Since the birth of my sweet little niece, the topic of childhood nutrition has become even more near and dear to my heart. Individuals who don’t study nutrition aren’t necessarily aware of the concerns that some “health foods” have on the littles ones (and adults too!).
Do you know what rice cereals, Cheerios, teething cookies, breads, and crackers all have in common? They are carbohydrates and require the digestive enzyme called amylase to digest properly. Up until about 18 months of age, babies only produce ample amounts of one enzyme called lactase. As you can guess, this is the enzyme needed to digest the lactose in milk.
So what exactly happens when a baby can’t properly digest food? In short- the food ROTS. Some like to call this syndrome, “Garbage Gut.” Allergies, asthma, eczema, abnormal behaviour, and autoimmune disorders are all a possible result of this environment of pathogens and toxins. Holes can be created in the gut which can also cause toxins to spill directly into the blood, creating all kinds of problems. Although some may think introducing every food under the sun is going to strengthen their babies ability to resist complications and food allergies, the end result is completely the opposite. The introduction of these grains, sugars, wheat products, beans, nuts, etc. can occur slowly after about 1.5-2 years of age. I am not a fan of gluten and grains for many reasons and would never encourage these foods regularly. However, eating these foods, if they are properly prepared, are fine for toddlers and adults in moderation.
When you understand the science behind it, it simply doesn’t make sense.
Dr. Cate Shanahan, a well-known MD, said, “If a diet is poor during the critical periods of growth, the integrity of the finished product is compromised and may break down prematurely. Unless mothers treat certain foods like poison, medical problems will plague him/her as she grows older.”
Babies beginning to eat solid foods need plenty of healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates from vegetables. One of the most beneficial super-foods for infants and even adults is bone broth. Eating this in early childhood has fantastic joint strengthening and collagen-fortifying effects that can last a lifetime. When there is sufficient collagen, bones are built better and so in connective tissue which means stronger joints, less pain, disease and breakdown of tissues. Cellulite, the enemy of most females is caused by lack of collagen-rich foods, broths and natural fats-even saturated!
It is a challenge to follow strict nutritional guidelines with your young ones, especially when we are surrounded with the false knowledge that these foods are food for us. It becomes even harder when you feel like the complete minority with your beliefs. Trust me, I GET IT! I don’t remember the last time I went to a social gathering and didn’t get hounded for the Y’s behind what is on my plate, but I’m OK with that.
I don’t get paid to tell the truth, but there are many people who are compensated to lie. It is tough to practise traditional nutrition, but I can assure you the benefits will outweigh any inconvenience or debates you may experience.