidized oils. Everything from canola to corn oil to vegetable oils. What it is, is more shelf-stable oils. It’s butter and key and coconut oil and olive oil. Okay, we’ll talk more about that later. Protein. Rule number two. Rule number three is fiber. If there are carbs, then these are complex carbs, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, even fruits. Now I’m going to be adding a fifth rule, it should be a whole food every ingredient should behold. Now when you’re a child, when your child eats food, like chips, or Doritos, or white bread sandwich or a snack, the glycemic index of these foods is very high. In other words, it causes a sharp peak in your child’s blood sugar followed by a crash.
Unlike the intermittent fasting world of adults, in the event that you are intermittent fasting, children likely do need one or two snacks between meals. But the more the meals adhere to the five points we talked about earlier, the less the urgency and desperation for sugar in their snacks. This is also a self-perpetuating cycle. And I believe we talked about this last year about how last week I’m sorry about how sugar can perpetuate the desire for sugar. We talked about it in the context of picky eating. But if your blood sugar crashes, because you’ve had a meal high in sugar, you’re that much more likely to reach out for the next meal also high in sugar.
Now there’s a really awesome guest coming probably within the next two podcasts and I’m going to ask Ask her all about good snack recipes. This unfortunately for those of you looking for a recipe is not a recipe podcast, or coming back to the science of snacking. But I am going to talk about a few good recipes, not recipes, a few good ideas at the end if your child can handle it, and if there is no pathological condition that is affecting digestion or insulin or blood sugar balance, in other words, a medical need a snack fills the place between two meals. It is a great exploration to see if that place needs to be filled. And I use the word exploration.
This is not a dogma that you have to have one meal or two meals. Yes, I did quote that I read the quote. But that is in the case of perhaps a perfect human being who’s, who’s eating the perfect meal, right? We’re not there. I’m not there. But this explanation about what kind of snack does your child likes and thrive on is something that both you and your child can participate in? Here are some actions right away time to pull out your notebook and your pen. Question number one, has your meal checks, check the boxes we talked about earlier, good fat, does it have noninflammatory protein? Does it have naturally occurring fiber? Are the carbs refined or complex? Okay, complex carbs generally occur in Whole Foods. complex carbs? are not white flour or white rice or white or refined anything, right? Is it a whole food meal? If your child question number two, is your child hungry or hangry? Or exhibiting signs of low blood sugar? Do you know what those signs are?
I’ve listed them earlier in this podcast and in the previous one. But for sure, low energy irritability and mood swings. Does the snack you’re giving them to take the boxes I just mentioned, my first question was does the meal tick the boxes? My third question is Is the snap that you’re exploring with tick these boxes. So that’s a lot of fun exploring and my mantra for exploring is curiosity and open mind and testing and treading the waters with courage and some adventure. Not blame. Never blame, you know, you hear new stuff and you make changes that work. That’s it. Now, obviously, in terms of snack ideas, a lot of bar wins over a bag of Doritos, but a lot of bars would also win over a Clif Bar in my mind in my world, just because of the whole food or it’s made of whole foods rather.
A coconut flour muffin or a cupcake made with maple syrup would actually win over a brand muffin. And for my daisy friends, I love Poonam or Pooran. As a snack, this is made with jaggery and coconut and yes, this isn’t very low GI but it takes a lot of the boxes that we spoke about and in extreme moderation. It’s a really nice snack with a good dollop of keys. That’s the sweet stuff. Honestly, this should be a complete podcast about the extreme skewing of the 60s towards everything sweet. Why not as a snack? Have to be sweet, right?
Like, make it salty. Explore the other taste to make it even better. I haven’t gone there yet, but why not? We should do a podcast on bitter stuff. Now an easy way would be to do gluten-free bread with your favorite topping. And that’s in fact too easy. I mean, yes, that works. But how exciting and adventurous is it? I’m not quite sure. I don’t feel like we’re hitting the exploration box right now. But I do have to give a shout and this is not a paid sponsorship.
It is a heartfelt shout-out to me Yoko’s dairy-free cheese. I found it at Whole Foods and new seasons, which is a local health food grocery store important, but I’m pretty sure it’s in Whole Foods everywhere. Please try it now. If you haven’t, it’s a plant-based cheese and it’s absolutely awesome. But coming back to the adventure is exploration check into your ancestral history. It could be an upma made with quinoa flakes, even red rice OCMA and I’m going to just spell out these words in case you’re not Indian so you can actually Google them and find a good recipe. You PMA. Okay, it could be an amaranth Puri Yes, Amaran Puri could be a cultivator test for your child. So what should we do? We should start cultivating it right?
It could even be a veggie burger or a cutlet or an egg with sweet potato oven fries right? What does your tradition hold maybe with some minor anti-inflammatory twist maybe without maybe just fine without if it takes those boxes, right you know, as I was writing this episode down as I was writing my ideas down I had this really fun idea that I want to implement as soon as I get back home, and it would be awesome if I’d already implemented it and I come to you with like, yeah, I have this you know set but I don’t. And my idea is a rotating world snack meal plan. So that’s a rotating world snack, right? So it just means like an international snack meal plan every day or every other day and with the time that I can For a snack, it might actually be every week. We rotate cultures and foods, hopefully including cultured foods. Right? That’s another podcast coming up folks. I just have three podcast ideas in this podcast.
That’s awesome. I can’t imagine the fun it would be to snack explore. And I copyrighted this term right now. Okay? Snack explored the different gastronomic regions of India. I mean that itself might take a year, and then move on to South America, Europe, Africa.
Just keep going right. I have to tell you that South America goes first because I just finished watching this amazing movie called The Motorcycle Diaries. I’ve become a humongous fan of the lead actor, Guile Garcia Bernal, who is also the lead in the Amazon Prime series Mozart in the jungle. But snack is our fun meal. It is the meal where we bring street food into our homes. It is the meal where we proudly showcase our cultures that doesn’t have to go out of the window because we want to balance blood sugar. And that’s where creativity comes in. Right? Something I have low on measure and I heavily rely on other folks to help me with. But it is also the meal that decides our focus. It is the meal that decides our moods, especially if we’re the kind to reach for a bag of chips or cookies.
How many times have you seen your child calm down after they’ve had a snack and then get angry or agitated again or get hyperactive again, it is the meal that decides if you’re going to have dinner, it is the meal that decides how much sugar we’re going to have in our next meal. It is incredibly important to snack wisely to explore if you need a snack, what snack you need, and to see what it does to your blood sugar. I’m going to repeat the boxes that need to be checked because those are the action items from this week. Does it have good fat, a non-inflammatory protein naturally occurring fiber? What am I talking about? We are not adding a brand to our muffin folks. Okay? You could but the naturally occurring fiber is better. Complex carbohydrates, a whole food meal.
So that was extraordinarily fun, especially because I’m really looking forward to going back and starting this international food exploration. I will tell you how that goes next time. I’m still contemplating what state I want to start with. You are listening to functional nutrition for kids a podcast where we try to move from new traditions and ancient researched ancient food traditions, an awesome new cutting edge research. It’s been so fun talking to all of you. I will meet you next Thursday. Again, see you