End the overwhelm.

Get a head start with my researched and field tested tool kit so that your child can thrive too.

End the overwhelm.

Get a head start with my researched and field tested tool kit so that your child can thrive too.

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podcast

New Year, Fresh Start: How to Plan for Your Child’s Best Year Ever!

New Year, Fresh Start: How to Plan for Your Child’s Best Year Ever!

As we all start to get settled into the new year and what our plans are for 2022, it might seem a bit overwhelming on where to start when it comes to our child’s health. There’s a lot of information out there with new ideas and tactics coming out (what seems like) daily. Not to mention the uncertainty that is a constant in all our lives right now! Where do we even start?

That’s why I’m excited to bring to you a new podcast I recorded with my friend, Jessica Sherman, RHN. Jess is an author, speaker, mother, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and board certified in Practical Holistic Nutrition. During this show, Jess takes us through how you can set your family up for success this year in 2022 in a simple, loving way. None of Jess’ tips are overwhelming and we dive into what you really want your vision for your life to be with your child.

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Reversing the Irreversible: One doctor’s journey adopting a child with Cerebral Palsy that changed his approach to medicine

Reversing the Irreversible: One doctor’s journey adopting a child with Cerebral Palsy that changed his approach to medicine

Today I am really excited to bring to you an interview with Dr. Aaron Hartman. Dr. Hartman is not only a functional and integrative physician, but he is a parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy. Becoming a parent to his daughter has changed the way he practices medicine because he and his wife want to ensure that his daughter will live her best life and thrive.

This conversation feels very similar to my own story with my daughter and how we went about finding the best things for my child to thrive. It’s why I created the My Child Will Thrive podcast and website so that you and other parents could find out about all the different ways we can help our children and most importantly, that you're not alone in this journey. There's always something new we can all learn together.

Listen to my conversation with Dr. Hartman (or read the transcript below) about how his journey with his daughter changed his approach to medicine and let us know what you think!

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Phenol and Salicylate Sensitivities: How Foods Impact Your Child’s Behaviour and How to Fix the Root Cause

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The amount of diets circling around out there is overwhelming. How do we even begin to determine which diet is best for our children’s symptoms? Diet is one of the most important parts of a healing journey, but there’s so much information out there that it's difficult to sift through which one is best.

That’s why I wanted to share an interview from the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Summit with Julie Matthews, CNC. Julie takes us through why dietary intervention is necessary for our children, how to better understand dietary needs and we dive deeply into phenols and salicylates. 

Did you know you can get unlimited access to interviews like this one and 90+ more expert interviews and masterclasses in the My Child Will Thrive Knowledge Vault? You can learn more about the Knowledge Vault and our special offer for year long access here

You can also sign up to listen to all the speakers in this year’s summit for free here. You’ll hear from other experts just like Julie!

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How to Support your Child Academically at Home Without the Battles

How to Support your Child Academically at Home Without the Battles

I don’t know about you, but the last 18+ months have been tricky for our children (and parents) who have had to change up their normal learning environments. I’ve heard from a number of parents and have felt this pain point myself. Even before all of the shifts in the last couple of years, helping our children with homework can sometimes be quite the battle.

Today on the My Child Will Thrive Podcast, I sat down with public school teacher and CEO for Study Help, Aimee Buckley. Aimee is a veteran school teacher with over 20 years of experience teaching students with mild to moderate disabilities. Aimee saw a need for children to receive help from qualified teachers outside of the normal classroom hours. In this interview, Aimee takes us through her recommendations for creating a happy homework environment, how to support our kids without the battles and what to do if you just need help. I hope you enjoy this episode with Aimee as much as I did!

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Finding the Confidence to Take Charge of Your Family’s Health

Finding the Confidence to Take Charge of Your Family's Health

Whether you’re at the beginning of your family's health revolution or somewhere in the middle, we all can use a little pep in our step or help to keep going. I know I definitely needed it! Finding the confidence to take charge of our family’s health and wellbeing is one of the toughest parts of being parents, so finding resources that can help us every step of the way is so important.

That’s why I am sharing this podcast today with Carla Atherton. Carla has written a wonderful book and has many resources for families around your Family Health Revolution. In this interview, she talks to us all about her own awakening to her family’s health revolution and what those steps can look like for you. We talk about how to reclaim your family’s health and she shares why she wrote such a comprehensive book and guide for all parents out there. You won’t want to miss Carla’s episode and make sure you grab her book in the links below!

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The Foundational Role of the Vagus Nerve

The role of the vagus nerve in neurodevelopment and the health of our children couldn’t be more important. If the vagus nerve isn’t functioning optimally there can be a cascade effect on their health and development and there will be a major block to sustained progress in many interventions you may be using. Let’s review together the foundational role of the vagus nerve in our children’s health and development.

 

What is the vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve is the tenth (X) cranial nerve and is the longest nerve in the body. It originates in the brainstem and then, like its Latin name implies, it wanders through the body connecting to the organs throughout the entire body. The vagus nerve is a complex bidirectional system which means it is made up of both efferent and afferent nerves that link the brainstem to various organs.  Efferent nerves are motor nerves that carry messages from the brain to the muscles and organs. Afferent nerves are sensory nerves that carry messages from sensory receptors back to the brain.

 

What is the vagus nerve's role in the nervous system?

The vagus nerve plays a role in the part of the peripheral nervous system known as the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is responsible for automatic or involuntary physiological response throughout the body such as heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and digestion. The ANS is made up of three parts: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) and the Enteric Nervous System (ENS).1

The understanding of the importance of the vagus nerve continues to evolve. One of its most important functions is its role in the digestive system via the Enteric Nervous System and the body’s ability to appropriately switch between a Sympathetic nervous state (fight or flight) and a Parasympathetic nervous state (rest and digest). 

One of the areas of keen study on the vagus nerve is its role in the gut-brain axis. Digestion is a north-to-south process in the body and digestion starts in the brain. For example, if your child is struggling with switching from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state, then they will likely have chronic digestive problems as the digestive cascade will not have been appropriately triggered which will lead to downstream digestive dysfunction. 

In addition, the Enteric Nervous System is the nervous system of the digestive system. An example of the role of the vagus nerve to gut function is when the efferent vagus nerves send signals to the Enteric Nervous System which in turn send signals to the muscles of the digestive tract to initiate peristalsis (move the food along the digestive tract). If the vagus nerve is not functioning optimally this can result in several digestive challenges including but not limited to constipation.2

As the vagus nerve impacts gut function, it can result in gut dysfunction such as dysbiosis and leaky gut which in turn have been shown to have a significant impact on brain function.

 

What are the signs and symptoms of vagus nerve dysfunction in children?

  • Gastroparesis (in severe cases of vagus nerve impairment)
  • Constipation
  • Requiring constant digestive supports (enzymes)
  • Low heart rate variability (HRV)
  • Poor or overactive gag reflex
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A child that is having difficulty with toilet training
  • Speech delays 
  • Delays in walking or crawling

 

What can you do to improve vagal tone in children?

This is a tricky one. Most of the typical suggestions that work would be difficult to implement with children, although the list below includes them as it really depends on the age and development of each child. 

This list is not exhaustive and there is always debate over which methods are most effective and can really improve vagal tone and elicit positive neuroplasticity. There is evidence, however, that using a multimodal approach can have positive effects.3

  • Gargling
  • Triggering the gag reflex
  • Singing loudly
  • Coffee enemas
  • Vagal Nerve Stimulation – there are several different tools available these days that use electrical stimulation and/or vibration
  • Low level laser4

Other things we can do to help stimulate the vagus nerve:

  • Infant massage and swaddling5
  • Probiotics – in particular Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium Longum have been shown to act through the vagus nerve to lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression67
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids8

 

What to do next?

If you want to learn more about the role of the vagus nerve and the gut brain axis, I encourage you to watch the free expert interview replays on The Anxiety Summit 5 with Dr. Navaz Habib, the author of the book Activate Your Vagus Nerve: Unleash Your Body's Natural Ability to Heal  and the interview with Dr. Datis Kharazzian, author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working.

I hope this introduction to the importance of the vagus nerve has been helpful. Take the next step and watch the expert interviews by signing up here.

Holistic Parenting: Parenting Healthy Brains and Bodies in a Changing World

Holistic Parenting: Parenting Healthy Brains and Bodies in a Changing World

I’m sure you’ve heard the words “holistic parenting” and “inflammation”, but do we really know what they mean? I know I have spent so much time learning about the ins and outs of my child’s health, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why I love bringing on guests to the My Child Will Thrive Podcast who can help us learn about the world of holistic health and wellness without feeling totally stuck in the process.

So I’m excited to share with you today the knowledge and the amazing energy that emulates from Dr. Madiha Saeed. Dr. Saeed takes us through holistic parenting, inflammation in our children’s health and how our children make decisions (and how we can help them make BETTER ones!) We also talked about her new book, “The Holistic Rx for Kids,” that just came out. Dr. Saeed is a joy to learn from and I can’t wait for you to hear her episode today!

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The Role of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Anxiety

Mitochondria, cellular organelles, produce energy, Cell energy and Cellular respiration, DNA , 3D rendering

When we are addressing such complex issues with our children’s neurological health we must always circle back to the foundations of health and how imbalances there may be the root cause of our children’s symptoms. Nothing is more foundational than looking at cellular health and in particular, cellular metabolism, the ability of our cells to make sufficient energy for the tissues/organs/systems that are made of the cells to do their jobs. After all, the brain is one of the highest consumers of energy in the human body!

Although there is still a need for more research, there are many indicators that we need to look at mitochondrial dysfunction as a key link to anxiety. Given the role of the gut-brain axis in brain health, it is not entirely surprising that the gut microbiome can both be impacted by poor mitochondrial health and disruption in the microbiome can lead to poor mitochondrial health. This bi-directional link between anxiety and mitochondrial dysfunction is the topic I discuss during my interview with Trudy Scott, CN for the Anxiety Summit 5.

 

What is the gut-brain axis?

The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication network that links the enteric, central and autonomic nervous systems. In a 2015 review article published in the Annals of Gastroenterology, the authors concluded that “Strong evidence suggests that gut microbiota has an important role in bidirectional interactions between the gut and the nervous system. It interacts with CNS by regulating brain chemistry and influencing neuro-endocrine systems associated with stress response, anxiety and memory function.”1

 

What are mitochondria and their role in the gut and the brain?

Mitochondria are descendants of aerobic bacteria that entered (literally and functionally) into a mutualistic partnership with ancient anaerobic microbes. “Nutrient metabolism is a function shared by both the microbiome and mitochondria. In recent years, it has become increasingly evident that the gut microbiome produces metabolites that influence mitochondrial function and biogenesis (i.e., mitochondrial replication within a cell to increase ATP production.)”2 Therefore if your child’s microbiome is out of balance (dysbiosis) then this, in turn, will negatively impact their mitochondrial function.

Mitochondria are responsible for the production of ATP, adenosine triphosphate, which is the body’s energy currency. It’s used to transfer the chemical energy needed for all metabolic reactions in the body.

Mitochondria are found in every cell—from five hundred to two thousand per cell, depending on the type of tissue the cell is found in and how energy-dependent that tissue is. Mitochondria even have their own DNA. (In other words, they are important.) The mitochondria break nutrients down to produce ATP, a process that generates free radicals within the mitochondria called reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Free radicals are oxidative molecules that must be neutralized by antioxidants or they damage cells and tissue. The body’s master antioxidant, glutathione, is the primary antioxidant that neutralizes reactive oxygen species to reduce oxidative damage to the mitochondria

Bottom line is if we have an imbalance of ROS and antioxidants this results in oxidative stress which impairs mitochondrial function.

 

What happens when mitochondria are impaired?  How does this relate to symptoms of anxiety?

In the July 2019 issue of Trends in Neuroscience, a review article concludes that mitochondria are now being recognized as modulators in anxiety-related behaviour. There is a bidirectional link between mitochondria and anxiety.

Specifically, they state that: “Mitochondrial, energy metabolism and oxidative stress alterations are observed in high anxiety and conversely changed mitochondrial function can lead to heightened anxiety symptoms.”3

An increasing number of studies are revealing that several other mitochondrial-related functions, such as oxidative stress, apoptosis, neurosteroid production and mitochondrial biogenesis are also altered in individuals with high anxiety.4 A case study series published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry Clinical Neuroscience, case study series evaluating mitochondrial dysfunction present in various psychiatric conditions including anxiety also identified how mitochondrial dysfunction is reported to be present in 70% of adult patients reporting a major psychiatric disorder and 50% of children with a mitochondrial disorder have depression.5

To learn more about this bidirectional link between mitochondrial function and anxiety, sign up now to listen to my interview with Trudy Scott, CN on the Anxiety Summit 5, where I will also discuss:

  • What are the causes of mitochondrial dysfunction?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of mitochondrial dysfunction?
  • How can you test for mitochondrial dysfunction?
  • How can you address mitochondrial dysfunction and reduce my symptoms of anxiety naturally?

You can join me to learn more about this bi-directional link and what you can do about it and learn about many more anxiety experts on the Anxiety Summit 5–sign up for complimentary access now!

Permission to get unstuck

Permission to get unstuck

Who here is feeling exhausted? I know it’s not just me! Raising children with mental health and neurodevelopmental challenges is often a dark and silent journey. Our kids have resources and support for their journey, but where do we gain the support we need to be our best self and caretaker?

I know it feels almost impossible to focus on our own health when we’re so distracted with helping our children with their healing journey, but this episode is your permission to do just that.

I brought Kris Rice on the My Child Will Thrive Podcast to share with us her tools and resources she created along her journey over the last 10 years of working with and raising a child with mental health struggles. I hope you enjoy this podcast and give yourself permission to get unstuck!

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Using Music to Optimize Your Child’s Brain

Using music to optimize your child’s brain

As parents, we’re all looking for the best therapies for our kids. Whether it’s finding the best doctor to work with, finding ways to improve development of their brain or digging into what small changes might help with regulating emotions and the autonomic nervous system (along with many more.) I started the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit as a way for parents to learn from practitioners all over the world with different modalities that might spark some light for your child.

One modality that is enjoyed by adults and children alike is music. That’s why I brought on Alex Doman who is the founder of Advanced Brain Technologies and The Listening Program. Alex’s family has been working in this field for generations and he is passionate about using music to heal your child’s brain. In this interview that I’m sharing with you from the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit, Alex explains to us the power of sound to shape the brain, to shape emotion, to influence learning and behavior.

I hope you enjoy this episode with Alex Doman!

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