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In this explosive podcast, yogi and functional nutrition practitioner Deepa Kannan tells us some amazing things about color and tradition such as:

  • The connection between Blue and Purple foods and Attention
  • The beauty of Popeye as a cartoon character ūüôā and¬†
  • The four non-negotiables at every meal!

Listen on…

If you have a daily struggle with a self-restricted eater / “picky” eater, and find it hard to implement dietary changes, check out my¬†free EBOOK first¬†with transformative strategles to¬†reverse and expand PICKY EATING.¬†

 

Vaish:

Welcome to functional nutrition for kids. Today my guest is my dear friend Deepa Kannan. Deepa is a yoga Acharya, a yoga teacher with over two decades of experience a functional nutritionist, and a certified food and spirit practitioner. She brings together two decades of experience in therapeutic and transformational yoga and deep learning in functional medicine, nutrition to her practice, her practices called fighter to thrive. Fighter tribe focuses on merging together the deep rationality of functional medicine world with the deep symbolism of yoga, and the food and spirits system. She brings together the masterful understanding of the human anatomy with cohesive understanding of physiology to offer what can be classified as true bio-individual mind, body and spirit nutrition.

I am so happy to have deeper here today because she in my mind is the perfect balance between talking about functional nutrition, talking about traditional diets, especially IRA, which is the context of today’s talk. Welcome, Deepa. Thank you so much for agreeing to be on this podcast.

Deepa:

Thanks by Shamsa excited to be here. And I must tell you, that was a very flattering introduction. Thanks for that. And I’m looking forward to our conversation today.

Vaish:

Thank you, and not flattering at all, it is completely what I believe you are. You’re one of the people that has done one of the best jobs in balancing these two worlds in my mind, and which is why I’m going to ask you my first question, which is, pardon me, it’s a broad question. What in your mind is a good balance child’s need?

Deepa:

Hmm. So in my mind, I know that there’s a lot of talk about macronutrients, carbohydrates, fats, and protein, but my mantra is always fat, fiber, protein, and color. And color is a big part of a child’s meal. And I try to bring in all these four components into every meal that I serve to my son. So I checked, do does every meal have all these components, and especially the component of different colors. So if we go through seven days of the week, we actually have an opportunity to serve seven different colors when we’re looking at, let’s just assume children are not going to be with us for all three meals, maybe they’re eating one meal at school, one is a rushed meal in the morning. But let’s just say we have the opportunity to serve our children one great meal every day, we have the opportunity to bring in those seven different colors. So it’s simple enough to think into no matter what you do for your child on a daily basis. But just look at that plate and ask yourself, where’s the fat? Where’s the fiber? Where’s the protein? And is there enough color, in fact, I would try to bring in about three different colors at every meal.

Vaish:

I totally love that just adding color to this combination is just I think completely changes the power of the meal. So thank you for that mantra fat fiber protein color, I’m going to keep that in mind as well. I assume you’re not talking about added colors.

Deepa:

No not. Let’s just quick dive into those colors. So when you’re looking at red-colored foods you’re looking at that the child is getting certain polyphenols and anti-inflammatory compounds which are present in red-colored foods. When you serve your child anything which is orange, you’re bringing in beta carotene. And not every child can convert beta carotene into retinol, which is as you know, the active form of vitamin E.

The Beta Carotene by itself is responsible for so many things. It supports healthy reproductive system. So even if your child is very young, you’re laying the foundation for optimum reproductive health right through their life. And then if you add some yellow-colored foods, they’re going to have certain compounds which support digestion. So Brahma Lin and pineapples, or plantings are just simple, simply powerful prebiotics. So they’re gonna support digestive health. And then when you bring in the greens, I mean, there was a time where Popeye used to have spinach and it used to be a big deal. And I think honestly, even if you look at what children are watching today, there’s so much change.

I think there was something wonderful in cartoons at the time of Popeye when there was this simple message that you would get strong if you open that canned spinach but which cartoon today why she’s telling your child and encouraging your child to reach for something like spinach right, which is so superb for circulation, lymphatic health, heart health, it contains those nitrates. And if you look at what you say Aqua or Akuma Ryan, you’re actually looking in terms of any compound which comes from the oceans. So things that contain iodine and selenium, which support thyroid health.

There are so many children today who are showing up with challenges in their thyroid. And then when you look at blue-purple foods which contain anthocyanins that support brain health and nervous system I helped children need so much of that to be in a world where attention issues are growing so fast. And colors bring so much into your child’s life. And it’s up to us to make that interesting to inspire them and make it seem as if they are lucky to be have been those colors,

Vaish:

oh, my god, there was just so much beautiful information in what you just said. And I’m trying to think about what to focus on. But this entire color 101 courses that you just did is fantastic. So readers, if you can make the connection between different colors, and the different organ systems, or the different functions of the body that Deepa just mentioned, and just the biochemical, physiological value of bringing in these colors, this was amazing. So and I think that just remembering that this is not a chore, and you said that children should be I mean, like encouraging the idea that they’re lucky to experience these colors.

This is so true. Thank you deepa, when I when I think of you, I think I’ve done a fantastic job balancing functional nutrition, and balancing a vegetarian diet, which is often vilified. And while we’re not focusing on a vegetarian diet, today, we’re simply focusing on the broad idea of meals, but also think of somebody that has really tied in this knowledge with traditional modes of eating, you were talking about cartoons a minute ago, we are bombarded by Western images. Even in the world of nutrition, forget about the cartoons that children see. But even the images that we as parents see, when we are told what to eat when we see this article about healthy foods to eat, whether it’s in India or in any other country or in the US, we’re seeing, we’re seeing fast foods changed into foods that are nutritious, or we’re seeing a healthified pizza, healthified pasta, or a salad, or a salad or a sandwich, none of which weren’t necessarily meals that I ate when I was a kid. And this isn’t just for somebody from India, but anybody with anybody that comes from a tradition that ate different foods. So how do we shift this perspective? And should we even shift that perspective? Is there any value in shifting this to a more traditional mode of thinking?

Deepa:

Oh, wow, those excellent questions. But I’m just gonna start off by saying that, you know, I actually am not against giving children things, which are healthier options of pizza and pasta, because, in this whole debate of local versus global, I just think that if you can get your children to eat healthily, it doesn’t matter what you give them. So I’m not opposed to giving your kids something like that. But if you look at why do you want to do this, I think in a way, why are parents not giving traditional foods at all? Now that is what concerns me because is it that they’re not connecting to their root at all, because if you find a child who cannot relate to or cannot eat their traditional foods any day of the week, then I think that growing up without a sense of tribe without a sense of community, there’s no routing. So they should be while they can have the pastor’s the pizza has everything.

And so I think it’s important for them to have some traditional food, at least some days of the week simply because it’s reconnects them establishes them into a sense of community which I think when they grow up and go forward those that strong systems of routine that you’re giving them where they food, as you know, as memories wise, and we’ve spoken about this many times and one of the ways that we actually to really build the strong food memories is to impart some food, which is part of community and tribe, about this magical space, which is the intersection between function, nutrition and ancient wisdom that is a component of roots community, because community really allows you to recall ancient wisdom, ancient practices and understand the language that or the science that our ancient forefathers was speaking. And there was so many valid reasons for food, which they spoke about. And the reason is so important since children were fed with a balanced meal, which encapsulated fat fiber color, and these were Potter mentioned cultures and many cultures in India have these traditional foods that are functionally healing, and they’re such a rich variety. So let me give you an example.

If you take karma locker lob platter they can be in as many as 60 dishes, which cover this wide variety of vegetables, lentils, very healthy fats. And the benefit comes from the variety.

Vaish:

One of the things that really stood out the part in my mind is that this season of my podcast is focused, like I like to say on focus itself, focus hyperactivity energy, traditionally associated with the diagnosis of a DD and ADHD, but we’re simply focusing on symptoms right here. So that’s generally been what I’ve been trying to address in this podcast. And I felt like there was a deep connection to what, to all of those symptoms, from the perspective of connecting to the roots. Do you think yes,

Deepa:

Yes, definitely In fact, why should there be a lot of connection between adverse childhood experiences and shaky root and inflammation, right? So definitely, this is the reason why it becomes so important to bring in some of those traditional practices in order to develop a sense of rooting and grounding in children.

Vaish:

Is there anything else that changes when we move towards an ancient system of thinking,

Deepa:

ancient rhetoricians, also emphasize the use of multiple vegetables in a range of colors, if you asked my mother to write down a list of vegetables, she will give you such a long list, and she’s doing using all of those on a regular basis. Whereas most people, if you are thinking you need to just ask people to do a little exercise or write down how many different vegetables do you use on a regular basis, then, in fact, this is less than 10, then I think there’s definitely a way that they’re not emphasizing traditional culture and traditional preparation, because then the list would be much, much longer and a lot of traditional cultures were gluten-free. Indian, there are a lot of cultures in India with traditional gluten-free, which again, becomes functionally supportive.

Vaish:

That is absolutely true. And the cultures that both you and I come from are traditionally gluten-free. In fact, we’d have to count the number of dishes. I mean, I actually right now can’t count more than two that involve gluten. But the question that comes up is usually when a child eats the stuff that we’re talking about right now, and how can we make our child eat traditional foods? And in that context, what would be a perfect sample meal that children would like? Is that something we should be thinking about? Is that something that happens over time? Is it just a cultivated taste and so on?

Deepa:

I think it’s all of that advice. I think time is definitely of the essence because I’ve heard a lot of mothers tell me that whatever you speak about in terms of changing your child’s health, then focus is not practical at all because which child is going to do this but the same balls educating your child on a day to day basis not giving up just because they have a one-off sometimes giving me a net that’s crucial as well but on the positive side, I think it involves exciting them involving them in food preparation in the kitchen, allowing them to make a mess, maybe allowing them to use food even as color on people like just understanding how is that beetroot coloring the paper read the turmeric yellow and just allowing them to be food as color exciting them giving them a voice sometimes.

On a day, maybe you could just tell them, would you like this or that where you only give them two choices, which are two different additional preparation, so don’t give them any other choice. And I don’t make many different meals, I think it’s important to not make different meals for adults and children in our household and I think to involve everybody in the meal and family experience. But if you talk about something which is a perfect meal for a child from a traditional preparation, well, it could be anything, it could just be something where you make a modern meal into a traditions spin like making sweet potato fries roasted in ghee with some charcoal powder, or by a curry powder, or making them an Indian meal with maybe some black rice for those poly phenols. And some cheer fish curry or some broccoli, some rosemary lamb with roast yellow pumpkin beetroot salad, cauliflower soup, something like steamed fish with baby spinach. So baby carrots, a modern twist to a traditional meal or a traditional way of preparing a modern meal is there’s just no limit to how you can be creative with food. But I think it’s just important to overall look at bringing in color bring in those healthy fats, fiber protein, and not allowing your children to get into food.

Vaish:

But you almost have to assume competence, right? So you have to assume that the child will learn and the child will take to this food as opposed to assuming that the child will only eat a certain kind of food.

Deepa:

Absolutely, it’s I think that’s exactly what I believe in. And I just think that you should never give up on your child. And it’s okay if they give in some way go somewhere have the worst inflammatory food and you’d still appreciate them for all that they’ve done before that and say it’s just one meal. Let’s get back to that.

Vaish:

Is there anything else that reader can take away? Or anything else you’d like people to take away?

Deepa:

Yes, Vaish I think one very important thing to say which I’ve seen many parents doing. And I think that is a mistake. Never use sugar as a bribe to eat any kind of meal. Even if it’s the healthiest meal, I’ve seen many parents saying that if you finish this meal, then I’ll give you the Kinder Joy. And that’s just not the way to go. Because that gives them a one in makes them feel that the media serving them is something which is not exciting, and they need to do it out of a feeling of being forced. And the second is, of course, it’s creating the addictive quality of sugar when it’s being used as a bribe. So I think that should always be avoided.

Vaish:

Absolutely, I’m with you on that. We have enough dependence and addiction on sugar without reinforcing that in our lives. I’m sure that the listeners would love to contact you how can people reach you deeper?

Deepa:

Well, they can go to my website www.Phytothrive.com and find me as Phytothrive on Facebook @Phytothrive on Instagram. And there are there are three books on my website, one of which is a book on color.

Vaish:

Thank you so much for joining us. The podcast was so informative. I love this talk. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Deepa:

Thanks for having me Vaish.

Vaish:

You were listening to functional nutrition for kids and I’m sure you enjoyed the stock as much as I did. Join us next week for an action-packed episode yet again.