Lead by Example

Lead by Example

Raising healthy children isn't just about giving them a vitamin pill with dinner. It's about creating a family life that promotes and sustains health for all. While a holistic diet is the cornerstone of a natural lifestyle, other elements such as fresh air and exercise are also important. When parents eat a balanced natural foods diet, they provide their children with the foundation for future health.

Raising healthy children isn’t just about giving them a vitamin pill with dinner. It’s about creating a family life that promotes and sustains health for all.

While a holistic diet is the cornerstone of a natural lifestyle, other elements such as fresh air and exercise are also important.

As a mom of two, I’ve learned that if I want to go the natural route with my children, it has to pretty much be a lifestyle choice for the entire family. The more enthusiasm and dedication I bring to this choice, the more readily everyone seems to participate.

That means I really can’t expect my kids to eat one way while I eat another. It won’t work, especially as they get older. So we’re all on a whole foods diet that includes lots of organic produce and whole grains and legumes. We minimize the amount of sugar we consume and avoid processed foods with their chemical additives.

Favouring nutritious foods greatly reduces my children’s exposure to, and intake of, harmful, disease-promoting substances. It is one of the best and most fundamental tools I have to help my kids build healthy immune systems and body tissues.

Show and Tell

“When parents eat a balanced natural foods diet, they provide their children with the foundation for future health,” wrote Michio and Aveline Kushi, founders of the macrobiotic movement. In their classic guide to natural family life, Raising Healthy Kids (Avery, 1994), the Kushis espouse a philosophy of eating that leads to peace of mind about the food we eat. By offering good health and clear judgment, the whole foods diet they prescribe helps children develop a higher consciousness about what our food choices mean for us, for our food producers, and for the food we eat.

Ultimately, giving our kids the philosophical basis of a natural lifestyle has become as much an act of necessity as it is an act of love. It is important to remind ourselves why we should embrace a natural lifestyle for the sake of our children–and for ourselves. The process of raising our children on a healthy diet may be increasingly difficult to implement, but it is becoming ever more essential for their basic good health.

Natural Living for the Whole Family

Here are a few simple ways to enhance your family’s health and well-being:

  • Take the time to cook meals from scratch. Get your kids involved: They can peel, chop, stir, and tear from an early age.
  • Remember that “convenience foods” aren’t meant to be the mainstay of our diet. Use them only when you absolutely don’t have time to peel a few carrots, shred some lettuce, and cook up a bit of brown rice.
  • Get as much fresh air as possible. Instead of the usual trip to the mall, go to a park or conservation area to breathe, move, and play.
  • Encourage the healthy expression of feelings. Make time to talk and interact rather than plugging into the TV or computer. Laugh, cry, and learn to be together.

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