mother children Children, Adolescents, Family

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Problems with Food

My conviction is that brain development and learning is strongly influenced by the food children eat. Child psychology is a study of brain development and brain function on a daily basis. To many parents, the food supplied by the supermarket, restaurants and fast food outlets is normal, convenient and easy to feed to children. Normal is not normal, however. The apparent convenience of all this “normal” food may conceal years of illness, brain dysfunction, conflict and unnecessary suffering.

Food causes dysfunction and disease in many ways. Every cell in our body needs nutrients delivered every day and food is the origin of these nutrients. Wrong materials are also distributed to every cell in the body. We can expect a bewildering array of adverse effects from any modern food supply. Children’s food tends to be the most processed and chemically contrived of any age group. Food manufacturers and vendors advertise their synthetic, processed foods directly to youngsters, and generally succeed in marketing their products. Boxed, canned and bottled foods, fast foods, snack foods, candies, chocolate bars, burgers, pizzas, and pop are usually included in the diets of our adolescents and many of our younger children. Since there are multiple effects following ingestion of food, no explanation of food-related problems based on one mechanism alone will ever account for the multiplicity of effects reported and observed. Our best theories assume complex interactions; simultaneous immunological, physiological, and biochemical mechanisms.

When something goes wrong with a child, it makes good sense to look at the flow of substances through the mouth for the source of the problem. We need to look not only at the composition of the food, but also, and more importantly, at the interaction of the ingested materials with the child’s body. Adverse reactions to food are common and produce disturbances by a variety of mechanisms.

Normal is Abnormal

The main resistance to recognizing food causes of health, behavioral and learning problems in children is the belief that “normal food” cannot cause serious disease Confusion and resistance arises whenever evidence accumulates that “normal foods” make some children chronically ill. The foods implicated in children’s illnesses are “normal” foods that almost everyone eats. Wheat, corn, cow’s milk, eggs and meat are high on the risk list.

Most vegetables are low risk, beneficial foods Most fruits are low risk beneficial foods. Rice is a relatively safe food. Nourishing food has to interact with the body and many things can go wrong. Abnormal food-body interactions change the rules of nutrition. A cheese sandwich may be nourishing to one person and a toxic mix for another. A chocolate bar with peanuts may please one person and send another to the hospital in an ambulance. Daily milk or bread ingestion may be suitable for one person and cause chronic disease in another. Studies in the US and Canada have revealed that, even in affluent families, increasing numbers of children eat poorly, exercise little, watch too much TV and are gaining weight at an alarming rate. They are establishing an illness producing lifestyle early in life. Normal is not normal.

Some parents who resolved their children’s health problems by following the Alpha Nutrition Program, would return months later and ask; “When can he or she go off this diet?” or “When can he or she go back to a normal diet?” These are important questions because they reveal a preconception about “normal” that needs to be re-examined One meaning of “normal” is that many people do it; that it is common. Most children eat bread and cheese. Most children eat hamburgers, pizzas and eat in restaurants. Most children eat junk food.

A better meaning for “normal” eating is that the results are positive, healthy; you don’t have symptoms on a regular basis. You don’t get sicker as the years go by. You don’t develop serious disease from the foods you are eating.


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  • Children and the Family by Stephen Gislason MD examines the intense interactions of parents and children. From Dr. G's preface:" Parents receive a lot of advice from many people. Popular magazines and books offer a continuous stream of conflicting advice. Professionals have a variety of opinions about child-rearing that range from helpful suggestions to misleading and even bizarre ideas. Child psychology is an eclectic assembly of ideas, miscellaneous observations, opinions, fears and irrational beliefs. Confusion prevails in education about what children should learn and how they should learn it. If psychologists, physicians, and educators are confused, what about parents? Parenting is difficult and long-term relationships sometimes fail. The best parents are pragmatic and not theorists. They stay involved with their children, follow some basic guidelines they learned and tend to do whatever works. Good parents improvise childcare with a combination of innate generosity, common sense, love and concessions to the demands of modern life."

    You can order Children and the Family as an eBook for Download 

    Additional recommended reading includes the books
     Intelligence & Learning  Language and Thinking  Feeding Children and the Alpha Nutrition Program

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