I’m so pleased to introduce Amy Ziff, Healthy Living Coach, mother, and blogger extraordinaire. Amy has a brand spankin’ new website that is full of information on everything from what Halloween candy to choose, to how to get rid of lice without using toxic chemicals. Looking for non-toxic brands of personal care products to use on yourself, your children and/or in your home? Amy’s got your covered! Check out Amy Ziff’s No Tox Life, here.
This week Amy is sharing how she fuels her kids for peak performance. Whether you’re sending them off to school, have a growing athlete to keep at the top of his game, or just want to lessen the likelihood of your child catching the next bug that is making its way around, the foods we feed our children matters.
As Mom-in-Chief, one of my top jobs is to enable my kids to be their very best each and every day. I want to help them find ways to perform at the top of their game — no matter the task at hand — from playground play to physics. To give my kids that extra edge I like to say I “dope” my children. That’s right; I dope my kids with seriously healthy, nutritionally dense, power-packed foods.
I grew up hearing that “you are what you eat” but never took that very seriously. Was I really going to turn into a Twinkie or a French Fry? But then, I had trouble concentrating in school and often felt tired. I had allergies and food intolerances. Yet I reached for sugary snacks when I should have been fueling with protein and phytonutrients. My concentration, performance and over all mood paid the price.
As a health coach I’ve learned that good food floods your blood, cells and organs with what it needs to thrive. Good food supports your ability to fight disease and fills you with long-lasting good energy in contrast to foods that rob you of energy, attention span, impulse control — even drive. Food gives the body information, according to best-selling author Dr. Alejandro Junger. I want to make sure my family is getting “good” information. That’s why I push nutrient dense whole foods and super foods at every opportunity.
Dr. Martha Herbert, Pediatric Neurologist, Harvard Professor and author of THE AUTISM REVOLUTION urges people to make every bite count. Good food bolsters your performance and enhances your strength. Even your immune system is more effective at fending off disease and sickness, ranging from the common cold to cancer, when fed well.
According to Dr. Michelle Perro, a pediatrician in Northern California, “Our kids are not as healthy as we are.” She blames this on the downward slide of our food system. Our foods have been manufactured for taste for so long that the nutrition has been bred right out of it. It’s a frightening thought — but much of what our kids eat has no nutritive value. It’s just empty chemical calories.
I used to live in Silicon Valley where there is a lot of talk among C-suite execs about how to fuel employee performance through food. In fact, Google charged their first chef with just that. Charlie Ayers now owns a successful Palo Alto restaurant and has two cookbooks sporting many of his Google recipes.
As a Mom, I apply this peak performance principle to what I feed my children. The best thing is that when they’re getting good tasting, whole foods, I don’t worry about the occasional holiday celebration or birthday party aberration.
What you buy in the grocery store, unless you shop very carefully, is not nutrient dense food.
Below are five tips for feeding your family performance foods. I’ve culled this list over time with a lot of research, practice and real-life trial and error on my own three kids. This diet is how I fuel my kids with performance enhancing foods to prime them for their best life.
CROWD OUT. The theory is to start your day with densely packed nutrition, snacks and lunch. By the time your kid hits the back half of the day their appetite is on the wane as they’ve fueled up on the actual nutrients they need. When your body is nutritionally satisfied, you tend to have fewer cravings. Use nuts, seeds, hemp and chia to boost your meals and snacks.
EAT A RAW RAINBOW every day. This is a fun way to institute good eating habits. You can learn more and get the chart on Today I Ate A Rainbow. The basic concept is that if you can eat all the colors of the rainbow daily you’ll get all the phytonutrients your body needs to fuel, feed, grow and heal. Our bodies know what to do with food when we give it the right nutrients. Track red, orange, yellow, green, and blue/purple foods. Make sure they’ve had at least one of each.
REMOVE GMOs. Although there is a lot of talk about GMOs, people don’t often know the truth because there hasn’t yet been enough long-term studies on GMOs. However, when you look at unbiased studies by independent third parties, research gives reason for caution. GMOs may be linked to gut problems, cancer and infertility and more. According to Author Jeffrey Smith who runs the Institute for Responsible Technology, getting GMOs out of your food supply can clear up allergies, skin irritations, headaches, gastro-intestinal issues and more.
REMOVE ARTIFICIAL DYES. Artificial dyes used in this country (but often not permitted elsewhere in the world) have been linked to a number of ailments including ADD & ADHD. Have you ever wondered why your kid acts bonkers after eating sugary treats? Hyperactivity often occurs from the ill effects of the artificial colorants in foods, not because of the sugar. Imagine trying to take a test after eating some colored jellybeans, for example. You get the point.
MAKE YOUR OWN. A great way to encourage kids to start thinking about what goes into ingredients is to encourage them to make something they love with you and swap out the conventional ingredients for more nutritious ones. Need ideas? Consult Julia Morris’ SUPERFOODS Kitchen cookbook.
Good fuel is our best defense against all the junk food and nutrition-less foods kids are offered that deplete their bodies and minds. Start fighting back with these 5 techniques.
Watch and see how your child responds. You may start to see the answer on their report card, in their extra-curricular activities, or even just around the house…. You probably won’t hear them say thank you but you’ll know. And, for me, that’s reward enough to go the extra mile to keep fueling them with goodness.
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