By Dr. Margaret Paul
When I was in my early 20's, I read Adele Davis's book, "Let's Eat Right To Keep fit." I learned from her that "you are what you eat." I also learned that our babies are what we eat while we are pregnant, and then are what they eat once they are born. If you nurse your babies, then they continue to be what you eat as long as you are nursing them. My bible during my first pregnancy over 38 years ago was "Let's Have Healthy Children," also by Adele Davis. I started to follow her guidelines way before getting pregnant, knowing that my health had a big effect on my baby's health.
There is much more information about good nutrition available today, and I want to encourage anyone who wants to have healthy children to start early in learning about and implementing a healthy way of eating. Educating yourself regarding good nutrition is a major part of good parenting. However, a good rule of thumb is, if they didn't eat it 200 years ago, don't eat it now! This means no fast food, no packaged food - including sodas, cakes and candies - no preservatives, no fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides or artificial fertilizers, or animals grown with hormones and fed food grown with pesticides. It also means no smoking or drinking. It means no caffeine. If you want healthy children, you need to put pure, clean organic food into your body before you get pregnant and continue throughout your pregnancy. Of course, then you want to continue to feed yourself and your family clean food once your children are born.
If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you have a wonderful opportunity to lay a strong foundation of health for your child. Why not start now feeding yourself well and learning all you can about creating healthy children? You are going to be a parent the whole rest of your life. You can do so much to make your parenting experience a joyful one by taking responsibility for your own physical and emotional health before getting pregnant. If you have not been disciplined enough to eat well before getting pregnant, perhaps the idea of eating well for your child will be enough to motivate you.
It's not as hard as you might think. It really doesn't take much more time to eat well than to eat junk. And the payoff is huge. Not only were my three babies healthy, they were calm. They slept well and were happy children, who learned easily and did well in school. The only time they were hyperactive -- actually bouncing off walls! -- was after returning from birthday parties where they had ice cream, cake and sodas.
In my many years of counseling, I've often worked with parents who were struggling with their children's behavior problems. Of course not all behavior problems are nutritional, but you might be surprised how many problems have their cause in poor nutrition. I've often wondered why so many people are careful to put the right octane in their gas tank but put the wrong fuel into their bodies -- and then wonder why there is so much illness, learning disabilities, and so on.
I want to tell you a little story about the power of food. We had a 6-month-old golden retriever puppy who was dying of irritable bowel syndrome. He had constant diarrhea and was getting thinner and thinner by the day. We had been giving him the very best quality kibble and it wasn't working. Fortunately we learned about raw food for dogs. Within two meals of raw food, he was completely healthy! Here I had been studying nutrition for so many years and it had never occurred to me that a dog's natural diet is raw food! Wow, what a lesson!
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You? (Over 1 million sold), Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?, Healing Your Aloneness, Inner Bonding, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?"
Copyright © Margaret Paul. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.