Part I - The Basics
The idea that your kids need 'mental-hygiene' seems ridiculous. However, I would like to point out that our culture as Americans has dramatically changed within the last hundred years, producing a real gap between what we are and what we have to adapt in order to keep up with our daily activities. This evolutionary hurdle between how we are and how our world is now shaped, is yet another culprit in the behavior of our children and their behavioral issues. This article is written with the intent to give you, the parent, helpful tools and an overall awareness to improve your children life and in the long run yours as well.
Lets start off with the four 'big questions' regarding neurological development. Observe how they may have influenced the behavior of your children in the past and become curious in that moment on how you can in the future create positive change. Remember, being that 'curious fellow' is one of the most influential methods of showing your children that they can accomplish most anything. They just have to learn how to ask the basic questions surrounding any problem; The what, why, who, when, and the how.
- Does the brain have enough fuel?
- Are the neurons within the brain able to become plastic, making new connections and creating new thoughts?
- Does the neuron have the ability to rest and repair itself?
- Is the neuron being stimulated correctly, in-regards to its' chronobiological requirements?
Part II - Energy & Neurons
Sugar (in the form of glycogen) is stored in the liver. Your children have small livers. That is why they need to eat so often. Good, now I got all that cleared up, let me explain myself. Neurons are very different than other tissues, as they cannot make the fuel they need to survive. They are like helpless children waiting for some-one to deliver them food, sound familiar? Without a steady supply of fuel, your brain will slowly shut down as it cannot function without it. Now considering other tissues can make energy, even some adipose (fat) cells can make their own energy, having a child have low level neurological symptoms without the physical body having the same response is very logical. Please note: There is a way around not having sugar, it involves making it through another process, but that we can cover later.
It becomes an important thing to create a balanced regular diet, especially when your kids are reaching for quick sugar, usually fructose without fiber. Examples being soda, juice, or energy drinks. This cycle can produce bad habits, horrible learning behaviors, and this behavior has been known to change a mood or two.
My suggestion is for you to choose a complex sugar with protein and fat. Yes, I said it - fat. Like from a pig, or an olive, maybe even a cow or a lamb. If you have active kids, a mixture of complex carbohydrates, fat, and proteins, in general, is the best thing for them - every meal. It will allow for their systems to create a steady sugar supply for the brain and allow for an environment where, we will talk about later, it allow for neurons to make new connections and grow. Please avoid all vegetable oil. I usually don't like to make a blanket statement however please just eat fat from healthy animals and seeds. Remember, its' called 'rape seed for a reason', this book link is an automatic download link and yes it is safe, and quite educational.
I also want to touch upon another thing to think about, genetics and how they play a massive role in how your children grow, develop, and interact with their environment. I want you to think about a basic facts, so please do not take this as point to be racially provocative, I am talking about facts and how you can help you and your children's lives. Africans, specifically African Americans, have an amazingly significant risk factor to developing type II diabetes over the course of their lives. Is it their diet? Is it there genetics? Is it both? Studies have shown the risk is both. So, simply said, children with African heritage should not eat fructose, ever. Yes, I said it, ever. Please do not ignore the concept of anthropology and how it applies to your children. Again, that is a different topic that can be another treatise.
For now, lets go over the basics when it comes to that basic question: Does the brain have enough fuel?
- Eat regularly 3-5 times a day.
- Eat a combination of complex carbohydrates, fats, & protein.
- Know that your child has less stored energy so snacks can be key if your out and about.
- Do not eat fat that is crap; Anything listed as hydrogenated, rapeseed, canola, margarine, vegetable oil. etc...
To be continued... [part III, IV, & V]