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! 🙂

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!

 

 

 

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.

Nourish your skin

I recently turned 38, good times.  One of the benefits of growing up is that we hopefully get wiser.  Every year I get a little more pro-age is only a number and make a commitment to take better care of myself.  After all I’m the only me I got :).  This year I decided to take better care of my skin.

I know the best way to care for my skin is to nourish it, from the inside.  Everything I eat or drink has a direct impact on my skins health.  As usual, I have adopted my “take charge” motto and the healthy skin regime is in effect :).  Today I would like to share with you some of my top rules for feeding my skin.  I am not going to talk about topical solutions today.  The following tips are for feeding your skin from the inside.  Keep in mind everybody’s regimen will be different, you have to find what is best for you.

 

1.  Avoid added sugars, if possible eliminate them from your diet.  Yes our body runs on glucose, but our body transforms proteins, carbohydrates and fats into glucose as needed.  Added sugars have no nutritional value, but they do act as anti-nutrients.  They stress our liver and pancreas and act as toxins.  They cause inflammation, disrupt our hormones and stress our system.

 

2.  Drink plenty of water.  How much?  That depends on your unique make and needs.  You can start with six 10 oz glasses a day.  I function best at about 8 glasses a day.  I drink most of them by 5 pm, and don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to go use the rest-room.  I like to start my day with a glass of warm water with lemon, it stimulates digestion and gives me a boost of antioxidant vitamin C.

 

3. Eat lots and various vegetables. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants.  Fruits are also wonderful just eat more vegetables than fruit, because fruits can contain lots of fructose.  I am not saying eating fruits is bad, not at all, just eat more vegetables than fruit on a regular basis.  How many? at least 6 to 7 servings a day and fruit juice, tomato sauce or fried potatoes don’t count!

 

4.  Don’t be scared of saturated fats.  Saturated fats are important for a number of reasons, one being healthy skin.  Fats like those found in coconut oil(with great anti-microbial properties) and healthy animal products are nourishing.  I am not suggesting you eat a stick of butter a day, but including some saturated fats to our diet is greatly beneficial.  I know this goes against the fat-free campaign but I can say with confidence this campaign is boloney.

 

5. Increase dietary collagen.  While there are plenty of foods that support collagen production I like to include foods that have collagen in them.  My main collagen source is gelatin. I costume it through bone broths and a high quality gelatin.  Bone broths are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and collagen.  I have them on a regular basis.  For supplementing I use Great Lakes Gelatin, I use about a spoonful a day mixed in with my tea, warm lemon water or probiotic drink.  I highly discourage anybody from  fruit flavored gelatin products loaded with sugars, artificial colorings and chemicals, even if they are organic.  Jell-O treats do not count!

 

6. Include anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s in your diet.  You can eat fatty fish, like salmon (wild caught), on a weekly basis.  You can also supplement with flax-seed or high quality fish oils.  I take fermented cod liver oil every day and have seen my hair, skin and nails improve significantly.  I use Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil.

 

7.  A little evening primrose oil.  Ok, so this one I use because I was suffering from itchy skin.  Evening primrose oil is rich in Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) an essential fatty acid that can work as an anti-inflammatory.  It is sometimes used to treat eczema.

 

8. Probiotics.  In order to have beautiful skin you must have a healthy gut.  A healthy gut will handle well detoxification so your skin has less detoxing to worry about. The best sources of probiotics are fermented or cultured foods.  I like to make my own sauerkraut, sour dough bread and kefir water.  You can also get them from a high quality supplement.  I use Dr. Mercola’s  probiotic packs.

My skin supplements :)

My skin supplements 🙂

 

There’s lots of great information out there to help you make the choices that are right for you.  I love the book Holistic Beauty from the Inside Out .  As always I encourage you to do your research and experiment.  Have fun and eat yourself beautiful!

 

We’re Back!

Hello to all.  It has been a while.  Towards the end of December the site was down for technical reasons.  I tried and tried to fix it but it just wouldn’t  budge.  Alas this morning without me doing anything at all it started working again.  So a friendly reminder from wordpress that sometimes you just have to let go for things to get fixed.  Lessons are everywhere…

I also just got back from a family trip to Puerto Rico.  It was a wonderful trip and I was sad to leave.  Trading those warm, sunny, beach days for the cold, snowy daily grind is no piece of cake :).  But I am happy to be back home and start being more mindful of my eating 🙂  Yes my body needs a vacation from my vacation.  It’s cold here so I will be filling my cups with warm broths, healing teas and warm lemon water.  I am determined to restore my body’s nutrient reserves and kick this winters b-hind with lots of energy and joy.

In order to stay motivated and on track I will be sharing my daily ideas to stay healthy and nurtured.  One little step at a time I always say.  So let’s focus on the good stuff we can add to our day instead of the nasty stuff we need to remove.

Today I am starting by adding one serving of home-made green juice to my diet.  The reason I am a fan of green juices (home-made) is because they are a great source of nutrients and very easy to include in our diet.  It’s a way to add more raw vegetables into our diet and if you use a masticating juicer you will also be getting the benefit of enzymes that aid in the absorption of nutrients.  They are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and chlorophyl, all very good stuff.  And they can help you boost your vegetable consumption.  Today I am making a  juice that can be very helpful to help your body detox.

Here is my recipe:

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A handful of chopped kale

One small apple ( green would be preferable )

About a cup of green cabbage

Half a lemon

Hope you can enjoy one of this super healthy potions today!  Cheers!

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This one is for you

I almost forgot, but I remembered.  It is day 10 of gratitude!

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It is late, I just put the kids to bed, put a couple dozen loads of laundry in, cleaned up the kitchen, made some popcorn and I just sat down. I am looking forward to doing absolutely nothing for the next hour. But before I drift into mindless t.v. programing I wanted to say thank you.

Thank all of you that follow my blog! Thank you for listening to me and my ignorant wisdom 🙂  Thank you for sharing a little bit of your day with me.  Thank you all for helping me create a community of support and love.

Now, don’t forget to thank yourself for doing your best to be your best, every day.

On day 10 of gratitude, I am grateful for you.  We are all connected and that is something to celebrate.  Cheers!

 

 

PJ’s all day kind of day

This is my life right now, and it is not even 2pm!

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No, this is not the mess from yesterday, this is brand new.  I can’t complain, I am still in my pj’s and I don’t have any plans of changing.  Also I am sipping on a little bit of wine as I write this, don’t judge.

Being an adult gets such a bad wrap, but honestly I rejoice in the possibilities of adulthood.  Because I am an adult I can look at the big mess I have made and decide I don’t want to clean it right now.  I can decide to skip the shower and wear my pj’s until tomorrow.  And I can do pretty much what ever I want, within reason.

I know as a child you get to experience the world without too much responsibility but as an adult you get to be in charge of your life.  I know  sometimes it might feel like you don’t have much of a choice in things, but trust me you do.  Within all our responsibilities we can choose how to fulfill them.  We can choose how to live our lives and how to spend our days. If you can not see that you might be stuck in Neverland, I’m just saying. Of course I would never advice to give up our inner child, but embracing adulthood is empowering.

So today instead of complaining about all the things I have to do as an adult I am grateful to have made it into adulthood.  I am going to give my inner child a big hug and I am going to pat the adult me in the back and say:”good job!”.

Today I am grateful for being a grown up who hasn’t forgotten what it is like to be a child.  I am thankful for all the freedom and opportunities in my life.   I am grateful for all the difficulties that have made me big and strong.

I invite you to embrace adulthood, to celebrate yourself for all you have accomplished.  I advice you to recognize your struggles and move on to something better.  And I would like to remind you that being a grown up is not a punishment, it is a privilege.

 

 

 

 

Nough said :)

Today I am thankful for this…

 

 

and this…

May they always drive me nuts.  May they always be at arms reach.  May they always be safe, healthy, happy and loved.

I love you guys to the moon and the sun and the stars and all the planets and all the galaxies and all the universe and back.

Nough said 🙂