I had three friends call me up this week for help/advice about their kids’ digestive troubles. This signals to me that many others must be having the same issues and it’s time for a blog post to share the knowledge!
First, my friend Cecile called me about her 10-year-old daughter, Megan. Megan had pretty much refused to eat for most of week. She said that everything she ate hurt and that Megan had no appetite. Cecile told me that she looked very pale and at times green, during a pain episode. Their doctor had already ordered a gliadin test (for gluten allergy) and hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying red blood cells) test. Megan’s bowel movements were normal in texture and frequency and there was no blood in the stool, toilet bowl or left on the toilet paper. Here’s what I told Cecile:
If the child (or adult) is experiencing significant pain after eating, that usually means there is inflammation present. Now, the gastrointestinal tract may be inflamed for any number of reasons, and it takes time and testing to figure out what exactly are the underlying causative elements.
What’s Wrong With GI Exploratory Tests?
The medical treatment route at this point is usually to perform invasive GI exploratory tests (endoscopy, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, barium swallow, etc.) to determine the actual physical markers. Personally, if it were my child, I would never submit to these tests unless every previous indicator (starting with blood tests) pointed to cancer. And even then, with my knowledge base, I would try other natural treatments first.
The reason you don’t want to rush your child into the GI exploratory tests is that firstly, they are seriously traumatic and frightening for the child. And in many cases, painful. Secondly, the GI tests significantly alter the bacterial flora in the gut and leave it wide open to secondary infection – in many cases, the scope itself infects the colon. In the case of colonoscopies, the colonoscope itself can cause colitis (called gluteraldehyde-induced colitis).
So your child may not have had Crohn’s or colitis initially, but by the time the gastroenterologist gets done with him, he may have. Download my What You Need To Know About Colonoscopy eBook for all the details (from peer-reviewed medical publications) on the risks of these supposedly “standard” procedures and what you can do before and afterward to protect your child (or yourself) if you truly need to have one done.
So, in my personal opinion, there is no need to have any medical exploratory tests done at this point (unless your gut is telling you otherwise) and Cecile has plenty of time to figure out what’s causing Megan’s intestinal inflammation/pain.
Usually, intestinal inflammation and pain is caused by one or a combination of these factors:
- Pathogenic (disease-causing) bio-terrain in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
- Food allergy or food intolerance
- Stressful or upsetting emotional component
- A standard western diet
- Constipation or spastic colon
Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these causative factors…
1. Pathogenic bio-terrain in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This means too much (overgrowth, or infection) bad bacteria, yeast/Candida, fungal organisms or hybrids, viruses, etc. and not enough good bacteria (probiotics).
2. Food allergy or more often, food intolerance. Food intolerance is a tricky thing to nail down, because children often have tolerance thresholds for a particular substance. For example, if Joey is intolerant to wheat, he may be okay to have one wheat-containing item twice a week, but if he goes above that, he gets symptoms. Or, he might be okay if the wheat item does not contain yeast, but add the wheat and yeast together and it tips him over his threshold. This is why careful, methodical testing is necessary and yes, this is VERY difficult.
It is so much easier to take the drug your doctor wants to give you to suppress your child’s symptoms. But know that this will just force the damage deeper into the child’s body. If your child’s body is sending clear messages, “don’t feed me wheat,” but you give him a drug to suppress the messages, the damage from the wheat will continue. You will just be unaware of it until it has built to the level where it is going to burst forth in full force – in this way a food allergy or intolerance develops over time into irritable bowel syndrome, or asthma, excema, or if other factors are also present, into colitis, or Crohn’s.
As with everything else involved in raising a child, there are no shortcuts: pay now, or pay later. If you don’t put the time and work in now to figure out what the actual, underlying causative problem is (and no, your standard MD is not interested, nor trained to do this) it will just bite you in the butt big-time later. And your child’s suffering will be exponentially increased. Believe me, I help thousands of people a year heal themselves from digestive diseases and if you let it get to the colitis, Crohn’s or diverticulitis stage, you have a hard road ahead. A holistic Healing Journey may seem very difficult initially, but it is nothing compared to the never-ending drugs/surgery/hospital route of the medical system.
Just remember when testing for food allergies/intolerances, you need to completely eliminate the suspect for a minimum of 10 days – then reintroduce it to test. My book, The IBD Remission Diet tells you how to do this (following a bowel rest diet to clear allergens) and has a Food Reintroduction chart to guide you step-by-step. If you don’t need the bowel rest diet (see below), there are plenty of instructions on allergy testing and food reintroduction on the Internet.
3. A stressful, or upsetting emotional component. The gut is the “second brain,” (a book with this title has been written by an MD), there is an entire field now established to study the brain/gut/emotional connection called pyschoneurogastroenterology. Go and watch my Healing Journey Movie and at the end you can download a teleseminar I did with Dr. Gabor Mate (MD) all about this topic, called When The Body Says No (named after his amazing book of the same title). You really need to get this and understand that ANY gut issue is also the child simultaneously crying out for help. Most likely, your child doesn’t consciously know what’s wrong, or doesn’t know how to articulate it. Again, you have to be the detective and lead your child on the path of exploration into his emotions, stressful events, fears, etc.
Cecile embraced this component and identified that Megan was being bullied at school and was also carrying stress due to the family’s financial troubles. A meeting with the school teacher and principal ensued and then lots of talking and explaining to Megan about their finances and their plan for moving forward. This helped Megan to feel safe and relax, rather than continually picking up and carrying the “money stress” vibes in the family.
Once children know clearly what’s going on and that there’s a plan in place (for which they may have good insights and ideas to contribute – I know mine usually do!) their stress levels usually drop and they feel more safe and that someone’s in control. For more serious issues, or traumatic events, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a fabulous tool you can learn yourself – the Basic Training Manual is available at no charge – or you can take your child to a therapist. My kids actually ask me to do EFT for them now, since they’ve seen repeatedly how effective it is.
4. A standard western diet. If your child is eating what all of his peers eat, you are damaging his gut daily and not providing him with the building blocks for a healthy body. No, I am not exaggerating. Our “normal” diet and consequent health is so poor, that we have lost perspective on what a normal, healthy child actually looks like – because there are hardly any left! The “average” child gets sick with colds or flus 12 times a year. Medical doctors tell you this is normal. But for people who are feeding their kids diets that promote and protect health (along with protective supplements like probiotics, vitamin D and cod liver oil, whilst minimizing environmental pollutants like pesticides and WiFi radiation), their kids are sick about 1-3 times per year – and in my experience, recover in 1/5 – 1/3 of the time a “normal” child takes.
See the end of this article for the standard Health Maintenance Diet that all kids (and adults!) should follow to get the pathogenic elements out of your standard western diet. For specific dietary help, for more complicated circumstances, you can visit the article database at: www.WestonAprice.org for more in-depth info and guidelines. Or if your child already has IBS or IBD, then you’ll need the specific Healing Diets in my book, Listen To Your Gut.
5. Constipation or spastic colon. Many children are constipated – having less than 1 bowel movement per day – and their parents are not aware of it. When your child is old enough that you no longer have to wipe their bum, it’s unlikely you’ll keep track of their daily bowel movements (1 – 3 bowel movements per day is normal).
It’s also unlikely that your child will notice, or, know that it is a problem if they are not having a bowel movement every day. For many children, asking them is not enough. You have to get them to show you the evidence before they flush, so you can tell for sure that this is not an issue.
Matthew was a child who held his poo for up to 2 weeks, even though this resulted in tremendous pain. And he would not tell his Mum either, despite being an honest child in other respects. Why? Because he did not want to interrupt his playtime to go have a bowel movement!
So he trained his bowels to hold his poo and eventually trained his bowels to not even signal him when they needed to evacuate. There were a few other complicating factors here, like not enough vegetables and healthy fats, and Matthew was not getting enough quiet time each day – because his Mum was a very busy, on-the-go person.
So again, something apparently simple, like constipation, actually has several layers of causality when you take the time to investigate properly – instead of just taking a drug to “fix” the problem. If your child (or you) suffers from constipation, or spastic colon, you should get me book specifically for this, called Listen To Your Colon, and it will guide you through examining and treating all the different aspects that could be causing constipation, or spastic colon (where constipation alternates with diarrhea).
So now that we know what usually causes intestinal inflammation, what are the steps needed to get on the pathway to healing childhood tummy pains?
1. Elimination (Bowel Rest) Diet – if your child’s pain or loss of appetite is severe (as in the case of Megan) the fastest, easiest way to both heal and test for food intolerances is to put the child on an clearance diet (to provide bowel rest) and then introduce foods one by one to test for food allergies or intolerances. Depending on your child’s palate, a bowel rest diet can consist of one, or several of these:
a) Absorb Plus – this is a pre-digested, elemental shake I formulated specifically for people with inflammatory bowel disease. I used this formula to heal myself when I was 99 pounds (normal weight is 130) and hemorrhaging from my colon. There’s lots of free reports and usage instructions on the Absorb Plus website, or you can get my book that details everything step-by-step: The IBD Remission Diet.
b) Raw (unpasteurized) cow, goat or camel milk – type in “raw milk” in the search box on this blog or my website and it will pull up all the articles I’ve written on this – including podcasts, teleseminars and videos where I go on a Raw Milk Diet. The key points to implement are to make sure the milk is from pasture-fed animals only (not kept in a barn and/or grain-fed) and that the farmer tests regularly for pathogens to ensure the milk is healthy. Raw goat milk is the most similar in composition to human breast milk, but it is not so good for weight gain and many kids can’t tolerate the taste. Raw camel milk is also usually well-tolerated, but can be difficult to find – do an Internet search. If you use raw cow’s milk, also give magnesium once per day if needed to facilitate bowel movements (raw cow’s milk contains a lot of calcium; great for bones and teeth but it can slow down the bowels in susceptible people, especially when consumed exclusively).
c) Raw vegetable juices – this is harder to do with kids since they usually don’t have the palate to tolerate veggie juices. Sure, you can add a bit of apple or carrot to improve the taste, but if you add too much then you’re feeding your child a high sugar diet, which will increase Candida albicans (yeast infection) and bad bacteria. If your child will drink veggie juice, then add a scoop of whey protein from grass-fed cows, or a clean veggie protein to provide the protein needed for wound repair, muscle development and growth.
d) Free-form amino acid shake – If your child is completely allergic to dairy (remember, the whey protein Absorb Plus has the most common allergenic milk components removed – casein protein and lactose – so is often fine for people with a dairy allergy) or doesn’t like veggie protein shakes, then you can use just a natural free-from amino acid product like Nutramed. But keep in mind, that your child will not gain weight (and may even lose weight) on a free-form amino acid product. So if your child is underweight, or needs to be on a bowel rest diet for more than a week, you may want to try Absorb Plus, or raw milk, or vegetable juice with protein added, first.
If you’re going to use elemental shake products other than the ones given here, be sure and read the ingredient list carefully: If there is too much oil (often listed as triglycerides or MCTs) it can cause the intestines to spasm (even in a healthy person!), if there is a lot of sugar (often listed as corn syrup, corn solids, glucose, etc.) it will just increase pathogenic (bad) yeast and bacteria. If there are artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, it will be just one more product that is degrading your child’s health. Lastly, you need to check the protein sources in these products – if they contain casein, or whey concentrate, or soy, then they are highly likely to be a cause of allergic reaction.
Along with whichever daily nutrient source you choose to use, you also need to give your child Bone Broths (click this link for the explanation and recipe) as the gelatin is key in healing the mucosal lining of the gut. Absorb Plus also contains plenty of L-glutamine and other key amino acids specifically targeted to heal the intestines.
2. Medical Blood Work – Gluten allergy (gliadin) test and basic blood work (hemoglobin, iron stores, vitamin D and if possible, mineral levels). Gluten allergy is increasingly rapidly among both children and adults, so get this tested right off the bat to know whether you’re dealing with Celiac disease. Megan’s gluten test came back negative – she is not allergic to gluten – however, there is still a good likelihood that she is gluten intolerant, or intolerant to wheat. Her father decided to test this and gave her some toast while Mum was out – Megan immediately went into intestinal agony that lasted 16 hours.
3. Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps the body combat just about any disease and improves viral immunity, so it’s very important to know whether your child is getting enough vitamin D3 and in the right form, here’s lots more information on dosing with Vitamin D and Cod Liver Oil – fish oil and good fats (see Diet below) are also crucial for intestinal health.
4. High Dose Probiotic Supplementation – children need 1/2 tsp of each Natren powdered probiotic (mix in milk, yoghurt, pudding or non-acidic juice) – Megadophilus, Bifido Factor, Digesta-Lac (if you want to be extra-sure, add Life Start as well) per day. The Natren powders come in dairy-based or dairy-free formulations – the dairy-based is milder tasting and mixes undetectably in yoghurt. If your child is old enough to swallow capsules, then you can also give capsules instead – unless there are heartburn or esophageal issues, then stick with the powders. Detailed dosage/usage instructions are in any of my books, or you can download my eBook, What You Need To Know About Probiotics.
5. Magnesium Supplementation – Magnesium is needed to both relax the muscles (the stomach and intestines are muscular organs) and blood vessels. So magnesium both relaxes stomach cramping/spasming and loosens the bowel in cases of constipation. However, if your child is already having multiple bowel movements, or suffers from spastic colon (constipation, then diarrhea), then use nanoparticle-sized magnesium instead of normal magnesium citrate, since it does not require digestion and bypasses the digestive tract – yet you still get all the benefits of magnesium.
It is also crucial that you take extra magnesium if you are taking Vitamin D3 as the body needs magnesium to convert Vitamin D from its storage form to its active form. Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND maintains this is why many people do not feel the benefits from Vitamin D3 – because they are simultaneously giving themselves ill effects by provoking magnesium deficiency.
How Long Should My Child Stay On A Bowel Rest (Clearance) Diet?
In Megan’s case, Cecile got the single-serving, 3-flavor sample pack of Absorb Plus and Megan liked the Chocolate Royale, so they decided to use Absorb Plus to provide bowel rest. When Cecile tucked Megan into bed and they had their quiet time together, she asked Megan to close her eyes, place her hand on her tummy, take some deep breaths, and ask her body how long she needed to stay on Absorb Plus and chicken broth. Megan said, “Six days.”
Cecile was blown away by this, but also thrilled. The added bonus of having the child direct the treatment, is the child then provides most of the motivation to stick to the diet. I told Cecile that healing takes a lot of energy. So whilst she could put Absorb Plus in a thermos for Megan to take to school, she should let Megan decide whether she wanted to go to school during the six days, or stay home and rest.
By the end of six days, Cecile said Megan was feeling fantastic, she’d been “eating” lots of Absorb Plus shakes and organic chicken broth and when she began eating regular food, she had no pain and had a huge appetite. I warned Cecile to take it easy though with the Food Reintroduction though, as too much too soon can trigger old issues. It’s key not to lose self-discipline at this point, because the child is feeling so good, but to stick with the slow, methodical food testing.
It was at this point that Megan’s father gave her wheat toast and she reverted instantly back into pain and refusal to eat. I advised Cecile (after commiserating with her frustration and desire to pummel her husband) to put Megan back on Absorb Plus and chicken broth and get things calmed down again – likely it would take only a few days this time. Then go back to the careful process of Food Reintroduction – and by the way, wheat is a Stage Four (final stage) food to test. Again, detailed instructions on how to use Absorb Plus to provide bowel rest and then reintroduce foods to test for allergies are in my book, The IBD Remission Diet.
For most children with no bleeding or anemia (which can often signal hidden bleeding), 7 – 10 days is a sufficient time on the bowel rest diet to calm inflammation and clear allergens. For people with a diagnosis of IBD, colitis or Crohn’s, the duration varies between 3 weeks and 6 weeks (in stubborn Crohn’s cases, up to 3 or 4 months). Diverticulitis usually requires the person stay on the liquid diet for the length of time it takes for the infection to subside, or the blockage to clear, plus an extra few days just to cement the healing.
When Cecile started Megan on the Absorb Plus shakes she also started giving her the probiotics – you can mix (by hand, do not use a blender as it will damage the bacteria) them into the shakes and give once per day (or twice if you really want to speed up the good flora process). I told Cecile that she must keep going with 1/2 tsp of each probiotic even after Megan was back on regular food and continue at this dosage for at least one year.
For my family, my kids have had no digestive issues but I give them probiotics ongoing (sometimes daily, sometimes every 2 or 3 days), they also drink raw cow’s milk (contains probiotics and enzymes) and eat ice cream made from raw milk and raw cream. Their cheese is also made from raw milk (widely available now throughout the US and Canada).
Once a gut flora has been compromised, it takes a long time to bring it back to the levels where it can actually be protective. As Megan continues on the probiotics, she will gradually be able to eat more foods, or increase her tolerance thresholds, as her digestive and absorptive capabilities improve. I have plenty of information on why it is crucial to give Natren probiotics – yes they are expensive, but nothing else we’ve tested provides the same efficacy, nor shows (via stool sampling) that the gut flora has actually improved.
Natren are available in high quality health or organic stores (or they can order them in for you) – just make sure they have been kept refrigerated at all times to preserve their potency. If you’re going to buy them online, you need to buy only from vendors that store them in a refrigerator and provide refrigerated shipping – otherwise, again, you are not getting what you pay for.
Check For Constipation
Constipation is also on the rise among children and once your kids start going poo on their own, they often won’t tell you when they start going only once every 2 or 3 days. Also, they may not be aware that they are only passing small amounts of stool and never having a complete evacuation. So it is important to ask AND have your child show you their stool after every bowel movement for a few weeks.
Constipation can also cause tummy pain and loss of appetite, so this may be a quick-fix and worth checking into first, if your child has those symptoms. If your child is seriously constipated (where occasional magnesium citrate or dietary changes are not sufficient) then I recommend you get my book on natural healing for constipation: Listen To Your Colon, which has specific instructions for treating constipation in children after every section – or at least download the free stuff available there on the site and watch the helpful videos.
If your baby is constipated, then this article may be enough to provide you with a solution: Constipation Protocol For Babies
My friend Laura found this was the case with her son, Nicholas – he was constipated, but had never said anything about it until she questioned him specifically. Nicholas was seven years old and he was complaining of tummy pains, his appetite was diminished (but still present), he wasn’t sleeping well and he had a rash on his face and leg that just wasn’t going away.
Assess WiFi Exposure
I went through all of these points with Laura, but the sleep disturbances and rash also hinted there may be another complicating element at work. Sure, both these symptoms can be caused by an unbalanced (pathogenic) gut flora and hence constipation, but they can also be caused by microwave radiation – in the form of WiFi, cell phones, cordless phones, iPads, Wii, PlayStation3, etc. exposure. Again, I have done plenty of blogging and videos about this very hidden pathogen that most people have never even considered – just type “WiFi Radiation” into the search box on my blog and it will pull up the relevant info for you. Or just go directly to this excellent teleseminar I did with international expert, Magda Havas, PhD
Nicholas is considered a high-exposure case since his parents have cordless phones and wireless Internet at home, his school is a very high WiFi environment, with every student working on a laptop. He also has a Wii in the home that is played regularly and both his parents use cellphones.
Considering that microwave radiation (microwave radio frequency waves) could be causing her son’s health problems was a big leap for Laura to make – particularly since she works for a telecommunications company! So, I suggested that she start by implementing some easy testing and see if his symptoms changed.
I suggested that she at least give him a low intensity EMR environment during the night – by unplugging all the cordless phones and the wireless internet and the Wii from the wall. It is not enough to just turn these devices off (I have personally tested this) as they will continue to transmit radiation – even if the power light is off. In many cases, you may have to actually phone your internet service provider and get them to turn off WiFi at source (and switch to cable Internet) in order to stop the transmission. If you have a DECT baby monitor then throw it in the garbage as this is a major cause of sleep disturbance in infants.
Whether this will be enough of a reduction in electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure to make a difference to Nicholas’ health, remains to be seen. Coincidentally, one of the girls in my weekly art class is in Grade 11 at the same school Nicholas goes to. After she came to class repeatedly complaining of a headache, or stomachache, I asked her how many of her friends at school suffered the same symptoms. She thought for a bit and said, “Everyone.”
Is this due to a high stress environment at school, or microwave radiation both at school and at home? Until you test it, you cannot know. My point is, that until we do know, we should hardwire all the computers at schools and ban cellphones on school grounds – why are we experimenting blindly with our children’s health?
Again, currently there is not enough awareness of biological (cellular) effects of non-ionizing (non-heating) radiation – so don’t expect your doctor to connect the dots on this one. You will just have to eliminate all possible factors, including wireless radiation exposure and see what results in a reduction or disappearance of symptoms.
An adult friend of mine developed severe IBS and through a process of elimination discovered it was caused solely by the WiFi internet in her home office. The kicker is that she thought she was on cable, but the telco had turned on WiFi without even notifying or asking her. When she had the telco turn off the WiFi at source, her symptoms disappeared. Unfortunately though, she has now been rendered electrohypersensitive and so has to shield herself using radiation blocking cloth – particularly over her head – wherever she goes. There are many stories like this and if this sounds familiar, then you need to get active in pushing for governments to force industry to make these technologies safe.
The good news is, if you implement all the health-protective measures recommended in this article, you will at least be giving your child’s body support to repair the cellular damage from WiFi and to reduce his susceptibility.
Do You See Any Blood With Bowel Movements?
If there is a small amount of blood loose in the toilet bowel, streaking the poo, or on the toilet paper after wiping. First check whether it is due to a rectal fissure or tear, or hemorrhoids. You can either get your doctor to check first for anal tearing (anal fissure), be sure to bring along comfrey salve to use as the lubricant – it’s very healing, or you can just try some FissureHeal suppositories, or comfrey applied inside the anus with a finger tip or Q-tip and see if this takes care of the problem first.
If your child’s stool is hard, or large, be sure to apply comfrey, or insert a FissureHeal suppository (break off a 1/2″ piece – no need to use the entire suppository) prior to a bowel movement to prevent further tearing. Then apply/insert again at night for maximum undisturbed healing.
If you suspect internal or external hemorrhoids, then see my hemorrhoid remedy, HemorrHeal, for relief.
If bleeding is moderate to severe and occurs several times a day (often accompanied by loose stools) then you need to get my comprehensive book of treatments (over 500 pages), Listen To Your Gut. Again, you do not need a medical diagnosis to begin treatment using Listen To Your Gut, since all the treatments are based on symptoms – which you can easily define yourself.
If your doctor is insisting on a colonoscopy to check for possible cancer, then have her give your child all the non-invasive cancer tests first – like the blood tests, ultrasound, etc. Then decide whether there is any real need for a colonoscopy.
If you have any questions – but please be aware that I legally cannot give personal health advice – just leave them in the COMMENTS section below.
JINI’S HEALTH MAINTENANCE DIET
To keep your children healthy and maintain good bowel health on an ongoing basis, make the following dietary guidelines their normal, regular diet. In fact, everyone in your family should follow these guidelines:
• No processed, pre-packaged foods. It doesn’t matter if it’s organic; if it comes in a package on a shelf, the nutrients have usually been compromised or denatured – boxed breakfast cereal with extruded grains are a good example of this.
• No foods containing preservatives, nitrates & nitrites (these have actually been banned by the FDA, as they are so carcinogenic to the gut, but the meat industry refused to comply and so they are still in all your commercial hot dogs and deli meats), monosodium glutamate (MSG – it interferes with neural functioning), carrageenan (large quantities have been used to induce Ulcerative Colitis in guinea pigs and primates), or anything else that sounds like a manufactured chemical compound.
• No margarine or butter substitutes – often treated with chemical solvents and bleaches, resulting in deformed, highly toxic, trans-fatty acids. Even the cold-pressed margarines are not good as your body doesn’t need so much of those oils, and they prevent you from using butter – which your body needs a lot of. Use real butter (preferably made from raw, organic milk), cold-pressed virgin olive oil, or unrefined coconut oil instead. Do not use regular mayonnaise either – only mayonnaise made from cold-pressed oils.
• No artificial sweeteners of any kind (like aspartame, nutrasweet, saccharine, splenda, sucralose, acesulfame-K, etc.) – these are toxic and proven to cause memory loss, can also be highly addictive and contribute to hyperactivity and seizures in some people. No artificial colors or flavors – especially since the introduction of neural flavor blockers and enhancers.
• No pasteurized milk products; milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, etc. Raw milk products are okay and actually promote health, but pasteurized or ultra heat-treated (UHT) dairy products must be strictly avoided. For more info on the health benefits of raw milk, or to find a supplier in your area: www.realmilk.com
• Keep your sugar intake as low as you can. Use stevia, honey, rapadura sugar, molasses, maple syrup instead when you need sweetness. Here are some healthy treat recipes to get you started. I teach my kids to save their sugar for when it counts – this means you only have a sugar item when you REALLY want it and then you stop eating as soon as you’re not super lovin’ it.