The children and I had fun making yoghurt. It was the pure magic of nature’s helping hand to create something that we all take for granted and just go into our supermarkets and buy off the shelf. To explain how it works and to experience making it was very visual, tasty and really magical. It is a tricky concept – a living bacteria that you can’t see making a significant change in another substance. When I told my 6 year olds that there are bacteria everywhere all around us but you just can’t see them without a microscope, their eyes seemed to flitter around the room as if looking for any signs or indication that there was something else living that they could not see but that if they looked hard enough it would appear. They looked down at their feet and at their hands to see if they could spot any other life forms on them. “Like fairies” one of them said. “You can never spot them either. They collect your teeth in the middle of the night and you never see them”. We looked at pictures of bacteria then it seemed to sink in a bit more. They then started to relate bacteria to objects they could see without a microscope. “They look like sausages” another child said. “Big rain drops”. One child described a bacteria looking like a round blob with lots of dangly arms…”They do have eyes and noses, they do – I’ve seen them”. Then I realised it was probably one of those naughty bacteria you see on the Dettol adverts.
Today I was out walking with my dog in the lovely sunshine, thinking about the recent comments concerning Rickets on the increase in children in the UK. It struck me how incredible vitamins and minerals are. I find them most fascinating and I guess that’s why I have done so much studying on the little darlings. We need these babies for our bodies to function well and to prevent illness. For instance without Vitamin A our children could develop night blindness; in fact in developing countries there are more than 250,000 malnourished children who go blind every year and half of them die within a year of going blind. To me it all rings enormous alarm bells to ensure that my children are getting plenty of variety in their diet such as eating lots of carrots, mango, cantaloupe melon and more green leafy yummy stuff for Vitamin A.
Rickets is caused by lack of Vitamin D which is provided by sunshine and substances like milk (being one of the best providers), oily fish and eggs. There are, however, some people that for genetic reasons find it difficult to absorb these necessary vitamins and for them there is medical help available. For the rest of us it is about ensuring our children have a marvellous, colourful display of healthy foods.