kids health

Back to School: Emotional Wellness for our kids!

Man – it’s just about 3 weeks of being back into school and it feels like we’ve been there for weeks on end! Anyone else feeling the same?

So, in an earlier blog I spoke about the importance of nourishing their bodies with REAL food for fuel, well, we also need to nourish their souls and emotional well-being – equally as important.

In psychology it is believed that we have determined our identity and belief system by the age of 7! So as adults we are living with either empowering or self sabotaging belief systems that have been ingrained into our psyche before we are even able to understand what they mean – this is a huge concept so sit with this for a little and really grasp it.

When I first learned this – I panicked as I thought I’ve missed the boat on one kid and am just about to miss it with the other – talk about pressure like we don’t have enough of it today in the modern world.

Thankfully the boat is never missed when you are open to the evolution of learning and becoming your best self, and ultimately the best teacher to our kids. It’s about being self aware and course correcting CONSTANTLY.

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With this in mind, how can we as mum’s enable the emotional well-being of our kids?

On a practical level:

  • Nutrition – this is key and essential to fuel the body with nutrients to give it any hope of functioning optimally, not to mention core functionality of the cells & the brain. Many mental ailments and conditions can be the symptom of nutritional deficiencies
  • Sleep – This is when the body is performing it’s biggest role of repairing and healing. Therefore crucial that they get age appropriate volume of sleep. Sleep is also essential for the immune system and emotional resilience.
  • Water – They need water and plenty of it. Not only is water essential for the brain and the nervous system (the brain is made of over 75% water), but just the smallest drop of hydration within the body can lead to a drop in energy & mood levels
  • Exercise to release all the happy hormones

7 recommendations/suggestions to manage their emotional wellness:

  1. Help them feel loved, secure and confident. Talk to them in THEIR love language. You read more about that here.
  2. Help them to identify their feelings as best they can, if possible why they feel that way or what’s behind the feeling. Here is a great tool I found online to help you, help them identify their emotions. This truly is half the battle
  3. Equip them with tools to help manage the emotions and feelings such as:
    • Deep breathes when in a heightened state of emotion – resets the nervous system
    • If they are old enough, I'd say from age 7 – get them to write on paper how they are feeling and why. In neuroscience this is believed to help relief the emotional charge on a situation
    • Use tools such as EFT, otherwise known as tapping. More info on this here.
  4. Help them to recognise the power of the little voice in their heads, also known as self-talk and how this can either empower their world or could be the slowest form of torture
  5. Teach them to show gratitude EVERY SINGLE day. This is non negotiable in my household. It’s amazing what they come up with when they are stuck for something. Some of the answers just melts my heart
  6. Get them in a mindfulness practice daily. This does not mean that they are sitting and meditating in a corner saying “Om” for 20 minutes, but helping them become aware of the present moment. Examples are:
    • Using an app to do a guided breathing exercise for 3-5 minutes. I really like Smiling Mind or Headspace, easily downloaded from the App store.
    • Colouring in, even better you if do it with them - this has to be one of my favourites
    • Sitting quietly in a nature, feet on the grass and recognise the sounds and surroundings, again only needs to be a few minutes
    • Engage them in any activity they truly enjoy and help them recognise moments of joy during that activity
  7. Lastly, but more importantly – this may sting a little, but YOU become emotionally resilient and learn the tools how to do this, then you can be an EFFECTIVE teacher. Our kids learn by what we DO, NOT by what we SAY. They will model what they see being practiced. So the key here is to become very self aware yourself. This is not easy, but so worth it!

The above list not exhaustive, but just a small snippet of some strategies to help build emotional resilience and wellness for our children, especially in the age we are currently in.

Adjuncts to promoting emotional wellness

The below list serves as examples of adjunct therapies that can assist the promotion of emotional wellness. I do not believe that any one of these should be used in isolation or be seen as the magic bullet to fixing a symptom, but rather as an addition to the fundamentals listed above in the practical section:

  • Essential Oils
  • Massage
  • Chiropractic or Osteopathic treatment
  • Bush Flower essence
  • Homeopathics
  • Kinesiology

If you are concerned for the emotional well-being for your child, then please seek additional help and guidance from a qualified practitioner.

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Chantal is a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach with a special interest in helping families implement Gut Healing Nutritional Protocols using a proven step by step wholistic approach to improve the health of their family.

The 3 P's of Gut Healing

And it has nothing to do with food, per say!

As you are about to embark on any sizeable change, more than likely there are feelings of overwhelm by the enormity, and that is totally understandable. Sometimes these feelings can over power you and prevent ACTION from making taking place.

When starting your gut healing journey, there is plenty to consider such as the foods to include and exclude, how you are ACTUALLY going to bring the family on board, where do you get the food from and then WHAT are you going to make that the family WILL eat with the path of least resistance. Like everything, there is a process to change and its needs to be tackled in small bit sized chunks.

So, let’s get into it.

So the first P in gut healing is PLANNING!

It all starts with planning. Actually it starts a little before this with a clear defined Vision of EXACTLY what you want to achieve during your healing journey, WHY you want this and by WHEN, but that is a blog post for another day.

When starting your gut healing journey, planning is crucial and paramount to your success on any protocol you choose. Without this, you are guaranteed to set yourself up for failure.

Wikipedia defines planning as the following:

Planning (also called forethought) is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal. It involves the creation and maintenance of a plan, such as psychological aspects that require conceptual skills. There are even a couple of tests to measure someone’s capability of planning well. As such, planning is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior.

Actions to consider when planning your gut healing journey:

  1.  Be clear from where you are now and where you need to be. Break it down into smaller steps or milestones as to how you will achieve your desired outcome
  2. Identify any obstacles UPFRONT that could get in the way of the plan being a success and you achieving your desired outcome of optimal health. Also include potential strategies that could be employed to mitigate the obstacles. In project management terms (my former life) this is referred to as risk management, you literally plan what to do in the event of something going wrong before it happens.
  3. Identify any help or support you may need to carry out your plan. That could be in the form of home help, specialised practitioners, health coach etc.
  4. Be clear on your start date and the length of time you will participate in your chosen protocol, i.e. 30 days, 3 months, 6 months etc. This needs to be flexible
  5. Be clear on the protocol you will be following for your healing journey. There is no one size fits ALL and it may mean a combination of different healing protocols
  6. Know where to source your food from
  7. Meal Plan – this step is non negotiable and is crucial to the success of any gut healing program

The next P of gut healing is PREPARATION.

Give yourself the time you need to get organised. Do not rush this step. It took me at least 6 weeks of planning and preparation before actually starting the GAPS protocol. This was crucial to our success and more importantly my SANITY.

Things to consider when preparing your healing journey:

  1. Be clear of the foods to remove from your diet and which ones to include
  2. Get your pantry stocked with healing essentials, see this blog
  3. Identify where and how you can create convenience so that you are not chained to the kitchen
  4.  Identify where in your week you can block out time to do the crucial activities such as meal planning and food preparation. These activities are key and without it, success and long term sustainable lifestyle change just will not take place.

The last P of gut healing is PERSISTENCE.

Let’s not kid ourselves; initiating any change is hard and overwhelming, especially if you are coming from a place of stress. The learning curve is very steep and more often than not you are just not sure you can actually do this. I know this feeling too well, I’ve been there myself! But you just need to start, and take one day at a time. You will be guaranteed to take a few steps backwards before you go forwards and the journey may be rocky, but you need to keep going. Whenever the feelings of failure or overwhelm come knocking (and they will) just keep your end goal at the forefront of your mind. Imagine your life as if your family was experiencing abundant optimal health.

Imperfect ACTION will always out weigh perfect INACTION. Just need to be willing to try

Imperfect ACTION will always out weigh perfect INACTION. Just need to be willing to try

If you need help with you or your child’s gut healing journey, book in for a free 15 minute call, email me or check out my work with me page to see if one of my programs are a suitable fit for you.

Chantal is a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach who specialises in working with stressed and overwhelmed mothers of immune & digestive challenged children to heal their child’ gut by implementing a wholistic personalised step by step plan.

 

 

4 easy steps to ensure your child is getting the best nutrition possible!

If you are anything like me, starting out on our wholefood journey was incredibly confusing and daunting, don’t eat this, don’t eat that, eat more of this, include this superfood etc. Everything I thought I knew about food almost had to be thrown out of the window. It all just became too much, sometimes to the point where I was paralysed and did not know where to start, so I didn’t!

And the reality is, it just does not have to be that way. It’s actually really simple.

Here are 4 easy steps to ensure your kids are getting the best nutrition possible:

1.        Variety – Food should be selected from a wide variety of sources each day. It is also important to choose a variety of foods within a food group, e.g. don’t just eat apples every single day, try to include at 2-4 different varieties from each food group. By following this simple principle, you ensure you are obtaining a range of essential nutrition.

2.        Wholesomeness – This essentially means that the food needs to be as close as possible to its natural state. For example if choosing a sugar source, choices such as maple syrup, raw honey or rapadura would be better alternatives than white refined sugar.

3.       Unprocessed – The ideal diet should not rely heavily on processed, packaged, tinned, frozen, take-away or pre-prepared foods. The less processed the foods is, the more nutrients it will contain. Additionally the less processed the food is, the less additives and preservatives it will contain which are so incredibly damaging to one’s health.

4.       Individuality – this simply means eat what is right for you! What is one man’s medicine can be another man’s poison. Things to consider when looking at individuality are:

  • Digestion & Absorption
  • Sensitivities & Allergies
  • Medications currently being used
  • Quality, cost & availability of food
Fresh fruit and vegetables

Fresh fruit and vegetables

 

As a family we don’t prescribe to any particular diet, we just focus on the above principles and eat real whole food and include as many healing foods on a daily basis such as broths, ferments, quality protein, good fats, plenty of vegetables and minimal fruits.

In addition we tend to limit our grains and if we do eat them, they are of a gluten free variety.  I ensure that they are properly prepared, i.e. soaked or cooked in broth to ensure they are easily digested and the nutrients from the grains can actually be absorbed!

There is definitely no refined sugar by choice, however if it consumed outside of the house at parties etc, I'm not going to sweat it! Honey, maple syrup and other forms of natural sugar such as panela and coconut sugar are used, but only in small quantities. Even though they are natural sugars and have amazing vitamins and minerals, they are still a sugar and needs to be consumed in moderation.

I also ensure we eat the best quality available, i.e. eat grass-fed meat as opposed to normal conventional meat and buy fruit and vegetables  according the to the clean fifteen and dirty dozen list. That list can be viewed here.

Personally I’m not a fan of “superfoods”. In my humble opinion, any food you are eating as close as possible to its natural state is a superfood. We don’t need the fancy stuff, but absolutely no harm including them to boost the nutritional content of the food.

Happy eating! XX

 

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Chantal is Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach with a special interest simplifying and implementing gut healing nutritional protocols using a personalised wholistic step by step Healing Transformational Program.