Episode 3: Our Unique Approach To Kids’ Health And Nutrition
In today’s episode, we are focusing on our unique approach to kids’ health at Natural Super Kids. We will also go into some of the naturopathic philosophies that drive our approach to kids’ health.
I’ll talk about how running my online business at Natural Super Kids has given me such a big range of experience working with families. Hearing about family struggles when it comes to their kids’ health issues, health concerns and conditions that they have been diagnosed with. My knowledge and expertise in this field was further reinforced as I became a mum of two. It helped me explore practical and healthy tips for busy parents.
To help you understand the science of naturopathy better, I delve into some naturopathic medicine principles. How it relates to the modern medicine approach, and so much more.
- Find out more about the Natural Super Kids KLUB
- Read more information about the antibiotic cycle and how to break it
- Read more information about the benefits of fever for immunity
Hey, hey! It’s great to be back. And I hope you’re doing well today.
So today’s episode, we are going to focus on our unique approach to kids’ health here at Natural Super Kids. We’ll go into some of the naturopathic philosophies that drive our approach to kids’ health. In the last episode, I chatted about my journey, personally and professionally to get to where we are right now. I just wanted to kind of follow on from that and talk about the fact that when I launched Natural Super Kids, the online business. I started getting much more experience in kids’ health. The experience that I had up until that point, led me to become really passionate about kids’ health. But as I became focused on this area, I got more experienced.
Experience and learning is kind of where expertise comes from. You don’t just become an expert in a particular area without that experience. So just running Natural Super Kids, the clients and members that I’ve supported, has given me such a big range of experience working with families,. Hearing about family struggles when it comes to their kids’ health issue, health concerns and conditions that they have been diagnosed with. I’ve seen a diverse range of issues and conditions in a diverse range of people. I’ve got that sort of knowledge that has driven what we’re all about here at Natural Super Kids.
Then there’s the real life experience of being a mum…
My eldest has just turned 13, so I am now mum of a teenager. I feel like that real mum life experience through all of the stages up until now. Now we get to experience those fun teen years. It has really helped me to understand the real life struggles that mums go through. I cringe to think about the mums that used to come and see me before I was a mum myself and bring their kids along to see me. Some of the unrealistic advice that I used to share with them, or expect them to put into practice. I now know that it’s tough. It’s tough to make dietary changes for your kids when you’re a busy mum. You’ve got you know, busy schedules, family schedules and what the ideal is in terms of what we want our kids to eat.
Even the supplements we might want them to take or the healthy lifestyle changes we want them to make. Encouraging them to do these things is one thing, but them following through is another. There are challenges such as fussy eating, and kids just not wanting to go play outside. Even though we know that that’s going to be best for them. There’s all of these kind of tricky challenges from being a mum. I feel like because I am a mum of two, it gives me that real-life mum experience to be able to support families more realistically. With their kids’ health struggles and kids’ health is a continual work in progress.
I say this a lot when it comes to things like gut health. Kids health is not something we achieve, and then we don’t have to worry about anymore. There’s different stages and different challenges along the way. Maybe our child gets diagnosed with a particular health issue, such as ADHD, allergy, or eczema that wasn’t present before. Then we need to learn about how to manage that and optimise our kids health. Those symptoms of those conditions are reduced or managed. Maybe our kids move into the next developmental stage. Kids in the toddler years, have very different needs than kids in the teen years. There’s all these different stages and challenges along the way.
Kids can go in and out of fussy and picky eating tendencies. This was the reason that I really wanted to create an ongoing online membership. Where we can support and inspire mums along the way. Along that journey of their kids’ health. It was a real driver for me. We initially had a six-week program. And I soon found out that mums wanted more than that. There was a certain amount you could learn in six weeks. But that support and that inspiration needed to be ongoing. Even if we know we shouldn’t be packing processed things in our kids lunchboxes every day. We need that inspiration and that motivation to get us back on track when life gets in the way.
That’s what the Natural Super Kids Klub really provides, our online membership program. It’s that ongoing support, inspiration and motivation. Reminders of how important our kids’ health and nutrition is.
I wanted to talk a little bit about naturopathic medicine principles. I am a qualified naturopath and this is what drives my approach to kids’ health. Naturopathic medicine philosophy is all about prevention, treatment, and supporting optimal health through methods that encourage a person’s inherent self-healing processes. We are supporting the body to come back into balance to prevent disease. To treat symptoms and disease, to support optimal health. We don’t want a mediocre health, we want optimal health. That really is what naturopathic medicine is all about. Naturopathic philosophy treats the whole person. We’re not just looking at the symptoms, we’re looking at the whole person.
If you’ve ever had a consultation with a naturopath, you’ll know that there’s a whole heap of questions that we ask to determine that whole person health in an individual. We aim to address the underlying cause of illness. This is one of the things that I love most about naturopathic medicine. Putting on my detective hat and figuring out what is going on. Yes, there’s these symptoms, and we can treat those with medications or even natural treatments. But it’s much more challenging to figure out or why are these symptoms are presenting. Let’s dig a little bit deeper and get into the detective work. I see health, whether it’s kids’ health or adults’ held as one giant puzzle.
It’s putting all of those pieces of the puzzle together, and that’s what I really love to do as a naturopath.
If we compare that with the medical model, the western medicine approach to health and pharmaceuticals. First and foremost, modern medicine and pharmaceuticals are there to treat symptoms and treat disease. So if we think about some of the common medications that are used in our kids, antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed medications for children. They are there to kill infection that is causing the disease or the symptoms of the infection that are going on. When we think about antibiotics, yes, they are amazing at getting on top of infection of killing bacterial infections that can cause so many problems in our kids. We are very lucky these days as parents not to have to worry too much about infectious diseases.
You know, having a major health implication on our kids, of course, there are lots of infections around. But antibiotics as well as a whole heap of other reasons have kind of made us reassured as parents. I for one am very glad that I live in a day when if my child does get a serious bacterial infection, we have the option of antibiotics to kill it. So they definitely have their place. But what I find as a naturopath is, lots of families will come and see me or will seek out some online help or support because their kids are getting sick all of the time. They’re on what I call the antibiotics cycle.
They get sick with an infection, they go to the doctor. They get a script to the antibiotics, which kills the infection. But antibiotics also have the effect of depleting immunity in a couple of different ways. One of those is that they are wiping out our beneficial bacteria within our gut. We need to make sure that we are compensating by putting lots of those good bugs back into the gut after any course of antibiotics. That could look like probiotic supplements and fermented foods and drinks. This is not often talked about when our kids are prescribed antibiotics.
The antibiotics kill the infection, they wipe out those good bugs. Those good bugs are really important in a nice, strong, robust immune system. So next time that germ is going around childcare or school, our kids pick it up much more easily because their immune system is not as strong and robust as it could be. Because all of these bugs have been depleted in their gut microbiome. And so they need another course of antibiotics. This is the typical picture that I see lots of kids presenting with. If we can go a little bit deeper and help to power that immune system with things like nutrients, herbs and healthy lifestyle options like sunshine. Which is so important for our vitamin D levels, very important for our healthy functioning immune system. Then we can prevent this constant need for antibiotics.
Let’s look at another medication that’s commonly used in kids – Paracetamol.
Paracetamol is really helpful for reducing pain and inflammation, reducing fever as well. One of the common reasons that mums and dads give their kids Paracetamol is because they’ve got a fever. Again, if we think about fever as something that is actually really helpful for the body. Yes, of course, we do need to bring fever down if it gets too high. But we don’t want to be grabbing for the Paracetamol or the Nurofen, the Ibuprofen, I should say too, readily with our kids because that fever is actually a healthy part of immune function.
When our kids’ temperature increases, it helps our immune system to be stimulated. It helps to create an environment where that virus or bacteria that’s causing the fever, is not going to be able to multiply as readily and take hold. If our kids are having this kind of constant need for paracetamol, we might need to dig a bit deeper and figure out well. Why is that happening? That’s what naturopathy is all about.
Another common medication used in kids is, of course, steroids, steroid creams, steroid inhalers. Steroid medication in general. One of the common conditions that I see in kids is eczema. A lot of these kids are using steroid creams and they can be really effective at getting eczema under control. They’re very effective anti-inflammatories locally. If we’re putting a steroid cream on eczema, it’s reducing that inflammation. Which is helping the symptoms of eczema, but what’s causing that inflammation in the first place? These are the sorts of questions that we’re asking as naturopaths.
As I talked about, in the last episode, if you missed it, you can go back and listen to that. I shared my story and talked about the fact that I was put on the oral contraceptive pill for skin and hormonal issues. I came to realise that it was only a band aid solution. It would get rid of my symptoms while I was on it. But when I would come off the medication, my symptoms would come back with a vengeance. So it’s very similar often with eczema and steroid creams. You kind of develop this need for them. Because there’s no other kind of advice given in terms of how can we get on top of this eczema without having to rely on steroid creams all the time.
“So where is this inflammation coming from that is causing the eczema?”
“Is it an overactive immune system that is responding to things in the diet, foods and environmental factors that is causing this inflammation?”
“What are the dietary triggers that might be leading to this inflammation?”
“Are there toxins that are contributing to this inflammation? Is the gut contributing to the inflammation?”
“Are there nutritional deficiencies that are leading to a skin barrier that is not as robust as it could be?”
These are the sorts of questions and things that we’re thinking about as naturopaths when it comes to treating something like eczema. As opposed to let’s just grab a cream and rub that on, and that will help in the short term. Hopefully that gives you a bit more of an idea of the difference between a modern medical approach to some of these common conditions compared to a naturopathic approach to these common conditions that we see in kids. And for us, specifically, at Natural Super Kids, we really do aim to empower and inspire mums.
Many of the mums or parents that come see us or seek some support from Natural Super Kids, they’re not getting the answers or the solutions that they want for their kids’ health issues. They’re feeling uneasy about relying on medications often. And maybe the side effects of those medications are having on their kids. First and foremost, we want to empower parents to firstly navigate the confusing world of nutrition and health. To make it really simple for them. Empower them by helping them to realise that there are alternatives or complementary medicines that can help to address the underlying cause of their kids health issues.
I’ve talked about some of the commonly used medications in our kids, and I’m definitely not anti-pharmaceutical medications. They can be really effective at getting on top of symptoms. And so often, we will use natural medicines like nutrition and herbal medicine to complement what we’re trying to achieve with the medication as well. It doesn’t have to be an alternative, it can certainly be complementary. Which I think is really important for parents to know. It doesn’t have to be either or they can definitely work together. And I think it would be wonderful if our health system sort of embraced it.
The combination of Western medicine and alternative or complementary modalities and how well they can really work together. And if it is, there is progress in this area. There are a lot of doctors who are open to using things like diet and nutrition. Herbal medicines and homeopathy and other naturopathic modalities, which is fantastic. But it still definitely has a long way to go. It’s also empowering for a lot of parents to know that there is something they can do. There are changes that can be made in their kids diet, and in a kid’s lifestyle that can have a profound effect on their kids overall health. Another part of our approach when it comes to kids’ health is, is to be realistic.
As I mentioned before, it’s really easy to become overwhelmed and confused with all the health information out there. Naturopaths have a bit of a bad name for dishing out unrealistic advice when it comes to living a busy life. So a naturopath might recommend that you cut out sugar, dairy and gluten and take these eight different supplements. That is definitely not what we’re about here at all. We really believe in a realistic and sustainable approach to health. So we really aim to inspire you to raise happy, healthy and resilient kids by making one change at a time.
We really want to make it easy for you to implement healthy food and lifestyle changes that your kids will accept. That will make it easy for you too. That’s really what we aim to do with the content that’s on our website at www.naturalsuperkids.com, this podcast, and also for our members of the Natural Super Kids Klub. We want it to be realistic, we want it to be sustainable. We know you don’t want to rob your kids off childhood pleasures. Like choosing an ice cream flavour or sharing a birthday cake. So we aim to be a voice of reason in the confusing, conflicting and sometimes extreme world of health and nutrition for kids.
That can be really refreshing for a lot of parents, because they may have seen other advice or gotten some help from other practitioners who have recommended things that would probably be really helpful and life changing. But it just wasn’t easy to implement. It’s one thing for us to know what’s good for our kids. But it’s another thing for our kids to actually accept changes to their diet to their lifestyle. Maybe adding in some supplements, you know? They actually have to take them for them to be effective. We love working with people in a step by step approach. Each step brings you closer to healthy kids, or healthier kids. That sort of situation that we want of optimal health, not just mediocre health.
That really sums up what we’re all about here at Natural Super Kids. I hope that’s given you a bit of an insight into why we do things the way we do. What you can expect with our content, with our consultations, with our online support. All the different things that we do here.
So that is all for me today. I really just want to set the foundations in these first few episodes of the podcast. You know, giving you more of an insight into who I am and my journey into naturopathy. Which we discussed in the previous episode, Episode two. And today, more about our overall approach here at Natural Super Kids to kids’ health. So I will hopefully see you in the next episode. Have a great day!