It is alarming that recent medical statistics and projections predict that the children of today will be the first in recorded history to have a life-expectancy shorter than that of the generation before them.
Chronic degenerative disease processes are to where the fingers are being pointed; the causes of which are multi-factorial. Environment (air/food/water), physical activity and nutrition are key players. Many may argue that genetics are strongly responsible… but genetics often only supply a predisposition to a particular disease process of taking place, if provided with the right internal environment.
We can make educated choices to improve our environment; carpool, air filters, organically grown produce, filtered water, supporting sustainable energy resources, etc. And we can be more active with our children; getting outside, going to the pool, skating, skiing, hiking, soccer, etc. Of particular great concern to me is the current state of childhood nutrition. I have each of my patients complete a 7-day ‘food intake’ form between our first and second visits… and I am becoming ever more distressed by the information I am seeing in the charts of many of my child patients. Processed foods high in sugar & preservatives, low in fibre, meals lacking in vegetables, whole grains, quality fat or proteins. I do not believe that this is because parents do not care what their children are eating, but more that they do not necessarily know which food choices are healthy. We need to do more than simply be satisfied that our children are eating anything at all; we need to become more informed and provide guidance for them to ensure a strong, healthy childhood… and a disease-free future.
As a basic foundation for growing healthy children, INCLUDE...
Fish oils: high-quality (screened to ensure no heavy metal contamination); needed for healthy brain development, cognitive function and healthy cells of all kinds.
Multi-vitamin: purchase from a health food store or natural department of your local grocer or pharmacy. Select a chewable variety that contains no sugar, artificial colours or sweeteners; brush teeth afterwards. I highly recommend the product Juice Plus+ (direct sales).
Whole grains: brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet, rye, wild rice, wheat berries, kasha…
Fresh vegetables: focusing on colour, variety, raw or steamed
Water: children do not need sweet beverages. Fruit juices should be 100% pure juice… then dilute this 1:3 with water before giving to your child.
3 wholesome meals each day: including a nutrient-rich breakfast for their busy day ahead
Variety: introducing your children to a wide range of flavours at an early age can often ensure that they will maintain a palate for great-tasting, wholesome foods for years to come.
Structure: if children are able to dictate what they want to eat each day (and if it does not fall within these general guidelines) then whoever is providing them with their meals is offering them a great disservice which may echo for many decades to come.
Sugar: interferes with cognitive function, immune function, ability to focus, bone health…
Soda pop: contain an average of 10tsp of sugar per serving in addition to being high in phosphates but virtually devoid of calcium leading to a potential net loss in bone density; save these for occasional treats
Artificial colours/preservatives/additives: contribute to hyperactivity
MSG: monosodium glutamate contributes to hyperactivity… but it is also used by researchers to create obese mice for diabetes studies!
Artificial sweeteners: ie. aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium. Experiment with the natural sweetener stevia instead.
Fast food / convenience foods: high-fat, low nutrients, often high in sugar, colours and preservatives.
Recommended viewing: Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock
Did you know?!?! MSG can often be hidden in our foods under the generalized labeling of ‘natural flavours’ or ‘hydrolyzed vegetable protein’, to name a couple. Full disclosure on food labels is becoming more and more of a grey area in North America these days; to express your concern about this, or any other labeling issue, send a note to email@example.com.