Monthly Archives: April 2018

Health is lifelong- chapter 2 from “Start Healthy, Stay healthy”

                   Health is lifelong- chapter  2

I decided on the specialty of pediatrics because it is a happy field. Kids get better! Most of the time. You get to know families . Watch children grow and develop into good people. Pediatricians primarily focus on a child’s health while they are under our care.  Our goal is to get them through childhood healthy . We specialize in preventive guidance including vaccines, acute and chronic childhood illness, childhood behavior, and childhood safety.

To us childhood health outcomes refer to diseases that we document which begin in childhood.

The diseases which occur after they grow up are a whole other story in a much larger internal medicine textbook . Which generally speaking is not on a pediatrician’s bookshelf. The saying “little kids little problems big kids big problems”, assumes the big problems of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, by in large are part of adult medicine and not the venue of pediatricians.

We pay very little attention to a long term healthy lifestyle approach that focuses primarily on life long nutritional excellence. Nutritional health has a very narrow perspective in Pediatrics. We help introduce food, guide parents to the best nutrients for their children to help grow healthy, and avoid obesity. But very few physician’s have the type of concentrated lifestyle training in nutritional medicine to have a significant impact on a child’s lifelong health .

Like many other pediatricians, over the years of practicing I had noticed a tremendous increase in the number of overweight children even before childhood obesity and diabetes became a recognized concern. With these observations was a realization that the parenting focus had not been keeping up with the changes in family dynamics namely poor diet, video games, screen time, and parental busy-ness.  I have tried to change this by working with families to make substantial improvements in weight and exercise of overweight children for years. I’ve instituted many programs and consultations in order to help parents change their children’s eating and exercise habits and lower their weight. I even began a sports and Nutrition Center with a dietitian as well as a psychologist in my office.

But successful nutrition and exercise modification resulting in lower weight and improved fitness parameters were few and far between. Without meaningful and long term family adoption of change there is little hope to improve the child’s weight and health.

      I have had difficulty in getting parents with overweight children to improve their lifestyle and consistently participate in nutrition counseling. It is very challenging to change an unhealthy pattern that has already been established even as young as 2 years of age. Family food habits and cultural tendencies are ingrained early. But as hard as it is for an adult facing health issues to change their habits it is even more complex to change a child’s eating and exercise behavior. Try pleading your case and rationalizing with a five year old who has already developed a taste for sweets, fried foods,  fatty meats, and salty foods. Not to mention eating processed snacks at every chance.

The conclusion that is obvious if you have been a pediatrician for any length of time is that if we don’t start early with a health and nutrition conscious approach the chances of creating the template for a healthy lifestyle later is difficult .It’s important to start from the beginning by developing your child’s taste for nutritious food. Food and health values related to diet and exercise have to become a priority just like vaccines, illness prevention, car seats, seat belts, smoking, and home safety. This is not luck of the genetic lottery but a given. If you and your family do not eat healthy and make good nutrition a priority and move regularly ; illness will be part of your child’s life sooner rather than later. Poor nutrition choices will accelerate disease resulting from childhood obesity and poor lifestyle including diabetes, heart disease , hypertension,and cancer.

It’s never too early to start eating healthy . The markers of disease are forming right below the surface attacking your children from an early age.If you start early there is a better chance to prevent poor health and chronic disease before the damage is done. Raising your children healthy is the mindset I try to  promote . Starting early from the beginning by developing tastes for good food is the surest way to help your child lead a healthy life .

Setting the tone for good nutrition early is as important as anything else you’re going to do for your child. Most of the parents of my patients worry about all sorts of diseases from autism to cancer  . Everyone is very much on alert for anything wrong with their children especially fever , cough, and developmental problems but a healthy diet is the one thing you can control. It is a gift you can give your child for a good life.

Warren Krantz MD


Author of “Start healthy, stay healthy”

Spice up your food- spice up your health

Spice up your life- spice up your health

Spice up your food, enjoy the flavors, and improve your health.

Spices are a key component to a healthy diet. Throughout the world spices play a major role in healthy flavorful cooking . My goal is to help parents introduce spices to their children at a young age in order for them to develop a well rounded taste for healthy diverse eating .

There are several parts to good health related to whole healthy nutrition. First is the type of food. Whole natural foods with an abundance of green vegetables and other plant foods like fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. For maximum health the food you eat should be organic ( when available and affordable) unprocessed with no preservatives or chemicals. Developing a taste for truly healthy foods not only includes what you add to the foods  including important healthy spices but just as importantly what you eliminate. Salt, oil, sugar are negative influences on whole healthy food and reduce the health quality of food and hide the true flavor of natural food. With the inclusion of spices to improve the taste of your food you will be able to reduce the amount of unnecessary oil, sugar, fat, and salt.

Spices enhance your food while improving your health.  Spices are essential to both enjoyment of the flavor and health of natural food when you remove the processed ingredients.

I generally carry a mixture of my base of spices with me whenever I go out to a restaurant. I often get asked which spices should I start with when people who want to start on the  road to improving their health and that of their families. Below is my essential spices to begin a healthy meal.

My basic spices include the following health enhancing choices

(Most parents start with a very small amount on their hand allowing their child a taste. Slowly over weeks they increase the amount as the child develops both enjoyment and tolerance for that particular spice)

Turmeric- should be organic. You can buy it fresh and grate it yourself which is preferred. Remember the yellow stains everything it touches or you can buy organic powder. Review the brands some are cleaner than others. Turmeric is establishing a reputation in medical circles for its anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce diseases associated with inflammation. Turmeric is being studied for improving symptoms from everything from viruses to  joint pain and even cancer. – start with a 1/4 teaspoon working to 1-2 teaspoons per day or meal.

Ginger– Also should be fresh when you grate it or you can buy organic ginger powder. Ginger that is already incorporated into other spice mixtures or tea is not the recommended form. This is one of the favorite ingredients in many holistic recipes to fight colds and flus. Ginger is anti inflammatory and Immune enhancing. It is known to help fight viruses and colds, particularly nausea and influenza symptoms.  You can add it to food, teas, or lozenges

-start with a 1/4 teaspoon working to 1-2 teaspoons per day or meal.

Cinnamon – should be organic. Ceylon cinnamon is the purest and healthiest form and is considered the real cinnamon. Cinnamon helps regulate your sugar level. Keeps you from being hungry and has anti inflammatory properties. -start with a 1/4 teaspoon working to 1-2 teaspoons per day or meal.

Garlic- same fresh local organic cut it or grate it yourself. If you buy powder it should be organic from brands you trust. Besides the taste, garlic has immune enhancing properties and anti inflammatory characteristics which helps your body fight colds and viruses.- start with a 1/4 teaspoon working to 1-2 teaspoons per day or meal.

Peppers of all forms – particularly spicy red peppers and cayenne peppers, and bell peppers are anti inflammatory, immune boosting, and even help with fever and viruses. Black pepper is also immune boosting especially in conjunction with turmeric. Start with just a few flakes and sprinkles. Work your way up to a pinch and then quarter teaspoon slowly.

Oregano ( herb or spice) is also key in any healthy diet -is tasty and helps enhance your immune system for fighting colds. -start with a 1/4 teaspoon working to 1-2 teaspoons per day or meal.

There are many more healthy spices for flavor and health benefits but these six are what I consider the basic ones to add to a whole food and you can build from there.  

Try to keep these spices readily available so you can remember to add them to as many meals as possible. They should become a consistent part of your healthy diet. Start slowly with a very small amount then work your way up to your desired taste as you and your child get accustomed to the spicy taste. You can add additional spices depending on the type of meal you are preparing.

So spice up your food, enjoy the flavors, and improve your health

Warren Krantz MD