Naturally Healthy Children


As a society we are becoming more aware of how to promote healthy growth and development in our children through a whole foods diet, exercise and unconditional love. However, the environment to which our children are exposed plays a crucial role in how this healthy foundation is acted out in the prevention of serious diseases.

Children of this century have higher exposures to environmental toxins than our ancestors. Our body has not genetically caught up to our industrial revolution. We have not evolved to be able to completely detoxify this accumulation of toxins which can be more harmful to young developing bodies.

The occurrence of diseases directly attributed to environmental exposure is rising. Children are exposed to harmful byproducts of our industrialized society starting in the prenatal period. What needs to be addressed is the accumulation of toxins over time and the effects of a variety of chemicals on the body. There are increasing episodes of asthma in children today as compared to twenty years ago. As well, cancer is seen as the 4th leading cause of death in children, while one in three adults are expected to have cancer in their lifetime. Both of these diseases were not common in our great grandparents' time.

I would like to present to you a few ways to improve our children's environmental health. Along with the arrival of a baby comes a plethora of plastics - from toys to bottles to packaged foods. Anything your child comes in contact with goes directly into the mouth. Your child may be absorbing harmful chemicals like phthalates and bisphenyl A from these plastics. Consider replacing plastic toys with wood, cloth or natural fibers. Buy food in glass or paper rather than plastic.

Common cleaning products can damage our organs with regular use. Safety tests have been done on single chemicals, however tests have not been done on the interaction of many chemicals nor have long term studies been performed. A useful website that details the concern about home and body care products is Make a visit to the Cowichan Green Community or any of the health food stores in the Cowichan Valley for resources on nontoxic body and home care products.

Ingested chemicals found in our food chain can mimic estrogen's role in our bodies. These chemicals have been termed xenoestrogens and biochemically stimulate our cells to grow. This is why I promote our children to eat organic meat, chicken and dairy. As well, I encourage the consumption of a plethora of antioxidants through colourful fruits and vegetables.

As a naturopathic family physician, I view the prevention of disease to come from not only annual exams but also the promotion of a healthy diet, lifestyle and environment right from the start. I strongly focus on teaching families how to live with nature and to support a developing immune system.