Maren Schmidt: Eat, drink, breathe, think

Maren Schmidt, Kids Talk

Maren Schmidt's "Kids Talk" column appears Tuesdays in the Craig Daily Press.

A newspaper article written by a physician summarized a discussion on health with these words: It's about what you eat and what you drink, what you breathe and what you think.

What you eat. Putting the right food into our bodies is essential to good health, as well as physical and mental development. Today, we understand more about human nutrition than in the history of mankind.

In contrast, we've never had the opportunity to eat so many foods that are detrimental to our health. A nutritionist half-joked with me: If you see it advertised, don't eat it.

It is true enough though that fresh fruit and vegetables get very little advertising time compared to processed and fast foods. When you have a choice eat more fresh than processed foods.

What you drink. The best beverage we can drink is Earth Juice, also known as water. Certain teas and coffee can have beneficial health benefits. Juices and soft drinks can create high blood sugar levels that affect the body's ability to metabolize the sugar in the drinks. The body is about 90 percent water, so it seems to make sense to drink water for optimum health.

What you breathe. In the past 30 years, our society has made great strides in cleaning up our air. Cigarette smoke now is banned in the most public places, and the detrimental effects of secondhand smoke are well documented.

Industrial pollution has been reduced, but it is still high enough in urban areas to affect our health. Indoor pollution, in either urban or rural areas, of household scents, animal dander, mold and petroleum by-products can affect the quality of the air we breathe and contribute to headaches, asthma, sinus problems, allergies, ear infections and more. We need to think about what we breathe, indoors and out.

Also, how you breathe is important. Most of us do not take deep enough breaths to fully oxygenate our blood. Feeling a bit in a mind muddle? Ten deep diaphragmatic breathes can bring needed oxygen to our brain, resulting in clearer thinking.

What you think. Attitude is everything. If we have a happy and healthy outlook on life, obstacles look like bumps in the road instead of insurmountable barricades. We need to cultivate an attitude of positive optimism. There always will be things that are wrong in our world. Learning to focus on the good and the positive, while knowing that the unpleasant is still there, keeps our life moving in a forward direction.

Focus on these four things - what you eat, drink, breathe and think. That might just sum up how to have a happy healthy life.

Kids Talk TM deals with childhood development issues. Maren Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland. She has more than 25 years experience working with children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is author of Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents. Contact her at maren@kidstalknews.com or visit www.MarenSchmidt.com. Copyright 2009.

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