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We FEEL What We Eat?

We are what we eat and we feel what we eat. I don’t know of many that would argue this point. So let’s delve deeper. Catch those yogurt ads where people are openly talking about daily toilet habits and belly bloat? What about Greek yogurt and kale having their 15 minutes of fame (and then some)? Have you seen the number of nut milks sold in your local grocery store lately? Even historic food icon McDonald’s has shuttered locations for the first time in decades.

The discussion of digestion and food health are changing. Stop and ask any person in the general public about the importance of foods and the connection with mental aptitude. Even our pets have choices on foods that promote better mental clarity. I bet you’ve heard someone discuss being ‘hangry’ lately in conversation or social media. In casual conversation we are openly addressing the mental processes (the BRAIN) and the linkage with what we eat (the GUT).

I get excited from a scientific focus because the connectivity of the cells that communicate within our bodies (nervous, inflammatory, & gut) are being further defined in more intricate ways every single day. In fact, a research model that is being elucidated further has shown that the bacterial activity in our guts can produce behaviors that we would define as anxiety and depression! We FEEL what we eat!?

I get excited from an advocate focus because more families are open to making household food choices to alter some behaviors. In the event you haven’t witnessed a significant cause-effect scenario in your own body… let me share with you some ‘’food for thought’’ from my direct experience with local families:

Child A: boy, 5 years old, steady diet of “go-gurt”, mac-n-cheese, and chicken nuggets, his 4th medication was added for sleep on top of an Rx cocktail to assist in focus/attention. Over the summer the diet expanded into more nuts and vegetables. Sleep patterns improved. Work with an acupuncturist aided the removal of meds. BIG BENEFIT: the depressive effects were abolished – entirely.

Child B: girl, 11 years old, lots of fast foods, lack of focus in class, disruptive at home, some bed wetting off and on. Over several weeks the diet was significantly changed, she embraced it when she talked openly about feeling better and where her anxiety was coming from. She joined a sports activity which led to more friends. Her new-found level of confidence led her to work with her teachers on in-class skills, share her anxieties, and adopt steps for reading and math homework. BIG BENEFIT: when the sugars in her diet were reduced (and stress) the bed wetting stopped.

Child C: boy, 15 years old, lack of drive at home, slept a lot, depressive nature, exceptional in school when he applied himself, sporadic social interactions (involved in athletic groups). Working with more vegetables, smoothies, and proteins along with increased chiropractic visits, sleep was consistent, moods stabilized and depression was not as severe as parents had felt before. BIG BENEFIT: With the involvement of food chats, he considered a career in a food-related area (as well as possible internship); which led to a much more stable level of school focus and drive.

The human body is so incredibly unique and complex. It is interesting to hear and discuss reactions to foods that some people have and which others may have no reaction to at all; especially within a family. It is empowering for me to witness shifts in family dynamics. Many households use the food prep or cooking time to come together and spend time talking. Discussions erupt on food topics AND on feelings, emotions, triggers, etc. Children see and hear how adults handle feelings and food choices. What happens on days where fast food is the sole option? What about social pressures to eat a food that will set a person up to feel ‘off’ for hours or days? Many a parent and professional would agree – these can be ‘teachable moments’ as well as a way to come together.

We feel what we eat. We discuss what we eat. We choose what we eat. We ARE what we EAT.

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*An important clarification: the scenarios shared above took time – measured in weeks not in days. Every family member took part. Some families sought out professional input and some referenced their own books/apps for support measures to achieve their goals.

Read more on the gut link between anxiety and depression:

Maes et al., Affective Disorders, (2012)

Berk et al., BMC Med, (2013)

Heather Lascano is the CEO of Neuro Touch Inc. where she brings in her experience in conflict resolution, stress management, sensory assessments, and drug development research to uniquely advocate within the circle of influence of a child struggling with learning delays.

 

 

Written by Heather Lascano

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The information provided in this site is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to provide complete medical information. KidsMisdiagnosed, Inc does not offer personalized medical diagnosis of patient-specific treatment advice. All medical information presented should be discussed with your healthcare professional. Remember, the failure to seek timely medical advice can have serious ramifications. KidsMisdiagnosed, Inc urges you to discuss any current health related problems you or your child are experiencing with a healthcare professional immediately.