The power of sugar
As we parent we learn about our kids’ triggers. My kids trigger is not enough sleep and too much sugar. So many people talk to me about their issues with their kids behaviors and and I hear it. It’s so hard when your kids is acting out for unknown reasons. As a nerdy mom I go to the inter webs. Cause that’s always so helpful. Bet you didn’t know that you have toe cancer and are a pregnant man and that there is no such thing as toe cancer? Yes well the interwebs will preach to you the dangers of toe cancer. Seriously though, it’s been really helpful. I know that I don’t process sugar well. I like it, I LOVE BREAD but my body.. meh not so much. So far my kids seem to have inherited that inability to process much sugar. Sorry kiddos life’s kinda a crap shoot sometimes. This means that I’m the crazy mom who limits their sugar intake. It’s not cause I want to limit it but it’s more because a) I know they’re happier without much sugar in their life and b) I CAN’T DEAL WITH THE BEHAVIORAL CRAP THAT COMES WITH SUGAR. Seriously, they go from well behaved kids to irrational gremlins that want to hit and destroy things. What is this crap? Ahhh damnit, genetics. Again, my fault. Sorry guys.
I’ve been doing some reading and research in the last few years on sugar and how it changes our brains. Mind you I’m not a medical expert but here’s what I’ve noticed. Several people have mentioned that my kids are mellow. But if you spend hours with them you know they’re not really mellow what you’re missing is the sugar high and subsequent crash sometimes known as the spastic kid then the holy cow the world is ending kid. We can get addicted to sugar and carbs. I have some thoughts on how to prevent this.
KIDS AND THEIR COPING: It’s really important to remember with our kids that they’re still developing their coping skills. Of course my short people have had times where they eat too much sugar or too much processed food. When my kids have eaten sugar or processed food they really struggle when coping with the energy surge and crash. Here’s what we do. Nuts, they’re the bomb. Think protein. Why? Well if the kiddo is having a sugar crash then they need to get something in their system that won’t exacerbate the issue… protein seems to help. Next step: I do whatever it takes to get them to eat some form of protein. I offer an apple or grapes if they eat the cheese. You want a cracker? Sure it has to have a nut butter on it. Then I get the FOOD IN THEIR BELLY. In my experience it’s totally unreasonable for me to expect my 2 yr old or my five year old to know that they’re crashing from sugar overload. I’m working on teaching them but until then fix the problem first then work on reasonable reactions. On an aside, I don’t care how unreasonable you feel it’s never ok for you to hit a sibling or scream at me. I take my deep breaths and work on reacting like the adult I know I am. It works most of the time. Screaming back just makes for an emotional circus that none of us want to experience.
Once there is food in the belly I’d really recommend deep breathing. I’ve worked with my kids a lot on how to calm themselves when they’re mad or feel upset and it’s really helpful. If you do with with them as guide it seems to work best. Hold their hands, look in the eyes- get on their level- breathe in for 3, hold for 3 and slowly release through the mouth for three. Its great for everyone. My sensory kiddo responds really well when I hold his hands/face something physical touch.
What’s the best solution? AVOID THE CRAP FOOD AND LOTS OF SUGAR. Honestly, once we all do a detox it’s for the best. Your body will stop craving the junk, the sugar and you’ll feel better too. Yes it’s hard. Personally I find that it’s unlikely and totally impossible to eliminate all junk from my kids life. Why? Because he goes to school where there are parties, other kids. We live in a world where sugar is pervasive. I’m going with the scout motto, “do your best”. One of the easiest ways I’ve found to limit the crap my kids eats is to send him to school with a lunch I make. Have you read what the school lunches include? It’s horrible. All carbs, so much processed junk. AND WE EXPECT THEM TO LEARN WELL AFTER EATING THIS? That is totally insane.
Another idea for limiting the junk? Keep snacks in the car, in the house that are good for you but won’t create a nasty science experiment. You know what I’m talking about, the baggie of some mysterious vegetable that is now a smelly scary sludge and should only be touched with a ten foot pole. Some ideas? again: nuts, they don’t last forever but when they do spoil it doesn’t seem to involve mold and liquefaction. Caveman Bars are great . Also Made Good love this. I personally love Krave Jerky . Is it perfect… yeah no but again ‘do your best’. Ideally I’d always have fresh vegetables sliced and ready to snack on… realistically it only happens some of the time.
Finally, my best advice for managing the sugar? Read the ingredients lists. Wait before you start reading do that yoga breathing cause you’re about to learn all the crazy crap that gets snuck into our food. Don’t know what it is? Are you sure that eating it is a great plan? These are my questions. I ask them all the time and I found that it’s really hard to keep the junk out. I make a lot of our food… but I can! Not all people can. I’m hoping this will help you improve your sugar situation.