The Parent’s Notebook

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By Aminisha Black

Creating Habits for Health
Pharmaceutical commercials promise magical cures while warning us of the side effects from taking the cure.  We’re not to worry about the side effects because there are drugs to handle those symptoms.   What do you choose?  Sickness or Health?
Of course, we want health but unless we’re willing to examine our practice and make changes where necessary we’re choosing sickness and disease for ourselves and setting our children up for the same.
Years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes. My body communicated the effect of the stress in my life.  Not taking responsibility for my own health, I blamed the doctors for simply increasing the insulin doses.  There’s a saying that it takes twenty-one days to make or break a habit.  I haven’t tested that theory but I changed some habits and my glucose readings changed. My energy level also changed.  Once I realized that the sluggish feelings disappeared when my blood sugar was normal, I committed to feeling good.
Having health as a primary family goal is a smart thing to have.  If harmful habits are stopped or not formed, children will be saved from the side effects of drugs, the family medical budget spared and school performance should improve.
It appears that the body emulates other miracles of the universe if we don’t interfere.    Robert O. Young, author of The pH Miracle, says that the cells of the body renew and remain healthy in an alkaline environment. He says that all disease is caused by acidity; names are given based on the organ under attack.  He recommends a pH balanced diet and exercise.  The book contains research studies, needed nutrients and recipes, resources for checking your own pH balance and more.  It’s a “take charge” manual.
 Make your children partners in this new adventure of discovery and respect for the human body.   I had tolerated diabetes for years.  During a colonoscopy, I viewed my intestines at work quietly doing their job without acknowledgement and in spite of the interference.
Do you have a habit you need to break?  Have your child monitor you.  I needed support in giving up coffee because of its acidity.   Nailed, my four-year-old granddaughter became the caffeine monitor.  She’s doing a great job making sure I don’t drink coffee and she questions the caffeine content of teas. 
Concentrating on diet, physical exercise and stress reduction, involve the young folk in planning a family program.  Start with the following three areas.
Diet – 25g of fiber and 64 ounces of water daily are recommended to keep the digestive system functioning. Read the labels.  Sources of fiber: oatmeal, blueberries, strawberries, carrots, beans, peas and whole grains.  Baked or broiled is preferred to fried; poultry and fish to red meat if you’re not vegan. Including raw veggies (salad) daily, children can choose the veggies and make salad of their choice.  Eliminate sugary drinks, cut fast foods. Cooking meals on the weekend and freezing them will allow more home cooked meals for the busy household.
Exercise – 30 minutes to an hour of exercise is recommended.  The new Bedford Y is open 6am-11pm Monday through Friday and 8am to 8pm Saturday and Sunday.  Programs include swimming, karate, aerobics, basketball, dance and more.  Plan family trips to the Y and enjoy individual activities.  For membership rates call Sharlene Brown at 718-789-1497, Ext. 4001 or online at www.ymcanyc.org/bedstuy.
If programs like the Y don’t work for you, create your own exercise plan.  Gather your family for a 30-minute or more walk after dinner.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the next train or bus stop, dance.  Find ways to move.
Stress – Eliminate stress.  Identify sources of stress, looking to see what you can change.  If there’s nothing you can change, accept it or leave it. Explore forms of meditation, begin your day sitting still for 5 to 20 minutes, focusing on your breath; turn all sounds off in your house for 30 minute intervals.enjoy the silence; play mellow instrumental music; spend time among trees, plants or near water – nature has a way of rejuvenating.  Be sure to release emotions.   If you or a child is  upset, find a way to communicate the feelings – speak it or write it. 
Once we take responsibility for our health, the professionals become equal and valuable partners in our mission of total health for our family.
Send questions and comments to parentsnotebook@yahoo.com.