Why I Believe in My Superfoods

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This is how Superfoods make me feel! And, for a girl w a chronic pain and fatigue disorder, that’s pretty damn special!

Superfoods…  a health term that gets thrown around A LOT these days, huh? So, what are they? Why are some foods super and some not? GOOD QUESTION! It’s taken me a long time to figure it out too. If you want to know the truth, I’m still learning more every day!

My superfoods have changed the way I am able to live. I have multiple chronic illnesses that were being controlled by what I was putting in my body.

I don’t like veggies very much. I’m a very picky eater, my grandmother used to call me “finiky”… it’s a texture thing and an anxiety thing for me. If I think I don’t like it, I don’t like it… I know, grow up, Katie. I’ve tried. I’ve gotten better, but I’m just not one that likes a big variety of foods.

I know I can eat plenty of protein and fiber (kinda) and goods fats. Y’all do know the necessity of good fats, right? The whole fat-free thing is a bunch of milarchy. It’s crucial that our bodies get good fats and if they don’t multiple disease processes can appear. Good fats keep our brain working… our brain controls EVERYTHING!

Did you know you can get TOO MUCH PROTEIN, and it will make you gain weight just like sugar will? Actually, when you eat too much protein, it turns into sugar, and then fat. That’s why I’m not a protein shake kinda girl, I’m a SUPERFOOD shake kinda girl. Sure, I need protein, but I eat protein… eggs, steak, chicken, and bacon aren’t the hard part for me, it’s the veggies. Yes, I was that kid, and still am at 46.

So, how do I get my veggies, I have some that I love and we have them with dinner each night, some days I have Caesar salad w meat on it for lunch, but my Shakeology fills in the missing nutrition. #winning

Why Shakeology?

I took this holistic nutrition class and learned about adaptogenic herbs. Cool things, those adaptogens… they help my body adapt to stress. I didn’t know food did that!!! Did you?? Adaptogenic herbs help my body detox and fight the stress of everyday life and the toxic substances that I breathe in and ingest.

Then, I learned that Shakeology has digestive enzymes and prebiotics and probiotics. Why does that matter? Have you heard of digestion? I know, stupid question… Digestion is the process of absorbing nutrients to fuel our body. Here’s the thing, we need digestive enzymes to help absorb the good stuff and not the bad, we need prebiotics to help feed the probiotics. Those probiotics help digest the food we eat so we can absorb the nutrients. These enzymes and natural organisms used to be in our food.

Ever heard of phytonutrients and antioxidants? These are the super greens and funny sounding plants that provide immune benefits. Did you know with a healthy immune system you can fight off almost any disease there is, including cancer? I know I sound like a nut, trust me, it was new to me when I first heard it too. I am a total believer though, I’ve seen too many people get healthier by committing to holistic nutrition.

Did you know that antioxidants actually are like a detox for your body? Seriously! Isn’t that cool!? They help eliminate free radicals. What are free radicals? There are toxic substances that float around in our bodies from different environmental assaults (foods, stress, organisms, chemicals, etc.). Antioxidants eliminate those free radicals… SWEET, give me some! I’m all for free, but not when it comes to toxins in my body, that’s what weakens my immune system. Not cool!

So, what else do I need to tell you?? Oh, yea, there IS protein in Shakeology. What I found in the past was most protein shakes are whey or soy, both are inflammatory for most people. (More about chronic inflammation and how it contributes to disease here.) Whey, soy, and too much protein are going to cause weight gain, which is not what most people are looking for.

My choice for protein is plant-based proteins: quinoa, oat, rice, flax, chia, and pea. Why? flax and chia have omega 3 fatty acids which are good fats that my body needs. I don’t want whey because dairy is inflammatory. I significantly limit soy because soy is bad for our endocrine health, want to know more -> read this.

You see, Shakeology is my way of getting 70 different anti-inflammatory foods, most of which I don’t know how to source or prepare. That’s A LOT of holistic nutrition in a tasty treat, folks!

Superfoods are super important for the long-term health of your body. If you’d like to know more about the choices I make, reach out, let’s chat. If you want to join my groups, I’m happy to be your health coach, we ALL need a health coach (mine makes my world a much easier place to navigate). If you want to contact me via my coach website or order Shakeolgy, start here, or you can find me on Facebook @ Katie Pink Tolley

I hope you find a way to make your wellness journey enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all get by with a little help from our friends. 😉

If you’d like to hear what’s so special about Shakeology from the developer herself (yes, HER, one of my heroes, Isabelle), click here.

Oh, I should probably add the health issues that I had that are almost non-existent now that I practice an anti-inflammatory lifestyle 90% of the time along with adding in Shakeology: Asthma, Allergies, Thyroid imbalance, Eczema, Restless Leg Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrom, Constipation, Anxiety, ADHD, Sleep problems, constant stomach pain, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Disorder. Yea, that’s tiring to even think about, so glad I found holistic nutrition and these superfoods. They’ve changed my life, actually, now I can live my life! #golden

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Graphic compliments of Beachbody

As always, Enjoy the Journey & Be Well. ~kp

What IS Gluten Anyway?? – Digestive Health Lesson #4

gluten-freeGluten is the latest buzz word in nutrition.

But, so many people have no idea what it is.

When friends of mine with PhD’s start asking for more info, it’s time for an article about gluten and why it’s a problem.

So, What is Gluten??

Gluten is a the protein found in the seed of wheat, barley, and rye.

the-gluten-protein-is-mainly-found-in-the-endosperm-of-grain-kernel-seedHere is definition from Celiac.org:

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.
Read more here.

Why is it a problem? 

Gluten per se isn’t the problem for everyone (more on that below). It’s the amount of gluten in the standard american diet, and the tampering of the native seed.

When you look at the diets of most Americans, approximately 80% of meals have a gluten component. There is too much bread, breading, pasta, crackers, croutons, tortillas, etc. in our meals.

Gluten can be inflammatory for many people, too much gluten can be inflammatory for anyone. Inflammation can lead to other chronic diseases, I talk more about that in my article explaining how Inflammation is the root of most disease.

Chronic inflammation occurs because of a process called Intestinal Hyperpermeability, aka, Leaky Gut. I explain this process and how it leads to chronic inflammation in my first digestive health article.

The lifelong health issues I have come from being sensitive to gluten and dairy, but I do not have Celiac Disease and my sensitivity does not show up on allergy testing. That means absolutely nothing though. I learned more about Gluten sensitivity from a GI Specialist last spring during a Pediatric Conference at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Here are the numbers he shared…

  • 10% of our population has Celiac Disease
    • These people CANNOT eat gluten without major symptoms.
    • Many people in our population are undiagnosed, continuing to eat gluten will cause multiple health problems. Think ADHD, Thyroid issues, Irritable Bowel, Autism, Epilepsy, and the list goes on.
  • 40% of our population has Gluten Sensitivity
    • Symptoms are more subtle than Celiac Disease; stomach pain, headache, sinus issues, eczema, constipation, brain fog, lethargy, food cravings, mood swings, depression, anxiety, focus issues, etc.
    • It will get worse.
    • It will cause chronic inflammation and intestinal hyperpermeability.
    • It will most likely cause Celiac Disease if gluten is continually consumed, and will definitely lead to a host of other disease processes. (Please refer to the digestive health articles above for more details.)
    • **If you read some research, please note, some people in modern medicine will tell you there is no way to confirm gluten sensitivity. THIS IS NOT TRUE!! There is a way for doctors to check for gluten sensitivity!! It’s as easy as running a simple blood test for gluten immunoglobulins. I know this, because that’s how we found out my son cannot have gluten. When his Holistic Doctor did labs, the antibodies for gluten and wheat were 5-6 times normal. His Celiac tests and allergy tests are negative. I also know this because one of the top specialist in GI Pediatrics told me all the same stuff himself with research and a groovy powerpoint presentation!

One of the biggest reasons we need more awareness and sensitivity is the vast amount of food that contains gluten, and the vast amount of people, especially children that should not be eating it. If we look at the percentages above, 50% of our population should avoid gluten, yet, 80-90% of our public food choices contain gluten.

THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM FOR OUR CHILDREN AND FOR OUR FUTURE!!!brain-fog

If you think it’s hard to function as an adult with stomach pain and headaches and brain fog, try being a kid, sitting in school after eating mostly gluten for breakfast AND lunch and having anxiety and mood swings… Is it the kid? NO, it’s his food! AND IT’S CHANGING HIS FUTURE! And, he’s a problem in class sitting next to your kid, and that’s why you should care!

I could go on about how reducing our gluten intake has changed my family’s health, but I’ll invite you to read through my blog a little more to find that out, there’s plenty of evidence.

If you want to read how gluten breaks down in our system and causes damage, read how “Getting ‘Glutened’ is Drugging My Kid!!”

I share because I care. I want a better world for me and you and our children.

Please, practice wellness so you live a happier and healthier life. Your loved ones will be awfully glad you did! Enjoy the Journey! 🙂

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Photo compliments of glutenfreesociety.org 

 

 

Getting ‘Glutened’ is Drugging My Kid! I’ve had it!! (Digestive Health Series, Part 3)

 

So, What does getting ‘glutened’ look like?

A. Laziness, fatigue

B. Anxious, depressed, irritable, angry

C. Disoriented, unaware, spaced out, Cognitive dysfunction

D. Stomach ache, migraine, joint pain

E. All of the above and then some!!!

Anyone that has talked with me knows this is a hot topic for me. What angers me the most is the total disregard of our society for the people that have true dietary issues that are ignored by the general population, including much of the medical population. As a nurse practitioner, I don’t like to say we’re missing things in medicine, but… WE ARE MISSING THINGS!!!!

As a mom, I knew there was more to it, and I knew I needed to keep searching for answers. Never. Give. Up. That’s going to be the name of my book. I’m not really a very good writer, avoided it like the plague in school. I have no idea where to start with a book, but it’s a goal of mine, and I need to share our story with other families. Moms need to know that it is worth every bit of energy you use figuring out how to help your child. 

He is so bright, it puts him on a different level. Friends started noticing it before I did, he put concepts together that 2 year olds just didn’t put together. He was smarter than some of the adults in his world and it caused problems. Problems that gradually got worse as the years went on. There were jokes about Einstein being thrown out of school, he even has a hat with Al on it. But, seriously, it took a decade of lots of struggles and difficulties to realize he wasn’t going to get better with prescriptions or school accommodation or anything else traditionally done for bright, ADHD kids. We’d been trying for years, and things were just getting worse… WHY???  Continue reading

Digestive Health Lesson #2 – It all Starts with Inflammation

Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine (Cleveland), wrote that inflammation is now recognized as the underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.

Inflammation

Inflammation 101

Inflammation defined by the free online medical dictionary: 1. A localized protective response elicited by injury or destruction of tissues, which serves to destroy, dilute, or wall off both the injurious agent and the injured tissue.  2.The inflammatory response can be provoked by physical, chemical, and biologic agents, including mechanical trauma, exposure to excessive amounts of sunlight, x-rays and radioactive materials, corrosive chemicals, extremes of heat and cold, or by infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogenic microorganisms. Although these infectious agents can produce inflammation, infection and inflammation are not synonymous.

Dr. Edwards points out that anti-inflammatory foods have been used to combat Cancer and many other diseases, i.e.: Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, many Autoimmune diseases, asthma. Here is the abstract from her article:  Continue reading

Digestive Health Lesson #1: Leaky Gut

“ALL DISEASE BEGINS IN THE GUT.” – Hippocrates

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I can pinpoint my gut issues all the way back to middle school in the suburban brick rancher I grew up in, and more specifically right down to the bowl of gravy, loaf of bread, my friend Lori, the stomach pain, and the bloating that came along with it. Those problems go way back. This is just one example of the bad food exposure that I subjected myself to growing up. Many of us did, we didn’t know it was that big a deal. What damage could it possibly cause, we were 14, just kids. Yes, well, so is my boy now, and his issues seem to have a similar root cause. Food. The wrong vs. the right… My issues manifested as irritable bowel, asthma, acne, eczema, and eventually fibromyalgia. My boy, Josh has multiple gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms, and has dealt with them most of his life.

stomach painHow do we know it’s food? Continue reading

How I Saved My Fibro with My Shakeo

Hi! If you’ve found this post, you are probably wondering what Fibromyalgia is, and then you’re going to wonder what Shakeology is, or you already are? So, let’s start there.

Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic pain disorder. fibromyalgia-cycleIt involves multiple systems with the primary symptoms being pain, sleep problems, and irritable bowel syndrome. The root of these symptoms seem to lie in the nutritional issues and sleep issues. Other symptoms include irritable bladder, migraines, restless legs syndrome, impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud’s Syndrome, neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.

IMG_2538Shakeology is a nutritional supplement that has globally sourced superfood ingredients like Proteins and Fiber that help reduce hunger and food cravings. Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals help fight free radical damage and help support a healthy immune system. Adaptogen Herbs help the body adapt and respond to the effects of stress. Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes to help nutrient absorption and support regularity and healthy digestion.

Now that you have that knowledge, let me tell you how I believe the nutritional difference with Shakeology helped my Fibro…

I’ve had Fibromyalgia most of my life. I will be Continue reading

How My Superfoods Help Me

Hi! If you’ve found this post, you are probably wondering what Fibromyalgia is, and why I say “superfoods” have helped me.

First, let me tell you about Fibro…

Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic pain disorder. fibromyalgia-cycleIt involves multiple systems with the primary symptoms being pain, sleep problems, and irritable bowel syndrome. The root of these symptoms seem to lie in the nutritional issues and sleep issues. Other symptoms include irritable bladder, migraines, restless legs syndrome, impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud’s Syndrome, neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.

IMG_2538Shakeology is a nutritional supplement that has globally sourced superfood ingredients like Proteins and Fiber that help reduce hunger and food cravings. Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals help fight free radical damage and help support a healthy immune system. Adaptogen Herbs help the body adapt and respond to the effects of stress. Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes to help nutrient absorption and support regularity and healthy digestion.

Now that you have that knowledge, let me tell you how I believe the nutritional difference with Shakeology helped my Fibro…

I’ve had Fibromyalgia most of my life. I will be Continue reading

It REALLY Is All About The POO

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Did you really think I would use a pic with poo?

Conversation for family night out to dinner went something like this; fortunately, we were done and paying the bill…

“Can we leave, I have to poop?”

“Can you wait til we get home, or do you really have to go?”

“No. Gotta go.”

“Then, go!”

Returns to table… me, “Did you go?”

“Yes, but now Continue reading

How the hell did that happen? 50 pounds later…

Growing up as an athlete, weight was not a problem… until my teen years. I stayed fit multiple ways; there was soccer, gymnastics, swimming, roller skating and ice skating, field hockey, tennis, weight training and the list goes on. As an adult, I controlled my weight by eating healthy, walking, weight training, waitressing, bartending, nursing, biking, swimming, pilates, yoga. I even taught pilates for a year when Drew Elizabeth was a baby. Best shape I’ve ever been in, and I was 35 and had 2 kids! I love pilates and thought I’d do it forever, but then I started my graduate program, and my exercise habits went to Hell, but it was a slow slide.

I was over 40 when my weight was creeping up, quickly, and I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong… I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! It all started just after my brother’s wedding in April 2012. My goal has been to get back into that dress.

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April 2012, 40 years old and feeling good (before the gain).

So, when I hopped on the scale at the Y in January, I thought it was broken. I know that sounds like a joke, but, I really did. I went to my friend’s house. I told her I needed to use her scale, because I didn’t own one and the one at the Y had to be broken. I came back down the stairs stunned.

The scale wasn’t broken.

I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! WTF!

How the hell did that happen??? 

I had a plan. I joined the 3 month weight loss program at the Y.  I went to kick ass cardio classes at 5:30am, which is almost impossible for me (Fibro is a chronic fatigue disorder), but I did it. I was doing weight training, I was walking. I was working out 6-7 times a week, even won highest attendance in that contest. I lost 4 pounds in 3 months… What. The. Fuck. Excuse my language, there just is NO substitution. I have never had trouble losing weight. It’s never been easy, but I know how to get it done. Well, I thought I did. I was struggling.

Off to the doctors I went, primary doc, endocrine doc, neither of them thought there was a medical problem. Katie was just gaining weight, it happens when women turn 40. WHAT!?! NO! That was not acceptable. But, what was I to do. I kept struggling.

In March 2014, I was heavier than I had been when I was full term pregnant with either of my children. This couldn’t be happening. How was this happening. I was crying almost every day when I got dressed. I didn’t want to get dressed. I was depressed.

I went to a friend’s 50th birthday party and a college roommate’s wedding that month. I was so very happy for them, and I hated how I felt inside and how I looked on the outside.

I hid. These are the only pictures I can find of me at that time.

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Top right, February 2014, before I knew, I was swollen and inflamed. Left and bottom right are about 4 weeks into my purge. You can see my face is a bit less swollen. But, my stomach was so upset in both of these pictures. I can still remember, and it was almost 2 years ago.

I had an epiphany one day reading a Fibro blog, I clicked on a link to yeast allergy because I was somewhat familiar. I was worried I might have some of those symptoms.

O.M.G.!     Did I have some of the symptoms???     I. Had. Every. One. 

Let’s see if I can remember them all…

  • dry skin
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • stomach upset
  • asthma (it got so bad I went back on meds I hadn’t been taking for years!)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • eczema
  • thinning hair
  • yeast infections (yup, those kind of yeast infections!)
  • sleep problems
  • dandruff, with fungal patches on my scalp
  • UTI (never had a UTI except when I was prego)
  • major sugar cravings
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • acne
  • the list seems to go on and on…

It. Sucked.

So, what to do? Fortunately, I’ve got this friend… Thank God I have all kinds of knowledgeable friends. Remember, Kathy, the allergy RN from my allergy posts? Yeah, she got a text real quick. Not only did she agree with me, she thought the same thing when she’d seen me the previous week.

So, how do I fix it?!?!?

No biggie, just avoid the following:

  • Sugar
  • Processed, packaged foods
  • Vinegar, anything vinegar based
  • Leftovers past 24-36 hours old, they start to grow organisms, a healthy GI tract can tolerate this, mine could not.
  • Yogurt has a ton of sugar, beware.
  • All berries/grapes and other fruits with the S.minor fungal organism, that white mold that shows up after 5-6 days. Our GI system should be able to break that down, unless it’s inflamed and leaky, like mine was!
  • Breads with yeast (flatbread and crackers would be ok on occasion)
  • Wheat is a cross-contaminant, so I should avoid that too
  • Wine (!)(!problem!)(!ALERT!)(!ALERT!)(!problem!) I had to do all this AND avoid wine… it’s fermented. Oh, champagne is even more fermented. (A girl’s gotta have sip on occasion, so I do enjoy a glass of wine (or 2) here and there!)
  • Alcohol is fermented. (Vodka is distilled!!!)
  • Change your cooking oil to coconut and olive, be sure to buy quality items.
  • Balance your Omega 3 oils with your Omega 6 oils. (Fish oil, tuna, coconut, olive are Omega 3 sources.) I get my coconut oil here.
  • I’m sure there were more, but if you take a look, there isn’t much left.

So, that leaves veggies and meats with no marinade. Fun. It was going to have to be fun. But, I did come up with dinners like this one. This was actually last nights, and it was yummy.

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Chicken with fresh lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, italian spices over baby spinach with peas and sweet potatoes. Now that I’ve changed, I think this is scrumptious. Actually, it was!!

I’ve learned more about cooking with dry spices, and now wouldn’t do anything else.

I’ve learned that I prefer to put my meat on a bed of greens, and don’t really need salad dressing if I have it that way. Good luck finding salad dressing without vinegar or soy. Soy is a huge inflammatory. I avoid it at all cost, along with all the other inflammatory foods.

What I’ve learned in my research over the past few years is that inflammation is the root of most health issues, including obesity. Now that I know that, I look back at the struggles I had in my life with my weight, my fibro, my asthma, my skin, my irritable bowel, my anxiety, and it all makes so much sense. It was all because of food intolerances that I knew nothing about. I know I’m not alone… look at the obesity epidemic in this society.

I encourage anyone that has weight challenges to learn about inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. Knowing this knowledge will change your world.

Besides diet changes, what should you do:

  • Probiotic to help heal the gut; multiple lacto and bifido strains, specifically acidophilus, My family takes 40 billion units minimum and changes brand each month too.
  • Vitamins, I use B-complex, Vit C 1000mg, Vit D 2000-5000 IU each day. Most multis don’t have enough in them unless they are a high dose. In my recent readings, I’m learning more about the CRUCIAL role of Vit D, which is really a hormone, and essential.
  • Purge from the above foods for a minimum of 6-8 weeks, then you can slowly try to reintroduce some things. Still only eat them on occasion. Adding fermented foods back into your diet is helpful for a healthy gut.
  • Exercise, at least 3/x week, but daily activity is important.
  • Find ways to manage your stress, this is crucial! Cortisol changes everything. High cortisol makes is really hard to be healthy in multiple ways.
  • 8 hours sleep should be a minimum. WE HEAL WHEN WE SLEEP!!
  • Change your cookware to avoid non-stick chemicals like teflon. I use solid ceramic Xtrema by Ceramcor.
  • I have found that eating Paleo, or close to Paleo is the way to go for me. I have decreased my grain intake significantly.

Well, there wasn’t a damn thing easy about it. I honestly didn’t think I’d see the day I got back into the dress I wore to my brother’s wedding. But I have, comfortably… pictures the next time I have an event! 😉

This was part of my journey that was and continues to be a real struggle. I wanted to share, because I think there are an awful lot of people out there going through what I went through. You don’t have to.

Of all the chapters I’ve lived, I must say, this was a toughy. I have learned an awful lot from this part of my journey, and now I can share some pretty important health information with others.

I knew I needed to write this post 2 years ago. I hoped my journey would bring me here. I can’t tell you how overwhelmingly happy I am that I am writing and telling you all about it. I hope it helps you.

Nothin’ easy about it! We HAVE TO help each other.

Enjoy the Journey!! 😉

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January 2016, 44 years old, 50 pounds lighter than my max weight. BAM! HELL YEAH!

 

The scoop on poop…Could your kid be constipated??

From infants to teenagers, constipation seems to be a problem for so many kids! I had a visit with a 9 year old and her mom about her stomach pain related to constipation problems. As soon as I left the room I realized that Dr. M was seeing a 2 month old for ongoing constipation issues. Then, at the end of the day, Dr. T’s first call of the evening came in before we ever left the office, and it was about a 3 month old with constipation problems. So, you see, this is a daily problem in pediatrics. Anyone that works in pediatrics will tell you that we talk about poop everyday, sometimes all day. Inadequate nutritional intake and hydration is usually the problem. 

In my house, my kids are 2 for 2 on this topic. Drew Elizabeth has been as regular as clockwork until just a few months ago. I’m sure most of you remember my Paranoid Mom post about Drew Elizabeth’s chest pain. She has never had a problem in the past, but in the past few months she hasn’t been eating her veggies as she should, and as she used to for the past 5 years. Kids…I can’t always explain why they do the things they do… I usually have more problems with my own than with yours! 😉

My poor Joshua has had constipation problems since he was an infant.  Joshua is the child that taught me all about children’s constipation. Well, Joshua and a PNP GI specialist ;-)!  Joshua eats an apple almost everyday. He loves apple slices with cinnamon; I highly recommend this, it’s great for the bowels.  Even with adequate fruits and veggies, Josh still doesn’t drink enough water (hence, the importance of hydration) to keep himself regular.

Most kids do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. For proper nutrition information, you can check out Let Them Eat Cake…For Breakfast??  Not only do most kids need to eat more fruits and veggies, they need to drink more water. Yes, I’ve tried to cover that too, you can read more about hydration in The Importance of Hydration. If adequate amounts of fiber and hydration don’t help your child with their constipation problems, I would recommend an evaluation with your child’s medical provider. Ongoing constipation can cause the large colon to expand and cause nerve damage and leaky gut and multiple other systemic problems that don’t even seem related to the bowels, but they are. Our immune system is centered in our gut, a healthy gut really matters.

By definition, constipation is having 3 or fewer bowel movements in a week that are hard, dry, and usually hurt.

A few facts about constipation:

  • When kids are constipated, they usually eat less.
  • When kids are constipated, they will usually have stomach pain, and usually on the lower left side.
  • When kids are constipated, they may have nausea and vomiting.
  • When kids are constipated, they may have more urinary incontinence (accidents), urinary frequency, and bedwetting.

So, what can you do to help your child with constipation? 

  • High fiber foods: fruits and vegetables (the crunchier, the better), beans, fresh popcorn, baked potato w/skin, berries, oatmeal. (The one fruit to avoid with constipation is bananas, they can make stools harder.)
  • Drink more water!!
  • Decrease processed foods, like carbohydrates made with white and wheat flour.
  • Getting normal exercise can help with bowel movements also.
  • Do not rush potty time. Children will often not take the time that they need to sit and eliminate their bowels.
  • Infants will frequently have temporary constipation problems when they are transitioning to new foods such as cereal, or  from breastfeeding to formula feeding. Do not give cereal under 4 months unless instructed by a medical provider.
  • In infants, try a couple ounces of 100% apple or pear juice, if this doesn’t work, you can try prune juice. Baby juice does not need to be diluted, adult juice should be diluted with half water.
  • Abdominal massage. I recommend abdominal massage to all the infants I work with that have constipation issues as a first line treatment! Massaging clockwise around the belly button and then doing the I Love You massage can work wonders for infants. With the I Love You massage, start with a few strokes of the I (left of belly button), then the L is upside down (above and to the left of the belly button), and then the U (around the belly button). This helps massage the large bowel, and can be quite helpful. Be sure to use mineral oil and apply a moderate amount of pressure. Most babies will enjoy this once they start to relax.
I hope you found some of this information helpful! Constipation can definitely make this parenting  journey a little painful for you and your child!
The ‘I Love You’ massage works! Ask the massage therapist that taught me about it when Joshua was an infant. 😉