When it comes to food, I always advocate for organic whenever possible for several reasons. First, of course, is for your health and protection from chemicals. Pesticides are neurotoxic (toxic to the brain), carcinogenic (cancer-causing), hormone disrupting, and they destroy the microbiome of the gut. They were initially developed as nerve gas during WWII, which speaks volumes to their toxicity and danger. Exposure to high pesticide levels during pregnancy has been associated with lower IQ, increased risk of attention problems, and poorer cognitive function in their children. In adults, pesticides have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. There are links between DDT (pesticide banned in 1972 but still present in the soil, and can be passed from mother to child) and high blood pressure as well. There is no question, pesticides are poison. They are harmful even in low levels.
The second reason I advocate for buying organic is the impact on global health. As toxic as pesticides are to the human body, we have to consider what they are doing to the animals that share our planet, both wild and domesticated. We should also consider how damaging they are to the beautiful and life-giving planet that we are blessed to inhabit.
Thirdly, we have the power to choose what we spend our money on. Everything you purchase (or don’t purchase) sends a message to the producer of that product, as well as to the whole industry. By purchasing organic foods, you are supporting the farmers and companies who value the health of their consumer. By avoiding pesticide-laden foods, you send a message that you will not support toxic food supply.
Finally, yet another amazing reason to choose organic is the bonus health benefits from elevated biotics that live on wild and organic produce. These microorganisms can be found on the skin of produce, and are able to withstand wind, rain, and environmental pollution. When eaten, elevated biotics go to the ileum (part of the small intestine) and create a bioidentical form of B-12. They can prevent scar tissue from forming in the intestinal tract and even reverse methylation issues.
Shop Organic on Any Budget
At this time, organic produce is more costly than pesticide-laden produce. This is a very real hurdle for a lot of people, so it’s important to understand the power of the choice you have when it comes to buying food. I consider buying organic produce to be an investment in my long-term health, which is invaluable. When I spend my money on organic produce, I know I am doing the best that I can for my body, my fellow Earth-dwellers, and for mother Earth herself.
To reduce your toxic load without breaking the bank, it is helpful to know which fruits and veggies contain the highest levels of pesticides. Strawberries, spinach, grapes, and potatoes are among the “dirtiest” foods in terms of pesticide levels, so buy organic whenever possible. On the other hand, avocado, mango, and onion are some of the “cleanest” options, containing lower levels of pesticides. These are okay to buy non-organic, if needed. I highly recommend using a produce rinse for all non-organic items so the bulk of the pesticides can be washed away.
To get the full “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” Pocket Guide, including a simple DIY recipe for a Natural Produce Rinse click here
There is arguably nothing more frustrating for a parent than a child that doesn't sleep well. To me, this is one of the more crucial issues that can arise, because a child needs sleep in order to grow and stay healthy, and a parent needs sleep in order to stay sane and aware. A huge amount of the body's detoxifying and healing occurs during sleep, between the hours of 11pm and 3 am. This is when the gallbladder and liver are most active energetically, releasing bile, making cellular repairs, building blood cells, and detoxing the blood. For all of these reasons, sleep problems should be taken very seriously.
Understanding a child's sleep issues can be a multi-faceted endeavor. There can be so many factors at play. For example, one child may have sluggish digestion (Earth element) that causes pain or discomfort at night, while another may have an imbalance of the Fire element that leads to night terrors. Here are a few things to try to get your sleepless child back to consistent peaceful slumber.
Reduce processed sugar and artificial colors
Processed sugar and artificial colors (Red 40) can cause hyperactivity, depressed immune function, mood swings, ADD/ADHD. Reducing or eliminating these from your child's diet is a huge step in the right direction, and sometimes this alone will make a huge difference.
Talk things through
If your child struggles to settle down at night, try to avoid punishing them or getting angry. Set the tone with your own energy. Speak calmly and take deep breaths, as it is proven that children will match the breathing rate of their parents, particularly their mothers. If your child starts telling your about their day, listen to them instead of chastising them for not being tired. The more a child worries or feels nervous, the more wound up they will become. Some children need to talk about their day so they can let go of emotions that might otherwise keep their minds racing.
Establish a "winding down" routine
Start a night time routine of massage, acupressure, reading stories, or listening to calming music. Children respond well to routine and consistency, and all of these activities will help to settle their yang energy from the day, and help them transition to the yin energy of the night
Acupuncture works phenomenally well for regulating circadian rhythms, and rebalancing the hormones and brain chemistry responsible for a good night's sleep. Remember, acupuncture can be done on children, and can be done without needles.
Diffuse Essential Oils
Essential oils can be effective in setting the tone for relaxation, and in maintaining peaceful sleep. Diffuse oils like vetiver, lavender, and chamomile during your child's bedtime routine, and through the night while they sleep. For a child with nightmares, juniper oil can be added to the mix.
Herbs like valerian, chamomile, and ashwaganda can be taken as tea or a tincture in the evening to calm and soothe. If your child is not thrilled by the taste, add a bit of raw honey to sweeten the flavor (raw honey is also great for sleep issues).
Turn Off Technology
The blue light from cell phones, tablets, TVs, and game consoles suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin controls your circadian rhythm (sleep cycle), so without it, it is hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Technology also keeps your child's brain alert and stimulated, making sleep harder to attain. Institute a tech-free hour before bed, and ask children to keep their phones and other electronics out of the sleep area. Not only will this allow them to wind down, but it also means less EMF exposure too.
If your child is struggling to sleep at night, give some of these tips a try, or connect with Caitria for guidance.
Caitria is a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, and intuitive guide. She specializes in pediatrics, pregnancy, and postpartum care. Caitria LOVES to share information to empower YOU, wherever you are on your healing journey.