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102 The Experience of Trauma in Mothers with Dr. Aimie Apigian

102 The Experience of Trauma in Mothers with Dr. Aimie Apigian

“When we have trauma patterns in our nervous system, the only possible outcome are behaviors that come from a trauma place.”

Today’s episode is all about TRAUMA and the NERVOUS SYSTEM. Until this episode, I freely admit that I might have had a misunderstanding of trauma as an event, as opposed to an experience. Dr. Aimie calls it anything that leaves a lasting effect on the body.

Whether you have experienced Trauma, or care for someone who may have experienced Trauma, I hope this episode steers toward an understanding of Trauma and How to Unravel it.

You can reach Dr. Aimie at https://www.traumahealingaccelerated.com/ and find the 21-day Journey she recommends.

If you are finding this podcast valuable, I would deeply appreciate a review at https://ratethispodcast.com/vaish

 

 

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101 Ayurveda and Bio-Individual Medicine for Kids with KP Khalsa

101 Ayurveda and Bio-Individual Medicine for Kids with KP Khalsa

Do traditional systems of medicine align with modern understanding of disease? The one question on my mind has always been that a lot of the disorders and dysfunctions we see today are rather new, at least in their extent and prevalence. How do Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine provide us with answers?

Also, how far do we feel comfortable veering from traditional food practices, and moving away from foods like wheat and dairy, which were once considered nourishing?

KP Khalsa, herbalist, nutritionist, yoga teacher and educator answers these questions in this episode.

KP has an exclusive free gift for our listeners at

https://go.internationalintegrative.com/natural-solutions-for-autism/

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Do traditional systems of medicine align with modern understanding of disease? The one question on my mind has always been, but a lot of the disorders and dysfunctions that we see today are rather new, at least in their extending in their prevalence. So how do I invade our Chinese medicine to provide us with answers to ailments that didn’t exist in the past? And also how far or how much do we feel comfortable veering from traditional food practices and moving away from foods like, honestly wheat and dairy that were once considered extremely nourishing? You are listening to Functional Nutrition and Learning for Kids, where today I am trying to see if I can get an understanding of how to tie in eastern and western food and medicine practices to support our kids dealing with gut issues, neurological issues, and dysregulation.

I’m your host Vaish and today I’m interviewing KP Khalsa, who is the first person in the U.S. to be professionally certified in both herbalism and Ayurveda he is president emeritus of the American herbalist Guild and Director Emeritus of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. KP Khalsa is an herbalist nutritionist, yoga teacher, and educator who’s been making holistic health approaches palatable to the modern mind for over 45 years. And I am so grateful for his wisdom today. Thank you so much for joining this podcast. KP I’m actually very, very honored that you’re on the show. And I have so many questions for you. Thank you for being here.

Hopefully, I’ll have a few answers at least. Yeah.

Let’s kind of dive in deep as we get started, when you are working, let me back up a little bit. There are so many approaches to working with kids when you have a child that has focus issues, emotional dysregulation, and mood dysregulation, and a lot of people in this audience do. They have their primary care physicians’ perspectives. And if they’re listening to this podcast, they have a functional medicine doctor’s perspective, often, how is an Ayurvedic perspective different from these two?

In many ways, they’re very similar. Ayurveda is all about a functional approach, really, the main focus of it is to get to the root of the problem, not just treat the branch not just to be the symptoms. I think that there are many very well-trained functional practitioners be they medical doctors or naturopathic physicians or something out there in the world, but they’re also many people who have taken a weekend workshop. And now all of a sudden our functional medical doctors who you know tell you to take vitamin C and take a vacation and they’ve done now they’ve done functional medicine so it’s definitely become trendy.

Functional Medicine really was an outgrowth of nature, apathy, and the functional medicine folks just decided that that would be you know, a good title for it that people could relate to. So functional medicine typically uses a lot of nonherbal supplements, but that does not mean that they’re not using herbal supplements Ayurveda traditionally of course didn’t have things like tablets of vitamins and minerals. Now, we have that and those things are all available. You know, when someone asked me the question, what is Ayurveda?

My answer is well, what is not Ayurveda? You know, with people that were writing our Ayurvedic scriptures 2000 years ago, be willing to use tablets and vitamins and drugs and you know, modern approaches to diet and such these days, I expect so, so, from my perspective, everything is aggravated, all came from the universe and anything that we can integrate, so much the better. But generally speaking, Ayurveda has a very broad perspective. So we talked about sleeping the right time, the right way, eating a diet for your particular individual physiology, herbal medicine, a very sophisticated approach, to herbal medicine, and just about everything that you could imagine that people would deal with in their daily life is some aspect of Ayurveda, functional medicine usually is a little bit more oriented toward drug and supplement, you know, the application can that be?

So a lot of times when parents start and they’re not necessarily some of them are starting with dietary changes, but some of them, as you said, is starting with, depending on who they talk to are starting with like, an arsenal of supplements because this supplement will boost your child’s focus in five days and so on. Is that from an Ayurvedic approach that you think could be disruptive to a child to start on several supplements?

Well, of course, if we’re talking about autism, one of the most notorious characteristics is difficulty with change. So all of a sudden, you know, they’re eating only white food or only, you know, fish crackers or you know, whatever it is that they do. They go for and all of a sudden, they’re being asked to chow down a whole bunch of new kinds of things, it’d be very difficult. So it’s a matter of deciding how necessary it is to get some kind of symptom improvement fairly quickly. Versus the long term, I really, in particular, defines itself as dealing with both very famous Vedic scripture that says that the purpose of Ayurveda is to preserve the health of the healthy and treat the suffering of the sick. So both are a part of that. And so symptomatic treatment is definitely available.

These are really tough situations autism adds to and other similar overlapping kinds of mental and behavioral and developmental situations. So they’re all very different in their approach and different people. But it’s not going to be something that’s going to respond to something overnight, you know, increase your child’s focus in five days, that might happen, you’d be very lucky if that were to happen, probably five years would be better. But very often, with these changes, we can see some nice changes within a few months, let’s say, and slowly things change over time, and we can get great results. And that takes me to kind of two different questions I’m gonna ask the first one is, are these we have a lot of, you know, modern disorders are these mentioned in the scriptures in the RV the corruptions at all?

Yeah. Okay. Yeah, they are, but it’s really vague. There’s a general category called goon Mata, which just is translated as insanity. And in this case, the wound means upwards. So in other words, things in the upper part of the body, that head, the brain, and there are a lot of things discussed that. But they don’t necessarily comport very well, with modern understanding. spirit possession, for example, is something that was discussed and modern people may or may not believe in that, coming back to some of the root causes. And you were talking about similarities between different forms of traditional medicine and functional medicine. I think that perhaps the one similarity is this understanding that all disease begins in the gut and we know that we know that over 80% of children who are autistic have gut inflammation and neuroinflammation. What would be the first place to start from either an herbal or Vedic perspective? Or anything from what is it that you would like to share that a parent could, you know, start right away?

Well, I read a is a complex science and but that doesn’t mean there are certain things that you can’t learn. So you have to understand from the Ayurvedic or energetic perspective, what’s going on with the child I read, it doesn’t treat named diseases, specifically, Ayurveda does name diseases, but only for the convenience of discussing them. So there’s going to be individual, if we could use the term vata, that’s one of the doses of Ayurveda. And almost all these conditions are high vada conditions, ultimately, but of course, with inflammation, that’s a Pitta condition. So most of these kids have all three doshas having problems some way somewhere in the body, and we have to carefully begin to treat all those things. If you look at autism, for example, it’s, it’s not an entity, it’s not a thing. It’s something that human beings have developed a concept and given it a name, but hey, this is via interjecting a comment here, I would interpret KPS talking about the medical model of autism, of course, from a person’s neurological and social experience, their autism is very much a complete thing, or rather very much a full experience.

It’s called the autism spectrum for good reason because you can meet 10 People with a diagnosis and all of them are as different as anybody could be in behavior, personality, and internal functioning, including digestion, but very often they have bowel irregularities very often constipation. So from the Arabic perspective, as you said, there’s great emphasis on the digestive tract and especially the large intestine, that’s thought to be the home of vata from the Vedic perspective, and usually, causes constipation. So very often, these kids have behavioral issues with constipation, it doesn’t feel good, to go to the bathroom, they have to go through laborious you know, potty training, and then if they have constipation, it’s painful and such things like that. So making sure that that’s regulated, often is tremendously helpful. That reduces all the dysfunction in the gut. And then, over time, that radiates out into the rest of the body and things go better. That’s a good starting point for many people.

And if you haven’t picked up my constipation toolkit, you can do that at functional nutrition for kids.com forward slash constipation toolkit. From my very rudimentary knowledge, I read that there are three doshas which are Pitta and Kapha It’s roughly translated as air fire and earth would that be a decent approximation? So one of the things that I’ve been kind of interested in as, as I’ve just like, you know, kind of stepped into very barely stepped into the world of AI Veda is that a lot of the functional approaches seem to be very contraindicated, even though they’re aimed at healing the digestive tract, it seems like every one of them is about aggravating because we’re literally going from rice to cauliflower from, you know, you know, removing the foods that have, like wheat and dairy that have traditionally, I think, have been known to have been thought of as being more stabilizing, what is your take on that?
Well, we have to determine which foods are causing problems.

For people either digestive problems, it gives them a tummy ache or causes loose stool or constipation or whatever, then aggravates their conditions. So if you determine that eating cauliflower causes gas, and then when the child has gas, they don’t feel well or behave as well, then we have to get that out. Anyway, whatever it may be. So there’s great emphasis on gluten and cow milk products, of course, and many people try that and most people don’t find that it makes much difference, although some small percentage find that it makes a tremendous difference. So everybody is individual, you have to try some things. You know, like that, from the IVF. Perspective. milk products and wheat are very much the basis of a healthy diet generally. But we have to remember that the wheat that they were talking about 2000 years ago is different than the wheat that we’re growing today. And likewise, in India, the animal that we would call a cow in English, is not even the same animal.

It’s a zebu, which is a cousin of a cow. They’re in the same family with water buffalo and bison, and some others. And they produce a little bit type different types of milk. So many people who go to India and drink the milk from the so-called Indian cow, a bunch of their symptoms disappears, and they think great, I’m you know, it’s solved, then they come back and have, you know, milking their tea and their nose runs, or whatever. So we have to consider so many different possibilities about what a system that was developed 1000s of years ago, in another culture and a different world, a different society has to offer and use the things that clearly are effective, and not get too excited about the things that don’t work.

We want to reduce gas, Vata is instability, basically. And it dysregulation of the nervous system. And so that is clearly what we’re dealing with here. Right. But the gut, you know, if it’s inflamed, we have to deal with that. So it’s, it’s quite the dance. It’s like, you know, herding cats on a tightrope to figure out details, and gradually pull them together. But you’re right, many of the indications for a healthy gut from today’s functional medicine understanding are the things that are not so widely used from the antibiotic perspective. So I like what you said about the dance in the end. So the two things that I’m taking from what you said, are that a lot of people are resistant to changes in the diet because traditionally, these were not changed.

These were not things that were ever indicated, especially for a lot of Indian clients, I work with just removing wheat and dairy, which is kind of ridiculous. feels ridiculous to many people. But that the idea, as you said, is that that wheat and that dairy is not this week and this dairy. But having said that, the second thing you said is that we’re balancing between the inflammation and increasing the water. How do you how do people know how to do this balance? Because it seems like when people are working, are making changes, and most of them are doing so from a functional model. And what they’re doing is they’re balancing the inflammation. And when you look at even, actually any diet that I look at is, seems to be full of cruciferous vegetables and cauliflower as if you’re trying to eat vegetarian, otherwise, it’s like cancer meat. So it just, it just feels very imbalanced to me from whatever I know of an Ayurvedic perspective, how do you do this dance? How do you know what to do when?

Right? Well, for parents, there, there’s needs to be some study involved. So either they can see a practitioner understands these ideas, or they can take some kind of a course my website offers some courses on autism, and ADHD that are pre-recorded, they can go there and they come from a very wide perspective, not just from your data, otherwise, reading some books. So somehow to get educated. I read vocabulary is a little arcane. And so for people to get into that they have to start to learn some of these basic principles as we’ve barely scratched the surface here today. So either they have to become sort of, you know, they’re already the biggest experts on whatever’s going on with their child on autism or whatever it is.

They Googled every night for hours for years. learning what the internet has to say. But they’re not necessarily experts on the treatments, and they don’t know which treatments will apply to which child. So if you, if you read, you know, 50 blogs on autism, you’re going to find every theory that anybody ever has about it. And, you know, sometimes any given one is going to work for a child and another won’t.

And your website is international integrative.com Is that the website parents can go to? Okay. Can we talk about the dreaded gluten because generally in the, in the, I mean, as you know, in this world, in the functional world, the idea is, you can’t get anywhere if you eat gluten or dairy. Right. So I mean, like most practitioners won’t even see you. I used to be like that at all, at one point where, if there’s no point, even talking about the next step, if you’re eating gluten and dairy, I can do anything. What do you think? Do you think that gut healing is actually possible in the presence of gluten?

Well, yes, it’s all it’s all individuals. So again, it depends on you know, all wheat has gluten. But it’s a question of the other kinds of proteins that are in there, and what type of gluten and how much. So sometimes, kids with developmental delay are not connected to gluten whatsoever, likewise, to milk products. So I think that saying that that’s a universal thing is not very helpful. So there’s plenty of information that sometimes under certain circumstances, some type of gluten is not good for certain kids. And likewise, with dairy, and there’s a lot of information about how those things are irrelevant, and you don’t need to change them. So there are a bunch of sophisticated tests that can be done. Or you can just try it. So one could leave one or both of those things out of a child’s diet for let’s say, a month. And then if there’s an improvement, great, if not, try some other version might take a year to dial all that in.

One of the challenges is that many of these kids are sensitive to many different kinds of food. So let’s say that it’s not unusual to find 50 Different kinds of food that they’re sensitive to those, each of those foods aggravates the gut, and the fact that the gut is aggravated is one of the reasons that they’re sensitive to that. So it’s a reciprocal kind of thing. So if a child has sensitive, allergic, or some of their sensitivity to 50 things and you take out two of them, you often don’t notice the difference whatsoever. So the gold standard is to use some kind of a hypoallergenic diet. It’s often called an oligo antigenic diet, illegal means just a few. So you have them eat for, let’s say, a month, maybe five things that are known to almost never cause sensitivity in people. And then you find out what happens and often people respond remarkably, but you can’t keep them on that kind of restricted diet forever. But then you can start adding things back one at a time and find out if it has an effect.

Sometimes it’s really obvious, you know, you put them on a limited diet like that, which would not include wheat and milk, and then numerous other things. And they, they do remarkably better. And then that will give you sort of a clearer picture of their baseline underlying issues. And then you can add those back one at a time. That’s a long, tedious process, but it’s the gold standard for figuring out what’s going on with food.

Site comment. By the way, there are now a number of studies measuring the efficacy of an illegal antigenic diet on ADHD specifically, and at least one study says that over a third of children with ADHD show almost a 40% or more symptom reduction on an illegal antigenic diet and that those are pretty high numbers. You can stay tuned to this podcast to learn a little bit more about illegal antigenic diets in future episodes. Or you can actually go to PubMed right now and look up the keywords an illegal Oh ally, geo antigenic diet, and ADHD if you’re curious, and I would say that gluten and casein are likely offenders but not necessarily true with every single person and that again, it depends on the type.

So in terms of foods that people are sensitive, sensitive to what is the long goal with it that is it is a building up the digestive fire so that everybody can digest everything or in some people, these foods have to be eliminated long term. It’s the first basically yeah, building up a digestive function, of course reducing inflammation, but enhancing the digestive capability in the gut so that they fully digest everything that they’re eating, and though As nutrients can go into the blood, and things that aren’t suitable can then just go out of the body. So that would be the ultimate ideal. I’m not sure if we could say that. It, the goal is for everybody to be able to eat everything that’s probably a little bit too extreme. But generally, yes, in that, in that direction, we’ve seen some from some practices of some people that they don’t relate to this, this gluten-encasing thing at all. And they work on the digestive tract, and people are able to digest those things and do fine and progress and have great development. So I would say there’s a lot of skepticism and, you know, just disagreement about those kinds of ideas. It’s not an established truth at all that those things are problematic.

So that gluten causes leaky gut and everybody, you’re saying, is that not an asset? Which is generally considered to be the case these days? But yeah, yeah. Yeah, thank you for that. And this is, this is something I hear a lot in our VEDA about increasing the army increasing the digestive fire, can we get a little concrete on that? Is there what can parents do to get, you know, to build up their child’s digestion?

Right? Well, one thing is to not eat things that strain the capacity of the digestive tract. And so back to the wheat and milk, those are relatively heavy foods, it takes a fair amount of digestive juices to digest those, and then there would be numerous other things that might be stressful for the digestive tract. So using things that are very well digested, one could look at the stool of the child, and if there’s undigested food there, then they’re eating things that either are too heavy for the digestive tract, or the digestive tract doesn’t have adequate juices. So otherwise, we would use things that promote the production of those digestive juices, and many of them are mildly warming, culinary, spices, cinnamon, clove, coriander, those kinds of things that are very, very common. And often that makes a big difference. Right away, but we can’t use things that are too hot, because there’s inflammation in the gut. So yeah, it’s a matter of slowly working our way into all these things.

So so the two things you said were to reduce the load on the digestive system. So do not use foods that you know, they’re sensitive to or you know, that is, they’re likely to be sensitive to, for example, we dairy and, and this and the second thing is to keep the food lightly warming in terms of the spices, it contains also the temperature, or just the spices, like also the temperature of the food itself, that has really relatively little to do with it, we don’t eat ice cold food. So food straight out of the refrigerator, or iced beverages and things like that reduced to just a digestive capacity a little bit. So those would be discouraged and warm-in-temperature food, probably, again, a little bit of an effect in that direction. So one of the things that we see a lot is that people have been trained to think that salad is the perfect food for everybody. I talked to so many people who very proudly say, you know, my lunch is always a big salad. But for people who produce a lot of gas, and don’t adjust that very well, that’s not a good thing to be eating. So again, limiting and that’s broad with anyone with emotional dysregulation, probably not right? Yeah.

My next question was that related was the is Agni or digestive fire the same thing as saying stomach acid bile. And, whatever pancreatic enzymes are that that’s exactly okay. Right? So it is a one-to-one model, okay, the sum total of all those things, right? So again, the just means fire. And it’s generally when we use that term, it describes the digestive juices that are in those areas. So there are some more things than that. I mean, there are enzymes in the stomach, for example, but all of that, that adjustive juice is coming out from the stomach, the small intestine, the liver, and the pancreas all meet right at the beginning of the small intestine, and that’s Agni, basically. So we can nail down each of those specifically and treat them but the term generally means just all those things together.

I see okay, that’s helpful to know that you can start building a sort of model or a one-to-one correlation between whatever you know, physiologically and the Ayurvedic. I don’t know if I should use the word metaphors, but whatever the words are used for that. That’s a great term to use, but I use that term all the time because some of these things are not factual in terms of the way we understand modern physiology, I Aveda is one giant story about the way the body works based on things that were known 2000 years ago with some updating, but not all of them match the things we understand. That’s okay though, if you stay within the paradigm, then you can do very, very well. I’m not worried about whether these things are physiologically accurate. I’m worried about the results. And so we had 5000 years to experiment with generation after generation and gradually hone the metaphor, exactly the model the understanding up till today, it works very, very well.

And that that word that you use the paradigm, I think, is great, because otherwise, people get too fixated on why you’re, you’re saying Wind and Fire and stuff like that, right? So because I think it’s like, I like what you said about the story. And the paradigm is, in terms of the order in which you work on things. I know that the first thing I read a one-on-one, anybody who’s like Googled a little bit of either generally immediately has done a quiz on their doshas. And usually, people know that at the minimum people like me know what, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are, and we can talk our way about the three doshas, but is, when you’re working with a child,  you talk, you gave us some pointers on how to work on their digestive fire, is it important to look at what their doshas are, and kind of fine-tune that before working on the digestive prior, would this be a priority, I will do the same thing because from this point of view of everything in the body, is regulated by those three primal metabolic forces.

They have good and bad aspects. So when they escape from doing what they’re supposed to do, due to mistakes in lifestyle, diet, sleep, all those things, then they start to cause problems. So we want to figure out the proportion of those things and bring them back into balance. One thing that’s often confusing for people is that we talk about the doshas in two ways. One is the underlying blueprint for your body, we call that your constitution. And that’s something that is established by the time you’re born. And it basically sets the stage for how other things are going to work in your body.

That’s great to know over the course of a lifetime. So to keep nudging yourself back into the middle and realizing that, you know, if you have high pitta, for example, which is metabolic transformations, you’re not going to do well eating a lot of hot spices, for example. And so you learn that when you’re young, and you adjust your diet, and you keep nudging yourself so that you’re in the middle path. And things are going well, you don’t have symptoms, however, that has little to do with actually what’s going on with disease today. So the other reason is the current balance of the doshas. So usually, that’s pretty consistent with your constitution, but it can be radically different.

When people go to those websites and take those tests, what they’re learning about is their underlying genetics and the things that happened during gestation, in other words, the body that they were born with. So autism, and you know, add Down syndrome, this whole package of these things, has genetic connections. And so we’re not going to change those, but we might change the expression of the genes by using certain kinds of nutrients, like folate, for example, is a vitamin that’s known to suppress a whole bunch of genes. So there’s a genetic component to that.

We have to be aware of how to manage that over the course of a lifetime. And then there’s what’s happening right now, like, inflamed, done. So we, from the Vedic metaphor, treat the dosha, that’s most in excess. So that would be what we call pitta, dosha, or fire element, inflamed in the gut, for example, if that’s the most predominant thing that’s causing the body to veer off in the wrong direction, we would treat that first and then just treat them in priority order. We can also though just treat specific symptoms of constipation I mentioned as an example. That’s something that’s easy to treat very quickly. And often it makes a huge difference in the way people feel.

What you said helped me connect some dots right away. So So you said you were talking about the blueprint of doshas that you were born with and what you’re having now, and I think you also used the word so what the blueprint be genetics and what you’re expressing now be epigenetics. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Epigenetics. You’re just talking about the result of whatever you’ve done since you’re born, whatever you’ve done, or whatever has been done to you, of course, in the case of kids. So the Constitution is not just genetics. It’s also what happened in the intrauterine environment during pregnancy. So there are still some things that can happen.

Some kids have autism and add because of injuries that happen to them. intrauterine Down syndrome is a straightforward genetic situation and doesn’t involve gestation. But anyway, all those things that happen added up give you the body that now you have to live in for the rest of your life, it’s more or less permanent. But some of those things, the expression of those things can be changed. And then also you can make mistakes as you’re living, most of us didn’t know when we were growing up what to do to stay healthy. And so people just go in the same direction that they were sort of programmed to, and they end up with very predictable kinds of problems.

Those are the things that we know, that we noticed, there’s an underlying genetic issue. And then kids eat the wrong foods, you know, I was talking about, you know, a child that will only eat white food or most of their diet is those you know, fish crackers, or, you know, whatever it happens, they tend to be generally picky eaters. And that’s not a balanced diet. So they’re going to develop nutrient deficiencies, for sure. Eating like that. And then the nervous system can’t get nourished and develop properly and such. So all these things go together, there’s no one on-off switch for any of these things.

What about sugar? So it is, in the past, I’ve heard about sugar as being used beneficially in Vedic medicines, as you know, I believe, and pardon me if I’m wrong there, but it helps the absorption of some nutrients, perhaps was what I’d heard from an Ayurvedic physician long ago. But sugar is very vilified in our culture now. And we know that. I mean, we already know that it’s nowhere near used in moderation. What is the role of sweet foods and sugar in our VEDA?

Well, let me just say that, in general, in our culture now, sugar, is good that it’s vilified. There’s no question about it, it’s a source of calories, but it’s empty calories, it’s pro-inflammatory people eat way too much, as you said, That’s very different than the situation in India until very recently, now there’s a sugar epidemic in India, just like anywhere else. But that’s the last, you know, 1015 years. So most people in India were living a rural life until very recently, but now maybe they moved to Bangalore and work for a tech company or something, and they’re eating while you’re talking to him on the phone, they’re eating Cheetos, and drinking Coca Cola, living rurally. And working on a lentil farm never saw sugar.

Sugar comes from India, and sugar cane is native to India. And they figured out how to make sugar. In fact, they figure out how to make white sugar Long, long ago, a couple of 1000 years ago, but it was so labor intensive, that it wasn’t worth doing it. And so they didn’t focus on it. And so people had very little sugar in their diet, you know, maybe a sugar candy, you know, on some kind of a festival day or something twice a year. And that was it. So they didn’t have the overwhelm of sugar that created the wobbliness of the blood sugar regulation mechanism as we have here. And so it was used much more as medicine. So there are some traditional medicines that include a little bit of sugar. But people not using Ayurveda would not support using half a pound a day, which is our per capita average here. So yeah, I don’t want people eating sugar, you know, whatsoever. And in fact, even those medicines that contain some sugar from Ayurveda, there are very specific kinds of purposes. For them. Sugar is cooling in the digestive tract, but of course, then pro-inflammatory when it hits the cells, but it’s pro-inflammatory when we eat those huge quantities a little bit in some medicine, not a big deal.

Okay, and I think that you have shown that that is the that’s, that’s the general theme that permeates the whatever, as we’re talking about gluten, dairy, of course, sugar is, is both gluten and sugar are done way and access now and very differently than they have ever been done. And you said that’s the case for daily too. And I think you’ve I was going to ask you the question of this, you know, everybody’s going grain free. And that’s the way to heal your garden. I know that either places a lot of emphasis on some greens and perhaps is it in the same tone that we’re gonna talk about that as well.

Yeah, exactly. So it’s all about the individual and there are certain foods that are sort of inherently difficult in some way. So again, I Aveda is thought of you know, as the medical system of milk or something people have the idea that you know, people are living on milk but most people even in India today consume an average of about three ounces a day of milk production and that’s almost always mainly yogurt. So you know, grandma has a little bit of milk in your tea in the morning. And you know, that kind of thing that’s about it. But most people have a little bit of yogurt every day, but it’s a very reasonable amount.

They’re not eating, you know, a cheese sandwich, ice cream, macaroni and cheese for lunch, all of that. So the cheese itself is different and The drastic overconsumption. So I really don’t focus on that. doesn’t recommend that at all those mild, mild quantities as long as you can digest them, for most people are fine, but they are inherently challenging. It just doesn’t mean it. The meat just doesn’t mean that needs to be forbidden completely, just depends on the person.

Thank you for that. And I think just to reiterate, when I grew up in India, the first time I had cheese was when I was in 12th grade, I think I was 16 or 17. At the time, that was even funnier, which is like the Indian cheese because I’m from South India, that wasn’t a thing there that actually never had any form of cheese until I was in 12th grade. I didn’t know that was a thing. But anyway, so and that’s when pizzas made their grand entry into India. Well, thank you so much. I think there’s there’s so much clarity and for me a lot of food for thought. I’ll put the link to Katie’s website in the show notes. So you can go check out the courses that he offers and take a deeper dive into either if you like, Thank you for your time.

My pleasure.

Thanks for having me. And that was episode 101. Thank you for listening. This time. I hope to see you back in exactly one week with episode 102. Bye.

100 How I taught my son the binary system of numbers at age 9

100 How I taught my son the binary system of numbers at age 9

Did you know I taught the binary system of numbers to my son when he was maybe 9 years old? Not only that – at the time he could go back and forth between the binary and decimal system for small numbers.

The twist is that my son has Down Syndrome, is Autistic, and non-speaking. But I wouldn’t classify him as a genius.

Over years I have worked on and refined a process that I call Non-Linear Education – that I have used to help my son overcome barriers – both imposed by society and sometimes by his multiple diagnoses.

In this podcast, I talk you through the 7 steps involved in teaching complex math (or science) to your child with Autism or Down Syndrome or other disabilities.

Download / Print the 7 steps at www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/binary

If you have enjoyed this podcast, I would love it if you could leave a review wherever you are listening!

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Welcome to the 100th episode of Functional Nutrition and Learning for Kids! I am your host Vaishnavi Sarathy – or just Vaish – and this is where we optimize learning for your Autistic child, this is where we break glass ceilings for your child with Down Syndrome. This is where we abandon the idea of intellectual delay and blaze new trails in learning and brain health through food, gut health, learning strategies, and through my very favorite tool – Non-Linear Education!

Today I am going to share a personal story that I have never shared in detail before – and this is the story of how I taught my son who has Down Syndrome, who is Autistic and non-speaking – Math – and not just Math – the binary system of numbers – and how to go back and forth between Binary and decimal – he was 8 or 9 at the time.

When I first shared parts of this story with friends and family, do you know what the first reaction was? Some of you may be feeling this right now!

It was disbelief. Some would say “No way”. I started posting about my journey on Facebook Groups at the time. I was part of a few really progressive (or so I thought) Facebook groups that were really invested in their kid’s growth.

I have since found that most Facebook groups are grounds for – how do I say this politely – wallowing in one’s opinions and struggles and hoping everyone shares them. There is actually huge value to this initially – to find your tribe, your group, your people that understand your pain. But do you know the biggest problem with finding this tribe, this group is?

It is this – if you don’t find the right tribe, most people just want their pain to be validated. But after pain, comes growth. With pain comes growth. And I was at the place where I thought people would want to know more about what I was doing, but interestingly, I was either ignored or dismissed.

And lest you think I am entering my own pity party, there are two lessons in this – lessons that are valuable to anyone seeking a journey that is off the beaten path – like teaching a child with Down Syndrome the binary system.

First, no one will validate you. No one will tell you it is possible. You just have to believe in it and keep trying new things. It is the new things part that is critical. If you do the same old rote learning system and hope to break new ground, it won’t happen.

Second, for your child, there will be no one as forward thinking as you! This is not a job to be outsourced. It has to be you.

Over years, I have gotten busier in my speaking lifestyle – creating courses, training parents, teaching kids, and tutoring, and I now have less and less time to do the ground breaking things that Sid and I did 7 years ago.

And I notice us slipping into rote learning. Because I am trying to keep his school happy, I am trying to cover curriculum, I am trying to make sure he gets his basic attendance. That we are moving at the pace that school wants us to – which is fast and shallow. And I notice that we are fast and shallow – nothing gets done. When we are slow and deep, when we sit with a topic and go where it takes us, worlds open up.

More about this in another podcast – I do want to talk about the difference in learning being fast and shallow vs slow and deep, but this is actually different depending on the age. Younger kids actually do better with a fast and shallow learning style.

I spent one week teaching Sid multiplication. Basically, all I did was say – in many different ways – that multiplication is repeated addition. I did this by saying exactly what I just said – drawing it out, showing apples, dots and potatoes in various arrays. That’s about it.

Then I thought that Sid might need to know some multiplication facts. By now, it was obvious to me that singing multiplication tables all the way to 20×20 the way I had done as a child was a terrible idea. I did consider going 6 once is 6, 6 twos are 12, and so on.. It is so tempting to ram facts into our kids that have been rammed into us. I still find it hard to resist.

But I did a few word problems for a few more weeks, and since he was homeschooled at this time – he might have been 7 or so, we were done with multiplication in a month. That’s it.

So I thought what next? I figured, why not follow the same pattern. Next month I told him, that repeated multiplication is exponents. And then we ran over some exponent forms. Again we did this for a few weeks. And I was bored.

So I thought what next – all our number systems – you see – whether binary or decimal are based on exponents – powers of two or 10.

This turned out to be a surprisingly easy concept to teach – and within the next month – we were converting simple numbers to their binary forms.

By this time, I was stunned – myself. How did this happen? What did I do? What did Sid do? What exactly is going on here?

I had no idea then, but in retrospect, I have isolated 7 main ideas that enabled my 8 or 9 year old son to start working on binary number systems.

Some people say that I must have a genius for a son. Others think I am deluded, or out to fraud the world. Of course, I have no answer for those people, but for those who think that my son is a genius – this is not the case, because when we dove into deeper equations like quadratic – when we did conventional math curriculum – we are doing it right now – 10th grade Algebra – he is not really that interested. He is doing OK, not phenomenal. It is hard for him, it is unmotivating for him.

And I know why – I am not following the 7 principles that I followed back in those days.

1. For a child – especially a child in special ed – who has been inundated with repetitive information for most of their lives – bring the information FAST and FIERY!

There is no need to go into 20 worksheets of how to do multiplication,followed by 20 word problems. Move quickly through ideas – not shallow, but just enough depth. Keep it interesting, that’s where the Fiery comes in.

2. Avoid death by worksheet. Here is a rule I want you to keep in mind for your Autistic child – the more worksheets you do on the same topic, the less likely it is they will stay focused (or learn).

3. Look around for the simplest way to teach a complex idea. For example – all I said is one sentence – Exponentiation is repeated multiplication. Don’t go on and on into details just yet. There is a time for that.

4. Don’t test, just teach. Don’t get sucked into repeated feverish testing. As long as it looks like your child is remotely engaged, and doesn’t hate what you are doing, for the beginning, teach more than you test. Beginning skills and understanding rely far more on INPUT than OUTPUT. You can ENGAGE your child in communication, like pointing, or choosing, but don’t make every engagement a TEST.

5. Don’t stay on a topic too long. Find a detour – go somewhere else – you can always come back. By too long, I mean more than a month!

6. If it is not fun for you, your child is not going to learn it! This is common-sense, but very few educators actually use it. We had a Geography teacher for Sid who used to say in class “I know everyone hates Geography – it is not fun”, and Sid actually loved Geography. So don’t do that. Don’t be that person.

7. Please believe in the core of your heart that despite what every doctor, teacher, or educator has told you – your child is truly capable. This is called Assuming Intelligence, and all the steps above will fail if this one is not in place.

So here you go – there are 7 steps to teaching your child the most complex concepts in the world! And you can go to www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/binary and get a worksheet to complement this podcast. Print it out – and make sure to USE It!!

I am so glad you joined my 100th podcast, and whether you choose to teach binary math or rocket science, or poetry, I wish you the best of journeys. As I bid goodbye to you today, if you have found value in this episode, I would love it if you left a review. Here’s a convenient link for you – www.ratethispodcast.com/vaish 

Onward my friend, see you at 101!

99 Growth and Nutrition in Kids with Dr. Bill Sears [includes special segment on Down Syndrome]

99 Growth and Nutrition in Kids with Dr. Bill Sears [includes special segment on Down Syndrome]

There is often a correlation between how a child eats and how they learn. Dr. Bill Sears in this podcast talks about 4 points that he teaches kids and parents to focus on:

  • Go Fish
  • Go Green
  • Go Nuts, and 
  • Go Blue

I am so excited to interview someone whose work I followed so closely when my kids were younger. I am pretty sure I was on the “askdrsears.com” website all the time.

In this episode, Dr. Bill Sears talks about how he addresses growth issues in his practice and does a special segment just for us on how to further help children with Down syndrome who have growth issues. 

Gut Health and Growth Ebook www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/guthealth 

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Vaish:

There is often a correlation between how a child eats and how they learn. Dr. Bill Sears in this podcast talks about four points that he teaches kids and parents to focus on. Go Fish, go green, go nuts, and Go Blue. I was so excited to interview someone whose work I followed so closely when my kids were younger. I’m pretty sure I was on the Ask Dr. sears.com website all the time.

In this episode, Dr. Sears talks about how he addresses growth issues in his practice. And that’s a special segment just for us on how to further help children with Down Syndrome who have growth issues. William Sears MD has been advising parents on how to raise healthier families for over 50 years.

He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston, and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, which is the world’s largest Children’s Hospital, where he was associate war chief of the newborn intensive care unit. Before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital.

The father of eight children, he and his wife Martha have written over 45 books and hundreds of articles on parenting, child care, nutrition, and healthy aging. I’m guessing that most of you on this podcast have been to his website. He is the founder of the doctors. He is a wellness Institute for training health coaches, and he runs the health and parenting website.

As Dr. sears.com Dr. Sears and his contribution to Family Health were featured on the cover of Time magazine in May 2012. He has noted for his science meets simple and fun approach to Family Health, something that you’re gonna find a lot in today’s episode, you are listening to functional nutrition and learning for kids. And this is episode 99. With Dr. Bill Sears.

Bill big welcome to Dr. Sears. And like I said, I’ve been a fan of your website when my kids were younger. And it was really refreshing, you know, compared to the standard parenting advice of the time. I used to consult it all the time. So I’m really glad that you’re here. And that I get to talk to you about growth and failure to thrive. Thank you for being here.

Dr. Bill Sears:

Well, thank you, Dr. Vaish. I’m so honored to be with you. Thank you. We’d love you we love your podcast, and you do so much good for the nutritional health of so many families.

Vaish:

Thank you. I heard you say and I heard this statement. If your child fits or is lower than average on a growth chart, you said that it’s not a red flag, it’s a yellow flag. And can we start with that? Why is that a yellow flag and what is the Yellow Flag mean?

Dr. Bill Sears:

It’s a yellow flag because it’s easily corrected. It’s just a wave flag that says, hey, parents, maybe you should take a total look at how your child is eating. Is he eating enough or eating enough nutrition? So let’s the Yellow Flag. So you’re looking at the growth chart. And there are so many great growth charts on websites now, you can go to growth collector, you can go to growth chart collector, you can go to grow your child, so many growth charts are yours.

So go to the websites see a growth chart and see where your child fits. And then think Alright, Does my child need to eat more grow foods and you may be surprised that your child is not eating enough protein for one that’s the usual one Enough Healthy Fats because of the fat phobia we grew up with now that’s gone unfortunately we know what now we call it smart fats. smarten fat diet, not a low-fat diet. And so it’s sort of it’s actually a good flag that says hey parents, and teachers and families and all child feeders maybe need some more grow foods.

Vaish:

You’re calling them to grow foods I like that you know as a functional Nutrition Consultant poor growth is often a point of separation between conventional nutrition and model because a lot of times parents that go to a convention a nutritionist you’re simply adding more calories but here you know, that’s where I feel like there’s a difference when you’re looking a little deeper about is the food being absorbed or is you know what’s going on with the child. What are the first thing that you do Dr. Sears when a child comes to you and they present with for growth?

Dr. Bill Sears:

Well, the first thing I do is taken all neutral. Slow history. And I say Alright, now let’s look at your child’s growth chart. So I go on my old website there, and I show him a child growth chart calculator. And then I say, now let’s Google growth child protein, to see if your child eats enough protein, like a gram a day, a gram a pound. And so your child weighs, you know, 3030 pounds, does your child eat 30 grams of protein? So we start with that, and almost all the time, almost all the time bearish, I can say, Alright, here’s the problem.

Your child needs more growing foods. And the parents love the term grow foods is positive. Now for older children, for older children, as a motivator, we’ll say well, what’s your child’s special something? What are they really into? What are they love? And they may say, Well, my own daughter loves soccer. She’s such a good soccer player. She loves soccer, I say, Okay, call them soccer foods, like money, you need to eat more soccer foods. And, and they get it. They love that.

Vaish:

I like that a lot. Do you find that so one of the questions one of the things I was thinking about do you find that when you see children with poor growth, you also see correlations with other symptoms and anything from eczema to ADHD? Is there often a correlation? Or not necessarily?

Dr. Bill Sears:

Good. Another? Yes, yes, I think you nailed it. Again, there often is a correlation between how children eat, and how they learn. And the reason is, and oftentimes, say you’re in my office. And I find when I start talking about the brain, parents will pay more attention. So as you just said, sometimes the child has a learning problem. I don’t call it a disability, or disorder, there’s a difference. Not many children learn differently. But say your child has been labeled with some say, ADHD or not paying attention, or just not learning well.

I take the parents into the brain and say, Alright, point number one, your brain is the main organ in your body that is most influenced. For better or worse, by nutrition. You put smart food into the brain, you get back smart learning. Secondly, I go through, what your child eats. And I say, No, you’re feeding a little fat head. And they look at me and say, what’s that? What’s the fat head? I said, your child’s brain is mostly fat. So let’s look at the fat in the diet. And almost all the time.

I see that there are not enough omega-three fats in the most important smart fat. So I go through them on why they should eat more seafood. And I show them that I have a salmon on my wall. They’re a little piece of not a piece of salmon but a little picture of salmon. And is wearing a white coat says Dr omega the third. So I show a picture. I want you to meet Dr. Omega third, and I go through the 10 nutrients that are in a piece of wild salmon. Oh my goodness, the nutrients are incredible.

You have you have protein. You have omega-three DHA EPA smart fats. Protein Aster Xanthine what makes salmon pink? A B 12. V. O and vitamin D, are great sources of vitamin D. Choline, all these good things? And they’ll look at me oh my gosh, Dr. Bill, I never realized there was so much I’m gonna get him to eat salmon. And I said not also the brain.

The brain has the greatest garden ever grown. So what do you need to grow a garden? You need to feed and fertilize the plants. You need to water them. You need to kick the weeds out. toxic thoughts. And so I said let’s go into fruits and vegetables because fat, the fat head and the brain. Fat turns rancid it oxidizes. That’s the term Okay, so let’s eat more anti-oxygen’s fruits and vegetables. And I start with blueberries and the kids love it the blueberry is the brain Berry. And they run it.

Remember that and I give them little things to remember like, Go Fish, go blue, go green, and go nuts. Now, parents, give your children a little baggie, with an assortment of nuts, have them go through the kids like to pick out their own things when they shop, have them get four or five different varieties of nuts, make your own trail mix, put it in their pocket, and they can nibble on the nuts throughout the day. So simple things like that. Oftentimes, just increasing maybe 100 or 200, healthy calories, Jay is just enough to pick up the brain and pick up their growth chart.

Vaish:

That you’ve simplified that so much. So you said just I’m going to repeat what you said. Because that’s amazing. You said just in I don’t have to start increasing by just adapting or increasing 100 or so healthy calories a day is enough to pick up the growth charts.

Dr. Bill Sears:

Oftentimes, that’s enough. And it has made me know another thing I asked them if they’re having like you mentioned problems learning at school. I say what does your child have for breakfast? Oh, he doesn’t eat much for breakfast. He doesn’t like breakfast or gives them a little tart or a little piece of junk cereal. So they said well, your child must have a brainy breakfast. Write that down. Brainy breakfast mom. Right brainy breakfast because the brain has been resting all night. It needs refueling. And so I have a make a smoothie because children love smoothies. So the smoothie is all and I give my recipe a smoothie. And first of all, healthy fats in the smoothie.

Cheat a tablespoon of MCT oil, very healthy fat. Avocados. Wonderful healthy fat. Whole milk. Grass-fed organic plain yogurt or kefir. Ah, the kids love it. Kiwis, berries. I haven’t put out a nice etching get wonderful protein powders. For you know from healthy heights. I have to grow daily. I have, I have one over on my in my kitchen, or grow daily.

They have a really good one for children, three, three years and up and 10 years and up. And it’s high in protein. So a scoop of protein powder in it. And then you have as a young child, you have them help you make the smoothie, you know, take a handful of blueberries and put it in a handful of kale is the old Dr. Bill my chart.

My child doesn’t like kale, you know, we call them the sneaky Fs they’ll never know what’s in there if you put it in there. So you know, oh, ginger, if they like flavor, pineapples, a nice sweetener, papaya is usually a fruit child, you know, absolutely love or use pomegranates when they’re in season. And so that’s a type of, and sometimes children get constipated a lot. So I throw fig, you know, a couple of figs in there. Wonderful. And, and then I remember our own children.

We had so many kids to feed and I’d make a big smoothie. And off we go into the family van. And they’re drinking their smoothies on the way to school. And so smoothies. I can’t emphasize them enough vase that you can just sneak things in that children will eat and they get a taste for it. It’s very the gut feel a wonderful gut feel. And one of the things I like about smoothies. It’s a Japanese term that I love called umami. And like umami what a little baby would say when they’re nursing for mommy, umami.

What is the Japanese term meaning the mouthfeel? The mouthfeel and smoothies have that you know sit on a smoothie and they have the protein And the fat and the healthy fiber-filled carbs, lots of fiber, and it stays in their mouth longer. And then. So that’s sort of what I love to do make a smoothie in the morning, especially for kids who need a brainy breakfast.

Vaish:

Lots of really, really good tips there. Yeah, thank you. And I’m going to summarize what Dr. Bill said and tell you if I missed a few things. So you said Go Fish Go Blue. Then I missed two other things. I know you talked about protein. But what was the other thing I missed? Go Green and go nuts.

Dr. Bill Sears:

Right, right there you have two of those that have lots of protein in them. And nut butter for your children. They don’t like it too young for nuts and all or take a big tablespoon of almond butter. Put the smoothie on. Yum.

Vaish:

So let’s take a short detour to talk about, you know, maybe our favorite populations as well. So I just got to know that you also have a son with Down syndrome. And I was going to ask you this question anyway. So we know that growth issues can occur more frequently in kids with Down syndrome. Is there anything different that you do? Or do you still start with the same basics that you talked about when you’re working with a child with Down syndrome?

Dr. Bill Sears:

Well, yes, it’s the same basics that we mentioned. But a step above. And a Steven number seven, we have so many children, we have to number them a little bit. Number seven, number seven, he came into our world, differently abled, not disabled, but differently abled. He had a different set of chromosomes. And we realize and at that time, the whole field of gen of epi genetics was coming on board that we can’t change his genes are his chromosome, but we can change the way the genes behave, by the way, he eats. So that was the first thing. My wife breastfed him for three years and is very, very, very difficult. Children with Down syndrome, they’re very lazy suckers.

Vaish:

They are kudos to your wife because I couldn’t do it for more than six months. It was that’s a hard thing to do.

Dr. Bill Sears:

That’s the golden time of six months. That’s when the brain is growing so fast. So I congratulate you on that. Because they those those those little suckers their hearts are so good for you. So that’s the first thing breastfeed next, you only start growing foods. You don’t start on junk food. His very first food was avocado, avocado. No, no, this rice cereal and all this much protein and fat and rice cereal. So we start them off on avocados. And his second food was wild salmon. Must be wild. I would mess a little bit up just a little bit up a little fingertip.

Put it on Stephens’s tongue a little bit more, a little bit more, and a little bit more. And by two years of age, he had a little piece of salmon almost every day. By two years of age. He craved salmon. Wow. We also started among smoothies that we talked about when he was around two years of age. He would help me make me grab a handful of blueberries and throw them in and all that called The children love messy stuff and so he didn’t mess and now when he’ll wake up in about an hour or so they’ll come down and the first thing he does he holds his hand up.

Does my smoothie. And so he is now programmed, programmed for healthy food. And I think why he’s he craves it, instead of just like it is here’s my theory on that vase you start early on with healthy foods grow foods, and the tongue likes and the tongue sends the tongues very enriched with nerve fibers. So you put this healthy food on the tongue goes like and it sends text messages to the craving center of the brain. And the brain says like feed me more Don’t feed me more the brain sends text messages all the way down the vagus nerve, the biggest nerve in the body down to the gut, the gut has called the second brain. And the gut says, Hmm, like.

You have that, that network, that greatest social network, neurological network going between tongue and brain and gut three times, four times a day, for the first two years, and by two years of age, that network is imprinted. That’s why I think it’s so important. Also, one other thing too, with, for children with Down syndrome, movement, movement, movement, movement, as as a fact my doctor mom said it all out, go outside and play. And I tell the kids to sit and stew is bad for you. Since two is bad for you, movement mobilizes the immune system. So we got Stephen and as many sports as we could. And I still remember that seeing kids was Down syndrome is very empathetic.

They’re very caring, and they hug other children. I remember Stephen is in, a race one time with other kids, right, other children with special needs, and they’re running and running and running and running fast. And he likes to win. So he’s running real fast, and the child next to him falls down, even stops in the middle of the race, picks up the other child helps him to get up and they complete the race. You know, that’s not a typical child.

Vaish:

Know, it’s not gonna happen. And so many lessons, I mean, it’s just a, it’s just such an enriching eye-opening experience. Having a child with Down syndrome, it’s just a really, it’s just so another Oh, another thing too, one other little chapter for parents.

Dr. Bill Sears:

Down syndrome, sometimes, some children with special needs, don’t have good appetite control, they will overeat. And one of the things we found, if I had if a parent were to ask me of say, a parent with a child has Down Syndrome and asked me, Dr. Bill, give me one, give me once one sentence, just one till I can do the rest of his life, her life. Keep your child lean. Learn how to keep your child lean, that has the right amount of length does not being skinny, I mean means having the right amount of body fat and body muscle for your child’s body type. And that is what we just mentioned, feed them grow foods. See our group’s growing food is nutrient dense.

Run them move them a lot, movement. Swimming, I’m going to have to put swimming at the top of the list. Because oftentimes children with special needs will have some motor problems. You know, they’re sometimes not coordinated. It is a swimming pool. There’s no right way to do it. They can swim the way they want. And they love it. So Steven Stevens still swims every day. And so, weather permitting, parents keep their children’s lane, get them moving, especially nowadays movement mobilizes your immune system. Movement mobilizes the immune system. So it’s another reason to move more and sit less.

Vaish:

To summarize what you said about your recommendations for children with Down syndrome your basics remain the same. So when we talked about growing foods and eating blue foods and fish, I said to go nuts, green, and all of the nutrient-dense foods, they remain the same but you’re making a bigger point about starting when the child is younger.

I think that automatically means avoiding refined carbs and refined sugar because that’s usually like first foods there’s you know, there’s rice and in sometimes in Indian culture, there’s sugar and so on. So there’s so your kind of setting the patterns up early as opposed because it’s once the sugar pattern gets going that’s really hard to override.

Dr. Bill Sears:

It is and you mentioned them You’ve just mentioned the bad word because this is parents we have a problem. The incidence of type two diabetes, the most preventable illness on the planet, the incidence of type two diabetes had has tripled in young children in the last three years tripled just the last three years.

Vaish:

Last three years

Dr. Bill Sears:

The last three years are true. Wow. No, so So and that so and that’s due to two bad words sugar spikes, sugar spikes.

Vaish:

So COVID situation cost a little bit more.

Dr. Bill Sears:

Yes, I think they were sitting there first two things sit inside and stew they would sit inside worrying worried depresses the immune system and makes you overeat. Secondly, they would eat junk food. So type two diet and type two diabetes and obesity have tripled. Alas, last two years, so this is why I want parents to look at labels.

Look at labels. Alright. Very little sugar at it. Maybe a little bit. So okay. But avoid sugar slurps Secondly, kids will love this little analogy. I play the game with them. And I say now you have good sugars and bad sugars. A good sugar plays with friends, protein, fat, and fiber. A bad sugar doesn’t have any friends. So bad sugar you put in your mouth. And it goes into your bloodstream real fast and hypes up your brain. And you use it too fast. And then you slump later on and you can’t learn at school.

You have a sugar slump later in the morning. But a good sugar. A happy sugar. A smart sugar has three friends fat, protein and fiber. And those three friends hold hands with the sugar when you’re eating it, so it doesn’t get into your bloodstream too fast. It slowly gives you energy which is what you want. And you know what? Do the kids get it? They’ll come home sometimes WLC they’ll remind Mommy, I want the happy sugar. Is this smart sugar? Does this sugar eating? Does that have to have three friends along with it? That’s why things like you like a smoothie, for example, our vegetables, and avocados, those have fiber, protein, and healthy fats with them that keep the sugar from spiking.

Vaish:

Right is definitely an in a state where pretty much every meal is blood sugar spiking for kids. And it’s really hard to pay attention in the morning if your blood sugar is going up and down. The child is going to school with a breakfast like that. I have to round things out. So we’ve got some really good advice on working with to grow foods and learning foods and sugar which kind of ties into both of them, for neurotypical kids for kids with Down syndrome. Or finally, I wanted to ask you to do these so do growth issues.

If parents don’t do anything to growth issues? Will children eventually catch up? How does that work? So what is when you went? Because there’s sometimes when you talk to parents, a lot of the advice that pediatricians conventional pediatricians will give parents is that your child will catch up. And how true is this?

Dr. Bill Sears:

Yes, that’s true. That is true. They will catch up. But it doesn’t mean you just sit and do nothing. You know, they have an I have a bunch of here’s a fact here’s my little here’s my role is smoothie making book called Dr. Poo. Okay. I give that to the kids when they come to the office and they read it because it has in there a summary of a lot of what we’re talking about on how to make a smoothie.

Why fiber is so good for you? Whey protein is so good for you? You know, proteins, the top grow food and it’s So yes, they will catch up. But see you want them not only to catch up on the chart, but you want them to catch up with habits, habits that last a lifetime. And this is why I stress parents early on, early on.

You know, parenting in a nutshell is giving your children the tools to succeed in life. What better tool is the craving for growing foods? Wow, what a tool. Can you imagine? What do you feed your children right now and for the first five years, 10 years? And they’re still eating that same food. 5070 years later. Thank you, mom. Thank you, Dad. Thank you, teacher.

Vaish:

Yes. I love that. Thank you. Thank you for making this. You know, explanation. So simple, and especially what you said in the end. It’s a very nice mentorship that it’s, it’s not just catching up on the group chat. It’s catching up on good habits. It’s catching up on learning. It’s catching up on just living a more wholesome life. Right. So yeah, I really like that. Thanks for sharing so much with our audience. Dr. So much. You’re so generous, I love talking to you. And I know that people can reach you at askdrsears.com. Are there any other resources you want to direct the audience towards?

Dr. Bill Sears:

Well, yes, askdrsears.com. And then we have the Dr. Poole book I showed. And another book I think they would really love like was called that the healthiest kid in the neighborhood. In the neighborhood. For adults, like adults with Down syndrome modeled as adults, we have the healthy brain book, The Healthy Brain book and we donate all the proceeds from the healthy brain book to charities. And then if you want a little book to reach for your kids, we have eaten healthily, and feel great.

A little picture book. So you can go on our website you can go on Amazon and all and, and children read to your children show them pictures. Children love to see pictures like grow foods, football foods, and soccer foods, and pretty hair foods that they love to they love to make the connection between what they eat, how they think and how they look, and how they feel.

Vaish:

Thank you again for your time.

Dr. Bill Sears:

Thank you. I love to be in with you.

Vaish:

This is such a fun way to present such important information and I’m never going to forget to sit and stewing is bad for you for the rest of my life. In the meantime, if you know where to find Dr. Sears www.askdrsears.com. This is also in the show notes and you know where to go for a gut health cheat sheet. If you’re worried about gut health, your child’s gut health is related to their growth www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/guthealth. See you next week on the 100th episode of functional nutrition and learning for kids. Bye.

98 Moving your child with Down Syndrome beyond Purees – with Dr. Kay Toomey

98 Moving your child with Down Syndrome beyond Purees – with Dr. Kay Toomey

How can your child progress beyond purees?

Today’s episode is part 2 in the series on Feeding Disorders in Down Syndrome – we are continuing on from Episode 92 with Dr. Kay Toomey who leads us through a beautifully detailed explanation of the hierarchy of what feeding should be like, especially in children with Down syndrome. 

This particular episode comes with several handouts that Dr. Kay Toomey references. I recommend that you have all of these open while listening to the podcast – to give you the best experience. 

You can go to www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/feedingsos to get these handouts and my own set of notes that you can print out.

You can find Dr. Toomey at www.sosapproachtofeeding.com

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Vaish:

How can you track progress beyond race? Today’s episode is part two in the series on feeding disorders in Down syndrome is continuing on from Episode 92. That’s where you’ll find part one with Dr. K two, again leading us through a beautifully detailed explanation of the hierarchy of what feedings should look like, especially in children with Down syndrome. You are listening to functional nutrition and learning for kids where we learn to overcome nutritional, physical, and educational hurdles to optimal learning and equal education. I’m your host Vaish.

This particular podcast episode comes with several handouts that Dr. Toomey references. They’re all in the show notes. There’s a link there and I recommend that you have these open while listening to the podcast because Dr. Toomey references these over and over again. Now if you want the link here, it’s functional nutrition for kids.com/feeding.

SOS, yes, /feeding so as you can get these handouts there. And I’m sure you’re all familiar with Dr. To me if you’ve listened to Episode 92, or maybe even before, for those of you who are new to her work, she’s a pediatric psychologist who has worked with children who don’t eat for almost 35 years.

She developed the SOS approach to feeding as a family-centered program for assessing and treating children with feeding problems. She speaks nationally and internationally about her approach. She helped to form the Children’s Hospital Denver’s pediatric oral feeding clinic as well as the Ross Medical Center’s pediatric feeding center.

She co-chaired the pediatric therapy services department at Rose Medical Center prior to entering private practice, she has been the Clinical Director for Toomey and Associates feeding clinic, and then the SOS feeding solutions, before shifting into clinical consultation to focus on her teaching. She is currently the president of me and Associates.

Now if you want to know more about Dr. Toomey, or the SOS approach to feeding, the link is the SOS approach to feeding dot coms. Like me, I’m sure you’re also going to be amazed by Dr. Toomey his breadth of knowledge and depth of knowledge. There is a lot to unpack in this podcast, which is why I highly recommend you go to functionalnutritionforkids.com/feedingSOS. Okay. And that’s where we have Dr. Toomey’s notes and my notes because I had to take a lot of notes during this podcast.

Welcome back. Dr. Toomey, this is so exciting to have part two of the conversation we were having last time. So if at least to me, one of the mind-blowing things that you shared last time is that the number one priority of the body is not eating, but it’s breathing. And even though it is you know, common, it seems like common sense now that you’ve said it, but I never thought about it like that.

The number two priority is postural stability. So I know we’re saying into a further deeper conversation. But do you want to share with us anything so we can like maybe like a quick recap of that so we can move on?

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Absolutely, absolutely. What we’re going to talk about today is oral motor skills for children who have Down Syndrome and as well as children who are on the autism spectrum, that really this applies to typically developing children as well. But we’re going to talk specifically about why children with Down syndrome end up staying on purees so long, and how we can help them begin to master the skills they need to transition from purees to textured foods, we know that the foundation of all eating is going to be the breathing as you brought up. And then the next foundational piece that everyone needs is that postural stability.

We talked about last time, that’s because you only have so much motor brain power available to you at any one point in time. And so that if you’re using up all your motor brainpower to make sure you’re not going to fall over a fall on your head. That’s why postural stability is so important. It’s to protect the body protect the brain, so you’re not falling over while you’re trying to eat. If you’re using up all of your motor brainpower to make sure that you’re stable, you’re not going to have the motor brain power leftover that you need to make your mouth work correctly.

Vaish:

And when I was just like last time, I remember say repeating the sentence twice when you talked about the motor brain power because it’s such it’s it’s so important to me, but I just want to intervene and ask I’m guessing this becomes even more important when you have apraxia because the motor brain power is is is struggling even more.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

That’s actually a really good point. That wasn’t exactly where it was gonna go. I was gonna talk about its especially important postural stability for children with Down syndrome because they have low muscle tone. But for children, for example, on the autism spectrum, we know that those children have a much higher percentage of apraxia or difficulties with motor planning is, you know, I guess a more generic term to use and you are absolutely correct if you have a difficult time using your muscles either because you have low tone, or using your motor system and your muscles, because you have motor planning difficulties and you can’t coordinate the muscles and the motor movements very well, you are already taxing your motor brain.

And so that you are coming into every feeding with less motor brain available, to begin with, because you’re going to have to set aside a certain amount of motor brain just to take care of those issues, either the effort that’s going to be required for the low tone or the effort that’s going to be required because you have motor planning difficulties. So you’re going to be starting with less motor brain power in the first place. So postural stability is absolutely key.

For these children, and especially for the children with Down syndrome, we need to be thinking about postural stability that not only gets them in that 9090 90 positions, 90 degrees at the hips, 90 degrees at the knees, 90 degrees at the feet. So that means they must have a footrest, that their foot can, you know be flat, they are also typically going to need some kind of site support. And we talked about last time that their preferred chair is the fully adjustable wooden chairs like the trip trap chair, the height right chair, there is a chair called an abbey.

That’s a pretty good one as well. And unfortunately, those adjustable wooden chairs don’t have side supports. And so you’re going to need to build in some kind of side support for the kids to help them with making that transition from purees. To texture table foods because purees don’t take as many oral motor skills as texture table foods do. And, and so postural stability, we have to really put in those extra supports. If we want our children to transition to a more difficult oral motor task, then puree. So the easiest thing to do to create side supports in your child’s chair is to actually go buy a set of yoga blocks.

They were not very expensive, they’re but they’re very hard. They’re very hardy, they’re durable. And then depending on you know how crafty you are, I guess that one thing to do is to go to a craft store and buy the double stick Velcro and strip it on the sides of the chair, put a strip on the bottom of the yoga lock, and you just attach the yoga blocks to the side of the chair. Now if you’re like me, and you’re not very clever, duct tape is wonderful. But just duct tape the yoga blocks onto the chairs well that it comes like an arm is that what you’re saying?

Dr. Kay Toomey:

So it becomes essentially an armrest correct? And, and so that’s what we’re looking for, we’re looking for better side support, we’re looking for better hip stability. And then it’s nice for the children to have someplace to rest their arms if they need to. But you really want those yoga blocks right up against the hips. So you kind of potential has to squeeze the child in just a little bit.

You don’t want to squish them, you know too much. But you do really want those side, yoga blocks the side support to actually be touching the child’s hips and thighs so that they have that really good side support, then what they will be able to do is sit up very straight. But if they need to wing a little bit or Prop A little bit, they can put their elbows on those side arms, instead of having to lean forward on the table.

When you lean forward, what happens is that you put your head and neck in an incorrect position for chewing. And if your listeners want to prop their elbows on the table or their desk, they are going to get themselves in that position where their head and neck are kind of forward. And then if you try to chew, you’re going to see it’s much more difficult than if you sit upright with your head balanced on your neck.

How much easier is it to chew when you sit upright with good posture? Obviously, the big challenge for children to transition from purees to texture table food is the skill of chewing.

Now everybody thinks that chewing is the end-all and be-all skill, but it’s actually tongue-in-movement. That is the foundation for chewing. And so I am going to bring up a handout that we’re going to go ahead and sin and let your readers look at. And it is a handout that’s called the developmental food continuum. It actually thought I had the handout up and I apologize, it looks like I have too many things open on my computer right now.

Vaish:

I nobodies. And for those of you who are listening to the podcast, there will be a link. So you can watch this on YouTube if you want to see the handout.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Excellent. Excellent. So I’m going to bring up two handouts that we are going to hopefully be able to use you know what I am. Let’s see if I can. There we go. So there are going to be two handouts that go together. This first one is called beginning food exploration. I’m going to have people read through this when they get the biggest reason why we need this handout is because of the notification on the bottom, we’re going to use a very specific type of food texture, to help develop the tongue movements that children need to learn in order to transition from purees on textured tables. And it’s something that we call an SOS a hard module.

Vaish:

We can use a hard munchable. Right?

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Yeah. And the term means specifically to use a long, hard, very hard stick shape food. The job of this food is for the child to only Munch up and down on it, to not actually break a piece of it free, so that they can learn the tongue movement first before they have to learn how to chew. And so let’s see if I can bring up the developmental food continuum.

Vaish:

Tell me to flash if you can see this. I can see it okay, yes.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Judge the developmental food continue. So knowing about how children learn from an oral motor standpoint is obviously we begin with breast and bottle feeding. And initially, breast and bottle feeding has a reflexive oral motor movement that’s sometimes referred to as a suck sometimes is referred to as a suckle. It more or less means the same thing. It’s where you cut your tongue around the base of the breast nipple, or the bottle nipple, and you the tongue forward and back to draw the fluid into the mouth.

This is a reflexive movement at first, but your reflexes for eating actually go away between four and six months of age. And between four and six months of age is typically when some kind of puree or spoon feeding is introduced. And for children with Down syndrome, we are going to actively encourage families to use the spoon and to use purees with these children.

There is another approach out there that’s referred to as baby lead weaning where parents just put adult table food on the tray in front of children. And research shows that children with Down syndrome do not do well. With that approach. I say baby-led weaning actually skips the full left-hand side of this page. And baby-led weaning starts in children at about the nine-and-a-half month age range. That is a challenge. If you are very typically developing.

Many kids will have already acquired some of these earlier skills, even if they don’t practice with a spoon. That is not what happens with children who are at risk for feeding challenges. And we know children with Down Syndrome have a much higher percentage of risk for feeding difficulties.

For example, we know that 60% of children with Down syndrome are actually going to struggle with aspiration. So that 60% of children with Down syndrome, right from the beginning of breast and bottle feeding, are going to be struggling with the coordination of sucking, swallowing, and breathing, so that they can get the food down correctly and not spray.

We know that because of the low tone, these children are much more at risk when you have a child present risk or developmental delays, you don’t get the luxury of skipping steps, you have to do every step because your child needs to master and practice every step along the way. Because the steps are not going to just happen for these kids.

We need to start with the student feed. And we are going to start with spoon-feeding somewhere. At four and six months of age, typically, the biggest readiness signal for starting purees is if you put your child in a seated upright position, that they can hold their body and their head upright for five to 10 seconds before they follow. So they don’t have to get into a seated position. If you put them in a seated position, you can give them some side support. If you put them in a seated position, can they hold their head and neck upright and keep their body upright, for between five and 10 seconds?

Vaish:

So this is an indicator that your child is ready for spoon feeding, that is an indicator that they’re ready to begin the spoon feeding.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Now from our last talk, we talked about the fact that with little bitty babies, between four to as much as six to eight months of age, we’re actually going to support their stability by letting them lean back a little bit. Yeah, Infant Feeding chair. And that would be what I recommend for your families with children with Down syndrome is that they purchase an infant feeding chair, like the first year’s chair that we talked about last time and that you begin the spoon feeding where the chair is doing a lot of support work for them until they’re really and truly able to sit upright by themselves for long periods of time, that’s when you would move them into one of those adjustable seats.

You’re going to begin with them in a slightly reclined back position when you start the spoon feeding. But they have to have the ability to hold their head up and some core strength. And that’s why you test this by putting them in a seated position. See how long can they stay before they tip over. And we’re looking for only five to 10 seconds. And so once you start the baby foods, what you’re going to see if they’re going to reflexively try to suck on a spoon, right?

That’s the reflex that’s in place. This is why when you first start spoon-feeding your baby, a lot of the food comes out at you. Because what the babies are doing in that cycle is forward back. Because they’re trying to stop along the spoon. Some of it’s going to get pushed down, and some of it’s going to get pushed back. And what your child has to do in this stage is they have to shift from that reflexive cycling motion to voluntarily controlling the cycle to only moving the tongue backward. And that’s why we start with very thin baby food cereals.

We also start with thin baby food cereals. Because around six months of age, children are going to lose what leftover iron and zinc they have from their mother and the pregnancy. And you now need to supplement their iron and zinc with fortified baby cereals. So around typically for a child with Down syndrome, I would say six months you would be introducing thin baby food cereal usually mixed with some formula or mixed with some breast milk. And those early feedings are not about trying to get volume in your child.

Those early feedings are about trying to support your child in learning how to move from a reflexive cycle where they actually can control that cycle and they can slow Them on and try to move the tongue forward, but then slowly move the tongue back so that more of the food comes into the mouth, instead of going forward, back forward, back, forward-back, and pushing most of it out. When you see your child low dam, and really start pulling the cereal backward into the mouth, that’s when you would introduce that thin baby food puree. So typically what most baby food manufacturers call is stage one. And we really want families of children with Down syndrome to be practicing this with the spoon. Many families because of the pouches are going to give their children the pouches.

The problem with the pouches is that you suck the pouch like you do the breast or bottle. So the pouches are not going to teach the babies any new skills. And so if families of children with Down syndrome are starting their children on the pouch, they may get some volume of puree in their child, but their child is perpetuating old oral motor movement that we don’t want to be perpetuating.

Vaish:

So this food continuum you’re making the point of this is not just nourishment, it’s you’re planning both, you know, the oral motor skills that the child needs to go to the next step. And this is maybe even more progression of oral motor skills than the nourishment itself.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Exactly. Actually, you are absolutely right. In the first couple of months of practicing on the spoon, it is not about the volume on the spoon, the child is still going to get the majority of their calories from the breast and bottle. The first couple of months of using the spoon is about practicing learning new oral motor skills, about learning new flavors of things.

One of the other challenges with the pouches is they typically add all of the things together. And so the baby food pouches taste very similar to one another. And, and that we don’t want that either. Because boom, texture table food tastes really different. And if your child is only getting one flavor, because they’re eating pouches, and all the pouches more or less taste the same. Many of the pouches are mixed with Apple and apple sauce. So the apple becomes the overriding flavor. Or many of them are mixed potentially with carrots or so your childhood, like

Vaish:

A taste intelligence that we’re developing in detail.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Yes, you have to build their flavor palette.

Vaish:

Right? That’s a nice word. Because it because food tastes really different.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Whereas, you know, if you’re mixing all the flavors together, you only have one flavor. Most of us do not just eat one flavor at a meal, we have several flavors at a meal. So it’s the first two months of working with the spoon are not about volume or nutrition. It’s a little bit about nutrition. Because we need that extra zinc, we need that extra iron.

We need those extra vitamins and minerals. But it’s really about learning about developing the flavor palate, and about learning how to move the tongue differently. And one of the questions you asked me is, the parents of children with Down Syndrome have asked you why did these children stay on puree so long? Well, one reason is that if parents are using pouches, and not practicing on the spoon, their child isn’t learning any new skills. And these children have to practice with the spoon to learn some new skills.

Vaish:

And I may be jumping many steps here and asking you this question. Feel free to come back to it later. Uh, one of these things was now perhaps we all know like, you know, 18-year-olds and 20-year-olds were still on fully pureed foods, can they come back to this continuum?

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Ah, you know, 1820 years is a long time to be doing the wrong or motor patterns. And I would say try it. And, and, and see where you can get how I feel about working with any child who has any kind of development is that we’re going to go into teaching them a new skill with the belief that they can learn And then and that the child is going to tell us and show us how far in the process of learning the new skill that they can actually get. But I like to teach them the new skill, we have to have the right steps in place. Because as I said earlier, these children are not going to be able to skip steps and learn the skill. These children have to master each step one at a time before they can go to the next higher part of the skill.

Vaish:

We can try it, but also with the understanding that some patterns have been very deeply ingrained. So it may, it may take a long time, but it may be worth trying.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Yes, I think it’s worth trying. Absolutely. So So once the child loses their reflexes for eating around six months of age, they are now going to have to voluntarily move their tongue in a way that’s going to support their eating. And they’re going to do that by instead of going fast back and forth, back and forth, slowly drawing the tongue just backward to pull the food into the mouth, and keep it in the mouth. And as I said, that happens usually around six, or seven months. And they do that within baby foods, what you’re going to start seeing around seven, or eight months, is you want to see, the tongue actually starts to cut under the spoon, and the lips closed down on the spoon.

I don’t have a spoon on me, but I’m gonna borrow my pen. So we want to see the tongue cut the lips close. So another unfortunate error that parents will sometimes make in trying to feed their children is they are putting the spoon in and scraping it up against the teeth or the palate, or they’re dumping the food on the child’s tongue. Neither of those two things is going to encourage the child to learn this skill.

When you scrape the food into the roof of their mouth, or you dump it on top of the tongue, you as the adult are doing all the work. And so the child doesn’t learn the skill. So when you feed the child, and what you want to do is you actually want to stop with the food right in the front of the mouth. Just dive straight in right in the front and wait and give your child a chance to cut their tongue around the spoon and close their lips on the spoon.

Vaish:

And I feel like this add in another way you’re giving the child some control over their own intake and not forcing food on them. So at least I mean, it sets the stage so much for like future decisions your child is making.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Absolutely. And you want them to be in control. Because when they are in control, they’re going to be safer than when the grown-ups are trying to just dump food in their mouth, right? Actually, put accidentally put it back too far. And then we could cause a choking episode and aspiration episode. Whereas when the child is doing it under their own voluntary control, they’re going to be much more cautious than we are as the grown-ups.

Vaish:

Not to mention feeding right?

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Well, exactly. For children with down syndrome, right, yeah. So so once you see that your child can actually close their lips on the spoon, and cut their tongue on the spoon, then you can go to the thicker baby foods. So we start usually with like peaches and apples and sweet potatoes and carrots because they’re thinner. And by the way, it’s a myth out there that if you start your baby with fruits that they’ll only eat fruits and they’ll become sweeter holics and they won’t ever eat vegetables. We know that innately human beings a predisposition to not eat vegetables, vegetables are bitter. And we are genetically predisposed to not eat bitter things because they are things that can be poisonous.

Typically things that are bitter are poisonous. And so there’s a genetic predisposition to not actually eat vegetables. And so it’s actually better if you start with fruit first to make the first experience pleasant, happy, and exciting for them. Then the second food you introduce is one of the sweeter vegetables like sweet potatoes or In pure carrots, and then over time, you know, so we recommend you alternate, a fruit for three days and new fruit for three days, then a new vegetable for three days, then a new fruit for three days and new vegetable for three days. And over time, you can start building on the fruits and vegetables that are a little less sweet.

Hopefully, as they gain these oral motor skills, you can shift into the ones that aren’t so thin. And you can go more to the stage of baby foods. And things like peas, not only are peas kind of bitter, but they’re pretty thick as well. And you have to have good skills to be able to manage the thickness and to slowly get used to different flavors. And so what you’re going to see then, is that people think we move from thin purees to thicker purees to purees that have Funston what people call the stage three baby foods, we actually do not progress that way. And that’s why there’s a little stop sign. Before stage three, I see. Yeah, on the page, we actually have to go from the thicker purees, or the really evenly matched table food purees to the opposite end of the texture continuum. to that group of foods.

Vaish:

We call that so counterintuitive, I would never have thought that.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

We learned that you can do what’s called a mixed texture that has a thin puree background with chunks and bumps in it until you’ve learned to chew is this

Vaish:

For kids with a risk of like you said oral developmental delay every child on the planet.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

I see. And, and so going from stage one to stage three baby foods is not developmentally appropriate, you actually have to shift over to the right-hand side of the page and get tongue control first.

Vaish:

So if the listener is not watching this on YouTube, what I’m gonna say right now is go to functional nutrition for kids.com/feeding. SOS, where I have Dr. To me you can download everything she sent. And there you can pull this up and just pause this video or audio, for now, if it’s video, you’re probably seeing it but if it’s audio, pause it pull it up, because you can see the STOP sign that she’s put in. I was very surprised to see that stop sign because it was like what’s going on there? How are we going in a very counterintuitive way. And that’s what he’s talking about now.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Yeah, exactly, exactly. So what we want to do is with this boom, once you see the lips close on the spoon, and the tongue cup under the spoon, we want to on purpose begin to give fairly thick, either table food purees, like a pudding, you could even do or most people will introduce is a custard style of yogurt. Custard style, like Greek yogurt, tends to be very thick. Or you can mash up table food like a very ripe banana into a very thick but even mash, we don’t want lumps and bumps in it.

So it needs to be super evenly matched or you really cook up some carrots, and you evenly mash those. So you’re going to get a little more texture, a little more thickness. And what that bigger texture and bigger thickness do when it comes to the spoon is it draws the tongue to do what we call a tongue wave. And so with the soft mesh table foods and the table food smooth purees, we’re building on the early skill of moving, closing the lips moving the tongue back to now actually doing a wave. So I want you to think about if you were going to eat a spoonful of cheesecake.

When you put that cheesecake in your mouth, what most of us do is we cut our tongue around the base of the spoon, and then we kind of pull it into our mouth and squish it into the palate we call this what we do. And that’s what that tongue wave is that tongue wave squishes those thicker textures into the palate and draws the food back and there’s usually some suction involved too.

So the and that’s what you want to see that tongue wave and the tongue wave is what we want to be practicing on the spoon. But at the same time, we now need to introduce a texture group called Hard munchables. And the hard munchables are going to be explained in that other handout I showed you called beginning food exploration. And a hard munchable is a long hard stick shape food that’s so big and hard that your child’s not going to get a piece of it off. It needs to obviously be small enough to fit in their mouth. It needs to be big enough, they can’t get a piece off. So we’re not going to use baby carrots. We’re not going to use a carrot stick, we’re going to peel the whole entire carrot. We’re going to use stock to use a raw asparagus stem.

Vaish:

Oh, that’s hard enough as well. Okay,

Dr. Kay Toomey:

yes, yes, we’re going to use something like raw lemon grass stems, you could use something like a very hard, hard beef jerky, you could use a big, really fat sphere, at least the size and shape of a big fat marker of something like Hichem you could potentially use, you could use the stem of broccoli raw, and make it about the size and shape of a really big fat marker.

The goal of heart munchables is for the child to put this stick shaped food in their mouth, and we get to begin to move it around with their tongue. So the heart munchable needs to be long enough that the child can get their hand fully on one end, and the other end all the way to the back molar. And exactly, so about the size and shape of a pen, or a big fat Mark pens will be to them a big fat mark. And what the child is going to do is that first, when they put it in with their hands, their hands, their hands will move it back and forth.

When you put something in the side of your mouth, you are going to actually activate a reflex called the transverse tongue reflex. And your transverse tongue reflex is a reflex that happens to notify your mouth that you just put something hard in the mouth, and the tongue automatically goes over to figure out what you’ve put in your mouth.

We have to get control over this reflex in order to advance to table foods textured staple foods. And the way you get control over this reflex is by putting long stick-shaped things in your mouth. And so at first, you stick it in your mouth, the reflex happens but as you move your hand that your mouth at first your tongue follows what their where the hand is moving to hard munchable. But over time, in practice, the tongue will start moving in the opposite direction of where the food is.

The purpose of the hard munchable is when you see the child can put something in their mouth and actually move their tongue freely all over the inside of the mouth versus getting stuck up against the food. You know they have voluntary control over this reflex. Now I’m going to stop sharing, oh no, I don’t need to stop sharing, let me know VOSH. If you can see this new handout that I just I

Vaish:

can I can see the two bins?

Dr. Kay Toomey:

So you can also work on developing this skill by practicing with teething toys. And so that’s what this handout is that I’m making available to people we want parents during meals to actually be using true food. Outside of mealtimes. We want parents to create a shoe bin of Big Stick shape things that are kinds of examples of stick-shaped teething toys that you might put in your shoe band.

Vaish:

For those who are listening again, this is another handout it’s called Cubans and this is also if you click on that link you will also get a sender.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Similar to twitch but you don’t have to use oral stimulation choice may be spoon is a great thing to put in a tube in children Toothbrushes are great to put in a tube in a rubber snake would be a great thing to put in a tube in massagers, the three prong massagers that have the three little legs. Yeah, I like them. Any, those are great because they vibrate as well. So anything that’s a long, hard stick shaped thing, is what we want to be having the child use outside of mealtimes. during mealtimes, we want to use actual food.

This is how children learn when I’m quite a bit older than probably many of your listeners. And, and back in my day, when we were very young infants, what we used to do is we used to give children things like steak bones to not, we used to give kids, the rinds of watermelon, to not use to do this naturally. And the issue became that people weren’t watching their children carefully enough. And so children had choking episodes.

That’s why this beginning food expiration out, hopefully, you can see this says on the bottom of it, they ever leave a child who’s learning how to eat unsupervised, because any child who’s learning how to eat, especially if you’re using a hard Punchbowl of some sort, is potentially at risk if they’re not supervised for having some kind of a choking episode. So when you choose your hard munchables, during your meal times, you want to make sure they’re long enough that your child really and truly can’t get a piece off. And at the bottom of the developmental food continuum handout. There are other examples of hard modules.

For example, a whole dill pickle is a marvelous word munchable frozen french toast deck, you have to carefully watch your child as they’re working with the hard munchable to make sure that a piece doesn’t get loose, right? If your child is, you know, got enough strings or enough tea, that they can get a piece loose of one of the hard munchables you’re using during meals, you have to stop using that food as a hard Lunchable. And you have to find a different card munchable to use.

So this is this food group, the hard munchables are how we help especially children on the autism spectrum, advanced with their eating by practicing with the hard Munch bowls, because they’re a single uniform texture, but they have different flavors. And so it’s a safe texture for kids on the autism spectrum to explore and get new flavors that are used to new flavors. And the goal is to get this voluntary, side-to-side tongue movement that is what we’re looking for.

Yeah, once you can see that they have voluntary side-to-side tongue movement, then you’re going to work on something we call meltable hard solids and multiple hard solids are going to be things that would dissolve very quickly in your saliva. And at first with kids with Down Syndrome and children on the autism spectrum that are stick shaped again. Because when you give a child a stick shape food and they put it in their mouth, the leading edge of the stick is going to land on the back molars, which is food needs to be transferred to in order to learn to chew it properly. So things like graham cracker sticks, veggie straws, snap pea crisps, baby.

Those are all great stick shape mountable, right and as the child practices with that stick shape mountable. Then you can move to the small meltable pieces, like the baby cereal puffs that are out there. Little you know, pieces of something like pirate booty, you know, a small piece of some veggie straw. You could use So, the skill we’re learning with those meltable hard solids is something called tongue tip lateralization.

If you put the tip of your tongue on your very last molar. That movement that you just did is called tongue tip lateralization when we have a small piece of food in the front of our mouth. From the front of our tongue, we have to transfer that food to the back molar. In order to chew it correctly. The foundation of chewy is first getting voluntary control over the tongue reflex. So that you can move your whole tongue voluntarily from side to side. And then the next skill is to move the food from the side to the back. Molar. Because in order to texture table food, you have to get the food onto the back molar. So what we call tongue lateralization, voluntary tongue lateralization movement of the tongue side to side, we bring on board with the hard munchables. And then we work on tongue tip lateralization with the meltable hard solids.

When you see that your child can voluntarily transfer a piece of food from the front lips to the back molars, then you can introduce cubes of table food, because, in order to chew food, it has to start on the back molars. And we start this process with very meltable foods. Because when children are learning to eat, they’re not good at the skill. And if they don’t get it to the back molar, we want the food to melt away in your mouth, right, and not accidentally fall backward and cause them to choke.

Right. And then we go to what we call soft cubes. Soft cubes are things that are so soft, that if your child doesn’t get it to the back molar, and the food accidentally falls on top of the tongue, like the middle of the tongue, they can just squish it into the roof of their mouth and still swallow down. Right. So a stock cube would be like a very right piece of avocado, a piece of peach that’s been soaked in peach juice, a very soft piece of boiled potato. Once they can manage stock cubes, then you can go to what we call soft mechanical food. And the soft mechanical foods have to go to the back molars because they actually require some chewing or reading. So things like pasta is a soft bread is if stuff mechanical, very, very soft meat.

Vaish:

Now I understand why those foods are so the horse so hard to chew. I’ve observed it in my son and I still wonder how come he can have a crisper like, you know, like a Preseli texture thing. But now if he has broccoli, he’s following the whole broccoli and what’s going on here. So I see that now.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Yes. So a lot of kids can do those crunchy foods because you can do what we call rabbit munching on your front teeth. Right. And you can break them into little enough pieces, that when you mix them with saliva, you can squish them into the roof of your mouth and still get them down. And that is not a correct oral motor movement pattern. We don’t want to be teaching children that pattern. So, so the hard munchables get voluntary control over the reflex. So you can move your tongue laterally from side to side.

The multiple foods next are going to work on that hung tip lateralization to the back molars. The soft cubes are going to practice actually, up and down munching on the back molars. The soft mechanicals practice shifting the job side to side on the back molars. And then you can move on to mixed textures where you actually have a true chewing motion. So this is going to be the process that families with children with Down Syndrome and Autism who are not transitioning or purees need to go through the children to learn each skill at a time before they can progress to those harder bigger. Yeah.

Vaish:

And that is so so thorough. So thank you, doctor, to me that is so thorough, and as people, I’m hoping we’ll look at the handouts while listening to the talk. That is when you really I mean it’s kind of beyond thorough. You’ve really broken it down pretty much into every step that people have to do. Like I was actually thinking of my son some of the clients that I work with, with I could see like some many of the holes that we’ve kind of fallen into eating one food at a different like, you know, maybe developmental stage when they’re not really an eye.

I’ve heard people talk about developmental stages of crawling, you know how sometimes people will forcibly make people sit or walk, kids, sit or walk in walkers with Down syndrome. And that conversation I’ve been privy to, and it was very obvious to me that, you know, a kid should not be on a walker until they’re ready to walk or a kid should not be forced to sit for long periods of time in our in car seats because you’re like missing developmental stages, you kind of like you have, it would be ideally people would crawl, kids would crawl before they walk then by army crawl all of that. But, you know, you brought that same thing to the oral motor part where now these are the steps that you need to go through and we’re doing so much jumping, we’re in such a hurry. Right?

So Right. Yeah. And understandably so because we want our kids to eat good food and, you know, be able to outsource the food a little bit, maybe for some people.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Yeah, right. It’s very much about that. One of the reasons why children stay on purees for too long is because people are trying to jump those developmental steps, and the children can’t do it. And so the children resist. And, and if we teach them each of the skills individually, then they will progress on to more textured tables. And we work with children with Down Syndrome and Autism every day. And we teach them how to do the skills and transition them off their purees.

Vaish:

And as always, they can reach you at SOS feeding.com. Correct. Absolutely. And if you want to work with Dr. Tony, enter the team, you can, you can return.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Yeah, as we talked about the older the child is, the harder it is to teach those new skills, but it’s still worth trying. And it’s still worth connecting as is true for any skill.

Vaish:

I mean, I can’t learn languages now as much as I did when I was a kid. I think that’s just universally true for everybody. But Right.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Right. Yeah, it gets harder as we get older, doesn’t it?

Vaish:

Well, thank you so much. I mean, you’re such a wealth of information. There’s just like every time we talk I can think of like five other topics I’d love to talk to you about. So maybe I get one talk again sometime. But thank you so much.

Dr. Kay Toomey:

Thank you and your listeners for their time.

Vaish:

I have put together everything that Dr. Tony references plus my own set of handy notes on functional nutrition for kids.com/feeding SOS, I noticed the episode was so full of information that a list of action items would probably be super helpful to you. I found myself taking furious notes while listening to Dr. To me. I went back over and over again and deleted and redid the notes so as to just keep it simple for you. And for me.

This is episode 98 of functional nutrition and learning for kids. For those of you wondering yes, I did remove the episode on vegan diets, it’s going to be back because I wanted to give you a more complete picture by adding in a lot more research. So look forward to that in the next few weeks or so that we’re going to get a more complete picture of the pros and cons of a vegan diet, where it should be used, and where it should not be used. Until next week. Bye.

97 TWO biggest myths in nutritional interventions

97 TWO biggest myths in nutritional interventions

TWO biggest myths in nutritional interventions (and the reason most dietary changes don’t work).

Did you know that 10-30% of children with ADHD don’t respond to medication, or worse, experience adverse effects to these medications?

It is high time to try easier and more effective strategies such as dietary changes for brain health.

If Food is Medicine, there should be nothing that can go wrong when you enter the area of Nutritional Interventions, right?

No, there are two huge areas where people slip up over and over again, and this is the reason “healing” diets don’t work for many many people.

MYTH 1: Everything is OK in moderation.

If you are trying to make an active change, it is important that the areas that are healing are significantly higher than the areas that are inflammatory. In fact, at least for a short time, you may need to shut off the inflammatory foods.

This is of course hard, because inflammatory food is usually addictive. But taking every food that causes inflammation out of the diet is almost impossible.

That is why, in my signature course offering R.O.A.R [Roadmap to Attention and Regulation] – which is open for enrollment now, I take care to not stress the parent with too many factors to control and remove.

R.O.A.R.  [Enroll or Waitlist]

Psychiatric Times Article

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Hey, you’re listening to functional nutrition and learning for kids. I’m your host, Dr. Vaish if you’re looking to demolish boundaries set on your child’s learning on intelligence. Whether your child is autistic or has Down syndrome, you’re in the right place.

Today we’re going to discuss the two biggest myths and nutritional interventions. And the reason most dietary changes do not work. And this is a short episode. This week, I saw an article in the psychiatry times about emerging research on dietary intervention for ADHD symptoms. Now, the reason I’m focusing on ADHD symptoms is these symptoms are often common in many children with disabilities, okay, when we’re talking about focus issues when we’re sometimes they’re talking about learning disabilities, sometimes we’re talking about impulsivity and hyperactivity, right.

So I’m really more interested in the symptom than the diagnosis. But coming back to the article, you can find this article by simply googling dietary interventions for ADHD, emerging research, and considerations. And this article reminded me of a not so recent podcast I had heard from Huberman’s lab but summarized many treatments for ADHD symptoms, among which included elimination diets.

Now the names for these diets that can sound pretty fancy are called oligo antigenic diets and oligo is spelled o LIGO the word oligo. antigenic literally means few foods. And that to me is super scary, right just listening to foods your child can only eat a few foods. But Dan Well, it’s a short term elimination diet short term also being a keyword that removes foods that are most commonly known to cause a reaction. But this article interested me a little bit more because I pulled out a few really interesting numbers, and one is that between 10 to 30% of children with ADHD do not respond to medication, or worse, they experience adverse effects from these medications. Now, adverse effects of Ritalin include increased irritability, new child, difficulty sleeping, and decreased appetite. And adverse effects of Adderall include loss of appetite, nervousness and insomnia.

So they have similar side effects to many medications, generally, including disruption and appetite, some irritability, nervousness and loss of sleep. Now, one of the reasons that side effects bother me is that many of the side effects can make working with your child harder, which is really the opposite of what one hopes for When taking medication. Now, 10 to 30% is no small number. And in this context, it makes absolute sense to look at dietary strategies. Because what is the worst thing that can happen when you try a natural intervention? Right? Well, it turns out there is the worst thing that can happen. And that is why we’re going to get into the two big myths of this entire food is nutrition idea.

Now food is a medicine idea. And if you’ve been following my podcast, and my work, you know that my focus is predominantly on using food as medicine, but there are two big ways that this can go wrong. Ready? Let’s go especially when you’re trying to support brain health.

The first big myth of nutritional intervention is that everything is okay in moderation. This myth likely originates in the weight loss industry and if that is your goal, and I sincerely hope that it’s not because we are talking about children here that that was someone’s goal. And if someone was not a child, then maybe everything may be okay in moderation. And even then there is a big maybe, especially since the volume we’re doing is counting calories. This idea everything is okay in moderation does not work for healing diets. The foundational principle behind the healing diet is that food is medicine. For everyone in this world, some food is medicine and some food is inflammatory. And if you’re working with a child that has gut issues, that is struggling with neurological issues, there may be many more foods that are inflammatory.

If you are trying to make an active change, it is important that the areas that are healing the foods that are healing are significantly higher in number and quality than the foods that are inflammatory. In fact, for a short time, you may need to shut off the inflammatory foods. Now there are multiple keywords here. One of them is definitely for a short time when we’re making change. All successful changes are made on a timeline and this is a fact that is often missed.

We’ll come back to this. Now, shutting off inflammatory foods is hard because inflammatory food is usually addictive. But taking every food that causes inflammation out of the diet is almost impossible. That is why my signature course offering role, which is a roadmap to attention and regulation. This is open for enrollment. Now, I take care not to stress the parent with too many factors to control and remove. In fact, enrollment to lower ends today and you can sign up at functional nutrition for kids.com/ Raoul, the link is in the show notes wherever you’re watching this episode and in the event, you reach this link, it’s no longer open for enrollment, you can sign up for the waitlist and I’ll tell you when it’s open.

Coming back to the article, I was talking about the dietary interventions for ADHD, emerging research, and considerations. It is interesting to note that it’s so interesting, that every one of the research ideas that all have all of what they had cataloged is emerging research is something that we actually cover as strategies and draw and there’s actually much more that we cover. There’s really happy to note that. Now the first myth is the myth of moderation, which doesn’t work. Moderation doesn’t work because eating inflammatory foods in moderation is not a good idea. The second point in this idea in this myth is that what you think is moderation may not be moderation right when my son was having only Paratus in yogurt for lunch, Weetabix with milk for breakfast and just to drink of milk for dinner, I did think he was eating healthy food in moderation.

Whereas I fail to see that every meal contains exactly the same food wheat and dairy, there was actually not helpful unless you count sugar and the occasional banana. When we think our children eat sugar in moderation, what’s often happening is that our kids are eating refined sugar at every meal combined with refined flour, disrupting their blood sugar, and creating an addiction to sugar. And I know kids who eat wholesome sweeteners like maple syrup, but there is no moderation and there is still an addiction to sugar. That’s how it works. Now the third idea about moderation is that addictive foods like refined carbs and sugar cannot be eaten in moderation. So moderation in itself is not bad. It’s actually a great idea.

If it is done within certain constraints of a healing diet. Some dietary constraints actually lead to major diversity of food choices. So you’re sitting if you constrain your diet a little bit, you actually end up eating more diverse foods. In my case, my daughter and I are currently on a vegan diet for a short time. I don’t believe a vegan diet works long term for everyone, especially people with gut issues. But this short term constraint has made our eating habits so much cleaner without much effort. Now just because I can’t have extra breakfast right now. I am eating and enjoying quinoa amaranth porridge for breakfast that I haven’t tried in years.

Today. I actually had a black rice beet porridge this morning. And yes, you heard that right. I’m noticing that these polishes are actually keeping making me feel a little bit more grounded and stable. It’s really feeling very fantastic in my body. There is a key point, a timeframe. I’m not going to be vegan forever, probably not. Whenever we’re trying to make a change, we’re trying to do this within a timeframe. Now our vegan diet, for now, is just for three weeks though we may renew our vows, depending on how we feel. The second big myth in the nutrition industry is the opposite of moderation. This does not mean going on a super restrictive diet, maybe the illegal antigenic diet or the gab site or the SCD diet or a keto diet for a long time. Okay, this is not what we’re talking about.

The opposite of moderation is not mega restriction. Long term diets that limit multiple foods can have disastrous effects on your kids God’s help and can be infinitely hard to get out of. Many restrictive diets can be incredibly healing to some people, but in the short term, and this is the keyword in the short term. When you’re removing more than 10 food groups, it may be time to think again about when and how you’re going to stop and reintroduce healthy foods. This is why in the roadmap to attention and regulation, I introduced the idea of what I call a least restrictive diet.

This is a term that I adapted from special education where Sharon Jorgensen, a visionary in the field of education, brought the idea of a least restrictive environment for teaching kids with disabilities. More on that in another podcast, but I think it’s high time we talk about the least restrictive diet as well. A diet with no restrictions is going to be a disaster for the three reasons I mentioned earlier.

Healing and repair require some constraints. A diet with too many restrictions can also cause inflammation over the long term. So today as you exit this podcast, maybe you can think about what the least restrictive diet looks like for your child and isn’t doing its job. And if you are interested in it, this works for you right now you can sign up at roadmap to attention and regulation. Still, open enrollment today and you can sign up at functional nutrition for kids.com/roar. Bye.

96 The 9-step toolkit to transforming food habits in your child with Dr. Sachin Patel

96 The 9-step toolkit to transforming food habits in your child with Dr. Sachin Patel

What if you had a toolbox that told you exactly where to start with your child’s health? Honestly, if we could all just find a place to start, just that one foothold over the seemingly rocky cliffs of food and nutrition, the next foothold is often apparent. Sometimes after years of a healthy, fantastic diet, you might hit a plateau again, and that is when a handy toolkit, right in place can help you find your foothold yet again.

In this podcast, Dr. Sachin Patel leads us through a 9 step toolkit for changing your child’s health and energy, starting with my favorite step 1:

  1. Taste is important. Find out what your kids love. From there we want to make our foods as healthy as we possibly can. 
  2. Don’t give up after the first time. 

You can find Dr. Sachin Patel here.

To know more about your child’s diet and how to get it to do some heavy lifting for their brain health, sign up for my FREE training this week : 3 signs that your child’s diet is NOT working for them

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Vaish:

Did you know that despite years of training and nutrition when I have to change my diet, I still struggle a lot It’s just so hard to stop? And what if you had a toolbox that told you exactly where to start with your child’s health? Honestly, we could all just find a place to start just that one foothold over the seemingly rocky cliffs of food and nutrition. The next foothold is usually really easy, it’s apparent it comes up, it shows itself. Sometimes after years of a healthy, fantastic diet, you might find yourself again in that place, that dreaded plateau, right. And again, we use that toolkit, as long as it’s right in place to find our foothold yet again.

My guest today food health and nutrition thinker, extraordinary Sachin Patel gives us just this toolkit in nine easy steps, such as a father has been a philanthropist functional medicine practice success coach, speaker, author, breathwork, facilitator, and plant medicine advocate. He’s convinced that the doctor of the future is the patient and he’s committed himself to helping others raise their consciousness, activate their inner doctor, and initiate the deepest healing through the use of lifestyle breathwork and respectful utilization of psilocybin.

He’s an advocate of transforming the healthcare paradigm. And he’s devoted his life to the betterment of healthcare for both patients and practitioners. And as I was chatting with searching during this podcast, I simply loved what he said this is actually the first step in the toolkit. He talks about prioritizing taste. And I think that is such a fresh approach to prioritizing taste. Now, of course, sometimes we prioritize only taste, and that can boomerang on us. Right.

Now, as you listen to this podcast, I hope you will be motivated to make a change. But it’s also important to know what change might look like for your child. A trip without a roadmap is not of much use. In this context, I’m offering free training three times over the next week to share how your child’s diet may not be working for them. In fact, it is three signs that your diet is actually not doing its job.

And you can sign up at functionalnutritionforkids.com/3signs/. And it’s the number three followed by the word signs. Again, it’s functional nutrition for kids.com/three signs. The link is also in the show notes, wherever you’re watching, or listening to this episode. Now do listen on as such, and leads us to commit to change even if you’re coming from a place of overwhelm. Welcome, Sachin, thank you for being here on this podcast. I’m really excited to talk to you today.

Dr. Sachin:

Myself, as always, thanks for hosting me, and I’m excited for our conversation.

Vaish:

Absolutely, I’m, I had a simple question in my mind to start off. And as I was framing this podcast, that question is, how does one commit to change from a place of overwhelm? Because many of the parents listening to this podcast are overwhelmed with messages of acceptance, on one hand, you know, accept your child as they are. And then messages of change, on the other hand, change the food change the environment, change learning strategies, both of these messages are also ones that, you know, I’ll provide through this podcast. And even though acceptance and change don’t have to be the contrary, they sound contrary. And to add to that parents of children with disabilities are living in a world with messages that are coming in of, you know, you are not okay, or your child is not okay, this is not okay, or that is not okay. So, realize that I’ve complicated my question, but I’ll simplify it again, to rephrase, how do you commit to change from a place of overwhelm? And how do you know what change to commit to?

Dr. Sachin:

Yeah, that’s a great question. And I don’t think there’s one right answer to this. One thing that I will say is that the best thing that I can offer people is to learn to be present. I think a lot of times when we’re not present at the moment that’s in front of us, our head can get stuck in the future, or sometimes it can get stuck in the past, and the voices from outside of us can overwhelm or block with the voices that are coming from inside of us.

A lot of times, even for my clients, you know, the thing that we always want them to do is to be present to the what the as is, as Dr. Shefali would say, is be present to the as-is and, you know, there’s whatever is going on, it might feel like a mess, but there’s a message in that mess. And we want to pay attention to, you know, to be able to read through the lines, you know, what is this moment trying to teach me or what is this?

You know, what is the opportunity at this moment that I can learn from and, you know, there’s going to be lots of noise in from the outside world. And so the key for me is always to be present, shut out the outside noise and pay attention to the inward you know, the sounds and the voice that’s inside of us that is He’s always there to guide us.

Vaish:

When one is in a state of overwhelm, what does that mean from a? Maybe a biochemical perspective? So what is it that is there anything concretely you can do to shift from the place of overwhelm, because sometimes it’s really hard to find that center and to find that presence when it’s just every selling, you just want to either run away or hide your head under the sand?

Dr. Sachin:

Yeah, I think, you know, overwhelm comes from not knowing what our next step is. And so you know, it’s a lot of times overwhelming is, is not knowing what we need to do in order to make the situation better. So our mind is very good at creating usually false negative realities, versus creating positive, and, you know, meaningful realities are moving in the direction that we want to create. So overwhelm is oftentimes, a result of not knowing what that next thing is that we need to do. So a lot of times, you know, we want to take inventory of the things that are overwhelming us, identify the things that we can actually change, and then identify the things that we have no control over.

Then really take ownership over the things that we can control. In terms of the chemistry of what’s happening to somebody, it’s usually when we’re in a state of overwhelm like that, that we’re in a fight or flight response. And in that fight or flight response, we’re not actually even using the part of our brain that can help us come up with a logical, creative, and elegant solution to whatever challenge we’re facing. So again, being present.

The best way for us to be present is by using our breath as a tool. So we’ve heard this, you know, I know, I’m probably preaching to the choir, and many moms and dads have probably heard this before. But when people say, hey, just relax and take a deep breath, you know, there is a little bit more context to that, you know, that, that we could probably unpack here. But you know, getting into a relaxed cadence of breath, doing something like box breathing, can be a very powerful way to induce a parasympathetic state.

In that parasympathetic state, we’re capable of creating an elegant solution. And that takes us from a place of overwhelm, to now being able to overcome so we don’t want to stay stuck in the overwhelm. If we stay stuck in the stress state, then we’re just going to, we’re just going to spiral downwards. But if we shift into a parasympathetic state, now we’re in an overcome state. So we can come up with a solution for whatever challenge we have.

Vaish:

So Breath, breath is the first step.

Dr. Sachin:

Breath is the easiest thing that we can change, you know, and doesn’t cost us anything, it’s a matter of raising awareness around our breathing patterns. And something like box breathing is something that helps us quickly shift into that relaxation state. So box breathing is where you take an inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and hold empty for four seconds. And you repeat that pattern just like a box. So you would do that for a couple of minutes. And what’s amazing is that, when you’re in a state of stress, a minute goes by like this, when you’re in a state of calm and relaxation, and using your breath as a tool a minute feels like an hour. And this is why a lot of people don’t shift gears and use their breath, because they’re illusion by the passage of time thinking, oh my god, I’m spending so much time doing this, when in reality, in a short period of time, you can really shift the state of your physiology and your mental and emotional state as well. In a fight or flight state, a, you’re not remembering anything, b You’re not at all creative.

You’re not even able to come up with you know, an elegant solution to your problem. And time just flies. So slow down, take a few deep breaths, you know, do the box breathing technique for a couple of minutes, and recenter yourself and watch what happens. It’s pretty remarkable. And here’s another interesting thing, that story that I want to share is that this actually happened to my client.

Her son was having major behavioral issues, and just not cooperating with her. And she’s a principal at a school. And they had indicated to her that she needs to medicate her son, because of his behavior. And so she joined our program, she was dealing with a lot of stress and struggling with weight and all those things that come along with imbalanced hormones. And so we had her do some breathing techniques using specifically a device called Heart Math.

Heart Math is a Neurofeedback tool that you clip to your ear and it tells you what state of coherence you’re in. And when you’re in a state of coherence, which you can get to using breathing and thoughts, your heart and your brain are connected. And it’s that heart-brain connection that many of us have lost a lot of times stuck in our heads. And really to help our child we want to get you to know in our heart because that’s when we come up with you know, a loving solution to the problem instead of a very logical solution.

Think of the brain as the masculine think of the heart as the divine feminine. And so we want to have a balance between the two, not just the masculine solution, not just the yang energy But we want to have yin energy to the solution. So by using our breath and using the Heart Math, you know, and Heart Math is like training wheels. So you can, you know, once you’ve mastered your breathing technique, you don’t need the device. But until you know how to do that the device is a very helpful tool.

Well, anyways, within two weeks, she started using the device, and her boyfriend at the time, said to her, did you end up filling that prescription for your son because his behavior has dramatically changed? And she said, No. And she realized very quickly that it was when she changed her energy and changed her electromagnetic field, that her son automatically shifted his behavior. So when she broke down crying when she told me the story, because she realized that, because she’s quantumly entangled with her son, and just were quantumly entangled with each other, she realized very quickly that it was her energy that we as adults can contain, right children, don’t have the gift of the very developed prefrontal cortex.

Sometimes they’ll say and do things that we as adults wouldn’t do. And it’s because we are able to, you know, suppress our emotions, we’re able to suppress that energy and drive it deep. And so for adults, it shows up as a disease. And for children, it shows up as misbehaving. But it’s that energy has to dissipate and transform into something. And so when we get the energy inside us, right, then those people that are in our field, their energy becomes balanced, as well. So you know, with our children, especially moms, moms and children have a very unique connection, because you literally printed your children inside your womb, which is a pretty amazing thing to be able to do. And so that connection that we have, is very sacred. And a lot of times, we over-intellectualize a solution, when in fact, we just need to get re-centered in our heart, and the solution presents itself.

Vaish:

Very nice. There are so many things I really liked about that. I liked that you talked about entanglement because I think everybody listening can identify with that. I mean, I myself know that you know, there is a connection between every mom and every child. But when children are in a state of sensory difference, perhaps you know, because when the five senses are operating differently, as in pretty much probably every child with autism, The Sixth Sense shows up as a little bit stronger. Presence. So and you’re right, you know that time and again, I can see that my mental state is a reflection of my son’s mental state and vice versa. That is so true. While I have many questions, let me prioritize this.

You already have given us two tools. One is the breath and you mentioned the box breathing technique. And you said, the heart rate variability Heart Math, right? Yes, the Heart Math technique. So in the toolbox that we have breath, we would you say Heart Math is the same as breath. It’s neurofeedback.

Dr. Sachin:

I would say, well, you use your breath as the guide, right, so it guides you on how to breathe correctly. So I would say it’s an advancement in breathing techniques. And it’s a way for you to identify what breathing style and technique works best for you. So it’s I like neurofeedback because, for everyone, it’s going to be a little bit different, right? So for some people box breathing at a four-second pace might work well for others, a three-second pace might work better. So by using the HeartMath device, you can figure out what makes the most sense for you, because we’re all unique, and we’re all individual. And it’s always nice to be able to see the shift that’s taking place in your body.

So you know, as you know, as intellectual beings, we want to know that what we’re doing is working. And so the Heart Math allows us to know that what we’re doing is actually moving us in the right direction. So there, you know, they’re unique and different in their own ways. But, you know, you definitely would use your breath to get your HRV in the right state.

Vaish:

Okay, and, and the example that you gave us very powerful of a child regulating through his mom because I know that moms are probably more likely to take action when they know that it’s going to benefit their child as opposed to it’s going to benefit themselves. So when we talk about, you know, impulsivity, hyperactivity, a lot of our work sometimes comes through the realm of food in your Can you mention a few things that are in your toolbox other than what their priorities would be for a child?

Dr. Sachin:

Yeah, so first and foremost, the taste is important, right? So we want to make sure that the food tastes good.

Vaish:

I never heard any, it seems like it should be common sense. But you’re the first person to say that taste is.

Dr. Sachin:

Yeah, so we have to figure out what our kids love, right? What are the foods that they love? What are the textures that they love? And then from there, we want to make those foods as healthy as we possibly can. So a lot, so a lot of times it’s going to start there. Right. You know, sometimes if we try to introduce foods that they don’t like the taste of or they don’t like the texture of, then it becomes a very difficult thing for us to make adjustments to. But let’s say your child likes pizza.

Well, okay, let’s start there. And then let’s work backward from there. How do we make this pizza as healthy as we possibly can? How do we eliminate genetically modified ingredients? How do we get rid of chemicals, like glyphosate, which is commonly found in weeds, right? So then it becomes an experiment in how can we reproduce or replicate the taste or make it taste even better? You know, one of the things that I love, I love pizza. And when I gave up gluten, that was one of the things that I missed the most. And every party you go to, there’s pizza, and you know, all that, all that stuff. And, you know, I admit that I do miss that.

However, my wife actually found an almond flour, made by a company called simply simple mills. And that actually tastes better than any other pizza crust that I’ve ever had in my entire life. So now I enjoy that. And what’s cool about that almond crust is that it actually has no spike in my blood sugar when I eat it. So typically, when you’re eating, you know, even a typical gluten-free pizza crust as an example, it’s made with rice and starches and potato starch and things like that. And it’s going to spike your blood sugar, but the almond crust, Pizza pizza dough doesn’t or the almond flour pizza crust does not do that. And I was wearing a CGM. And I was shockingly surprised when I saw that I’m like, Wow, this tastes better. It’s much better for me from a ketogenic standpoint, as well.

It’s not raising my blood sugar. So it’s, it’s a win, win-win all around. So you know, start with what your children like. And then, you know, start an experiment and don’t give up after your first time. Like, if I gave up after my first gluten-free pizza crust, then I don’t know where I’d be right now. So you keep experimenting and talk to other parents and, you know, find out what other people are doing that they really enjoy. So secondly, to that, we want to be aware of certain foods that are neuroinflammatory.

You know, I mean, this is important for any child, any adult even should be aware of this, right? So first and foremost, we never want to feed our children, something that we ourselves are not eating, right, at least you can’t have a different diet for your child that’s, you know, healthy and gluten-free, and all that stuff, and then you’re eating crap, right, they’re gonna see that they’re going to be able to smell right through that. And they’re going to feel, you know, they’re going to feel like an outcast, they’re going to feel like what’s wrong with me, there’s nothing wrong with them. There’s something wrong with people who eat unhealthy food. So first and foremost, we want to try to be an embodiment of health, we need to show up in a way that’s supportive of our own health, right?

We got to put our own oxygen masks on first so that we can be there for our family. And so really, a lot of times, it’s not about the child, it’s really about us, like, how are we going to show up in the world? That’s the first question that we have to ask. And then the default is going to allow them to show up better, as well as as a byproduct of you eating healthy you being mindful of your blood sugar, you being mindful of your energy and mitochondria and your sleep and all those other things, you know, that’s automatically going to set up your child for success as well. When it comes to certain foods, as you know, things that I don’t eat, or you couldn’t pay me to eat anymore.

Gluten is something that I’ve eliminated for over 11 years now, since my son was born, I gave it up. Very rarely do I eat any dairy. And I’m personally a vegetarian, I don’t project that on to anyone. But, you know, I find that when we eat adrenalized animals, who are grown in a stressful environment, and under stressful and toxic conditions, it’s hard for me to accept that that energy isn’t passed on to us in some way. So, you know, personally, I tried to, you know, I am vegetarian and I would encourage people to maybe explore that and see if that’s the right solution for them. Because some children are going to be very sensitive to energies that we may not be sensitive to. And so, you know, there’s, there’s that to take into consideration.

Another big thing that’s, that’s often overlooked, that, you know, keep in mind that all of our senses eat right, so our skin eats touch, our eyes eat light, our ears eat sound, right, our nose eats sense, and our mouth, tastes our food. So we have in our senses, all of our senses are eating. So we always want to be careful and mindful of that, right? So what’s the, you know, the auditory environment in your home because that’s going to potentially trigger the nervous system.

What’s the lighting like in your home, you know, certain types of lighting like LED lighting and certain colors, temperatures of lighting can be very disruptive and can actually cause an increase in certain hormones like cortisol, for example, which can make us feel more stressed and more in a fight or flight type of state, which obviously is not good for our behavior. It’s not good for our mental health.

It’s also not good for our hormonal balances, and it causes us to crave the wrong foods. So believe it or not, if your children are bathed in you know, this the wrong temperature of lighting, such as anything above 4000 Kelvin And chances are that they’re going to crave sugary foods more than somebody who’s in the right type of lighting, or who has full-spectrum lighting, which comes from being in the sun.

A lot of our cravings are actually going to come from being exposed to the wrong type of lighting, which is going to cause us to choose the wrong types of foods. And so then when you try to feed your child something healthy, there is a mismatch in the signal that his body’s getting what he’s craving, or she’s craving, compared to what you’re feeding them.

We always have to be careful of lighting as well, that’s something that’s very overlooked, and often not discussed when it comes to food and nutrition because it does affect that. And another thing that I want to always get people to pay attention to is their sleep. So the quality of sleep that you get also affects your hormones, two hormones, in particular, one is called ghrelin. So when we don’t get a good night’s rest, or if our children don’t get a good night’s rest, then they’re going to make more ghrelin, ghrelin makes us feel hungry all the time. So think of gremlins. And then the other thing that happens is we become leptin resistant.

Leptin tells us when we’re full. So if we become leptin resistant, because we’re not sleeping, well, then we’re going to feel hungry all the time. So no matter how much we eat, we’re going to keep feeling that we’re hungry and unsafe, created. And then you know, so you combine that poor sleep with poor lighting, and now you’ve got somebody who’s basically going to be craving, you know, basically, you know, high fat, high sugar, inflammatory foods, never going to feel satisfied, always going to be hungry.

This is going to create the recipe for a blood sugar rollercoaster. And so this can also lead to, you know, inflammatory food choices that are obviously going to affect not just the brain, but globally, it’s going to affect the body as well. And you know, also for parents to keep in mind, there’s something called the gut-brain axis.

Our brain and our gut are constantly communicating back and forth with one another. In fact, there are more signals coming from the gut to the brain, than from the brain to the gut. So it’s a superhighway, it’s a two-way superhighway. And so our gut environment, our microbiome in our gut is playing a key role in our brain and neurological function. And it’s important to pay attention to that as well.

Eating foods that are going to promote a healthy microbiome is very important. So these are going to be fibrous foods, so vegetables and fruits, and eating variety. So if we eat the same foods over and over again, and we feed the same bacteria, although these are healthy bacteria, variety creates balance. And so we want to create variety, a variety of colors, a variety of different food choices, especially plant-based food choices that are high in fiber is going to create a diverse microbiome, and that helps regulate inflammation, neurotransmitters in the body.

Vaish:

Thank you. And that was very well-rounded. I mean, you touched on many areas of like, I would say, maybe a foundational toolbox that anybody can just, you know, get started, you don’t need to immerse yourself in more and more information. And as you were saying this, one of the thoughts that came to my head is that a lot of this is, especially with the light that you were talking about, the information coming from the light is ongoing information, right. So there are studies going on, and it’s kind of like cutting-edge science.

In order to know it to know what to do you need to be up to date with what’s going on in the world yet that itself is another source of stress and negativity just, you know, just information itself. So how do you personally balance the input of information? Because give I’m guessing that doing what you do you have to be abreast with it at the same time, maybe not to abreast with it. I don’t know, what’s the balance?

Dr. Sachin:

Yeah, that’s a great question. Because it is it can be very overwhelming. And it can be very confusing because when we get to this the next week, it’s that. So I like to apply common sense and ancient wisdom. So the best source of lighting is the sun. Right? So without a doubt, I think most people would agree that we probably spent way too much time indoors and under artificial lighting. And unfortunately, the lighting sources that are available to us, especially in academic settings, are usually fluorescent bulbs, and these fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs are you know, toxic in terms of the lighting, color temperature, that because they’re usually about 5000 Kelvin. And so you’re getting this full spectrum of lighting throughout the day, and that doesn’t happen in nature. So as much as we can, you know, we don’t have a choice sometimes. But as much as we can I encourage people to get outside.

You know, getting outside in the sun first thing in the morning is a great time to get outside that increases dopamine that helps us feel much more grounded. It helps it energizes us, you know, in some cultures sungazing is a popular tradition as well. And I try to do that as many mornings as I can. Getting our bare feet in the grass is also something that we can do to help us ground electrically and discharge some of those negative ions. The other thing that you want to try to do is get out in the middle of the day. So midday sun is very important because that helps us increase serotonin and serotonin is, is our feel-good neurotransmitter.

Serotonin is primarily made in the gut. And when you think about it, that’s why they call the gut the solar plexus. So the gut requires proper sunlight in order for it to function properly. And then the third time of the day is sunset, so we can watch the sunset. And that’s a great tool for us to kind of let our body know at, an unconscious biochemical level, that is time to wind down. And then the evening I discourage overhead lighting. So I encourage people to use, you know, lamp shades or up lighting. Because in nature, the sun after it goes below the horizon, there’s no light coming from above anymore, right. So only in an artificial environment would light be coming from above after the sun has set.

In nature, if you were to light a fire, the light would come from the ground up. And so when light hits the bottom of our retina, versus the top of our retina, that sends a different signal to the brain. So we use a special type of bulb, it’s a red bulb, it’s a flicker-free LED. And we use we turn those lights on in the evening after the sun goes down so that our room and our home is group is read. And so what that does is it prevents the production of cortisol, the excessive production of cortisol, and starts increasing the production of melatonin.

Melatonin is what helps us get to sleep at night. But melatonin knows is also a very important immune-modulating hormone. So, you know, we want to get a good night’s rest, build up a healthy immune system, increase our dopamine production the next day, and then also wake up energized, then we have to make sure that our lighting environment is correct. And what’s beautiful about something like this is you just have to make these changes once, right, so it’s only overwhelming if we don’t do anything about it, because it just keeps looming and lingering. Whereas if you just take action, get the bulbs, you know, order three or four, depending on what your home setup is like, and then just set it up and then you forget about it. And then you just incorporate it into your life.

I like to you know, what I like to do is I like to evaluate and start with, you know, kind of working through my day. So and it’s not going to happen overnight, right? So the routines that I have the tools that I have the investments that I’ve made, you know, it wasn’t just like going to an Amazon cart, pressing an order, and it all shows up the next day, you have to find what works for you. So start with your morning, right. So when you wake up first thing in the morning, you know, how can you optimize that experience? Right? So maybe you have a gratitude journal? And you might brush your teeth? Who am I using toxic toothpaste? Or am I using healthy toothpaste? Toothpaste? Am I using a tongue scraper right? To help stimulate my vagus nerve, which helps me stimulate digestion? When do I go to the bathroom? Am I sitting in the right position? Most people sit on a throne.

Our body anatomically is designed to use a squatting position so you can get a squatty potty, right? The water that you’re drinking? Is that high-quality water that you’re drinking? Is it reverse osmosis filtered and re-mineralized? No. So you just kind of take a moment each day and ask yourself, Is this the best that I can do? When you turn the lights? The next time? Is this the best lighting that I can have for my home? Right?

When you’re in the shower? Is this the best water that I’m bathing my family and you know, when you’re using you know your utensils, or when you’re using your pots and pans? Are these pots and pans healthy for me? Or are they toxic? Right, if you’re using Teflon still, then I encourage you to watch the movie black waters. And you’ll see that this is information that was suppressed for many, many millions, not millions, but decades.

Teflon is known to cause cancer. And, and cause a lot of, you know issues for, you know, adults and children. So stop using that stuff, right? So you just kind of take a daily inventory. And then you know, you replace one of these things. So some of these things, you know, one item at a time. And eventually, you know, you look back 30 days later and you realize wow, like what an amazing transformation. Or you might look back a year later and realize that you’ve made a transformation, so ticket, you know, one step at a time and you know, obviously whatever your budget permits, but make that investment in yourself and I like to do things that are passive.

Most of what I teach my clients to do is absolutely free. It doesn’t cost them anything. So it’s not about you know, you know, buying things that are you gonna run out after 30 days, right? It’s not about buying supplements and you have to keep buying them every month or it’s not about doing lab testing, which you have to keep repeating every few weeks or few months. What are the things you can do on a daily basis that are going to move the needle for not just you but your entire family?

You know when you change the lighting in your home your whole family benefits when you change water quality, your whole family benefits when you change the pots and pans the whole family benefits. So what are things that we can do that give us you know four to one return? Because the entire family is benefiting from the process, not just one person.

Vaish:

And I think that perspective is very important. Because a lot of times we’re trying to do things to our kids and too and assuming that we’re kind of immune from whatever it is, like you said, we’re maintaining the same diet, we’re maintaining the same lifestyle. And it’s hard to make a change on both fronts, perhaps, but I think that maybe takes us farther to the long term.

Dr. Sachin:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, here’s the thing, what I learned about I have an 11-year-old, as I mentioned to you, and so I can speak from, you know, being a parent, I can’t speak from having a child who has some of the challenges that some of the listeners might have. But what I do know is that, if we’re going to stand in a place of integrity, we can never tell our child to do something that we ourselves are not doing. And so I, you know, at they say Bruce Lipton says that you know, basically you, you teach your child everything they’re going to learn between the ages of zero and eight. And after that,, their way of looking at the world has been formed. And my job as a parent is done. You know, of course, I have to protect him and provide for him. But his conscious and unconscious belief patterns have already been established at this point. And so I didn’t teach him anything, I just did it myself. So that this was the only way he knew how to live.

Right. So that’s where I encourage people to start start with you. Because the absolute worst-case scenario starting with you is you’re healthier. Right, whereas if we start with our child, then the worst-case scenario is they may not be accepting of the changes that you want to make, because you’re not making them for yourself. And then you end up frustrated, and then it all falls apart. But if you start with you, then you’re guaranteed at least some result and then your child will naturally follow.

Vaish:

And a question that came to my mind of what if it’s a specialized therapeutic diet, but I also thought of the answer, maybe it’s that that’s maybe not where we start, we start with a foundational anti-inflammatory diet and that everybody can if you do need to do a specialized therapeutic diet that may be later, but your foundations are still going to be the same for you and your child.

Dr. Sachin:

Yeah, exactly.

Vaish:

Yeah. Well, thank you so much that that was such a beautiful discussion you we did a full circle, maybe I’ll do an action sheet or a note card to accompany this because we hit on such a matrix of issues. It was really useful. Thank you so much for watching.

Dr. Sachin:

Thank you. I appreciate this opportunity. And, you know, lots of love to all the families and parents that are out there doing their best.

Vaish:

What an awesome podcast now can you believe we’re already on episode 96 Now before I bid you goodbye for a week. Don’t forget to sign up for my free training this week. Three signs that your child’s diet is not doing its job. Remember, you can sign up at functionalnutritionforkids.com/3signs The link is also in the show notes season.

95 Activation of the Vagus Nerve for your Autistic Child – with Dr. Navaz Habib

95 Activation of the Vagus Nerve for your Autistic Child – with Dr. Navaz Habib

If your child has trouble falling asleep, moving from a state of distress to a state of calm, if they have trouble with digestion, they likely have something called low Vagal Tone. The Vagus Nerve is the longest nerve in the body and touches so many aspects of our functioning and is known to be a factor, especially in children with digestive, neurological and inflammatory concerns, and I think that accounts for most of us kids with disabilities.

Dr. Navaz Habib, the author of “Activate Your Vagus Nerve” and host of “The Health Upgrade Podcast” talks to us about things you can do, even if your child is apraxic / dyspraxic. 

Check out this podcast to get 3 things you can implement right away to upgrade your child’s digestion, sleep and mood.

More on Gut Health at www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/guthealth

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Vaish:

If your child has trouble falling asleep, trouble moving from a state of distress to a state of calm. If they have trouble with digestion, they likely have something called Low vagal tone. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body and touches so many aspects of our functioning and is known to be a factor, especially in children with digestive, neurological and inflammatory concerns. I think that accounts for most of our kids, most the kids with disabilities, welcome to functional nutrition and learning for kids. You’re one-stop for nutrition and education matters for your child with Down syndrome, autism, or ADHD.

I’m your host Vaish and I am thrilled to interview vagus nerve expert, Dr. Navaz Habib today. Dr. Nawaz Habib is the author of activating the vagus nerve. He’s also the host of the health upgrade podcast. He’s the founder of health upgraded which is an online Functional Medicine and Health optimization clinic. Dr. Habib consults with high-performing professionals, athletes and entrepreneurs to dig deeper and find root causes holding them back from optimal health. By upgrading the vagus nerve, he teaches how we can optimize our productivity, focus and energy levels, allowing us to experience the effects of upgraded health. You can find this book at www.vagusnervebook.com. And it’s also linked on the show notes. And if you love this podcast, and as I’m sure you would, I would love to have your review wherever you’re listening.

Thank you for being here. Dr. Navaz. I’m so excited to finally have a conversation about the vagus nerve. I’ve been dying to have this conversation for a long time.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Honored to be here. Thanks for having me.

Vaish:

Yeah, can you? Can you let us get started with a deep dive? Can you tell us a little bit about the role of the vagus nerve in our bodies? And as parents of children with disabilities? Why should we be concerned?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, it’s a great question. And it’s something that I think honestly has been overlooked for too long, especially in the medical system that we currently are generally kind of living in the conventional system, we tend to overlook the importance of the control of inflammation within the body, we tend to overlook how we can kind of create an optimal function within our body and to allow for the body to function in the way that it’s meant to. And the vagus nerve is heavily involved in that particular role. And so what the vagus nerve is, is it’s the 10th cranial nerve. So we have 12 pairs of cranial nerves, either nerve that generally comes out from the brainstem, which is just below the brain and sends out these nerves primarily to the head and the face area. And so these are the ones that are involved in vision and taste in the face and eye movements and stuff like that. And they’re heavily involved in a lot of our senses, but the vagus nerve has a much greater role. And so it’s the 10th of the 12 nerves.

It’s a pair of nerves as well. So we’ve got one on each side, and they both come out from the brainstem. And instead of just staying within the head cavity, this particular nerve actually comes down, goes through the neck sends a few branches in and around the head and face, which we can talk about a little bit later with regard to treatment, and how to optimize the function of this. But it comes down alongside the carotid artery in the jugular vein. And these are the two blood vessels that bring blood flow to and from the brain.

They’re the most important blood flow vessels when it comes to being able to think and function and actually produce function within our brain. So you can just imagine how important these two structures are the carotid artery and jugular vein and alongside is the vagus nerve. It comes down through the neck and it continues on into the thorax into the chest area where it sends a branch to the heart and sends up branches to the lungs as well. But it doesn’t just stop there. It actually continues on and goes through the diaphragm, which is the muscle underneath the lungs and goes into the abdomen. And then it basically branches off and innervates almost every single organ in our abdomen. So we’re talking about the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, liver, you name it, every organ in the abdomen essentially has innervation from the vagus nerve or it’s getting some sort of signaling to and from the vagus nerve. And so it just goes to show how broad the vagus nerves function truly is.

For those who have a bit of a medical background, or they’ve done some anatomy, vagus literally comes from the root word vague or wondering is kind of what kind of means because it’s the only nerve and the Tire body, that’s not just doing one thing, it’s not just going to one area or one region, it’s going to so many different areas. And so it really speaks to the importance of this particular nerve because it really doesn’t act like any specific other nerves within the body.

Now, it’s really important to understand what information the vagus nerve is playing. So we know that it’s going to the lungs to the heart to all of these other organs, what information is being relayed through that. So about 80% of the information on the vagus nerve is actually afferent. That means that it’s actually signaling from those organs up to the brain. And that’s 80% 80% is actually going from all of those organs up to the brain. Many of us at this point, I imagine in your research, things that have gone on with you, with your kids with the conditions that they may be dealing with. We’ve heard of the gut brain connection, the gut brain axis, and we know the importance of the microbiome, the physical connecting point of the gut brain axis is the vagus nerve. And so that is why it’s so so important, especially when it comes to the types of conditions that we’re talking about when it comes to functional nutrition and kids. And being able to understand that the information that comes through the microbiome is going to be signaled to our brain via the vagus nerve.

Primarily, there are other routes, hormonal routes and other biochemical roots. But this is a particular physical connecting point. It also is involved in the control of inflammation and producing the parasympathetic nervous system. So this vagus nerve has so many different roles. And 80% of that information is coming up to the brain that’s kind of that thermostat, gut brain axis telling us what’s going on within the body, what inflammation is occurring, what organs are working, which ones are not, all of that is coming up in that 80%, we have 15% of the information on the vagus nerve that’s going from the brain and the brain stem down to those organs. And that’s the parasympathetic nervous system. That is what we generally talk about as the rest and digest system. It’s also I want to add one more word there, it’s the Rest Digest and recover the system.

It allows for recovery to occur, it allows for us to be able to take on the stressors that we’ve experienced on a daily basis, and recover from those, okay. And in doing so, as a part of that system as a part of that 15% of the information that’s going from the brain down, it’s also controlling the inflammation within the body.

So inflammation, if we think about it, in the most basic sense, think of it like a car, we’ve got the gas pedal, and we’ve got the brakes, we’ve got the accelerator and the brakes, I have an electric car, so I don’t have a gas pedal anymore. So on the accelerator, we have essentially this Go Go Go idea that fight or flight, which is a sympathetic response. And then we’ve got the brakes, and the brakes are controlled through the vagus nerve. And that’s to control the inflammation. So we need inflammation in an acute state and we get bumped we get in a car accident, something physical, or traumatic happens, we need an inflammatory response to help to say, hate, we need all of these cells to come here and fix the issue.

The problem with inflammation occurs when it’s uncontrolled when we can’t push the brakes, in the same way, that if we push the accelerator on a car, and we don’t slow it down, we don’t have the brakes, that car can go and create a whole lot of damage. Okay, in the same way, inflammation can do the same thing when it’s uncontrolled. And so the function of the vagus nerve is to control that inflammation through a whole system known as the cholinergic, anti-inflammatory system. So essentially, we’ve got these three major systems that are run through the vagus nerve, they’ve got the gut brain axis, and the thermostat of inflammation within the entire body going up in that 80% of information on the nerve. And then in that 15%, that’s going down, we’ve got the parasympathetic nervous system, which is essentially telling our digestive system to turn on to go into a resting state to be able to recover from the challenges that we’re experiencing, and to put on the brakes to inflammation through the cholinergic anti-inflammatory system. Now, if I missed about 5%, and I’ve done so on purpose because that’s where we can really affect positive change within the vagus nerve.

Vaish:

Are you going to get to the 5%?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Absolutely. Yeah,

Vaish:

We can. Okay.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

For sure.

Vaish:

Yeah. Well, my you can tell me this ties into my next question is that when there is an issue with the functioning of the vagus nerve, and I don’t know if that is the same as saying vagal tone, or do those mean the same thing? Okay. So what kind of symptoms would you be seeing in Kids?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, that’s a great question. So vagal tone essentially tells us how strong the vagus nerve is or how much function there is within the vagus nerve. The higher the vagal tone, the more the better the vagus nerve is functioning, and the lower the vagal tone, essentially, the ceiling is a bit lower for how well we’re able to get into those parasympathetic states, how much inflammation control and the gut brain axis, how much information can be passed via that nerve?

Vaish:

So basically, the information highways kind of maybe either be congested or just not functioning well. Okay.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

That’s exactly right. So think of it exactly, you gave a great analogy there is a highway that has a whole lot of traffic, you’re not only able to go really quickly on it, it’s it’s clogged up with too many cars, too much information, and it just can’t handle it because it’s not wide enough or strong enough. Right. So what we would like is a fast-running highway, a highway or freeway that has a good flow of cars, everybody’s able to move along to go where they need to go, and there isn’t a clog, or an accident, or some sort of traffic condition that’s going on within that nerve.

Vaish:

When that doesn’t happen. What do you what, what what do you see?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, so the challenges that we tend to notice in those situations are uncontrolled inflammation, and really poor digestion, those are the two most common things that we find is attributed to low vagal tone and are associated with low vagal tone. So let’s talk about digestion. We know how important gut brain access is, the signals from the vagus nerve that goes to the gut are actually going to stimulate the actual peristalsis, the actual breakdown of the nutrients and the movement of the food along the intestinal tract and along all of the digestive organs. This is where a lot of challenges can occur. So if we’re dealing with like chronic constipation, or a very, very fast gut, it means that we’re not getting that ideal timeline by which the digestive system is able to do its job. So poor digestion, somebody going to the bathroom more than three times a day, or not going to the bathroom every day, I think the ideal number is anywhere between the kind of one to three per day would be an optimal number of times to have bowel movements within the day.

Vaish:

I knew that for constipation vagal tone was an issue, I did not know that you know, more than three times a day could also be a vagal tone issue.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, absolutely. And there’s, there’s some really great, there’s a really great test that I’ll actually recommend to be able to figure out if this is an issue, it’s called the bowel transit time test. So what I recommend is to go and get just a very small amount, you don’t need a lot of it, but just white sesame seeds are one of the easier ones to go and pick up from any bulk food store, just a little bit of them, make sure they are white, you won’t see them if they’re not, what you’re looking for is to take that take those sesame seeds, put them in a glass of water and have yourself your kid whoever is doing the test. actually drink the seeds don’t chew the seeds, it’s important. So our audio can’t. Exactly everybody can break down the seeds. So if you swallow them, and then you mark down the time that you’ve had, the seeds come in. And then what you’re going to do is every time you or whoever you’re testing goes to the bathroom, you’re going to check to see if there are white seeds that are showing up in their stools.

Okay, I see. And you’re going to mark down the time that you first see them, you’re also going to mark down the time that you last see them. And the ideal can be seen multiple times this is a very important piece of the puzzle. Because if you’re finding that it’s happening over three or four different bowel movements, then you know that there’s some sluggishness or you know that there might be pockets at which food is not being ideally moved along. And it’s actually backed up that some of those traffic jams are happening on the gut side rather than on the vagus nerve side. Okay, I see, the ideal amount of time is anywhere between the kind of 16 to 20 hours, that would be optimal. Anything faster than that means that you’re moving along too quickly.

Anything more than 24 hours, we know we’re moving along a little too slowly. Okay, so that optimal number is 16 to 2020 to 24. Not so bad. 12 to 16 May, not bad, but not phenomenal. More, more than 24 less than 12. We know that we’re having an issue there for sure.

Vaish:

I see. So, so both so. So you made the point that both constipation and I don’t want to say diarrhea because it may not be diarrhea, but can be a signal can be a symptom of low vagal tone, correct? Absolutely. Yes. And you also said that the two areas that are most commonly affected are inflammation and digestion and we know that Most kids, maybe more than 80% of kids who are autistic have, you know, digestive issues of different sorts? And I don’t know what the percent is, but many have both gut and neuroinflammation. Yeah. So is that an obvious segue into the fact that you need to work on vagal tone, that’s exactly right.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Essentially, if there’s a breakdown in the gut if the gut is not functioning well enough, because it’s not able to absorb nutrients correctly, or whatnot, whenever there’s a breakdown at the gut lining, it’s going to eventually become a neurological breakdown as well. Our brain and our gut both developed from the same soulmates when we’re a fetus. So we have very particular soulmates that produce neurological tissue. And if we really think about it, the brain obviously is neurological tissue, but so is the gut. Because the gut has more nerve endings in it than our actual central nervous system brain does.

The gut is actually the quote-unquote, second brain, the enteric nervous system is all of these nerve endings on the gut site. And that’s where all of our nutrients are absorbed in from, and they’re meant to go out and the nutrients that go to the cells to allow them to do their job. But within the lining of the gut, we have lymphoid tissue, this gut associated lymphoid tissue Galt, and that makes up our entire body between 70 and 80% of the immune system cells. So by volume 70, to 80% of our immune system is located in the lining of our gut. So if there’s an issue in the gut, it’s going to trigger inflammation. And because we are developed from the same sites, both in our gut and our brain, and anything that breaks down the gut is eventually are pretty quickly, in some cases, going to break down the blood-brain barrier and actually get in and create an inflammatory trigger and inflammatory symptoms within the brain. And that is because it’s triggering what’s called the microglial cells within the brain.

They’re activated because the inflammatory cytokines, these signaling molecules that say, Hey, there’s a ton of inflammation, there’s something wrong, are getting across into the brain. And those microglial cells are saying, Oh, no, we got to turn on, we got to knock down this inflammation, but it’s getting confused because the inflammation is so high, it just triggers more and more, it’s creating an actual breakdown of the brain function.

That can lead to in some basic cases, things like brain fogginess, and memory issues. And in more extreme cases, it leads to adding ADHD, autism, etc. So this is where that connection point comes from. And the vagus nerve is so heavily involved in that system, that it is, in my opinion, the crux of this whole thing, if we can manage to improve the gut brain axis and the vagus nerve function, we’re going to be able to bring that inflammation under control, and actually reduce the symptoms of what people are experiencing both in an acute scenario and chronically.

Vaish:

So you would think of the vagus vagal tone as a root cause as opposed to it. I was going to ask you this question later, but I think it fits in right now. It’s gonna ask you, is it? Is it a root cause of the symptoms?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

it’s on the pathway of the vagus nerve itself requires certain inputs that are going to take whether it is functioning well or not, and dunzo over a chronic period of time, that’s where vagal tone can decrease. So you’re never going to be diagnosed with low vagal tone. That’s not a diagnosis by any means. But it is triggered by certain challenges. When you have a really heavily inflammatory diet, it’s going to trigger a breakdown of the vagus nerve, because the

Vaish:

An inflamed inflammatory diet causes vagal tone issues which can cause inflammation.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Exactly which exacerbates the inflammation. So now we already have an inflammatory diet, we’re allowing for more of the breakdown to occur within the gut, we’re allowing the inflammation level to come up, and the brakes can only control so much. If the accelerator is constantly being pushed, then you’re trying to slow that down, but you’re pushing both pedals at the same time, and the brakes are going to wear out. I love that analogy. breaks down, and that’s where vagal tone decreases.

Vaish:

Wow. Okay, so it’s kind of midstream. But, so when you are addressing vagal tone it’s kind of pointless to be on an inflammatory diet and address it.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, it’s really good. Yeah. Right.

Vaish:

So it all starts I like this because I like the fact that it comes back to the diet because a lot of times we’re looking for hacks that we can do. While not I mean, changing diet is hard work, especially if your child is a picky eater or if your child I mean, it’s just harder with the child. Right. So yeah, unless you start very young. So a lot of times people want other things, but it’s good to know that. It’s not very useful.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, exactly. And really, it does come down to if you can provide good nutrition to your kids. The gut is going to be in a resolved state. It’s Tough I get it. I have a five year old and a one year old. I understand how tough it can be and pickiness does come out. It’s a whole different scenario with kids. But if we train them and teach them what’s healthy and what we want to avoid or minimize, and they learn that from an early age, it’s something that I’ve been able to at least, for the most part, let’s say we follow kind of the 8020 rule of being really good versus allowing ourselves a little bit of leniency.

Vaish:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And same here with my kids, my daughter is 11. I do at 20. But she’s neurotypical and I’m not seeing any symptoms, I can afford to do that. But with my son, I can’t if I do at 20, all is lost within two weeks. So yes, so we’re, we’re 100. But the way it goes is that with time, he doesn’t even want to eat things like gluten and dairy anymore, or he’ll push away things that are sweet, which I think it’s a learned cultivated response.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

And that’s, like, attributed to your hard work. I totally understand that. Like, it’s been a tough road. But clearly, the fact that he happened to make that decision on his own and realizes what makes them not feel good. It’s a trained response. And that’s wonderful that you were able to do that. Yeah. And

Vaish:

it’s definitely miserable in the beginning for the first few months. But honestly, actually, it’s easier now than, than if we were to eat a regular diet. But coming back to a vagal tone, how can we not everybody’s obviously thinking about this? What do we need to do? How do we work on Rainbow tone?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, it’s a great question. One of the more common things that I find with kids, and this is even true with my younger ones, is that breathing is heavily involved in this entire process. And the fact that most of us don’t breathe correctly, we tend to, let’s think about it very basically. And you can do this with your kids. And it’ll actually turn some light bulbs on, watch your kid and say, take a deep breath in. And you’ll see what they do when they’re paying attention is they’ll go into this full chest breathing, shoulders shrugged, go into that position, even the vast majority of us as adults do this, as well, when in reality, we shouldn’t really be moving any of these muscles, it should be purely diaphragmed.

So the diaphragm is that muscle that’s kind of at the bottom right below the lungs. And the idea here is that we want to create space within our lungs and the diaphragm is the muscle that’s going to do that most effectively, it’s going to create that deepest vacuum and allow for air to come deeper and deeper. And so a really quick thing to check if you’re breathing correctly is to put one hand on your chest, put one hand on your belly, and take a deep breath. And notice which hand is moving, if the hand that’s on your belly is the one that’s moving, congratulations, you’re doing well. If the hand that’s on your chest as the one that’s moving forward and backward, you have to do about three or four breaths to really get a good sense of this. You’re actually breathing with more of your accessory breathing muscles, your intercostals the traps.

This is why so many people really tight trap muscles and upper back muscles. Not only is it the pure, terrible posture that we have sitting on our laptops all day. But in addition to that, we’re not breathing correctly, we’re using the accessory breathing muscles, not the primary breathing muscles. So this is an important piece of the puzzle. If we want to turn on the vagus nerve, we have to signal to our brain that we’re in a calm state. And that requires deep, slow diaphragmatic breaths, deep breaths.

Vaish:

Can I pause you there? Dr. As you said, if you want to signal to your Wait, wait if you want to signal to your vagus nerve that you’re in a calm state, is that what you said, and then also that the vagus nerve itself signals.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Back to the rest of the body? Okay, so this is where our conscious control can actually tell our body where we are. So let’s think of it in a very basic sense. There’s a dog running after you chasing barking, all of a sudden, you’re gonna go into what’s called the fight or flight response, your breathing is going to become short and shallow, right? Your pupils are going to dilate and blood flow is going to go towards your arms and your legs. So you can either fight or run away from the dog or the threat or whatever it is even it happens when your boss taps you on the shoulder and says, Hey, I need to see you in my office right now. All right, so we have this stressful scenario that triggers a stress response.

Our control of that can be simply based on how we breathe. And so we can actually dictate, are we going into the fight or flight side of things with a short shallow breath, which most of us are breathing incorrectly and we’re going into that state because we’re breathing incorrectly, or we can slow that down. Go into that deep diaphragmatic breath, calm everything down, and send the blood flow towards the center towards the core. or the chest and the abdomen and allow for, our function to actually go into this parasympathetic, rest, digest and recover state. And so how we breathe, our breath control is actually going to tell the vagus nerve whether to turn on or off.

Vaish:

So if I were too Sorry, continue.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

If we do this chronically, if we’re breathing through our chest chronically at 90% of the time, and we’re breathing incorrectly, then we’re likely pushing ourselves toward that sympathetic fight or flight response too much. And we’re not allowing the brakes to do their job. We’re not allowing the vagus nerve to turn on, effectively. So when we’re not stressed, we need to be breathing correctly. Watch your kid do this. If you watch a baby breathe, that’s kind of the best signal of how we should be breathing, because they’ve just learned and they haven’t been trained to breathe with their chest. But you’ll notice the belly is rising and falling when they’re laying on their back. That’s what we should be doing.

Vaish:

That’s why. Yeah, and that’s why when you learn pranayama, they say that breath is the bridge between the body and the mind. And that’s the biochemical reason for that.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

That’s the right 100% Wow, That’s that.

Vaish:

That is a fantastic, you know, just a biochemical picture that you gave us. Thank you. Thank you for that. That’s, really cool. And I was checking. I know that now. I mean, I do the second one where my belly goes back and forth. But when before I started learning to read, which is unfortunate that you have to learn but I remember the first time I was asked to read this way.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

That’s exactly right. It’s a trained response. And even like, I’ll find it in my five year old when she gets into one of her like, mood-based just turns on and she gets really upset and she’s crying and she gets into one of these tantrum types of scenarios. A lotus, that breathing is all short and shallow. So my goal always is to a hold hugger, and then say, Okay, let’s take some deep belly breaths.

A really easy way to do this though. Kids, this works really well for my, kid, is they love balloons. So let’s teach them to blow up the balloon that’s in their tummy. Okay, not the balloon, hear the balloon that’s in their tummy. So when they breathe in, we’re blowing up the balloon in your tummy. And as you breathe out, you’re letting that balloon deflate or shrinking that balloon. So the balloon is located within their belly. It’s just a simple visualization that works. So well, literally within three breaths, she’s generally much calmer. I realize I’ve neurotypical kids may be a little bit more difficult when you’re dealing with challenges and autism and ADHD and whatnot. But that breath really is that controlling piece that can be very, very beneficial in helping to bring back that calm state. And the visualization helps them focus on something that isn’t the thing that triggered them in the first place. So deep belly breaths focus on blowing up the balloon in your belly, okay. And I like to put my hand on her belly so that she feels this is where it needs to be working not up, not up top, not within the chest.

Vaish:

And any other techniques for working on vagal tone. Yeah.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

So this is where that last 5% that I kind of has blown over really comes into play. So there are two other functions of the vagus nerve 4% of the information in the vagus nerve goes to the pharyngeal and laryngeal muscles, these are the muscles around the vocal cords and at the back of the mouth and back of the throat. Okay, these are important because these muscles receive motor input from the vagus nerve, meaning that they have a muscular tone when they are turned on. So that means that they can keep our airways open.

The only reason I have any pitch or tone within my voice, the reason I can go really, really low or really, really high is that I have good vagal tone in vagal, signals to the laryngeal muscles that are tightening on the vocal cord. Okay, so that’s an important piece. If you find somebody who’s very monotone with their voice, you’ll notice, you’ll probably notice this more now that I’ve told you. But if you find that somebody’s more monotonous with their voice, they’re not able to really raise or lower their pitch.

It’s very commonly due to some sort of vagus nerve tone issue. I see. And so the muscles there are not triggered well enough by the vagus nerve. So the way to do this is humming humming is one of my favorite tools. This is also great with kids, especially right before a meal. Oftentimes, we’re running around, we’re dealing with all this stress, we’re cooking, they’re running and going crazy. And then we want to sit at the table and nobody can calm down. Yeah, and if we’re all in this fight or flight state when we go and we sit down, we’re not going to get that nutrition that we have worked so hard to get on the plate in front of them, right. So it doesn’t matter how healthy your food is.

If you’re not in a rest and digest state, you’re not going to get that nutrition and so I do a bit of humming with my kids for 36 comes to a minute before the meal, and we all sit down. And then I start saying let’s buzz like A B and we go z are we going to is that the same tone as your own would be when you’re doing like an own practice and meditation.

It’s the idea there with OMA is actually to help center and get the vagus nerve turned on. It’s really interesting that that exact frequency is really well known to turn on your vagus nerve. But there are actual HRV measurements, and we can get into a whole science of that later. But that tone is really helpful. So we want to buzz like a V or we want to hum like a beat we go. And you’ll notice it also slows your breath that slows the exhale down. In doing so it controls you into this deep diaphragmatic breath. We take a deep breath in.

Vaish:

And then we go even during it is coming, right, yeah.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Exactly. Hearing it feeling it, the vibration there, it’s stimulating the muscles around the vocal cords. So it’s actually turning the vagus nerve on a really awesome quick trick to help especially with kids to help calm them down and get them into that rest and digest state and turn their vagus nerve on.

Vaish:

So pretty easy, easy things to do with kids is like focus on their belly breathing. Remind them to do that, especially when in states of you know, either hyperactivity or agitation. And, and hum. Which is probably something that everybody would love to do. Me, may I throw you? What is known in us as a curveball and what is known in India and the Indian subcontinent is a googly?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Absolutely, I understand the cricket pieces to that totally Yes.

Vaish:

Okay. Yeah. That here, so my son and other non-speaking kids. So this is whenever I’ve studied vagal tone in the past because I keep trying to see what can I help my son, he is non-speaking, and he cannot hum on command. Sometimes he can, maybe you can hold it for a second. There are many who may not be using the right terms here. But there are many things that you would think are, I don’t know if the word is autonomic, or would that the body should do automatically but he doesn’t seem to have control. For example, when when we sleep, we close our eyes and then drift to sleep. But when he sleeps, he has to fall asleep for his eyes to close, which is why sleep is a nightmare. But coming back, he cannot breathe out, or in on command, he cannot love. So every one of the vagal tone exercises that I hear is all inaccessible to a subset of kids who simply I guess the word for it is apraxia is they just do not have the motor control. To do any of these. What I have ended up doing with my son is, with his permission, do a cold shower, because the only thing I can think of so what can you help us with there?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, when you get to the age that they can handle a cold shower, I love it. I think it’s one of the best things you can do a cold plunge and a cold shower is wonderful. Because what it does is it teaches you to handle stress and control your breath under that stressful circumstance. The key here is control of the breath. And so the cold shower will do that. I’m sure you notice when you do turn on that cold water, he gets very young. And you get into the sympathetic breathing. I don’t know when I do it for myself, all of us do. It’s meant to be there, right? We’re meant to respond that way. The key is over the next 30 seconds to five minutes. Depending on how long you want to do this, are you able to shift your breath from the chest back to the belly and focus on the belly breath?

That’s the key why being in the cold shower, continuing to be within the cold shower. So while the stressor continues to hit you can you bring yourself from sympathetic fight or flight into parasympathetic, rest, and digest. So think of it in a very basic way. We want to train our muscles to get stronger, we have to train them under stress. Let’s say, for example, we’re doing squats, we can do body squats, and air squats with no weight on them. Phenomenal, great. But now if we add weight onto the bar, we put a bar on their back and we put 50 6080 100 pounds on it retraining at a deeper level, we’re going to a much stronger level we’re under greater stress able to perform a better function, the cold is considered the stress and control of the breath are optimizing the function optimizing the muscles so to better training for the longer term to help increase the strength of that so the key is, can you bring the breath back to that chest.

Vaish:

So while that is hard to save when you’re doing it for another person and I think the key is also that you want to make sure that this is that you have the buy in of the person who might yeah my son will say because after the day after the culture he will say that I can feel parts of my body that I haven’t felt for this. And my guess is Something to do with vagal tone blood flow all of that right?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

That sounds about right, it sounds very much like a blood flow type of thing that’s likely secondary to the vagus nerve getting turned on cold exposure is wonderful. It’s one of the best ways to turn on the vagus nerve.

Vaish:

Yeah, what else can you do for a child that has difficulty with humming and breathing?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

In a situation like that the things that I would recommend are, and you kind of mentioned this earlier, when you’re humming, you can even hear it just hearing the frequency of that hum is going to help to calm you down. So and we know as parents that our kids take on the energy that we give to them, right. So if it’s bedtime, and we’re up and running around and the lights are on, and we’re talking and we’re loud, they’re not going to be able to fall asleep.

In the same way, when we come down, when we get our bodies into a state where we can stimulate the vagus nerve or get them to sleep, then they’ll fall asleep more easily. In the same way, if we go into that parasympathetic state around them, and even if you just like, I imagine even holding his hand or holding his back while you’re doing this, he’ll feel that vibration in a slightly different way. And that frequency will help to slow his breathing down. It’s almost like you’re being like the surrogate provider of the vagus nerve activation by simply being in the vicinity of him and calming down and allowing your vagus nerve to turn on. So if we shift our energy, and if we’re physically touching them, I imagine it would be making a big difference so I think

Vaish:

so too, because I think, as everybody would attest that when your other senses kind of dull, a little bit you do have our kids are very intuitive. And there’s a lot of perception of the environment around them. So I think, I think yeah, and I think every parent listening to this podcast would agree with that. Well, maybe thank you so much for all of this information. Maybe the last question, can you’ve already told us the answer to this, but maybe to summarize, can you give a parent or a child that say, very dysregulated, or having hyperactivity, three steps that they can take right away. And I know you’ve already said this so that we can even summarize it if that’s, we can break that down really easily.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

The number one is to get them to be breathing calmly when it requires them to be in a calm, rest and digest state. Teach them to breathe with their belly, teach them to expand that balloon within their belly, that deep diaphragmatic breath will change everything.

Vaish:

And if that is not accessible, then you sit and Breathe calmly, Breathe with them exactly.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

In a situation where it’s time to eat, humming is a phenomenal, simple tool to add with your kids, not only for your kids, it’ll actually help you a lot as well, a lot of people have vagus nerve dysfunction, and they really realize that it’s happening. So humming is a great option. And I just want to add one more, this is a really interesting one, not everybody will be able to do this, but it might work really well is that the last 1% of the information on the nerve that I’ve left out, excuse me, is actually information on the skin of the Oracle the skin of the ear, and it’s not the entire ear, it’s just that inside part, right around where the canal is. I talk a lot more about it in the book. But that area can be stimulating to the vagus nerve really effectively, it’s the auricular branch of the vagus nerve, and it sends sensory signals, meaning that if we just simply touch that area, it can be very calming, very stimulating to the vagus nerve, we can use things like a feather, we can use things that are very gentle.

We could if you wanted to, to the level of like sharp and dull, but acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine use that area I’ve seen particularly for vagus nerve activation, there are particular areas and that whole area within that small part of the Oracle the skin of that area actually outlines the entire parasympathetic nervous system within it. So in all of the organs that the vagus nerve innervates are laid out in that particular area, they kind of figured it out without having the anatomy behind it and going beyond kind of the vagus nerve information being laid out on an irregular map. So that’s something that we could use as an access tool to help to stimulate from an external source so that would be you as a parent or going to see a practitioner that does that in particular.

Vaish:

I love that thank you. And I have not heard of that. And now I can recollect whenever I’ve had acupuncture I remember that point. Thank you so much doctor and allow us to end with How can parents access you do work one on one.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

Yeah, I absolutely do. All of the work that I do with people is one on one through zoom. I’ve been doing this for years and years and if you want more information and there are a lot more tools with In the book, I outline about 25 different ways.

Vaish:

And tell us the name of the book for those that are listening, how to activate your vagus nerve.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

And really simple read, I get into a little bit of the science a little bit of what causes the breakdowns to occur and a bit of the exercise and tools that we can use things like sleeping on your side versus on your back or front. Things like what type of music to listen to, to help trigger HRV by the way, the answer is Mozart and classical music 100 Mozart Effect is real.

Vaish:

So any Indian, classical, whatever works well as a common state.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

What’s been tested so far in the research, the more of the classical piano type I got, yeah, yeah. And there’s a bunch more within there. I get into like daily, weekly and monthly practices, and what to dig into. And I’d be happy to consult if anybody does need deeper support than what they can find in the book.

Vaish:

I’ll link to your book and to your website. Can you just read out your link one so people know?

Dr. Navaz Habib:

it’s www.healthupgraded.com.

Vaish:

That’s easy. I will put the link to the book and the website. Thank you so much, Dr. Navaz.

Dr. Navaz Habib:

It’s my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.

Vaish:

So the three steps to upgrading your child’s vagal tone right away are one, Breathe calmly through your tummy to humming before eating or chanting home and three light pressure on the inside of the ear ridge to innervate the vagus nerve. You can get more information on your child’s gut health at functionalnutritionforkids.com that help. You can also find Dr. Nivas at health upbraided.com or vagus nerve book.com. And both links are in your show notes. Thank you for listening, and I’ll see you next week.

94. Changing your child’s genes through food with Amanda Archibald

94. Changing your child’s genes through food with Amanda Archibald

Can you change your genetic expression based on what you eat? Conversely, if you are one of those people that are chronically deficient in say, Iron or Vitamin D, are your genes to blame? And what can you do about it?

How can this apply to factors that affect Autism/ADHD symptoms?

In this episode, Amanda Archibald, a pioneer in genomic nutrition, explains to us how – not only do genes affect how you can process food, but you can actually fine-tune the food you eat to optimize your genes?

Whether you need help with Omega-3 supplementation, or whether you need to USE Omega-3s to modulate some “slacker” genes, nutrigenomics is the field you have been waiting for.

You can find Amanda Archibald at www.genomickitchen.com

In the meantime, we are using nutrigenomics practically in our 5-day dosa challenge. Sign up at www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/dosa to find out how to make a dosa over 5 days and why a Dosa is a perfect breakfast for your child.

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Vaish:

Can you change your genetic expression based on what you eat? Conversely, if you are one of those people that are chronically deficient in, say, iron or vitamin D, are you struggling? And what can you do about it? Welcome to functional nutrition and learning for kids. I’m your host Vaish, my job is to make it easier for you to understand why food affects your child’s focus, energy, and regulation, and what you can do about it.

Today’s conversation with Amanda Archibald is in the area of nutrigenomics, which is the world of optimizing genetic expression through the food you eat. Now, this is a fascinating field, the very fact that you can manipulate the expression of a gene based on the food you eat itself is mind-blowing.

My guest, Amanda Archibald is widely recognized as among the foremost leaders in Translational Genomics, connecting genomic science to everyday health, and a global pioneer in genomic nutrition. She’s also an author, educator, consultant, and public health advocate. She founded the genomic kitchen in 2017, to showcase the relationship between genes food, and health, dedicated to making nutritional genomics more widely understood, Amanda teaches and mentors clinicians globally in the practice of Nutrigenetics, and nutrigenomics.

Additionally, she guides individuals with complex health challenges on a journey to wellness, using genomics as the reference blueprint. Amanda is a native of the UK and currently resides in the western high desert mountains of Colorado. Let’s dig deep. Listen on. Hi, Amanda. Welcome to functional nutrition and learning for kids. Thank you for joining us here.

Amanda:

I’m glad to be with you. And I’m even happier that you based in Portland, Oregon, because it’s one of my favorite cities ever.

Vaish:

Awesome. Yeah, I am going to maybe dwell directly into the language. So you work with nutrigenomics. But there’s also Nutrigenetics, I think I don’t know if nutritional genetics is different. But are we talking about genes influencing the nutritional status of our bodies are nutritionally intimate influencing genetic expression?

Amanda:

Are both? Yes, I work in both. And it’s interesting because I trained clinicians around the world. And your question is one that I have to make sure they completely understand too because they work. They’re United via nutrition, right? So I work with Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics. So if any of your audience has seen a, quote, genetic test, the type I work with, it will be a Nutri genetic test. So what does that mean?

Nutrigenetics looks at how changes how a gene or changes in a gene will influence how you utilize so absorbing your body uses specific information from your diet, aka nutrients. So I always think of Nutrigenetics as after the chain, how does the gene or their genotype data your phenotype you and the genes you’ve inherited?

How does that influence what you do with information from food, right, so that’s, so for example, let’s give an example? Some people may need some help with Omega three supplementation, for example, because of the food sources of Omega three, if you’re not eating seafood, for example, you’re gonna have a harder time new to Gillette, genetically, getting that omega-three fatty acid in the right form. So that’s it.

We can look at some other examples of Nutrigenetics. So nutrigenomics is the brilliant art and science of the world I work in, which is where we can use information from food. It could be something like, again, omega-three fatty acid, it could be something that we call a bioactive, which is a resident molecule of food, to target genes to get them up and get them to do their job, which is great. So I think this is before the genes.

This is prodding the gene or creating a workaround, because as I say, the gene is a slacker, in some cases, it hasn’t shown up at all. So what are you going to do? So we literally can write recipes, and we can talk to individuals like yourself, your clients, or the public at large about how to harness the power of food based on their genetic profile? It’s brilliant, don’t you think? It’s just like, Wow, a whole new set of tools? The weekend just

Vaish:

case you’re using the foods to optimize genetic expression, right? Correct.

Amanda:

Yeah, to optimize and like in some cases, you know, we all nobody has a perfect set of genes. We all have, you know, those who are really really eager to do the job and those who haven’t shown up, and those who were just like slacking. So as I like to say like they need a kick in the pants. sometimes to do their job say that the gene, so you said phenotypes of the gene are there, but it’s not x, is that the correct language? Or it’s not expressed?

Amanda:

Yeah, so, so genotype is a set. This is interesting not to kind of get folks confused because it is confusing. So your genotype is like your human genes. It’s like the genes you inherit your phenotype is basically how the world we live in including food stress diet, well, diet, right exercise, is influencing or changing our gene blueprint, if you will. So you get, let’s say, you come up with a perfect set of genes, like human genes, which were each a little different, based on the genes we inherit, but also how the environment we live in washes over us.

That kind of changes our genotype, it becomes who you are, which is, you know, it’s a human right at our evolve over our lives. So, but nutrigenomics think of that as before the chain-like Nutrigenetics, how that chain influences? You know, how you respond to exercise or sir or the food you eat or not, you know, nutrigenomics is like, it’s sort of like the art of how we dial-in information to optimize Yes, not necessarily change your optimize gene expression will be a better way. Good point.

Vaish:

Yeah, it’s definitely a fascinating field. And I’m curious about to what extent you can do this optimization. So one of the questions I have, and I’m going to get this out before, so we can go into more specifics later, is that a lot of times people will say, so, you know, like, the functional nutrition functional medicine world is very centered around a paleo style diet. A very, what I would think it’s a very European-centric diet, which isn’t necessarily what ancestral populations have had in other countries for ages. Yeah. So I’m, so a lot of times, you know, you hear language like this that? Well, my, you know, genetically, you can maybe eat grains, but I can, so is that even accurate? So, what do you think?

Amanda:

Yeah, so let’s kind of dial that back. So I grew up in Europe. And growing up in England, I grew up with so many different cultures, which was fabulous, you know, I just loved it, like to be seen England on national dishes, Indian and all the different areas. It is it was just absolutely amazing to live and work there. But to come back to your question, one of the criticisms of the human genome project is that it was very white, if you will, very European-centric. And of course, we’re, and that’s just the nature of how that project evolves.

The human genome project basically, is an international project, it wasn’t just an American or European international project, that basically gave scientists the map of how the human body is built, genetically. So it was brilliant. But if you’ve looked at a lot of the research, it did kind of like the Mediterranean diet, it did veer more towards kind of white and all Caucasian and European populations.

However, what we now see is so much more research that speaks to the phenotypes or the genetic predispositions of Southeast Asians, for example, or Africans are absolutely amazing what we’re seeing, for example, then I want to give you a very specific example of exactly what you’re talking about. So for example, the Inuit, so the Eskimo population, they, if we look genetically, at their ability to produce their own forms of Omega three, a very, very important fatty acid, as you know, they literally kind of don’t need the gene because they’re the diet is, you know, or what traditionally was full of omega-three fatty acids.

If you look and I just saw this recently, so I should see that send you this research. If you look at the same gene, so it’s fats one and fat to the chain in South East Asian populations, your gene and this isn’t a general observation, you are predisposed to be able to take plant sources of Omega three Alpha Linna clinic acid and produce EPA and DHA, whereas the Eskimos can they, In other words, you cannot give an Eskimo illness and I’m talking very general terms a plant-based diet, right, right. It can’t they don’t have the gene Where is the Southeast Asian pocket that’s a huge population, right.

Vaish:

I think it was very specific to Indians but sub-classifications right. In the Indian population, you can automatically eat a plant-based diet So, um, get through omega threes. That is so interesting. That makes so much sense. Yeah, right. So it. Yeah, yeah.

Amanda:

So to your point, there’s been a lot of generalizations in genetics that now we know, like, depending on the individuals around the world, they have different predispositions dietarily If you don’t eat, I don’t know on exercise. But on diet, we can’t make the same assumptions for everyone. And so let me give you an example of that. So my husband is Greek by birth. he was adopted at birth by American parents, his American and French is a beautiful story. But it took us a long time to figure out you have migraines for a long, long time. Migraine is such a horrible thing to live with, for any person. And getting to the bottom of it is a real journey.

What we finally discovered is that he cannot tolerate casein, so he’s not lactose intolerant. It’s casein intolerance. So the protein from cow’s milk, specifically cow’s milk in us, well, he’s Greek, his DNA is Greek on Greek islands, they don’t have cows. They have goats, so he can tolerate sheep and goat milk on products, which makes sense, right? Of course, coconut, but which is not native to the Greek cuisine at all. shouldn’t be there. They don’t grow that well. Maybe they do on an island, and I missed it. Maybe it’s in the southern islands. But that’s the point, right? That you cannot broad brushstroke things and our genes literally reflect our culture and our heritage period.

Vaish:

I wonder what that says about the, you know, the broad application, we’re talking about broad strokes of the Paleo-ish diet. So there’s like 20 diets that have spawned off the Paleo movement, which have obviously been enormously successful for, for people with, you know, Caucasians, basically European because many of them aren’t, it seems like more and more people are unable to digest grains. But, it’s so widely thought of as the template for a healthy diet. Yeah. And then you have coconuts in there, which I’m guessing don’t go and like you said, probably don’t go anywhere in Europe, so and we’re heavily relying on coconut products, even then the Paleo diet. It’s interesting how all of those things have kind of like layered into, like a mishmash of why we think it’s healthy. Yes.

Amanda:

And well, yeah. And to me, so it’s interesting working in genetics, I mean, that is my practice, that’s my work. I assume nothing about anyone person coming in none of this shit. So when I look at genetics or somebody’s blueprint, all I’m seeing, I’m seeing code and I’m seeing genes and I look for patterns. So I don’t actually know where somebody’s coming from, until I actually see you know, meet you, for example. And it’s a pattern that tells me where the disruption can be in biochemistry where there are efficiencies and inefficiencies.

There’s no such thing as paleo or keto, or any diet for any of my clients until I see what the issues are, you know, or the inefficiencies are. So you know, paleo or keto, if somebody has a disruption in their mitochondrial membranes, and they can’t transport fat efficiently across those membranes, it doesn’t matter what the diet is, we have to fix what the inefficiency is, and that is oftentimes Carnot 10, right? So or now in this world of technology, it’s amazing that we can now use continuous glucose monitors to kind of look inside and see what’s going on with someone with certain gene patterns.

Some people just don’t do well with fasting over a certain period of time they don’t the body then flips and says it almost to like Paleolithic you know, and okay, we don’t know when our next meal is coming from if you will, or hunter-gatherer and your body starts producing proteins, you know, is the goat excuse me, they access proteins for sugar so gluconeogenesis as you know, chemistry right?

Vaish:

And that bumps of blood sugar SAP so to me that’s me. I mean, I have ridiculous crashes when I try too fast so yeah, yeah. Now there are ways

Amanda:

we can play with that we know that besides we can find our specific facts that your genes to change the fat object depends on what you know what your gym blueprint looks like, but there is no such thing as a one-size fits all. I certainly understand keto and paleo keto more than paleo right. But you are right that these almost become these go-to diets quote, they work for everyone.

They do not they don’t you know, one person’s needs. And once a person’s optimal diet is another person’s like a trashy diet in some cases. So I’m right with you and genetics. It tells me and tells me exactly what to eat. It tells me how I need to work with you to get the right balance of foods type of foods form of foods to optimize and get your genes to work efficiently.

Vaish:

Do you see any overarching patterns that you would say, Okay, this is definitely a healthy diet so that if I knew nothing about you, this is maybe something I could tell you to do?

Amanda:

Yeah, and yeah, absolutely. And I think we know this, it doesn’t matter what culture we’re working with around the world, with the exception of, you know, traditional, traditional societies, if you will, something we don’t know anything about. Something, Eskimo, or that can be some very specific tribes or, you know, traditional people like an Amazon we don’t know anything about. But what we do know, whether we’re talking about Southeast Asian Australian, or wherever or North America, there’s no doubt that eating fruits and vegetables are important, you know, type of human vegetable can be more important.

The reason is, that everything starts in your gut, right? You know, you are what you absorb. But you are what you feed your microbiome, the bacteria in your gut. And so the best way to feed your gut is to give them the fiber and the information those bacteria need. And so if you kind of push that out into science, what we know, and maybe I can send you probably looking at the papers anyway, I can send you over a couple of papers where we kind of know that about 600 grams, which sounds a bit bizarre, isn’t it, but 600 grams of raw material from ice vegetable first, and fruit would be consistent with firing up your microbiome to do its job, but also provide the random amount of polyphenols.

Vaish:

Or information on your 600 grams of vegetables and fruits is Yeah.

Amanda:

Now when I say that, everyone’s like, Oh my gosh, you know, what? It’s not definitive or whatever. But listen, how food speaks to your genes is through information from plants. Okay? bioactive. However, you need the vitamins and minerals that come from your other foods as well, whether it’s seafood or, or animal products, that depends, you know, on your culture and your values, what have you. But if you’re talking about diet, what I’m talking about is you’re gonna get the most out of the information you need from plants.

So you think plants first and I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, I eat you know, from a wide variety of foods, so variety, and think 600 grams. And I’m not a reductionist thinking thinker. But because I’ve worked with so many individuals, one of the first things we have to do is make sure they understand what 600 grams look like. So it’s about 1.3 pounds a day of a variety of fruits and vegetables. That’s what you need to strive for, whether they’re cooked or raw with the best of both, that’s in your mind is where we have to get to.

Vaish:

Right. Yeah, and I’m sure a number of people are immediately thinking, Should I measure them cook? Should I measure them, bro? My guess is that your answer is probably just to get started.

Amanda:

Just get started. So it’s interesting because this is something I work with a specific gut-based protocol. It was designed in Australia and is absolutely fantastic. We’re using nutrigenomics for manipulating genes if you will. But one of the things we have to do is see God and so we started talking about okay, what’s in science? What’s the optimal amount of food, right? And then the first thing I said, Well, what does 600 grams I’d like so I’m actually creating, I’ve asked my clinicians in a group I work with to take photographs of what 600 grams looks like because we have no clue, you know, so yeah, it’s useful for people to measure it.

Now. I don’t myself own a digital scale. Not anymore, because I don’t really bake but fellow clinician stupid if anyone’s listening, and you have a scale measuring out either 1.3 pounds of what lettuce looks like is a lot of lettuce. Right? So here, it’s on there. But it’s very interesting. You know that you know, two collard leaves could be a couple of 100 grams, you know, okay, yeah, yeah. Yeah, they can. They’re big and heavy, Nico, take the stock out. But yeah, it’s just like, we have no idea what that looks like.

Vaish:

So that is a research base number so interesting. And that is the number that it takes to produce a change to actually have a meaningful conversation with your genes.

Amanda:

And well, yeah, we don’t want to look at it like that. It’s more part of a protocol we’re looking at but when you look at the research, you know, we’ve asked in nutrition science for exactly how do we know what to eat and how much so this would be I got need to pull the paper for you. This was looking more specifically at cancer, I believe or cancer, chemoprotection, but you can’t see Okay, if you read this, you won’t get cancer if you’re looking at, you know, in a laboratory setting or in research or epidemiologically.

We can look at this through research called genome-wide association studies where we’re looking at people who live to be over the age of 100, for example, what are consistent facets in their diet? For example? No, I’m not saying it’s 600 grams there. But you’re going to specify that you’re going to see a consistently higher level of plants. And then when you reduce it down to exactly how much the research I’m looking at was more specific to chemoprotection, which of course, is you know, that’s what we would strive for, for anyone. Right.

Vaish:

Which is interesting, which is a nice segue into my next question, which is that? Can you target specific areas of intervention? Are you using this field of nutrigenomics? Mike, I know from your website that you’re starting with genetic tests, correct?

Amanda:

That’s yeah, yeah. You don’t work? Niboshi unless you start with that because to me, it’s the gateway. It’s like it is you. It’s, I’m unpacking you, there’s no guesswork.

Vaish:

Right. So you start there, and then you understand what their nutritional needs are? Can you now further tailor it, let’s say, to the audience that we’re speaking to right now, can we tailor it towards attention span, maybe hyperactivity? Maybe neuroinflammation is a general term, but we’ll take that or seizure activity or something like that.

Amanda:

Yeah. And you know, genetic tests continue to evolve. So some of these areas are really specialty areas, and we don’t look at genes on tests unless they have clinical validity, right. And scientists, if you can’t use them, and I can’t advise you, we can’t look at those genes.

Vaish:

So go to the bottom line is to know that that gene has, you know, you can influence it, and it has an impact in the XYZ area.

Amanda:

Correct. So to your point, yes, I’m able to see patterns in genes that explain why somebody may be feeling the way that you’re experiencing what they’re experiencing now. I can’t. So I think it’s important to go back and see genser, there are signposts for me there are signposts to talk to you about, you know, what are your questions? What are you looking for, you know, what solutions are you after? What’s your health history? When I know that, I can look at changes and say, here’s where I feel the disruption is, and here’s where I think we need to work to find some solutions or advice for you.

So what’s interesting about working that way, is I assume nothing. And what I often found is the root cause is somebody’s challenges are far removed from what they thought they are, you know, so let’s say, you know, somebody has cancer, you traditionally might say, Okay, well, it’s because of a, b, c, d?

Well, I don’t know, because I’m not specifically working with any diagnosis because genetics tells me where to look. But what I can see is, that a disruption in how you handle folate, for example, could be the root cause of why you have a disruption in your cells. And therefore that could be something we need to adjust, you know, or adapt nutritionally, so that we don’t have DNA strand breaks, for example, or a mutation.

So it’s a very interesting way of looking at this, or let’s say, somebody says, I have a lot of brain fog, or I can’t connect the dots, I might look and say, Well, I think based on your genes, and we genetic, you’ve had some inefficiency, in userland utilizing or absorbing a utilizing B 12. Really important for methylation.

Therefore, you know, the brain fog issues may be fixed and may be associated with the gut, right, and methylation. And the methylation cycle requires multiple nutrients. So it’s so interesting that sometimes we’re like, Okay, well, this is my diagnosis, one and living with, therefore, I need to fix x. And I say, well, that’s not actually the issue, I’m seeing the issue meet me at, you know, how to utilize B, vitamin D, for example, I’m just sort of being extraneous here. But genetics takes us out of thinking has to be something and makes us think, no, I think the disruption is somewhere else. So yes.

Vaish:

And I’m, perhaps there would be a question. I mean, why can I just like a lot of parents that are doing maybe functional medicine or seeing Biomed doctor might already be doing betrayal tests, organic acid tests, and so on. And the difference that I am seeing is that it’s a snapshot of what is going on in your body right now. Whereas when you do the genetic testing, you’re seeing what your overall tendency is. And so you already know that regardless of what your test is, let’s say the B 12. The story is that your might always have to be dealing with a beat 12 possibility.

Amanda:

Yes, very, very important point what you just said that any lab testing, organic functional one Abra conventional, is a reflection of you right now. But it can be in the last 24 hours, right? What you eat can show up in your labs in serum. With some tests, it’s tissue, right? So you can see a tendency over the last three months. So, which is really, really useful. So in genetics, we work the other way around, you know, I’m not saying okay, this is you, therefore, this is what your issue takes this supplements, genetics, actually, a lot of times when I’m reading it,

I will form an impression say, I want to validate this through lab testing, and about 95% of the time I’m right, then you know, you’re working from your you’ve set up plans, it’s building you, as opposed to Okay, well, this is you today, therefore, you have an iron issue, or vitamin D, or B 12, or B six or take this supplement.

I’m not saying that’s how we practice functionally. But the functional community is fantastic, brilliant practitioners. But we’ve relied very, very heavily, of course, on our knowledge as practitioners and Dunlap testing. Genetics removes any of that to say, I start with jeans to tell the story of who you are, and answer your questions. But before we can intervene, I’m, I might want to validate through lab testing. So we’re using lab testing that way to confirm an impression before we have you take this, do this, change that, etc. So this is your tendency. Are you actually manifesting that tendency? So let’s try that.

Amanda:

Yeah, there’s no guesswork. You know you can’t, you know, she, you know, neurologically, we can’t afford to make any mistakes. I would never recommend a certain supplement to anyone with any individual I am because they come in different forms. It’s so easy to overload someone to overload a biochemical system that has a knock-on effect, right, we can cause imbalances, just by a good supplement.

Right. And so my work is where the inefficiencies can we use food, to support those inefficiencies, get your genes back up to efficiency, again, sometimes we will always use spirit, that’s how the body operates. But that also tells us what we may need to supplement how long what form if we need to get their genes to do the best job they can for you.

Vaish:

Fantastic, yes, I love that. So if you had to give a little bit of parting advice to parents that are starting on a nutritional journey, or maybe they’ve been on a nutritional journey, and it hasn’t like given to them, a lot of times people will give up because, well, one of the most common things that you hear is oh, I went gluten-free, and I didn’t see anything. Or it might be more maybe they went on a GAPS diet or like a specific therapeutic diet. And they didn’t, they didn’t see the neurological change that we’re hoping to see.

Right. So or the God change that we’re hoping to see. Actually, that’s probably more common than parents who have never been on a diet as parents have been on diets and kind of really had a hard time with it. But what, regardless, what do you have, like, any parting advice, three pieces, one piece of advice, whatever you’d like, how can people start? Restart?

Amanda:

It, you know, and it’s so interesting to me because I don’t do my work with actionetics anymore, because of exactly what you said, I don’t believe everyone should be gluten-free or dairy-free, you know, culturally doesn’t make sense. The challenge we’re dealing with right now, to put this in perspective, is we are at a collision course with our environment. And on a collision course with our environment, by the environment, I mean, our emotional environment, our relationship environments is the field of human social genomics, but also the sheer demand of our genes to deal with the toxins that are in our environment.

So toxins are emotional, they’re physical in terms of exercise. And there is the environment we’re exposed to just by walking around, or what comes in BAM with our foods. So the reason I say that is that we’re asking our genes and our bodies physiologically to deal with things that they haven’t evolved to do.

They have not, we cannot, you know, we cannot possibly ask our bodies to work at the rate of the toxic environment we’re living in. So I say that because I think one of the things that we’re missing and all of this so parents listening in, is do a, even before you get to the food, which is how your body works.

Make sure you evaluate the environment you’re living in, you know, what are your personal care products? You know, How clean is it? How local Can you buy your food, you know, is what’s possible for you? What is your environment? So the Environmental Working Group has a lot of different cool little assessment tools you can look at, one of the first things you can do is give your body a break by not reducing its exposure to what it has to deal with.

Period, you know, and I know that’s probably not the answer you were looking for, but because I’m looking at genetics or that time so many people have a disruption in their ability to detoxify information, whether it’s from meds, hormones you’re producing, or simply the toxins that are inbound with food or 10. Kinane issue, you’re saying, one of the best things you can do is evaluate, clean it up, and understand what’s coming in, around you. That takes a lot of burden off your body. And you know, that stops.

Oh, you need to know gluten is an issue in the United States, because of how we’re growing it. For those of you who’ve traveled outside, if you’ve had gluten issues in the US, you may not have them outside the US. So that is environmental here. But don’t get on the bandwagon of okay, if I go gluten-free and or casein or dairy-free, I’m healed. Most of the time and genetics. I’m not seeing people have a predisposition to gluten intolerance or celiac, it’s actually I will say it’s rare, but I still see it very often.

Vaish:

Your gluten is more than an environmental factor. As you mentioned, it’s kind of a toxic environmental factor in the US that is just glyphosate, you know, so it’s a toxin.

Amanda:

Don’t you know, if you’re asking me this, from your diet, it can give you for some people, it really is an issue and you do feel totally bad. Don’t stop there that just removed the impetus that just removed the canary in the coal mine. Right. So what do you see a lot? What do we see a lot of people’s thyroid disruption, it cannot be that every single human being in the United States has thyroid issues, what has happened, it’s a canary in a coal mine,

It means something is attacking your body or is found. And so we need to remove that. And then we need to get your biochemistry back on track. So your thyroid functions. For some people, it is gluten, but it’s not for the rest of your life. It just depends. Genetics tells us where the inefficiencies are. But to answer your question, even though I deal in nutrition and diet, I cannot tell you how important the environment is to do that first.

Vaish:

Yeah, I really liked that. Thank you. Thank you, Amanda, because I know you said you’re not a reductionist I am. So I like to bring things down to like a couple of things. And if I can see the patterns, here it is that definitely your genetics impact, your nutritional status, your maybe inflammatory status, all of your body systems, how they function together, etc. And what you may be experiencing. But if you’ve not dealt with the environmental effects yet then that is upstream of that yeah, I really liked that.

Thank you. Thank you, Amanda, because I know you said you’re not a reductionist I am. So I like to bring things down to like a couple of things. And if I can see the patterns, here it is that definitely your genetics impact, your nutritional status, your maybe inflammatory status, all of your body systems, how they function together, etc. And what you may be experiencing. But if you’ve not dealt with the environmental effects yet then that is upstream of that It is upstream and isn’t emphasized enough.

Amanda:

And we’re not given enough tools, but you know, environments or it’s or switches for your genes to you can put you can eat the perfect diet but live in a toxic environment or relationship. And all this law, it’s not all this loss, you’re pushing upstream, you’re pushing that which you have working against.

Vaish:

Yeah, working. So interestingly, because I never think about that you said, Did you say emotional social genomics or something like that?

Amanda:

Yeah, human social genomics is one of the most incredible dynamic fields I’ve ever been exposed to. And the research leaves me spellbound, but it explains so much you know, that you cannot live with trauma. So let’s take this to where we are right now and think about what’s happening in Ukraine, and not to kind of take, you know, to, to sort of end on a sad note or anything here.

What we know and through research, so human social genomics looks at the impact more of the social environment, emotional environment, on genes and half. And so we know through research, for example, and looking at taking this to Ukraine, because it’s very relevant if we can’t live in this world and not be exposed to what’s going on there.

So why is it after World War Two, and this was a Dutch famine study? So after World War Two, researchers were able to study the offspring, so of women, so it would be women, of course, because we give birth, who were exposed to famine and severe deprivation, during World War Two, which millions of people work around the world, but it just happened to be a Dutch family study. And what was interesting is the offspring, even though they were raised with great, you know, better food, obviously than during the war had a predisposition to obesity or diabetes.

Vaish:

Why is it right, and what it is what they actually found out was that it epigenetics to see the impact of the stress and trauma on the genes In utero. So children that happened in one generation.

Amanda:

In one generation that happened, we see the same trauma with our Native Americans like why are they predisposed to trauma and stress or have much higher rates of diabetes, for example, than the general population. And a part of that is history in a collision course with food after World War Two, but then that’s found in studies.

Super, super interesting. So if we take that to the modern world, why is it that children who have grown up in socioeconomically deprived environments may have higher rates of asthma or diabetes, than those who, and they’re eating the same food and live in the same neighborhoods have kids who, you know, their family unit may be intact, or what have you. And it is that the environment can change the inflammatory response. So it can turn on genes, it can turn on the inflammatory responses from genes, and it could turn down the antiviral response.

Put that, yes, that’s amazing. Put that in the context of COVID. So COVID, you know, millions of people around the world experience COVID. But if we look at the United States, and we start to tease out some of the data, the people who suffered the most would be people from low-income socio-economically deprived, or stressed communities,

Right? If you look at the data, so right, because they’re immune to it, you know, that not only Genet they don’t know enough, genetically yet. But we know, their immune function will probably have been weakened, just by the world and environment that we’re living in, right. You know, if you’re struggling to put food on the table, working three jobs, the kids are like, you know, struggling themselves, you know, when kids looking after another, you know, it’s a stressful situation.

That’s why we saw, you know, this kind of slant towards people who are trying to struggle in those environments and their ability to survive COVID or get it, you know, so now we would go over to Ukraine, and I think of World War Two, and we think of, it’s a lot of women right now, you know, they’re separated from their, their husbands don’t even know, or their partners don’t even know they’re still alive, they now have to flee a country if they’re pregnant. We don’t know yet.

The impact of that sheer trauma forces us to see the environment, the social stress environment, on those women and their offspring, we don’t know, but I suspect we will see. So this is human social genomics, that really explains why do some people you know, why don’t you get why would a kid this playing basketball, you know, out and super energetic? Why would they get asthma versus another kid in an inner-city setting? So that’s just an example. So that’s human social genomics is brilliant.

Vaish:

It is fascinating, and it’s definitely something that I want to study more of all Yeah, I’ll chat with you after the podcast. But how can parents read How can parents reach you?

Amanda:

At www.genomickitchen.com Yeah, yeah. Yes, we’re busy. We’re super busy. But you know if if you know my work is something you’re interested in.

Vaish:

They can work with you by going to your website if they want to just reach out and if I’m not able to work directly, we can train and work with a lot of clinicians who probably can so it’s amazing to work.

Vaish:

All right. Thank you so much for you know, really opening our minds to a lot of this science and information around food and nutrition because I think it’s been so one track for a long time. I’m really happy to hear this. Thanks, Amanda.

Amanda:

Thank you.

Vaish:

Thanks for listening everyone, as a reminder to everyone that those a challenge is live in one day. And you can sign up to the 60s or figure out how to make a dosa step by step at functionalnutritionforkids.com/dosa. Talk about getting nutrigenomics in action. Looking forward. See you in a week on episode 95.

93. Getting started with CBD – with Dr. Julie Buckley

93. Getting started with CBD – with Dr. Julie Buckley

If your child struggles with anxiety, aggression, seizure, or even sleep issues, how many times have someone advised you – “Have you tried CBD”? Every time I hear this, I wonder how CBD can be the answer to EVERY problem?

It turns out, it is quite possible.

Dr. Julie Buckley makes her second appearance on Episode 93 of Functional Nutrition and Learning for Kids in this fantastic deep dive into CBD and how to get started for your child!

I learned 3 important things:

  1. Pure CBD (without terpenes, without THC) is not a sedative or psychoactive
    It is all about the dose
  2. Water-soluble CBD is the way to go.
  3. You can reach Dr. Buckley at  www.HealthyUstore.com

If you loved this episode, please share your rating at www.ratethispodcast.com/vaish

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. It is meant for educational purposes only. Please consult your doctor before making supplement changes for your child.

 

 

Audio Transcript:

Vaish:

If your child struggles with anxiety, aggression, seizures, or even sleep issues, can you count how many times somebody has told you? Have you tried CBD? Every time I hear this have you tried CBD? I wonder how CBD can be the answer to every problem. Now it turns out it’s quite possible. Dr. Julie Buckley makes a second appearance on episode 93 of functional nutrition and learning for kids in this fantastic deep dive into CBD, and how to get started for your child. I’m your host wife. I’m a functional Nutrition Consultant for kids and a science and math teacher. I’m also a mom to an autistic teen poet with Down syndrome. Welcome to Episode 93.

Now, Dr. Barkley is the author of the book healing autistic children and your comprehensive guide to best breast cancer. She’s also an international speaker on Autism and Related Disorders. Judy is founded and is President of the healthy, you now Foundation, a nonprofit, which is dedicated to creating healthy living, treatment, and residential facilities for autistic individuals and their families. In addition, she is actively involved in research writing books, and raising two children with the help of a wonderfully supportive family. Dr. Buckley is spoken on this podcast about puberty and anxiety before that is episode 56. And you can find episode 56 at this link, functional nutrition for kids.com/ 2021 slash 56. Here’s a small disclaimer, there is a lot of detailed information in this podcast.

This is not meant to be medical advice is never on this podcast. It’s meant for educational purposes only. So please do consult your doctor before making supplement changes for your child. Hi again, Dr. Julie, thanks for joining us for the second time, this time for a more targeted conversation. But I’m really happy and grateful that you came again on this podcast.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me. Yeah,

Vaish:

Thank you. And last time, I think at the very end of our discussion we had talked about discussing CBD, which is a topic that I haven’t actually ever brought on this podcast before, and excited to cover it with you but the listeners and you can think of this as a CBD 101. I’m going to kind of start off with a general question. We’ll get into what it is maybe in this question or later. But nowadays, that’s the answer to everything right? Like of course with seizures and maybe neuroinflammatory conditions. But almost anything that an autistic child is struggling with is suffering from the first question that comes from other parents or their doctors is Have you tried CBD? What is it about CBD? Does that seem to make it an answer to everything? Or is that just a myth?

Dr. Julie Buckley:

No, it’s not a myth at all. It’s interesting. There are I think the answer comes from the fact that there are endocannabinoid receptors, on cells all over our body, all over our body. And they have many, many, many different purposes. I mean, we think of them primarily as things that are immunologically helpful and that are neurologically helpful. But CBD there are receptors all over your body all over your cells that are that can be used by CBD. And what is fascinating about CBD as a molecule is that it has the ability to bind to cells or into receptors, and to modify the receptor sites for other things. Oh, wow. So then CBD has the potential to influence not just CBD receptors alone, but also other receptors on your body that have other jobs. So it is sort of like a snake oil that actually works. It’s how we say that about hyperbaric because hyperbaric oxygen, and it’s like, it’s the snake oil that actually works because it works for everything. And CBD is a lot like that. It really does have tremendous potential to do an awful lot of different things.

Vaish:

So it may not be influencing that particular I bought the word for it modality directly, but it’s changing perhaps the receptor. So indirectly, maybe a second or third mode of action. It’s implementing Is that correct?

Dr. Julie Buckley:

That’s right. That’s right. Okay. So it has a far-reaching effect that is not directly just because of being CBD.

Vaish:

So this question of Have you tried CBD isn’t just people like throwing out a question it that actually has value.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

It does have value and it’s just you know, it’s funny I, I always give my son credit for the fact that I’m willing to talk about CBD that we use CBD in our office because was many years ago when the question of medical marijuana, which is a completely different thing, and we will I’m sure talk about that came up for a vote in the state of Florida. I voted no. And I was like, I don’t want anything to do with that I don’t, I just don’t want to be that person. I don’t want these. I was so misinformed. And my son looked at me and said, You are wrong, and you need to do your research. And I was so taken aback by that. And he had reached an age where I thought I owed him the respect of actually listening to him that I actually stayed home from Disney one day, they all went to Disney, and I stayed home on my computer. And when he got back that night to the hotel, I looked at him and I said, I stand corrected on CBD. I stand firm on my stance on THC, but I stand corrected. And that was the point at which we started using it in the office. And it turned out to be one of the most incredible tools I’ve ever had in my practice.

Vaish:

That’s amazing. And we’ll definitely come to both the question of medical marijuana and THC in this conversation both, which are very interesting and confusing to me at least. So are there a few? I know, you said that it could possibly work for everything. But are there a few specific conditions that come to mind where you’d be like, You need to try CBD first before you go anywhere else?

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Yes, I think so. But it is something that I use early on in almost everybody with this on the autism spectrum. Right. So if we go back to the conversation, the first conversation that we had when we talked about what’s wrong a little bit with autism, it’s not just it’s not medical, it’s not a mental health issue. This is a physical illness that has an awful lot of things that are wrong. Well, one of the things that we know is is is a problem in most kids with autism is that their immune system is no longer in balance. Right. So so when I say in balance, you know, I visualized the immune system as being sort of like that upside-down Bosu ball and your job is to keep that Bosu ball up and not to let it tip to one side or to another side or to another side. And what happens in our kids is that their immune systems very often are tipped and the primary place we see that tipping is in the world of autoimmunity and allergy and that sort of thing. And CBD is amazingly immuno-corrective.

I like immune balancing, it restores that Bosu ball into it’s its sort of upright and ready-to-go kind of position. And so the other thing that CVD does primarily one of its big impacts is that it’s neurologically so incredibly helpful. And the way it’s incredibly helpful is that it is incredibly anxiety relieving. It’s got a real influence on glutamate and helps to get glutamate under control. It’s got a real help with just anxiety reduction. And so one of the things that I reached for is I reached word early with my kids with autism because there’s so much trouble with their, with their immune systems. And especially we see this with kids who have not just autism but also have pans and pandas. And so you know, it’s interesting, one of the things that really convinced me you watch kids do better and be better and feel happier and all the rest of it and be able to function so much better when we started introducing some CBD. But what happened, which was fascinating to me was that when I had when COVID hit, and all of our kids got sent home from school and the world was just upside down. And there was so much anxiety. I increased CBD, you know, increase the dose a great deal for many, many, many of the children that I was working with. And what was fascinating was six months later when it was time to draw blood again. Everybody’s Panthers titers had profoundly decreased. Oh, wow. Yeah. And so, oh, this immune corrective thing. I’m actually measuring it. That’s kind of cool.

Vaish:

And corrective means that regardless of which side whether you’re under or overactive, it’s bringing it into balance, Correct.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

That’s why I like to use that word, immune corrective or immune balancing because it’s not always that it’s not just that it’s tipped one way and I need to tip it back to normal. It’s bringing the whole system back into balance. Correct?

Vaish:

Okay, awesome. I have several things that come to mind. I just want to quickly share that. I didn’t know about the glutamate that it balances glutamate for. We only started using CBD for sleep for my son. And he was just having this situation where he was unable you could tell that he was really, really tired. He wanted to sleep, but his eyes were in charge and his brain couldn’t turn up. Then with just a little bit of dietary kind of detective work. And I was thinking I mean, I’m a nutritionist. I thought I was doing great. It turns out we were doing a lot of fermented foods and a lot of home called gluten-free, dairy-free Asian foods that naturally had free glutamate and I realized it was just a light bulb moment I’m flooding a system with both histamine and glutamate. We went on a low glutamate diet and added GABA and it helped. But I do realize that when we added CBD the effect was significant. I didn’t make that connection. I thought it was a separate process. But I realized now maybe it was the glutamate who knows? So well.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Yeah, and the other thing that’s also a true statement is that CBD has an action on that GABA receptor. I see. So if we potentiate things like GABA and that kind of stuff, so yeah,

Vaish:

Absolutely. Yeah. And I had tried CBD before for sleep for him, but at a much lower dosage than I think it was like. I mean, I’m sure the dosage is different for different people, but I was doing 12 milligrams or so at just told CBD at night, when I moved to more than 25 milligrams, the effect was immediate, there was no effect or good nor bad earlier, and then later there was an effect, then can you talk to us about the dosage of CBD? Seems like there’s a threshold where things start working, but I may be wrong.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

So it’s different for everybody. And the truer statement is that it is very, very difficult to overdose on CBD alone. Oh, right. So it is very, very difficult to overdose it, and alone being the keyword.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Yes, alone being the keyword. So here are things that do happen that are negative when the CBD is an oil base. Sometimes children do not tolerate those oils well. And that will lead to bellyache and maybe some quote side effects. It’s a negative but it has nothing to do with the CBD. Then if there is a lot if there’s THC, in the product, that can be problematic. THC is something that is psychoactive whereas CBD is not THC is something that makes us feel a little bit like we’re losing control. That is a horrifying experience for most children who have autism who already have trouble with motor planning and controlling their motor output. I see. And so it’s very interesting. The people that I work with and the families that I work with have a tendency to be very anxious moms and dads and kids.

They have a tendency to be a little bit on the OCD side and a little bit of a controlling freak kind of thing. You know, I’ll own that you know I do. And the THC because you feel like you’re losing control. Most people that I talked to didn’t like the way they felt when they were using THC. CBD is not psychoactive and doesn’t have that same experience for folks. So it is when it’s CBD alone, we’re very, very, you know, it’s usually quite fine. Now there are a bunch of what we call terpenes. Those are other cannabidiol besides just CBD. So this would be your CBN CBG CDA. So there’s just the whole alphabet filling up and they’re all naturally occurring. They’re all naturally occurring. Yes. And some children do very well with those terpenes and get an added benefit from those without THC. So there’s CBD and isolation first there is CBD with its terpenes second, and then there’s full spectrum CBD that includes all the terpenes plus THC.

Okay, so if you think about it that way, I think it’s a lot easier to understand what we’re dealing with here. So when there are some people who don’t do well with terpenes and if we isolate them out and give them just the CBD, we find that it actually works very, very well. There are people who do better with their terpenes added. Then with the CBD in isolation, I generally don’t use THC, with the exception of patients who have cancer or if I am trying to control refractory seizures, because there is some science on the added benefit of some THC potentially eating the CBD in those situations.

So I’m a little more comfortable with that situation using some THC. But I tend to keep in, in, in CBD kind of the quantities I tend to, I tend to use only a full spectrum CBD. So,  So I think that that’s a very important thing to understand and to be able to differentiate. Now if I may. That leads me to the question of what is CBD versus what is medical marijuana? I just had a patient earlier today who I broached the idea of CBD and you could see Mom bristling and you don’t do drugs or not, you know, and I said before you even get started, let me tell you about this.

Right. So I think it’s very important to understand this. What’s the difference? And in what is you know, why do we call one thing marijuana? Why do we call it medical marijuana? Why do I need a card for that versus what is CBD right? So I think I always go back to what did nature intend and what God intends, right. And so, there are three species of cannabis plants, one is India one is Sativa.

The other one is something I can’t remember the species. But there’s, there’s three of them. And when they grow the way nature intended outside, in just the air, doing their thing, these plants grow to be huge, and they’re very Leafy. And they’re very stunning. And there they’re just there, they’re huge plants and their green leafy plant matter, which we probably would have when we were outside naked running around 24/7 the way God intended, we would have been eating some of this as well. If you bring those plants inside, you grow them it’s certain to grow light frequencies and certain fertilizers and this many hours of the day and this many hours of that this much amount of that.

What you do is grow a much smaller plant with many fewer leaves but a lot more flowers and buds. The THC is in the flowers and buds. So that is what makes something marijuana. When it grows outside in nature where it just becomes leaves and leaves and leaves and leaves and leaves. It is CBD it is hemp. And the difference is this one is you know, CBD comes from hemp and medical marijuana is where you get so much more THC. What is ridiculous is to grow a plant from marijuana and then try to extract CBD from it. That’s a waste of time and money. So what’s very interesting is that since 2018, plants that have grown as hemp has been 100% legal. All across the country. You don’t need a card, you don’t need anybody’s permission. You don’t need anything special. If it’s a hemp-derived CBD, it’s 100% legal when you need a card, or there are questions about licensing and it varies from state to state is when we’re talking about medical marijuana, where the plant was grown in a hothouse basically, for and bred for its THC content.

Vaish:

So basically the hemp plant and the hemp, it is a plant that is giving us CBD oil. So the same plant that we’re getting our hemp seeds from and so on. And however when that is grown in a more artificial or, I don’t know if that’s necessarily artificial, but an environment for marijuana the nature of the plant changes the growth of the this is typical for many plants, but this is how they’re specifically cultivated for marijuana.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Exactly. And so that’s the difference. And that’s an I think that’s an important thing to understand. So scientifically this hemp plant is going to give us CBD and it’s going to give us what we want, there’s a trivial amount of THC in those plants.

Vaish:

Now and that is part of the whole plant CBD.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Now, if we then take it to the next level, then I was told by somebody who was deep into this business many many years ago, that the future of this industry is in water-soluble products. So they have it’s it is it does end up being processed a little bit very, very safely because it’s generally speaking these are people who are all about nature and all about doing things as naturally as possible. So generally speaking, you’re going to find things as clean as possible. But you can nanoparticle eyes, that droplet of oil until it becomes so small that it is in fact water-soluble. And when you do that, you’re also able to fractionate out CBD alone. CBN alone CVG alone THC alone and that allows you the tremendous leeway to make products that has a very specific activity. And this is what’s happening in the CBD world now what is what they are doing is beginning to research.

Okay, well, what does this specific CBA what does it seem to specifically be helpful with? Is there something and then what happens when it’s in combination with and so this is where we come to where you can get CBD in isolation where there’s nothing else in your product, or you can get a broad spectrum that is THC free? Or the full spectrum that it has all of these terpenes plus the THC in it. So I understand

Vaish:

No, I think so that’s why we’re seeing CBD for sleep and CBD for energy and all that sort of stuff. Right?

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Right.

Vaish:

So I was wondering about that because we have one of those sleep-specific formulations. So perhaps they found a terpene. That is that is more. They have CBD plus that particular terpene. That’s helpful in sleep.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

And it is possible. I don’t know if this is the effect, but it is possible if it is still an oil base, and it is still a whole plant product. And the THC that is in it. There’s a difference between the Sativa brand, the Sativa species is generally meant to be something that is less sedating. So if you know and I don’t know that as I say, I don’t know this to be the be effect but my suspicion is that if something is designed specifically for sleep and it is still oil-based, it is using the indica species, which is much more likely to make you sleepy and be sedated. The Sativa is less likely to do that in terms of its THC, and CBD and isolation are never sedating. Never.

Vaish:

I see. Okay, that makes sense. I’ll give you.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

The munchies. It won’t make you sleepy. It doesn’t make you high. It’s not psychoactive.

Vaish:

Dr. Julie, the one biggest question that I’ve seen parents struggle with, and I struggled with it too, when I when I’m meeting clients is where to start? Because like you said, I often asked this question myself have you tried CBD? And then people will ask How should I try it? I don’t have an answer to them. Because with me and my son, we figured out a rhythm, we’re kind of you to have an intuition on where to start with your child and most parents will develop that but as a practitioner, so I’m then I ended up looking for practitioners who are fluent in the CBD language. And even so not many people, so far have been, you know, willing to give specific doses, how can parents start? So now let’s say they have a child who’s really having aggressive outbursts, maybe there are pans or pandas going on? How can they start?

Dr. Julie Buckley:

So it’s the same rule we use for everything, start low, and then go slow, be willing to increase, right? So generally speaking, you know, I think that even when people use an oil base, so the thing that’s cool about a water-soluble product, is that one milligram of water-soluble may be more like two to five milligrams of something that is oil-based. So you get a lot better bang for your buck with a water-soluble product. But even if it’s an oil-based product, generally speaking, you know, people who are so cautious, and they don’t know what to dose. And it’s very confusing because you’re doing based on your hand or you dosing based on your CBD because these guys label their products at stream every way under the sun, right? So you know, you’ll buy a bottle, it’ll say it’s got 1000 milligrams, well, there are 1000 milligrams and you’re 30 milliliters, then you have math to do, is there 1000 milligrams of CBD or is there 1000 milligrams of hemp extract?

So what you have to drill down to, and what you have to be able to understand as a parent, is how many milligrams of CBD are there in each milliliter or each capsule or each gel cap? That’s it and that way, you can then begin to compare apples to apples. So it really doesn’t matter how many milligrams are in the bottle, it matters how many milligrams are there per milliliter or per capsule. And that way you start to go, oh, that that’s not actually cheaper. It’s just way less CBD available to me. And so I think, you know, even in tiny, tiny people, you know, the foreign five-year-old kiddos, I’m not even remotely afraid to start with 10 milligrams a couple of times a day, sometimes three times a day. Not I wouldn’t even blink. And then if nothing happens, also, it’s not a negative, if nothing happens, give more, give more, the effect of CBD is very, very quick. You can almost use it for rescue. When there’s when, when there’s a temper.

Vaish:

Within a few minutes, then yeah, especially if it’s a water-soluble product. And if you’re like directly instead of a capsule, you’re doing it orally, you should maybe see it soon.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Yeah, very, very quick. So, you know, it’s very helpful in the short term, and it’s very helpful very quickly. But, you know, I said to this family that I had in here this morning, my goal is always to have there be no anxiety, I don’t want to be responding, I don’t want to be reactive. In terms of anxiety, I want to be proactive, I want there to be joy, I want there to be it’s easy to go places and do things I want there to be I can try. And it doesn’t, it’s not anxiety-provoking, if I try something new, that’s the goal here, you know, so that it’s and that should be achievable. Even if somebody’s nonverbal, you should be able to, Hey, come on, let’s try this, here’s what I’m gonna get, here’s what we’re gonna do.

This is how it’s gonna work. Okay, let’s go for it. So. So, you know, and I am much more aggressive, I use only water-soluble products in my office, we private labeled something several years ago working with a company very specifically. And I was I I’m deeply appreciative for them coming along, for the ride of consistency and dose, and always having certificates of the assay. And being very, very committed to the pure products. And we have a product that is water-soluble, and generally in ours is in a capsule, we do have powder forms as well, because of course, there’s a cost to putting something in a capsule. So if a child is still using, opening all the capsules, it’s easier if we use a powder.

I will generally speak, start almost everyone off on 20 milligrams twice a day of a water-soluble product. And I don’t even blink about that. It because I’ve got so much experience now that when I’m dealing with somebody that I know has anxiety that I you know, whether they respond with stimming, they respond with NCDs they respond with, you know, just repetitive behavior or avoidance behavior that any part of that fight-flight or freeze anxiety response. If I see that at all, it’s gonna take at least 20 milligrams twice a day, to be able to get them there. So,

Vaish:

You know, sometimes then if you don’t get it, you keep increasing until I see. Okay, yeah!

Dr. Julie Buckley:

It was very interesting because my daughter, my poor daughter has no privacy. And she just doesn’t anxiety is the biggest thing that she still deals with. I mean, she’s 23 years old now. She’s, she speaks very, very well. We just got invited to go back to Carnegie Hall with our church choir again. Oh, nice. Yeah, in November. So we’re going again, she will ascend twice in Carnegie Hall. But we know she can go and do those things. But she still we’ve managed tremendous amounts of anxiety, in order for her to be able to do that stuff. And it was very, very interesting when COVID happened. And all of a sudden, we were in lockdown. And we were at home and the TV was on in my house and that kind of stuff. Her anxiety just went through the roof, even though her life was not appreciably very different. You know, we kept doing most of the same things that we were doing. She was still more anxious. And it was interesting because I had her on.

I think at the time, I had her on about 40 milligrams twice a day. And I was like, I’m not going to get I’m not going to survive this, either one of us is going to blow up. So I increased her to 60 milligrams twice a day. And that was obviously better. It was better. And then what I realized was that I was still getting pushed back on things and there were still times that she would sort of rant at me or she would persevere ate at me a little bit. And I thought we were still dealing with anxiety. So we talked about it, and I increased her again, from 60 to 80 milligrams.

The other thing I was hoping for was a little bit better seizure control because we still have a breakthrough seizure once in a blue moon. And deaths are horrifying experiences and I don’t like The so we went up to 80 milligrams twice a day. And she is a delight to be with at this point, I finally have her anxiety well enough controlled. She’s just plain fun. She’s funny, and she’s fun. And when we go to do errands, she doesn’t want me to come inside the store. I have her chauffeur, she’s going inside and taking care of it. She’s doing the grocery shopping by herself. She’s doing the returns. And she can go ask people and get things and take care of it now like she never could because I’ve got her anxiety control. So I was surprised at how much it took to help her have her anxiety controlled.

Vaish:

And this is just CBD. This is like what would you call a whole spectrum CBD.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

So actually, I have her on just the isolate. The next thing that I’m tempted to try is putting her on broad-spectrum and see whether or not I like that as much and see whether or not I need less dose or fewer milligrams if I add the terpenes in. So I’ve done that for her yet. You get a lot of magical behavior when you’re worried about seizures.

Vaish:

That is amazing. So you’ve gone to a dose that I probably would not have even thought of by myself. So So you said 80 milligrams or so and so there’s a lot of leeway to how much you could increase. Because my next question was going to be at what point would you think that CBD alone isn’t doing it, maybe I need to bring in THC.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

I’m still not going to be a big fan of THC. I don’t do that for kids with anxiety with maybe one or two exceptions. So I will try using a little and it’s still it’s only the THC that’s in a CBD product. So I do have a full spectrum product. And I do have one or two children who were very, very, very aggressive. And it was interesting, just that smidgen of THC, not natural naturally enough to get you high. But just it seems to potentiate the CBD just enough to make a difference.

Vaish:

So I have and this was part of what was naturally coming with the plant. It wasn’t added to the picture.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Okay, all right. Yeah, I’m still working within the realm of just CBD. I don’t want to I don’t want to have to do the whole medical marijuana cards and all of the extra stuff that goes with that.

Vaish:

I’ve just that is so interesting. I didn’t even know this was an option. Because when I was I was the way I was thinking about this as a model was that, okay, you push CBD to maybe 30 or 40 milligrams, and then you start adding like 5% THC, 10%, THC, THC and so on. I was thinking like, I thought there was like a, like, it’s a little bit naive now to think about it. But I thought there was a percent THC to CBD ratio for every for, you know, for specific ailments.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Well, I will tell you that many times, the manufacturers will tell you those kinds of things. And they have opinions, they have their opinions. And they are not always backed up by data. So, mine is no more than an opinion as well. But because this is we’re trying to get data I’m deeply, deeply intrigued. There’s an I have a like I said, a friend who has been deeply involved in this industry in a while for a while now who has a son with autism. And he and his wife are very, very interested in trying to actually get real, measurable data and try to see if we can suss out the differences in the British sense in order to figure it out to try to sort through what works best because at this point, I have a lot of clinical experience. And that is the data that I use, you know, in my experience, it’s worked this way and my experiences work that way. But you know, I have two young women who have intractable seizures.

One of them is taking 1200 milligrams of CBD twice a day, because nothing else has controlled her seizures as well. Now she’s on other seizure meds and she’s on a lot of other things as well. But just to give you like, and there’s no problem she’s not sedated, it’s not. She’s, it’s fine. And we have another young woman who’s also on very, very high doses like that, because the seizures are just out of control.

Vaish:

Anybody who’s thinking is or thinks that you were just dragging them that’s not the case because they’re fully functional and aware you’re they’re not. They’re not serrated, yeah.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

No, you can’t sedate somebody with CBD. It’s just not gonna happen.

Vaish:

Is there for somebody maybe let’s say there’s somebody that hypothetically needs only 20 milligrams of CBD for them if you overdid it. And let’s say we gave them 40 milligrams. But what might happen if you wait too much? That’s it, but you aren’t necessarily so the negative reactions are just THC, not not, when you’re doing a loan with CBD, there’s nothing.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

In my experience, you just really don’t see negatives with CBD. Unless it’s like I said, it’s an oil-related to the oil. It’s related to some other additives because a lot of people are starting to put other things in, hey, this is good. Let’s add this, let’s add then. Or if it’s this is a child who doesn’t do well with terpenes and would do Bettle better with what we call the ISO, just add alone.

Vaish:

So and that’s a very controlled way of doing it too. So just go with the CBD as much as you can and then maybe add the terpenes. And then if that doesn’t work out, bring the THC right. So that’s a nice controlled experiment.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Yeah, I like it that way. It’s been very, very good because it’s helped me there are a few people who were using one of the oil-based full spectrum CBDs. And when we tried CBD, my isolette that was water-soluble, they did not do as well. And then I was like, Huh, okay, but if I give them broad-spectrum, not the full spectrum, they do great.

Vaish:

What that’s different, too. Okay, broad-spectrum and full spectrum. Right.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

So broad-spectrum is all your terpenes full spectrum is where we’ve got the CBD and the THC added. Sorry. Got it.Yeah.

Vaish:

Interesting. So thanks, Dr. Buckley. There’s so much I think I really got my CBD story. Sorted. In my mind, that’s really cool. Is there? Is there a, is there something you’d like to leave parents with who want to get started on CBD or who have experienced failure in the past?

Dr. Julie Buckley:

I think it is important to go back and understand that if it didn’t seem to work well, in the past, look at a dose and look at what products you were using and be willing to look at something and make sure that we’re getting the best bang for our buck. Often the lowest price is not even close to the cheapest CBD per per per milliliter. That’s the number one thing. And the second thing I would say is that I have become a very big fan of using the water-soluble product. I think it is just so much more cost-effective. And it’s so much easier, it doesn’t taste the way the oil-based products do. So that’s what we carry in our office. That’s what we carry in our store. And, and I am really proud of that product and how well people do with it.

Vaish:

So how can people access your store?

Dr. Julie Buckley:

that’s  www.HealthyUstore.com

Vaish:

Okay, that’s  www.HealthyUstore.com

Dr. Julie Buckley:

Okay, yep, there’s CBD on there.

Vaish:

I’ll put that in the show notes. Beautiful. Okay, thank you, doctors. Thanks for your time. And maybe now I know you mentioned h bar in the beginning. And now if that story is as interesting as this, I want to come back to that another time.

Dr. Julie Buckley:

It’s a great story too. I love that story.

Vaish:

Thanks for your time. Bye. Bye-bye. This episode can rightly be called CBD 101. Do remember to check in with a functional doctor or your PCP. If you have any questions about CBD. Now it’s important, but quite hard in my experience to find somebody knowledgeable in CBD and its therapeutic effects. I would love it if you could reach back to me and let me know if you do find such a practitioner. Other than Dr. Buckley Of course, so I can update my database. You can reach me at Weisz at functional nutrition for kids.com. As you leave me I request you to pause and leave a review for this podcast. You can do so now there’s a nice link for it so and that link is www.ratethispodcast.com/white Bye. Thank you for listening and see you next week.