Nutrition for your child’s brain

Alright parents, we made it, high fives all around.  School is in session and we can finally get a little time to ourselves while they are out learning a few things.  Win win :).

Now while all those wonderful teachers out there are making sure to nourish our kids minds with knowledge, there is a lot we can do at home to feed our littles in a way that will keep those brains sharp and ready to learn.

I recently read the book Optimum Nutrition for your Childs Mind by Patrick Holford.  It’s a wonderful book and it talks about all the basics to keep your child’s brain in optimal condition.

I would like to  share with you a few crucial steps that you can incorporate into your and your kids life, we could all use a little brain tlc.

  1. Remove highly processed foods and those loaded with sugar.  I know I say this ALL the time but it is extremely important.  Sugars and additives are very disruptive to your child’s body and brain.  Mood swings, lack of concentration, nervous behavior  and hyperactivity are just a few symptoms of a diet high in sugar and additives.  Read food labels and check this two things, always: sugar content if it is over 7 or 8 grams per serving it is too much.   Keep in mind the daily allowance of added sugars for a child is roughly 12 grams total a day.  Also check the list of ingredients for artificial colorings, artificial flavors, preservatives and additives. If the list is too long and has lots of names that are hard to pronounce steer clear.
  2. Feed your child healthy fats. I can not stress how important it is to feed your child fats.  I am talking about those found in avocados, eggs, fish, organic dairy products and nuts.  Fats coat our nervous system, help us regulate body temperature, protect our organs, make up most of our brain and provide structure and integrity to all our cells.  This is very important especially for children’s brain development. Don’t avoid fats, know your fats and avoid those that are damaged (the ones found in fried foods, processed and prepackaged meals and over heated vegetable oils).
  3. Make  sure your child is getting enough protein.  Protein is our main building block, Halford calls it the Architect of Mind and Mood.  It is crucial during periods of growth and development and it is pivotal for cel communication. Make sure your child is eating enough of this important macronutrient.  Protein requirement will vary according to age, check them here.  Include protein sources in every meal like chick peas, nuts, animal protein, eggs and yogurt.
  4. Never skip breakfast.  This is important because it will help regulate sugar and improve concentration.  Equally important is that it is a nourishing breakfast one with a low glycemic load (so pastries, bagels and cold cereal are not great options), a good source of protein and healthy fats.  Skipping breakfast leads to fatigue, food cravings, weight gain and poor brain activity.
  5. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables.  We all know fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but it always seems hard to get enough into our day-to-day.  Well we need to work on this because fruits and vegetables are not only the best substitutes for junk food but because they are loaded with vitamins and minerals that help regulate mood and energy.

Nutrition is linked to all our bodies functions and how we feed our bodies will affect all our systems.  Lot’s of children’s issues can be prevented and resolved through proper nutrition.  We all say we would do anything for our kids, and that is a good thing because it is on our capable hands to give our kids the building blocks they need for optimal brain function and health.

For more information I encourage you to read the book, its super interesting, or visit this website.

Ok, hope this helps a little or a lot 🙂  As always congrats on keeping your children thriving and for doing your best every day!

 

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5 tips for a healthier lifetyle

Yesterday I shared my top 5 tips towards a healthier diet, today here are my top 5 recommendations to have a little more health in your life :).  Go ahead give some or all of these a try and spread the joy!

      1. Get more sleep. Sleeping is of great importance to health. Poor slepping habits can lead to anxiety, depression, weight gain and increase your risks of chronic disease. Sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night can greatly improve your health. Make it a point to pay attention to your sleeping patterns and make adjustments accordingly.

      2. Be active. The benefits of exercising go way beyong weight loss. Improved energy, a stronger imune system and mood improvement are just a few.  Go out for a walk, a run, a hike or engage in group sports or fitness activities, it will ramp up your metabolic rate and swamp your body with feel good endorphins!

      3. Do the things you love. Optimal health can be greatly influenced by our day to day activities. Try this simple excersice, today before or while doing something ask yourself how it makes you feel and make a note. At the end of the day see how many of your activities bring joy into your life, hopefuly at least half your day is spent doing things you love. Making time to do the things that make us feel good is an excelent way to improve our lives and overall happiness.

      4. Create a chain of support. Nurturing your relationships is a great way to nourish your life. Whether you are going through major or minor life changes support can be a decisive factor in achieving your goals. Share your goals with your friends and family as ask for their support. Nurturing your relationships is a great way to nourish your life.

      5. Be kind to yourself. Sometimes it is easier to be kind to others than to ourselfs but self deprecation can be as harmful as any disease. Before making an unkind remark or engaging in self destructive behaviors ask yourself if you would direct that towards a loved one, if the answer is no perhaps you should reconsider doing it. Treat yourself with love and all things will fall into place.

Don't worry, be happy :)

Don’t worry, be happy 🙂

5 Tips to improve your diet

Today I would like to share some tips that can help you improve your diet.  These basic guidelines are meant to facilitate taking the first steps towards a healthier and move vibrant you. Keep in mind that we are all different and our biochemical individuality (our unique nutritional needs ) will change according to our genetic make up, lifestyle and environment. It is important to listen to your body and work on making the changes that feel right to you.

Make your plate colorful and fun!

Make your plate colorful and fun!

      1. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is crucial for health and weight loss. Water helps our body clear toxins, deliver nutrients and assure optimal cellular function. Without proper water intake there is no health, period.  Try to build up to 8 8oz glasses of water a day. Keep in mind that alcohol, sugary and caffeinated beverages dehydrate you.

      2. Eat a variety of real foods. Consume more foods without an ingredient list. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are some examples of whole foods that are rich in nutrients and flavor. Nutrients work together  so the more variety of whole foods the more nutrition you will be packing into your diet. Eating more of these types of food facilitate the transition into eating less refined foods that are detrimental to your health. Go ahead, try new things, you might find a new favorite.

      3. Prepare your own meals. Rediscover the health benefits of cooking and taking the time to prepare your meals! By doing this you will build a closer relationship to the things you eat and you will have more control over what goes into your body.  You might have to move some stuff around but making time to nourish yourself is key to optimal health.

      4. Chew your food, eat mindfuly. The nutrients in our food are only as good as they can be absorbed by your cells. Chewing our food well is one of the first steps to a healthier you. It is one of the most powerful and simple tools you have to get the most nutrition out of your food. Eating your food in a calm manner will not only enhance the flavors of your food but it will also make its nutrients more available to your body.

      5. Enjoy your food. Prepare your meals with love.  Sit at the table with family or friends and eat midfuly . Explore using all your senses for a more satisfying and nourishing eating experience.

Tomorrow I will share my 5 top tips to a healthier lifestyle so stay tuned! 🙂

Turmeric for health

Most forms of disease start with inflammation.  Sadly our current diet standards do very little to prevent inflammation.  The standard american diet (SAD) promotes inflammation.  Yes, you guessed right, sugar, refined foods, trans fats and stress are the driving wheels behind chronic inflammation.  If you think this does not affect you, trust me, even the healthiest eaters fall victim to this pillar of disease.  You don’t have to suffer from a chronic condition like heart disease; if you have ever suffered from allergies, eczema or simply dry skin keep in mind that these are all symptoms of inflammation.

Fortunately there is a lot we can do to prevent and deal with inflammation.

Try these:

Eat lost of veggies and fruits rich in antioxidants

Avoid added sugars

Drink plenty of water

Make time to rest

Excercise on a regular basis

Meditate

Prepare most your meals from whole foods

Incorporate  anti-inflammatory foods like garlic, onion, blue berries,cabbage, fermented foods and spices like rosemary and turmeric.  (For more anti-inflammatory foods check this article.)

I know this sounds a lot like every suggestion for keeping good health, and it is.  Because good health does not come in a magic pill or trendy protein powder.  The best way to achieve good health is to relax, enjoy your life and avoid inflammation, and the way to do this is by leading a healthy lifestyle supported by nourishing foods.

Sorry folks there is no big secret here, if you want to be well you have to take care of yourself.

Today I would like to share my new crush.  Turmeric tea is a delicious tool against inflammation you can enjoy on a daily basis.

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Here is the recipe I use for this anti-inflammatory elixir (got it from Dr. Weil’s site):

Serves 2 (or one if you are greedy like me 🙂

Boil  4 cups of water

Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and lower the heat

Simmer for 10 minutes

Strain the tea into cups (I used a cheese cloth)

I added about a spoonful of freshly squeezed orange juice ( great for a little antioxidant oomph) and 1/4 teaspoon of raw honey.

Give it a try, you might fall in love like me and wind up with a new weapon to your health arsenal :).

 

A kind gift guide :)

I love Christmas.  The lights, the decorations, the kindness and joy.  There is some kind of magic in our hearts that is more powerful during the holiday season.

Yes, I see the elephant in the room.  Christmas can also be a time of overspending, high stress, long working hours and for many not a lot of gift receiving.

If you  love getting gifts for your loved ones, there is something you can do a little better this year.  Shop mind fully.  Think about your purchases as opportunities to support an artisan or a good cause.

With that in mind here are a few places I have found with great gifts that are beautiful and kind.

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Tribe Azure Fair Trade Beautiful fair trade Tibetan inspired jewelry, scarves and meditation supplies.

 

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Novica Artisans all over the world bring you a little bit of everything.

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Sudara  This is one of my favorites, I own at least three pairs of punjamies.  They are comfortable, beautiful, reasonably priced and they have them for the whole family.  PUNJAMMIES are inspired by the beauty, colors and textures seen throughout the local culture and are crafted by brave women in the community who wish to remain free from the trade they escaped.

 

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Mr. Ellie Pooh  Sustainable, handmade fair trade gifts

On my wishlist! :)

On my wishlist! 🙂

Noonday Collection Designs and inspired collections from artisans all around the globe.  By developing artisan businesses through fair trade, we empower them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them.

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Magic Cabin  Whimsical toys for all ages.

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Plan Toys  Sustainable toys for the little ones

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Capital Eyewear  Handmade in California

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Pact Ethical underwear, socks and accessories

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The Grommet  Here you can find an array of gifts for the geeky, the artsy, the kids, the fashion forward and the eco-friendly.  They have a lot of items made in the USA and small businesses.  There is always something interesting in here.

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Equal Exchange Fair trade chocolate, tea, bananas and coffee.

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Banda Bags.  Ok these are pricey but they are gorgeous, hand made and cruelty free.  And who knows you might be able to afford them someday so keep them in your list 🙂

 

Also keep in mind second hand books make great gifts and are good for the soul and environment :).

I am always looking for ethical and sustainable goods, so if i find any more I will update this post and share them with you :).

Have a great and kind holiday season!

 

 

 

Leading with love

Recently I was chatting with a dear friend.   We were wondering if there used to be this much indifference in the world when we were kids.  It seems there has always been an abominable amount. But back then that ugliness did not exist in our hearts, so our eyes did not see it.  Now we see it.   Now we feel it.

And when the injustice it too big, we all wonder how we could possibly make a difference.  I think perhaps we should start with us.  It might be a cliché, but you know clichés come from repetition and repetition is kind of like a confirmation, so in conclusion I am right 🙂 kidding.  But seriously, if we can not see that every decision we make shapes our universe then we are truly blind.

What is the right decision?  I don’t know.  But I know as long as I have a place in this planet I have the opportunity to make it better.  Every day I am fortunate.  Every day I get to make choices.  And in the light of all the pain I see today I would like to lead with kindness.  Kindness always makes a difference.

I am not a kid anymore, but that doesn’t mean my heart can’t be filled with joy.  Because for all the ugly there is beauty beyond compare.  Things are not perfect, but I am not going to be blinded by fear of imperfection.  I rather be blinded by love; irrational, warm and fuzzy love.  And every day I will try for my actions to be led by that love.  That is something I can do and I can teach my children to do.  So if I see you and hug you, don’t freak out.  If I compliment you, know that I mean it.  And know that I know there is love in your heart also.  I encourage you to do the same, I love hugs :).  We could provoke a love epidemic!

In conclusion  I would like to get super cheesy (because what I said before wasn’t cheesy enough) and remind you that there is a little light inside all of us, so for the sake of mankind, let it shine, let it shine let it shine :).

love me some Keith Haring :)

love me some Keith Haring 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Why the Teal Pumpkin

Marcos and Lucas painting their pumpkin.

Marcos and Lucas painting their pumpkin.

With Halloween right around the corner I wanted to take the opportunity to write about the teal pumpkin project.  Many of you might be wondering what is with the teal pumpkin and why are people so against candy, it is Halloween after all.  Well for today I am going to put aside my personal objections to candy and just focus on why the teal pumpkin project is so important.

The teal pumpkin project was launched by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014.  Its purpose is to raise awareness of food allergies and help all children be included in Halloween trick or treating.

As the parent of two amazing boys without any food allergies I consider myself blessed and overjoyed.  This is not the case for every parent.  About 1 in every 13 children suffer from food allergies, some life threatening.  These children are constantly excluded from festivities that our children take for granted, like Halloween.  To my surprise I have witnessed parents aggravation towards parents with children that suffer from deadly food allergies.  And I ask myself, why?  Wouldn’t you a become a crusader if your child was in constant danger from something as insignificant as a peanut?  Wouldn’t you move every mountain to keep your child safe?

If you take your child out trick or treating you know how fun it can be.  You know that look in their eyes, that look of joy and celebration.  You know that ear to ear smile when they are counting their treats safely at home.  Now imagine if your child could not do any of this, because touching one piece of candy with even a trace of peanut could take his life.  This Halloween I invite you to put yourself in the shoes of someone walking a much more complex road.  This year you have the opportunity to include these children by offering non-food treats to trick or treaters.

So what can you do?  Paint a pumpkin teal and place it by your door and get some non-food treats.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, it is not about what you are handing out it is about having all kids be able to join on the fun.  Think glow sticks, stickers,  spider rings or use that old change jar for a noble cause.  That way children with food allergies can be included in this fun tradition.  The more teal pumpkins out there, the more fun!

Putting out a teal pumpkin is not only kind but will teach your children about compassion and empathy.  Paint the pumpkin with your kids and explain why you are doing it.  It’s a simple project that can turn into a lovely tradition.

This Halloween lets build some safe lasting memories with our kids, and lets help make this possible for those who face the challenge of a food allergy.

Be safe, have fun and be kind.  Hope to see lots of teal pumpkins out there when we go trick or treating!

 

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For more information on food allergies and the teal pumpkin project click here.

Have you laughed today?

It has been scientifically proven that the benefits of laughter are many.   It can strengthen your immune system by decreasing stress, reduce pain by releasing endorphins, relax your muscles, change your perspective to a more positive and realistic one and strengthen your relationships.  If that is not enough keep in mind that  it makes you look prettier :).

There is no downside to a heartfelt laugh, unless it’s inspired by cruelty or when it makes it impossible for others to enjoy the movie :).

Today I would like to encourage you to fit humor into your day.  It’s good for you and those around you.  And don’t worry if you have no time to browse the internet for hours to find inspiration, I did a little legwork for you.

Enjoy and stay healthy and well humored!   12107083_10106786756337830_3743272190719526438_n   1335989224502_1561991 c46d66e5e0621a91e85be98a7bceaa1c5c5174761cd2798374efdb3c165becaa ca257f921b7626aefbc108aa9ab43b8a calories Funniest_Memes_i-make-you-strong-i-make-you-healthy_13850 Unknowndiet-water

Wash Your Produce :)

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As you probably know,  non organic produce has residues of nasty chemicals and pesticides.  Although there are things you just can’t wash off, like the remains of fruit ripening chemicals,  you should wash your produce before consuming.  Fruit and vegetable wash is available for sale at many stores, but you can also make your own!  It is super easy and probably just as effective.  It can be cheaper, since you probably have all you need at home.

Here is what you need:

1 tablespoon of lemon juice (from an actual lemon not a bottle)

2 tablespoons of vinegar (distilled white is fine)

1 cup of water

spray bottle

Mix all ingredients in spray bottle and you are done.  You can use this directly on fruits and vegetables. Rub it in and rinse.  I use a soft scrub brush to work the solution on the skin but it is not necessary.

For softer skinned fruits and vegetables (like leafy greens or strawberries) you can use the same recipe, just trow it all in a bowl.  Swish it around for a few, then rinse.  Be careful thou with raspberries and very delicate fruits since they can absorb some of the vinegar.  I would just buy those organic or  wash very briefly and rinse with plain water.

For a big batch you can use your sink (I like to do all my apples and citrus at once).  As a general guideline (depends on the size of your sink) fill halfway with water and add about 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Soak the produce for a couple of  minutes and rinse.

Easy, affordable and all natural!  It is a great alternative to help keep some of those chemicals outside your body :)

Mission October

October used to be one of my favorite months growing up because it meant Halloween festivities.  This October, and please forgive me dear halloween lovers, Halloween is going to take a back seat.

October is Fair Trade Month.  I know, I know there are a gazillion things we need to spread awareness of, but let me give you one good reason why this is so important.  Drumroll please… humanity.

Our humanity is something we seem to loose track of in our busy, fast everything world.  It is unfortunate and kind of strange that we seem to have lost our ability to connect in such a social media driven everything.  We can reach out to anybody with the click of a button, yet we remain oblivious to the impact of our actions.

I don’t mean to preach, I know we are not evil or cruel.  I think sometimes we just don’t know.  I think sometimes we forget we are connected to everything around us.  In a big or small way we are all connected.

So today I would like to make a case for the sake of humanity.  For the sake of those who might not have access to social media, yes they exist.  For the sake of those big and small who are against the wall and whose options are limited.  For the sake of a more civilized and bountiful way of business.  For the sake of all the hands involved in the products we use, the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the commodities we enjoy.

So what can you do to make a difference? Anything and everything 🙂  But let’s start with a small step.  When you grab anything that you take for granted, if just for a moment, try to connect it to some one.  Today I would like to ask you to give it a second thought and look for the face behind the product.

So today if the only thing you can do is click on this link and get a little awareness that will do 🙂  Tomorrow, who knows, we might achieve a world that is fair to all.

 

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