Why Is My Kid Such a Picky Eater?

Post #4 in a series of 4 for managing picky eaters!  This is the final one for now.

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All of the advice so far has had to do with social dynamic issues that can be underlying picky eating.  Now in this post I’m shifting gears to talk about physiological concerns that can be part of the problem.

If you missed post 1, 2, and 3, go find them now… the links are at the bottom of this post

Now we’re going to bang off 3 physiological issues that might be underlying your picky eater and things you can try at home to re-balance things.

#1:  Picky Eaters and Nutrient deficiencies.

There are certain nutrients that are associated with hunger, satiety, taste and smell.  Zinc, B12, and B1 are the ones that have been most well researched.  You can do blood testing to find out, but I generally don’t think this is necessary.   For the zinc, your nutritionist or naturopath can do a “zinc tally” test which is a non invasive oral test to get a sense of zinc status.  However, supplementing with minerals is generally quite safe to do if your child is otherwise healthy.

TIP: take a look at your child’s fingernails.  Little white spots can indicate mineral deficiencies.  If you see that your picky child has a lot of these, this nutritional support might be the fix you need.

I have found that offering a broad spectrum of  mineral support generally works well.  Caution, though, because most multi-vitmains for children do not have sufficient amounts in them to correct deficiencies.  You want to go with quality here.  I suggest a broad spectrum of colloidal minerals in liquid form along with tissue salts and extra zinc.  If your child is also quite exhausted, add in the B12.

To see the supplements that I use and recommend, click here.  You can order here at a discounted price (as my thank you for reading my stuff!!).  It includes Dr Schuessler’s Melange tissue salts, Colloidal Multi Minerals, and Gammadyn Zinc and optional B12.

#2: Picky Eaters and Digestive insufficiency.

If you’ve read  my other blog posts, you’ll know I’m a bit of a digestive junkie.  Good digestion is paramount for health.  The consortium of bacteria, yeast, viruses and parasites in your gut help the body detoxify, regulate the immune system, digest food into useable nutrients, regulate your genetic expression… among other things.

Life “down there” can get out of balance very quickly.  Exposure to chemicals and second hand smoke, NSAIDs, antibiotics from food, water and medication, chlorine in swimming pools and drinking water – these are only some of the things that can start the spiral of “dysbiosis” (imbalanced gut ecosystem).

If your picky eater has a history of antibiotic use, frequent infections, developmental delays, chronic constipation or diarrhea, skin rashes, allergies, colic, or reflux correcting digestion might be the route you need to take.

Other classic symptoms of yeast overgrowth are: violent behaviour, inappropriate “maniacal” laughter, hyperactivity, looking “drunk”, tummy aches, bloated belly, bed wetting, inattentiveness, anger and aggression, high pitched squealing, athletes foot, persistent diaper rash

If you want a more solid diagnosis, a comprehensive stool analysis or organic acid test can be ordered.  These will show certain metabolites present in the urine or stool that indicate which yeast or bacteria are proliferating.  Your nutritionist or naturopath can order them.

In this case, the pickiness is not simple preference, this is physiological craving.  When a child has dysbiosis, he craves carbohydrates (sugar).  Sugar feeds yeast and bacteria.  So when those are proliferating in the gut, they call out for more, more, more.  They want to be fed.  What this looks like on the outside is a carbohydrate addiction – the child who only wants to eat plain pasta, white bread and crackers.  The child craves sugar, the child eats sugar, the yeast and bacteria proliferate, …leading to more intense sugar cravings.

The way to break the cycle is to feed the good bacteria and knock back the pathogenic bacteria and the yeast.   Probiotics and fermented foods are essential.  Sometimes, if it’s well established dysbiosis, an antifungal is needed to knock back the pathogens (Sporanox, or olive leaf extract or grapefruit seed extract, for example).  It will depend on your child.

When the gut is rebalance,  the pickiness often subsides.

Keep in mind that I’m presenting a very simplistic scenario here.  My intention is to provide some basic information for parents.  Try doing this rebalancing on your own.  But if it doesn’t work and you still see the symptoms I described alongside the pickiness, consult a practitioner who can create a solid individualized plan with you.

Here’s a post on a dietary intervention for more difficult dysbiosis cases: –> http://wp.me/p2PRgc-h5

Here’s a post about the importance of fermented foods and how they can be used to correct digestive imbalances.  –> http://wp.me/p2PRgc-7G

#3: Picky Eaters and Sensory Misreading or Poor Oral Motor Skills.

If this is the case, your child might be having difficulty learning how to manage their tongue, chewing, and swallowing.   If they haven’t learned how to do that, then they likely don’t want to eat much.

This type of thing is beyond my scope of practice.  You would need to be referred by your doctor to a speech therapist or occupational therapist with oral-motor training.

TIP: if your toddler can use a straw, this likely is not the problem.

That’s all for now!  Please comment about your experiences in the section below.  The picky eating phenomenon is epidemic!  Your experience and your questions can help other parents out a great deal, so please share….


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