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Registered Pharmacist, clinical nutritionist, and custom compounder: Bobbie Barbrey, owner/operator of Medicap Pharmacy in Raleigh, offers nutritional consultations and develops comprehensive health plans for individuals

Children Are the Greatest Imitators

For any parent wanting to ensure their children’s health, the most useful advice I can offer is a reminder: Children are the greatest imitators. So, the most powerful thing you can do for them is to model healthy habits for your children to imitate. And this is especially important when it comes to eating habits.

Bobbie Barbrey, RPh, CCN

The world we live in today has changed from the world we grew up in, and is radically different from the world in which our parents and grandparents were raised. Today our lives are busy. We seem to always be rushed, and often rely on processed, packaged, or “fast” foods to feed ourselves and our children. As a result, the quality of our diets has suffered a great deal.

At the same time, children’s nutritional needs haven’t changed. They still need vitamins, minerals, amino acids, quality fats, and other nutrients, each and every day to help them grow. But the way food is grown, harvested, processed, and marketed has changed—too often impairing its nutritional quality. And, how we eat—on the run, in fast-food restaurants, at irregular hours—also takes a toll.

Step one for parents is to take a good look at your children’s diets (and yours!). Look at what they’re eating, how they’re eating, and when they’re eating. Look at the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates—are they balanced or are they eating primarily empty calorie carbohydrates? More importantly, what is quality of what they are eating? Are they eating good quality fats from olive oil, avocado, coconut, or wild caught seafood, or rancid trans-fats from fried foods?

It’s important to remember that a child is not capable of making his or her own long-term health decisions. Left to their own devices, they will likely make food choices solely by taste. Parents can impact their children’s future health by the decisions they make early on and by the habits they cultivate in their children.

Health Challenges in a Changing World

The world today poses new, significant challenges for our children. In the past, antibiotics took care of many health issues. The diseases of the 21st century are entirely different; they don’t always respond to antibiotics. In fact, the rapidly increasing number of viruses and other pathogens are a much greater threat, along with the increased toxic burden of today’s environment. If we want our children to be healthy, it is essential that we provide them with the nutrients they will need to grow and to manage diseases and toxins as they move through life.

Sugar: The Most Addictive Substance

Parents need the right information and guidance to achieve challenging health goals and see where the most impactful changes can be made. In my pharmacy world, we talk about the opioid addiction epidemic, but if I shift my focus and just look at what’s impacting my clients the most, it’s addiction to sugar. Sugar intake has increased dramatically in our diets and is a primary cause of inflammation. This addiction often begins early in life with the foods we were fed—with good intentions, I might add.

To help you start healthy habits for your children, think about who you want them to be 20 years from now. You probably want them to grow into unique and healthy individuals. Make that your goal, and attach your actions to that goal, making sure that every health decision you make moves you closer to it.

Back to Basics

The Internet, with all its dietary information and advice, has many people confused. While some of it is useful, often I feel it misses the point. When you focus on eating, real, living foods and reduce excess sugars and carbohydrates, you will see the transition to a healthier you and a healthier child. Don’t let this become too complicated!

What are “living foods”? They are foods that you can pick off a tree or plant, or dig out of the ground. Or fish and other seafood you can catch in a lake or in the ocean. Back in the day, people hunted game in the woods. Those are living foods. One of the hallmarks of living food is that, given time, it will spoil. Come into Medicap sometime to see the McDonald’s meal I bought in 2010 that does not have a bit of mold on it. How is that food?
Earlier in my life, I under-valued living foods, believing I could fix most everything with nutritional supplements and by paying just some attention to my diet. Not true. Food is powerful. In her book The Wahls Protocol, Terry Wahls, MD, writes how she alleviated her severe MS symptoms by changing her diet. Believe in the power of living food!

So does that mean you can never have prepared or packaged foods? No, that’s not realistic. Just be discerning and make the best choices possible. Read labels and go for the closest to nature that you can find. I recently learned of a baby food called Serenity, which contains grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chicken. To learn more about it listen to Ben Greenfield’s podcast where he interviews the company founder. This prepared baby food is loaded with nutrients, unlike most baby food, which is mostly sugar and carbohydrates.

Everything’s possible—so choose health! Get the guidance that you need. I’m happy to be that person. Have a plan, and watch and experience the change. You’ll be amazed. I guarantee it! Call today to set up your individual consultation.