Part Two - How Can Dancers Keep Healthy?
Last week we brought you Part One of an interview with Gold Coast naturopath Katrina Ellis, who so very generously shared her thoughts and knowledge regarding what our dance students need to fuel their active bodies. Our discussion about nutrients and nutrient deficiencies has totally raised my awareness of the healing role of vitamins and minerals. I am deeply grateful and delighted to be able to bring you Part Two of my interview with Katrina Ellis ND.
Children generally are picky eaters. How do you know if your child is lacking in a certain vitamin or mineral? What are the tell tale signs?
A symptom of zinc deficiency in children is fussiness and being picky with food, an iron deficiency creates apathy towards eating and darkness under the eyes and chromium deficiency causes kids to run for sugar or carbohydrates. At my health centre, we use a TGA approved medical device from Germany that can detect mineral deficiencies in a child within ten seconds – this allows us to pinpoint the exact mineral or vitamin problem. If you do not have access to something like this, it is important for parents to watch out for symptoms or signs of a deficiency:
Vitamin C deficiency causes easy bruising, injuries, colds and flus, frequent illness, easily tired
Magnesium deficiency causes cramps, sore muscles, moodiness, low energy, restless sleep
Iodine deficiency causes dreaminess, lack of focus, foggy thinking, low energy, weight gain
If your child is not her normal bubbly, effervescent and energised self (as children should naturally be) or they are not sleeping well, and are very moody and are just off, consistently, then the signs are pointing to a simple nutrient deficiency. There are pathology tests that can pinpoint the exact problem and correct it.
Is breakfast really the most meal of the day and what should our kids be eating?
For growing kids, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you are an athlete, which
dancers are, it is important to get at least 20 grams of protein in the morning, along with a mix of carbohydrates and good oils. Great breakfast choices include:
PROTEIN SHAKES – try coconut milk, banana, vegan protein powder, berries and a handful
of nuts and seeds
EGGS (fried, scrambled, omelette) with nitrate-free bacon, mushrooms and spinach
ACAI BOWLS – if these are made well with lots of protein rich nuts and seeds – then it can balance out the high sugar from the acai
ESSENE or SOURDOUGH TOAST with AVOCADO, CRUMBLED FETA, lemon juice, salt and pepper – a great start to the day with a protein shake or cold pressed juice
QUINOA or BUCKWHEAT PORRIDGE with raw honey, nuts and seeds, cacao powder, cinnamon and chopped fruit
EGG BURRITO – scrambled eggs, red capsicum and cheese wrapped up in a wheat-free wrap – YUM!
Everyone should be eating as much home-cooked and non-processed food as possible. If you are a busy mum like me, there are some incredible companies that deliver super healthy meals like YouFoodz and others. If you have time to cook, then make sure you use a little grass fed organic meats, local oily fish, organic vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. I love bone broths to build up a kids bones, digestive health and mental strength.
What kind of dancer snacks can you recommend? What should our students be eating before a dance lesson?
A handful of nuts and seeds like almonds, macadamia, brazil nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Ketogenic Dairy, Sugar and Gluten Free Energy Bars – these is high in natural oils, protein and low in carbohydrates – you can get yummy chocolate, choc-mint, salted caramel and other delicious flavours – they will give you nutrition and keep you full of energy in between classes
Banana, green apples, pomegranate – any high energy fruit is a great choice in between classes to pick up energy and provide nutrition.
Rebel Kitchen Coconut Milk Protein Drinks – not super high in protein, but a healthy carbohydrate drink.
Cheese and crackers, with celery sticks and hummus is an incredible snack.
Cacao Energy Balls – you can make your own easily – blend a vegan protein powder, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup or honey, cacao and shredded coconut – roll into balls and snack in between classes.
Tuna and crackers – super high in protein (brush your teeth after…)
How important is sleep to a growing dancer? How much sleep to our kids need?
Sleep is essential to the health of a growing child. All of a child’s healing occurs while they are sleeping and most of their human growth hormone is secreted while asleep. If a child does not get enough sleep, they lose out on growth and also healing of damaged or injured tissues. When a child is little, around five years, they need around 12 hours sleep to re-nourish their minds, body and soul. Around 10, sleep requirements can drop to around 10 hours and then in teenage years, around eight hours. Hours slept before midnight are twice as healing as the hours slept after midnight. What a child eats before bed will affect their dreams, restfulness, healing and ability to get into deep sleep where most of their healing and growth occurs. So make sure their last meal of the day is super nutritious and they drift off into a dreamy and healing deep sleep.
By Katrina Ellis N.D.
Naturopath, Herbalist, Iridologist, Nutritionist, Author
If you want to check your child’s minerals or need more information check out www.katrinaellis.com.au or call the Katrina Ellis Natural Health Centre on 0755363113