We live in a very confusing time today about what’s healthy and what isn’t. Most of the so- called food that’s out there is what I call “fake” food – basically void of any nutritional value. The Standard American Diet is full of chemicals- herbicides & pesticides, trans fats and saturated fats, artificial flavors and colors, high amounts of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, Genetically Modified Foods, excessive amounts of animal protein and dairy, and Gluten.
We have moved so very far away from consuming real foods in their natural state, that many children today can’t identify some of the basic produce, like tomatoes and broccoli, let alone tell you what they taste like.
There are literally hundreds of research studies today that show the best way to protect yourself from everything from the common cold/flu to heart disease and cancer is to consume 9-13 servings of fruits and veggies each day -including something from each color of the rainbow. It also turns out one of the very positive effects of eating fruits and veggies is an improved immune system – which helps us fight off anything that comes our way. Unfortunately, statistics will bear out that less than 5% of our population eats 9-13 servings a day and that most people think that Ketchup and French Fries count as a serving! So it’s no wonder we have one of the most unhealthy countries on the planet.
The Standard American Diet is also highly acidic – which means that it is creating an acidic pH in our bodies. The result of this is systemic inflammation and oxidative stress in the body – which creates not only body pain, but also ALL diseases – everything from the common cold/flu to heart disease and cancer. Germs and Cancer thrive and grow in an acidic condition. Fruits and veggies on the other hand, create and alkaline state in the body- germs and diseases like cancer can’t thrive and survive in an alkaline state. They also help neutralize free radicals – which are the beginnings of cancer cells.
The Power of a Clean Diet for Children on the Autism Spectrum
The effects of the Standard American Diet and the acidic condition it causes, are taking a serious toll on the health of our nation- especially our children- and specifically those with special needs, like those on the Autism Spectrum. Another issue with acidic foods and the effects they have on the body is that they create feelings of anxiety, restlessness, anger and frustration in the body – which is THE last thing that children on the Spectrum need!
Those of us in the whole food nutrition arena have seen great health improvements in ALL children, but for children on the Autism spectrum, the changes have been very significant. Consuming the cleanest possible diet in these children has shown:
- Metabolic Reprogramming – where they begin to crave more fruits and veggies.
- Opening up of the Pallet which allows better eating.
- Better connection to their surroundings.
- Improved speech, vocabulary and sentence structure.
- Better able to participate in discussions.
- Improved bowel issues.
- Reduction or elimination of Asthma symptoms.
Grocery Shopping & Other Dietary Recommendations
I strongly encourage mom’s to work on eliminating all processed foods from the child’s diet and totally understand that this can be a huge challenge. So I work with them to create individualized programs to phase out the old unhealthy foods and phase in the healthy ones. While the need to phase out the processed foods may take a little time, I help educate them on how to read nutrition/food labels on these packaged foods. Some hints I share with them are:
- Select items that have the fewest number of ingredients.
- Choose items that have the lowest amounts of sugar PER SERVING… preferably less than 4 gm (1 tsp.). Sugar creates “fight or flight” in the body. This includes avoiding artificial sweeteners which are just another chemical!
- Avoid Gluten and GMO items.
- Purchase organic fruits and veggies whenever possible- to avoid toxic pesticides and herbicides.
- Avoid trans fats and saturated fats, artificial flavors and colors, high fructose corn syrup, animal protein and dairy.
- Any ingredient that you don’t recognize what it is and you can’t pronounce.
Some other suggestions I offer are:
- Use Coconut oil, avocados and Salmon for good brain healthy fats – Omega 3’s.
- Reduce foods containing Omega 6’s to help reduce inflammation.
- Making healthy smoothies.
- TOTALLY avoid sodas- including diet ones as well as fruit juices, and drink fresh filtered water the main hydration source.
- Read: Answers for the 4 “A”’s – ADHD, Asthma, Autism, and Allergies, by Joseph Cannizzaro MD.
- Eat breakfast!! Skipping it creates too little glucose in the blood stream and releases adrenaline- which creates fight or flight in the body, which creates a surge of energy – which creates lack of attentiveness, restlessness and aggressive behavior.
Allergies are most often caused by consuming dairy and it’s by-products and gluten. The protein in Barley, rye, oats and wheat can cause headaches, hyperactivity, learning problems, chronic infections, bedwetting and fatigue. There are over 3000 chemicals in processed foods – preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings. Avoid them.
Incorporate healthy grains and legumes, nuts and seeds in your diet. Whole food is the most powerful drug on the planet and is foundational for good health!
I look forward to working with many more families on their quest for long, healthy, happy lives! Please contact me at 619-993-6759 (text or phone) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Jini Carlson is a Holistic Health Practitioner specializing in nutrition.