I have found myself standing at the bus stop listening to other moms talking about sickness, trips to the doctor, and which antibiotics their children are taking, and I realize that I don’t fit in. I have not taken my five children to the doctor in three years. I try to talk about nutrition, and I feel alienated. Every minute of every day, we breathe in pollutants, eat chemically engineered foods, drink liquid toxins, and then go to the doctor for a chemical injection (antibiotics) that shorten the life span of a common flu or cold. Because of these toxins, our children face chronic illness such as allergies, digestive ailments, asthma, cancers, and learning and behavioral difficulties. As parents, we have control over what goes into our children’s bodies, and below I will cover nine major areas of concern and what we can do to keep our kids healthy.

Are Our Children Getting Fat?

The Centers for Disease Control have reported that the percentage of children under twelve years of age who are overweight or obese has doubled in the last twenty years, and among our teenagers, it has tripled. An overweight child is a perfect breeding ground for diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and blood pressure. How do we save our children from this? Get rid of soda consumption completely, limit your fast food and processed foods, and incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of water.

A Sweet Tooth!

Sugar steals our children’s lives, and according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data of 1999, we consume over 150 pounds per person per year. We find ourselves and our children addicted to this sweet drug available in so many forms, most of which are not natural and cause damage to the body, one of the worst forms being high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Natural fructose can be found in most fruits and vegetables. Natural fructose can be easily digested, unlike HFCS, which causes great stress on the body, depleting mineral stores and causing your child’s blood levels to roller coaster. HFCS is also highly addictive, the reason it is added to so many foods and drinks. The best way to avoid this drug is to read labels, buy organic evaporated cane juice in place of sugar, and use honey.

Why Use Artificial Sweeteners?

There is a growing amount of negative support showing damage that man-made chemical-based sweeteners (aspartame, Splenda, acesulfame k) have on the body. The problem with these are simple: they are chemical based. They react in the body as an enemy, causing havoc. When you buy products with these fake sugars, you are in fact giving your child aspartic acid (linked to causing lesions and tumors in the brain), phenylalanine, and methanol (which converts to formaldehyde in the retina of the eye), causing numerous health issues. There are Web sites to help you cleanse the toxic effects of these sweeteners.1 Your best sweetener choices are natural and unrefined.

Milk—Does It Really Do a Body Good?

We have been taught that milk is a great source of vitamins and calcium. However, what we have not been told is that due to pasteurization (a heating process that eliminates all the enzymes), our bodies cannot metabolize it, which means it is useless to our bodies. But it prevents osteoporosis? Then why is the United States, with its high level of milk intake, ranking among the top of the charts with osteoporosis? This is shown in a few studies such as the Beijing Osteoporosis project of 1996 and in the World Health Organization Program on Aging in 1999. In August 2000, Discover Magazine had an article titled “Worrying About Milk,” where these very threats and others were made against milk consumption. The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that 55 percent of people over the age of fifty are in danger of developing this disease.
It is my personal opinion that if you are going to serve milk to your child, try organic raw milk, not the pasteurized, man-made version.

What’s in the Water You Drink?

Water is the life force that keeps our bodies moving. It hydrates us like no other liquid. Sports drinks and sodas, loaded with high fructose corn syrup, do the direct opposite, despite what the advertisements say. Your body needs lots every day just to flush out toxins and keep the brain functioning properly. But if your water comes from a municipal source, you more than likely need to check into purifying it. Water coming out of your tap is not likely fit for drinking and cooking. Find out what really is in your water. What’s the lead content? How many chemicals are being added such as fluoride and chlorine? Check for bacterias and heavy metals.

More Additives, Please!

The more processed our diets get with factory-made foods, the more chemical additives become part of our lives. These additives are mostly all the words on the label that we cannot pronounce. But other additives are sugar and salt. The ones to avoid are aspartame, Splenda, acesulfame k, saccharine (now found in most toothpastes), sodium nitrite (found in most packaged meats and linked to pancreatic cancer), and all artificial colorings, especially red dye 40. These are all cancer-causing chemicals according to the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many articles published worldwide such as in the New York Times and The Pulse.

Why Focus on Fiber?

Studies show that as a culture, we do not eat enough fiber. The average American adult gets between ten and fifteen grams a day, according to the American Heart Association. This is less than half the fiber intake we need, as stated by the American Dietetic Association. Fiber is responsible for cleaning out our intestinal linings and our colons. By doing this, fiber also helps in the absorption of important nutrients that otherwise would just pass through our bodies unused. In recent studies, it has been shown that fiber is also a benefit in reducing cancers and fighting fatty buildup in the bloodstream. In other words, fiber keeps the arteries clean. The best places to get fiber are from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. I suggest not settling for less than eight grams of fiber in a serving of cereal or three grams in a slice of bread. The closer to thirty-five grams of fiber a day you get as an adult, the better for your entire body’s health. A simple rule for children’s fiber intake is the age-plus-five rule (take the child’s age and add five grams of fiber to it). This will give you a good starting point, as shown in the Journal of the American Dietetic in 1998.2
That’s Too Salty!

Even though sodium is essential for maintaining bodily fluids and proper nerve function, as a whole, we consume too much. How much is too much? The recommended daily amount is 1.25 teaspoons of salt. Most sodium comes from the seasoning and ingredients of the foods we eat such as MSG, soy sauce, and mayonnaise. Other high-sodium contributors are canned soups, lunch meats, fast foods, and chips. Sodium is mainly responsible for raising blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

Is It a Real Cure?

It has been shown that if antibiotics are used too much, our bodies actually become immune to their positive effects, and at that point, if they are ever needed, the body will not react to them. Our children are being overdosed with one antibiotic after another. Taking our kids to the doctor every time they cough, sneeze, or have an ear or stomachache results in the abuse of antibiotics. Another thing to realize is that antibiotics are a primary reason for yeast overgrowth in the mucous membranes, causing numerous health problems. Some of these are thrush, vaginal yeast infections, dandruff, athlete’s foot, acne, muscle pain, fatigue, digestive disorders, and respiratory problems. So lay off the antibiotics, and let your child work through his everyday cold with natural remedies. Instead of running to the doctor, look at your local health food store for immunity boosters. Try garlic oil in warm olive oil to treat an ear infection instead of antibiotic drops.


As children, we ate what our parents fed us. We were told that milk builds strong bones, when in fact exercise does more for bone density than calcium from milk.3 This is just one mistruth that has been passed on through the generations. As a concerned parent, I keep coming back to what matters most: healthy children. Our children are our future, and paying attention to these nine truths can save your child from a life full of health complications and ensure them a vibrant, healthy future—a future where they have learned to make nutritional choices.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit http://selfgrowth.com/healthbook3.html

Author's Bio: 

Rene wanted to learn Japanese and become a corporate attorney living in Japan. She was never going to have children. She fell in love with Paul, got married at eighteen, and is today the mother of five beautiful children: Samantha, Rebekah, Zachariah, Juliana, and Levi. Rene finds her purpose in raising healthy children in a highly processed country and is in the process of writing a book on just how to do that titled Elephant in the Kitchen. Rene and her family live in the Salt Lake City area. Aside from trying to cook with fresh, natural products, she supplements through a company that she belongs to called ITV Ventures (http://www.itvventures.com/goodinbadout. The book Web site is http://www.elephantinthekitchen.com. She can be reached at goodinbadout@yahoo.com.