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In Episode 4 of incrEDIBLE family health podcast, I explore how worms may contribute to anxiety, discuss herbal medicine and nutrition for childhood anxiety, and share tips for making introducing new foods to reduce anxiety.

Here’s the transcript in case you prefer to read it!

Thanks for joining me on incrEDIBLE family health with Cheree Sheldon. I’m a naturopath, nutritionist and chef. But my most important role is Mum, I want to focus on getting your family healthy. I’ll do this by sharing tools and strategies I’ve learned to benefit my family’s well being and pass them on to you. You’ll also gain incredible insights from other professionals and parents who can help you live healthier lives.

Hello, thanks for joining me on incrEDIBLE family health. I’m Cheree Sheldon and we’re still talking about meltdowns, mayhem, children with anger, anxiety, it’s a big topic. And if you’ve tuned in the last couple of episodes, you’ve realized how many different tangents we can go to when it comes to what’s behind it and what to do about it There’s still a few things that we haven’t talked about when it comes to what’s behind it. One is worms.
They’re gross. And all kids get them. Adults do too. But kids are particularly susceptible, because they play insandpits, and they’re in the dirt, and then getting up close and personal with your pets. And they do tend to get more parasites and more worms, or maybe it just affects them more because their guts are still in that developmental stage. Regardless, worms can really impact anxiety, and mental health stuff. And what you’ll find with worms is there could be like a pattern that is linked to the moon cycle. And you’d be like, my kid is always a little bit crazier, and the full moon. And one of the reasons is, the eggs of the parasites could be hatching and having more movement and more things going on inside. And that really, really does impact our neurotransmitters and what’s going on. So the food source for the worms does tend to be our nutrients that we need for neurotransmission development. They like eating our sugars that we have, and they tend to go a little bit more crazy with that. So that is one of the reasons why I think a whole foods diet and not focusing on refined carbs, and things with sugars can really really impact positively on mental health. Could be feeding worms! Also could be impacting, you know, blood glucose regulation and all sorts of different things. However, we’re gonna talk about worms still, they are fairly simple to treat. You know, the over the counter thing that you get the chemist tastes like chocolate. That’s your first line treatment. Herbal medicine can be really effective for treating parasites, if you know what species they are. And we can find out that with testing, and then we can target what’s going to get rid of it. Yeah, the thing about herbal medicine for parasites with kids is often tastes foul, and its hard: hard to treat.

But a good naturopath good herbalist can make it taste better, give you it in, you know, ways that you can get around that and, and help your child beat these parasites.
So we’ve talked about a lot of red flags over the past couple of episodes. The symptoms that we can look out for, underlying causes. There’s so many things that we can attribute to what’s happening with anxiety, but there’s also lots of things that we can do about it. So the goal of I guess my show, to help you with your incrEDIBLE Family Health is to help empower you to help educate you as a carer, as a parent, to help promote personal change, personal growth, and to help increase your control over your health to provide symptomatic relief for the symptoms to help you discover the root cause and find a treatment that will work for you and for your family.
One study that was done way back in 1998, said that more than half of people that had anxiety had tried herbal medicine, and herbal medicine is fantastic for symptomatic relief of anxiety. There’s herbs like Chamomile, Brahmi, Ziziphus, Valerian, Gotu kola, Gingko, skullcap. Saffron is amazing for depression/anxiety. Lavender. Withania. They all do different things. They can all mediate different pathways in the brain. Some of them like Chamomile, for example, binds to GABA receptors. Valerian helps reduce the degradation of GABA. So what does that mean? It means that they might help you stay calmer for longer. The thing with herbal medicine is that you can give it to kids in numerous different ways. So, herbal tea is safe and effective to give to babies. Our children really respond well to herbal tea. It’s easy to find like you can just go to a really nice health food shop, find a blend, you know, anything that says calming or sleep can really help with that. You can make your own you can find those herbs that I’ve mentioned and make your own blend up. And then the next step above that is to go and see herbalist or a naturopath and get a customized, individualized unique herbal tonic specific to the symptoms that you or your child are experiencing and really target it that way.
Herbal medicine traditionally has a reputation to be hard to take. Sometimes they’re yucky. I’ve had some people cry over flavor. However, most of these anxiety curbs so herbs that really help with anxiety tastes beautiful, and the progress that our industry has made with the taste and the quality of herbs is outstanding. So we can make some brilliant herbs targeted for children that are made from glycetracts, so they are not alcoholic, they taste really sweet and beautiful. And they can make a difference.
In my girls, I guess, as a case study are a little bit different. Being naturopaths’ children, they have taken her herbs and supplements from day dot and they don’t refuse much. Sometimes they do because they’re like, Oh, that’s foul, but then I’ll find a different way to give them whatever they need to take, to make it work for them. Herbal medicines, no different. We use it in herbal teas. We have a bath tea. Sometimes I’ll make a little spray and spray it around. Sometimes I will just give them a couple of drops in their water. Sometimes I’ll make like a really nice iced tea up. My favorite iced tea at the moment is rose hip hibiscus and lemon grass, it’s so refreshing. A beautiful, beautiful rich red color. And if I need to give the girls some herbs, that’s an awesome way to hide it as well. Sort of because it has a strong, nice herby flavor already. We can add some herbs into it and I just give it to them in a little shot glass, they shot it down and off they go. So I totally recommend trying herbs if you haven’t before, for your kids or yourself for anxiety, it reall,y makes a difference in that moment with anxiety.
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Your nutrition is another thing as well. So using amino acids can really make a difference. So amino acids are like the broken down components of proteins, and some of them targeting the neurotransmission support pathways. One in particular is called L Theanine, it doesn’t really have a taste. It’s just a powder, white little powder. I mix it in with a little bit of water or sometimes I mix it in a magnesium that has lavender and sour cherry and California poppy in it another herb that helps with anxiety and I give it to my kids. It really helps with what we call situational anxiety. So that moment of, you can see building up you can see that about to have a panic attack or in that panic attack that having a meltdown. I can break the cycle, shove a little drink under there. I think “quick have this”, pop it down. And it’s sort of like the feeling of just maybe so had a glass of red wine, just that relaxing feeling. So L theanine helps that GABA helps that as well. So you can supplement with GABA to do the same thing. It’s not something that I want you to experiment with by yourself with a kid. Definitely if these things that are appealing to you that you think are I want to try this. Find yourself a local naturopath or you can do online telehealth calls get the guidance that you need. So you’ve got the correct dose, you’ve got a really good quality supplement, you’re not just getting one that’s maybe full of fillers, same time you want something that’s going to be nice and clean and pure and work really, really effectively. And you want to target you want to target things. So I’ll give you the whole list of supplements that I’ve used over the years with my kids to help balance out their deficiencies. So I’ve used cod liver oil, vitamin D, zinc iron, and my favorite iron is by brand called bioclinic naturals. They’re from Canada. And the reason why I love that for kids is it’s chewable and it tastes like citrus. It’s awesome. I’ve never seen a kid refuse it. So I love that your naturopath can prescribe that for you. Give them B vitamins in the form of like a whole food multi. I’d love a brand called orthoplex. And they have powdered one called pure children’s essentials. It’s like a multivitamin for kids with no artificial colors, no artificial flavors. And it’s got all of the top quality supplements, it’s not got the cheap, nasty ones that might not be as effective. It’s got the ones that are gonna really work, really well. I sneak that into their smoothies. Sometimes I put it maybe in like if they’re having chia pudding or something and get it into them that way.
Magnesium, for sure. Magnesium I give to kids in several different ways. So I might give that to them as a tissue salt, or celluloid. So they’re like little chewable tablets, and they can munch on it, and it goes, sometimes I’ll give them as a cream, or as a bath salt or Epsom salts pretty much get used by the bucket load, I buy five killer buckets of Epsom salts at their house because we love it, we all need it. And then not particularly to help have a really good night’s sleep. We’ll use a magnesium that is combined with lovely sleepy nighttime herbs. So the favorite at the moment is one called tri mag supreme night. And it’s three different forms of magnesium. It’s got lavender, it’s got sour cherry, it’s got California poppy tastes beautiful. And kids love it.
What else have we used? Broccoli sprout powder. So that really, really helps activate nutrigenomic pathways. So it opens up pathways in the body, helps proper detoxification of things. It’s really, really high in folate, it’s a great supplement to use. So that might be something again, that gets hidden in smoothies. I particularly love making kids smoothies, using nutritional medicine, I add collagen to it and the green powder and the making sure it’s really nutrient dense. And then I’ll put it in little popsicle molds. And they have their “mummy ice blocks”. And they’re having such goodness with them. And I’m really, really happy about I don’t limit the amount of ice. But I mean, I obviously don’t let them have five ice books a day. But if they want to have two of mommy iceblocks, totally fine with that on a hot day! Because it’s packed full of goodness.
And the other thing that I use with my kids frequently is probiotics. And I’m using one with my eldest at the moment, the one that has anxiety, it’s a new probiotic relatively new on the market in Australia, that your naturopath or your, you know integrative GP will be able to prescribe for you. And it’s got two forms of l reuteri strains in it. I can’t remember the numbers off the top of my head, unfortunately, but it’s biogaia gastrus. So it’s in a blue box. It’s chewable. Tastes like Mandarin, super easy for them to take. And it really, really is linked in the research with the gut brain connection. It’s amazing. The difference that we’ve noticed with our daughter, since we’ve started supplementing with this has been pretty phenomenal. So she was starting to really, I dunno, act like a teenager…. she’s nine. Hormones are starting to kick in. But she was starting to want to spend more time by herself. Less time interacting with family. And when she was interacting with family, she’s pretty not interested, very quick to temper. And since we’ve been supplementing with this, she’s been really, really nice! Pleasant to be around, wants to hang out with us. I mean, not 100% of the time, but massive improvement for what we where we were going. So I’m really, really happy with this. And one of the highlights of this particular probiotic when I learned about it was it can help with social connections. So people that you know, are feeling socially isolated. Sometimes I had that feeling too when you you’re in a group of people and you like, just feel like you’ve got either nothing in common or you just don’t quite know how to start the conversation, or the conversation feels stilted. This type of pathway in your brain can get supported by supporting microbiome. It’s amazing how it works.
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So: Gut health- brain health super duper connected. They’re connected by a pathway called the vagus nerve. And we’re going to go into way more detail in another episode about our vagus nerve. And what that does, its like a superhighway, and how it support that more. But this particular probiotic is fantastic. What I really want to stress is you can’t just take sort of any probiotic, and expect it to have the same purpose, because they all have different roles. I want you to think about your microbiome and your bacteria, like a city. And we’ve got all the different suburbs and streets in there, the bacteria hangs out in the different suburbs, I guess, there might be gangs of people that live in there, you want them to be populated with people that are like open minded and not violent and, and not have those gangs rule. Whereas sometimes the nasty bacteria does take over. And when we’re targeting with probiotics, it’s like just getting him a new mayor coming in and going, Okay, I’m gonna populate here now. This is a new rules. And this is what I do. I want to reduce eczema. Okay, I’m reducing eczema now. And then another probiotic strain, the new population in the city. They’re like, okay, we’re really good at improving constipation. Okay, awesome. You can set up shop here, but they don’t do everything. So the constipation supplement may not be doing anything for skin health, the skin health supplement, and probiotic will not do anything for mental health. So just going into a shop and going, Okay, I need a probiotic, just give me one and getting one with a million strains in it might not be what you need. So really, making sure that you’ve got the targeted thing for what you need, is going to make a difference. And that’s why you’re going to visit a naturopath or nutritionist that can prescribe you the really specific things, what you need, makes a difference why we’re a little bit, you know, you need to take this particular one, keep it in the fridge or this particular one. It’s okay to, you know, leave it in the cupboard. They’re all different. They all do different things, that will have a brilliant, brilliant purpose. And we want to find that purpose that you need.
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I’ve talked a little bit about herbs. We’ve talked a little bit about supplements. Let’s talk about food. There is so many diets, therapeutic diets out there. And I definitely know from being in mother’s group, going to pick up my daughter at the school gate, being a naturopath that has had people come to me that have gone to see other practitioners or been on other programs that there is so many different food diets, advice given to people for their children. Things like the gaps diet, paleo, keto, salicylate free, amine free, no sugar, low GI, the list goes on.
However, some of them are going to really benefit you. Some of them may trigger things to get worse. And unfortunately, you’re not going to know until you try it. So sometimes these elimination diets are just like a trial, an educated guess of what’s happening. And your health practitioner might not have all of the answers all at once for you. They can guide you into what’s going to be the best for you based on the picture that they’ve got in front of them. So gaps diet, for example, called the gut and psychology syndrome diet. It really, really does improve a lot of people’s mental health. It’s a strict diet, sometimes it’s very hard to follow for people, and makes a massive difference. However, if you’re a person that has histamine issues, then including more fermented foods like you do in the gaps diet is not going to be the right diet for you. It’s finding the best diet for you. Finding the best diet for your kids. What works for one kid may not work for the other kid. It’s really, really trial and error. And I’ve experienced that as the mom. So with my first daughter, she didn’t go well on a few things when we introduced foods to her. And so we were fairly strict with you know, no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, reducing refined sugars, no gluten, hardly any dairy, introducing fermented foods, healing foods, lots of good fats. And she’s done really, really well with her dietary changes. But if we alter that, say, we go out for dinner and we’re relaxed for the night, which is great, we have a nice time out. The next day, we will see a flare up of behavioral symptoms. Sometimes it might be just crying uncontrollably, or just super duper duper tantrumy, and I’ll be like, that’s from the food last night. And occasional thing like that is okay, we can deal with it. But if you’re having those every night, there’s sort of foods that aren’t working for your kid in their lunch time, you know, sending it to school with them. And then having all these meltdowns all of the time, it’s so exhausting for everybody. So sometimes having that strict diet with them, and working out their triggers is really, really worth going through that process of, and then you can sort of work out whether you know, that treat once a month, once every three months, once a week, whatever it’s going to be, it’s worth it for you to have that little breakdown the next day, and you can sort of know, okay, we’re going to go to a party, or we’re going to go to dinner at Grandma’s or whatever, we’ll relax a little bit. But know that they’ll need a little bit more special time or quiet time or a bit more detoxing the next day to balance that out a bit.
The other thing when it comes to food is having that really, really healthy relationship with it with kids. So from a very, very early age, as soon as you’re starting to introduce foods to toddlers, and want to talk about the language that you’re using around food and how you’re introducing them to food exposures and making it fun. So food exposure should be more than just at the dinner table. It’s sometimes it can be really overwhelming for a kid to just be, you know, have something on their plate, it’s the first time they’ve seen it and then be expected to actually put it in their mouth and swallow it. That can be a massive trigger for anxiety. So introducing new foods, in the way of reading it in books, getting them to help you prepare it, can really invest them in it, they’ve touched it before, they’ve seen it before, they’ve smelled it before, they know the name of it, they know that you’ve prepared it together, it’s safe, it’s fun, maybe you’ve sung about it, maybe you’ve done a craft about it. And by the time you’ve put it on their plate, they’re a little bit more accepting, they might be still hesitant. They might be like, I don’t know what that is, I don’t want to touch it. But if you say “How about you just touch it to your tongue and see what it is just a little touch on your tongue, no pressure, if you don’t like it, then just leave it” and then that’s cool. And building up the food relationship like that, makes a huge difference, then to have it sit on their plate and be like, eat your meal, you’re not leaving the table until we eat it all the end. Huge, huge trust issues change there. It’s massive. And then the other things that I want you to talk about is textures. I’ve got a blog on my website that talks about the languages of food that you can use at the dinner table and use when you’re talking about food like is it crunchy, hot, sweet, smooth. All these different words that you can use to describe foods, can make a difference to why they’re not eating something, or why they have a preference for something. And once you understand that, maybe altering the way that you’re preparing something can make a difference to that first time that they accept foods. Now when I first learnt about, you know food exposures and fussiness and all that sort of stuff, they said, it’s an average, eight times that a kid will need to be exposed to food before they’ll accept it. And then another study I read it was like 16 times and 32 times or something. And I can tell you from experience, it was about the 75th time that I put a floret of broccoli on Bailey’s plate that she actually picked it up and put it in her mouth and had it now she loves it. But it was massive amount of persistence, normalizing it and just making it part of “that’s I love broccoli, I want you to love broccoli.”
Broccoli is my favorite. Let’s eat a rainbow. We sing “I can eat a rainbow”. We talk about why the colors are important. We make them motivated to eat the rainbow. Because, you know, green will help them have more energy or if find the interests and link it with that. So if they’re interested in sport in soccer or something, and you can say, Did you know that the red foods will help you concentrate more, and you might be able to you know, get that goal in because he can see what you’re doing better, your mind will be able to react faster. They’ll have that initiative, get them involved that way. And getting them you know, foreign food exposures, instead of having a pressure thing as well. We’ll make a difference and we’re going to talk to someone that has had a journey with a fussy food child and developed an app and we’ll talk to her in our next episode and find out about her journey, about how the app has changed their family’s life. I hope you can tune in for that one.
Thanks for listening today. And I really again hope that you found some key things in this that are really, really going to make an impact with your incredible family’s health. Thanks.
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