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Dr. Lai’s Mail Box


Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.

Q1. Are nightshade vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and chillies suitable for pre-school children or can these vegetables be consumed in small portion? Are there any other nightshade vegetables that have to be used with care?

A1. Children may eat a small amount of potatoes, tomatoes or eggplants, but not too much, especially when the child is sick. Chilli is a stimulant, so it is better not to feed chillies to children. Perhaps, after the child turns 12, the child may choose to eat a little if he/she wishes.


Q2. For a child with overly sensitive body constitution, when supplemental food is added to the diet, what are the issues that we should pay attention to?   Will a change in diet improve the child’s overly sensitive body constitution?

A2. When a child withoverly sensitive body constitution begins to consume supplemental food, add one new item at a time and monitor the reactions. Another new item may be added only after a 3-4 days interval. Allergic reactions are due to insufficient friendly bacteria in the digestive system and weak liver functions in the child. On one hand, supplement the child with friendly bacteria – Life-Start; at the same time avoid food that may harm the liver, for example, deep-fried food, chemically grown food, processed food, etc. Also avoid eating too many varieties of food at the same time. Pay attention to food combination, for instance, high protein food and high carbohydrates food should not be consumed at the same time (Refer to Dr. Lai’s “Health Tips on Food Combination”).

In the meantime, pay attention to the child’s body attributes; whether it is “vata” type, “kapha” type, “pitta” type or “cold/hot” constitutions. Normally an allergic constitution is likely to be more of a “wind” type or a “cold” constitutions. In this case, eat less raw food and more cooked food, be exposed to reasonable amount of sunlight, exercise, be in touch with nature, avoid TV, computer, cell-phones and electrical appliances. Be especially aware not to educate the child too early and overexerting the brain.


Q3. Under what condition is the most suitable time to stop breastfeeding a child? Is it alright to let the child be breastfed until the mother runs out of milk? Based on the book “I Have Arrived”, is it better to stop breastfeeding between 9 to 10 months or does it depend on the condition of the mother and the child on a case to case basis?

A3. Normally breastfeeding stops around the age of one. If the mother has insufficient milk or is physically weak, then stop breastfeeding at an earlier time. But if the mother is physically fit and has lots of milk, the child may continue to be fed a little more milk, depending on individual cases. Sometimes the mother has to work or for some other reasons that it is inconvenient to breastfeed, then stop breastfeeding between 9 to 10 months is considered quite good.


Q4 My second child has very poor teeth. There are many horizontal yellow lines on the teeth and the teeth get decayed easily (in fact decay started when the teeth just started to grow). According to the dentist, this is caused by malnutrition during pregnancy. May I know what nutrition is missing and how to avoid such malnutrition?

A4. Nowadays, soil is generally depleted of minerals, only if the mother eats the “ideal” organic produce will she easily get all the necessary nutrients. The so called “ideal” organic produce means that rock powder and calcium are added to the soil. If only organic fertilizer such as cow dung is used, there is still a possibility of insufficient mineral, yet the vegetables will grow well. If possible, take supplements such as Bliss Delight, kelp, dark leafy greens and rock powder. Rock powder may be consumed by human. Add rock powder to drinking water; let the rock powder settle to the bottom, then drink the water on top.

It is best for the mother-to-be to eat natural food, avoid white rice, white flour, white sugar and all refined snacks. Also avoid meat, fish or seafood. As for grains and seeds, supplement with a suitable amount of black sesame seeds, brown rice, millet, barley, etc.

Insufficient “qi” in the child’s kidney may be another cause of problem on the quality of teething. Avoid all kinds of stress: electromagnetic waves, chemical pollution, emotional stress, etc. Look at good things, listen to good things, think of good things. In your home and to carry on your body, pay attention to protecting yourselves from electromagnetic waves, for example, using the house energizer, peat moss pad, dark blue colour filter, and so on.


Q5. When my child was about 3 years old, he visited his grandparents’ home in the outer island. The next day he had flu symptoms but he still played outside the house for the whole day. On the second day, the flu was gone, but on the third day, the flu came back again and this happened repeatedly. Since then, he has been having flu symptoms for a while every morning after he wakes up. If he eats peanuts, nuts, chocolate or larger amount of food made from beans or milk like cakes, or food that contains preservatives, the sneezing and running nose will last a long time. Sometimes there is also coughing. I would like to know if the repeated flu would weaken the bronchial system and lead to allergic rhinitis or is it a side effect of infection. Or is it what western doctors generally refer to as a genetic factor? If he cannot consume nuts over a long time period, should he take any other food for supplements?

Other than these, one week after my child was born, he went through the “New Born Child Screen Check”. He was prodded by needles for many times for blood drawing. It took several tens of needle prodding before the blood collection was completed. My baby cried piteously and struggled until he “knocked off” (as if he was in a shock) and was awaken by more prodding. Could Dr. Lai please advise how we can help him release this trauma?

A5. Regarding the part on traumatic experience, you may adopt the “lightly patting entire body” method to release the trauma. (Please refer to the November, 2000 Lapis Lazuli Light Chinese Magazine).

For cold catching, taking an oil bath may help to expel the cold (the steam bath or moxa stick that are popular in Taiwan also have the same effect). As for the causes to the child’s body constitution turning weak, there are many possibilities. In addition, the global environment is highly polluted nowadays, so it is difficult to pin down the cause. Perhaps there is a cell-phone tower close to the grandparents’ house, because coughing is one of the symptoms of microwave interference.

As for allergy to nuts or seeds, try using “local” products for replacement, maybe sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, sprout them first, then make into milk beverages for the child, that should solve the allergy problem.


Q6. My daughter has been on a vegetarian diet since young. Because of her small build and being thin, all the adults feel that she is not up to the standard or what they consider as “plump” or “strong”. Including my parent-in-laws and other relatives attribute it to malnutrition because she does not consume meat or fish. Dr. Lai, what is your opinion in handling these comments?


A6. Children who eat meat are not necessarily plump. I know of some children who love meat and do not eat vegetables but are very thin. This is because protein is not a good source of calorie, and it takes more calories to digest meat. In the US, there is a group which promotes a weight loss diet that consumes a large amount of high-protein foods. People did lose weight from this diet, but their kidneys were all harmed. Children in the US had a ten-pound average weight increase over the past ten years, which brought the concerns from the medical field because this is an indication of abnormal state of health and signs of aging. The reasons that children in the US become fat are that the soil is impoverished, so the food grown lacks minerals; additionally, eating refined food and high-fat food have also led to obesity. Macrobiotics researchers all discovered that people and mice that live a long life eat very little. The most effective method for longevity is to eat little and not over eat. Whether a child is plump or thin also has to do with the diet the grandmother ate when she was pregnant with the child’s mother. If the grandmother did not have a balanced or sufficient nutrition, it may affect the quality of body constitution of the third generation, and the child may tend to either become fat easily or be tiny and thin. Therefore, as long as one eats a balanced diet, has sufficient fat, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc, not to worry if the person is plump or thin.


Q7. A pediatrician recommended that fluoride tablet be taken by children before bed to protect their teeth. Is this safe?

A7: That is poisonous and must not be taken. (please refer to fluoridealert.org/50-reasons.htm for more information)

Translated by Yih Pin Tang.