The Safety Of Natural Health For Children
The first question that comes to mind when it comes to a natural health program and kids is: Is it safe? The answer lies in what is meant by “natural health”. The human body does indeed possess an amazing ability to heal itself if left alone, and many times modern medicine can seem a bit impatient with the process. Panicked parents run off to the doctor at the first sign of fever (and who can blame them, really?), who immediately prescribes an antibiotic or perhaps a pain killer. The question of whether or not the child would get better on his own is never really considered.
The real answer to whether natural health is safe for children is whether or not the alternative is any safer. Vaccines can have serious side effects, along with any drugs introduced into a child’s body. Fast food and the standard fare for an American diet is practically a recipe for how to cause cancer. And the lack of exercise in many of today’s young children is well-documented by anyone who cares to research it. The fact is, what is safe for an adult in natural health is safe for a child, with only a few exceptions.
A Natural Health Diet For Children
Although few parents are ready to take the step of putting their child on a raw foods diet, anyone can take the following steps to make sure that their child is eating healthy, natural, and whole foods.
• Limit your child’s sugar intake. Not just in candy and sweets; check out the cereal box the next time you go to the grocery store. Is “high fructose corn syrup” one of the first two or three ingredients? Try putting it back, and getting something with whole wheat, whole or rolled oats instead. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to just check out the ingredients on a variety of foods your child eats daily. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a prime ingredient in many staple foods, and also a major source of sugar.
• Mix it up. Most of the time, kids’ diets are bleached-flour heavy. Bread, cereal, pasta, crackers…all these are made from white flour, which has most of the nutrients stripped from it in the processing. If you have to have grains, choose whole grains instead: whole wheat, oats, barley. Work some fresh fruits and vegetables in there—they’ve got enzymes in them that aid in proper digestion of food. Try legumes: they’re foods like peas, beans, and lentils.
A Holistic Approach To Children’s Health
The word “holistic” means to take the view of something as a whole, rather than dividing it into its respective parts. When it comes to health, this means taking into account the spiritual, emotional, and mental aspects of health, not just whether the physical body is functioning properly. With children, the best thing is to start with the basics:
• Teach them forgiveness. Without starting a war over the proper to discipline (or not to) a child, one very important aspect of conflict is forgiveness. Teach your child to come back and say sorry when they’ve done something wrong, and practice saying, “I forgive you,” (if the wrong was against you; if it was against someone else, have them say it to them). In this way they learn the value of forgiveness and being released from the wrong; without it, things tend to linger on.
• Let ’em play outside. The benefits of sunshine cannot be overstated. A study from King’s College in London showed that approximately 90% of the body’s requirement for vitamin D is produced simply by exposure to sunlight. Of course, as with anything, moderation is always appropriate, and if you think your child is especially sensitive to sunburn, consider using a natural suntan lotion.
• Every parent’s favorite hour: bedtime. There’s much to be said for simply making sure your child is in bed at a reasonable hour. Every child is different, but as a general rule, you can follow these guidelines:
• Preschoolers (1 to 4 years old): about 10 to 12 hours of sleep per day (this includes a daytime nap).
•School age children (5 to 9 years old): about 10 hours of sleep a night.
• Preteens & Teens (10 & up): about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.
Whatever you decide, remember that what works for one child, may not work for yours. Test different things out until you find the one that works for you!