When I was a kid, I ate dirt.
Now that I’m an adult, I wish I had eaten more.
Sounds weird till you read the science and think about how humans used to live.
Today is Day 1 of the free Wellness Family Summit which I contributed a talk to, and in honor of it we wanted to put together some simple tips for those with kids or who are thinking about having kids one day. One of the saddest statistics I’ve heard in the last few years is that today’s generation of kids are likely to be the first to DIE sooner than their parents.
Good thing it’s just a prediction and we have plenty of time to change it.
Here’s three simple steps to get your kids’ gut health stronger:
- Put the Bristol Stool Chart on the Fridge (and bathroom)
- Have an Abundance of Fermented Foods on Hand
- Let the Kids Play in the Dirt Outside (and don’t worry)
Simple and effective is what parents want and these tips deliver. Will you try them?
Let’s Make Poop Fun and Normal Again
Our poop is “speaking to us” and giving us clues. If we pay close attention and track the quality of our poop, these clues can serve as signs of great or poor gut health.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if your kids knew this from a young age and had the tools to track their own health? Well, it’s as simple as a shift in the conversation in your household.
The easiest way to tell if your poop is helping lead you in the right direction, is to look in the toilet and use the Bristol Stool Chart. Hang it in the bathroom. Get the kids interested.
Print off our fun infographic about it.
Poop is currently more taboo than sex. And it’s sad. We all do it and it’s valuable info for detection of health issues. Let’s make it normal and fun again to poop.
Kids Love Fermented Foods if You Do
You know kids will love and develop a passion for what yours are. That’s the beauty and curse of being a parent.
The idea that kids don’t like fermented foods is a total myth. Show me a kid who “hates” all fermented foods and I’ll show you a household that doesn’t value them, have them around often or whose role models don’t eat them often.
Sure there are exceptions. This is a long game play, especially depending on the age of the children. It’s sometimes a 5 year plan. But that shouldn’t deter you because I hope you’re planning to eat them every day anyways.
If you’re not sure where to start, fermented foods like SCD yogurt, kimchee, kefir, and sauerkraut are where we’d urge you to put most of your focus in the long-run. In this video, Jordan explains the importance of including fermented foods in your diet.
Hopefully you understand by now that daily ingestion of probiotics from food or supplements is a great way to keep inflammation low, the immune system well-trained and gut lining healthy.
Not every kid is going to love fermented foods, but trust them. Kids have been shown in studies to eat what they need and not what they don’t for growth and development. Make the kitchen an exploration of fermented foods, make them at home, mess it up and use it to teach the whole time.
Their health and yours will keep getting better.
Dirt, it Does a Body Good
What kid doesn’t love to play in the sand box? Kids love to express their creative sides and they seem to love to get dirty. Unfortunately, western society’s view on this activity has changed to bad. (There are all kinds of bad bugs, dirty things and we should clean the kids as soon as possible.)
Not only could this send a mixed message to the kids, but more and more science is coming out showing just how healthy getting dirty is. In fact, our addiction to cleanliness could actually be causing our sickness.
See, soil contains millions of species of beneficial microbes, especially in the upper section of soil directly affected by roots. This is referred to as the rhizosphere. It’s generally well accepted that the next big medical breakthroughs will come from studying the gut microflora. And this idea had to come from somewhere, soil scientists have been fervishly studying the rhizosphere for decades. It has become increasingly clear that plant health is directly affected by the microbial health of the soil and ultimately this leads to increased health on up the food chain.
Surprise, surprise plants need a diverse healthy bacterial community just as much as humans. And this interaction between soil and humans is very important.
There is evidence in the research that shows direct human contact with soil is beneficial to our health. It helps build and modulate the immune system, decrease stress, and more.  Specific studies in regards to asthma development support this claim.   They show that the most beneficial exposure comes at an early age from “farm” bacteria or, gram-negative bacteria and lactobacilli.  Exposure to soil bacteria helps to expose the immune system to various pathogens at low levels that actually work to improve the immune system. This exposure helps create a plethora of diverse T cells help “…to ensure optimal balance of immunogenicity and tolerance.” 
This basically means that your body is better equipped to kick off the immune response when a foreign invader enters and maintain distinction between self and nonself.
Plus, some side benefits of getting out and playing in the dirt (or even gardening) are increased sunlight exposure, light exercise through moving the body, and having fun and socializing (increased oxytocin). And, to take it back to those asthma studies, some dirt and aerobic exercise are a good combination for facilitating immune development. So, next time you’re looking for something to do, get outside and roll around in the dirt a little and bring the kids.
And for their sake, let them be kids.
Looking for More Health Tips for Kids and Families?
It starts at home, with families and their kids. Jordan and I are so proud of all you amazing parents. The drive and desire you have for your children’s well being is nothing short of astounding.
A friend of ours Katie has a big household and is on a mission to support more families into wellness. As previously mentioned above, she is hosting a free Wellness Family Summit that starts today
You can register here and start watching now.
Right now, there’s no better place to learn more health tips for families than the Wellness Family Summit. Among other things, you’ll learn how to:
- Get your family to eat real foods (without complaint)
- How to eat nutrient dense foods affordably on a tight budget
- How to improve sleep quality and manage stress
- How to balance hormones and have more energy
- And much more!
This is sure to be an amazing event. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to join her for one of 30 presentations on issues ranging from physical, to emotional and mental to environmental. My talk, “Leaky Gut and Digestive Health,” is live today and you can listen to it here.
Perhaps You’re a Woman – A Mom – Looking For Specific Health Tips
If you’re a woman who’s been:
- Struggling to lose weight
- Has low energy
- Has high stress
- And wondering if your hormones are wacky?
If so, I’d like to urge you to register for one more free upcoming summit. Don’t worry they are spaced out so you won’t be overwhelmed. Learn about your family first, then women’s health and fitness next.
Neely Quinn, a Certified Integrative Clinical Nutrition Therapist and author of The Complete Idiots Guide To Eating Paleo, is hosting the (For Women Only) Weight Loss Solution Online Event.
We had a pretty epic hour-long HD video chat that you’re not going to want to miss.
Register for free here. No fad diets, gimmicks, skipping meals or starving involved. Women have specific hormonal, physical and emotional needs and this event provides a safe and educational place to address them.
These are jam-packed health summits full of health tips that will be sure to help you take action in any area you’re looking to make health improvements.
Remember, knowledge is power but only action brings results. So, keep learning and keep doing!