School Lunch Programs: Feeding Mind, Body and Soul

School Lunch Programs: Feeding Mind, Body and Soul

School Lunch Programs: Feeding Mind, Body and Soul

Alyce Ortuzar fills us in on what’s in a school lunch, how it relates to your child’s health, how to improve it and how to get your kids involved in the process. It’s lunchtime at school. What are your kids eating? Here are some possibilities:  Meat and dairy products with government-approved pesticides and endocrine- disrupting hormones U.S. Department of Agriculture-subsidized irradiated beef or chicken from sick and stressed animals raised under unsanitary and inhumane conditions Products loaded with chemicals and devoid of nutrients qualifying as food, such as artificial strawberry-flavored milkshakes containing such mystery ingredients as: Amyl acetate Anethol Anisyl formate Benzyl isobutyrate Dipropyl ketone Ethyl butyrate Phenethyl alcohol Rum ether Solvent What’s Wrong with Additives?  Research shows that pesticides and hormone-disruptors are neurotoxic to growing brains. In the 1970s, pediatrician Benjamin Feingold linked food additives, dyes and other additives to hyperactive behavior and learning problems. Removing these poisons and putting children on diets of salycilate-free fresh fruits, vegetables, and…

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

A genetic mutation called MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase, otherwise known as an MTHFR mutation or methylation defect, may be one reason why some children develop autism or other neurodevelopmental disorder. There are many contributing factors involved in this “perfect storm” situation which may accurately describe your child. The MTHFR mutation may explain why some children survive the overload of environmental toxicity whatever the triggers may be, whereas others, at some point during their early stages of neurological development, regress and remain somewhere on the vast spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders. MTHFR is a type of folate that crosses the blood brain barrier (folic acid, which is synthetic, does not) needed to make the brain methylate; put simply, methylation is a method of detoxification. Children with autism have been found to have “Cerebral Folate Deficiency” (CFD) which means an insufficiency of folate in the brain causing defects in the methylation process.    What Is Methylation?  Defects in the methylation process can affect: Speech Language Auditory…

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium can stop an asthma attack, pull toxins out of the body, increase circulation, remove age spots, decrease joint pain and relieve constipation. It is the eighth most plentiful element on the planet and the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential for a very wide gamut of critical body functions, affecting virtually every organ system.  Why Is Magnesium Important in Developmental Delays?  This mineral is directly responsible for over 300 biochemical bodily reactions, many of which have gone awry in individuals with autism, attention issues, Sensory Processing Disorder and other developmental delays. It is extremely important in the metabolism of fellow elements: cadmium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, lead, sulfur and zinc. It is the single most important mineral for maintaining proper electrical balance and facilitating smooth metabolism in the cells. One of the major properties of it is that of stabilizing cell membranes. The health status of the digestive system and the kidneys significantly influence…

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Increasing amounts of research (see References, below) point to a vitamin D deficiency as being linked to autism, as well as ADHD, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. What Is Vitamin D and How Do We Get It?   Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced naturally as D3 or cholecalciferol (pronounced koh·luh·kal·sif·uh·rawl) when sunlight hits the skin. Most people used to get sufficient vitamin D3 from sunlight. Today, vitamin D deficiency is rampant largely in part to increased use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, coupled with a move away from an agrarian society.   A Perfect Storm for Vitamin D Deficiency With just 10-40 minutes of unprotected summer sun our bodies produce about 20,000 units of vitamin D. The body makes what it needs, accumulating and storing significant reserves in the tissues, liver, spleen, bones, and brain; it can be then be available during darker months. Vitamin D is fat soluble, requiring sufficient “good” fats in the diet for…

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

How Nutrition Affects Hypotonia

Many children with developmental delays have low muscle tone, or hypotonia, because external factors that impact the nervous system can also affect the muscles. Premature birth, heavy antibiotic use, and exposure to toxins damage all types of cells, causing generalized low tone or low tone in specific areas such as the hands or mouth. In severe cases of hypotonia, the muscles may be so weak that a child has difficulty sitting up for extended periods, chewing, or pushing out bowel movements. Milder cases, affecting the finger or eye muscles, cause fine motor delays or visual processing disorders. All children with hypotonia have reduced stamina.   Symptoms Associated with Hypotonia Fatigue/low arousal:  The body’s inefficient processing of nutrients results in reduced available energy overall.   Reflux/constipation:  Poor or reduced trunk tone can cause stomach flaps to flop, thus impeding food movement.    Poor sitting posture or “slumping” can be a result of soft trunk muscles.   Weak chewing and poor/picky eating:  Low tone in the…

Getting Good Supplements into Picky Eaters

Getting Good Supplements into Picky Eaters

Getting Good Supplements into Picky Eaters

Parents are justifiably alarmed when children are picky eaters. Inadequate and improper nutrient intake can decrease intelligence and affect brain functioning, especially during the first few years of life. Unfortunately, these indisputable facts are not enough to convince many children to eat their fruits and vegetables! The best most parents can do is offer consistently good choices and eliminate the worst of the heavily processed, artificially colored and flavored foods. What often remains are foods like cereals and meal bars because many parents fear that children will eat nothing if the menu is adjusted any further. One mother does not even keep vegetables in the house because the child reacts so negatively to the sight of them. “He reminds me of me,” she confessed sheepishly. She is not alone; fewer than one in four Americans eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Why Use Supplements for Picky Eaters? Children who are distractible, have behavioral issues and developmental delays…

Why Is Digestion Important?

Why Is Digestion Important?

Why Is Digestion Important?

Understanding the process of digestion is necessary before understanding what goes wrong in children with chronic disorders such as autism, ADHD, allergies and asthma. Digestion starts in the mouth. Each bite of food that enters the mouth mixes with saliva and is swallowed. A process of muscle contraction called peristalsis moves the partially digested food into the stomach, small intestines and colon, where enzymes and other juices work it further.    Enzymes, which are proteins responsible for many essential biochemical reactions, are vitally important for proper digestion. Enzymes act as catalysts, breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats into simple forms that the body can absorb, burn for energy, or use to build or repair itself. As the body absorbs nutrients, toxins and other waste products finish the journey, exiting through the rectum as fecal matter.    How Long Does Digestion Take? This very complex process could take hours to days, depending upon many factors. Ideally food should not tarry too long in…

What's for Breakfast?

What’s for Breakfast?

What's for Breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! We’ve all heard that maxim. Manage Glucose Levels What is a “good” breakfast, and why is it so important, especially for kids with neurodevelopmental disorders and mood disorders? It’s all about glucose levels. Fasting for 10-12 hours between dinner and awakening in the morning triggers hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and acidosis. The Body Ecology Diet’s fourth principle is that too much acid encourages yeast overgrowth, viruses, parasites, and other unhealthy cells to thrive.  Prepare Children for Learning Research now proves the importance of a good breakfast to prepare children for learning. One British study explored the performance of 19 children, aged six to seven years over a four-week period. The children ate meals offering similar calories but different glycemic loads. (Glycemic load is how much a given food causes blood sugar to rise sharply.) Two to three hours afterwards, those who ate a low-glycemic breakfast performed significantly better on the tests…

The Folate Deficiency Connection

The Folate Deficiency Connection

The Folate Deficiency Connection

Laurette Janak discusses the connection of autism, Alzheimer’s, cancer and depression in this post about methylation and folate deficiency. Do you have a child with autism? A history of depression? A parent with Alzheimer’s?  Some discoveries I made might interest to you.  When I adopted my daughter, she was simply the girl I had always wanted. Little did I know what adventures her complicated medical issues would lead me into. Folate Deficiency My son Steven had been conceived through the help of nutritional therapies. I knew that because Emily had Down syndrome, vitamin therapy would be crucial for her. I read everything I could about her condition. Kent MacLeod at Nutri-Chem, the Canadian company whose nutrients for Down syndrome are known world-wide, called me a “one-woman research institute.”  I learned that children with Down syndrome have weakened immune systems and impaired folate cycles. Folates are products of complex biochemical reactions through which our bodies convert a vitamin found in green…

Food Guidelines

Food Guidelines

Food Guidelines

Follow these food guidelines to stay healthy because the foods we eat today are not the same as those our grandparents ate. Major changes in farming, food production, and processing have occurred over the past 50 years. Eliminate Pesticides and Fertilizers Today, most high yield farms use toxic pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers, known causes of cancer and immune suppression. Previously, crops were rotated to replenish the soil with nutrients, and sprayed only when predators threatened production. Now, as standard practice, farmers fertilize to chemically add “nutrients”, and spray plants twice: when they begin to flower, and again once they have bloomed. The pesticides thus grow into the plants, and no amount of rinsing can remove them.  Solution Buy organic. Even better: buy from a local farmer at organic farmers’ markets. Then you not only ensure that the food is pesticide free, but you support family farms, regional water sources, and the local economy.  Beware of Wheat and Dairy Products Wonder…