Low Maintenance Child Rearing: What raising horses can tell you about your kids

Low Maintenance Child Rearing: What raising horses can tell you about your kids

I have always been an ambitiously lazy parent. If there’s a way to avoid a long term, high maintenance situation, I’m the first to jump on board. While journeying through the world of optimum health, I learned quickly that veterinarians know much more about long term, low maintenance health because it’s lucrative to keep a horse in top condition. So, I applied these principals to child rearing.  


Step 1

Vets spend a lot of time feeding a horse an excellent diet before pregnancy because they know this creates an offspring with superior health and performance. So, the time to start feeding your child right is about a year before you get pregnant…or preferably your whole life.


Step 2

Make sure you nurse your baby. This is the top of the line diet for an infant. Optimally, nurse exclusively for six months.  When you introduce foods continue to nurse for as long as two years. This creates the strongest immune system and digestive tract. It’s also very low maintenance to just turn over in the middle of the night, hook your baby up, and fall back asleep… as opposed to getting out of bed, heating up a bottle, etc, etc.


Step 3: 

If there is a family history of asthma, eczema, intestinal issues, immune problems or autoimmune problems, it is often useful to find out if you have food allergies or intolerances. If you do, it’s wise to avoid giving your child these foods until you’ve tested them for reactivity. Behavior issues can also be related to food allergies/intolerances and those are certainly not low maintenance. I have seen a young boy go from Jekyll to Hyde when eating a food he was reactive to. It can be as simple as an egg that causes the problem. The egg causes inflammation or swelling in the brain, altering behavior radically.

Avoiding the food or foods associated with the problem is step one.  A more in depth approach to food allergies, behavior and immune issues involves understanding how the microbes in your intestinal track can create all of these imbalances.  Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome (see www.gaps.me) is a very real phenomenon.   The nutritional method for healing these conditions is spelled out in Dr Campbell-McBride ‘s book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome.   After reversing her son’s autism, Dr McBride set out to help thousands of patients with their immune and/or neurologically challenged children.


Step 4:

Above all else, feed your family foods as grown. If it’s made in a plant, don’t eat it. If it comes from a plant, eat lots of it. The closer you get to whole, unprocessed foods with a heavy emphasis on plant based foods, the healthier your child and entire family will become. Research has shown this over and over. So, be ambitiously lazy! Prepare your body, nurse your baby, feed your baby whole foods and enjoy a healthy, happy, low maintenance thoroughbred child!




There are several places in which the research has been done to show us that petroleum based food dyes (yellow #5, red #40, etc) and the artificial preservative, sodium benzoate have a negative effect on our children’s nervous system.  I’m sure food dyes have a negative effect on adult nervous systems as well, we just haven’t performed the studies.

Children who have ADHD have been shown to excrete more zinc when they are eating food dyes.  Zinc is integrally involved in a well functioning neurological system.  But, here’s the real issue.  Foods containing food dyes are not worth eating, for anybody!  They are highly processed food artifacts that have nothing to do with what our bodies need and everything to do with manufacturers making big profits on our misery.

Medical journals claim it is too difficult to avoid foods with dyes in them and therefore doctors shouldn’t advise avoiding these foods.  Wow.  I put a lot more faith in mothers who would like to enable their child to succeed at school and in the world with a more normal ability to attend and focus.   Some say we should ban the use of these dyes.  Perhaps.  Or, educate ourselves and choose not to put these foods in our baskets.  We vote every time we pick up a food.  Vote “no thanks” to foods that cause damage to our health.  Leave them on the shelf.

Concerning health, the following are a few more side effects associated with food dyes:  cancer, DNA damage, respiratory problems, reproductive damage and nerve damage.  There is tremendous support to be found at www.feingold.org for those who are fed up with our national attitude of self destruction via food.  In Great Britain, a label with food dye reads:  “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

To me, it’s quite simple.  Simply take your children off all dyes for seven days, then give them foods that have dyes in them three times a day for two days and watch.  You and their teacher will have clear feedback.  You want to give them lots at once as it enables you to get feedback on how they build up over time.  A little bit every other day may cause no reaction until it has built up to a certain level in the body.  So many of my clients have seen marked behavior improvement when the diet is free of dyes, I personally have no doubt that everyone is better off without these chemicals.

And, as always, READ YOUR LABELS.  Make sure you’re feeding your children what you really want them to have.

(2) Effects of artificial colors on hyperkinetic children: a double-blind challenge study. Goyette GH, Connors CK, Petti TA, Curtis LE, Psychopharmacol Bull 1978 Apr;14(2):39-40

The influence of the chemical additive tartrazine on the zinc status of hyperactive children: A double-blind placebo-controlled study. Ward NI; Soulsbury KA; Zettel VH; Colquhoun ID; Bunday S; Barnes B, J Nutr Med; 1 (1). 1990. 51-58