April 4, 2011
Ben Greenfield: Hey folks, this is Ben and if you listened into the interview with Phil Maffetone a few weeks ago at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, you may have heard us mention that Phil has actually co-authored a book called “Healthy Brain, Healthy Children.” He co-authored that with a physician and really an expert on raising healthy children on specially nutrition and medical aspects when it comes to raising your kids in the environment that we are in these days and her name is Dr. Coralee Thompson. And Coralee is on the call with us today as well as my wife, Jessa Greenfield, who is going to be talking about some of the really important stuff that Coralee talks about in this book, “Healthy brains, Healthy Children” with Coralee.
Ben: So, Jessa and Coralee, thank you both for coming on today.
Jessa: No problem.
Coralee: Thank you Ben.
Ben: So Jessa has actually read this book and she has some important questions for Coralee and if anybody out there who’s listening in and has children, plans on having children, or knows someone who has children you know would benefit from this advice, this is gonna be a really important interview for you. So, let’s go ahead and take it away.
Jessa: Ok, well, Coralee, I just kind of, can you give us a real brief description of what this book's about, just real briefly so we can have an idea?
Coralee: Sure. I consider this book pretty much a combination of the past two decades of work with children, and adults, too, but primarily with children and children with special needs, and my awakening to the power of nutrition actually did come when I met Phil Maffetone more than, more than fifteen years ago now, and both of us realized that we couldn’t reach everybody on the planet and there’s a pretty important message here that relates to children's health and we needed to put that in paper so that, that would be able to be distributed widely. And the book is really, I think it’s a comprehensive look at aspects from the very beginning of life, actually even before conception because we dedicate a chapter on prenatal and you know, post natal types of issues, and when you look at what is the most important aspect of living healthfully and overall health? It does begin in childhood. And it begins with a child getting the sort of raw materials for letting the body grow in the way nature intended. This also is a book that addresses issues of medical importance because in the environment we’re in right now with all the concerns about health care and access to care and health insurance, we need to be responsible for ourselves and for our kids, in such a way that we not only are able to protect our children from medical errors, which by the way occur roughly 30 percent, in account for you know, many thousands of lives lost, not to mention a harm that may not really result in death. But also for parent to know how to wisely choose their care for their children and also give them a sense of the ability to handle things that really don’t belong in the professional’s hand.
Coralee: And then, we also devote a lot of this book to environment, you know, making us a safe and clean environment. And when you look at the statistics on what is it that really promotes our overall well-being over a lifetime? If we had a perfect health care system and I’m talking about a perfect, flawless health care system, it would only account for 10% of what really makes us well. And the other 90% is how we live. Whether or not we have an education, access to good food, access to healthy, clean environment, exercise, so 90 percent or more of overall longevity and well-being through our lives comes from non-medical thing.
Jessa: Yeah, so what you are saying is basically we’re about 90% of what we do, I mean, 90% of what we’re doing is going to help us or harm us? Basically.
Coralee: Right. And I think that’s a low number. Phil and I both look at all the diseases that are out there and he says that, you know, hundred percent is how we live in and what not, and I'm more likely to compromise and say, no that's more like 95%.
Coralee: And then we also devote some time in this book to special needs children since that was a large part of my focus over the last twenty years. And then finally, we put in a lot of this fun stuff that we've been doing together and that is, you know, our own cooking and fun with real food.
Coralee: So the last part of the book is you know, here is the fun part now. And now here's some really great recipes that we invented.
Jessa: Which I’ve eaten.
Coralee: Oh, good!
Jessa: I love new recipes. Okay. So,with that, I'm gonna start out by asking you, you talk a lot about in the beginning of your book about macro nutrients and micro nutrients and phyto nutrients. Can you briefly describe what you’re talking about because a lot of people probably don't even know what those words necessarily mean.
Coralee: Right. It's a big chance to put in those kinds of word.
Coralee: The risk is putting someone to sleep.
Jessa: Well, I thought you explained it pretty well in your book, but for our listeners can you just kind of briefly describe what they are and maybe how they play out a role in kids and in their health?
Coralee: Sure. First of all, everyone may know what nutrients mean. So that is the basis of the word, to nurture or to provide the goods to the body, nurturing the body. And then, the prefix is macro. Macro simply means big and micro means small and phyto means plant. So when I teach about macronutrients, I think it’s important for parents to understand what those macronutrients are and that is protein, fats, carbohydrates and we also put in water. And macronutrients are those that are needed in the largest bulk of the diet. And why do you need to know what a protein and fat and carbohydrate does for the body? It helps a parent make wise choices, for them to know, ok, what food have healthy protein in them, and why should I give that to my child? And the more the parent understands the whys and the philosophy behind anything, the better choices they'll be able to make. You can't just tell someone to do something. It's never effective. So teaching them the foundation of it, I think, is really important. So that's macronutrients. And the micronutrients are what, are considered as the vitamins and the minerals within those food. So understanding why it’s important to have Vitamin A rich food – helps vision, helps skin, helps immune system. We didn't put in a whole list of all the micronutrients and what they do because so many of these foods are a package of everything.
Coralee: You know, an orange for example, most people would think, “Oh oh, an orange is full of Vitamin C”. Well, an orange has hundreds of other nutrients that are healthy for the body. And those come in the category of the phyto nutrients. And phyto nutrients are in plant food obviously, phyto is plant. And the plants have ways of defending themselves, believe it or not, without pesticides.
Coralee: And these are, a healthy plant will prevent disease. And it’s on, I can tell in my own garden. If I have unhealthy plant, it’s going to be more likely to be invaded and eaten up by some apid or spider mites or something will attack an unhealthy plant much sooner than it will attack a healthy plant. And those phyto nutrients are the ways that the plant has to sustain itself. And as it turns out, those thing phyto nutrients promotes wellness and optimal health in human being and help us fight disease too.
Jessa: That's really cool. That's awesome. So, how would you obtain this, I mean you talk about eating rainbow of food, what do you mean by that?
Coralee: Well, first of all, the brain loves color and children love color.
Coralee: And the most colorful foods actually have the most phyto nutrients in them. So the dark green leafy vegetable, the purple skin of eggplant and blueberries, the bright yellow peppers, butter nut squash, and if the parent learns that they can create a plate that could have every color of the rainbow in it for their child, it just is healthier and it’s more fun for the kids. And I used to do this with my own children. Ok, let’s take out the colors of the rainbow in this salad. It’s just a lot of fun and a lot far healthier.
Jessa: Yeah. I like serving my boy but colorful plates anyways. They enjoyed it, they specially love red peppers.
Jessa: Ok, so, if you could construct a food pyramid, what would you put on top or would you put at the bottom? Because I personally would not accept the traditional one.
Coralee: Well the traditional one has been replace by an even worse one. In fact right before the interview, I got an email from med state and a company of physicians is suing the USDA for their current food pyramid because it’s so bad.
Jessa: Oh, my goodness. That's terrible.
Coralee: And they, you know, rightly so, they identified the facts that the USDA again has kowtowed to you know agriculture, and the problems that the whole food industry has in driving… Driving what? Americans and even worldwide what they eat? First of all, for a food pyramid, you want, one question to ask would be, is it in quantity or in calorie wise. And I think the easiest thing to consider is maybe quantity.
Jessa: I think so.
Coralee: Yeah. So, if you're looking at the weight of food or nutrients, the bottom of the pyramid really should be water. And then the next layer on top of that should be the more nutrients than fruits, vegetables… bio fruit vegetables is next.
Coralee: And then, if tolerated, coz it’s really, grains are not easily broken down by a lot people. They don’t know that unless they actually do a test of eliminating those kinds of food. Then I may put whole grains and beans on the next layer. You know, healthy sources of protein that would also be included in the, sort of, in the beans because they are a good source of protein, again, if they are broken down. Then healthy other sources, if that individual is not vegetarian, I would put in the healthy animal protein on the next layer. And then healthy fat on top of that and that would include nuts and seeds, and coconut and coconut oil, and actually coconut oil is a really important fat for children. And I think its importance is being learned bit by bit. And then, you know, olive oil, other health, also whole food sources of fat. And then, on top of that, I would put in the concentrated sweet, and really, the only concentrated sweet that I truly think is, you know, untouched, would be raw honey.
Jesssa: I'm so with you on that. And people who was listening, I preached raw honey all the time. If you're gonna use a sweetener, that's what I’d choose to use.
Coralee: Exactly. I've looked at other things like agave syrup and that choose is in no passed in my mind. It’s not terrible but it’s just, it is processed and you're not certain for sure how, what they're doing with it, whether or not it really is what it is when it gets to you. Maple syrup is, it is natural but it is also requires processing and it requires, in it is a very high glycemic food. And artificial sweeteners are, there's no sense in using them at all. First of all, I mean like Stevia, I just never been able to get in to that. It's not very satisfying, and it doesn't really help you nutritionally anyway. It pulls the brain but it also can stimulate the same kinds of responses that eating sugar does.
Jessa: Okay. Alright. I'm just curious now. Why would you put water? Most people don't think of water as, you know, on that food pyramid. What was your reason for that?
Coralee: Well, if you weighed it compare to what you eat in food, then you're really drinking about the same amount per weight of food that you are eating, or you should be.
Jessa: I was curious because I wasn’t expecting that.
Coralee: Yeah, so, just consider, you know, a child should probably drink about a quart of water a day, depending on their overall needs. And that weighs about a kilogram or two in a half or 2.2 pounds. And that’s about as much food as a kid would eat. If they are eating real food.
Jessa: Right, it’s a big difference.
Coralee: Yeah. A child or kid that getting bad food is maybe getting less in terms of the overall weight of the food.
Jessa: Right. Ok, so let’s assume that your kid is getting all these great wonderful food that you are talking about here. Do you think supplementation is necessary, and if so, what would you suggest as a supplement?
Coralee: I'm cautious with supplement because so much of that is artificial and the other thing is, it gives the parent a false sense of security. But there are certain supplements that I think, will just, are able to get in the diet and kids probably would benefit greatly. And one of them is a fish oil. To get a enough fish in the diet, you run a risk of increasing toxicity. You know, our fish is just, our supply of fish is getting more and more intoxicated with the environmental waste.
Coralee: So, I usually do recommend some sort of purified fish oil supplement. The other thing is, I don't think kids are getting enough vitamin D. So I often will make sure that they're getting a vitamin D in their, you know, daily. That actually can be obtained with cod liver oil, so you get a fish oil and vitamin D in one supplement.
Coralee: If the kid has had any allergy or antibiotics or especially if they had antibiotic in early infancy, then I also recommend making sure that there's a probiotics as a supplement in their daily plan. And pro means “for something”, I'd like to break down words, and bio is life so a probiotic is prolife and antibiotic is against life, and the life that I am talking about is the microorganisms that live within us. That serve to protect us against bad things. So they're bad bacteria out there and there's good bacteria. And within our bodies, we have probably about three pounds of bacteria. If the child gets an antibiotic, the antibiotic may be effective at getting rid of strep throat but it's also effective at killing healthy bacteria within the gut. And those healthy bacteria do a lot for the immune system. So depending on the child’s, sort of, history of antibiotic use or allergies or other infections, then I often recommend a probiotic. And they're like lactobacillus and acidophilus, these, they’re a common name.
Jessa: Right, ok. So, ideally you wanna give your kid, you wanna start your kids on the best food, obviously you want to start from preconception the nutrition, but if you're not, how do you get kids like, maybe five year old kids to eat healthy, they may be resistant to that. Just, how would you do that? How do you recommend that?
Coralee: Well, first of all, it would be important to start incorporating a child in selecting food. So, taking the child actually to the grocery store with you and having them pick out, you know, like, “not this, but not that”. So here are all the things that you may choose from. But, it’s not too early to start teaching your kids at five years of age about healthy and unhealthy things.
Coralee: And then if you wanna do this, if you have your coverage full of unhealthy things, get your child involved and if it's in the box let's get rid of it. And have it to have cleaning out of the house, so to speak. And then, replace that with real food. Now, it wouldn't be surprising if a child complains or even goes on a hunger strike but I have never seen a child really, truly go on a hunger strike more than a couple of days.
Jessa: Yeah, probably not.
Coralee: And you know, it starts with the parent, the philosophical approach of the parent is, who is raising the child? The child, or am I raising the child? And when it’s really, when a parent can have that confidence then they don't have to feel like they're being taken hostage by their children’s wants and whining and I am not Lunchables. All of my other friends have Lunchables then.
Jessa: I remembered playing the role of my mom.
Coralee: Your kids don’t have real choices because they have been already brainwashed.
Jessa: Ok. So, you just get them involved and kind of get them interested and if that doesn't work then, you know.
Coralee: The worst case scenario is a hunger strike.
Jessa: Well, let's not do that. Not until last a couple of days of talk. Ok, so in your book you also mentioned three types of stress that can be on kids that maybe will hinder their brain function and that sort of thing, what are these and how exactly do they do that?
Coralee: Yeah, most people consider stress as mental, but they don't consider other stresses that are really significant. And I'm talking about physical stress, chemical stress and then emotional stress. Those are the three main stresses. And, physical stress may be just, you know, severe weather change. It may be poor seating shoe, it may be seating in the car too long during a trip. And it doesn't have to mean that a parent is physically abusing their child. But, actually there are physical stressers on the body. And anytime there is stress, the body has to compensate and the glands that do that are adrenal glands and they produce hormones especially called cortisol that helps us deal with stress. And cortisol raises blood sugar, it actually over time, has long term effects on brain function. And if anyone has been under emotional stress, they can recognize that their brain doesn't function too well. Other little stressers do also affects brain function. We can't be without stress because it does grow, help grow the body. For example, if you're in space and you don't have the physical stress of gravity, your bones deteriorate, your muscles deteriorate. So, I'm not suggesting that all physical stress has to be removed. But just to be more mindful of unnecessary physical stress that might be happening over training a child in sport that would be long term, even short term problem. I don't get into over training, just talk a little bit about exercise. The second stresser called chemical stress is really quite astounding in this day and age because we have hundreds and hundreds of chemicals going into our body that shouldn't be there. And one of the biggest thing a parent can do to eliminate chemical stress is to eliminate just regular household products that are full of different chemicals and perfumes, fragrances and eau and chlorine and other toxic, chemicals where cleaning can be accomplished with very natural products, water is a great solvent, add allow vinegar to that and you get even better cleaner, add baking soda and vinegar and you get a little nice scrubbing bubbles type cleaner. So there are lot of natural things that can replace the daily chemicals that we use in the home.
Jessa: It's a lot cheaper, too.
Coralee: Oh, much cheaper, right.
Jessa: I'm a big fan of that.
Coralee: And a good rule is, don't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't be able to eat. Or wash your hair with something you wouldn't be able to eat. So, looking at the ingredients, if you can recognize the ingredients, the chances are that you could probably eat it not that you would want to but it wouldn't be dangerous to you so, don't put it on your skin unless it is edible. And then the third stress of emotional stress, I think that one is self-explanatory, you know, children needs to be nurtured and respected and loved and when they are, the brain wires itself differently. And that's driven again by the direct contact, direct line from the adrenal glands to the brain. You have brain stimulation, negative or positive, by what you see and hear and feel. You know, those are the things that are driving brain development in a child.
Jessa: Ok. And you kind of touched on how you will eliminate those so, that's awesome because that was my next questions, how to eliminate these stresses. So, you did it all in a package, that's awesome. You also talked about how the brain, the gut and the nervous system are connected. And a lot of people don't put that connection together. So, can you sort of explain how that works in the body?
Coralee: Yeah, it's very interesting to know that the gut in and at itself has a nervous system that is as big, if not bigger, than the spinal cord and all the nerves that are in the spinal cord. So, a lot of people called the gut as second brain. Because it also produces a huge amount of neurotransmitters, it's got all these neurons and interconnections within itself. But it also has, what I like to call, an autostrata or highways, superhighway connected to the brain through one particular nerve called the vegas nerve. And that's not important to know, but just consider where is it that you, when something frightens you, where do you feel it first?
Jessa: In the gut.
Coralee: And that's why people say, do what your gut tells you to. It's like its own brain. Well, it communicates with the brain and the head through this fast track. And if the gut is not functioning well, it affects how the brain functions and vice versa. If your brain is not functioning well, of course, the gut can shut down. So, that's really in a nut shell. So when I look at the child who's having even having brain problems, I look at the gut first, and say what is happening there? And fix that first and then see what's needed to fix in the brain. Because there are so many messages from the gut to the brain, all the time, by the bad food we eat or not, you know, or going without eating and poor blood sugar control, it's a huge web that's interconnected, one pulling on another depending on what the problem is.
Jessa: Yeah, well, kind of make sense, I mean if your stomach is not simulating food properly it’s not getting to yourselves properly.
Jessa: It's now gonna make sense. Ok, interesting, so, you also talked about chronic inflammation and how it affects the body, can you explain that to us and tell us how modern food is causing chronic inflammation in our bodies?
Coralee: Yeah, inflammation basically means that there's swelling and heat and there's some reaction that the body is trying to heal itself. Example of normal healthy inflammation would be, if say, you got a cut, if your finger got cut. A normal reaction is, that area is a little bit red and a little bit warm, in its healing process. So the body uses inflammation as a way of healing. Well what scientists started learning is that a lot of heart disease, cancer, chronic illnesses and even things like autism has a basic thread of inflammation. So where is that coming from? Well one way you can easily create inflammation is by having food set drive insulin up in the body. Now, insulin is a hormone that a lot people are gonna hear about because diabetes is so prevalent. So, now insulin is a common word, it is a hormone that the body has that allows glucose or blood sugar to go into the cells where it can be used as energy. But if you eat food that are high in glucose or high in sugar and these food raise the blood sugar, insulin will be raised equally. So that glucose can be utilized. Well, insulin causes inflammation, so they're finding out, that insulin in an add itself increases inflammation in the cells. And overtime as there is high level of glucose and persistently high levels of insulin, then you have a body-wide problem of inflammation. And that may show up as a kid having aches and pains in their joints where they really shouldn't as children, skin disorders, brain disorders, inflammation in the mouth like canker sores.
Jessa: My mom always like,” if you eat too much candy, you'll gonna get canker sores”. Now I know that makes sense.
Coralee: Right, right.
Jessa: Sorry, go ahead.
Coralee: So sugar and processed carbohydrates are big promoter of body wide inflammation. Now the other way that this happens is through the fat that we eat. So, there are certain vegetable oil for example corn oil, soy oil, peanut oil, canola, these oils are highly, have a tendency to cause inflammation. So although having a health, eating a healthy pieces of corns on a cob, it’s not at all like having a teaspoon of corn oil. Corn oil will create inflammation in the body and this is based on hormones that the body has that are created from the fat that we eat. And the other fat that tends to increase inflammation are from dairy products and fats from meat, especially those that have not been grass-fed meats and cheeses and things like that. You can overdo it on that. So, it's an issue of counting fat and that’s discussed in the book, as well, in probably more detailed the most people want. But it's good to understand because the more you understand the better choices that you can make.
Jessa: Now it's not shocking that we have all these problems because the American diet is probably 90% of that what you just mentioned.
Coralee: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Jessa: Are there any food that most people label as healthy food that would cause inflammation that you know of?
Coralee: Well, again, even having, you know, large serving of whole grain where the body breaks that down primarily into glucose can cause inflammation. So you could have healthy food and too much honey for instance, you can drive insulin up with too much honey. So, you know, again, you need to have a little bit of a lot of things and don't focus in on just on one type of food. Sometimes people would ask Phil and I to outline what we eat in a day, and, I just did it out of fun one day and wrote down all the different food that we ate. And often we eat between 30 and 40 different food by the end of the day.
Jessa: So you're getting a rainbow of food.
Coralee: Exactly, right. Which is great.
Jessa: Ok, so how, so obviously good nutrition’s gonna affect your entire body, how exactly does it, you talk specifically about the ears and the eyes and sinus health. How does that, you know, what does that mean, to, if you have like unhealthy eyes, unhealthy ears or a sinus, can you explain that a little better?
Coralee: Sure, you know, I put that in the book because one of the most, or some of the symptoms that drive a parent to take their kids to the doctor most often would be ear infection, and nose and sinus and you know, coughs and a progressive respiratory and you know, pink eye, so, I devoted sometime to that because it’s a big chunk of what parents can handle on their own without actually going to the doctor. And believe it or not I just said that gut has, you know, all these bacteria in it, the skin and the mouth and the nose also have healthy bacteria that when antibiotics are given, that healthy bacteria is lost.
Jessa: So does that, you know, you lead to like another illness?
Coralee: Yeah, illness will do it, antibiotics will do it, even, you know, why do we see so much illness in the winter time? It's partly because of, you know, lack of sunshine exposure but also things get cold so people heat their homes and the humidity in the house may go down to 10 to 15% and that's just not healthy so the nose can become too dry. Little, tiny cracks open which allow viruses to invade. But, you know, it’s also in my experience where children are heading to the ear surgeon for ear tubes, and my job is to prevent that kind of thing from happening. So many times I just had children, parent stop giving their child dairy products. And because dairy products are very common allergen, and if there's allergies, then there's swelling, again inflammation, the ears get blocked then infection dopes up, and the solution that the medical community offers is two: antibiotics to help clear up the blocked and infected in fluid; and two, put a tube in there so it drains the fluid out.
Jessa: That's not pretty.
Coralee: If you are treating symptoms then you're not really getting into the root of why in the first place is this child getting an ear infection.
Coralee: Because they have allergies, or they're eating that food, or you know, they're just chronically ill, their immune system is not strong.
Jessa: As they say, if they have like a chronic ear infection or sinus infection, is that a signal that something else is little off?
Coralee: Very often it does say that the immune system has been weakened, the gut may be not working well so, the other thing I didn't say about the gut, and why it’s so important is that more than 50% of the entire immune system is around and in the gut. We, think about white blood cells as what fights our disease and that sort of second line, the first line of defense is the gut.
Jessa: So antibiotics are basically kind of preventing that to be able to work.
Coralee: Yeah, they do reduce the body's normal immune function.
Jessa: Ok. Interesting. Ok, so you talk about kind of like body composition and kids and stuff like that and about what it means on the overall health of the child, can you explain that a little more?
Coralee: Sure. The biggest concern nowadays is that one in three children are overweight or obese and I think that's even generous. I mean, that's even a low estimate because it’s, you know, 75% of Americans are overfed. So, the biggest concern overall is the obesity epidemic and that’s starting in infancy. So body composition, you know, having a nice muscular lean body versus one that is overfed. Now the other end to that is that some children are abnormally underweight and don't grow properly, so that also is addressed in the book. And for a lot of special needs children those children that I've seen for the past 20 years like children with cerebral palsy or other types of brain injury, being able to gain proper weight and muscle strength is an issue.
Coralee: So, why do we care about that? Because the child grows into an adult. And, you know, if you have a fat child, you will be highly likely to become a fat adult. That is the biggest health crisis.
Jessa: Does it say anything else about, I mean because obviously what we're eating is affecting our, you know, immune system and ultimately our brain and the gut and everything so obviously an obese child is probably at greater risk for those things?
Coralee: Oh, by far.
Jessa: I would assume.
Coralee: Oh, by far. The greater risk for all diseases around.
Jessa: Okay. Alright. And then, obviously underweight children are at a similar risk. Am I assuming that? Okay, alright, that's kind of what I was trying to get. Okay. So you also talk about sleep and how important sleep is for kids and how, if a child has sleeping problem how that will affect them on mental level, can you talk about that a little bit more?
Coralee: Sure, sleep is actually a very active time of brain development. Learning and consolidation occurs during sleep. There's a regeneration that occurs and so sleep just has to happen. And growth hormone is released during sleep. There's so many benefits to sleep. Plus, if your child doesn't develop good sleeping habits, those sleep habits continue through life. Just as body composition sort of continues through life. So, you know, one huge problem with many adults now are sleep problems. So, sleep hygiene, what do you mean by that? Healthy practices of sleep are really important to start from day one in the child’s life. And so much of our environment interferes with that. Noise pollution coming from, you know, TVs and radios and video games and computers and what not. The proper lighting, again, not getting the right kind of sun exposure, staying indoors all the time, these are sleep busters and bad food. I've seen so many children who, one of the biggest complaints the parent have are that they don't get to sleep or they wake up many times during the night. So sleep disorder actually are very common in children. And with children becoming overweight even obstructive sleep apnea that is the fat on a child's body can prevent them from breathing properly at night. So sleep is just one of those fundamental things like food that has to happen for normal development. I tracked a lot about healthy ways to get a child to sleep and those things that are related to sleep, and again there's probably more details about sleep than an average mother wants to know. But, sleep just have to happen. It has to be one of those things that are really respected for everyone.
Jessa: It sounds like a full circle thing when you talk about the kids’ diet, as well as interfering of their sleep, if you don't have a proper diet then your sleep's gonna be hindered and then you're gonna, you don't have that regeneration time and that growth time and that sort of thing so they all kind of are interlinked?
Coralee: They really are. And a lot of parents just simply aren't aware of some of the sleep busters like their kids get a coke at eight o'clock at night.
Jessa: Yeah, I have that problem last week, not on coke. I didn't know I was drinking coffee. Okay, so knowing all these things and you know understanding that diet is really important for pretty much overall health of the child sleeping, playing and that sort thing, how do you find somebody who, like a practitioner that's going to embrace, because a lot of time, in my experience you try to find a practitioner and they, like you said, they just wanna treat the symptoms, they don't wanna treat the actual underlying problems. How do you find somebody who is gonna be willing to do that and spend that kind of time finding out that sort of stuff?
Coralee: Yeah well, the first thing, I think, is asking around and once you get your antennae up for looking for a good practitioner then your radar starts to find them, that's one thing. The other is that you may want to have a practitioner who unfortunately gets labeled as an alternative doctor, but even alternative doctors may go to the, use the same medical motto, which is “Okay, let's give a supplement in the same sort of attitude and let's give an antibiotic”. Well, it can be difficult. The second thing is that, I think for your child you need to have a good pediatrician who could be there for an emergency but become more and more comfortable in managing your child's own well being. And that is what this book is also about. It’s self-help. It's you know, taking on the job of, you know, keeping your child healthy so that what does, you know, things come up, there usually things that adopt you, you really do need a doctor to handle. Like you really do need to treat strep throat with antibiotic. There's probably no way around that. But 95% of the time of sore throat is not gonna be strep. You know, you do need an antibiotic if your child has pneumonia, but 95% of the time or more, a cough is gonna be a virus and it’s not gonna be a pneumonia. So you do need to have sort of traditionally trained doctor who's gonna be apt to give you the medicine if you need it for your kids. But the more educated you are about what are real emergencies and not, and I actually do list, these are the things you don't mess around with, you go to the doctor. Almost everything else can be managed. You know what I mean?
Jessa: Yeah, I do. It's another thing, because I don't even know if my kids know who their doctors anymore, we barely go.
Coralee: Right. Which is great you know. Part of the problem of having health insurance is that people think that they can now go to see their doctor anytime they, you know, have a dripping nose, well if you have to call a plumber every single time you have a drippy sink, you'd learn how to fix a drip in your sink.
Jessa: Right. Okay. Alright. Well that's good info. Because like I said, we don't have to use our doctor very often, I know what, we have one.
Coralee: Yeah, I think it’s terrific, the other thing, I do spend some energy in this book really trying to help parent create their own child’s medical record and how to do that. And I think this is important because how many times you just thought it hasn't happened to you, but if your child did get a serious illness and you didn't have any records of previous tests or things like that or the kinds of doctors said you fill the form, then each doctor you see has to start from scratch. And it's much more difficult to put the whole picture together. And the other thing is, when you meet the doctor, you may wanna sit down and say “I wanna handle things as naturally as possible and I’m asking you to be the member of my team.” Not looking for a dictator, I want a member that helps the team. And, for most doctors, I think, that would be refreshing. And if you came across a doctor who said forget it, you do what I tell you to or, you know, I don’t, then walk away. You don't want a doctor who's gonna be just telling you what to do. And I think that overall, those kinds of doctors are rare. Most doctors really do want to be more of a partner and you know, a healthy relationship with their patient. And not just hand out a pill.
Jessa: I think a lot of parents maybe feel intimidated, by the whole doctor thing. You know what I mean, a lot of people who go to the doctor, I don't wanna, you know, question them or something like that, so I think that just getting knowledge and starting to understand your kids’ needs and getting control of their diet and all that kind of thing, all those sort of things can help a parent gain some, not just self-esteem, but some confidence in dealing with the doctor and that sort of thing.
Coralee: Yeah, it does. It really helps. But on the other hand we have the other parents who spent hours and hours on the internet and search it and have educated themselves, maybe a little few much, but I say that with caution because I frankly do love it, when a parent has terrific questions. They conduct their own research and it just makes me a better doctor.
Jessa: That's cool. Okay. So, I guess after you've like, you know, after you’ve gone to a doctor perhaps or maybe your kid is having a problem ADHD or something like that and you decided that you find a doctor who is on board with you about like changing the diet and that sort of thing and try to go from the natural aspect. How do you implement this, how do you shop and get excited about this, do the cooking and the preparing and that sort of thing because obviously you are not gonna find packaged food anymore. It just takes extra time.
Coralee: It does in the beginning until you get really comfortable working with real food. And after that, you'll learn all the shortcuts, in the initial stages I think you need to ask yourself, am I willing to devote a couple of weeks or maybe even a month to just figuring out how to live healthfully. How to do all the shopping and I have all the tips in the book on shopping, what to avoid and not to shop hungry and stay within a certain part of the store that tend to have the healthy food. You know, what to do on Monday morning is in the book. I think it really does start with that commitment of “Okay, I’m gonna do this. I'm not gonna live out of the box anymore. And I'm gonna learn how to do it.” And then you just get better and better and more and more efficient the more that you do it. And, really, initially, it may feel also like you're spending more money, but that also gets better once you figure out how to really buy efficiently, not overbuy, things that … you go to healthy food store and you wanna buy everything. And then the family turns out they don't like it. So you have to trickle these things in. You can't just go in there and spend $500 on stuff you’ve never tried with your family. You know, so, just start buying real food to begin with of the common things that you know your family eats, and then add in more and more variety as time goes on and as you learn quickly prepare things for example to cut enough broccoli and steam in little melted butter or olive oil on top, wow, and salt, that's so terrific. That doesn't take that long at all. There just have to be a transition where the palate changes, too. Because our children's palate have not been developed. What I mean by that is the taste for real food, because they aren't getting real food from the beginning, there is a transition.
Jessa: So true. I've done a lot of stuff with like baby food. I just think it's horrible. It's the baby food that you find in the grocery store, like Gerber I think they don’t give anything like the real food. It's just like, how is a child ever going to learn if they're learning from infancy that an apple taste like they’re sugar?
Coralee: Yeah, exactly. You know what I have learned is that, really the raw food are more widely accepted by children.
Jessa: I agree.
Coralee: You haven't eaten the real stuff? You know, they’ve gotten processed food, if you wanna start your child off, actually start off with crunchy carrots, and cucumbers and red peppers. Things that have crunch to them, color, juicy, you know, it’s gonna be better accepted than steamed green beans. So, that's the beginning and then just bit by bit, they're having those healthy food.
Jessa: Well, thank you so much. This information has been awesome. I'm relieved that I got to talk to you, so, what we are gonna do is, we're gonna have your book linked up to our show notes and I'm so happy to have had you on the show, and again the book is called “Healthy Brains, Healthy Children” for all of you who maybe who are thinking about having a baby or have children or even yourself, because adults, too, have ADHD.
Coralee: I didn't talk about the statistics, but one in six children have neurological problem.
Jessa: I believe it. I actually have dear friend and her son had severe ADHD. And she eliminated grains and milk and within a week, he was a different child. He was stunning actually.
Coralee: And I don't remember where the quote came from, but you know, children make up 1/6 of the population but they make up 100% of our future.
Jessa: Yeah, so taking good care of your kids is hugely important.
Coralee: Yeah, it certainly is. Thank you, Jessa.
Jessa: Thank you. And again the book is called “Healthy Brains, Healthy Children”. And we'll have a link to the book on the show notes so, thank you so much again.
Coralee: Great, you're welcome, my pleasure. Bye.
Jessa: Bye now.