Disease-Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

After reading The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell, I became panicked about my family diet as it convinced me that consuming animal protein -- including dairy -- is not worthwhile.  But, then, what do I feed my family, especially my 20-month old daughter?!  Traditionally, a child her age consumes a significant amount of dairy, as our beloved pediatrician recommended.

Not being able to discuss my questions with an expert, I again found a great book that addressed many of my concerns: Disease-Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.  I wanted to hear the thoughts of a physician who was also familiar with The China Study, and Dr. Fuhrman has been a great, seemingly informed resource.

organic-food

His position, which is consistent with that of Dr. Campbell's and others I've been reading, is that our bodies are naturally capable of being healthy and fighting disease and various other illnesses.  However, what we consume does influence our bodies' performance as well as the manifestation of genetic predispositions.  The scientific data also tells us that diet during early childhood can have a significant influence over one's health for the rest of one's life.

  • Scientific research has demonstrated that humans have a powerful immune system, even stronger than that of other animals, that makes our body a self-repairing, self-defending organism with the innate ability to defend itself against microbes and prevent chronic illness.  The system operates at its best only if we give it the correct raw materials to work with.  When a young body doesn't receive its nutritional requirements, bizarre diseases occur.  Of late, there has been an increase in cancers that were unheard of in prior human history.  Most of these can be linked to improper nutrition.  -- pXVII
  • Health is normal.  The human body is a self-repairing, self-defending, and self-healing marvel.  Disease is relatively difficult to induce, considering the body's powerful immune system.  However, this complicated and delicate machinery can be damaged if fed the wrong fuel during the formative years.  The chronic diseases commonly associated with aging -- hypertension, coronary artery disease, Type II diabetes, degenerative joint disease, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's, as well as most cancers -- are not the inevitable outcome of the aging process; they are born out of wrong food choices earlier in life.  -- p7
  • While the scientific evidence is in, parents haven't been informed that what their children eat during their growth years has such a profound effect on their later health and that the first ten years may be the most critical... My goal is to inform parents so that they can give their children the greatest gift of all: the opportunity for a long and healthy life.  -- pXIX - XX
  • Drawbacks of an omnivorous diet pgs 154-155
    • There are three main problems with diets that contain significant amounts of animal protein
      1. More than a thousand well-designed studies have led all major health authorities around the world to conclude that saturated fat is a leading contributor to high cholesterol, heart disease, and many cancers.
      2. Fat-soluble petrochemicals such as PCBs and dioxin, as well as other toxic elements such as mercury, are transferred to humans predominantly via the fatty portions of fish, dairy, meat, and poultry, and in that order.  Fatty fish that are rich sources of omega-3 fats are also typically heavily contaminated with harmful pollutants.  These pollutants are linked to neurological problems, immune system dysfunction, and cancer.
      3. Animal products contain no fiber, and almost no antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins C, K, E, and folate.  They also are lacking in all the anti-cancer phytochemicals, bioflavonoids, lignins, and carotenoids that are so essential to protect us against chronic illnesses, immune system disorders, and a premature death.
  • Vegetarian or vegan diets: safe for children?  p157
    • A diet optimally designed for adult humans would nautrally be ideal for the children of that species too.  There are no special needs children have that would make them require a different diet.  Even at the time of rapid growth and brain development, the optimal supply of energy and essential fats can be met by an appropriately planned vegetarian or vegan diet.  According to the American Dietetic Association and the Institute of Food Technologists, vegan diets can provide adequate nutrition for children.
    • In May 1998, the seventh edition of Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Chare was published.  In it, Dr. Spock recommends a vegan diet for children.  Dr. Spock was concerned that the diet we fed our children, rich in animal products and dairy fat, set them up for adult diseases and a premature death.
  • Without an adequate amount of plant-derived nutrients, immune system dysfunction develops... The micronutrients that fuel the primate's immune system -- derived from fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and, to a lesser degree, whole grains -- must form the basis of the diet in order to expect normal resistance against disease.  -- p2
  • Food choices, especially food choices early in life, are the primary cause of disease and premature death.  Health predictably results from healthy living.  -- p9
  • Mom's good nutrition during her pregnancy, the quality of her breast milk, and the foods children eat supply the raw materials to construct their brain and ultimately supply their brainpower.  Nutrition in these critical early years of life is essential for each child to reach their maximum intellectual potential.  -- p19
  • (pgs 147-148)  There are two things we all know with certainty.  First of all, a diet rich in vegetables, beans, fruits, raw nuts, and seeds has a dramatic effect on reducing the risk of both heart disease and most cancers.  The other thing we know is that as animal products increase in a population's diet, the risk of developing heart disease and cancer increases.  It has been observed in multiple scientific studies that vegetarians have fewer heart attacks and less incidence of cancer than those on omnivorous diets.

Not surprisingly, fruits and vegetables are the two foods with the highest correlation with longevity in humans.  Not whole wheat bread, not bran, not even a vegetarian diet shows as powerful a correlation with decreased mortality as does a high level of fresh fruit and raw green vegetable consumption.  The National Cancer Institute recently reported on 338 different studies, with all showing the same basic information.

  1. Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities.  Thousands of scientific studies document this.  The most prevalent cancers in our country are primarily plant-food deficiency diseases.
  2. Raw vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer properties of all foods.
  3. Beans, in general, and not just soy, have additional anti-cancer benefits against reproductive cancers like breast and prostate cancer.

Superior Nutrition

  • Unprocessed foods are the key to optimal health
  • In the last thirteen years of my nutritionally oriented family practice it has been exceedingly rare that I have had to pick up a prescription pad.  When put on my program of nutritional excellence, most of the children who had taken medication in the past no longer require it.  I saw remarkable outcomes, watching young children recover from common illnesses such as:
    • Asthma and allergies
    • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    • Constipation and digestive disturbances
    • Ear infections (otitis media)
    • Eczema and other common skin diseases
    • Frequent illnesses and infections

-- Disease-Proof Your Child; pgs 39-40

 

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For more information on Dr. Furhman, please click on DiseaseProof.com.

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