We’ve all seen the TV commercials – milk is such a perfect food that none of us could ever live without it. You might be surprised, though, to hear the controversy surrounding this maybe not-so-perfect food.
While milk, at first glance, is undeniably an excellent source of several important nutrients, it has been indicted in several childhood health issues. One recent study from Italy showed that a large majority of infants with chronic idiopathic (no known case) constipation normalized within three days when soy milk was substituted for cow’s milk in their diets. If your child is constipated, eliminate cow’s milk in the diet as the first step, say the investigators.
Milk products are the most common food allergy in earache, according to Dr. Michael Schmidt in Childhood Ear Infections, and are implicated in almost all cases of attention deficit disorder, says Dr. Lendon H. Smith, author of Hyper Kids. Dr. Smith told me personally that he sees some improvement in over 90% of childhood cases of ADD and learning disability when he removes milk products from the child’s diet.
Children with milk sensitivity frequently have calcium metabolism difficulties and, even though they often have been using large quantities of milk, have calcium deficiency, which can lead to hyperactive behavior. These children need large doses of calcium as a dietary supplement (non dairy source).
The most easily digestible and least stressful milk product is yogurt. Many children who react to other milk products can tolerate a moderate amount of yogurt in their diet. Ayurveda recommends that when you serve your child cow’s milk, that you boil it first with cardamom seed, and serve it with honey. If you are preparing cheese, serve it with cumin seed for improved digestion.
Of course, many excellent milk and cheese substitutes are now on the shelf at the natural foods store. Whether they are made from soy, rice, almonds, or even hemp, they can be a good alternative to milk if your child does better without it.
Clearly, children differ in this area. Feel free to experiment, seek advice, and find a path to success for your family.
Many children today have very serious nutritional deficiencies and subclinical imbalances. To be successful with treatment requires a good strategy, patience, diligence, and resolve. Many of the therapies that really work are rigorous. The natural medicines we have available are often are not designed for children, and must be adapted creatively. Many times children are not cooperative. After all, we are often asking them to eliminate many of their favorite foods and especially sugar.
Parents often find the process shockingly difficult, as the child throws tornado strength tantrums over a cookie or a bowl of cereal. We often see mothers and fathers that are no match for the power of their own child – a syndrome we call “whim of iron meets will of spaghetti”. Parents must be firm. Once the initial changes become habits, all will calm down, and the reward, a bright healthy child will be worth it.