• What To Do When Your Child Is Sick?

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What To Do When Your Child Is Sick?
by Karen Ranzi, Author of Creating Healthy Children:
Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods

When growing up on the animal food based standard American diet, I was often sick. When I was suffering, usually with bronchitis, tonsillitis, strep throat or the flu, my mother unintentionally caused the illness to get worse, which only kept me in bed longer because she would feed me scrambled eggs and toast, feeling that I needed to be “well fed” when ill.

My own children were rarely ill when following a healthful raw vegan lifestyle, abundant in fruit and vegetables. When they did occasionally have a stomach ache or some other ailment, they knew what, and what not to do from my example. They would stop eating and go to sleep. I would make sure to keep them hydrated and warm. My daughter would drink only water and my son would drink diluted freshly squeezed orange juice. One to three days of rest with no food, and they would bounce out of bed and be back to their daily activities, feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and energized. When a child is sick, the focus needs to be on healing instead of digestion and its consequent metabolism. When consuming food of any kind, energy is spent on processing and absorbing the nutrients, but if the child doesn’t feel well, he/she will experience difficulty digesting, exacerbating the illness.

There were the occasional times when my children had some sniffles during the cold winter but this never kept them from being active. If they wanted to eat at these times, I wouldn’t interfere. Children who consume fresh ripe unprocessed plant foods develop a good sense of their nutritional needs. Their taste buds are attracted by Nature’s nourishing plant foods.

I observed that my “raw” children could play with children who were sick but not “catch” viruses or colds from them. I trusted they had clean internal terrains due to their healthful foods intake and their outdoor activities, breathing clean air and getting vitamin D from the sunshine. For them, the germ theory didn’t come in to play. This is not to say that children consuming predominantly fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and vegetables are never susceptible to illness. We live in a toxic world, and the food we eat is only one important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Clean air, pure water, exercise in Nature, a positive attitude and low stress with plenty of sleep and rest are some of the other areas that enable us to feel our very best. When a child is overworked, pressurized, sedentary, spending most of his time indoors in a polluted environment, and not getting enough restorative sleep, even the healthiest eater can get sick. And getting sick gives the child the much-needed rest. The sickness proclaims the child needs rest, and a rest from digestion — possibly his most difficult activity.
While my children were growing up, drugs were not even an option. They would only have halted and delayed the rest and detoxification process.

Tight schedules and pressurized assignments during school days can cause a child to get sick. When my daughter was in school, she frequently experienced stomach and headaches due to the stress and pressure of the work, much of which didn’t interest her. We eventually decided to remove her from the school environment.

We value sleep as being essential for healthy development. I never worried my children were sleep deprived because homeschooling afforded them the sleep they needed from early childhood through their teenage years. They could use the bathroom as needed without asking for a pass, and were free to eat when hungry.

For those children growing up in a school environment, it’s important to make sure there is plenty of time for outdoor play during the day. They also need a loving, compassionate parent to listen to and to understand their physical, mental and emotional needs.

Children often feel ill or become hyperactive following birthday parties abounding with highly processed and refined carbohydrates. It may help to feed your children a healthful meal just before attending a birthday party. If they have eaten enough, they may not be as tempted to eat the party food. Also make sure to bring plenty of delicious raw food treats to share.

During a workshop I presented at Penn State University, a student asked what he could do to reduce the amount of beer and potato chips he ate while out with his friends on Friday evenings. He often felt sick and sluggish the next morning. I suggested having a bowl of delicious guacamole and a large salad just before leaving for the evening. This way he would feel satisfied and most likely consume less of the unhealthful food and drink.

Much junk food advertising today targets children, and many countries have adopted fast foods with their accompanying use of vaccinations and medications. Consequently, children’s level of nutrition and health worldwide is worse than ever. The percentage of autistic and obese children has skyrocketed.

It is our responsibility as parents to nourish our children ideally, to teach them to nourish themselves with Nature’s superior foods in their natural state, and to stop eating when not feeling well. We can observe animals of all species in Nature to find this to be the truth for long-term health and healing.

Copyright 2011 by Karen Ranzi

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