10 Tips for Raising Healthy Kids : The Renegade Health Show #755

Monday Jan 31 | BY |
| Comments (42)

Today, we were supposed to leave for Florida, but again our plan was thwarted (I’ve always wanted to say that!)…

Anyway, in this episode, Annmarie and I share what we feel is needed to raise healthy kids.

Please note, these are our beliefs as of now, before kids. Stay tuned in a couple of years for some updates… LOL!

Take a look…

Your question of the day: What are your tips for raising healthy kids?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Omar Jaber says:

    You guys are gonna make great parents 😀

  2. RavenT says:

    Raise them with Choice… and responsibility…

    Start acting as if you are pregnant prior to conceiving and be a conscious parent. Teach them with truth and communication… and NOT just..”because I say so!!!”

    There is no need to spank or hit anyone!!! If you spank you teach violence!!! Redirection is what is used until more verbal communication s understood… Most adults don’t do things the first time you ask it of them let alone a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 year old.

    And let them be themselves… Develop their own likes and dislikes… and with that teach them to love and like themselves… develop their own creativity…

    I could go on and on!!! but I bet you get the idea!!
    : ) Raven

  3. Marla says:

    Yes! I want you to listen to the CD I gave you at the Raw Food Ex-po called “Heir to Eden”. These songs were written before my daughter was born and the one on there called “Home Here” says it all!… Now …she is 17 almost 18. Folks used to tell me, “You? Marla, a single mom with a very social daughter? HOW can you home school? She will be deprived!!!”

    BUT…Studies now show that the greatest element needed for the best brain development is ONE child to ONE caring, focused, and emotionally bonded adult. (parents being the best if healthy mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.) I could brag on my amazing daughter, but suffice it to say, she is one of the most socially adjusted people I know!

    I could say more…. but if you want more, just call me at 530 722-7585.

    I LOVE your wholeness approach! Keep up the great inspiration you are to so many!

  4. marie says:

    I have 4 children and as well as the things on your list I would add, everyone eating the same food at the same time. As the kids get bigger, and they do!! Meal times have become integral to us keeping a connection with our pre-pubescent children. Although there is one who doesn’t like zuccini another who doesn’t like his salad dressed and the third prefers broccoli steamed rather than raw…Understanding they are all different but catering for everyone within the same meal and letting them know if they don’t like it thats fine “please just place in on the side of your plate and eat the rest!” Tomorrow night they will like everything. If children grow up seeing others enjoy good wholesome food they will too. Encouraging young children to help in the garden has been a big help in my family too. And for me it has helped me not be so precious about neat lines of lettuce and tomatoes being harvested too soon. If it’s from the garden and a child picked it we watch in ore as it ripens on the window sill.

  5. MistyM. says:

    Parents that truly get along and care for each other. Children can sense uneasiness and tension at a very young age, even in the womb.

    Talk , play music, play with the baby in the womb.

    Faith in a greater power, God, or higher conciousness.

    Pray together. Families that pray together stay together!

  6. HeatherP says:

    Honesty. In our house we call it “speaking in truths.” You gotta be honest. If you don’t want to speak honestly about something, you gotta say that…just don’t lie.

    Also, your comment about breast milk stung a little. I know that wasn’t your intention. Breast feeding was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in life outside of child birth; unfortunately, I had to stop because it was actually causing more harm than good. Just maybe be aware that there are reasons a woman wouldn’t breast feed and it has nothing to do with desire or belief.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      Heather, you are right, there was no intention here. We understand that some mothers cannot breastfeed due to reasons beyond their control. In some tribal cultures, the feeding would be shared by all mothers and I think it’s a shame we’ve lost that. I’m sure you’ve raised amazing children (or are in the process of) and as you know, there are many factors that contribute to being a loving, caring mother – we probably could have listed 100. Perfection in parenting, from what I hear,is an impossibility. 😉


  7. Russ says:

    for my wife and I it’s that we pray with them every single night! For us, them not knowing God would be the greatest tragedy of all.

  8. thank you, I really appreciate .

  9. Ellen says:

    Catch children doing something good and praise them for it. Kids need to know that doing something right gets them your attention. That is wonderful for their self esteem. They will learn that good behavior gets attention and that will encourage them to recognize that in others as well. Being a positive person enriches those around them.

  10. Ineke says:

    This is such a wonderful topic and I could go on for a long time but I’ll keep it reasonable. First I want to say that you guys have a very sound approach to it. Let me say this: IT IS NOT ONLY ABOUT THE FOOD but if you want them to make proper food choices YOU need to be the example. PLEASE..do not make a fuss when they eat a blue sugar coated cup cake. Sooner or later that will happen and as long as you give the example without harping they’ll know. (You probably did that too and look…you still turned out “allright”)

    I’m very pleased in that regard with my daughter but above all I see and I hear it all the time that she is a happy and very social child and YES she walks bare feet all the time. I don’t mind it (except tomorrow when it is going to be -3 fahrenheit.) There is no TV in our family as well, only movies on the weekend since during the week we have the rule that homework and swimming go first. After dinner it is mostly bedtime. I have breast fed for 13 months but had I known what I know now I would have continued. Reading about parenting is not my favorite thing but there are 2 books that I highly recommend: “The family virtues guide” “Simple ways to bring out the best in our children and ourselves” by Linda Kavelin Popov. Another book that I’m reading and applying at the moment is “Parenting with Love and logic” by Jim Fay and Foster Cline. The techniques are also used in schools by teachers. The little bit that I have implemented has worked very well so far. It is a wonderful journey to raise a child and to see their strengths, their talents and to give them the opportunities accordingly. She does NOT drink green smoothies nor green juices (sorry Kevin, I have tried but given up) but she EATS her greens and other veggies. However…there seems to be a girl in her class who drinks green smoothies and last week she all of a sudden got interested and asked me if i wanted to make her one. So we’ll see…???

    Although my husband is a strict high raw vegan for medical reasons (and most of my food choices just happen to fall in that category) we do not impose this lifestyle on her. To my knowledge there is not enough evidence that children should be brought up strictly vegan ( I also don’t find this a flexible way , something you definitely have to practice when you have kids..flexibility ) so she eats everything (including some meat) although she has indicated that she prefers to be a vegetarian. Out of curiosity she started to eat sprouts and she happens to like them. Educating them about things is the key whether it is about society, relationships or food in a “non imposing” way. I could say more but I think this is enough for now.

  11. Brenda says:

    I love your ideas for raising healthy kids.
    🙂 There are a bazillion things that can be said. See the whole child raising thing as an exciting adventure. Love and repect them for who they are and support them in being what they want to be. Offer them many learning experiences, fun vacations, safe comforting homes, inspiration and love for life. I raised four children, all born at home and breast fed, thier mother (me) is a Naturopath, so health on all levels is a priority, including spiritual connection.
    The main thing is to allow them the freedom to be who they are. They will blossom, given the opportunity. I feel priveledged to be the parent of my four wonderful children who are now all in their twenties.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Proverbs in the Bible has great advice on raising children. Although some may not agree with spanking, if it is done not out of anger but out of love for your child, desiring to teach them right and wrong, it is very effective. But one has to be consistent and apply it every time the wrong deed is done. In this way, spanking does not teach violence. I am so thankful that my parents spanked me. I believe it helped me to learn that when I do wrong, there is a consequence. Wrong is wrong. A lot of parents just tell their children that something is wrong. But if nothing ever happens when they do wrong, how will they learn that it’s really wrong and not to do it? Others may recommend other forms of discipline, like “time out,” “grounded,” etc., and although they may help, those all take more time; and for another, spanking has seemed to work the best and most effective in every case I’ve seen. Look at how people raised their children 50 years ago; the children were much more respectful and well-behaved (in general).

    Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

  13. Jonathan says:

    Also, I wanted to say that your ideas are great too! I love the “very little tv” idea, and I think it’s really important. One more thing, I was homeschooled, and think it is great! It is a great way to spend time with your children, and who knows them better than their parents?

  14. Bill Vogel says:

    Hi Kev and Annmarie! It’s Bill from Cafe Gratitude in San Rafael. I love your list. I think for a 10 item limit, it’s about as good as it could be. If I were allowed to add two more, the first would be (echoing Ineke above) to be a good example! Sometimes it may seem like it’s not having an impact for quite a long time, but eventually they’ll come to realize the importance of you walking the walk. One other “rule to live by” that I’ve never come to regret was my feeling that childhood should be as fun and carefree as possible. Although I didn’t share this outwardly with them until they were much older, I always did my best to let them do whatever they wanted… UNLESS, there was a good reason to say “No”. Some people have a hard time with this, I think because they fail to realize the importance of BOTH ends of the equation. All I can say is, it worked out VERY well for me and both of my girls. They would do anything for me and they are both INCREDIBLY happy, healthy, vibrant, and grateful young women.
    Much love,

  15. ed says:

    like what you have to say.
    just wanted to pass on the tucking the child in bed, how about having a FAMILY BED!
    also, let us not forget HOME BIRTHS, extremely important.
    peace and do no harm
    love ed

  16. ed says:

    oh forgot!
    keep your child out of school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    since you travel quite a bit, think of the massive learning situation, and not the lies that will be forced upon them!
    think about all you have learned from others!
    you have the perfect situation.
    peace and do no harm

  17. Tommi says:

    Hello Kev & AnnaMarie,

    I just learned about Wisdom of the Face by Jean Haner and she just recently wrote a book to understand your children, this information is fantastic. Hope you check this out. Really helps parents to understand their children and why the children are doing what they are doing, there is a reason. Wish my parents had learned this information when I was little.

  18. Alleghany says:

    As a new Mom in the trenches, I find that your top 10 list is spot on! Can’t wait until you two are in the trenches too! =]

  19. roni says:

    you didn’t say it directly – but LISTEN to your children, let them ask, tell, ruminate, and make their own decisions! Give them the clear idea that what they have to say is valuable and important, not to be dismissed because they are “younger and lack experience”. It is paramount to building healthy self-esteem! Some of the young coming in now are very old souls who have come to teach us what we have forgotten – it is the parent’s responsibility to be open to learning from their child! you guys will be great parents! I absolutely LOVE that you are asking this NOW, before you are even having children!

  20. Great list, Kevin and Annmarie! I would add DAILY family time. We eat dinner together EVERY night and all 3 of us talk EVERY day about what’s going on with us. I know so many people who say these two things are an impossibility because of scheduling – but we chose to build our schedules AROUND these two priorities.

    Lisa Marie
    Owner, Rite Chocolate

  21. Ashley says:

    @Jonathan, I just had to say that I am very glad that you had a fantastic upbringing. Your words affected me, as I was raised by parents who held that verse from Proverbs very close to their hearts, quoting it many times. They spanked me, believing that “he who spares the rod hates his son”… and I still don’t trust them because of this. Their hitting my backside in anger severed my trust in them permanently. I know deep in my heart that I should never be struck by another human – ever – under any circumstances. And wrong is not wrong when the “wrong” is being something your parents don’t understand.
    I’m in my late twenties and do not appreciate the influence Christian legalism had on the parenting I received. Lest I sound bitter, let me be clear – my relationship with God is ever growing, ever deepening, and my faith is the cornerstone of my life. But does my faith mean I’ll spank my kids? Never.

  22. cid says:

    Read to them from day one. Teach them to be independent. Give choices but also teach choices have consequences.
    Teach them to think for themselves. Reward,praise. Really listen to them. Daughter was my in-house philosopher from very young age. Her insight was totally amazing.
    And all other wise comments posted.
    Son was on a 5th grade reading level when started school…..daughter breast feed till 3 years old. Always heard they will quit when they are ready, she finally did. Both kids are brilliant.
    Home school if possible.
    Someone said Speak the truth, don’t lie.
    So very important “every day” Another example. Things like Santa Clause, easter bunny, etc, are lies.

    Your 10 tips are so right on.

  23. Ingrid says:

    What a lovely topic! I myself don’t have kids yet, but one thing that I always catch myself thinking when observing loved ones’ families is: “don’t they (the parents) remember what it was like to be a child, and how they themselves felt in certain situations?” Point being, that as a parent, put yoursellf in your child’s shoes and take it from there. For instance, don’t humiliate them when punishing them.

    Another thing I also notice is parents bribing their kids into going to bed with candy. I can’t imagine this being done in your family Kevin and Annmarie, but I just wanted to mention this. How are they supposed to fall asleep while on a sugar (energy) rush? So, so wrong…

    I don’t really know what to say about spanking. I was occasionally spanked myself but it hasn’t affected me at all. I never think about it unless someone raises the subject. I actually only remember one single time I was spanked, though I know there were more. Every child is different though, and if they’re sensitive I would not even think about disciplining them with spanking.

    And like you guys and others have mentioned: little TV, plenty of family time, natural food (though no strict limitations), hobbies…

    Oh, and if any of you speak any other languages, do not deprive your children of those. I even have friends who have quadrilingual kids – awesome!

    Lots of love and kids to you K&A! <3

  24. Stephanie says:

    What a neat topic… fun to read people’s comments. I don’t have children of my own yet but hope that I’m able to raise well- rounded, open-minded, respectful children someday. I think we all learn best by example be it good or bad. I hope that by the time I have children I have a few more of my “kinks” worked out so that I don’t have to pass those on to them. Thank you

  25. Mark says:

    Hi can I have your suggestions please…

    I have 3 stone = 19050 grams of fat / weight = 171450 calories.
    I want to burn this off in a week, that is:-
    24492 calories a day. (Which is only 10 times your normal calorie consumption)

    So I need ideas on how to burn 10 times as much, no idea is a bad one, I want brain storming…

    Brainstorm ideas to get the ball rolling:-
    1. I had a friend that caught malaria and half his weight in no time.
    2. Jack myself up on coffee, stay awake all week, working out in a subzero room.

  26. Amanda says:

    Wow! You gave some great tips here and so did everyone who has left a response! I would like to add that, for me, one of the things I think is incredibly important is teaching children how to listen to themselves -mentally and physically so they can give their body what it needs or understand when they are pushing themselves too hard, etc. Also, to be honest, I was quite pleased with your amazing video especially since you two are not yet parents! But we now all know how wonderful you would be at it 🙂

  27. Charlotte says:

    very good episode of Oprah right now! she’s interviewing Michael Pollan!!! vegan diet and factory farming

  28. Cindy says:

    i have not been blessed with being able to have children but i do have a dog that helps to fulfil my maternal desires.
    A long time ago i heard Mayo Angelo ask “Do your eyes light up when your child walks into the room”. That question has stuck with me and had a profound effect as that is not how i felt as a child, or even now.
    I do feel this however with my dog. i find a smile come to my face and a light from my heart. he brings me such much joy adn i am very grateful for that and for that quote. i need to remember to do that with my husband. I think the world would be a better place if we all treated each other that way. thanks for sharing and i give you both my Very Very best wishes for you once you decide it is time to start a family. Take it from me though, you will never be 100% ready and waiting could be detrimental to your chances. Good Luck

  29. Laura says:

    This is a terrific list and great comments too, the basics to help raise a happy child! One item I would add that I make sure to do with my beautiful 2 year old is PLAY!! Children learn so much through play and it is so fun to get down on the ground, uninhibited and play with your child. You can learn so much through experiencing the world with them through their eyes!! Plus there is no greater stress relief then rolling around laughing and being silly with a child.

  30. Sarah says:

    As a mother of 3 young children and another onthe way, I have come to realize that this parenting thing is a lot harder than I thought it would be!! I am learning flexibility and the importance of consistency cannot be overstated!

    I’ve also learned that I’m going to have off days and days where my patience wears thin and at the end of the day it’s OK to admit you messed up and apologize to your children! I guess that goes along with being honest, as someone else had mentioned.

    I am so glad you mentioned letting children be barefoot. Mine LOVE to be barefoot all the time! We have tried to enforce them having shoes on outside, mainly due to sandspurs and fire ants (we’re in FL). But I realized they do fine without shoes when they’re running through the sprinkler or in their little pool, so why not! And yes, we do have the occasional sand spur or fire ant bite and remind them that shoes would help, but they still love bare feet!

    Two more things I’d like to add would be to exercise with your children! My 5 yr old loves to work out with his Dad, mostly doing body weight exercises. And I try to do our Praise Moves (Christian alt. to yoga) with all three little ones in the morning. They see that exercise is important and fun and just a part of daily life!

    The other thing is to laugh!! It is the best medicine after all! 😉

  31. Betoman says:

    All great suggestions. Read a lot about parenting, too. Play sports with them. My kids love a good old fashioned game of dog pile, especially if I’m on the bottom

  32. Geri says:

    praying with and for your children is the most important thing of all! If we didn’t have God, we would have nothing!

  33. During my pregnancy I thought of one thousand things I wanted to do for my child to be healthy. Now I realize that I’d have to add something I’d do for myself! Doing some soul searching – make sure that I am fulfilled with my own life’s journey. The more mentally and emotionally secure I am, the healthier I am, the more mental, emotional and physical energy I will have to actually follow through on all these great tips for my son!

  34. Maureen Gianni says:

    Can’t wait for you to begin implemention of the “10 tips for raising health kids”!

  35. nina says:

    Whatever your decision, and whenever you choose to become parents, your lives will never, ever be the same.
    Be prepared to raise them up and let them go, as that is what ultimately happens.
    Enjoy every single moment, because they fly by unbelieveably fast!
    You’re going to be great parents.

  36. “You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who’ve never had any.”

  37. Sorry, send to early. But I read this earlier on TWITTER and thought it sounded funny. I have 5 children and 6 grandchildren and it made me think about all of the people who have no children and who always told me how to raise mine. Mine are all healthy, non-vaccinated and vegetarian and some (not all) are RAW. I feel blessed 😉

  38. Nick says:

    Build up your childrens immune using local organic food and herbs.

    Protect your child from getting any vaccinations and use pharmaceutical drugs only in an emergency when or if there are no alternatives.

    Let them make mistakes and learn from the mistakes they make.

    Spend more time then money with your children although they may not
    Admit it they would rather you not get a second job or work overtime and buy them something. They would rather you spend quality time with them doing something you both enjoy.

  39. Diana (Ohio) says:

    Kevin and Annmarie, you guys are going to make great parents!!

    I wish I had heard and read all of this before I had children, so you guys are already ahead of the game.

    I loved what you said about being rigid. We ended up involved in a church philosophy that was extremly rigid in all manners including how to raise children. As time went on, I saw how this was affecting my family and started to step back and question things. Needless to say, according to the church, we became unbelievers, or outsiders, sinners,
    backsliders or even unsaved.

    Friendships were dissolved because we did not believe as they did – TALK ABOUT BEING RIGID, but I guess thats why there have been so many holy wars, or wars in general eh?

    I still see the effects of this in the family, but we have all learned a valuable lesson, a lesson of love and acceptance, a lesson in appreciating the beauty of diversity, and a lesson of allowing one to follow their own dreams or march to the beat of a different drum without the fear of being ostracized.


    P.S. This was a GREAT question, and I loved reading everyones comments. Ashley, I must agree with you. After having it preached to me and read all the literature and the bible on the importance of spanking my children, I have to say deep in my soul it is wrong to strike another human being, especially a child. If we do wrong as an adult, there is no one standing by ready to spank my butt, so why should it be o.k. if it is a child? There are other ways to correct someone. Usually just helping one to understand the situation helps, because we are all doing the best we can with the information we have at the time, and a child does not have as much information in their little data banks to draw from as an adult and therefor will make innocent mistakes.

  40. I love your list! I would add that boundries and discipline is something that creates a healthy child. As much as we don’t like doing it we have to create and stick to the rules established. Believe me…my 3 year old pushes the boundries but there is a reason they are in place. We like the 1-2-3 magic discipline approach and Ayden (my LO) is happier as we all are. Not when he is sitting for the 3rd time in one day but overall 😉

    I also think that routine is something that is very important. Kids need structure and routine just like we do so they are aware of what is coming. It causes less stress for the child. I am not saying that it has to be so rigid but I know that my LO (little one) does better with structure. Overall a happier kid with a routine in place.

  41. Chris G says:

    Vegan children.

    I’d be a tough love parent. I would help them out if they asked for it, but at the same time if they did something to get themselves in jail I would probably let them sleep it off in the jail.

    Teaching them to respect all living things, particularly sentient beings.

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