Top 4 Tips For SANE Kids and a SANE Family


CARRIE: Hello, lovely listeners and welcome to the SANE show. My name is Carrie Brown and with me I have the adorable Mr. Jonathan Bailor.

JONATHAN: Adorable, thank you Carrie, and also incredibly warm. I remember the days usually – actually, the past couple of times we’ve recorded it’s been too cold in the studio. We have the exact opposite situation now. It is burning up in the studio.

CARRIE: But, that makes this a groundbreaking show.

JONATHAN: Why is that?

CARRIE: Because I’m not wearing any of your clothes.

JONATHAN: This is true. I usually take my jacket off and Carrie usually puts my jacket on, just to clear up any ambiguity that may have followed that statement.

CARRIE: Is it not true that I am usually wearing your socks and your hoodie?

JONATHAN: It is absolutely true. So, listeners, you have that to look forward to anytime you hear any other guests on the show, you can guess to yourself, are they wearing any of Jonathan’s clothes? Back to SANE subjects, Carrie, what is on the agenda for today?

CARRIE: Children.

JONATHAN: What about children?

CARRIE: We love children.

JONATHAN: We do love children. What is the – just talking about our individual personal experiences with children or –

CARRIE: We’re going to talk about the fact that some children’s trouble with obesity, just as much as adults.

JONATHAN: Yes. In fact, the statistics around childhood obesity are absolutely shocking and in fact we have the first generation of children alive today who are actually expected to have a shorter life expectancy if nothing has changed, than their parents and that’s the first time that’s actually happened in recorded history, which is devastating and actually one out of every three kids, I believe, is suffering from overweight or obesity and the reason that is – I mean beyond the obvious reasons that’s heartbreaking.

Most people don’t realize this, but statistics have shown that children who suffer with overweight and obesity have a 70 to 80 percent chance of struggling with that for their entire lives and there are strong biological reasons for that in addition to all the psychological baggage it carries along with it, but once you have a fat cell it doesn’t go away. So, when we see children and we think oh, they’re kids, like they’ll grow out of it or it’s okay to just feed them this nonsense, they’re kids, actually the exact opposite is true. That’s setting them up for a lifetime of struggle, so anyway, a topic I am passionate about but did you have some specific questions?

CARRIE: Well, I just – it’s a tragedy and I do think you’re right in that we as a race, we tend to think it’s puppy fat, they’ll grow out of it, they need energy to grow, they’re just growing, they’ll play more, they’ll burn itoff, all of that stuff, we think that it will magically disappear when they’re children and that is not what’s happening.

JONATHAN: It’s not at all what’s happening and there’s an irony here, Carrie, which is – I think it’s really transformative when you can wrap your head around it, when we think of a child, let’s think of a child in the most broad sense possible. So, let’s even consider a little person that’s in utero as a child. So, we as a culture – all of us – acknowledge the heightened importance of nutrition from let’s say zero to nine months of life. Then it seems like from 9 months to 18 years we literally go from as a culture saying, this is an extremely important time to focus on nutrition, aka, when a woman’s pregnant, she goes out of her way and society goes out of their way to help her make SANE choices, but then it’s like we do a 180 – as soon as the child is delivered into the actual world and isn’t that a little mind bending?

CARRIE: Yes.

JONATHAN: And I wonder why that is? Why is it that for the first nine months of growth, we know that, wow, okay this being is growing. Therefore, it needs more than an adult needs, SANE abundant nutrition. We go from that to the opposite is true, just get something from the kid’s menu because they’re a kid and it’s fine. Isn’t that a little mind bending?

CARRIE: It is.

JONATHAN: But, it is what it is and I think the number one thing we can do is really make that distinction in saying that if anyone on this planet needs optimal nutrition, it is small people who are in the process of not only forming habits, but forming perceptions around food and forming perceptions around themselves, which will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

CARRIE: So, this came up this past weekend for me actually. In one of my crazier moments, I posted on my Facebook fan page, did anybody in Seattle want to come and have a SANE breakfast with me and this lovely lady responded and said that she was going to be in Seattle for a week and she would love to meet. So we met this past weekend for breakfast and had a lovely SANE breakfast at a restaurant here and she was telling me that she has two daughters, one of whom, I want to say they were nine and seven — somewhere around there. One of them is obese and one of them is super skinny and she’s really — she’s worried about both of them, but is kind of at a loss as to what to do to change both her daughters’ long term outlook.

JONATHAN: Carrie, I want to be very, very sensitive also – we both do – as neither you nor I actually have children, so I’m going to be very cautious in my – clearly do this because I’m not speaking from a place of experience, but two things that at least from a geeky Jonathan Bailor analogy perspective that at least when I’ve talked to parents seem to help them are just a few key distinctions and those distinctions are so one, there’s myriad resources online in terms of — for example, there’s Sarah Ballantyne and Stacy Toth and all sorts of people in the Paleo world for example, that talk about — specifically about — how to help you have Paleo children, so they can give you specific techniques, but what I like to do is I don’t think anyone in the world intellectually thinks, hey, what I feed my kids doesn’t matter. They all want you to do better, it just seems like how do we do that?

I think Step Number One is giving yourself confidence that you can do it, and here’s two mental techniques to convince yourself that you can do it. The first is, you have already done it. You did it — if a mother is listening now or even a father is listening because you supported your wife during that timeperiod, you’ve already done it for nine months. When you were pregnant you were very careful and you were able to be SANE about what you fed your child. So, you have done it successfully once, you can do it successfully again.

The second example is certainly we live in a culture that makes it very difficult to stay SANE. I like to talk about secondhand sugar or secondhand inSANEity, much like secondhand smoke would have been nearly impossible to avoid 100 years ago when everyone smoked, however, having the good fortune to live in Seattle — both Carrie and I live in Seattle — this is an incredibly diverse area of the country — so a lot of folks from a lot of different countries who have a lot of different religious practices.

Now when you see for example, someone who is practicing more of a traditionally Middle Eastern religion, the dietary practices, the wardrobe, they’re doing that in a culture which very, very few people do that. What the heck does this have to with eating SANEly? What it has to do is when you can believe strongly enough in something, you will be shocked at how your mind figures out ways to make it possible as evidenced by the fact of — think of for example, Orthodox Jews or Hindus or Muslims, who live in the United States, which is not a country that is filled with individuals like them, yet somehow, their children go to school and they stay kosher or they stay halal, or think of vegans and vegetarians. The only reason I make this point is if these individuals can do it, so can you. The only difference is they have a deep and profound why motivating them. And I think if we can each individually find our own deep and profound why, we can find these specific tactical answers. Does that make any sense?

CARRIE: It does. To be clear about the mother — this lovely lady that I met, she has had great success with moving to a SANE lifestyle. She actually broke her leg and found tremendous benefit from doing Eccentric exercises and has moved to a SANE eating habit herself and had tremendous success with fat loss. So, she understands the principles of SANEity – just finding it hard to translate that to her children.

I think a lot of the problem is that there’s so much of a child’s life where the mother is not in control. Like you say the secondhand sugar, the secondhand carbs because when they’re at school — she was telling me that her daughters were going to a summer camp and it was three hours every morning and that they sent home the list of things and the agenda and how it was going to be and they listed on there a snack and this mother was so frustrated because she’s like it’s three hours, why do they need a snack? And they’re going to be fed this inSANE snack while they’re there for three hours and so I think it’s just – it’s very difficult in that situation to apply everything we know about living SANE to a child who’s not with you 24 hours a day.

JONATHAN: That’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right and again as I have no children myself so it’s very hard for me to give concrete or specific examples, but one thing I’ve heard from parents — or put it this way, a case study in which parents and their children are able to successfully avoid foods that are traditionally served all the time outside of the home when the parent is not around, think of food allergies, specifically peanut allergies, quite common. Children who have peanut allergies will not generally eat things that have peanuts in them. In fact, they will go – you’ll see a little four year old, five year old, who takes steps to avoid foods that have peanuts in them.

Now, I’m not saying you should somehow try to brainwash your children into thinking that they’re allergic to starch and sugar, but what I’m wondering is if we can learn from these – I dare – I don’t want to call a food allergy a lifestyle, but it’s interesting to think about it as a model by which millions of people have successfully and consistently empowered their children to avoid foods – even when they’re not around. So, again, I don’t have the answer personally, but I wonder if maybe going to a website and searching for how are parents who have children who have strong food allergies or even celiac disease or these more severe medical conditions which the irony of course Carrie, is that when we talk about someone that has – there’s a spectrum of food intolerance if you want to consider it that way right? There’s very, very few people who are intolerant to vegetables. Right? There’s a lot of people who are intolerant to wheat and there are some people who will die if they eat peanuts. I would argue that just about every human being on the planet is intolerant of refined sugar. And it will kill them – just slowly.

CARRIE: Right.

JONATHAN: So, on some level we all have a food allergy. It’s just how severe and how acute is the reaction.

CARRIE: And I think that’s made worse by the fact that if you do something long enough your body – that becomes your new normal. So, you then don’t realize that the sugar’s detrimental because you do it all the time. So, you get this kind of low grade, but you don’t notice it anymore because it’s constant.

JONATHAN: Yep.

CARRIE: It’s only when you stop eating sugar for any brief amount of time and then you eat it and then it’s like whoa –

JONATHAN: Yeah, yeah.

CARRIE: But I think a lot – probably a majority of the people have reached this level where they – that’s just their normal and so they don’t noticed that the grains and the sugar is actually affecting them in a detrimental way anymore.

JONATHAN: That’s exactly right and I think one specific technique that we can do and I have seen in practice as effective with my niece and nephew for example, is generally we think of sugars and starches as the go-to source of energy for kids, and part of the reason it’s hard to get kids to eat SANEly is if kids are chronically hungry they’re just going to eat – they’re just hungry, right?

So, if you can help your children start to enjoy whole food fats as their go-to source of energy and calories so for example, enabling your child to take with them instead of a sugary snack a Baggie of raw macadamia nuts, one, they’ve got 700 calories in their pocket right now, right? So, there’s no shortage of energy, it’s extremely convenient, doesn’t require any refrigeration, you can have it temporarily and I don’t know, but it seems like it would be much easier for the child to make SANEer decisions if they weren’t starving.

CARRIE: Right.

JONATHAN: So, I think empowering our children to eat more, but smarter will – if little Billy goes over to his friend’s house and his friend’s mom is not SANE and says, Billy, do you want a snack and Billy’s just like no, I’m full, I mean problem solved to some extent, right?

CARRIE: Right.

JONATHAN: So, I think – and it applies to vegetables too, right? We talk about getting your kids to eat vegetables is very, very hard. Well, it’s very, very hard to get your kids to eat raw kale, but if you take kale and you sauté it in bacon fat and salt it, it’s dramatically easier.

So, I think it’s part of overcoming – when you look at sugar versus fat, it’s very interesting, especially when it comes to kids, Carrie, because how many commercials do we see where a bunch of kids will run into a house and the adult will hand them all glasses of sugar.

CARRIE: Right.

JONATHAN: And it’s like ah-yeah, that’s nice ahha – and imagine that same commercial where the kids ran in and the adult melted butter, poured it in a glass and handed it to the kids. We’d be like oh, child abuse.

CARRIE: Right.

JONATHAN: But in both cases, the glass is full of calories accompanied by very few micronutrients and one of them is going to spike your insulin and the other one isn’t, so the point here is that we as a culture have become so, so jaded to sweet sugar, all that fun stuff and we’ve become so afraid of fat that it’s really carried over into our children’s lives and I think if we can overcome that fear of fat and help our kids grow using proper nutrition and to get an abundance of calories that they need from healthy whole food fats, that would go a long way in correcting this problem.

CARRIE: How and I know this is kind of random, but it just popped into my head so I’m going to ask — at what age can children start doing Eccentric exercise?

JONATHAN: I’m not – so by my own admission, not an expert in childhood physical movements. The research I’ve done was on adult subjects – it was all – so I’ve heard – so I think some level of weight bearing activities is good for kids. When I grew up, so this is going to show you just how ignorant I am here, so all transparency, when I grew up, my mother told me that I shouldn’t weight lift until I was a certain age because it would stunt my growth. Now, I have no idea if that’s actually true. I have no idea. I don’t think I would have children, small children, do like intense squats when you’re six. It probably seems like a bad idea.

CARRIE: I’m thinking specifically about children that are obese, obviously there is – they need something to help switch on their fat burning hormones.

JONATHAN: I find it hard to believe that a small person versus an adult person doing — sitting down very slowly with a weight vest on would do anything but positive, would cause anything but positivity to them.

It’s important to keep in mind that when we say like are Eccentric movements safe for children? Any movement, any person ever does have an Eccentric component. Like when you walk down the stairs, if you’re an obese child, that obese child is doing serious Eccentric muscle contractions.

So Eccentric – the question I think is less of is Eccentric exercise safe for children, but more of — is any form of exercise not safe for children because Eccentric is just a component of any exercise, so that’s the complicated geek way of saying in and of itself doing super slow physical movement that focuses on using your muscles when they’re their strongest, which is when they are contracting Eccentrically — would obviously be beneficial for a child, just because it’s beneficial for any human being, but should kids get gym memberships and start pumping iron if they’re small kids, no. I mean you want to be active, you want to be moving, you want to be doing resistance, weight bearing exercises, but please also keep in mind that there is no form of physical movement you’re going to be doing as a small person or a large person that can counteract a completely inSANE diet.

I think that’s most important because when you look at especially even the political things going on in this country, there is this message of just be more active, especially for kids. In fact, eat Frosted Flakes because they’ll fuel you to be more active.

CARRIE: More activity.

JONATHAN: Right? So that’s a bit like saying, go jog more to cancel out the cigarettes you just smoked. Your body doesn’t work that way so really, really, really focus on getting that proper nutrition in and then obviously physical movement is important, but I’m going to admit that I am not the expert in optimal physical activity for children.

CARRIE: But you would still maintain that food is 80 percent of the equation?

JONATHAN: If not more – and I mean it’s hard to even put numbers on things. Think about this way. Does what you put into your body affect you? Like if you gave a child cocaine, would it affect the child a lot? Yes. In fact, arguably it would even affect the child more than it would affect an adult – because they’re a small –

CARRIE: Because they’re small –

JONATHAN: Person, right? Cocaine has no calories in it, so it’s a calorie free treat. Obviously it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Think of everything you put into your body is one category. Right? That’s part of the problem we have in this culture is we somehow think that if it’s sold in the grocery store next to – in the food section, that it is harmless and if it’s sold in the pharmacy, well, then we have to approach it with caution.

Everything you put in your body should be treated with the same level of respect.

CARRIE: Right.

JONATHAN: It’s all going into your body. So, does a can of soda affect a child? It affects a child more than it affects an adult, just like giving a child heroin would affect a child more than it affects an adult and it’s not about the calories, it’s about everything else that comes with it. Should children be active? Absolutely.

I’ve only seen one book – I don’t study this very much because I don’t have children, but there’s a book called, “Overweight Children in a Toothpick World,” we actually have the author on the show, her name is Brenda, I’m so sorry, I’m going to butcher your last name, but I think it’s Brenda Wollenberg, She is a former social worker now turned childhood obesity advocate and she actually covers childhood obesity and very practical strategies around both eating and exercise and she was actually kind enough to reference my work in her book that’s how I heard about her, so that might be a great resource for folks too, and that book is called, “Overweight Children in a Toothpick World,” and Brenda was also on the show so if you search online you’ll be able to find that as well.

CARRIE: Awesome.

JONATHAN: So I think that’s hopefully helpful. I mean we generally try to keep – and the thing we can do here – at SANE is we can really outline the science of why this should matter, for example, I don’t think we have time this week, but there are studies for example, that show that even the uterine environment that a fetus develops in has a radical impact on the likelihood of them developing Diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the future.

There are studies that have been done for example, that show that a mother, so mother/father, so same parents, have a child before the woman is diabetic or pre-diabetic. The woman then becomes diabetic or gets gestational Diabetes and then has a child. These studies consistently show that the child that was forming in a let’s call it clogged uterine environment has a statistically significant higher likelihood of becoming clogged or diabetic or insulin resistant themselves later in life.

So, we can come with all sort of science. We can come with the general nutrition principles you should apply. How to specifically apply that to your child’s life – I think we can also provide motivation on the fact that you can do it because a lot of people have done it already. You can too – and we can tell you it’s important and that it’s not some new – it’s not – I’m surprised how often Carrie, I get asked is SANE eating different for children than it is for adults? SANE just means healthy 2.0.

CARRIE: Right.

JONATHAN: Right? That which provides the most of what is essential, vitamins and minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and the least is what non-essential, addictive or toxic, such as MSG, trans fats, pink slime, refined sugars – those foods provide the most of what’s good, least of what’s bad, are the same for all homosapiens, whether you’re a male, female, 3 years old, 30 years old, or 90 years old. So, hopefully, that’s somewhat helpful and I mean folks, probably in the next three to five years I will have some kids, so I’ll have some interesting shows at that point.

CARRIE: Heaven help us.

JONATHAN: A little bit – little mini-Jonathans or Angelas running around and then we’ll certainly have some interesting shows, but until then, hopefully this was helpful.

CARRIE: Thank you.

JONATHAN: Is that helpful for you, Carrie?

CARRIE: I don’t have children. I see that angst in parents who are desperately trying to do the best for their children, but they kind of – don’t know where to go and everything. It is harder because there’s school and there’s birthday parties and all these outside influences. I do think that there’s this general sense of kids are somehow more resilient so it doesn’t matter what they eat, because they’ll grow out of it or it doesn’t – magically doesn’t affect them, but it does. And it’s super important – probably more important that they SANE — more than us.

JONATHAN: Absolutely, so in summary, Carrie, I’d say there’s maybe three things, one is that the myth that the kids will just grow out of it, that is absolutely a myth and in fact SANE eating is more important for children than it is for adults. The second thing is that when it comes to actually doing this, my personal recommendation like for a quick recommendation – think of lifestyles that are not common and involve different eating habits, such as Paleo or vegetarian or veganism. Find books and blogs that describe how Paleo and vegan parents do that. Apply that to a SANE lifestyle and then the third thing, I completely forget – oh, but it is have confidence that you can do this because literally, dare I say hundreds of millions of people around the world for either religious reasons or other reasons eat in a way that the rest of the society they live in doesn’t and their whole family does that as well. You can too. Make sense?

CARRIE: It does. But it just made me think of something else is that maybe another thing that will be helpful would be to involve your children in the process of determining what they eat. Like you said, the people with peanut allergies, those children have been involved in — deeply involved in — you can’t eat this, here’s why, but here’s what you can eat.

JONATHAN: Yep.

CARRIE: So, yes, educate them as to what they can’t eat and why and get them to buy into that, but also then focus on – look at all the delicious stuff you can eat –

JONATHAN: Yep.

CARRIE: Because I think it’s very hard for children particularly if they feel like they’re different or they’re being deprived or in that way so I think the way you promote it to your children can be – can make a huge difference in the outcome.

JONATHAN: Yes, that is spot on and just to leave the listeners with some concrete action steps you can take – we can’t necessarily give you the specifics, but here’s who can. Stacy Toth, is a great resource, Sarah Ballantyne is a great resource, Sarah Fragoso is a great resource, and then I would recommend just looking up resources around – so Type 1 Diabetes is not something you acquire due to lifestyle decisions is something you’re born with — and children who have Type 1 Diabetes, basically have to eat SANE. So, typing in kids Type 1 Diabetes online will probably come up with a bunch of great resources on how you can help your kids. Avoid the things that diabetics can’t eat, which happen to be extremely inSANE foods, such as starches and sweets.

CARRIE: Got it.

JONATHAN: Sound good?

CARRIE: Sounds awesome.

JONATHAN: I love it. Well, folks hopefully this was helpful and this week and every week after, please remember to eat more and exercise less. Just do that smarter. We’ll chat with you soon.

CARRIE: See ya.