Inspirational Women

In Honor of International Womens Day
#Internationalwomensday #inspire #genderequality #fairpay #equalpay #womenwhoinspire

Bella Argentina Blog

In honor of International Women’s Day, I think President Obama’s quote is fitting, beautiful, and inspirational:

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This particular year, I am particularly mindful of the women who inspire me most, including:

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Lucy Maud Montgomery:  fearless, humourous, and optimistic Canadian author whose home and work have become the icon of four generations of Prince Edward Island citizens.

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Ida B. Wells:  Endlessly brave civil rights and women’s rights pioneer and anti-lynching crusader at a dangerous time in US history.

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Evita Duarte:  Passionate about improving the conditions for working poor in Argentina, Evita has become literally an icon of hope for generations of Argentines.

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Billie Holiday:  Her voice transcended race, class, and religion.  She sang about controversial issues of her day and through her music, thrust issues of US racial inequalities into the spotlight.

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Maya Angelou:  Perhaps the most real and easily understood author of our time.  Her words connect dignitaries and welfare…

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The Colic Survival Guide

 

I remember being a brand new mom. I was so happy to be home with my new, beautiful infant, who was being a perfect angel, sleeping and feeding wonderfully. All was right in the world. That probably lasted for about the first 10 minutes after we got home from the hospital. Then my baby started crying.  

When I came home with my baby, you would think that I had an edge on the “mommy thing” being a doctor, but honestly it doesn’t really help much. If anything, it makes me tend to think of all the worst-case scenarios.  When my new baby began to cry for hours at a time, I looked for all of the worst-case scenarios: Were there mosquitoes in her crib at night? Did she have a piece of hair wrapped around a toe? Could she have super early teething? Finally, it finally dawned on me: My baby had colic.

What is colic?  Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress—in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, for three days a week, for three weeks or longer. That’s commonly called the “rule of threes,”

Colic stinks.  It stinks for the baby. It stinks for the mommy and daddy. In fact, it stinks for everyone involved. When parents come to see me with their colicy infants, they’re frustrated, sleep deprived, and in need of help.

Fortunately, many supportive measures can help with colic.  Here are some extremely helpful hints my patients swear by.

Use Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s: These should be the first line of defense for colic.

  • Shush: This should be loud enough to be heard over the babies crying, I recommend using white noise and music at the same time.
  • Swaddle: Infants need to be wrapped up snugly. Many times, movements of their own limbs will wake them up from sleep. You can swaddle your baby with a blanket or with a special swaddling blanket.
  • Side lie: Also known as football hold, this works great when you hold a baby on his side and gently swing him at the same time.
  • Swing: My baby’s swing was my best friend. Typically swings work best for babies four weeks old and older.
  • Suck: It’s been proven that pacifier use decreases the risk of SIDS, makes for a happier baby, and eases colic.

Carry your baby.

mobybc-miracle-why-forward-tiny-png

Another method that helps colicy babies is to wear your baby in a front carrier or sling. Baby like to be close, and this sense of comfort instantly soothes them. You can buy a variety of carriers.

  • The Moby Wrap offers the wearer different configurations using the given fabric. It can be tricky to learn how to use a Moby Wrap, but babies with colic love its belly-to-belly positioning.
  • The Baby K’Tan a “ready-to-wear” wrap, which means that you don’t have to buckle or wrap anything. It has a double loop design that goes on over your head and can be adjusted for comfort.
  • The Baby Bjorn is well known and offers good lower back support, which is especially important as babies get bigger.

Be flexible with feeding. The best advice I give all my patients with babies with colic is don’t stick to your schedule so strictly. If you think your baby is hungry, but your chart says it’s not time to eat yet, who cares! Feed your baby. Many times, feeding the baby will calm her down.

bottles

If the baby does not have a good latch on the bottle she will suck air in and that can contribute to her gassiness which can make her very fussy.  Always stop and burp your baby every 1-2 ounces during feeding.  Also feed your baby upright at about a 45 degree angle.

Check feeding techniques. Make sure your baby is getting a good latch on the bottle or breast. If the baby does not have a good latch, she will suck in air, which can contribute to gassiness and make her very fussy.  I always like to look at the baby feeding during the appointment.  Many times we may need to change the bottle.  Also feed your baby upright at about a 45-degree angle.

Burp often. When you’re feeding your baby, stop every 1 to 2 ounces to burp him.

Use Dr. Simon’s Remedy for Fussy Babies.  Brew one bag of Dr. Simon’s special blended tea.  Let it come to room temperature.  Then add 1 teaspoon of the sweetener, which is Non-GMO and contains no high fructose corn syrup. Give your baby 1-2 ounces of the tea, during the fussiest time of day.

Massage. Gently massage your baby’s belly and legs.  Bring her legs back and forth, bending her knees toward her belly button. This promotes gas release and makes the baby more comfortable.  A great time to incorporate this into your baby’s day is after the nighttime bath, before bedtime.

Apply a warm compress. You can apply a warm heating pad over your baby’s onesie.  Place it on the abdomen for a few minutes. This can be done with the massage while baby is laying on her back.  As a reminder never leave your baby unattended while sing a warm compress.

Soothe with music. Playing music or white noise is very calming—for both babies and mommies.

If despite these remedies your baby still struggles with colic, talk it over with your pediatrician. Occasionally, other changes may need to be made, including changing the baby’s formula or eliminating foods from the breastfeeding mother’s diet.  

About the author: Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, DO, is a pediatric gastroenterologist in New York.  She graduated with honors from Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  She completed her internship and residency at NS-LIJ Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in Queens, NY, and her pediatric GI fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine – Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, NY.  She is certified with the American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics. She continues to educate in and out of her office setting through her popular blog Kidstummytroubles.com and is a contributing author in the Mommy MD Guides book series.

#kidstummytroubles #moby #BabyBjorn #colic #homeopathy #BabyKtan #DrSimonsRemedy

Stay Healthy and Be Well.  Let me know your thought and comments.

Childhood Obesity Is A Weightier, More Immediate Problem For Youth Than Previously Thought

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

This article from a few years ago is still very relevant for healthcare providers of this population and their parents.

A new large population study out of Johns Hopkins and UCLA, shows that parents can no longer kid themselves about the non-dangers of childhood obesity. In the study, researchers performed cross-sectional analysis of data on 43,297 children aged 10 to 17, noting wei …

Source: Childhood Obesity Is A Weightier, More Immediate Problem For Youth Than Previously Thought

Why Are We Painting Our Pumpkin Teal?

Teal Pumpkin Project

Halloween is a great time of year.  All the kids get so excited about their costumes, going to a Halloween party, marching in their school Halloween Parade and of course eating all the Halloween candy.  But what about those kids that can’t eat halloween candy.  What about them?  Many kids may have to abstain from Trick or Treating because they can not eat the candy safely.  It can be for a variety of reasons.  They may suffer from celiac disease, have a nut allergy,  diabetes, other food allergies and intolerances or they may need to follow a special diet. Why should these children not be able to enjoy the festivities?

But for many years to protect their children from a possible anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction parents would keep them away from this celebrated tradition. Then the campaign called #THETEALPUMPKINPROJECT started.

Last year I saw only 1-2 Teal pumpkins painted in my neighborhood.  It piqued everyone’s curiosity. Many just thought “oh how pretty.”  But what is the purpose?  In 2014 the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)  launched a national campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project™.  The Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.  This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!  This year they have even started an interactive map for houses that are participating in this project offering Non Food items to kids on Halloween.  Teal Pumpkin Project

It seems a daunting task at first.  Many say, “I don’t want to be the house not giving out candy or chocolate, the kids will hate us and egg our front door!”  In reality there are many really cool fun nonfood items that you can hand out.  Kids would love to get glow sticks or glow bracelets.  They will undoubtedly put them on immediately and use them the rest of the night.  Bouncy balls, stickers, tattoos are all great options.  You can find a list of recommended Non Food Halloween Treats here

TPP-Treats-Infographic-Download

To let the neighborhood now that you are participating in this event you can paint your pumpkin teal and also put up one of the FAREs downloadable signs on your window or front door. And YES you can still give out candy if you choose too.

Teal Pumpkin

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Here are a few of the FAQ’s about Teal Pumpkin Project:

Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project™ is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.

If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.

For more info on this go to FARES website for Teal Pumpkin Project at TealPumpkinProject.org

So who is going to join me this year in painting their pumpkins Teal?  Please help spread the word about this!!  Share this post and make Halloween a fun experience for every child!!

#TealPumpkinProject #KidsTummyTroubles #FARE #foodallergies

 

What is Lactose Intolerance?

lactose-intolerant

Many people realize that after they drink milk they feel awful.  They will begin to have terrible abdominal cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea and sometimes even vomiting. However why is this happening?  People may think that they are ALLERGIC to milk.  Most often the culprit is lactose intolerance.

Is Lactose Intolerance common?

It can happen at any age from birth to adulthood.  It occurs most often after 5 years of age.  It can occur in any ethnic background.

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose is a sugar found in milk.  It is broken down to glucose and galactose by the enzyme lactase, which allows lactose to be used as an energy source.  If the small intestine is missing the lactase enzyme the body can not change lactose to these smaller sugars and it leads to the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

What are the symptoms?

It is important to know about the common symptoms associated with lactose intolerance, particularly as they can manifest at any stage in life and therefore you could be experiencing these symptoms unaware of the cause. There is a direct correlation between the amount of the lactase enzyme a person is lacking in relation to the severity of symptoms.  If a person is lacking all lactase enzyme they will suffer from many symptoms and be unable to consume any milk product, this includes foods that we may not realize has dairy (such as those that have dairy fillers, like certain brands of cold cut meat and hot dogs.)  The most common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Gas/Flatulence

Why do some people develop lactose intolerance?

There are many reasons that a person can develop lactose intolerance.  The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have classified the 4 Types of Lactase Deficiency.

Four types of lactase deficiency may lead to lactose intolerance:

  • Primary lactase deficiency, also called lactase nonpersistence, is the most common type of lactase deficiency. In people with this condition, lactase production declines over time. This decline often begins at about age 2; however, the decline may begin later. Children who have lactase deficiency may not experience symptoms of lactose intolerance until late adolescence or adulthood. Researchers have discovered that some people inherit genes from their parents that may cause a primary lactase deficiency.
  • Secondary lactase deficiency results from injury to the small intestine. Infection, diseases, or other problems may injure the small intestine. Treating the underlying cause usually improves the lactose tolerance.
  • Developmental lactase deficiency may occur in infants born prematurely. This condition usually lasts for only a short time after they are born.
  • Congenital lactase deficiency is an extremely rare disorder in which the small intestine produces little or no lactase enzyme from birth. Genes inherited from parents cause this disorder.

How do you diagnose lactose intolerance?

A health care provider makes a diagnosis of lactose intolerance based on

  • medical, family, and diet history, including a review of symptoms
  • a physical exam
  • medical tests

Initially  an elimination diet may be recommended; eliminating all milk and milk products from a person’s diet for a short time to see if the symptoms resolve. Symptoms that go away when a person eliminates lactose from his or her diet may confirm the diagnosis of lactose intolerance.

Medical, family, and diet history. A health care provider will take a thorough medical, family, and diet history. During this discussion, the health care provider will review a patient’s symptoms. However, basing a diagnosis on symptoms alone may be misleading because digestive symptoms can occur for many reasons other than lactose intolerance. For example, other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or small bowel bacterial overgrowth can cause digestive symptoms.

Physical exam. A physical exam may help diagnose lactose intolerance or rule out other conditions that cause digestive symptoms. During a physical exam, a health care provider usually

  • checks for abdominal bloating
  • uses a stethoscope to listen to sounds within the abdomen
  • taps on the abdomen to check for tenderness or pain

Medical tests. The most commonly used tests to confirm the diagnosis are:

  • Hydrogen breath test. This test measures the amount of hydrogen in a person’s breath. Normally, only a small amount of hydrogen is detectable in the breath when a person eats or drinks and digests lactose. However, undigested lactose produces high levels of hydrogen. For this test, the patient drinks a beverage that contains a known amount of lactose. A health care provider asks the patient to breathe into a balloon-type container that measures breath hydrogen level. This test can be done at an office or hospital. Smoking and some foods and medications may affect the accuracy of the results. A health care provider will tell the patient what foods or medications to avoid before the test.
  • Stool acidity test. Undigested lactose creates lactic acid and other fatty acids that a stool acidity test can detect in a stool sample. Health care providers sometimes use this test to check acidity in the stools of infants and young children. A child may also have glucose in his or her stool as a result of undigested lactose. The health care provider will give the child’s parent or caretaker a container for collecting the stool specimen. The parent or caretaker returns the sample to the health care provider, who sends it to a lab for analysis.
  • Endoscopy. This test is performed under anesthesia or sedated.  A fiber optic tube is passed through the mouth down into the stomach and small intestine.  A tiny sample of tissue is taken or biopsied for further analysis.  This sample is sent to a lab that reviews the sample and tests to see if lactase enzyme is normally active.

How is it treated?

Many people can manage the symptoms of lactose intolerance by changing their diet. Some people may only need to limit the amount of lactose they eat or drink. Others may need to avoid lactose altogether. Using lactase products can help some people manage their symptoms  (Lactaid products)

For people with secondary lactase deficiency, treating the underlying cause improves lactose tolerance. In infants with developmental lactase deficiency, the ability to digest lactose improves as the infants mature. People with primary and congenital lactase deficiency cannot change their body’s ability to produce lactase.

Stay Healthy and Be Well.  Let me know your thought and comments.

#kidstummytroubles #lactoseintolerance #Lactaid

A Chicken and Black Bean Stew Even Your Kids Will Love

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Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

I have been experimenting alot with my Instant Pot lately.  For those not familiar with this kitchen device, an Instant Pot is a pressure cooker with super human powers, it can do so many things and makes dinner so easy.  I dedicated an entire post to it awhile back titled Meet My New BFF, which shows how much I love it.

I have discovered that when I cook chicken in my Instant Pot my kids will actually eat it. Let me clarfify that, my kids will eat chicken that is not in NUGGET FORM!!! This was amazing to me.  They will actually eat it because it comes out so tender and it is so moist and delicious they can’t even deny the yumminess!!

So now I throw everything in this.  When I get home late from work or after the kids gymnastics class and realize that I forgot to defrost something for dinner- AGHHHHH… wait that’s what I used to do.  Now I can throw frozen meat in the instant pot with whatever else I have laying around and it will be done in 20-30 minutes while I do everything else.  For me the fact that I can throw in frozen meat and it will still cook it is the saving grace.  I still love to cook other things in my slow cooker or oven or grill, and i don’t do Instant Pot every night but it definitely is one of my meals every week now.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces chorizo or to make it more kid friendly you can substitute kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch disks
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chilies
  • 8 ounces dried black beans
  • 12 stems cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
  • boneless chicken breasts and thighs ( about 2 lbs)
  • 1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat oil in your Instant Pot on saute setting until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook until starting to crisp around edges, about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes longer. Add cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chilies, dried black beans, cilantro stems, chicken, and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  2. Seal pressure cooker and press Stew function and bring to high pressure. Cook for 40 minutes. Do a quick release and open. Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces to a bowl. Return beans to high heat and continue cooking, stirring, until reduced to a thick, stew-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, shred chicken.
  3. Stir chicken into beans, season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in half of chopped cilantro, and serve, passing sour cream, lime wedges, and remaining cilantro at the table.

Hint: if stew is not as thick as you would like and you are short on time you can add cornstarch to thicken.  Using some of the stew liquid with 1:1 ratio of cornstarch to liquid in small bowl. Start with 1 tbsp.  Add back to stew and mix in and wait a few minutes to thicken. Repeat til your desired thickness.

Enjoy and Be Well!!

#kidstummytroubles

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A Survival Guide for the Colic Baby

 

I remember being a brand new mom. I was so happy to be home with my new, beautiful infant, who was being a perfect angel, sleeping and feeding wonderfully. All was right in the world. That probably lasted for about the first 10 minutes after we got home from the hospital. Then my baby started crying.  

When I came home with my baby, you would think that I had an edge on the “mommy thing” being a doctor, but honestly it doesn’t really help much. If anything, it makes me tend to think of all the worst-case scenarios.  When my new baby began to cry for hours at a time, I looked for all of the worst-case scenarios: Were there mosquitoes in her crib at night? Did she have a piece of hair wrapped around a toe? Could she have super early teething? Finally, it finally dawned on me: My baby had colic.

What is colic?  Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress—in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, for three days a week, for three weeks or longer. That’s commonly called the “rule of threes,”

Colic stinks.  It stinks for the baby. It stinks for the mommy and daddy. In fact, it stinks for everyone involved. When parents come to see me with their colicy infants, they’re frustrated, sleep deprived, and in need of help.

Fortunately, many supportive measures can help with colic.  Here are some extremely helpful hints my patients swear by.

Use Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s: These should be the first line of defense for colic.

  • Shush: This should be loud enough to be heard over the babies crying, I recommend using white noise and music at the same time.
  • Swaddle: Infants need to be wrapped up snugly. Many times, movements of their own limbs will wake them up from sleep. You can swaddle your baby with a blanket or with a special swaddling blanket.
  • Side lie: Also known as football hold, this works great when you hold a baby on his side and gently swing him at the same time.
  • Swing: My baby’s swing was my best friend. Typically swings work best for babies four weeks old and older.
  • Suck: It’s been proven that pacifier use decreases the risk of SIDS, makes for a happier baby, and eases colic.

Carry your baby.

mobybc-miracle-why-forward-tiny-png

Another method that helps colicy babies is to wear your baby in a front carrier or sling. Baby like to be close, and this sense of comfort instantly soothes them. You can buy a variety of carriers.

  • The Moby Wrap offers the wearer different configurations using the given fabric. It can be tricky to learn how to use a Moby Wrap, but babies with colic love its belly-to-belly positioning.
  • The Baby K’Tan a “ready-to-wear” wrap, which means that you don’t have to buckle or wrap anything. It has a double loop design that goes on over your head and can be adjusted for comfort.
  • The Baby Bjorn is well known and offers good lower back support, which is especially important as babies get bigger.

Be flexible with feeding. The best advice I give all my patients with babies with colic is don’t stick to your schedule so strictly. If you think your baby is hungry, but your chart says it’s not time to eat yet, who cares! Feed your baby. Many times, feeding the baby will calm her down.

bottles

If the baby does not have a good latch on the bottle she will suck air in and that can contribute to her gassiness which can make her very fussy.  Always stop and burp your baby every 1-2 ounces during feeding.  Also feed your baby upright at about a 45 degree angle.

Check feeding techniques. Make sure your baby is getting a good latch on the bottle or breast. If the baby does not have a good latch, she will suck in air, which can contribute to gassiness and make her very fussy.  I always like to look at the baby feeding during the appointment.  Many times we may need to change the bottle.  Also feed your baby upright at about a 45-degree angle.

Burp often. When you’re feeding your baby, stop every 1 to 2 ounces to burp him.

Use Dr. Simon’s Remedy for Fussy Babies.  Brew one bag of Dr. Simon’s special blended tea.  Let it come to room temperature.  Then add 1 teaspoon of the sweetener, which is Non-GMO and contains no high fructose corn syrup. Give your baby 1-2 ounces of the tea, during the fussiest time of day.

Massage. Gently massage your baby’s belly and legs.  Bring her legs back and forth, bending her knees toward her belly button. This promotes gas release and makes the baby more comfortable.

Apply a warm compress. You can apply a warm heating pad over your baby’s onesie.  Place it on the abdomen for a few minutes. This can be done with the massage while baby is laying on her back.  As a reminder never leave your baby unattended while sing a warm compress.

Soothe with music. Playing music or white noise is very calming—for both babies and mommies.

If despite these remedies your baby still struggles with colic, talk it over with your pediatrician. Occasionally, other changes may need to be made, including changing the baby’s formula or eliminating foods from the breastfeeding mother’s diet.  

About the author: Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, DO, is a pediatric gastroenterologist in New York.  She graduated with honors from Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  She completed her internship and residency at NS-LIJ Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in Queens, NY, and her pediatric GI fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine – Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, NY.  She is certified with the American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics. She continues to educate in and out of her office setting through her popular blog Kidstummytroubles.com and is a contributing author in the Mommy MD Guides book series.

#kidstummytroubles #moby #BabyBjorn #colic #homeopathy #BabyKtan #DrSimonsRemedy

 

Stay Healthy and Be Well.  Let me know your thought and comments.

 

Chicken Dinner Even Your Kids Will Love

bbqchicken

Honestly, if my kids will eat something then it has to be good because they are the pickiest eaters EVER!!  A few posts ago I wrote about my Instant Pot.  So here is a dish I made that the whole family will absolutely love and that you can easily add into your weekly dinner routine.   You can vary the spice level by adding more red pepper flakes and smoked paprika at the current amounts it has great flavor but not too much of a kick so safe for the kids.

image (2)

 

What I also do with this recipe is make double the portion of the sauce and freeze the chicken thighs and the sauce in a ziplock bag and stick it in the freezer.  I pull it out and just have to put it in my Instant Pot and you are good to go.

Oh and of course it is Gluten Free, Dairy Free.  Serve with your favorite sides and veggies.  I serve it with brown rice and veggies.  This sauce is yummy on top of the rice!

Easy Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs ( fresh or forzen)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • chicken stock concentrate
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh crushed or minced garlic

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set the Instant Pot to saute and add olive oil.  Let it heat until oil shimmers then add chicken thighs to pot.  Brown on each side for 3 minutes.  Don’t overcrowd make sure each thigh contacts the bottom, depending on size of your chicken thighs you may need to do this step in two batches.
  2. While chicken is browning chop onion and garlic and set aside.
  3. Mix together all remaining ingredients. add garlic to sauce and mix.
  4. Scatter the onions over the chicken in the Instant Pot and cover with sauce.
  5. Set the Instant Pot to manual mode- high pressure.  Adjust time to 25 minutes, make your sure Instant Pot  is in sealing mode.
  6. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray or coat with olive oil, set Broiler to high.
  7. When chicken is done, switch steam release handle to venting.  Once pressure is released, take lid off.  Carefully move chicken with tongs to sheet pan ( the chicken will be very tender and falling apart).  Place under broiler for 3 minutes per side.
  8. While chicken is browning, switch pot back to saute mode to reduce and thicken sauce.  Pour the thickened sauce over the chicken and serve with your favorite sides.

Enjoy!! Stay health and Be well.

#kidstummytroubles #GlutenFree #InstantPot #celiac

Helping Your Child Deal with Grief & the Death of their Pets

Duke1

In our lives, we will all experience loss.  It is part of the “circle of life”, (yup Disney reference there but we all know how Disney loves to incorporate death in the first 10 minutes of all their animated films).  However when trying to explain this to young children it can sometimes be difficult and challenging.  My girls have attended funerals before and we explained everything to them about the sadness that they will see in everyone, and all the people will be crying, etc.  But it was never anyone very close to them.  We recently experienced the loss of my kids biggest protector, playmate and even at times their largest bully- our beloved family dog Duke.  He was 11 years old and we had him prior to marriage and kids.  My husband and I joke that we always have 4 kids- our 2 girls and our 2 dogs.  Our girls grew up at times taking his presence for granted, assuming that all families had a pet and that they were treated the same as our 90 lb beautiful, playful, goofy Weimereiner.

For many children, the death of a pet will be their first exposure to death. The relationship that children build with their pets are very strong, and the death of a family pet can be very upsetting. This may also be the first time that kids see their parents truely upset and cry.  Don’t minimize its importance, or immediately replace the dead pet with a new animal. Instead, give your child time to grieve for his dog or cat.  This is an opportunity to teach your child about death in a healthy and emotionally supportive way.  There are a few things that we should know when we try to help our children through the grieving process.   At least this is what I noticed with my kids and wanted to share it, hoping others will find these techniques useful.

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Be Honest and Direct
Robin Goodman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, art therapist, and author of The Day Our World Changed: Children’s Art of 9/11, explains: “When you don’t tell the truth it makes feelings and information go underground, which is never good. Kids also get crazy ideas because they have to make up information to fill in the blanks.” She adds, though, that your child’s age and personality will determine how much information they can tolerate or process. With our daughters, the 7 yo was able to understand when I discussed with her how sick our dog was and that he was in pain and might “die soon.” I felt it important to not mask it with “go to sleep” or other variations.  However, my 4 yo understood that he was sick but did not understand the concept of death.  She was expecting him to come back home even a few weeks after, thinking he would come back from Heaven to us again.  When discussing death, never use euphemisms. Kids are extremely literal, and hearing that a loved one “went to sleep” can be scary. Besides making your child afraid of bedtime, euphemisms interfere with his opportunity to develop healthy coping skills that he will need in the future.

“Think of it as an open discussion, not a lecture,” Dr. Goodman says. “Start with some basics to open the discussion, then find out what they know and think, which will lead you to how much they need to know and any incorrect information they may have.” Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Loss and Transition in Fort Collins, CO, says, “Children can only deal with what they know, not what they don’t know.” By trusting your kids to handle the news, you send the message that they can come to you for anything.

Most young children are aware of death, even if they don’t understand it. Death is a common theme in cartoons and television ( again Disney puts it in every movie- they are always killing off a parent or family member)  and some of your child’s friends may have already lost a loved one. But experiencing grief firsthand is different and often a confusing process for kids. As a parent, we want to always protect our kids from the pain of loss, but we can’t always do that. What we can do is help them feel safe. And by allowing and encouraging him to express his feelings, you can help him build healthy coping skills that will serve him well in the future.

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Every child grieves differently

After losing a loved one, a boy may go from crying one minute to playing the next. His changeable moods do not mean that he isn’t sad or that he has finished grieving; children cope differently than adults, and playing can be a defense mechanism to prevent a child from becoming overwhelmed. It is also normal to feel depressed, guilty, anxious, or angry at who has died, or at someone else entirely.  Very young children may regress and start wetting the bed again, or slip back into baby talk.

Our family dealt with the grieving process together.  My oldest daughter was trying to be too strong.  I talked to her and told her it was okay to be sad and cry.  I also told her that we were all very sad and were going to miss Duke very much and that both Mommy and Daddy cried alot when Duke died earlier in the day.  That finally made her feel that she was allowed to cry over it, I think she was trying to be strong for her little sister.  Meanwhile, the little sister took it all very smoothly, she turned it into a joyful occasion that he was now in Heaven with Jesus.  She talked about having a guardian angel now and that he was in a very happy place.  Her happy, upbeat personality helped our family.

Encourage kids to express feelings
It’s good for kids to express whatever emotions they are feeling. There are many good children’s books about death, and reading these books together can be a great way to start a conversation with your child. Since many children aren’t able to express their emotions through words, other helpful outlets include drawing pictures, building a scrapbook, looking at photo albums, or telling stories.  We decided to look through all of the pictures we had and made a photo album of our silly doggie so that we could always remember him and look at it when we missed him.  That helped the girls tons, they were able to laugh looking at the pictures and we reminisced about all his silly antics together.

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Be developmentally appropriate

It is hard to know how a child will react to death, or even if she can grasp the concept. Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer his questions. Very young children often don’t realize that death is permanent, and they may think that a dead loved one will come back if they do their chores and eat their vegetables. As psychiatrist Gail Saltz explains, “Children understand that death is bad, and they don’t like separation, but the concept of ‘forever’ is just not present.”

Older, school-age children understand the permanence of death, but they may still have many questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.

Another consideration with the death of pets is if you want to take your children with you if you choose to have the veterinarian help euthanize or “put your pet down.”  Base this decision on if your kids are at a developmentally appropriate age to allow them to see it.  Many children will not understand the scenario and may see it as their parents choosing to kill their pet versus to end their suffering.  This may only add to their confusion and grief when they are younger ages.

Incorporating your religious beliefs
Discussing your religious beliefs, such as heaven or an afterlife, with your kids can be very helpful to a grieving child.  Now is the time to share these beliefs.  But even if you aren’t religious you can still comfort your child with the concept that a person continues to live on in the hearts and minds of others. You can also build a scrapbook or plant something that represents the person you have lost.  My youngest daughter, 4 yo, attends catholic preschool and on her own she asked her teacher if the class could say a prayer for her dog that was now in heaven.  Even at that age and of her own accord, she chose to express her grief and find solace through our faith.  This brings up also the importance to inform all teachers and school advisors about the death so that they can help your child during the day if needed.  It’s important for their school to know why your child may be withdrawn or sad during the school day.

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Don’t ignore your own grief
Children will often imitate the grieving behavior of their parents. It is important to show your emotions as it reassures children that feeling sad or upset is okay. However, reacting explosively or uncontrollably teaches your child unhealthy ways of dealing with grief.

Stick to routines
Children find great comfort in routines, so if you need some time alone, try to find relatives or friends who can help keep your child’s life as normal as possible Although it is important to grieve over the death of a loved one, it is also important for your child to understand that life does go on.

Seeking additional help and support
If you notice that your child seems unusually upset and unable to cope with the loss, she may have something called adjustment disorder. Adjustment disorder is a serious and distressing condition that some children develop after experiencing a painful or disruptive event. It is a good idea to consult your child’s doctor if you feel that your child isn’t recovering from a loss in a healthy way.

Stay Healthy and Be Well. Please share your thoughts and comments.

#RIPDuke 3/16/16 #kidstummytroubles #Grief #mansbestfriend