Give Your Kid a Brain Edge

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Want to give your kid a brain up? I know we think about waistlines and cavities when we think about junk food, but we really need to be giving thought to THE BRAIN!

A brain is a precious thing to waste, but indeed as parents, we are doing just that with our dangerous eating and feeding habits. The food a child eats nourishes his or her gut bacteria (or doesn’t). Then, by-products and interactions of the child’s own gut bacteria feeds forward to interact with the function and development of his or her brain.

Stomach. Brain. Connected.

Fiber Helps the Brain

Research supports that high fiber foods– and I ALWAYS suggest that any nutrient (including fiber) be eaten in NATURAL, WHOLE food forms (cook ’em, saute ’em, roast ’em, bake ’em, eat ’em raw—-don’t care–just eat them)– contribute to children’s “cognitive control.”

Cognitive control? Sounds spooky. What the heck is cognitive control? Some sort of mind straight-jacket?

Ha! NO!!! It’s simply a scientific way to say: the ability to adapt to a situation and make good decisions, to execute better behavior in it, and the ability to perform a task well.

Can anyone say, “Make a bed!” or “Put away the silverware!” or “Do your math homework!” or even “Hold still!”? All those, and so much more, require a person’s cognitive control. His or her ability to complete a task properly, to reason it out, to put a brake on talking and moving when talking and moving aren’t appropriate in the moment.

According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition, “Dietary Fiber is Positively Associated with Cognitive Control among Prepubertal Children“, dietary fiber may play a role in cognitive control among children. The children in this study, ages 7-9, who ate more total dietary fiber, insoluble fiber, and pectin performed better on the selected performance task in the study. (The performance task wasn’t making a bed but I think it should have been…)

A big, bad, sad 90% of American children do not get even close to the recommended fiber intake set (ranging for about 20 grams to 38 grams, depending on the age and sex)! AND the sources that most people turn to for fiber (breakfast cereal laden with sugar) is a sickening poor fiber food source for the gut bacteria.

[I also disagree with the use of bread for fiber, unless the bread is honest and pure. I’m sitting here looking at the bread label in my parents’ home and this is what I see: enriched unbleached flour (refined flour), high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, monoglycerides, sweet dairy whey, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, calcium propionate, natural and artificial flavor, calcium sulfate, citric acid, ascorbic acid, soy lecithin, and so on.

This is NOT bread. I do not know what exactly this is. But it is NOT bread. I have made plenty of bread in my life, and I did so with about five or less ingredients: flour, water, salt, yeast. If I got fancy, I added eggs, milk, and butter or olive oil. You must seek out the ingredient list and not rely on the large print on the front that ways, “Whole grain bread!”]

Where to get “Fiber”

What do I suggest instead? Real, whole food rich in plant matter (Always keeping in mind what is tolerated by an individual. I know many people don’t tolerate nuts or legumes or certain vegetables. But there IS something a person can tolerate. Find it.). Good examples:

  • Greens and lettuces
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Apples, oranges, blueberries, cherries, grapes (all fruits higher in pectin)
  • Carrots and parsnips
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and hard squashes
  • Nuts and seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pecans)
  • Avocados
  • Peas, beans, lentils
  • Real, honest, pure whole grains: pure oatmeal, pure quinoa, pure wheat
  • Dried fruits: raisins, figs, apricots

Not a Matter of Your Parenting

When we feed kids diets low in lots of vegetables, fruits, and fresh produce, it’s not just a matter of “good mom”, “bad-mom.” It has nothing to do with you, mom! We’re talking about your kids. I am not here to define your parenthood by your nutritional choices.

But please know when kids don’t eat plant matter as close to the way it is found in nature, they miss out on all these complex fibers that scientists are realizing now affect us by affecting our gut bacteria. And the gut bacteria affect the development of the brain.

When your kid fusses and you want to throw in the towel and let him eat macaroni and cheese every day, realize the role you are playing in the complete development of your child’s brain, at a time when really, what goes in their mouth is mostly up to you and the groceries you bring home.

Persist, mother. Persist, father. A secure child is a child who knows that their parents will never give up on them. Your persistence and devotion is your greatest asset! Don’t stop just because of some pouting.

Be creative. Be firm. Be funny. Be loving. Be stubborn. Give rewards. Withhold rewards.

Do what it takes with love and compassion to get them there.

Your child’s gut microbiome is overwhelmingly tied to the health and function of his or her brain. Don’t give up on vegetables and fruits.

The brain of your child is at stake.

Good luck! Questions always welcomed.

Terri

 

Citation:

Kahn, Raine, et al. Journal of Nutrition. Dietary Fiber is Positively Associated with Cognitive Control among Prepubertal Children.  January 1, 2015 vol. 145 no. 1 143-149: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/145/1/143

Image from Wikipedia: Giuseppe Arcimboldo [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

31 thoughts on “Give Your Kid a Brain Edge

  1. Weise

    Last night at VBS my child took one drink of the red kool-aid and asked for water. I was impressed. I just wished they had served them all water, because about 30 minutes later they all went wild. . .

    Reply
  2. Tim Steele

    Great message! Consider this: When being breast fed, a baby gets ~20g of fiber from 1 liter of breast milk. At weaning (correct me if wrong) babies are consuming 1-2 liters of milk from momma. They get weaned onto Gerbers strained carrots, etc. which contain 1g of fiber per serving! (https://www.gerber.com/products/product/gerber-1st-foods-carrots).

    It’s no wonder kids start having problems, especially coupled with the several rounds of antibiotics that most kids endure.

    I would love to see a movement to study the real fiber requirements for kids and then a big push to get this fiber into commercial baby food. Until then, as you say…lots of high fiber veggies! I’d add in some raw (or at least cooked and cooled) potato and green bananas, too. The “pure, whole grains” you recommend is also a great idea.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Tim,

      Thanks for the article I referred to! You sent it a while back.

      Yes, that’s right. About 1-2 liters would be about right, depending on the kiddo and their age. Most moms will keep nursing and introduce solids simultaneously. But milk intake usually slows with food introduction. And sadly, it’s often RICE CEREAL first. Fortified. I actually have a post I’ve worked on here and there about food introduction. Maybe I can incorporate that fiber idea, since you gave me a nice little fact pearl to take off on. But I see your point. Once nursing slows (or in some cases never even starts…), “fiber” intake dramatically decreases. (I DO hate the word “fiber.” Being too nebulous and misunderstood.)

      Oh, I’m sure they’ll eventually add fiber in. They add in all kinds of other stuff as they learn it’s important to formula and baby foods. The baby food aisle exploits parents as much as the over-the-counter medicine aisle.

      My daughter loves leftover potatoes! It is a very common food for her. Easy to keep in the fridge too!

      Reply
  3. Wilbur

    Hi Terri –

    Great post again! You would probably guess that my daughter eats a lot of fiber. I can’t say it’s helped with her cognitive control, but she is very healthy and has overcome several autoimmune issues.

    She and I have been at this for a couple weeks of years. She is 9 now. She participated in our conversion from SAD to high fiber. We’ve learned a few things that might be useful to someone else.

    First, we made it a project. There are stuffed bacteria toys. There is at least one kids book on e-coli. There are great pictures and graphics. She has understood from the beginning that her bugs are important, and they need to be fed by special foods. It’s fun realizing that she is feeding her pet bugs, and that I’m not trying to trick her.

    Second, the smoothie is our friend. We start with plain full fat yogurt, which is already good for the gut. To this we add about 1.5 Tbsp of raw cocao powder, or maybe more. That is fantastic for the gut! Then a ripe banana for sweetness, but raw honey is fantastic gut food too. I then add powdered dried green banana or plantain, flaxseed, chia seed, oat bran, and psyllium. Now here’s the great part: this has so much flavor that I can hide stuff that’s high antioxidant but bitter: baobab, amla, acai, Amazing Green Grass, etc. There was a study showing that Ceylon cinnamon can improve learning ability, so I throw that in too. I bet it’s gut food. I also add raw potato starch and inulin, but I know you are not a fan.

    That’s quite a start to her day. We are diligent about eating real food. Lots of veggies, etc.

    Third, and this something I’m still learning, it’s possible to make really tasty stuff that is incredibly gut friendly. For me, it all started with this recipe

    http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/04/11/girl-scout-cookie-peanut-butter-tagalong-bars-vegan/

    Now I’m not vegan, Paleo, or anything. But the crust is basically almond meal and honey (I do not use Stevia, only honey or maple syrup). That’s gut friendly. The center is basically peanut butter and honey. That’s gut friendly. The chocolate sauce is raw powdered cocoa and a fat (I use butter). Again, gut friendly. It tastes real, and for us we can eat only a small amount. It’s filling and satisfying. I’ve also repurposed the crust by adding yogurt, cream cheese, and honey and then topping with lots of berries.

    The big payoff was when my daughter had a friend over who eats barely more than bread or chicken: “How did you make this awesome dessert?” That was likely the most gut friendly thing he’d eaten in a long time!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Wilbur,

      Good comment!

      Great idea on the “project.” I’ve often thought there needs to be some good, fun, applicable kids books on nutrition and the microbiome. (Don’t look at me. I’m not at that place yet in my life.) To help kids really SEE! They are often so willing to do things if they get the “WHY.”

      The smoothie sounds great. Can you tell me roughly how long did it take to see results on the autoimmune stuff? I have an eczema girl. My most sensitive to food. We do great with food, but my curiosity regarding simple, safe things to try is always high.

      My internet connection is very spotty right now, so I can’t visit the recipe link. I’m always looking for stuff that will suit when my kids’ friends come over that will fly! So I’ll check this one out. I’m pretty sure we’ve made something from this site before. Can’t remember what.

      Reply
  4. Wilbur

    Yes! First they have to come up with the books explaining why do the adults. Then the children! But we’ve done well. I just have to be aware that different biomes require different foods. So while I’m heavy on onions, garlic, and lots of spicy greens like mustards, etc., it’s ok that she likes better cocao, honey, nuts, etc.

    I forgot, but homemade Nutella is to die for! I love Chocolate Covered Katie’s version, but I’m sure there are others.

    Our experience with eczema is this: she had it for many years. We started the fibers, and this immediately halted the worsening of the symptoms. They did not want immediately go away, but they did not worsen. Very gradually, the skin improved. Then one day we’d notice the eczema was gone. Except that going a period without fiber, the eczema would return. There was a very good correlation. The highest correlation, perhaps, among all autoimmune issues. My opinion is that eczema is very much a gut disease.

    I feel like improvements in things like eczema are slow, more like one day you suddenly realize that the typical symptoms are gone. Not that you feel them going, but just one day you notice they are gone. I’ve felt this in myself. Consistency, I think, is the key.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi! My internet connection right now is about non-existent! I will keep that in mind, too, about my kids and not grumble inside when they reach for the nuts and cocoa and honey—remembering that it’s probably biome related, kid related, and as they change, maybe it will change too. Or maybe not!

      I will send my oldest over to Chocolate Covered Katie’s website. Sounds like she’ll have a heyday!

      And I plan on trying the smoothie/fiber idea on my daughter, as long as she agrees, and I’m pretty sure she will. Safe, simple, and tasty! What’s not to agree on? We can always cool down an angry eczema flare with autoimmune Paleo, but you know I like to fix things. Not Band-Aid them.

      Oh, yes, from the last comment! I don’t mind raw potato starch. But I never want anyone to use it as a crutch. IF there is a food way to get off of it, I think that’s the way to go. But part of a healing program or even if everything else has been tried and just that’s the only thing—hey, I get that!

      Maybe I’ll read what’s out there on the biome for lay people. GAPS diet book was good, but pretty evangelical and awful intense.

      Well, it’s Saturday! Have a good one! Thanks for the tips!

      Reply
  5. EmilyMaine

    We love our fruit and veg here. I am so grateful Monkey has always gone well in that area. As soon as digestion slows down the first thing I do is up the fruit and veg and it always sorts it out! Really foods are powerful!

    Have to tell you about a food challenge I mastered the other day! Monkey is now going GF as well as the dairy due to an asthma cough he hasn’t been able to shake this winter (what do Yu think of this idea as an aside??? I’m unsure but his dad is pushing it). Anyway I wanted to make some banana bread for his lunchbox BUT pre-school is also egg and nut free. All the eliminations almost made my head explode BUT I did it, I managed to make something AND he loved it. Phew. Next I’m going to tackle homemade GF bread. Eeeeep.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Oh, my! You mastered it great then! Egg elimination is one of the toughest, especially when nuts have to go too!!!!! Autoimmune Paleo has some good recipes for that. (You know I pull from anywhere I can for good food! Ha!)

      When we went GF/DF four years ago, my husband had had a chronic cough for years. He used a daily steroid inhaler and an albuterol inhaler as needed. Also, my third (about 3 and 1/2 at the time) had a chronic, dry cough that would come out of nowhere, get worse especially at night (and she sure did like to sleep in my bed–thus keeping me awake–agh!). We had it narrowed down to reflux and reactive airway, and I’d try nebulizers sometimes. And then I’d try acid reflux medicines, trying to get it sorted out.

      We first started this stuff for my gut, but I decided if I was doing it, the whole family should try too. So we played around with a basic diet and eliminating certain, known-to-science pesky stuff, and we figured out my husband’s was definitely from dairy! My daughter’s cough I still haven’t pinpointed, but it does come back when she “eats off grid.” So I don’t know even after all this time whether it’s gluten, dairy (which you know some people can have problem with the fat or a certain protein–making a person sensitive to one product but not another…), a preservative, or a color–or a synergistic outcome. But eating out, eating at a potluck, etc, and it’ll come back for my daughter.

      That was all in order to answer your question about the asthma cough. In my family, elimination was a key for us. I definitely think that eliminating all the top allergens for a brief period with intense monitoring by the parent and the child can help identify any food contributors. But that’s hard, I know. Easier said than done. My oldest daughter seems to be the most sensitive to anything, and she’ll often drop back to Autoimmune Paleo plus rice and get things under control. Food stuff is a pain. 🙂 Wilbur, a person who left a comment here on this post, has initiated a super high fiber (made up of complex fibers—not just lettuce and corn…) diet and found that it benefitted his daughter’s autoimmune type issues. That might be something fun for me to look into over the next couple years (takes me a LONG time to get things written up).

      Anyhow–super long answer to say I’m really happy Monkey likes real food, likes what his Mama makes him even without eggs and nuts and dairy and (uh…what are you serving him…air?!? JOKING!!!!!!!), and that I really think foods can cause asthma. (In fact, my husband loves ice cream and went on an ice cream binge last year and his espophagus closed up—he’s fine—-but that’s how we learned his asthma stuff was probably related to eosinophilic esophatitis—which can give kids asthma symptoms too—and they know it’s usually secondary to food triggers!)

      Good luck on the bread! I’ve taken to soaking buckwheat and fermenting it and then baking it. Fun experiment. Not too tasty yet…

      Terri

      Reply
      1. EmilyMaine

        Thank you for such a detailed response. I love your input on this stuff as I know how much research you do plus your own family experiences. THANK YOU wonderful Terri X

  6. kemkem

    I have to say l have increased my fiber intake a lot in the past few years. My dad died of colon cancer and l would love to avoid the same fate 🙂 . I’ll pick a different poison 🙂 ;-). I eat a lot of what you have on the list! I feel so damn proud of myself 🙂

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Good morning, KemKem!

      I’m well here. Feels like I haven’t interacted for a long while with you! Our internet connection has been touch and go. Mostly GO!!!! I’m statistically at higher risk for colon cancer too, due to a slow moving gut. The goal is to “feed” the bacteria from the beginning of the colon to the end. They help make stuff to support the mucous and cells along the colon to help put down colon cancer (and do other things too!). They think that what happens is that there’s not enough “fiber” for the bacteria to eat on throughout the colon anymore because we’ve switched to much more processed foods/flours that get quickly eaten up by the bacteria right as it enters the colon. Real veggies and fruits have more complex “fibers” which “last” longer through the whole colon for the bacteria to work on. Most colon cancers now are in the more distal part of the colon, rather than the beginning. I’d be VERY curious what part of the colon your dad’s was in. If I remember right, in a study, Africans (I’m not sure which part they did the study in–I know it’s a huge contininent–I think you said Nigeria was your home originally?) who were eating their native, traditional (high fiber) foods, IF they got colon cancer (and I think it was much less often!), would get it in the more “proximal” colon. Probably indicating a different reason for the cancer than not “feeding the microbes which support us.” Does this make sense? So I’d be thinking if your dad’s was in the more distal colon, definitely abundant veggies and fruits would be part of your game plan and keep eating that stuff daily!!! If not, I’d make sure I was exceptionally diligent about any changes in my GI function/maybe get my colonoscopies more frequently if they’d let me a little/etc.

      My sister is visiting Spain right now! But further north of you! Take care!

      Terri

      Reply
    2. Wilbur

      kemkem –

      I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I understand. My parents suffered from heart disease many years before they died. I want to avoid that. So far I seem to be on a very different path. I wish us both luck.

      I have no credentials. I read a lot though, and I wanted to suggest that you look into another aspect of reducing colon (and general) cancer risk beyond fiber.

      When I started my gut experiment, my goal was to eat as many different plant types as I could to get a broad, diverse set of fibers. In my mind, diverse fibers = diverse microbiome = resilient immune system. I think this mostly worked. But where things really began to work for me was broadening my goal to eat as broad and diverse as possible set of plants and their parts. Instead of thinking in terms of fiber, I began thinking in terms of phytochemicals.

      As an example: This summer, I’ve been eating a salad mix from a local farmer. A bowl contains maybe 1 g of fiber. But in addition to lettuces, it has clover, marigold leaves and flowers, chamomile, purple basil, radish microgreens, mustard greens, and much more. It burns, it’s bitter, and It seems essential to my diet. It would be inconsequential in terms of fiber, but very consequential in terms of photochemicals.

      Wine is Important. Spices are important. I eat cumin and black peppercorn everyday. I eat chile peppers (habaneros) literally for breakfast. I’ve added cinnamon to my fiber drink. None of these things add much fiber. But if you do a little searching, you’ll find that each of these things reduces colon cancer risk. I believe that Terri is right, that we need to eat the real foods, not fake versions. But a little a day of as much as possible seems preferable to a lot of just a few things. See, e.g.,

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18678136/?i=3&from=cinnamon%20colon%20cancer

      So I’m coming out now to say that I believe fiber is only part of the answer. There’s something more. Our gut health is not just how much fiber we eat, but also what plant compounds, in their varied complexity, we get too. And this determines OUR health.

      Best wishes,

      Wilbur

      Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Gina, I will link over as I finish my comment. I have not read this particular article/research—but I am convinced in my heart, brain, and body that these spices and these intrinsic substances in plant and food matter are so beneficial to us. I have a wonderful book on herbs, and the man who wrote it was a researcher on turmeric. The studies on turmeric are impressive. I wish I could convince people that whole, real food, including things like garlic, ginger, turmeric, cilantro (and so on and on and on) incorporated into a diet, particularly a child’s diet from the get-go CAN make a difference in health (both physical and mental). I wish I could get them to see that food matters; it SHOULD take up a good deal of thought about how to get good food, prepare real food. It’s a nuisance in today’s world; I get that. I have four kids who like dance, volleyball, gymnastics, violin, etc. I don’t live in a hole (although I do try to, LOL!). I KNOW how hard it is. BUT I also have studied tons of research the last four years to KNOW in my heart, without a doubt, that food matters. Sorry for the ramble. Heading over to link. I do use turmeric, but I kind of wonder about if I should use the root rather than the powder I use. Love turmeric tea!

      Thanks!

      Terri

      Reply
      1. Wilbur

        Hi Terri –

        I’m not sure where to punt this reply, but here it is.

        Because you said that I was saying a lot of the same things as Terry Wahls in her MS book, I got it. I really enjoyed reading it. We do indeed believe a lot of the same things. I think that she is stricter than I am, but her disease probably makes that necessary. There is a very good correlation between things she rules out and the things I just don’t eat very often (wheat). I’ve added a few things to my protocol that I hadn’t considered.

        She also states several times that she believes the various types of autoimmune diseases are really different manifestations of a single disease. I found that to be true in myself. I think the book and the diet might be good for those who do not have MS.

        So thank you for the suggestion.

        Also, I mentioned above that I recently added Ceylon cinnamon to my daughter’s smoothie. It might not have anything to do with it, but my wife and I are both shocked at how consistently pleasant, helpful, nonargumentive she became after about two weeks after starting it. I don’t mean to make it sound like it was unpleasant before, but the bullheadedness and pointless arguing are gone. There’s nothing else I can think of that would account for the change. There’s a study showing that cinnamon improved learning in mice with learning problems by providing a compound that is used to treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. There are a few anecdotes about its helpfulness with ADHD.

        Finally, I’ve said before that my gut guides me in my diet (which I find remarkable that it got me close to Wahls’ protocol). My gut says to me that the powdered spices in the store are, for the most part, dead. I have no desire to use them apart from the flavors they provide. They do not excite my gut at all. But freshly cracked seeds (peppercorn, cumin, etc.), fresh herbs, fresh turmeric, horseradish, and so on give me a happy feeling that comes from my gut. The same happy feeling that has led me to where I am. I think that’s where the good stuff is. Just my opinion.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Oh, good! She made a huge impact on me, indebted to her probably. I think it’s a great book for so many, not just MS.

        We use Ceylon cinnamon here too. Interesting observation about your daughter. I’ve got a good kid like that; maybe we naturally selected for cinnamon? 🙂 Perhaps the book that needs written isn’t about “fiber” and the biome but about how to listen to your body?!? I’ve always felt calmer when I burn a cinnamon candle (I’ve burned one every winter for years and years) and even bought some Doterra/Young Living “voodoo” oil to use in a diffuser. Anyhow.

        For anyone reading comments here, Ceylon cinnamon is often considered “true cinnamon.” There’s kind of two main cinnamon categories:

        Cassia cinnamon (actually several types such as cassia, Saigon, Korintje; usually stronger and more pungent)
        Ceylon cinnamon (more expensive, softer and sweeter)

        Die-hard foodies and healthies tend to steer toward Ceylon cinnamon.

        From what I can tell, studies usually, not always, use cassia-type cinnamons for research (which, at least in the States, is cheaper and more readily and commonly available). One reason people may steer toward the Ceylon has to do with how it has less coumarin (as in similar to the blood-thinning drug you may know as Coumadin). So more can be consumed without the potential side effects of the coumarin. But theoretically they are from the same family and ought to all have good benefits. If you’re using a lot, Ceylon should probably be opted for. You can also use more without overpowering your food/drink/smoothie.

        I love them all, but we have used Ceylon for the last about year or so exclusively after a discussion with Boundless I had here (nicknames stick on the internet, ha!).

        I have become pretty fussy and particular about my spices; I don’t grind them (yet? 🙂 ), although I try to use fresh for things like garlic, ginger, mint, basil, etc. I have in my home book stash a book called Healing Spices by Bharat Aggarwal, PhD. I like it a lot. It goes through each spice, breaks it down, offers some very light, brief science (very light) and then PRACTICALLY uses it. What good is any of this if I can’t use it in my kitchen to feed my family?

        I used to order form Penzey’s and sure do love their spices. He (the owner/leader) gets so political. I try to keep politics out of my food, so I switched to another brand I’m still trying out: Savory Spice Shop.

        Well, that’s enough said. Anyone feel free to pipe in. Thanks for pointing out cinnamon and the ADHD/brain link. The research is out there, folks! So fascinating!

      3. gina

        Terri,

        No apology needed for the ramble – I appreciate that you are passionate about this. I wish I would have been like you when I was raising my kids – now I’m just trying to reverse all the damage and trying to get results so that my kids will pay more attention to my grandkids’ diet. It’s better to start early than to try to reverse the damage that processed foods do. So keep doing what you’re doing!

        Thanks,
        gina

      4. Wilbur

        Terri –

        I never had luck with Penzeys.

        If you use a lot of something, maybe consider Frontier or Starwest Botanical bulk spices. I buy from Amazon. They come in silver foil bags. (Frontier is also available in smaller quantities, but I have not tried that. Same with bulk Frontier in some organic stores.). The difference is amazing. We’ve had to change recipes. A recent funny one involved cayenne pepper in a dish my wife has cooked for decades. She used the same amount as always, but it tasted overwhelmingly of cayenne. I loved it but our kid was unhappy.

        I’m reading a new book called “The Mind-Gut Connection”. I don’t know whether I recommend it or not. It’s consistent with most of what I’ve read, but there’s just something that bugs me about it. I don’t know what. But, yes, I’m convinced that our bodies are smarter than our brains. Actually, the gut is part of our nervous system and is probably a big driver of our unconscious minds. The book does discuss that.

      5. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        What did you run into with Penzeys?

        Hmmm. The Amazon book reviews sound good for that book. I wonder what “bugs” you. (Ha! Word play…) Did I ever tell you I really enjoyed NeuroLogic?

        I’ve seen Frontier spices. Our local co-op also carries them in bulk. Haven’t tried much.

        My hubby sent me this article today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312294.php —–“Connections between gut, brain, and immune system strengthened”—-It’s nothing you don’t already believe, except it spouts off using certain drugs to modify. Always they want a drug. Use drug to modify pathway. Well, they can just eat their cake.

        Have a good weekend.

      6. Wilbur

        You have a great weekend too!

        I just found Penzeys’ stuff unflavorful. We have a Penzeys store nearby, so maybe that was the issue. Honestly, the far less expensive stuff in our international markets was more flavorful. But Frontier bulk has taken it to new level. I grind whole cumin seeds from Frontier every few days in a mortar and pestle, and the whole kitchen smells of cumin. No joke. My daughter 10 feet away will comment on how good it smells. Even stuff like psyllium seed has a wonderful smell.

        I think I’ve just saturated myself on gut bug books. It’s old news to me now. I’m looking for new angles, but I think it’s going to be a while. So the book is probably good. I try to be critical when I read it, and I find nothing wrong. I believe the main point: The gut is an important influence on our minds (and vice versa). Ed Yong has a new book out about microbes. I like his writing, but I have no desire to read the book. It sounds no different from others. It’s just me!

        I do like the article you linked! See, there’s a new idea.

        Neurologic was amazing. I’ve become convinced that the “I” we identify with is a complete fiction and is detrimental to us because the true self tries to protect and preserve that fiction, which is a message of the book. I’ve tried to discuss this with people, and they shut down immediately. I see it as liberating. We are more complex, more wonderful than we can even imagine. And the gut is a part of the beautiful complexity that is us! We just have to feed it!

      7. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I will have a great weekend, thanks! We are more complex, more wonderful than we can even imagine. I look forward to one day getting the full scoop; perhaps only to forget it on another journey in a new world. 🙂 Oh, the mysteries.

  7. rantsrulesandrecipes

    Thank you Terri for connecting diet and brain development! It’s so incredibly important! I feel sorry for kiddos who don’t do the grocery shopping or meal prep, who have no say in their health.
    Thank you for doing the research and spreading the word in plain language!

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Fiber and Resistant Starch | The Potato Hack Chronicle

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