Thursday, December 1, 2011

SuperImmunity for KIDS (Calling All PARENTS!) ~Part 1~

Healthy Kids!  Yup, that's me as a little girl (age 3):-)
Have you ever wondered why your child won't sit still, or why they always catch every cold going around school?!  

ADHD & other behavioral problems, recurrent ear & upper respiratory tract infections, asthma, eczema, headaches (including migraines, tension & sinus types), acne, fatigue, obesity, and frequent stomach aches are all common childhood ailments.  Maybe the solution is as simple as a nutritional deficiency! 

I'm not a pediatrician or an expert in this (and my medical disclaimer below applies especially in THIS post because it is about kids!), but I do know from what I have read that we as physicians are missing nutritional deficiencies or allergies as a diagnosis quite frequently.  And this is particularly true in kids.

I hate to reveal professional secrets, but the truth is most of us (including me!)  did not get any specific nutrition classes during our medical training!!  In a 2006 UNC survey of 126 medical schools, only 32 had seperate nutrition courses as part of their curriculum.   Everything I know about nutrition I have learned by reading independently during my medical training.  And much of what I practice & recommend nutritionally is only based on my own experiences.  I'm still learning with you all!

So when you go to your pediatrician keep this in mind.  If they attended one of the 94 schools without a free-standing nutrition curriculum, they MIGHT say something along the lines of:  "Oh no, that nutrition stuff might help some but it won't fix ADD or Chronic Fatigue or Eczema or Migraine Headaches or Chronic Sinusitis or Acne or frequent Sore Throats/Upper Respiratory Tract infections!" Your doctor may be right or they may be wrong.  But you can play an important role in your child's health by asking your pediatrician to either do a nutritional workup or refer you to a doctor who does specialize in allergies & nutrition as the first diagnostic step. 

As always, your child's safety comes first and you should follow your doctor's recommendations for treatment, particularly if it is an emergency.  I'm just sharing with you a few other options to consider AFTER your doctor is sure that any emergencies have past! NEVER hold off on treatment that could be life saving while waiting for a nutritional work-up to be completed!

Those caveats out of the way, I think that focussing on kid's nutrition is a fascinating idea.  The idea that if we feed our kids the right food than we can improve their health and their behavior--perhaps for the rest of their lives--is amazing!  As an added bonus, by tackling nutritional issues at an early age, we will be making a major impact on reducing future health care costs!! 

Even if your child is healthy & happy, nothing is lost by trying to give them more nutritionally dense food.  You will be giving them the greatest gift I believe a person can receive in adulthood--health.

I began to get interested in the ability of nutritional interventions to improve children's immune systems & heal common ailments of childhod by reading Dr. Leo Galland's brilliant book "SuperImmunity for Kids" about 15 years ago!  This is a book I think that EVERY parent should read.  Talk about healing with food--the cases he presents in his book are so powerful.  

The original edition was published in the '80's and my book has been read so often that its literally falling apart!  That should tell you something about how much I admire and apply the advice in this book!!!  A new edition has been published since then and you can get it here (another book for only $11!) The book takes you through a child's life--from pregnancy through teenage years and tells you what is best to feed your kids and how to treat comment ailments of childhood/teenage years with nutritional interventions.  

Have YOU noticed if specific foods effect YOUR health and behavior? What are these foods and what happens when you eat them?  If you have kids have you noticed whether specific foods effect THEIR health & behavior?  Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!  I can't wait to hear what you have to say!!

To give you a flavor of what we are going to talk about in the next two Thursdays, check out Dr. Leo Galland's articles on nutritional treatments for:
3) Chronic Sinusitis, Chronic Otitis Media, Allergic Rhinitis, Asthma

And check out this recent study published in The Lancet (a peer-reviewed medical journal):  The Lancet: ADHD Elimination Diet may Ease ADHD symptoms (2011).  Then, check out the comments on this study on one of my favorite blogs:  Prescribing Yoga.  The blogger, Christina is a medical student with an inspiring awareness of the power of holistic approaches to health. Her reflections on her first clinical experiences are so much fun to read--and really give me hope for the future of medicine!

Other great resources on nutrition and kids include:
Next Thursday I'll go through some key portions of Dr. Galland's book to highlight three often overlooked culprits in kids' chronic illnesses or behavioral issues:  yeast, dairy and essential fatty acid deficiency!   I'll also share what he says about antioxidant foods for kids! 

Coming Up THIS Week!
  • RECIPES & Ideas: Snacks!  YUMMY & Portable Plant-Based Snack Food--all sugar-free, gluten-free & without adding oil or fat!!
Coming Up on Medical System Tuesday
  • Tip #8 For The Best Hospital Care:  Be Nice ~ Insider Tips on How to Get the BEST Medical Care in the Hospital ~
Coming Up Next Week:
  • BOOK REVIEW:  "29 Gifts!"
  • SuperImmunity for Kids ~Part 2~!
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