So I drove to S. Jersey with an annoying cold in the pouring rain and horrible traffic to listen to Dr. Sears last Tuesday. It was an enlightening evening! I was thrilled to have the opportunity to listen to the incredible man behind all this wisdom and even had a chance talk with him for a minute afterwards. When I asked him to sign my two favorite books, he commented on them being well used ;) When I told him that I was a labor doula like his wife, he excitedly told me about the great time they recently had updating The Pregnancy Book and that it will be out in April of next year and thanked ME for all I am doing. I thanked him for his guidance which helped direct my own personal journey that eventually led me to supporting other women. Then he warmly and very comfortably put his arm around me for a photo. :)
So...onto the presentation.
Dr. Sears first talked about his background and how he started believing so much in the importance of nutrition not from medical school but years later when he nearly died from colon cancer. That was over 15 yrs ago. He not only survived, but he is healthier today at age 72 than he was then!
He talked about his current focus which is the L.E.A.N. program. "This is the educational arm and a true passion for the Dr. Sears family. The mission of Dr. Sears' L.E.A.N. is to build a healthier world, one family at a time through Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition. Our passion for L.E.A.N. is driven by our desire to do our part to treat the epidemic of nutrition-related illnesses at all ages, especially children. "In my forty years as a pediatrician, never have I, seen so many "Ds": ADD, ADHD, BPD (bipolar disorder), ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and the big "D" - diabetes. This epidemic is due to unhealthy lifestyles, not enough exercise, unhealthful attitudes, and unhealthy nutrition," says Dr. Bill.
He introduced us to the D-epidemic, a term in which he coined for all the diagnosing and treating of kids with so many D words like he mentions above. But basically he believes that most of these kids are not plagued with disorders and diseases and deficiencies in anything BUT NUTRITION. For example, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is really NDD! Below I'm going to share some of the notes I took during his presentation in which he mostly focuses on family nutrition and how we can get kids healthier so we can start trying to reverse this 'D-epidemic'. The most wonderful thing about Dr. Sears is that as smart as he is and as much as he believes in the science and big words behind all of this stuff, he is so incredibly skilled in breaking things down into very simplistic ideas that everyone can understand! Even young children were called up to answer some of his questions and they 'got it'! He has catch phrases for everything, so most of this stuff is not only self explanatory but also easy to remember. And like we say at La Leche League about the advice being shared - Take what you like and leave the rest. I included some links in my notes and I'm sure you can find more on either of his sites listed at the bottom of the post if you'd like further explanation of anything below. *my comments
- "sticky stuff" builds up in our already narrowing, hardening, and aging arteries. From a young age, we need to minimize the 'sticky stuff' because it starts noticeably collecting by age 5! We need to set kids up before that to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Most kids today are overfed and undernourished
- ADD ---> NDD - nutrient deficient disorder! Importance of OMEGA-3's!!!
- Omega 3 best sources start with fish, then fish oils, then plant based (he mentions Flax the most) *ALA found in plants doesn't easily turn into the heart healthy EPA and brain healthy DHA in the body . In fish, it is already in those forms, no converting needed. Another reason why combinations and variety are recommended! I'd also add Chia, seaweed, and walnuts for plant sources. Chia seed goes in our smoothies everyday!
- right fat, right carb diet NOT 'low' anything - Ex.) mother's milk is high in fat for a reason! A human baby brain triples in size in just the first year and needs the high fat. After that, our brains still depend on fat! The right kind of fat, not a lower amount.
- importance of growing myelin! How a baby brain grows to an adult brain - omega 3's!
- 4 smart food groups - go fish, go blue, go green, go nuts!
- model healthy eating habits!
- PURE MOMS = PURE KIDS - connection between how children are fed and how healthy and less labeled they are. After 30 yrs of practicing, he sees that mothers who consistently don't allow unhealthy food to pollute the minds and bodies of their kids have all around healthier children.
- give yourself an oil change - Cook with either real butter or organic olive oils!
- Eat more fish!!!! Less beef!!! *Although he never said he was ANTI - MEAT, he recommends eating way less. He gave kids images of hamburgers creating sticky stuff. Personally, I prefer not to exclude beef from our diet and believe that in moderation, it actually has a very important role in keeping our bodies healthy (complete protein! essential amino acids!) and that we are meant to eat some meat. Plus I've got a whole bunch of molars that seem awfully useless otherwise ;)
- "Pre-diabetes" - Hearing this more often? Doctors have stopped using terms like overweight and obese with their patients as this has become too normalized and the health risks seem minimized. They are simply calling them "pre-diabetic". He said it's not just to scare them, although it should, but it is being truthful. *Anyone who is over 45, OR under 45 but overweight, a family history, a personal history of gestational diabetes OR has given birth to a baby more than 9 lbs should get their blood glucose levels tested. The good thing about it only being "pre" is that you don't have to get to diabetes. Through good nutrition, exercise, and just 7% weight loss you can lower your risk by more than half!
- Cancer prevention? Guess how? Nutrition plays a CRUCIAL role in this, too! He didn't discover how clueless medical doctors were on cancer prevention until he became a patient and realized they are almost solely informed on treatment. (That's where the $$$ is, afterall)
- Taste shaping. Gut is your second brain. At 6 mo well visits he tells parents some of the most important advice he believes he can pass on - To make their own baby food! Start with mom's milk, continue on with it and only real food for AT LEAST 2 yrs. Don't put anything that's not real food into them. This is metabolic programming. And it matters.
- call good healthy foods things like "grow" foods, "football" foods, "tall" foods, "dance" foods, etc. to appeal to what is relevant to your child.
- rule of Twos - eat twice as often, eat half as much, chew twice as long. - Grazing! Reduces ALL incidences of unwanted mind and body diseases.
- nibble tray - great especially for toddlers and preschoolers! You don't need to buy anything special, though, the idea is to put out a variety of choices for colors, flavors, textures, and dips and let your child CHOOSE what, how, and how often to eat healthy! *We used to use ice cube trays!
- brainy breakfast - high protein! Eggs, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, match w/blues and greens!
- Those troublesome boys that can't sit still!?!?! = bbb - bright bored boy - Feed well and let him run! Results of a study used were amazing!
- let grocery store trips be health education! ex. of squishy bread making squishy muscles, relate it to their lives and goals ex. being stronger, faster, bigger, smarter, more focused, etc...
- teach kids three bad words - HFCS, hydrogenated, #'s
- supplements - ask: is there science proving that it even enters my bloodstream? Is there science that it does good things once in there? *He says the only supplement he takes is Juice Plus because it has good science and makes sense as a safety net. Contact Molly if you are interested in learning more about including Juice Plus for your family and how your child may qualify to get it FOR FREE! We all take it everyday in our house, too!
- The Sipping Solution - water throughout the day
- AND something else you should drink everyday? A high fiber high nutrition smoothie including greens!!! *Hey! That's what I say, too! He showed us a video of himself in his kitchen making his own daily smoothie and I think we agreed during and after it that he put WAY TOO MUCH stuff in one blender, LOL (he gave us permission to laugh, too), but alas - we got the point to include a variety of superfoods!)
- Afterwards when I overheard individuals asking him questions, he answered some toughies like his thoughts on GMO's and food allergies with "We just don't know enough yet. The science is not their to support all of these suspicions, but it may be. We just need to wait and see good research."
He is adorable. Am I allowed to say that? I think so. I adore him. What a gem. Thank you, Dr. Sears. I hope to give the same gift of health to my family that you have given to your own family as well as many others.
***I'm looking for some good sites to include for healthy eating on a budget. Send your favorite sites and tips along, PLEASE! This is so important to many of us who cannot afford to just start going out and buying everything we want to at every shopping trip! Coming next will be a post to include these kind of practical tips and more for feeding your family healthily on a daily basis. Taking suggestions now! Come on, moms! It takes a village! ***