Raising healthy children in today's world of fast food and chemicals is quite a challenge.
My twin sons were born in 1995 and, like all parents, my husband and I wanted them to grow up in a healthy, clean environment, eating good food and having all the experiences they needed to help them grow into happy, healthy adults.
I breastfed the boys (and later their little sister) for 14 months so they were off to a good start. After that, though, I realised two things: first, I had to learn to cook properly and second, I had to educate myself about the kinds of products which we should avoid in our home.
So I started reading everything I could about raising healthy children.
I've read a lot of books over the years about nutrition, health, natural cleaning and about the chemicals we're exposed to in our environment every day and the best ones I've found are reviewed here.
If you're keen to raise healthy children, the books on this page could be helpful. They should be available in most book shops and libraries but check out the Book Depository if you'd like to buy copies to keep at home.
1. Optimum Nutrition for Your Child
This book is subtitled: How to boost your child's health, behaviour and IQ and obviously it's about the importance of children eating healthy food. The idea that you can boost your child's IQ by paying attention to what they eat (or what you feed them!) might sound a bit far-fetched but it makes perfect sense when you think about it. After all, food is the fuel our brains and bodies need to function well and children's brains are developing at a furious rate so giving them the best possible fuel means their brains will develop better than they would if they were trying to develop on junk food.
I won't list all the chapter headings in this book but they include these:
There's a great table on pages 112 and 113 of the ideal daily vitamin and mineral supplement programme for kids according to their age.
This book is well-worth buying when you have your first baby because it has loads of wonderful advice relevant to healthy eating for children of all ages.
The invisible soup of chemicals which surrounds us every day really worries me. Cleaning products, the chemicals is the soil which gives us our food and which feeds the animals we eat ... the list goes on and on. This book does a good job of addressing this issue and of explaining how the toxins we are exposed to create dis-ease in our bodies. It details a program to help you de-tox your body and your life so that you can experience good health the way it was always meant to be. I have found this book incredibly useful in helping me heal some health problems I was experiencing and highly recommend it if you are interested in raising healthy children. It's the best book I've found on the subject of how what we eat and ingest impacts our health. Dr Junger is a cardiologist who also has also studied eastern medicine in India.
Chapter headings include:
3. Slow Death by Rubber Duck
This book is about the relationship between the toxic chemicals in the environment and children's health. It's a very detailed book written by two Canadians who, in addition to examining research done by other people, have also done a great deal of their own research. They are also parents and environmentalists who are passionate about raising healthy children. Basically this book reveals the extent to which we are poisoned - yes, sadly, poisoned - on a daily basis by the chemicals that have now been part of our environment for decades.
The chapter headings are:
I know it sounds like this is a very negative book but I think we need to be informed about stuff like this so that we can take action to protect our children. In fact, this is ultimately a hopeful book because it shows us what we as parents can do to raise healthy children in this world, despite the challenges we face.
4. Green This!
This book is about the toxins in our environment but focuses on the home and how we clean it. The first part of the book describes the environmental toxins found in the average home and the health problems associated with them, with an emphasis on how they affect children. The book goes on to provide loads of very practical information about "green" cleaning methods and products, looking at each room in the house, from the laundry to the bedrooms.
This is a well-written, easy to read and very practical book which is well worth getting hold of in your quest to raise healthy children.