Health – The right start

A blanket ban on junk or force feeding is not the answer. Raising a healthy child is all about a healthy foundation

How to read the early signs of deficiencies, fight those recurring allergies or make your child eat wholesome food when all he craves is junk? Being a young parent is no small feat! But imbibing some wisdom from the field of macrobiotics, traditional Chinese medicine, ayurveda and yoga could answer a lot of questions.

CATCH THEM YOUNG

In macrobiotics, it is known that every seven years, the body replenishes itself and hence, for a growing child, the first 21 years (3 times 7 years) is cru cial. At this age, getting children to eat healthy is really the most important role of the parents. A child who grows up eating the living energy of vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and fruit, develops a strong and balanced immune function.This lessens the possibility of chronic digestive issues, colds and coughs and also prevents an early onset of diabetes, heart diseases and osteoporosis.“Moms should serve the child a healthy and appetising meal with a variety of flavours and textures. Another way is to involve the child in gardening ­ it is enormously beneficial for a child to witness Mother Nature in action,“ says macrobiotic nutritionist and health coach Tarika Ahuja, who has recently written a book on this subject.

healthSMART PACKAGING

How to wean away your child from addictive chemicals found in fast food? Don’t give up, say experts. Research says that by feeding your child good food, a new cellular memory is created and, over a period of time, the child will begin to crave healthier foods. So, don’t say an absolute no to the food they crave, just package it smartly. “Easy-toprepare variations of junk food like brown rice smoothie, rice and chickpea burger, cashew cauliflower soup and apple walnut muffin, will appeal to children and improve their heart and kidney function, as well as maintain the acid-alkali balance in their body,“ says Ahuja. Another way is to reduce white sugar and other simple sugars in the diet.When a child’s tongue is coated with something as sweet as white sugar, it is difficult for him to en joy the natural sweetness of vegetables. Use jaggery, palm sugar and fruits instead.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

Be an informed parent and move beyond what your GP says. There is a world of alternative wellness out there to rescue you. For instance, Oriental and yogic teachings say that brown rice improves brain function and intelligence while white sugar hampers neural function and makes a child forgetful. The brain functions well when the child eats foods that are slow burning such as whole grains, healthy nuts, seeds and foods rich in natural protein and fats. And the brain weakens and becomes dull when a child eats acidic or packaged foods. Similarly, any food that makes the blood sugar spike and crash quickly affects the steadiness of the whole brain and body.These foods give quick energy which leaves the child chaotic and exhausted.

EXERCISE THE RIGHT CHOICE

Give future gym fees a miss and go running with your kid now! A simple long walk is a daily massage for the abdomen and it also strengthens the core abdominal muscles. It also increases the child’s breathing capacity and oxygen to the cells and this aids in the process of daily rejuvenation.