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02:22 Geri’s Nutrition Journey: Geri began her career as a registered dietitian-nutritionist in pediatric developmental disabilities in the early 1980s. Later she moved toward preventive care and worked with the famous Dr. Robert Atkins. He started the Foundation for the Advancement of Integrative Medicine. They were derided for insisting that sugars were a culprit in chronic disease, especially diabetes. Medical literature has now validated his claims.
06:52 Our Adulterated Food Supply: Since World War II, our food supply has been adulterated with genetically modified grains and soy, byproducts of industry, and more. This leads to our inflammation and shifts in our gut microbiome. Much discovery has been made in just the past few years and exciting things are being discovered almost daily.
08:24 Microbiome’s Influence upon Disease: We are now looking at the downstream effects of antibiotics and chemicals in our food supply. Our adulterated food is providing information to our microbiome, which is influencing our genetic expression. Now we have transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. Neurological diseases are rising dramatically. Our immune systems and neurological systems are moving targets because of what has happened to our food supply.
11:06 Disease Trajectory: Geri takes a family history with her clients. It gives her a view of disease potential. What she is seeing now are parents who grew up asthma, eczema, and other neurological and immunological issues now having children together. Pharmaceuticals are like a controlled toxin and also influence genetic expression. Combine this with the consumption of nutrient poor, poor quality processed foods. Organic processed foods are still processed foods. This is why endocrine disruption, immune disruption, and neurological disruption has increased exponentially.
15:19 Turning Things Around: We need to take back our food supply and detoxification pathways by shifting our focus to be more nutrient centric, looking at the quality of our food, eating seasonally, by calming, and supporting our GI tracts. Our gut is on the front lines between our bodies and the external environment. Our hyper-sensitive immune systems find it difficult to determine what is friendly and what is foe.
18:23 Problems with Sugar and Attention in Children: Refined carbohydrates are fed upon by clostridia species of bacteria. In response they create propionic acid, which can cross the blood-brain barrier. It results in more OCD and anxiety behaviors in rat models. It is also used as a preservative in bread products. Refined carbohydrates with their long list of ingredients can be the vehicle for a great many neuro-excitatory compounds. When they are eliminated from the diet, improvements can be from any one of a number of contributors.
21:50 Baby’s Immune System: The immune and neurological systems in infants are closely linked, with a great deal of cross-talk between chemicals that are rooted in the gut. It is setting up the gastrointestinal tract from the very beginning. This is contingent upon the microbiome that a child inherits from his/her parents. Fecal matter transplants, poop pills are an attempt to inoculate and colonize the gut with bacteria that should have been there from the beginning.
23:20 Making Positive Dietary Changes: No matter what issue is the impetus for bringing a child to see Geri, it is important to appreciate that changes that are beneficial to the body, it will always help their health and quality of their life for their lifetime. This includes reducing inflammation, eating seasonally with a cleaner diet, reducing the body burden of toxins, and increasing the nutrient base. Dietary changes are preventative. With dietary therapies, change seldom happens quickly, contrary to the expectations from our instant gratification society. Food is an emotional issue. Discipline about feeding is seen as deprivation. When we brush our teeth, we are scrubbing away bacteria that can erode our teeth and cause our gums to be inflamed. That bacterium goes down our throat, into our gut and throughout our bodies. Optimizing a child’s diet has to work for the entire family.
30:13 Natural Alternatives to Behavior Medications: Stimulant medications are appetite suppressants. This can impact growth and growth hormone. Sometimes timing of medications with meals can make an impact. It involves planning and strategy around meals, something that is missing in today’s society. Attentional issues are about essential fatty acids that support brain, neuronal connectivity and synaptic communication. Choline, serine, and omega three fatty acids are beneficial to the brain. DHA is important for eye-hand coordination and visual convergence and processing. These support the plasticity of the brain for a lifetime. Medications may be necessary, but it should be pared with the right nutrients to mitigate damage to the microbiome and the immune system, as well as replacing lost nutrients. Prebiotics and probiotics need to be on board and be able to take root and multiply in the right environment.
37:10 Caution with Stimulants and Stimulant Alternatives: There are different types of ADHD. Some are not paying attention or attending because your head is all over the place. Sometimes you are not attending because you are already hyper-focused. Taking a stimulant can make you much more hyper-focused and make you more anxious. Perhaps poor sleep patterns influence bring up adrenaline levels and create an overload of glutamate and L-Theanine may bring a calm without being sedated. Sometimes trace minerals like zinc, magnesium, probiotics, fish oil, L-Theanine or a protein breakfast for blood sugar stability. Many times children are not eating a good breakfast, which creates a low blood sugar issue which influences attention and anxiety. College aged kids who have been on stimulants for years tend to have sleep disruption issues.
41:75 Accumulated Body Burden: We are having children later in life, which has everything to do with accumulated body toxic burden, not to mention old eggs and old sperm.
41:47 Anxiety in Children: Geri is sees children as young as 5 who can identify their own anxiety. If you are thinking of putting your child on a stimulant medication, see how they do with a cup of coffee or green tea in the morning and a high protein breakfast.
47:49 Gut Health: To optimize gut health, we need to lower intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars. We need to increase our good fats: nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, and olive oil. They are satiating and help to stabilize blood sugar and our adrenals. Vegetables are a real foundation in alkalizing our bodies and providing nutrients, methyl groups, and sulfur groups to help support detoxification. It is not only environmental toxins in our bodies, it is also metabolic waste. Cultured/fermented foods from our ancestral foods are beneficial as well.
50:37 Start a Garden: Geri advises her clients to start a garden as a family. Even patio tomatoes and basil are beneficial. Children should be getting their hands into the soil microbes. Soil bacteria were part of our original community. Involve children in the preparation of food and compost of the waste. It is a great way to desensitize a picky eater and reinforce science, math and social responsibility.
52:24 Allergies: By consuming local pollen, especially in the winter, it helps desensitize our bodies to reaction to pollen. Anaphylactic shock from food allergies has only become prevalent in the past few decades when children began eating things like peanuts in babyhood, rather than later in childhood. Our immune systems have shifted in a short period of time.
58:02 Geri’s Elevator Pitch: When it comes to food, the environment or regulation, our representatives should take to heart the downstream effects and consider whether it is in sync with the health and wellbeing of the people and the planet going forward. We need to change the way our children view the world and their bodies. It means having discipline about what we eat and how much we eat.
01:04:34 Geri’s Favorite Nutrient or Botanical: Bone broths, with their collagen, gelatin, aminos and minerals, are significant. Bitter greens, like broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, escarole, and Swiss chard are full of folate, methyl, sulfur, detox, and digestive benefits. It is good to develop a taste for the bitter early on. Even when a pregnant mom eats them, babies are more acclimated to it. She also likes olive leaf extract and oil of oregano as broad spectrum antimicrobials.