Health Choices Part 1: Our Observations

I did a LOT of babysitting and working with children as a teen. Growing up in the military meant there were always new parents calling to see if I had been booked yet for that military “mandatory fun” function that was still three months away. Taking care of so many different children gave me the opportunity to see the different health choices of perhaps a few hundred families, and to see the results of those choices.

It was a fascinating study. I didn’t intentionally set out to observe the differences among families, but even to a teenager, they became so glaringly obvious that I couldn’t NOT see them! Most of the families were what you’d call “average”. They had the Standard American Diet (S. A. D.) with a few token veggies thrown in for good measure. A few ate things that, even at the time, I wouldn’t feed to a pig. But, there were these other few families that were… really out there. Some would call them “crunchy.” The kids didn’t eat candy, potato chips, prepackaged “fruit” snacks, or sugary cereal. They didn’t drink soda or store-bought juice. It was just plain weird. What was even stranger, though, was that these kids didn’t consider themselves deprived. They were HAPPY to eat homemade bread, cheese and veggies for lunch. They LIKED to have plain old fruit for snacks. It was like the Twilight Zone whenever I entered one of those homes.

What suddenly clicked for me one day was that those kids were almost never sick. They didn’t have chronic health issues, like allergies, asthma, ear infections and digestive problems. They didn’t have ADD, ADHD, or other learning problems. All of the other children I babysat for caught every little virus going around and it almost always resulted in a doctor prescribing an antibiotic, whether there was a bacterial infection or not. Not the kids with the weird diet, though. If they caught a virus, which happened very rarely, they recovered quickly without meds or secondary infections. If their parents were some of the REALLY crunchy ones, they didn’t even get Tylenol or Motrin! I’m telling you, it was scary. Why wouldn’t they want to bring down the kid’s fever?? But hey, there was clearly something to it since the kids were so healthy. I stored that brilliant teen-aged insight away for the far off day when I’d have my own kids. Then I forgot about it and went on with my “normal” life.

Part 2: “Our Decisions” coming soon…

Have you noticed a difference in the health of the children you know that seems to be related to their diet and life-style?

2 thoughts on “Health Choices Part 1: Our Observations

  1. I too was the babysitter de joir when I was a teenager (and before since I started at 11) and did my own kind of survey of the scores of kids I watched over the years. I didn’t really know any ‘crunchy’ types back then, but did notice the health difference between families that actually cooked meals verses those who ate prepared heat-n-eat foods. But, what I was more focused on was parenting styles, disciplines, and behavior. I could always tell almost immediately the difference between those families which followed traditional parenting and those who had adopted the more ‘modern’ and currently in vogue ‘gentle discipline’ or ‘no discipline’ styles. Sure made me positive i’d never forget physical punishment has a place in well raised kids (just like God says!)

    • Babysitting is such a wonderful way for teens to observe and learn before becoming parents, isn’t it? There was one family that I wish I had asked questions of in regards to parenting, but since we were both military families, I lost track of them. They seemed to have so much wisdom in raising their four boys! 🙂

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