What if Hippocrates Dined at Your Table?

Who is the "Father of Medicine?"

Hippocrates has been famously quoted as saying, "Let food be thy medicine," but I like to say, "Let food be thy family medicine." This philosophy guides us to carefully select our food as opposed to running to the doctor for a pill. However, it is not always easy to inspire loved ones to make good food choices outside the home. Temptation for anti-nutritious food is everywhere.

Many of my clients’ children suffer from autoimmune disorders and gut issues. This means their food and nutrition choices are even more important. If you hear complaints of any of the symptoms listed below, your child or teen may be experiencing gut issues:

  • Stomach aches
  • Achey joints (not just growing pains)
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Swollen ankles
  • Circles under their eyes
  • Cramps
  • Constipation
  • Runny nose
  • Rashes
  • Difficult menstrual periods
  • Blood sugar crashes

I saw more teens with ulcers, anxiety, and joint pain last year than in all my four decades of practice. Kids experience more stress than adults may realize. Between stress and environmental toxicity, the more nutritious you can make available at home for kids, the stronger their immunity grows. Their mental health is directly related to gut health.

If you are concerned, make an appointment with a health care professional. If you do not know of a good doctor, search for a doctor who does Zoom calls. I highly recommend my personal doctor, Dr. Julia Hunter at juliathunter.md. 

I advise against consulting with a doctor or practitioner who over-prescribes medication or supplements. If you or your child suffers from gut or autoimmune issues, your digestion and detox pathways may be blocked. Over-supplementation could make things worse. Pills are expensive and may clog an already over-stuffed pipeline. While supplements make sense on paper, they often do more harm than good. I joke that if I had a dollar for every whole pill I saw flow through the colonic tube during a session, I would be writing to you from my own private island.

Of course, some supplements are key:

Vitamin D, B’s and Omegas are also important. However, nothing compares to nutrients from food. The following are my tried-and-true protocols for keeping myself and family healthy. They are designed to keep picky eaters well-nourished.

  1. Consuming 120 g of protein a day is critical to brain and immune health. One serving of chicken, beef, or fish (30 g of protein) fits in the palm of your hand. Most people do not eat three solid protein meals a day. However, you can fortify your family’s protein needs with protein shakes (15-25 g), bone broth (20 g), and snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups, and almond butter with apples.
  2. Children and teens do not always discuss their bathroom routines with adults. Yet, they may say their stomach feels hard, or they spend a lot of time in the bathroom without success. If over 12, they may take my Happy Gut Cleanse. Castor oil packs encourage regularity. Find multi-use castor oil packs, pre-packaged on Amazon from a company called Queen of the Thrones.
  3. Teach your kids to love salads and fruit. I created “snack trays” for my carbohydrate-loving step-kids with bite-size pieces of fruits and vegetables topped with a delicious, healthy dip. Guacamole or hummus work well as a dipping sauce.
  4. Hydration, hydration, hydration. Sugar-free electrolytes may entice reluctant water-drinkers and allow water to be absorbed rather than eliminated through the kidneys.
  5. To avoid blood sugar crashes, pack protein powder in your kids’ lunches. In fact, both of my kids travelled around the world with a container of All Day Energy, as our family chemistry tends toward hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

The symptoms of blood sugar crashes can appear to be emotional. If you or your child experience brain fog, crankiness, impatience, moodiness or anger during the day, this may signal a blood sugar problem. Kids tantrums are often blood-sugar related. Digestible protein is one of the fastest ways to balance blood sugar and feed the brain. How do you keep your family healthy?

To your health,

Julia Loggins,
Author & Digestive Health Consultant,
Santa Barbara, California

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