January 26, 2020
Constipation is so common, but hardly a topic for the dinner table, listen in as two nutritionists share the causes and some solutions for child and adult constipation issues. They share foods to eat and what to avoid, in addition to indicators of good bowel habits and abnormal bowel habits that you’ll want to address.
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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you Nutritional Weight and Wellness. As a mother of a 17-month old boy I think our topic of discussion this morning on Dishing Up Nutrition is shall we say interesting to say the least? And probably one that doesn't come up too much at the dinner table. We will be talking about constipation and diarrhea and we'll be spending much of the time actually talking much more about constipation and specifically a lot about children and constipation. So until I became a dietician I didn't realize how common constipation was in the general population, but then it wasn't even until I became a parent that I realized how common constipation is in children.
SHELBY: You don't know what you don't know until you're there.
LEAH: Right; absolutely. My name is Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietician and I see clients three days a week at our Nutritional Weight and Wellness Mendota Heights location. And then the other two weekdays I am home with my son, Landon. It's a really great, I would say almost perfect work-life balance in terms of scheduling. So let's get started with our discussion. We have addressed diarrhea, so loose bowel movements on other shows. We've spent entire other shows talking about diarrhea. So we've decided to focus more on today's show in terms of constipation. And constipation is a common problem in children of all ages, so infants, toddlers, school-age kids, teenagers, and even the children who are now all grown up and now they're adults.
SHELBY: Young at heart still.
LEAH: Absolutely. And so actually constipation is one of the most common chronic gastrointestinal disorders in adults. So Shelby we see this in clinic like almost day in and day out with clients who are having maybe just a few bowel movements every week.
SHELBY: Right, and actually when I was going through my master's program for clinical nutrition, one of my first professors said, “If you are not comfortable talking about poop with people, you are in the wrong profession.”
LEAH: Absolutely, yes. We have to talk everything digestive from the top to the bottom, right? Yeah. So this morning we will spend time talking about the causes and some solutions for both children and adults who struggle with constipation issues. So joining me in studio today is Shelby Olson, who a Licensed Nutritionist. We will be talking about adult and childhood constipation, which is a very real problem for so many people. We believe this information that we're going to share this morning will help you find a solution.
SHELBY: Yeah. Well good morning Leah, and good morning to our listeners or good evening or good afternoon, wherever you are in the world and listening. I was formally Shelby Hummel, but as of about six, seven months, I am finally getting used to calling myself Shelby Olson. Like Leah had mentioned, I'm a Licensed Nutritionist and I actually see clients in our Wayzata location. I also spend many of my days teaching wellness classes for a variety of the companies here in the twin cities. And the past few years more and more companies large and small are trying to provide nutrition information to their employees in the hopes that they will remain healthy because we understand just like they do that healthy employees are productive employees. So some of the classes that we may teach… You know, just within the past week I've taught a class called mindful eating. I've taught classes about Jumpstart Your Metabolism, Eating Real Food for Everyday Health Solutions. I talk about Good Goods and Good Moods: that brain connection to the foods that we eat. So we really bring this “eat real food” message, and people find it's a simple message that resonates with them. As a result of attending one of these lunch and learn seminars… It's typically about an hour. They learn that they can eat real food that they buy in the grocery store. You know, they don't have to buy boxed foods or you know, packaged things. They can go to the farmer's market. They can go to any of the grocery stores in their area. And quite frankly, it's food that their entire family can eat, right?
LEAH: Yeah. That's important so that you're not the only person following a specific plan. It's nice when the whole family, when everybody can be on board.
SHELBY: And my mom, she would always say, “I'm not a short order cook. You’re going eat what I make for dinner.” And that's exactly… when we're talking about real foods, mom and dad can eat it. Kids, you know, teens; everyone should be eating real food and can notice a difference that when they eat real food they feel good.
LEAH: Absolutely. Yeah. So Shelby and I both work with many adults and we both see children. I think I see more children now, now that I have one of my own. So maybe it's just that, the laws of the universe. I attract more kids. I don't know. But many of these adults and some of the kids are struggling with constipation, and parents sometimes don't even realize that they have a constipation problem. And truth be told, many people don't realize that having a bowel movement every three, maybe four days is a problem. I would also venture to say, “I have a lot of clients who come in and they say, “Well, I know maybe it's not normal, but this is my normal.” So, “And I don't, this has been me forever and I don't know what to do about it.”
SHELBY: Right. So when we asked them, “Have you had or do you have a bowel movement every day?” They say, “Oh no, you know, I'm not constipated. My normal is every three or four days.” We would identify that as a problem. Today we do want to give you guys an idea of what normal bowel habits look like and of course give you some of those indications of abnormal bowel habits. Now I remember one of our young adult clients who would have a bowel movement once every two weeks. Can you imagine?
LEAH: It hurts my heart a little.
SHELBY: I know. She thought that was normal. So are you wondering… ask this question: “What is normal for an infant or a young child or even for an adult?” “What does that normal look like?”
LEAH: Yeah, yeah. Shelby, you and I were talking a little bit about that before we came on air of like “What is normal”? And when I was first starting this whole motherhood journey and I would still consider myself a fairly new parent even at 17 months, I was just a little surprised that I was changing my son's diaper, you know, at least three to four times a day. I mean, realistically, there were definitely days where it was like eight to 10 times a day.
SHELBY: You’re a pro.
LEAH: Right. Yeah. You get good at it really fast. And actually when mothers breastfeed their babies, many of those babies have a bowel movement after every feeding. And I can attest in those early days, your breastfeeding sessions: eight, 10, 12 times a day, sometimes all clustered together. So, there's a lot going on.
LEAH: And infants who are breastfed are rarely constipated. And typically by about age two, a child is having one to two formed bowel movements daily. By the age of four, they're usually continuing that pattern of one to two formed bowel movements a day.
SHELBY: Right, and if everything is working right, most school-aged kids, teens and adults should be having one to two bowel movements daily. In fact, one or two BMs daily as an adult is what we would consider normal and healthy. Right, you're eating every day; multiple times actually. So you should be eliminating. We call it digestion and elimination because we want to be working through that.
LEAH: Absolutely. Yeah. So an infant or toddler who is constipated typically will have a bowel movement that it's hard to pass. They might be straining or they might be sitting on the toilet for a while. Or in my son's case, he's not potty trained yet, but you'll notice he will stop in his tracks and he'll be pushing. You get that red face, that look a concentration. So, if they're doing that a lot or you notice hard little pellets in the diaper or in the toilet, that would be considered constipation.
LEAH: On the other hand, a child who normally has a bowel movement maybe every two days may not be constipated as long as that bowel movement is soft, not difficult or painful to pass. So it's, it's still an easy process for it to come out.
SHELBY: Yeah; making that distinction.
LEAH: Yeah, exactly. So constipation tends to be common at three different times in a child's life. So the first time is typically after starting solid foods. So if you think about that, they're getting more roughage at that point.
LEAH: So that might look something like rice cereal or apple sauce or typical foods that people start with with those solid foods.
LEAH: Another time is during toilet training. And then lastly, usually after starting school.
SHELBY: Right. So Leah, let's talk more about good digestion and address more of that childhood constipation after break.
LEAH: Yup, that sounds good. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And this morning our topic was going to be about constipation and diarrhea. Like I've mentioned before, we've talked about diarrhea, those loose bowel movements in great length on other prior shows. So today we're doing an extensive focus on constipation and mainly concentrating on constipation in childhood. So surprisingly constipation in today's world is a serious problem for many children. We ask the questions, “Why is this happening to children in this day and age, perhaps more so than it used to be?” And our dietitian brains always go to could it be the processed foods that our kids are eating? So we'll have our thoughts and answers coming up. So stay tuned.
SHELBY: We'll be right back.
SHELBY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We are proud of the nutrition education classes that we offer, notably because most participants get amazing results. So before we get back into our topic of constipation, I want to take a moment to share some of the truly incredible statistics with you about our six-week Weight and Wellness series; so that that would be the original class series that was developed for Nutritional Weight and Wellness by our owner, Darlene Kvist. So over 1500 people have taken our Weight and Wellness series and 94% of them improved their health scores by over 50%.
LEAH: 1500 people.
SHELBY: I know.
LEAH: If we look at that number over the course of the years, that's amazing.
SHELBY: And the owner of Nutritional Weight and Wellness, Darlene Kvist, her goal is that everyone would take that worldwide. She wants to bring this information to everyone. So I think that's really cool.
LEAH: So 1500 is a great start to, what is it; 7 billion now?
SHELBY: We're working on it. So it sounds impressive when you hear that 94% of people are improving their health, but what does that really mean? Well, what if I told you that you could feel better in just six weeks? Now, the statistics that we have on the series show that 56% of people have improvement in energy, which I think that's amazing, but we start to look at what do you do in that class series to have these marked improvements? So in our Weight and Wellness series, we talk about blood sugar balance, we talk about digestive health, we talk about sleep, and even cover things like the food/mood connection. The great news for those of you listening is that we have a couple of classes starting soon. If you are local to the twin cities area, we have one in our Eden Prairie location that will start on Mondays and we have another and our North Oaks location that will start on Wednesdays. And if you enroll by February 3rd you can get $50 off. Now everyone loves a good deal. Now if you're a nurse or a social worker and you're listening, know that this class qualifies for continuing education credits and it's not just one or two, I want to say it's, you know, 12 to 14.
LEAH: Yeah 12-14 so it's, it's a good chunk.
SHELBY: Yeah, it is really nice. And oftentimes nurses tell me, “Wow, I wish I would've known this when I first started in practice.” So to enroll in our six-week Weight and Wellness series, or to learn more, you can go to weightandwellness.com or call our office this morning. The gals at the front desk would be happy to answer your questions. You can reach them at 651-699-3438. And before we took our break, Leah, you were just kind of telling us that there are three different times in a child's life where they are more likely to experience constipation. Would you just kind of get us back into that idea?
LEAH: Yup, absolutely. So let's, let's rehash those three times. So the first time is typically when we're starting solid foods. So you think about solid foods, now the, those bowel movements are going to change so that they're probably going to be a little more solid or they're going to change in consistency a bit. So when you kind of disrupt the status quo, things can change. Another time is during toilet training, so for most kids that's somewhere between age two to four, somewhere in that range. And then lastly after starting school, so they're, they're going into a new environment, learning lots of new things. And that's just another common time where, you know, you see constipation.
SHELBY: Right. I actually have a very strong memory of in the summertime being at the pool. Everyone loved to go to the pool in the summertime, but I had one friend growing up that was chronically constipated and I remember we were at the pool and we were trying to have a good time and she just felt terrible. And so her mom actually had to come pick her up from the pool and took her right up to the local clinic and she had to have an enema. I mean, I don't remember how old we were at that point, but it was just one of those memories where I was like, I don't, I didn't know what that felt like as a child. And so to see her in so much pain clearly is not something we want to be dealing with.
LEAH: Yeah, and it clearly made an impression on you that this is something that's not normal.
LEAH: Yeah, and so as a mother and a dietitian, thinking back to when I first was introducing solids to my son, right around that six month mark, I knew I didn't want to go that typical rice cereal route as baby's first food; and really I held off on any kind of rice and grains for a while because I knew having worked here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, that rice cereal can be a constipating type of food. Those grains are tough for those little tummies to digest.
LEAH: White rice can be a cause of constipation for both infants and adults, and whether it's that rice cereal or whether it's kind of your regular cooked rice and you’re having it with your stir-fry…
SHELBY: Or you know, the rice cakes that we think of on all these low-fat, you know, no fat diet.
SHELBY: For many adults, the processed foods can be constipating because processed foods tend to have both gluten and those bad factory fats or those manmade fats. So it's kind of a double whammy. You have the processed gluten grains and you have the bad factory fat. So if you're an adult that is listening that is struggling with constipation, I strongly recommend you avoid products containing gluten. Now gluten is the protein found in grain. That protein can actually inflame the intestinal tract.
So we have digestion that slows down and constipation. Now oftentimes clients tell us, well they choose that slice of bread because they've been told that bread contains fiber. Now as nutritionists and dietitians, we know that vegetables are a better source of fiber. So for those of you listening, I just want to give you kind of a simple comparison. Now, one slice of whole grain bread gives you about one and a half grams of fiber. Now for most adults, we're looking at 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. So that's like a drop in the bucket. You know, you having one slice of bread is really not getting you very far, but we compare that to one cup of broccoli. Now one cup of broccoli has 2.6 grams of fiber, which means that as you're eating those five to nine servings of vegetables a day, that is truly how you're getting that fiber for good digestion.
LEAH: Yeah, almost double the amount that is in one slice of bread.
SHELBY: And other benefits like our minerals and our vitamins.
LEAH: Yup, absolutely. Yeah, so if you're going gluten free, if you've made the decision like “I'm going to give this a try for a couple of weeks,” it's best to avoid even a lot of those gluten-free breads because a lot of them are made from rice flour or just those different kind of starches, which can also be difficult to digest and can be constipating for a lot of people.
LEAH: So as Shelby mentioned, it is better to get a variety of vegetables. I think Shelby, you always say like adding color to your plate and getting some colorful vegetables in and just let the bread go; like you can do that for a couple of weeks just to see how your body reacts. And in our experience, usually a person's body, especially the digestion, the intestinal tract and the bowels start to function a lot better.
SHELBY: Right, exactly. Now and as long as we're talking about gluten, in addition to being constipating for some people, gluten may be the most inflammatory ingredient that we can consume. Now, gluten is inflammatory in your intestinal tract and I know you're going to give us some research in a little bit here, but it is also inflammatory in our joints and in your brain. So yes, I'm talking about that gluten in the slice of toast, that hamburger bun or that cinnamon roll because they are all inflammatory foods, but gluten in these products may be one or all of the reasons for your constipation, maybe your headaches; if you feel like you have anxiety or even those memory problems. We know it is difficult to be totally gluten free. We understand that. We hear that time and time again and you know, we work through that with people, but because we know gluten or wheat products are lurking in foods that may surprise people, here are some of the food products to be mindful of: hot dogs, bouillon cubes, gravies, soy sauces, even some candy and chewing gums and some personal care products like shampoos and hand creams. So this week one of my clients told me that every time she eats out, she feels like she's got the flu next day. And she's convinced that it must be that hidden gluten in some of the foods, even if she's being really, really careful.
LEAH: Yeah, so, when you're not eating in your own home and sometimes you don't know what's being added to foods or what's being used as a seasoning or things like that. That can be hard to try to distinguish what's going on.
SHELBY: Right, some of those hitchhiker ingredients.
LEAH: Absolutely, yes. Yeah. So you know, Shelby said I will be talking a little bit about some research specifically from a Harvard researcher, Dr. Alessio Fasano. But we do have to go to our second break here. So let's come back to that.
SHELBY: Time flies when you're having fun I suppose.
LEAH: I know. So, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And if you struggle with carb cravings, and in reality, who doesn't these days, you'll want to join us next week. Kara and Joann, two of our wonderful counselors, they’ll be on next Saturday as they discuss how to curb your carb cravings. So that should be very interesting. And we'll be back.
SHELBY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. As nutritionists and dieticians, we know that cereal, bread, crackers, chips, even things like Goldfish snacks and cheese can be constipating foods for kids and adults. In place of those foods, Leah and I thought it would be helpful to share some real food choices for you. So we say “eat this, not this”. So instead of crackers, especially like Goldfish snack crackers, what could we put together? Now, maybe you do some blueberries, some red pepper slices, maybe you snack on some olives or sliced avocado. But we've got the expert here with us. You are actually feeding a child. So Leah, what do you pack for snacks?
LEAH: Yeah, well I don't know if I'd call myself an expert. I'm an expert on maybe potentially my child, but where, I mean, just in terms of my son's development, we're in that 17-month, like year and a half age mark. And so just I went through some ideas are like, okay, what do I feed him on any given day? What does he like? And things like that. And in terms of snacks, I mean some of the things that we do and my mind is always going to, how can I get some of that good protein, those, those satiating fats, some of those real food carbs in? So he really loves hard-boiled eggs. So I'll chop those up with him, so the yolk and the white and everything. Sometimes I'll do a dash of mayo in there for more of that healthy fat. He, you know, he as many parents know, kids kind of go through stints with things, and so my son really loved for awhile baked pears. So I would bake them in the oven with coconut oil and/or butter for more of that healthy fat and then just kind of cut up into smaller pieces for him. He'd nibble on those. When I make my smoothies, so a good balanced smoothies with like some fruit, coconut milk for the fat, a little protein powder, some yogurt, he loves sipping on that too. So he's really started to notice when mama has something that “Hey, maybe I want to try that too.”
SHELBY: Which is another good reminder for those of you that are parents out there that are trying to get more protein in your kiddos, you could make a protein shake and you could use something like our Whey Protein Powder or the Paleo Protein Powder. Do you have a preference in terms of what you like or what your son Landon likes in terms of protein powder?
LEAH: I personally use like a Paleo Protein Powder, a beef-based protein powder just because for myself, I don't do really well with dairy. So, and my son, you know, he doesn't know the difference.
SHELBY: It doesn’t taste like beef.
LEAH: No, it doesn't taste like beef. He's like, “This is just nummy” because the like the sugars from the real fruits come through and he's like, “Oh, this is very tasty.” And then you get the creaminess with the fats in there. So yeah, he loves kind of sipping on that with me.
SHELBY: Yum. And just another reminder, you know, if you're eating real foods as an adult and you're feeding little ones, you know, they are interested in what you're eating, and so modeling that behavior. Now, before we went to break, we were just kind of talking about how gluten can be a hitchhiker ingredient. It can hide in some of those gravies or sauces or marinades; that sort of thing. So Leah, why don't you tell us a little bit more about gluten?
LEAH: Yeah. And specifically we ask that question: “Why are gluten grains such a problem for so many people?” So gluten interferes with the breakdown and absorption of a lot of our nutrients; and then bodily signs that might be an indication that you don't do well with gluten include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation like we're talking about today; and gas. So those are just some digestive symptoms that maybe you’re watching out for. But Shelby, you also mentioned that a gluten sensitivity can show up in other parts of the body as well with stuff with the brain, neurological disorders or joint pain and things like that.
SHELBY: Right, it's not just tummy troubles that are linked to gluten.
LEAH: Yeah. And so gastroenterologist and Harvard researcher, Dr. Alessio Fasano, he found that gluten increases inflammation and gut permeability, which then leads to a breakdown of the blood/brain barrier leading to a variety of neurological disorders. So if you've ever heard that term, kind of leaky gut or intestinal permeability, when that is happening in the gut, the same thing is happening in our brains. So I've heard Dr. Mark Hyman say before, “When you have leaky gut, you have leaky brain.”
LEAH: So, and researchers are finding that gluten grains can lead to brain inflammation and therefore believe that gluten is not good if you have Parkinson's, MS, Alzheimer's, autism, ADHD; anything like that.
SHELBY: Any of those neurological disorders. And quite frankly, I find that if people are having inflammation anywhere in the body, it can be very helpful to do a trial and see if you eliminate gluten grains and are very careful about all of the places they can show up, we can really get that inflammation under control. So the takeaway from what Leah just explained is if you have any symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, or a neurological disorder, cut out any products that contain gluten. So no more toast, sandwiches or that chocolate cake. But think about it: If you're going to feel better, it'll be worth it.
SHELBY: Do it for six weeks and see if your symptoms are better. And if you're having a hard time knowing where to start, that's where a nutritionist or dietitian from Nutritional Weight and Wellness can, can really help you out.
LEAH: Yeah. So let's get back now to infant and childhood constipation, so back into the bowel movement stuff.
SHELBY: We want to talk about poop again.
LEAH: Yup, absolutely. And at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we recommend not feeding your baby or small child rice cereal. We talked about that being a more binding food. It can lead to constipation. And historically the norm was to breastfeed your child for, you know, past that six month mark even. And then the first foods to be introduced were more of those real foods that we always talk about: the fruits, the vegetables, the meats, those natural fats. And in this day and age, constipation problems have escalated. And from a nutrition standpoint, we think about, okay there’s, you know, there's a more of a transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding and formulas using rice cereals and things like that. And sometimes that's out of our control. And sometimes, you know, there are some things that we can adjust and do things about; so yeah.
SHELBY: I know some of you are thinking, “What are some other foods that can cause constipation for infants and adults?” Now, frankly, many types of processed foods are constipating, but some real foods like bananas can also be constipating. So it is always surprising to parents and other adults that you know, bananas are constipating. I know little ones: they love their bananas. They're easy to kind of grab and go but can be constipating; so want to keep an eye on that. Another food that can cause constipation and also tends to surprise people is applesauce or apples. Now for adults, apples can cause constipation. They can contribute to more gas or bloating. So Leah, when you were first introducing solids for your son, Landon, what worked well?
LEAH: Yeah, yeah. If I wasn't doing rice cereal then what did I feed him, right?
LEAH: Yeah. So the first non-breast milk food or food item that my son actually had that I gave to him was some good homemade bone broth. Bone broth is rich… and when you make your own especially is rich in lots of great nutrients that have leached out of those bones and from the various veggies that you added in there. And then it is also a great source of collagen, which is really great for gut and so I was using that to prepare my son's gut to receive some of those first real foods.
LEAH: And then after, you know, maybe a week or two of that, I transitioned; like the very first then solid food that I gave him was avocados.
SHELBY: Those good fats for his brain.
LEAH: Those good fats; the fiber. Yes, and he loved it. I mean, you know, the first taste, you always get that funny face from the baby like, “Oh what is this?” But he loves avocados. And then we did egg yolks: that liquid gold of the egg and then lots of great healthy fats because I knew those fats really keep him satiated and also feed that growing brain. So things like butter and coconut oil were big staples right away. And then I did pureed meats, pureed vegetables, and tried to get a variety of things in to him.
LEAH: And so we know, kind of thinking back to those grains and what's typically introduced around six months or so, that rice cereal, that we know children before about 18 months of age even, they may have difficulty digesting some of those grains, which includes the rice and oats, barley, wheat and things like that. It's a little known fact that it could take up to 18 months. It could take up to about a year and a half for babies or for children to really, those digestive enzymes that break down grains, for those to come online in the baby's body.
SHELBY: Right; so if we're feeding them the gluten grains or even the grains like rice before they have the digestive enzymes to break those products down, that's where we have a little disconnect. The babies aren't digesting them well. They don't have the enzymes to break them down, and so it can perpetuate some of those tummy troubles.
LEAH: Yup, absolutely; yup. And believe it or not, animal proteins, so those meats, like our beef, our turkey, our chicken, lamb…
SHELBY: Those eggs that you were talking about.
LEAH: The eggs; yeah, absolutely. Those are some of the easiest foods for a baby to break down and digest even right away at that six month mark. And this is true, like these animal proteins, they're easy for both children and adults to break down. So if a baby cannot digest those grains and they're being fed the grains, again, the rice cereal; Cheerios is a common finger food; a little bit of oatmeal, this can lead to constipation, like things just don't move smoothly through the digestive tract. And babies do have those enzymes, especially that stomach acid to start breaking down real foods like those meats and the eggs, those good fats like butter and coconut oil and avocado and real fruits and vegetables.
SHELBY: Right. Sadly, many young children become so constipated that they're put on a laxative-type treatment. You know, something like a Miralax. And you know, I joke about this, but it, it's happening, but I tell people just because Costco sells it in a mega bulk size doesn't mean that it's actually good for us. I mean I've had adult clients who say, “Oh, you know, I go to Costco because I take so Miralax. I need to get that.
LEAH: It's worth that membership.
SHELBY: Right. The side effects of Miralax are things like bloating and upset stomach or dizziness or even some blood in the stool; so definitely not something you want your little child to experience. So if your child is experiencing constipation, come see one of the nutritionists or dietitians at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We can help you out. We can give you some suggestions; some things that are a little bit more personalized. So, one of the things that we start out with is eliminating all processed foods. So we're not talking fast food or pizza. Instead we're switching to cooking real foods like proteins, sautéed vegetables, and those good fats like the coconut oil or the avocado oil.
And you can still have something sweet; you know, maybe have the blueberries or like you had mentioned the pears.
LEAH: Yeah. Use that natural fruit for some of that sweetness.
LEAH: Yeah; yup. So Shelby, before we kind of go on, give more snack ideas and start talking about supplements to help with constipation, I think we just need to jump into that third break. And then we'll come back.
SHELBY: Yeah, yeah.
LEAH: Yeah, so you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. As long as we are mostly focusing on children's health today I want to share the results of a new study about screen time. So we're breaking away from nutrition just for a second. Advanced brain scanning has found that preschool age children, so we're talking what? Ages four or five, somewhere around there, with higher screen usage, so they're using the TV or smart phones or a tablet more, they have impaired brain development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under the age of two years old avoid screen time entirely.
LEAH: Which, yeah, that's pretty strict, but they must know like there are some repercussions to spending lots of time in front of a screen.
SHELBY: We'll be right back.
SHELBY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Now, just this last week I was working with a client that is a retired schoolteacher. And I hear this from a lot of school teachers, especially those that work with young kids. They're telling us that more and more of their students lack focus. They tend to be restless. You know, their legs are always going or they're tapping their pencil. And sometimes they have these behaviors where they're just acting out. Now, they commented that a few years ago, maybe one child in a classroom would exhibit these behaviors, but today it's several children in the classroom that have these issues. So, I would encourage you to join Dar and Marcie in a couple of weeks when they talk to special guest Rich Frieder from Learning RX. Now that'll be Saturday, February 15th, and they're going to discuss more in depth about how food affects learning and behavior. So it's no surprise our food system has changed. That Standard American Diet is affecting that brain. And so they're going to deep dive into foods for good brain health and for attention and focus. So if you or your child is struggling with digestive complaints, maybe they're constipated, or maybe they lack focus, it's time to talk one-on-one with a nutritionist or a dietician from Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We can help you with more of those individualized needs. So you can call the office at (651) 699-3438 to set up an appointment or you can actually go online, weightandwellness.com to learn more or to even set up an appointment; so some great resources.
LEAH: Yeah Shelby, like we said before, sometimes those digestive troubles then have an impact on the brain and just how your brain focuses. And for adults I've heard clients talk about brain fog or not being able to concentrate, and these all, they're all connected; that gut/brain has a big connection.
SHELBY: Right; food is very powerful. Yeah.
LEAH: Yeah. So coming back from our last break here we were, we wanted to talk just a couple more snack ideas, for those of you parents out there that are like, you know, “How am I going to get my kids off of the crackers, off of the Cheerios or the Goldfish or the animal crackers; things like that. So we want to give you a couple more ideas. I also will plug in there as well, we talked about gluten potentially being a troublemaker for those little tummies. Another one: if your child does struggle with any kind of digestive issues or constipation, sometimes we need to pull out dairy at the same time. That one is a hard one for some people to swallow, pun intended. But sometimes we do need to run that experiment just to see, hey, what else could be irritating those little guts?
LEAH: So if we're not turning to those processed foods or to dairy, Shelby, you were telling me a cute little story about your niece and like what she was eating the other day when you guys were hanging out together.
SHELBY: Yeah, it was actually just yesterday. I was at the Minnesota Children's Museum here in St. Paul with my six-year-old niece, Arden. And she's so cute. She goes to school and so she's in this routine of packing her lunch. So, she had a very simple but delicious real food lunch packed. I was giving her mom big kudos. So here she, she pulls out her little lunch pail and she's got a little ice pack because she had some rolled-up deli turkey. And she was just eating them with her hands. You know, she didn't need the bread. She didn't have any gluten-free crackers or anything like that. She was just doing the, the rolled up deli turkey. Now for her color, she had a clementine, which was seasonal, so it tastes delicious. It has some of that natural sweetness. And then she had some orange bell pepper strips and she was kind of laughing. She's like, “It just tastes like orange water.” Which I thought was so cute but the fact that her mom is sending vegetables in her lunch; I was super impressed.
LEAH: And that she seems to enjoy them. It seems like this is just the norm for her.
SHELBY: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Now for her healthy fat her and her little brother love seeds, whether its pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. And so her mom had put a little container of dry-roasted sunflower seeds in there.
SHELBY: And the best part: I was so proud. She brought her own water bottle. So she didn't ask for the juice. She wasn't asking for a soda at the children's museum. Now I know her mom, my sister-in-law, listens to Dishing Up Nutrition. So, kudos Rachel for sending and having that real food option, really showing her daughter and both of her kids quite honestly that real food matters.
LEAH: And it can be delicious and something that kids like.
SHELBY: Right. Yeah. So, earlier we were talking about some of those gluten-free products and avoiding those also because just because it's gluten-free doesn't mean that it's healthy. So, if you are someone who is struggling with constipation, eat real food; the real vegetable and fruit carbohydrates would be best. Now as nutritionists and dieticians, we are trying to help adults and children avoid those laxative-type medications as well. We know, and I'm sure you use this in clinical practice: vitamin C is an excellent natural stool softener. So with vitamin C I think of fruits and vegetables. So maybe you want to add in one scoop of our Key Greens and Fruits to a glass of water. Kids seem to like the berry flavor of the Key Greens and Fruits. It's a healthy drink that gives us 20 servings of fruits and vegetables. So it has those antioxidants. It definitely has that vitamin C.
LEAH: And it tastes really good. I talked about this in a class actually this past week; one class member wanted to try to get her kid off juice. So, this was a suggestion, like you still get that sweetness, but you get that punch of fruits and vegetables.
SHELBY: Exactly, exactly. Now another thing that you could do to boost up that vitamin C is to add a half of a scoop of the Buffered Vitamin C Powder as that natural stool softener. Now with that combination of berry and kind of the lemony citrus from the vitamin C powder, it's going to taste like a tangy kind of lemony Kool-Aid, but without all of the sugar and you're getting the vitamin C and those servings of fruits and vegetables. Now we certainly can't forget the importance of having that good gut bacteria. So we talk about adding a probiotic like Bifido Powder to support the intestinal tract if you or your kids are struggling with tummy troubles. Oftentimes kids don't want to listen to what their parents suggest.
SHELBY: I know that's not news to all of you, but they will listen to a nutritionist or a dietician. We have lots of tips and tricks to help them be successful.
LEAH: So as an adult… let's transition to adults really quick. Perhaps you could not be drinking enough water. I've encountered this several times this week even of adults that are only drinking two maybe three glasses of water per day. So that's not enough. You need, you likely need more like 10, 11, 12 glasses of water; not 10 sips of water, but 10 glasses of water. So drinking water: I always call that our first line of defense for constipation. You need to have enough water coming into your system.
SHELBY: Right; right.
LEAH: So we talked, as we're wrapping up our show here, we are, we talked about removing those processed foods, potentially removing other problematic ingredients like gluten, dairy.
LEAH: Shelby, you gave a couple of ideas in terms of supplements like vitamin C, which is important this time of year anyways, because we need it for cold and flu season. And some good Bifido; maybe some of those Key Greens also.
SHELBY: Now, one of the other tips that I just want to throw out here in the last few seconds of our show is eating seven tablespoons of real fat: olive oil, coconut oil, real butter, avocados, those nuts and seeds. Those are great ways to support your digestive tract.
LEAH: Yes. Those healthy fats lubricate the digestive tract.
LEAH: Yeah. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message that eating real food is life changing. So thank you so much for listening.