I’m often asked if it’s o.k. for kids to drink tea. The answer is a resounding YES. I remember reading an article a few years back about elementary school kids in Japan getting green tea during their morning at school. (I did search for that article but I’m not able to find it I’m afraid.) It reminded me of milk that we were given in kindergarten when I was a child. I loved those small pint cartons. Milk and cookies before nap time was a tradition for most of us growing up in public schools in the 1950’s. Do we need to even question which is the healthier option? Tea vs cow’s milk? With increasing evidence of the dangers of dairy and sugar, it’s a wonder that children are allowed to eat either of those traditional American foods which are geared toward children. We can thank the Dairy lobby for that along with the powerful sugar lobby in this country.

For those really wanting to understand the harm in consuming animal products, you can easily find it in the China Study. I have to warn you, however, the information is conclusive and extremely disturbing.

Regarding milk, it is the caseins in milk that cause cancer as do animal protein in general. The story documents the National Institute of Health’s attitude about these findings and their ultimate conclusions:  They believe that meat and milk are just too much a part of American culture to consider reporting on these findings. They go on to talk about our sacred American Holidays – that all include meat of some kind. How would we ever survive Thanksgiving without a turkey? I believe the decision to withhold this information to the general public, who have in fact funded this type of research, is criminal. Quite frankly, it’s unimaginable to me that in 2018, in the United States of America, corporations get away with these powerful lobbies that ultimately determine what we eat and drink.

I remember the old food pyramid that we all grew up with. Did you know that it wasn’t science that produced those charts but the meat and dairy industry? We were all lead astray by corporate America. Today, our children born within the last decade, are the first generation that isn’t expected to live longer than their parents. This is shocking but true. With our youngest citizens experiencing obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer in record numbers, it’s no wonder that their lives will be cut short due to chronic illness unless we take responsibility for educating ourselves about the food that we eat.

A more recent book has been written which provides similar, scientific, factual information about our diet. How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger – “Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease”.

So let’s get back to kids and tea. I’m always amazed by blogs which make the suggestion that you speak with your pediatrician about whether he/she feels that tea is o.k. for your child. If that wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. Current medical schools in the U.S. provide less than 1 day of lecture regarding nutrition. Why would we expect our doctors to have any knowable information about nutrition unless that’s an area that they chose to explore themselves? Do they provide us with scientific information about the dangers of animal protein?  Do we ask our pediatricians if it’s o.k. to let our kid have a Hershey Kiss or two? That’s about the amount of caffeine in a small cup of green tea. I love those 2-ounce cups which fit perfectly into little hands. For finicky eaters, I would consider adding a squeeze of orange juice into the tea. Once your little one gets turned on to this delicious warm beverage, you will be raising a future tea lover who can enjoy the countless health advantages of teas and tisanes throughout their lives. Ultimately work toward serving green tea straight up, but remember, our children are used to strong tasting, sugary drinks. Once they develop a taste for more subtle beverages, the world of tea will open up to them.

I encourage all parents and grandparents to develop a tea ritual with your family. Set aside some time where tea is served and the family catches up with each other. Maybe generate some ideas about how to spend some time over the weekend. What movies look good. Bring out some board games. Nothing stressful or challenging – just enjoying each others company while drinking the healthiest beverage on the planet.

Image provided by author.