Here are my four top tips for helping your children to stay healthy and avoid illness through the fall and winter.
The foods that make kids the sickest are sugar and dairy.
1. Avoid dairy
If you can possibly raise them without milk products, you will prevent the most common mucus conditions, especially colds and ear infections. Milk is a great mucus producer; bacteria love living in it, and casein, the protein in milk, is commonly used in laboratories to set up bacterial cultures. Cheese is just as much of a problem, and yogurt is little better. And it’s not because of the fat – in fact, butter does not bring on infections, according to my observations – it is the protein and the calcium, which in cow’s milk are intended to help baby cows become big cows (or steer), and are excessive for humans.
2. Don’t reward them with sugar
If you can avoid giving your kids sugared foods – including sugared breakfast cereals, cookies, cake, candy, and ice cream – you will allow their immune systems to do a better job of keeping them healthy. Sugar is known to depress the immune system, and what is worse, it is really addictive. According to a recent study at the University of Bordeaux, France, it appears to be more addictive than cocaine. I know that we tend to reward the children with sweet goodies, but that habit is perhaps best reconsidered – crayons, balloons, comic books or nuts and raisins might be a better idea for rewards.
3. Give them lots of protein
To keep the kids healthy, they also need to eat sufficient protein (some in each meal, such as fish, chicken, meats, or beans and legumes), with lots of vegetables both cooked and raw, as well as good quality fats (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter). See my post on protein breakfasts for more advice.
4. Make sure they get plenty of rest
Most importantly, they need enough sleep and rest, which will allow their bodies and their brains to recuperate and restore, as well as grow. Lack of sleep is one of the major causes of stress and illness.
So there you have it: feed them well, keep them off the ice cream and sweets, and make sure they sleep enough, and they will avoid many illnesses.
Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.
ANNEMARIE COLBIN, Ph.D., CHES, is an award-winning leader in the field of natural health She founded Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts (TM) in New York City in 1977, and is adjunct professor of nutrition at the city’s Empire State College. She is the author of four books, including The Book of Whole Meals (Autumn Press, 1979; Ballantine Books, 1983), The Natural Gourmet (Ballantine Books, 1989, 1991), and Food and Healing (Ballantine Books, 1986, 1996). Her website is: www.foodandhealing.com