Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Nutrition Nightmares- Part 2

A child was brought into my clinic by a loving father and a doting grand father. The 2 year old kid has a cold and a cough, seasonal, I would say. The dad says the daughter has a cold and a loss of appetite. How do you prescribe for a running nose, an everyday dilemma of a homeopath. I need more details. Anything else, "No, just the cold and she is not eating anything." We have been warned by our teachers not to ask leading questions to our patients. I am at a loss. We engage in a Q&A session, still yielding only an affirmative for cough and a no for fever. The father doesn't know other details or has failed to notice the changes in her routine, that would have been really helpful to me. He is back to the loss of appetite now. Here is what I have to say. You have a cold, the body identifies that something is out of sorts with your body. Who would want to stuff on an elaborate meal? At least this little girl is active and playing about. A cranky child would be a lot in the parents hands. No matter how serious or how superfluous the disease is, there is this obsession about "Not eating anything". The body has its turn offs and its absolutely normal to not want to eat much, when you are sick. The care should be on providing the required nutrients for the body to recover in the shortest possible time, without much damage.

No, the child is not given nutritious food when sick, they are given bread, buns and biscuits to eat. It has become a kind of tradition to give these "easily digestible foods", which is what everybody thinks. It is true these are soft and easily chew-able. However, it is widely unknown what and how much "chemicals" went into those to make them palatable. Home baked foods would be an altogether different matter. A simple rice gruel is preferable than these ready made foods. A side of cooked vegetables is highly desirable. Wholesome food, not taxing the health of patient and aiding in his speedy recovery is the ideal choice. Lack of appetite, then eat smaller but frequent meals throughout the day. A sore mouth might cause further trouble, liquid foods are the safest option. Go light on the masalas, avoid frying of course.

Then there is the habit of distracting a child with a candy to soothe him when cranky. A candy becomes several in number within no time. The habit is not good for the child health wise. It is unhealthy, emotionally too. A cranky child needs your care and attention, a candy cannot replace that solid fact. In this review on RIE parenting  I would like to further stress on the importance of acknowledging your child's feelings and helping them rather than distracting them.

Another scenario would look something like this, I tell the parent to limit the child's intake of chips and chocolates, the parent would repeat the same to the child. I find this exceedingly funny. Who buys the kid those chocolates and chips? Unless the kid is involved in child labour, he wouldn't have money with him. In older children there is the question of pocket money. Then is the time for the parents and me to intervene and educate the child on healthy eating. Spending wisely, is yet another topic of discussion between the child and the parent.

This would be epitome of nutrition nightmare, feeding a chubby 5 month old infant egg yolk, to fatten him up. That too, in this era where mothers are advised to exclusively breastfeed their baby till 6 months of age! The near family, neighbours and well wishers proclaim that the baby is not fat enough and the mothers resort to desperate measures to fatten up their babies. I have encountered several nutrition myths and unhealthy habits, a few of which are listed in Nutrition Nightmares.

 Might it be advised, fit not fat is the secret to good health.

Image Credit:photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39096030@N00/2912194967">Colorful Confection Craters</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>


  1. We are obsessed with making children eat. It's all about fattening our kids up. I wish people paid more attention on feeding children nutritious instead.

    1. Yes, parents are not satisfied that their kids are active and healthy. There is more of "peer pressure" in presenting a chubby baby to the society.


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