Recently I heard a radio ad related to children complaining about a stomach ache at the “worst” times which is the time to go to school or when you need to get to work. The simple solution in this ad was to give the kids the pill so they can go to school and you can get out of the house. The remaining part of the ad was letting you know that this can be used for any type of stomach issue and regularly so you can keep on functioning.
This ad is bothersome on so many levels and prompted me to write about how this type of stomach complaint from children is indeed NOT normal and I am going to talk about why.
Why Children Complain About Stomach Problems
Children complain for the same reasons as adults. However, those complaints aren’t normal and should be an indicator that there are more serious things going on. What might those things be?
1. Poor food quality and processed foods
These foods create a breakdown in the body and a lack of nutrients. They cause inflammation as well. The longer and more processed food the child eats, the more likely they are to have consequences from this. It can be a failure to thrive, growth issues, reflux, diarrhea, constipation, and more. Food sensitivities and allergies come from the same place as well. Even control over seasonal allergies, as these are part of the gut and processed food. The change here is to switch to a real food diet (see step 3 for tips). Change out those processed sugar-filled cereals. Get rid of all the processed carbs and grains. Get rid of snack foods that aren’t vegetables, fruits, or nuts.
2. Lack of water
Most kids don’t drink plain water daily. They should be having at least half their body weight in ounces daily, and then if active or playing sports even more than that. Water is necessary for proper digestive function as well. This will lead to reflux feelings, lack of stomach acid, other body system issues, constipation, chapped and red lips, dry mouth and much more.
3. Lack of Nutrient Dense foods
This speaks to number one listed here but I want to specifically point out why and the importance. Nutrient-dense foods are whole foods like meat, vegetables, and fruit. Many children do not eat any nutrient-dense foods all day, or maybe they get a burger at dinner – possibly. I teach nutrition, culinary, and more at the middle level in addition to my practice, and I can tell you that whole foods are not found in children’s lunch -and the actual school lunch itself is very processed and the whole foods get skipped entirely for the engineered foods. A great breakfast for kids is eggs. Yes, they are expensive but they are PACKED full of nutrients to help your child focus in class and feel full and nourish their body. Yogurt is another great item to add to a morning routine for children. It should be PLAIN yogurt that you add berries to at home, and perhaps a drizzle of maple to it. This helps promote healthy microbes in the gut. Lunches should be a clean, well-sourced protein, and you can even style this like the pre-made lunches you can buy out there. In the big you have the meat, you have cheese (grass-fed is best), olives, and nuts (if tolerant and allowed in your child’s lunch room). What you don’t need is bread or processed foods. You can also add in an apple, carrots, celery, and some dip (sour cream or yogurt based). Dinner also needs to be a meal. It should have a well-sourced protein and at least two vegetables. Some days during the week rice (wild, or brown) are a great addition. These are sources of food that help the gut heal itself while supporting the nutrients needed to have proper FUNCTION in the gut, to begin with. Lacking these foods leads to every single chronic health problem that plagues society today – from diabetes, heart disease, stroke, autoimmunity, every digestive issue that people suffer from and much much more.
The type of medication talked about in this ad that prompted this post is a MAJOR contributor to continued and further digestive problems. When stomach acid is blocked or altered it changes the ENTIRE digestive system function. Stomach acid is the NUMBER ONE defense for the body, as well as a digestive component that keeps food breaking down properly to get nutrients to your body. Without it you can develop microbe overgrowth, you can have chunks of food in the intestines which causes gut leaking, and you can have improper absorption of nutrients because they aren’t broken down enough to enter the bloodstream to nourish the body. You can also develop sensitivities to foods and reactions to foods. This is due to the gut barrier breaking down from improperly broken down foods. Some prescription medications cause the same things to happen. If your child takes prescriptions of any type, it’s worth looking at what might be happening in the gut as a response to those meds. Medications (chronic use) and their side effects and toxicity to the body only just cover up symptoms and never address a problem. They continue to burden the body by using its resources, and possibly even damaging it while creating a toxic load. You can speak with your child’s prescriber to learn more about the side effects of medications.
Results or Possibilities Beyond
Your child may have something beyond these at-home fixes going on in the gut. Certain overgrowth of microbes can happen from overeating or a primarily processed food diet. Great changes will be had just by doing the three things above. And no matter what those changes have to be made before you can work on eradication of unhealthy bacteria or parasites. The reason there is an overgrowth or parasites is due to lack of function caused by poor foods and habits.
If you don’t know where to start with your child, or you feel you choose healthy foods and your child still suffers from digestive issues, let’s consult. It’s FREE. Children recover function and heal very quickly. A consult will help you understand my process, and what the options might be to help your child so you don’t have to use medications and drugs (OTC or other) which cause more stress and damage to the body.