Quinn on Nutrition: Through the eyes of a child

December 28, 2015

Children say it like it is. My three year-old granddaughter introduced me to her stuffed turtle.

Whatís his name? I asked.

"His name is Slow," she said. "Because heís slow."

And whatís your pink ponyís name? I had to ask.

"Pink Pony," she said. 

Pretty simple. But my, how things get complicated when we grow up. Most simple nutrition advice, for example, is backed up by reams of complex research. A newborn baby thrives on the pure simple milk of his mom. Yet we now know that human milk contains thousands of distinct substances that protect infants from infection while developing the brain and other organs. 

And why is it important for us to simply consume a balanced diet? According to the scientific report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee, "A healthy diet is a pillar of well-being throughout the lifespan. It promotes the achievement of healthy pregnancy outcomes; supports normal growth, development and aging; helps maintain healthful body weight; reduces chronic disease risks; and promotes overall health and well-being." Wow.

Lavish feast or humble meal, our bodies still have basic needs. And the interaction of substances within even the simplest of foods is profound. Experts now agree itís not the independent nutrients we consume but the synergy between combinations of foods that has the greatest effect on our health and vitality.

Itís all pretty simple. Put more calories into your body than it needs for energy and you will gain weight. Burn up more calories than you consume and you will lose weight.

Go outside when itís 10 degrees below zero and the hairs in your nose will freeze. Stay indoors and decorate a gingerbread house with your granddaughter and your heart will be warmed. 

Ultimately the message is simple. Itís not the pills and supplements we take but the foods from each nutrient group in balanced proportions that brings the most benefit to our physical, mental and emotional health. And this time of year especially, we can appreciate that hungry bodies are nourished with simple food; and hungry hearts are nourished with simple truths.

A light shines in the heavens. A child is born in a manger. Pretty simple. Yet the impact of this event on our human race has been profound.

"Why do we have Christmas?" my granddaughter asked me as we put the final touches on her gingerbread house.

Itís a birthday party for Jesus, I said. And I was reminded that ó under all our hustle and bustle ó itís really pretty simple. Nourishing meals donít have to be complicated. And a simple Nativity scene can be full of meaning. May we always see Christmas that wayÖthrough the eyes of a child.




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