The key to your child’s optimal development & health
now and for the future.
For optimal growth and development a child needs many things. Love, food, water, and air are among the basics that contribute to a child’s wellbeing and most parents want only the best for their children.
In the 13 years that I have worked with parents to improve the quality of their children’s health and mental function, I have watched as parents do their best to provide for their children. I have also watched as parents struggle to figure out why their child has health, behavioral or learning challenges. From this experience I have learned two things:
- As a society we have forgotten the role that nutrients from food play in the body and especially, in the body of a developing child.
- The food that is readily available today is having a profoundly negative affect on the health and wellbeing of our children and most people are unaware of this link.
The failure for parents to connect their child’s health to what they are eating became extremely evident to me one day when a longstanding client of mine walked into my office with her son who was holding a Taco Bell bag. As she watched my eyes follow the bag, she said “Oh don’t worry. I didn’t have any. I just got it for the kids after school.” She had brought him to see me because he was having seizures. I had been working with her long enough for her to know about the toxins and lack of nutrients in fast food; why did she think it was okay to feed it to her son? Had nothing I said made an impact? Was I doing something wrong? How was it that she understood the relationship food had to her own health, but somehow felt her son was immune?
The light went on for me. I had been educating parents about nutrition assuming that once they learned the basic principles they would then apply them to their children. Instead they were operating under the assumption that their children were somehow not affected by what they ate. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I have come to learn that many parents falsely believe that children can eat whatever they want with no negative consequences as their young bodies are resilient. It’s true that our bodies are amazing at doing the best they can with what they have. They can exist for years in sub-optimal conditions without any sign of a problem. Short of starving your child, you can feed them a very nutrient lacking diet and they will still grow. However, growth and thriving are two different things.
In order to thrive, a body needs nutrients from foods. These nutrients are used to meet the body’s daily needs and to support the eliminations of toxins that will make us sick if they stay in our bodies. Nutrients also are needed to build and repair new tissue. They are used not only to keep us alive, but also to build stores for later times in life. They are the foundation from which every cell in your body is made, and when they are lacking symptoms and disease develops.
The misconception that children can eat whatever they want completely undermines their future health. The best analogy is that of a building. A gorgeous new building can be erected but if shoddy materials are used, the sparkling façade will soon crumble. When quality materials are used and the foundation is properly set, the building will survive long into the future. What children eat in their youth sets their body up to resist disease now and in adulthood. Feed them junk and they will crumble, but feed them whole foods that build up their stores of nutrients and their bodies will thrive.
Unfortunately, the lack of solid nutrition in children’s diets is now showing up sooner rather than later. We have arrived at a place where poor nutrition is so common that it and its consequences are becoming the norm. I recently had a young girl come into my clinic who was experiencing chest pains. Her doctor told her not to worry because many of the teenage girls he was seeing as patients had chest pains; it was “normal.” We found lead in her system and that she was lacking much-needed minerals. We supported her body to eliminate the lead, and gave her whole food minerals. Her chest pains went away never to return.
Headaches, recurring injuries, “growing pains,” learning difficulties, behavioral challenges and other issues facing an alarming number of youth are signs that your child’s body is struggling. And, while these symptoms may be common, they are far from normal.
I have seen so many children who are seeing specialists for injuries, joint problems, back pain, and even dental issues. Parents assume their children experience these issues “just because” they are playing hard or their backpack is too heavy. In most cases when we change what kids eat, they stop needing the specialist. By simply cleaning out the toxins that have built up from poor dietary habits and by adding a diet filled with nutrition, their aches and pains go away, their injuries heal, and their brains calm down and function better.
Sometimes environmental factors contribute to a child’s health as well, making proper nutrition even more important. I had a 13 year old girl come to my clinic whose mother was very concerned because the girl’s shoulder bone had multiple hairline fractures. They had been told by a surgeon that if it did not heal then this young girl would require shoulder replacement surgery. I tested her and found she had chlorine affecting her body. Her mother’s jaw dropped. As it turned out, the girl was on the water polo team and swam in a chlorinated poor three hours a day. While the ideal situation would have been for her to stop the chlorine exposure, water polo was this girl’s passion, so I set about helping her body eliminate the excess chlorine. We put her on a nutritious whole food diet and added a few supplements to support bone growth. Within six months her bone had grown back to normal health. Her surgeon was amazed! I am told that she went on to play on the Olympic water polo team.
These are just a few of the amazing stories I see every day.
Making dietary changes can feel difficult. Let’s face it, children put up a fight and resist change. But, as parents, it is our responsibility to find ways to change our children’s dietary habits BEFORE diseases sets in and before it’s too late.
If you read in your children’s cafeteria menu that the lunch for the day is a bowl of aluminum, with some arsenic, some antifreeze, a little titanium, and some sugar would you send them with money to buy lunch? I am certain you would answer NO!
These toxins may not be on the label, but they, or something like them are more often than not in the food that is being served to young people and that is readily, quickly and easily available.
Transitioning from a diet of what is readily available to one that is filled with the nutrients your child needs may take some adjustments; it may add a little extra time, costs and pain associated with poor health issues, in the end, it is the most cost-effective, time saving and loving thing you can do for your children.
Article written by Cari Schaefer.