The Livewell Clinic - September 2018

SEPTEMBER 2018 LEDGER THE KEY TO FAMILY HEALTH THE 13375 University Avenue, Suite 100, Clive, IA 50325||515.279.9900


If you have kids, you know how difficult it can be to keep them healthy in the age of fast food, aggressive advertising targeted at children, and the typical American diet. People always talk about how health habits can transfer from parents to children, but I actually frequently see the reverse process. We see tons of parents who come into our clinic as a last resort. After they’ve been bounced from doctor to doctor, without anybody offering any kind of lasting solution to their child’s serious issue, they come to us. As challenging as our functional medicine approach can be, once parents realize the incredible things it can do for their kid, adopting it for themselves is often a no-brainer. Many times, a parent will sit back and realize that, if they’re cooking healthy food for their kids, encouraging enough sleep, and reducing stress, they too could benefit from the same approach. When a family is truly committed to improving their health, the positive changes affect everyone’s lives. Of course, I do my best to practice what I preach with my own kids as well. The key, I’ve found, is not to yell at them until they eat their peas or ritualistically dole out medicines that will keep them healthy without telling them how, but to drill down to the “why?” behind our family’s health practices. I want my kids to thrive and grow, to develop in their early years with all the advantages that functional medicine can give them. At every juncture, I try to sit them down and explain to them why we eat the way we do, what their medicine actually does, and what’s going on in their bodies. I joke sometimes that my family talks about bowel movements all the time, but honestly, it’s not that far from the truth — the more normal we can make “health talk,” the better off the kids will be as they get older.

Every once in a while, our functional medicine approach gets us in trouble. For instance, it was pretty embarrassing when one time, in a group of people, somebody brought up Coca-Cola, and my young son tugged on my shirt and asked, “Dad, what’s ‘cocola’?” And I have to be pretty careful what I say when he comes home and asks me if I’ve heard of McDonald’s. I tell my patients that if they’re going to make a change, there’s going to be some resistance, but it’s important to take the right approach. Refrain from saying that it’s difficult or that the food tastes bad. Tell them instead that the food you’re giving them will help them be strong and healthy — or, like I tell many of my young patients, that it’s going to turn them into Superman. But whatever you do, make sure the whole family is on board. A holistic commitment from all of you prevents fights and conflict, gets everyone on the same team, and makes the process to better health totally seamless. It doesn’t have to be a crazy uphill battle.

317-776-9942 515.279.9 00 –Dr. Z a c Watki ns


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