Once you are a parent, conversations around various types of poop become pretty common. We learn all about newborn poop, acceptable poop, worrisome poop, and as your kids get older the standard response to any sort of tummy trouble is generally: "When was the last time you pooped?"
I feel pretty lucky that we don't have too much drama in the area in my house. My two girls seem to be thriving and pooping well on their mostly vegan diet. However, that doesn't mean the occasional tummy bug won't rear it's ugly head, and then it's time to discuss the worst of all poops... diarrhea.
In addition to being gross and possibly inconvenient, diarrhea can be uncomfortable or even downright painful for our little ones. In the worst case scenarios, it can even be mildly dangerous as diarrhea can quickly dehydrate a little body. As a "crunchy" parent, I don't agree with most band-aid solutions that simply stop the symptoms of an uncomfortable situation, and even most doctors agree in this case, as antidiarrheal drugs have unpredictable consequences in children.
There are times when "the runs" need medical attention, and I leave that up to you decide where the line is for your child, but in general this is something to be treated at home. Most doctors will prescribe rehydration through something like Pedialyte or a Gatorade type drink, and a simple diet of easy to digest foods. Many refer to this as the BRAT diet, or Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Tea (or Toast). There are also homeopathic remedies available, and you can find some of those in Natural Baby and Childcare by Lauren Feder, M.D. (If you don't already have this book, I highly recommend it! A useful addition to any household with little ones.)
But I can't believe I don't hear more about the solution that I have found to be way more effective and easy to use! For my family, I always have tucked away in the back of my cupboard, a small bag of carob.
Carob is appealing to some in the health community because of its similar taste to chocolate, without the stimulating effects for those who are sensitive to cocoa or caffeine. Roasted carob seeds have even been used as a coffee substitute in Germany, as it has that deep, rich taste that coffee drinkers love. Carob is Relatively low in calories and high in Fiber. It is a great source of Vitamin A, B2, B3, and B6, and boasts a number of minerals including copper, calcium, manganese, potassium and magnesium.
But the reason I make sure to always, always have some carob on hand is for it's medicinal effects when it comes to uncomfortable tummy troubles. According to The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, "In addition to being a healthy alternative to chocolate, carob provides other benefits. In particular clinical studies have confirmed the use of carob for treating diarrhea. A double-blind clinical study has demonstrated that carob is useful for treating infants with diarrhea...
Carob's beneficial effects are due primarily to its tannins and large sugar molecules. Unlike many tannins, those found in carob are not water-soluble, so they don't bind to proteins and render them unavailable , as many tannins do. Instead, carob's tannins not only have an astringent or drying effect in the gastrointestinal system but also bind to and inactivate toxins and inhibit growth of bacteria. Its large sugar molecules make carob pulp gummy and able to absorb water and act as a thickener, helping to bind together watery stools. Taken with plenty of water, 15 grams of carob mixed with a little applesauce or mashed sweet potato provides a child-safe remedy. Adults should use at least 20 grams."
For my own home remedies, I have also made a drink similar to hot chocolate, by mixing carob powder with homemade almond milk and a little bit of raw honey or coconut sugar to taste. It works quickly and effectively, and my kids love the taste!
If you have any effective home remedies that are not commonly known, I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment below and let me know what your family does for the tummy troubles.