We’re really close to one third of the way through the Brain Balance Program. Today I got the results of the extensive food sensitivities test we had done: the bad news is that she is severely sensitive to milk/casein and…mustard? Whatever- the good news is- that’s all! Some of these kids are sensitive to lots of different foods. I recently learned that there is a difference between food allergies and food sensitivities. When you are allergic to something, you know it right away- it can often be life threatening, and there are obvious reactions. Food sensitivities have a more subtle effect and are directly related to the immune system. An underactive immune system means a lot of sickness from without, and an overactive immune system means sickness from within- autoimmune diseases. Both can be the result of a brain imbalance. Children who suffer from FDS (Functional Disconnection Syndrome- or brain imbalance) almost always have compromised digestive systems. In the same way that they may lack muscle tone, or cannot feel their bodies well, so goes the rest of the body, the gut included. Digestion requires muscle contractions, blood circulation, and acid secretions which work together to break down food and make nutrients available to our bodies. When these aren’t working properly, the end result is malnutrition and illness, and – behavioral disorders. Most people don’t think of this except for the “sugar high” that we joke about when kids eat candy. Pinpointing and eliminating offending foods will eliminate undesirable behaviors. Parents of autistic children have often seen dramatic results. Unfortunately, there is no “one cure fits all” approach, as each child is completely individual in his/her issues. Healing requires intervention in many areas. The brain has to grow to direct the functions of the body and the body has to learn to function properly. Muscles need to develop , nerve endings learn to send signals to the brain, the gut heals and begins to digest foods. We have no way of knowing which comes first, the brain imbalance or the food sensitivities, but it is certain that one affects the other and until there is some intervention, it goes on, each negatively affecting the other.
Kate was the only one of my children that had to have formula as an infant. At 3 1/2 months she was diagnosed as Failure to Thrive, because it turns out that I wasn’t producing enough milk. I’ve often wondered if her problems were related to that, and now I’m pretty certain that milk-based formula certainly contributed. But I’m also wondering if the brain imbalance caused her to be an inefficient breastfeeder. Breastfeeding is much more complex than it looks! It requires the tongue and facial muscles to work in sync to remove milk from the breast and stimulate milk production. Kate was slightly tongue-tied, but I now think that her poor muscle tone may have had more to do with my inability to produce milk than the tongue-tie. I wish I could go back in my memory and really see everything in a new light. My recollections are based on my observations at the time: she seemed different, but I couldn’t pinpoint how, and she was crankier than the others, which I soon found out had a real, tangible source- hunger. She was different in that she didn’t engage as readily. There always seemed to have a bewildered or suspicious look in her eyes. Developmentally, she seemed to come in on the end of the range, not so much off that you’d be suspicious of anything, but in hindsight, I guess I’d be taking a harder look…
So that brings me to the subject of some whys….why are there so many kids in recent years afflicted with neuro-behavioral disorders? Why are there so many disorders? Why doesn’t anybody know the reason why they occur? Even as a teen, I could see the sense of not polluting our environment, of using resources wisely, of being frugal. I liked the idea of living close to the earth, growing things, burning wood for heat. I had never heard of breastfeeding until I was a teen, and then knew only one woman who had done it. But it seemed perfectly right and natural to do it when our first child was born, by the natural childbirth method, of course. Even then I was concerned about preservatives and artificial colors and additives in food. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we have some innate sense of what’s good for us, and somewhere along the way we lose sight of it, we are caught up with the flow of the society around us. Unless we are intentional about it, a healthy lifestyle will not happen because it is no longer the norm. We have to seek out unadulterated food, make time to exercise our bodies, and make space in our busy lives for solitude. I thought I was doing the best that I could in trying to provide healthy foods for my family. Sometimes I just caved in to the pressures- the ease of prepared foods, the family’s desire for some things, the least expensive route. I was also less-informed about toxins in the environment, in our foods, and in our “health and beauty aids”. I baked bread and used King Arthur flour- Never Bleached, Never Bromated and thought I was doing well- but it was still white flour, stripped of all the bran and germ. Surely it was better bread than store-bought, but still lacking in essential nutrients. So what are we to do- and why is it so important?
The importance lies in the toll that processed foods and unnatural birth and feeding take on our children. Epidural- assisted births are at an all time high in or country, making birth a medical procedure, rather than a natural part of life. I concede that there are times when modern medical interventions have their place, but the idea of a pain-free birth has given women a choice with a huge trade-off: they give up control and rob themselves and their babies of the process of giving birth. The process, in its natural form, puts all the hormones, muscles, blood flow, and even a mind-set into play to birth the child. Everything works in sync to give the baby a proper start in life. Even the journey down the birth canal is a massaging and squeezing that prepares the baby to breathe, clearing the lungs and breathing passages for air. Interventions like drugs to relax, and pain killers, upset this delicate balance. A mom who can’t feel doesn’t know when to push. The doctor can only guess, so she must push during working contractions that may not be expelling contractions. Relaxation drugs relax the uterus as well, slowing down contractions. These babies often need extra help, like forceps or suction, to be born. Worst case scenario- a c-section- major surgery. Medicated moms are less aware of what’s going on, and give birth to sleepy, medicated babies who are unable to begin breastfeeding within that critical first hour of life. And what do you imagine might happen to the neck and spine of a baby born by force- forceps or suction, being literally pulled from the uterus? Birth injuries are subtle- babies can’t tell us where they hurt, but cervical spine injuries may be one of the largest causes of higher cognitive and behavioral problems in children. (Disconnected Kids, p. 60) Then you take this child and feed him/her cow’s milk-based formula, and assault his gut with food designed for baby cows, rather than food designed for baby humans. The infant gut is a delicate thing, and it, too, can go haywire when it’s balance is upset. All this to make two points: 1) that we need to look to the ancient ways- the ways God created us in our environment, and 2) a polluted, compromised environment will wreak havoc in the human body.