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5 Practical Tips For Raising Healthy Kids [E004]

Dr. Bryan Joseph interviews business partner, Dr. Whitney Hamed. Looking back, Dr. Whitney realized she was not raised in a home where health was a priority. Becoming a chiropractor and advocate for children’s health, Dr. Whitney offers 5 key tips for raising healthy kids, and how we can easily identify hidden stressors that could be affecting our children and their immune systems.

Listen to the raising healthy kids episode using the audio player above

Meet Dr. Whitney

Dr. Whitney Hamed talks about raising healthy kids and families
Dr. Whitney Hamed talks about raising healthy kids and families

Dr. Bryan: All right. Here we go again. Got Dr. Bryan Joseph with one of my really, really, really great friends and business partners, Dr. Whitney Hamed, who is a part of the foundation of The Wellness Connection. So, first and foremost, welcome.

Dr. Whitney: Thank you.

Dr. Bryan: And thank you for being a part of the journey with us over the years, it’s been great. Dr. Whitney: It’s been a great ride.

A passion for women’s health, pregnancy and pediatric care

Dr. Bryan: Today what we’re gonna do is, we’re gonna give Dr. Whitney a chance to kinda share what she is so passionate about. I’ve seen over the years her really take a strong, strong passion behind wanting to care for pregnant women and pediatric and newborn kids. And, I want to first let her share where that passion came from, why she got interested in working with those particular people, and then we’ll transition in regards to what are some of the things that she can share as advice on how, you know, what does she give those people for advice in terms of how to be well.

Dr. Bryan: So, first and foremost, Dr. Whitney, can you share with us, what is it that got you into the interest of working with that particular demographic?

Not growing up in a naturally minded environment

Dr. Whitney: So, I did not grow up with parents who were naturally minded whatsoever. I actually did not get adjusted until chiropractic school. So, I was 22 years old. But what I realized is wow, I was really sick as a kid, and when I first went into practice and then found out I was pregnant, I realized quickly, you know what? There’s the different way that I want to go about raising healthy kids. I want them to get the benefits of what I’m learning for patients now and myself much earlier in life.

Dr. Whitney: So, it’s just my own pregnancy and starting a family is really what led me in that direction.

Dr. Bryan: I think, you know, it’s interesting, some people actually go on their journey based off of pains that they felt themselves and then the kinda, their pain blesses other people. One thing I’ve noticed in the time that I’ve spent with you is that you’ve always kinda been congruent with the way that you view a healthy lifestyle, and then it’s starting to pass down in your own family and to the people that you’re around.

Discover Dr. Whitney Hamed’s “My Well Pregnancy” System

Dr. Whitney's MY WELL PREGNANCY system jump starts raising healthy kids and families
Dr. Whitney’s MY WELL PREGNANCY system jump starts raising healthy kids and families

Raising healthy kids is a family affair

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. I mean we’ve gotten to raising healthy kids and families together, and it’s so true. I mean congruency is a great word it, is I knew that if I was in practice taking care of families, if I wanted to speak from that place of, “This is how I’m raising my own family, this is what I’m doing with my nutrition, and the physical chiropractic care that we’re giving our kids,” and all of that, yes.

Dr. Bryan: One of the things that I think becomes a mistake for a lot of us is we always start thinking that we don’t have to start taking our health serious until we get a little bit older. Dr. Whitney: Right.

Healthy parenting choices start at birth

There is no
There is no “starting too early” when it comes to raising healthy kids

Dr. Bryan: When is the right time in your opinion to start actually really paying attention to your health?

Dr. Whitney: So again, being congruent from birth. I mean that’s when I started examining right away, you know, not only just having our kids, having our babies adjusted right after birth, so that there’s no physical stress, and we can go into that later, that’s probably a whole another podcast. But just looking at immediately, what am I surrounding them with? What kind of foods may they be introduced to? What kind of chemicals may they be exposed to right off that bat? So just looking from that whole physical and chemical approach is from birth, what is it we can give them to keep them healthy?

Dr. Bryan: It’s so funny, when you hear that, you start thinking like, “What’s wrong with a kid that’s born? Why would they need to take this serious?” But, in so many instances we see kids that develop issues right out of the gate from colic to ear ache to just being sick from day one. And maybe if they initiated some preventative care, then some of those things can be avoided. But, that’s interesting that we need to maybe start looking at it a little bit earlier than we normally would.

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. Because I think in natural healthcare, everybody can kinda understand that buzzword, and we often think of maybe older teens and adults, but we don’t oftentimes think of raising healthy kids and babies and infants with natural healthcare.

Dr. Whitney’s four kids

Dr. Bryan: So, you’ve got four kids. Dr. Whitney: Right.

Dr. Bryan: And I think that it’s safe to say I’ve been to your house several times and we see that you’re doing your best to raise healthy kids. Dr. Whitney: Absolutely.

Dr. Bryan: And a healthy family. Over the years, you’ve spoken in different arenas, you’ve gone to different people’s houses, and you’ve shared concepts, whether it be the right thing to do or the wrong thing to avoid, but maybe we could spend a little time just allowing you to share some of the wisdom that you’ve picked up in regards to what are some of the most common, easily implementable things people can be aware of when it comes to this broad umbrella of raising a healthy family?

Reading the nutrition facts and labels

Dr. Whitney  teaches parents to real the labels
Dr. Whitney teaches parents to real the labels

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. I think what we’ve done, just tried and true over the years, and what I teach parents is reading the label. I mean and we’re talking about the first foods that your kids are eating and our kids ate. The snack items, just being, start to-

Dr. Bryan: You know what? It makes me think of when our kids were seeing … Remember we used to actually make protein shakes and I actually freeze them as smoothies or protein shakes and we’d deliver them to our kids and say,

“These are your chocolate shakes.”

They didn’t know any better, right?

Dr. Whitney: Yes. Yes. So taking ingredients that are healthy and good, that you’ve read the labels on, I mean yes, we were masters at hiding the fruits and the veggies in these smoothies, and getting their vitamins in. And again, it’s just, it’s really understanding that base 80% rule, right? 80% of the time doing the absolute best you can being educated in what are in those foods, what are your kids getting, and what are they not getting.

Common pantry mistakes

Dr. Bryan: So, walking into a typical pantry, this is one thing that I know and I’ve seen you put energy in, you walk into someone’s pantry, what are some of the common mistakes that you see in people’s pantries that could be bleeding over to an unhealthy family?

Dr. Whitney: I would say sugar and food coloring. I mean those are the top two. I mean sugar, you know, is in everything, and most pantry items are boxed and packaged. But again, if we can just, especially when raising healthy kids, what we’ve left out is healthy fats and healthy proteins. The more we can understand that on labels and put that into our pantry and get creative with pantry items like that, the better off we are.

Dr. Bryan: So, when you look, you reference labels a few times.

What to look for at the store

So when you go to a store and you’re walking around, what are you looking for? What should somebody be looking for on a label?

Dr. Whitney: So, there’s gonna be fun things on labels like natural, sugar-free, chemical-free, non-GMO, there’s gonna be these things on a label that are organic maybe. But I still say read the label, look behind the scenes, and just make sure that writing on the label is really matching up to what’s in it. But anything, usually now what’s great about our stores, the stores in our area, is we have these healthy aisles, which make it easier for us as shoppers and as moms and make it a bit safer for us.

Dr. Whitney: So, go down those aisles, check it out.

Dr. Bryan: Remember 10, maybe 15 years ago when we initially got into healthcare, you had to go with a detective hat and a magnifying glass through the aisles to try to figure out what was healthy and what was not healthy. It has become way easier.

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. It was all mixed in. And now you’re really starting to get some reputable brands out there that people are recognizing.

Monitoring sugar intake and serving sizes

Dr. Bryan: So, sugar. You say additives and sugar. So, how much sugar is too much in a label? I mean is there such a thing?

Dr. Whitney: You know, there is. Anything that’s creeping up above five grams, because what you’ve gotta look at is, is you gotta look at that serving size more than just the sugar. Is it a tablespoon? Is it a cup? If you’ve got a high amount of sugar above five grams and that’s only a tablespoon or maybe six puffs or six chips, whatever that may be, you know, six gummies. They’re eating way more than that and you know your kid is, then guess what? Triple that amount of sugar.

So, anything about three to five grams, just start looking at the serving size and consider how much your kid is eating.

Dr. Bryan: So, that’s a huge point to this, I mean you take that for granted. Like when you grab a bag of Doritos or anything- Dr. Whitney: Right.

Dr. Bryan: Any kind of snack, and you see the serving size or you actually see the ingredient, not the ingredients but you see the grams of sugar or the grams of fat or the grams of protein, very rarely do we actually look to see what the true serving size is.

This adds up to acting on false information

So, often we’re getting false information, we’re actually assuming, “Okay, this is only 20 grams of fat and maybe 20 grams of sugar.”

Dr. Bryan: But it’s got five servings in it.

Dr. Whitney: Oh I know. I mean if we gave our kids a whole bag of chips, they would sit there and eat the entire bag, right? Dr. Bryan: And they usually do, right?

Dr. Whitney: Right. So, just looking at that, you know, especially depending on what kind of chip they’re eating.

Dr. Bryan: All right. So, pay attention to serving size. And, reduce the amount of sugar that’s in your overall consumption.

Food additives and ADD/ADHD

What would be an example of an additive that you said like food coloring or additive that, and where are those found that people can avoid?

Dr. Whitney: Yeah. I mean the biggest one are the food dyes. We know through Dr. Feingold, all his work is that, you know, one of the big problems we’re seeing, and I’ll come back to this, is the ADD/ADHD problem in our schools. And, we also know that food dyes and food additives, specifically colorings, can excite the brain. It can cause those types of behaviors. Boston my son, I would see it, it was black and white. As soon as he had the red or blue food dye, his eyes changed literally. He became Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.

Dr. Whitney: So, he became that person. And so, that actually caused me to do more research in the food dye area and then I saw the link with the ADD/ADHD. So, you may know your child’s sensitive, or you may not know, because they’d be coming out at school. So look for the red, the blue, you know, all the different yellow, all the different colors, and it’s literally right on the label.

Dr. Bryan: So, imagine if Boston was continuing to bed fed or just any kid additives, and you’re aware enough to see that he was reacting and that where was a strange behavior associated with it, but most people aren’t really probably paying that close attention. Dr. Whitney: Exactly.

Attitude check

Dr. Bryan: So, what they identify in their kids is that their kids are starting to be like hyper 24/7 or their attitude’s a little aggressive or whatever it might be, and eventually they lead them to a doctor and the doctor puts them on a prescribed medication, to try to reduce some of these symptoms- Dr. Whitney: Right.

Dr. Bryan: Associated with potentially food additives, right? Dr. Whitney: Right. Right.

Dr. Bryan: So, I bet, I would think it’s safe to say if a lot of people paid a little closer attention to what their children were eating, and avoiding some of the food additives, then there’s a real good chance that the need for some of these ADD and ADHD medications would go down. Would you agree?

Dr. Whitney: I would completely agree. And I’ve talked to parents, many parents in our practice and as friends who see differences, and who have seen the difference and been educated and absolutely been able to see their kids just, their behaviors turn around and change.

Why are these foods and additives allowed in stores?

Our laws are not responsible for raising healthy kids - parents are
Our laws are not responsible for raising healthy kids – parents are

Dr. Bryan: So, this is thought-provoking question, but you might be wondering, if those things are so bad for us, then why are they allowed in the stores? Why aren’t we more aware that these are our problem? I mean we just take for granted that every house, you know, and I hear this all the time, every house has Snickers bars and Doritos, like what’s wrong with them?

Dr. Whitney: Right. And I think that part of it is what our country allows, which we as consumers don’t necessarily … And we have a voice, I don’t know that we have direct control over right now in changing those laws. There’s other countries that do not allow the colorings and the preservatives that we allow. You can look at …

So, an Oreo in the UK and an Oreo in the US have completely different labels.

Taking responsibility as parents raising healthy kids

So, what again I think that comes down to is just, then we have to be more savvy, we have to be educated, we have to look … One of the, really the big messages that I have is, don’t just go by mainstream messaging, you’ve gotta think a little bit more or you can think, you can choose to think and then see differences in your kids by cutting out a lot of those preservatives and additives.

Dr. Bryan: So, that’s kinda like that old analogy of eventually you have to take responsibility. Dr. Whitney: Exactly.

Dr. Bryan: No one’s coming to save you.

Dr. Whitney: There’s no other way around it.

Dr. Bryan: And so, we realize that with a lot of different dimensions of our life, even like our finances, eventually you lose enough money or you don’t save enough money and you feel the pain and you finally change.

Don’t wait until the pain causes you to act

When it comes to our health, a lot of times people wait till they break down and develop symptoms or sickness and they feel the pain and then they change.

But I think the theme is the same, regardless of how you get there on the journey, eventually you identify that you have to take responsibility for trying to improve that category of your life.

Dr. Whitney: Yes. And I think that the message here is too, we can take responsibility for our kids’ health even right after birth.

Dr. Bryan: So, as a kid that’s born into a new family, you know, for saying that you ultimately need to take responsibility for your own health, a lot of times kids aren’t in the position, they need to be nurtured by their parents.

Helping people learn how to go about raising healthy kids and families

Dr. Bryan: So, when you’re finding that you’re helping people learn how to go about raising healthy kids and families, it’s not so much the kid getting the information as much as the parent first. And, when it comes to raising healthy kids and families, you’ve shared now reduce sugar, pay attention to serving size, making sure that we’re removing these additives from the foods that we see.

The impact of hidden physical stress on your children

What are some other points that come to mind that you share when you go, you know, given some of the basics of raising a healthy family?

Dr. Whitney: So, after talking really about that component from foods, because really that’s what our kids are starting out on, is whole food or breast milk, potentially formula, is then the one key area that’s missed and it’s not on the billboards, most of the time you’re not gonna hear it in your pediatrician’s office, is that physical component.

So, here’s some contrast, as adults what do we often feel? We feel the aches and pains, we feel the headache, the back pain, but you know as well as I know, it’s pretty obvious, infants and babies and toddlers and kids aren’t necessarily always gonna feel that. Maybe they’re gonna cry out, maybe they’re gonna be colicky, have digestive issues, have chronic ear infections, have depressed immune systems, these actually believe it or not are physical signs of stress.

Helping parents find those hidden stresses

And so, that’s what I really feel and I’m passionate about as a chiropractor is looking for and helping educate parents on guess what?

Your child could have had physical stress affecting their whole body including their immune system or digestive system from birth.

Looking at that and checking at that, and I just feel like that’s been the peanut butter to my jelly in raising healthy kids. It’s not just been the nutrition, it’s also been the physical care.

Dr. Bryan: I think that’s so overlooked, right? When it comes to physical damage we wait till we break a bone or we strain or twist our ankle and we have swelling and we have damage, but it’s rarely, rarely looked upon when you just have a simple fall on the playground to say, “Okay, there’s a chance something might have gotten altered that can change me, and I need to have that addressed.”

Children and Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care can be an essential part of raising healthy kids
Chiropractic care can be an essential part of raising healthy kids

Dr. Bryan: So, you’ve clearly been educated on the nutritional side of things for raising a healthy family, but also more so the physical side of raising healthy kids and a healthy family. Over the years I’ve seen you care for a number of kids and I have heard people ask the question of like, “A chiropractor, why are our kids coming to chiropractors? Because, they don’t really have back issues yet. So, why are you advocating that young kids, in order to be healthy, are coming in for chiropractic care?”

Dr. Whitney: Well, the main reason is because we know that they’re growing. We know that their spine is going to grow. And the real simple question is, in which direction is it gonna grow? Dr. Bryan: That’s a good question.

Dr. Whitney: So, it can cause a whole host of symptoms that we can go into sometimes and what I’m looking for and seeing, but really the point is just like one of the babies I saw yesterday. The parent is pointing out to me, she’s always leaning her head to the right and her body’s curled up this way, we know already those are physical signs of tension.

So, looking at those and correcting those so the child can grow straight and strong and cruise through their milestones and be really as healthy as they can be.

That’s what we’re looking at.

Bed Wetting

Dr. Bryan: I’ve also seen over the years, patients come in with their children asking you to check them for things like bed wetting, and saying, “Well, I have a child,” and a lot of kids wet the bed, but as time goes on, they’re still wetting the bed at age nine, 10, 11, 12, and they often start to at that point get concerned and say,

“Is there something wrong or did we do something wrong in raising this kid?”

Why would somebody bring somebody to you to assess whether or not they have an issue with bed wetting?

Dr. Whitney: So, the first place and the first reason that usually happens is because they’re looking for solutions on the internet. This has become big, and I’m seeing this more and more. How this has increased in the past decade being in practice is, is people are actually looking for solutions.

Chiropractic as a solution for bed wetting

I think the really deeper understanding is why, like you’re asking. And it’s all because there are certain bones in the lower back, the lowest part of the back that can interfere with basically the communication to the muscles of the bladder.

And so, if there’s an interference there and we can remove that interference physically, guess what? Those nerves get freed up and that muscle isn’t overworking or over-contracting like it is in many bed wetting cases. So, it’s a physical approach.

Affecting self-esteem

Dr. Bryan: Here’s what’s so fascinating to me, imagine a kid that’s actually nine, 10, 11, 12 years old, and still wetting the bed. They know that compared to their friends, that’s a little bit different and they’re starting to almost become embarrassed because of it. So, yeah we talk about the dietary way of raising healthy children and changing their diet, the physical thing of keeping them balanced, but eventually if some of these things aren’t addressed, it can start to really affect their self-esteem.

Dr. Whitney: Yes. Self-esteem and confidence. And we see that. And, really, the most rewarding thing is, then you get to see that change. So when you see an eight, nine, 10 year old, and the mom’s looking at me and quietly saying, “Dry nights, dry nights,” you know, that kid is just beaming, they’re so excited and they’re so much more confident.

Dr. Whitney: One of my kiddos that I’m seeing, that did happen, and he’s having a completely different school year this year. So, it’s amazing how that translates.

Dr. Bryan: Well, our kids have been invited to different sleep overs and birthday parties over the years, just like many people’s kids, now a kid and just an example of bed wetting, they lose that opportunity. Dr. Whitney: Right. Experiences.

Dr. Bryan: And it beats them up. Yeah, they feel like, “You know, I’m embarrassed, I can’t take my kid here,” and that can be changed. Dr. Whitney: Yes. Yes it can be.

Pregnancy Care

Dr. Bryan: So, bed wetting was just one example, not that that was the intention of this whole conversation, but it’s interesting even as an adult, if you fast-forward that a couple decades later, oftentimes the same kid that might have been having bed wetting issues, if there was interference in some capacity in the low back that was feeding the bladder and it never got taken care of, that tends to be the same woman that runs into infertility issues.

Dr. Whitney: Right. Right. It’s amazing how you can really paint the path when a problem’s not fixed. And that path is usually not in a good direction. It results in other health issues or obstacles down the road. And so, just take that system and now multiply the problem.

Dr. Bryan: So, I guess that’s kinda potentially some foreshadowing of how you went from kids, raising healthy kids, to symptoms that develop in kids, to gosh we need to trace this up the ladder and make sure that a woman that’s pregnant understands how to care for herself from day one.

Dr. Whitney: Right. Absolutely. It affects her and then it also then actually affects her baby in utero. Dr. Bryan: And her husband.

Dr. Whitney: And her husband, right, right? Yeah. It’s a side note, but I love taking care of pregnant women because they’re just happier. They just sleep better and they are not in so much pain and they just feel better overall, so.

How to make healthy food easier for your kids

Dr. Bryan: So, those are some cool little nuggets that you’ve shared so far about raising healthy kids or raising a healthy family. Have you found over the years that it’s difficult for your kids? Have they ever come home and say, “Mom, like everybody else in their lunch box has these fun foods and we get nothing!” right?

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. We still have that battle to this day. So …

Dr. Bryan: How do you handle it? What do you say?

Dr. Whitney: Just education. You know, I start out with my fun education spiel about, “This is what it’s doing to your body,” and, you know, they’re old enough now where they roll their eyes, but they hear me. They hear me because then I see them grabbing the right snacks, especially when they’re playing sports now, and they’re understanding how it affects their body.

It’s always a conversation, it’s always a bit of a battle, but with enough repetition and just adding some funness to it, they’re starting to really see it, and then just being the example also of what I eat to help them.

So, it’s a conversation, it’s open, it’s fun, I get rolling of the eyes, but at the same time I’m just truthful and honest with them, and I just tell them, “Hey, this is what this is doing to you.”

Occasional celebrations are OK as exceptions

Dr. Bryan: And, look. Truth be told, we still have some celebrations where kids get a chance to experience these things. N raising healthy kids I don’t want them to feel like they’re left out, your kids shouldn’t feel that way either. But, it can’t be the norm, it can’t be what they live on 24/7, because we’ve seen way too many children get sick because that is the norm.

Dr. Whitney: Yes. You’re right. And that’s where I go back to that 80% rule. 80% of the time, I can get them to understand or this is what you’re packing, this is what you’re doing, then that other 20% is the other part, is the celebration, is the fun, is the birthday parties, whatever it may be.

Dr. Bryan: ‘Cause you have to fast-forward, what do you want your life to look like many, many, many years later? So, for instance if you have kids and you can picture the time in your life when you’re a grandparent, and you’re gonna have a table full around with people at Thanksgiving time, and you have a chance to actually have developed a family that’s very healthy and vibrant, or the exact opposite. If you take some sense of responsibility for raising healthy kids and a healthy family in the beginning, then the likelihood of you experiencing that later is really strong. But if you don’t, it’s probably gonna be tough.

Dr. Whitney: Right. You just, you can’t make up that … I’m not saying it’s impossible, but to make up that time with the leadership and the influence that you could have in a good way, that’s just lost time. Yeah.

Being open-minded, but savvy

Dr. Bryan: Any other gems you wanna share regarding just the basics of introducing the concept of raising healthy kids and a healthy family?

Dr. Whitney: I would say be open-minded, that’s the biggest thing in our day and age, is you’ve gotta be open-minded, you’ve gotta be savvy.

So, find a support network, like I love it how different moms in our community and in our practice connect, because they’re like-minded.

They’re looking at all the options including natural healthcare. And then find the natural healthcare practitioners, especially if you wanna go in that direction, maybe you’re not in a hundred percent in every category, but you just say, “You know what? I want an expert in my life that’s gonna help me and guide me.” That’s the other thing.

Asking questions and modeling good observed behaviors

Dr. Bryan: So, don’t be afraid to ask questions. And, the other thing what I’m hearing you say is, model some behavior that’s out there. You see people that are already living or doing what you want to live and do, then inevitably model their behavior and don’t be afraid to ask.

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dr. Bryan: Well, thank you so much for sharing just some of the foundational principles of raising healthy kids and a healthy family. We’ll go deeper on further episodes in regards to specifics that we can share, that people will benefit from. But today, I think the message is, you as the leader of your own house are responsible for making sure that your family and that your kids are raised in a healthy way. And it doesn’t happen by accident.

So, don’t be afraid to go after the answers and become a healthy leader.

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