Child obesity has affected 14.7 million kids from 2017-2020, and that number is only growing. Regardless of the proximity obesity has to you, the reality is kids are not getting the nutrition they need. And as a result, they aren’t able to thrive as much as they should.
One of the biggest theories as to why this is happening, believe it or not, is gluten. This protein-packed into wheat, barley, and rye has been known to cause weight gain and increased feelings of tiredness and fatigue. Kids also face different sensitivities to gluten – what appears as obesity in children has actually been found to be a result of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Both kids and adults alike have found it tempting to look for some gluten-free, tasty alternatives to their favorites. Many companies have sprouted in an attempt to get in on that market, and huge gluten empires like Quaker and Snyder’s have thrown a couple of products in.
However, a gluten-free diet might not be the most logical choice for your family. Maybe a diet containing gluten is the most affordable, or you might have picky kids who only like certain foods that contain gluten. Whatever the reason, your family’s health shouldn’t pay the price.
Now, a plant-based diet is a great alternative to this issue. By eating plant-based foods, you can still enjoy a nice steak and mac and cheese. But on this diet, you are choosing a higher proportion of foods that are of plant-based origin. This includes your fruits and vegetables, but it also includes some meat, dairy, and various grains. When you start eating plant-based foods more often, you are getting more protein and nutrients within your everyday diet, giving you more energy and a happier gut.
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So where do you begin?
As a parent, there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing your kid thrive. When you start to see behaviors like depression, irritability, and anxiety develop in your kids, it can be hard to pinpoint what exactly the underlying cause may be.
More often than we realize, our diet affects all areas of our health, mentally, physically, and emotionally. But by turning our diets around, we will find that eliminating some of the gluten-heavy foods in our diet can cause a lot of benefits.
Let’s take a look at 3 action steps you can take now to get you and your kids feeling and eating better.
Going from your current diet straight to gluten-free might be too big a transition to start – but by trying out the Pegan, or plant-based diet, you will see some huge changes. This whole grain, the veggie-filled diet has actually been shown to impact your mood, decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Kids with histories of violent behavior have also proven to reduce those behaviors and experience more regulated moods after getting a more nutritious diet.
When kids, and even adults, aren’t getting the proper nutrients they need, their brains have trouble regulating behavior. But filling your body with proper nutrients and less fatty foods proves to not only make for a great meal but actually stabilize your moods.
Does your kid constantly complain of tummy aches after every meal? Have you noticed any bloating or an extreme sense of being full after your kid is done eating? These are actually common signs of gluten sensitivity.
While your kids might be able to eat gluten in small doses, chances are they are consuming too much too fast. Keep an eye out for any of these signs after you’ve eaten a gluten-heavy meal. Also, experiment with some gluten-free variations of your kid’s favorites. If they feel a lot less bloated and have no tummy aches, it might be time to switch over to gluten-free alternatives.
There are a ton of gluten-free alternatives to your favorite foods. From pasta to pizza dough, to cereal, chances are you will find all of your favorites without the gluten. While going full throttle may not be the best plan for you, start experimenting with the other options out there. Transferring over to a gluten-free diet has been known to help not only stabilize moods and help your gut but also encourage brain growth and overall health throughout your immune system.
You’ve heard the pros and cons all over the media, but the truth is, you can’t knock it until you try it. Your family’s health is your biggest priority. If getting rid of the gluten and trying some plant-based alternatives can get you back on track, then the answer is in the (gluten-free) pudding.