Monday, March 2, 2020

We Stopped Encouraging Our Son to Eat + Other Picky Eater Tactics That Work

Hey there! I have some picky eater tactics that work coming at ya!

So I wanted to talk about Quinn and his eating habits and give you a little update. You might remember, he was (is) a very picky eater. We went through all sorts of struggles over the years to get him to eat and, at times, he would go on "hunger strikes" for days and days and eat nothing. It was so stressful as parents.

More recently, Quinn has made a ton of progress, and you might have seen him on Instagram Stories making guacamole, pork tenderloin, and sucking down oysters. I get so many comments and questions from followers saying that he's such a great eater and asking how did he get to this point? Well... I want to come clean with you guys about really what's going on.

So we're still struggling. In fact, we were really, really struggling. Quinn went through a phase not too long ago where he just wasn't eating. He would go (5-7) days in a row where he would barely eat anything... maybe half a waffle in the morning and then have a bite (yes, 1 bite) of something for lunch and then maybe drink a cup of milk for dinner and that was it. He just wasn't eating.

Mal and I were getting nervous because Quinn was losing weight, and he started to eat fewer and fewer foods. He had started eating potatoes, rice, and hot dogs, but those all went by the wayside. He was pretty much living off bites crackers, fruit, and milk. So, I reached out to Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean. She's a Registered Dietitian and has 3 kids of her own. She referred me to Kacie from Mama Knows Nutrition, who is also a Registered Dietitian and solely works with kids. (She also has an amazing Dinnertime Survival Guide - details below!)

I reached out to Kacie and set up a call with her. (She's actually an old school CNC reader!) Mal and I talked to her for about an hour. We told her what was going on, and she gave us some amazing advice that I thought some of your might benefit from as well. If your child is going through something similar, I highly recommend Kacie. She was so helpful!

Mal and I definitely threw a lot of tough questions at Kacie. Tough in the sense that they were very specific questions and individual to our situation. Kacie answered them all and gave us so many great ideas. We've implemented pretty much all her suggestions, and things have gotten better over the course of just a few weeks. Quinn is (mostly) eating again, and he's gained a little bit of weight. I really feel like we've turned things around. Things aren't perfect, but we've definitely seen some improvements overall!

Ok, so here are some of the things that really resonated with us. Hopefully, they help you too because being the parent of a picky eater can be really stressful, especially if it's an ongoing struggle.

Picky Eater Tactics That Work

The biggest takeaway for us was making mealtimes a no-pressure situation. Mal and I were always encouraging Quinn to eat, and it probably came off as pushy and stressful for him. Looking back, we were always pressuring him to eat. And just being a five-year-old (or toddler), there was a lot of resistance. Basically, stressful situation +  "I'm not going to eat because you're telling me to eat" was a bad combo.

So now, when we sit down for meals with Quinn, we don't say a word to him. We serve his food, we talk about our days, and don't encourage him to eat. And it's really made a difference! I mean, thinking back to his love for oysters... we often go out for oysters as a family. It's definitely a fun family event, but Mal and I have never encouraged Quinn to eat oysters because most kids (and some adults) don't like them. But he tried them on his own and now loves them. Quinn saw us enjoying oysters so much, he wanted to try them for himself. And now, the kid will suck down more than half dozen oysters on his own!

Related to this... instead of pressuring your child to eat, only talk about how much YOU enjoy the food. So if there's a new dish on the table, make it a point to say how delicious it is and how much you like it. If they're curious, maybe they'll try it. Maybe not, but you need to let them come around in their own time. And this brings me to the "division of responsibility" at meal time.

Division of responsibility = parents decide what and when the child will eat. The child decides how much and whether they're going to eat or not. This was huge for us. Now, it's much easier to know that we are doing our job as parents and preparing healthy foods for Quinn and then it's up to him if he wants to eat or not.

Some specifics around the division of responsibility that were really helpful:

1) Parents decide what's for dinner. We used to ask Quinn, "Hey do you want pizza or pasta for dinner?" Now we pick what he's going to eat. We give him a few options we know he'll eat + some shared dishes for the table, so he can serve himself (or not).

2) Involve child in meal planning. When you're making your grocery list and planning your meals for the week, ask your child what he/she wants to eat that week. They won't dictate when these foods are served, but they're part of the planning process, which gives them some control over the choices available. Ultimately, as the parent, you decide what to serve them.

Another great suggestion was cooking with kids, which we already do quite a lot with Quinn. Quinn won't usually eat what he helps us make (i.e. pork tenderloin) despite being involved in the entire cooking process, but Kacie pointed out that the real success is having a positive food experience. And again, she reminded us that kids will come around to trying new foods on their own time. Realizing this was really helpful as well.

Snacking on junk was another issue for us. Quinn would often not eat at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but then an hour later tell us he was hungry. (No kidding!) Mal and I have had a variety of professionals (i.e. doctors, nurses) tell us that if Quinn doesn't eat dinner, for example, he should go to bed hungry. I would ALWAYS feel so bad about this, but Mal was a stickler for the "rule," hoping that Quinn would eventually learn to eat his dinner. This went on for a long time without change, so we asked Kacie about it.

Kacie said snacks, especially bedtime snacks, are totally fine. Kids are typically sleeping 10 to 12 hours at night and not getting any sort of calories during that time, so it's okay to have a snack before bed. So now, even if Quinn hasn't eaten dinner, we offer him a snack before bed. We'll offer two snacks, and he'll pick what he wants to eat. This has been a game changer, and I feel so much better sending him to bed with something in his belly!

Also, related to snacks was creating "eating windows," so kids aren't just aimlessly snacking all day long. So if Quinn doesn't eat breakfast, he has to wait until the next "eating window" to have a snack. (He'd often not eat breakfast and then 30 minutes later ask for a snack.) Again, you will ultimately make the decision what your child will eat, but give them choices (i.e. yogurt or an apple).

We also ran into Quinn wanting junky snacks, which, of course, we just *shouldn't* have in the house, but that's not our style. 😉 We like cookies and chips, and we're not going to tell Quinn he can't have them if we're eating them ourselves. Kacie was totally okay with "fun" snacks, but she recommended serving them WITH a meal. So, for example, if Quinn wants Pringles, he can have them with his lunch.

So that's all I got. I hope you guys found this helpful. And, of course, if you're struggling with a picky eater, I highly recommend reaching out to Kacie. I can't say enough about how helpful her ideas were to us, and they are absolutely picky eater ideas that work!

Additionally, if you want some help with mealtimes, Kacie has an awesome Dinnertime Survival Guide that includes a 6-week meal plan with healthy, kid-friendly dinners for Monday through Friday. There are 30 meals, all that you can make in about 15 minutes each, start to finish.

Each week has a visual meal plan, including images of the ingredients to buy (so you can easily use it as a grocery list) with the recipes. There's also product recommends of her favorite top choices for convenience foods. We've gotten a bunch of great meal ideas from it. It's definitely worth checking out if you have kids and want to make meal time easier!




The post We Stopped Encouraging Our Son to Eat + Other Picky Eater Tactics That Work appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Why I Eat Organ Meat Weekly, and You Should Too

success stories

If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Folks, I have been grateful for every story that has come my way over the years. It’s an incredible privilege being on the receiving end of your reflections and evolutions, and they are why I’ve kept at it all these years—knowing the message and information have made a difference in people’s lives. I appreciate every single one. This success story comes from Dr. Terry Wahls, pioneer of the Wahls Protocol®, a way to address quality of life issues experienced by sufferers of autoimmune and other disorders through diet and lifestyle changes. Enjoy! —Mark

I eat liver once a week and tell my patients to do the same. Liver and organ meat are a critical part of the treatment protocols I use in my clinic and my clinical research. And they were crucial to my own recovery.

For decades, I suffered from relentlessly worsening pain and disability, including wheelchair dependence. I was able to reverse all this decline and end my pain using principles of ancestral health, evolutionary biology, and functional medicine.

When I first got sick, I gave up the low fat vegetarian diet I’d followed for years and adopted the paleo diet. But my health continued to decline. So I read the basic science models for my disease (multiple sclerosis) and decided that mitochondria are a key driver in neurodegeneration and worsening disability. I devised a supplement program to support my mitochondria. This reduced my fatigue and the speed of my decline slightly. I learned more biochemistry from functional medicine and made my list of supplements longer. This slowed my decline a little bit more.

At that point, I was too weak to sit up in a regular chair, confined to a zero gravity chair with my knees higher than my nose. My brain fog was worsening. The electrical face pains due to trigeminal neuralgia were more severe, more frequent, and more difficult to turn off. The future looked incredibly grim. That is when I decided to redesign my paleo diet to get the nutrients I was taking in supplement form from food. Cell chemistry is far more complex than physicians and scientists understand, and I thought maybe food would have more of an impact than nutrients in pill form.

How I Changed My Paleo Diet to Start Healing

I had already removed grain, legumes, dairy, processed foods, and sugar from my diet. I used the papers by Beal and Bourre, my readings in Ancestral Health and Functional Medicine, and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University to create a list of superfoods to stress in my diet (See Key Nutrients for Brain Health and Table 2, Liver Is a Superfood).

I began this new version of my paleo diet, and the results were stunning. Within three months, my face pain was gone. So was the brain fog and the severe fatigue. I began walking again. In less than a year I was biking, completing an 18.5 mile bike ride with my family. A key part of my dietary change was adding liver once a week. Liver is a superfood, but too many of us are not consuming liver or any organ meat. Everybody with an autoimmune disorder should have liver as a regular part of their diets.

Dr. Terry Wahls before and after

Retinol, or vitamin A, is essential to the development of immune cells, including T helper cells (Th cells), T regulatory cells (Tregs), and antibody-producing cells (B cells), as well as healthy barrier function in the gut. Inadequate vitamin A levels may lead to abnormal immune function, decreasing tolerance and increasing the risk of autoimmunity. Carotenoids in plants, such as beta-carotene, can be converted by gut enzymes into retinol, which is the active form of vitamin A. However, there is considerable variability in the efficiency of the enzymes that do this conversion. Depending on your enzymes, you may have a 70% reduction in your ability to convert plant-based carotenoids into retinol. Those with an autoimmune diagnosis are more likely to have a less efficient conversion of beta carotene into retinol and would benefit from consuming liver, which is an excellent source of retinol.

In addition to retinol, organ meat is an excellent source of B vitamins, including vitamin B12 and folate. Many individuals with multiple sclerosis have an elevated homocysteine, which is a measure of the efficiency and effectiveness of our brains’ use of B vitamins. If homocysteine is elevated, we likely have inadequate levels of B vitamins (especially vitamins B6, B9, and B12), which leads to a higher rate of neurodegeneration, cognitive decline, and heart disease. Liver is an especially good source of easily digested and absorbed B vitamins, which are critical for those with multiple sclerosis.

As you can see from Table 2, liver is an excellent source of the key brain nutrients identified in Table 1. It is not a good source of vitamin C, which you will get from greens. If you have multiple sclerosis or other autoimmune issues, adding organ meats to your diet is an important step in your healing journey, providing several important vitamins and minerals that can soothe immune dysfunction and promote repair in the body.

Why I Prefer Food to Supplements

Most studies using supplements have disappointing results. There are multiple large epidemiologic studies of dietary intake and clinical outcomes that demonstrate that dietary patterns rich in vegetables and meat and low in added sugars (such as the plans we use in our clinical trials study dietary trials for multiple sclerosis patients) are strongly associated with better clinical outcomes for a specific disease. But a large, supplement-based clinical trial often fails to show much benefit using targeted nutritional supplement(s). That does not surprise me at all.

Food is complex. There is synergy between the elements of each foodstuff you consume and the overall dietary pattern, meaning what else you eat. Organ meats are more than vitamin A, B6, B9, and B12. They are a rich mixture of vitamins in multiple forms that interact with other vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and compounds. This complex interaction determines how we do the chemistry of life. We get these compounds in the biologic ratios that our cells expect, which is why dietary pattern studies that stress consumption of vegetables, berries, and meat, decreased sugars, and increased intake of these key nutrients have outcomes that are consistently more favorable than those that rely on supplements only.

I tell my patients to eat liver once a week, heart once a week, and mussels and oysters regularly. These foods offer powerful, healing nutrition for anyone with multiple sclerosis or a serious autoimmune problem. Limit liver intake to 6 to 8 ounces a week because retinol does have a relatively narrow range of dietary intake. Too little and we increase the risk of autoimmune disease, cancer, and infection. Too much, however, increases the risk of fibrosis and scarring of the liver and lungs, which are irreversible. For that reason, I recommend eating no more than 6 to 8 ounces of liver per week, plus an additional 6 to 8 ounces of mussels, clams, oysters, heart, or other organ meats each week.

Food is what nature intended. Food is how I got out of the wheelchair and began walking, hiking, and biking again. Food is what I stress in my clinics and in my clinical trials.

You can get your life back on track, one meal at a time. If you use supplements, use whole food–based supplements, such as organ meat capsules, to ensure you are getting the benefits of food with all the wonderful synergy that whole foods supply. Immune dysfunction, leaky gut, and altered microbiome are all present in the setting of multiple sclerosis and autoimmune processes. Adding organ meats to your diet, particularly from grass-fed and grass-finished animals, can help address these issues.

I taught the concepts of the Wahls Protocol® to patients in primary care and traumatic brain injury clinics. Time and time again, we saw that adopting the protocol led to stabilizing and regression of symptoms. Patients with high blood pressure, severe morbid obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, fibromyalgia, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, and depression all improved when they followed the Wahls Protocol®.

I also use these concepts in my clinical trials, testing the Wahls Protocol® in the setting of multiple sclerosis to improve quality of life and reduce fatigue.

Each summer I host an in-person event to teach the public and health professionals how to use these concepts in their lives and their clinics. We are seeing more and more people embrace using food, including liver, to get their lives and health back on track.

Key Nutrients for Brain and Spinal Cord Health

  • Vitamin B1
  • Alpha carotene
  • Carnitine
  • Vitamin B2
  • Beta carotene
  • Alpha-Lipoic acid (ALA)
  • Vitamin B3
  • Beta cryptoxanthin
  • Creatine
  • Vitamin B5
  • Lutein
  • Cholesterol
  • Vitamin B6
  • Lycopene
  • Alpha-linolenic fatty acid
  • Vitamin B9
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Vitamin C
  • Copper
  • Arachidonic acid (AA)
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
  • Vitamin E
  • Iodine
  • Linoleic acid (LA)
  • Vitamin K
  • Magnesium
  • N Acetyl cysteine
  • Co-Enzyme QA10
  • Selenium
  • Taurine

Table 2

Liver: A Superfood


This table was created using the USDA Information from U.S. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Food Composition Databases Show Foods List.

Read More in The Revised and Expanded Wahls Protocol

I have written a book, The Revised and Expanded Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles, that details the protocol we use in our clinics and clinical trials.

terry wahls and book

The revised edition includes updated science and recommendations based on all that we’ve learned in the last five years. I explain how diet changes gene expression and can turn off disease-promoting genes and turn on health-promoting ones. I review the latest information on how gut bacteria increase or decrease inflammation in the brain and body. I explore how daily diet choices determine what bacteria grow in our bowels. I have greatly expanded guidance on how to personalize the dietary recommendations based on your current symptoms and health issues.

Even if you have the original edition of The Wahls Protocol, you will want to pick up the revised and expanded edition to get all the new information on diet personalization, microbiome, gene expression, health behavior change, metabolic resilience, emotional resilience, and neurorehabilitation. If you want to see something extraordinary, check out the research papers and videos on my website that demonstrate the remarkable improvement in walking that patients in our clinical trials have been able to achieve.


Beal MF, Bioenergetic approaches for neuroprotection in Parkinson’s disease. Ann Neurol. 2003; 53:Suppl 3:S39-47; discussion S47-8

Bourre JM. Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 1: micronutrients. J Nutr Health Aging. 2006 Sep-Oct;10(5):377-85. PubMed PMID: 17066209.

Bourre JM. Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 2 : macronutrients. J Nutr Health Aging. 2006 Sep-Oct;10(5):386-99. PubMed PMID: 17066210.

Pinod-Lagos K, Benson MJ, Noelle RJ, Retinoic acid in the immune system, Ann NY Acad Sci 2008 Nov; 1143:170-87.doi10.1196/annals.1443.017.

AbdelhamidL, Luo XM, Reinoic Acid, Leaky Gut, and Autoimmune Diseases. Nutrients. 2018 Aug 3; 10(8).pii: E1016. doi:10.3390/n710081016.

Fahmey EM Relation of serum levels of homocysteine, vitamin B12 and folate to cognitive functions in multiple sclerosis patients. Int J Neurosci. 2018 Sep;128(9):855-841.doi1080/00207454.2018.1435538. Epub 2018 Feb 21

A multimodal intervention for patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: feasibility and effect on fatigue. Bisht B, Darling WG, Grossmann RE, Shivapour ET, Lutgendorf SK, Snetselaar LG, Hall MJ, Zimmerman MB, Wahls TL. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May;20(5):347-55. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0188. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Multimodal intervention improves fatigue and quality of life in subjects with progressive multiple sclerosis: a pilot study. Bisht B, Darling WG, Shivapour ET, Lutgendorf SK, Snetselaar LG, Chenard CA, Wahls TL. Degener Neurol Neuromuscul Dis. 2015;5:19-35. doi: 10.2147/DNND.S76523. Epub 2015 Feb 27.

Nutrient Composition Comparison between a Modified Paleolithic Diet for Multiple Sclerosis and the Recommended Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern. Chenard CA, Rubenstein LM, Snetselaar LG, Wahls TL. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 1;11(3). pii: E537. doi: 10.3390/nu11030537.


The post Why I Eat Organ Meat Weekly, and You Should Too appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

Minerals (mg/100g)
& Vitamins (100g)   



Turkey (roasted)   


Beef Liver    


Beef Heart

Calcium 72 26 6 94
Iron 0.9 1.79 6.54 1.17
Magnesium 18 25 21 23
Phosphorus 28 203 497 36
Potassium 228 280 352 296
Sodium 23 68 79 30
Zinc 0.24 2.96 5.3 0.5
Vitamin C, mg 41 0 1.9 53.3
Thiamin mg 0.053 0.057 0.194 0.069
Riboflavin mg 0.07 0.177 3.425 0.091
Niacin mg 0.5 5.088 17.525 0.65
Vitamin mg B-6 0.138 0.41 1.017 0.179
Folate, mcgDFE 13 7 253 17
Vitamin B-12µg 0 0.35 70.58 0
Vitamin A, RAE 681 mcg 0 9442 mcg 885 mcg
Vitamin A, IU 13621
Vitamin E mg 0.85 0 0.51 1.1
Vitamin K µg 817 (K1) 1.3 3.3 (K2) 0.5

from Mark's Daily Apple

How To Drink Less: One Year Later

Habitual drinking is all around us. But there are good reasons not to drink every day. Here’s an update to my year of “wine on the weekends” and tips on how to drink less.

glass of rose

One year ago…

A year ago I wrote a post about a new plan to limit alcohol to the weekends and special occasions only. (“Special occasions” is very loosely defined!) Having a glass of wine with dinner each night had turned into a ritual that I didn’t feel good about (unless it was 5:00 of course!) I knew I wanted to change the habit and had several good reasons to drink less. One year later I can say that this structure worked very well for me!

Reasons I wanted to drink less

1 // Our daily habits make up our health.

While I wouldn’t declare that moderate alcohol intake is itself bad for you, I don’t really think it’s good for you either. I am a firm believer that what we do on a daily basis impacts our health the most. Drinking too much, eating to the point of feeling stuffed, eating nothing green, snoozing through your workouts, getting 3 hours of sleep – none of these things impact much if they happen every now and then. But on a daily basis they would likely lead to less-than-ideal health outcomes.

2// Research says that women should have no more than seven drinks per week for optimal health.

A daily drink plus a little more at social events equals a lot more than seven. (Those lucky men have a lot more wiggle room with their recommendation at less than 14 drinks per week.) Before shifting my habits, I realized I was having more than 7 drinks a week. I was going directly against professional health recommendations.

3 // I feel best when I don’t drink

Alcohol is linked to inflammation, dehydration, poor sleep, empty calories, and a temporary pause in fat burning. I wanted to feel better, sleep better, and shed any excess wine-induced pounds.

How did my year of drinking less go?

So much better than I thought it would! One year later I am sticking to the plan. Now don’t interpret that as “I never had wine on a weekday” because I definitely did. There were times when my desire to drink – whatever the reason – overruled the reasons I listed above. But overall, my “why” won out. Most of the time when my mind drifted to wine I found myself thinking of my list of reasons and the craving would slowly fade. I have realized that my wine-at-5:00 habit is linked to feeling like the daytime is over and it’s time to wind down (wine down) for the evening. So I have worked on other ways to celebrate that transition.   

Having a strong “why” was the key to my success.

You can’t just proclaim “I’m going to do X” if you don’t believe in and understand your why. For me, my why was my health. I knew deep in my heart that as a dietitian, wine everyday was not a habit I would recommend to anyone. And so I needed to follow my own advice. 

The biggest challenges were Thursdays and Sundays

I was surprised by this because I would have assumed that either Monday or Wednesday (midweek) would be the hardest, but it’s actually easier when you get on a roll. But Thursdays often taste like Fridays – there is a whisper of weekend in them – and I find myself more tempted on Thursdays than any other night. Sundays I can take or leave. Sometimes Sundays feel part of the weekend (like if we had friends over to watch football or a Sunday party), but other times they feel part of the week and occasionally I skipped a drink on a Sunday just because.

I actually feel like I lost a little of my love for drinking

Isn’t that weird? I have no idea if it’s related to cutting back or if it’s just a phase I’m in. It could definitely be related to the winter months. It could also be related to recognizing that my craving is linked to the end of the day. I also feel that when I do drink I’m drinking less than I used to. My BFF Sarah and I often say we never want to have more than 2 (maaaaybe 3) drinks in one party night and to hold each other to that. Because it’s just never worth it to feed badly overnight or the next day. I have no desire to over drink!

Let’s discuss!

I know some of you love your daily vino and others of you choose not to drink at all. I’d love to have a discussion in the comments about your own habits and why you choose them. Have you ever made a big change and how did it go?

More posts on alcohol:

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from Kath Eats Real Food