Strengthening brittle bones – A child’s shift to good health against all odds

This is a health journey of 12-year-old Akash. Akash had a difficult childhood. He was weak with frequent bouts of cold, cough, fevers, had little muscular strength which caused him to fall down often. Addition of dairy to his diet due to family pressures worsened these conditions. After discussing his problems with me, my house help Savitha – Akash’s mom, made a shift to a dairy-free diet and added a lot of fruits and vegetables. This ushered in great gains in physical and mental health in just a couple of years. Today, Akash is a thriving 12 year old of a very proud and happy mother.

(This is the story of Akash, as narrated by Smitha Hemadri, in whose house, Akash's mother works).

A childhood fraught with ill health

Akash had a childhood marked with frequent episodes of cold and coughs, fevers, vomiting and loose motions. Savitha remembers taking him to the doctor all the time and managing these issues with medicines. He also had a problem with falling down often. Minor playful blows with other kids or even while playing football or other sports, caused him to just fall down and fracture his arm. This used to be like 3 or 4 times a year. His hands would be in a cast for many weeks. He could not wear his shirt or get dressed on his own.

It was a tough situation for Savitha. Being a domestic help these frequent visits to the doctor would cost her both time and money. Moreover seeing the child suffer and being deprived of playtime was very depressing she says.

Dairy brought in more problems.

According to Savitha, her son never liked dairy products. He hated the smell of ghee too. However, seeing him weak and all those episodes of falling down and breaking bones, other family members in their joint family forced Savitha to start giving him dairy. They believed that cow’s milk would give him strength. So, Savitha’s mom started giving him a glass of milk at bedtime and in the morning. Curd was also started at this time. But dairy did not suit him at all. It started causing a lot of heavy phlegm build up. Incidences of cold and cough increased. He was having disturbed sleep at night too due to noisy breathing. Episodes of falling sick increased and he used to get fevers all the time. Earlier he used to fall down or get hurt only when hit by someone or something but now he would just fall down even while playing. Savitha believes that consumption of dairy made his body even weaker.

The shift happens

Savitha was so weary of her son’s frequent bout of ill health and even stopped sending him out to play. She avoided going out to family functions and other social gatherings because people used to comment about his appearance and his weakness. She shared her concerns with me. Akash was already 10 years old and had suffered a lot. I told her that she had to immediately stop all dairy products as this was one of the main reasons for phlegm buildup and also weak bones. I advised her to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in his diet. I told over time he would get better stronger and healthier with a diet comprised more of fruits and vegetables.

She started implementing these changes. She would give cut fruits for breakfast and lunch would be a box of simple salads like finely chopped cabbage, cucumber and carrots with pepper, coriander and salt or sprouted mung dal with onion, coriander, chillies and coconut. Since Akash always liked fruits and vegetables, he enjoyed the new change. He didn’t like to eat biscuits, rusks or other similar stuff from bakeries and street food. He had never liked the smell and taste of non-veg, ghee, eggs etc. So she says it was quite easy to avoid all these.

Many gains in health

Akash is 12 years now. Over a period of two years, there were many improvements in overall health. Savitha says that incidences of falling sick reduced a lot, so also episodes of falling down. She says his stamina and vitality levels have increased tremendously. He plays all kinds of sports like volleyball, football etc with other kids in their locality. He can withstand all kinds of blows during his games with other children and gives a few of his own! He can walk 2.5 kms with his school bag every day to school without getting tired.

The gains in health have shown up in his appearance too - he looks robust and strong. Savitha tells me that she has noticed improvements in his mental health and general demeanour too. His memory and sharpness have increased. He is more soft-spoken now, helps her out with her chores and does all his tasks himself without any unnecessary reminders or arguments.

The poor health of 10 years has become a thing of the past!

The simple new life

After so much of suffering in childhood, Savitha says her son knows the value of good health. So he keeps away from dairy and eating out unlike other kids of his age. Even though other family members at his home eat dairy and sometimes coax Akash to have a few bites, he avoids. There are days when the family eats non-veg the whole day but on those days Savitha and Akash prefer to stick to fruits and plant-based curd rice. At social functions where there are dairy products or sweets, he avoids them and instead looks for fruit and vegetable salads which are usually available at the buffet stands.

Today, he snacks on fruits and dry fruits. At night, his usual dinner with all family members is ragi balls. As is usual with all mothers, sometimes Savitha gets concerned that Akash may get hungry during the day and packs him a small extra lunch box with some cooked food. But she says that usually fruits and vegetables are enough for him.

I shared with Savitha the details of a Bangalore based company which does daily delivery of plant-based curd (peanut curd). One of her neighbours helps her with ordering the curd for her on a regular basis and Akash has a little of that.

Occasional treats are homemade coconut burfis made from coconuts from her village and mung dal payasam made with coconut milk ( kheer ). He also says no to medicines since he has seen the effect on him during his younger days. When he is unwell, he just sleeps it off for a couple of days and he is up on his feet again. I have seen Savitha as a very worried mom earlier. In a panic, she has even taken him to some rather dubious Godmen and small-time medicine salesmen who promised good health with talismans, all kinds of powders and mantras saying his stars were not good. She is happy that those days are in her past. She says it is a joy to see her son thrive. I share the same feeling.

(About Smitha Hemadri: The above journey is of Akash, as narrated by Smitha. A computer engineer by qualification, Smitha quit her job to pursue her passion in baking and serving mankind as a health educator in natural living. She is also a vegan baker & specializes in gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free bakes. Smitha believes in philanthropy, part of her profits from baking is used for charity.)

Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food and lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. Wellcure believes that each human body is unique and hence no Health Journey should be construed as a "cure". The views expressed by the user in the above Health Journey are his/her personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.

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