Meet My New BFF

image (2)

I don’t know how I lived without her in my life for so long.  She has made my life so much easier, she is now one of my new best friends.  I would like to introduce everyone to my Instant Pot.  This new addition to my kitchen is a huge time saver at the end of a busy day.  And it gets rid of multiple different kitchen devices if you want to declutter your life a bit.  It is a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker and so much more all in one.  You can even make your own yogurt if that is something you typically like to do.

It cuts my dinner cooking time in more than half.  I can put in frozen meat, some spices and veggies and have a healthy meal cooked up in 30 minutes while I am doing homework with my kids.  I have joined many different Facebook groups that have helped me to obtain a recipe collection for my Instant Pot.  There are tons of recipes on Pinterest and many cookbooks dedicated to this also.  For those living Gluten Free and Paleo I recommend this because for the poultry and meat settings alone it keeps the meats moist.

IMG_6787

Picture Courtesy Of Tempe Chen Sahara

If any of you have the old pressure cooker that always scared the heck out of me when it was used you can finally retire it.  And they even have one that is Bluetooth capable that links to your phone! So Cool!!  I will admit I am still a rookie myself with my Instant Pot but it is so easy to use and Amazon just had a sale on them where they were 50% off.  Just keep an eye out for bargains on these.

I am a member of a Pediatrician Mommy group on Facebook.  We all work long hours and are exhausted after work.  And on this group we are always looking for ways to cut down the dinner prep time but not compromise the health of the meals we offer to our families.  This groups feeds are now overflowing with everyone praising their InstantPots and the meals that have been made.

Healthy living and cooking are something we all have to make the time and effort to commit to.  When I find something that can make this easier for me I like to share it with all of you.   If you have an Instant Pot already share your experiences with it, if you decide to take the plunge and get one let me know what you think.

Live Healthy and Be Well!

#InstantPot #kidstummytroubles

Remember When Breastfeeding Was Featured On Sesame Street?

This was a great article that I read by Kristen Tea on mothering.com. Definitely makes me wonder what happened in society in the past 35 years that now makes us feel so ashamed of breastfeeding in public.

http://www.mothering.com/articles/remember-breastfeeding-featured-sesame-street/

#kidstummytroubles #breastfeeding

WHO says that childhood obesity is an ‘exploding nightmare’ in developing countries

Wanted to share this with my followers.  Please let me know your thoughts and comments.  Stay Healthy & Be Well!

 

Is it the phthalates? The early antibiotic exposure? The low levels of physical activity? Parental tolerance (or ignorance) of how much junk food kids are eating? Each has been attributed in some way to obesity, but regardless of the impact of each of these individual components, the World Healt …

Source: WHO says that childhood obesity is an ‘exploding nightmare’ in developing countries

 

#kidstummytroubles #childhoodobesity

Yoga Generates Huge Benefits for Children with Autism

 Reposted from Yoga International.  Originally published on OCTOBER 30, 2014    BY HANNAH BRANDSTAETTER

Yoga is growing in popularity in the U.S. as a complementary therapy for children with special needs and autism, with rising numbers of schools and parents participating in innovative programs which are cropping up around the country. Scott Anderson, teacher and founder of YogAutism, mentions on his site that in addition to benefits typically associated with yoga—improved strength and flexibility, and an increasing sense of peace—autistic children also experience a reduction of pain, anxiety, aggression, obsessive behaviors, and self-stimulatory activities. And there’s more good news. The children are also having greater success making new friends and regulating emotions.

Yoga is growing in popularity in the U.S. as a complementary therapy for children with special needs and autism.

Louise Goldberg, author of Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs, also has first-hand experience witnessing the enormous benefits children on the autistic spectrum experience from practicing yoga. In 1981, Goldberg and a colleague were invited to teach a demo class for teachers at a residential hospital for children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. “We were both fairly new yoga teachers and we just made it up as we went along. But seeing the kids—many of whom were extremely anxious, withdrawn, or angry—let go, for even a moment, was a revelation. We were amazed at how effective yoga was with these children and how much they enjoyed it,” says Goldberg.

Anxiety and Yoga

Children with autism have very different sensory experiences from other people, and these responses often cause their bodies to get stuck in fight, flight, or freeze modes that divert blood from the digestive organs to the skeletal muscles. This activity results in disrupted digestion, increased heart rate, and shallower breathing—all of which readily provoke anxiety.

Practicing his floating on a cloud (shavasana), he was able to self-regulate and calm his emotions,” explains Goldberg.

“I had a student, a little boy who got very, very anxious if the school bus was late. His mother drove him to school everyday and one day she saw him lying down in the back seat of the car, and she asked him, ‘Are you sick?’ He responded, ‘No, I am relaxing.’ The mother said she had never seen him so calm. Practicing his floating on a cloud (shavasana), he was able to self-regulate and calm his emotions,” explains Goldberg.

The Importance of Visualization

Autism educators often highlight the importance of visualization practices, so Goldberg designed the program Stop and Relax, which uses over 50 cue cards to help children visualize the pose they are supposed to take. Through this visualization, they are able to successfully imitate and model physical actions and postures they would not have been able to previously.

“Some of the kids don’t speak—don’t have language—but they can look at a visual cue card and respond. Some children also have trouble engaging, even if they can achieve fluid sentences and can perform motor planning. However, they don’t have the kind of motor planning skills like going from point A to point B to point C. But on seeing the visual cue, somehow it triggers something in their brain and they can replicate it,” she explains.

Resistance to the Word “Yoga”

When Goldberg started teaching her specialized yoga classes, she received some resistance from parents and schools, as some people didn’t feel comfortable with the word “yoga.”

“I think some people around the U.S. were a little bit narrow-minded. Some even thought it was a cult,” she explained. “One thing that I want to impart here is that yoga, as it’s practiced in public schools, is not a religious practice. The postures and breathing exercises, the relaxation techniques and self-regulation tools, can be culled from yoga’s vast well of resources to be implemented in a public school curriculum.”

This program is applicable to all children and ages, as it is just another form of movement involving exercise, mindfulness, and breathing.

Goldberg now uses the name “Creative Relaxation,” and takes yoga poses and applies them to challenges that children have in either their school or everyday lives. This program is applicable to all children and ages, as it is just another form of movement involving exercise, mindfulness, and breathing.

“The idea is that when we are in a school, we don’t use any Sanskrit names. We don’t call it the prayer pose. We call it the tree pose. Viparita shalabhasana is our Superman pose. I don’t want anyone to feel that it is religious. We don’t do any chanting. When we sing, it’s just generic songs.”

Goldberg believes that all children would benefit from yoga practice in school classes. “Ten years ago, when I was teaching in a school, I had a chance to go into all the classes which had a child with autism and I taught the whole group. It wasn’t just the one child that benefited from this. Everyone did,” she explains with a smile.

Benefits for School Classes

Dr. Judy Willis, who has combined her 15 years as an adult and child neurologist with her teacher education training and years of classroom experience, explains in her book, How Children Learn Best, that children need breaks every 15 minutes. If that time is exceeded, no learning takes place, which leads to frustration for the children and the teacher.

Goldberg agrees and believes that yoga provides the perfect antidote. Just holding a pose for a minute, while sitting down or standing next to the desk, and learning can continue without teachers having to discipline the children for the rest of the lesson.

In 2012, researchers who investigated another yoga program in the study, “Efficacy of the ‘Get Ready to Learn’ Yoga Program Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” (published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy) found that “use of daily classroom-wide yoga interventions have a significant impact on key classroom behaviors among children with ASD.”

The study, which lasted 16 weeks, divided children into two groups. The first group participated in the morning classroom yoga program, and the second group participated in a standard morning classroom routine. Challenging behaviors were assessed with the standardized measurements of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist and behavior coding both before and after the study period.

Researchers concluded that the Get Ready to Learn program “reduces irritability, lethargy, social withdrawal, hyperactivity, and noncompliance in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs),” and that incorporating the program into the school day “can maximize academic engagement and optimize classroom time.”

It is unclear how many children are currently participating in similar programs, but Goldberg states that there are hundreds of teachers who teach thousands of children in the U.S. She likes to refer to the movement as “a snowball effect” that benefits more and more students—and their teachers and parents—over time.

“I think that one of the ways to change a culture is to start with the children. In the U.S., we have a terrible problem with bullying…. Mindfulness activities that incorporate breath, like yoga, are perfect ways to create a community which is more compassionate, less competitive, and more self-aware,” says Goldberg.

For more information about Louise Goldberg’s classes and teacher training please visit relaxationnow.net

Photos courtesy of edzeissimages.com. Reprinted with permission of WW Norton.

HANNAH BRANDSTAETTER
Hannah is a freelance journalist and yoga enthusiast who grew up in Vienna. She currently lives in London after spending 5 years in Los Angeles where she became more involved in yoga and meditation. She has been practicing yoga since she was 16 and particularly enjoys Brikram and Hot Vinyasa.

**********************************************************************************

When I read this article I immediately knew I wanted to share it with my readers.  Let me know your thoughts and comments.  Stay Healthy and Be Well!

#KidsTummyTroubles #yoga #kidsyoga #kidsyogi #autism #autismspeaks

The 3 E’s of 2016

Over my Christmas vacation I restarted practicing yoga and my kids have been joining me.  How fun!!  This has been a wonderful experience for us.  I have been feeling calmer and more focused.  The girls have been enjoying themselves also.  Even my husband said he may want to start taking it up.  Santa brought my oldest a yoga mat so we are side by side.  I knew she had an interest in it.  And we all know it is always more fun to do things with a partner in crime.

I haven’t really done yoga consistently since I was in college (which was a really, really long time ago).  My husband also got me a fitbit for Christmas which I have to say is pretty damn awesome.  And its in my favorite color!  It keeps track of my steps, heart rate, miles walked, calories burnt, and it tracks my exercise which includes yoga.

fitbit

Over this upcoming year, I am also going to attempt to implement some of these practices in my treatment regimens.  As many of my patients can already attest, I only prescribe meds when I deem necessary.  I always try to encourage diet change and exercise first.  I spend an extensive amount of time trying to understand the stressors that may be leading to the symptoms that my patients are feeling.

Yoga has been studied in the treatment of IBS to aid in symptom relief if done on a regular basis.  Also in the autistic population, children with anxiety, and children with functional abdominal pain can benefit from yoga as well.  I will be learning more about these various yoga poses, techniques and methods so that I can share them with you over the next weeks to months.

Yoga Mats

I hope that this new year will be one of Education, Enrichment, and Enlightenment!  Stay Healthy and Be Well!!

As always I look forward to hearing your thoughts and reading your comments.

#KidsTummyTroubles

A Guide on Starting a Gluten Free Diet

fruit rainbow

When you realize that you need to make the change to Gluten Free it can be very overwhelming.  My patients start to search the internet and they get bombarded with info.  I always try to reassure them and say just start slowly and keep it simple.  I recommend starting by giving them a few reliable sources, such as the Gluten Free Diet Guide for Families provided by CDHNF and NASPGHAN. Look for the key words- wheat, barley or rye in the ingredient list of your packaged foods and in the beginning just stick to whole, unprocessed foods.  This means keep the diet simple initially – eat fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein.

Also a good starting point is to look for the labels on food that state Gluten Free.  There are many quality gluten free options that you can find  in most grocery stores. That being said, realize you may not like the gluten free food the first time you eat it.

More importantly, if you are changing to a gluten free diet due to an illness such as celiac disease, you may feel awful from being sick for a long time. Many people don’t have much of an appetite and have lost weight prior to their diagnosis. They may be suffering from stomach pain and no food tastes really good at this point.  Gluten free food is different. It takes time for your taste buds to change. I still remember the first time I ate gluten free pasta. My kids did not like the taste of it, it is a bit heavier than white pasta.  Start with some of the simple tested and true good gluten free unprocessed food and give yourself time to feel better and time for your taste buds to adjust.

For the first few weeks when you are learning, try some of these easy Gluten Free options.

Breakfast Ideas:

  • Yogurt, Smoothies and Parfaits – Chobani and Stonyfield yogurts are certified GF by the Gluten Intolerant Group. Top with fresh fruit for a great start to your day.
  • Eggs – scrambled, fried, or hard boiled
  • Gluten free cereal – there are several GF cereals.  General Mills and Van’s Cereals have a few Gluten free options.
  • Pocono Cream of Buckwheat – Buckwheat is good for you and naturally sweet.  Top with milk, sugar and cinnamon!
  • Certified Gluten Free Oats – only consume certified GF oats such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats.


Lunch and Dinner Ideas:

  • Any natural unprocessed meat
  • Baked potato
  • A sandwich on Udi Bread – you can go gluten free and still eat your favorite GF sandwich toppings on Udi bread.
  • Lunchmeat – Boar’s Head cold cuts and Hormel Natural Choice lunchmeats. For an easy lunch, roll some lunchmeat and cheese together and stick a toothpick in it.
  • Brown rice and risotto.
  • Nachos – Tostitos tortilla chips with melted cheese on top. Click on the Tostitos link to see a list of Frito Lay products that are gluten free!
  • Peanut butter on some toasted Gluten Free bread or with some Snyder’s of Hanover GF Pretzels.

Snacks:

  • Fruit and vegetables. Do not underestimate the value of fruit and veggies. We eat more of these than anything else.
  • Cheese is a great option for anyone on a gluten free diet. Gluten is not included in the standard ingredients in cheese that include milk, enzymes and sometimes salt. Most processed cheese is also likely though not guaranteed to be gluten free. You might find wheat in the seasoning  and noncaking ingredients used for some shredded cheeses, but anytime wheat is used it must be clearly labeled. I recommend shredding your own cheese if that is how you prefer to eat it.  Also blue cheese is also considered safe for those on a gluten free diet.
  • Chips are not necessarily healthy but many are gluten free. Click this link for Frito Lay Gluten Free List. Eat them with hummus, GF salsa or GF guacamole.
  • Real popcorn. Most microwave popcorn is gluten free but save yourself the worry and time and make your own popcorn.
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Kozy Shack pudding
  • Nuts
  • Kind bars.  My kids favorite GF snack bar!
  • Make your own fresh fruit smoothies as a great snack. (and you can sneak veggies in the smoothies and your kids won’t even notice, I always try to sneak in either carrots or kale to ours at home)

Desserts:

Ice Cream itself is gluten free but may contain products which are made from gluten so avoid ice cream sandwiches, cone products, cookie and ice cream flavors such as Oreo, and flavors which contain brownie pieces, cookie dough and cheese cake etc.

 

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

#GlutenFree #KidsTummyTroubles #Celiac #Glutenfreeliving #GlutenFreeGuide

Stress and Allergies – Forget about Perfection

_DSC0024

Many of the complaints that my patients come to see me for are often precipitated by stress.  It is amazing what stress and anxiety can do to one’s health.  From a GI perspective it can cause severe stomach pains leading to gastritis, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux, to name a few.  I have to often be a detective with my patients, especially the teenagers, to find what the cause of their pain is. Many times it is brought on by too much stress either academically or with extracurricular activities.  Sometimes their schedules are so busy that this continued rigorous agenda will of course lead to physical manifestations of true disease processes.

I often work hand in hand with my colleagues in Allergy/Immunology.  We share patients and come up with a management plan based on both of our findings.   Living and working in the NYC Tri State area the incidence of asthma and other allergen induced diseases is extremely high.  We recommend to our patients to take the common precautions of air purifiers, mattress covers, pillow covers, and no curtains or stuffed animals in their bedrooms that can attract dust and trigger their symptoms.  However until recently I had never thought about the impact of the type of plants they have in and around their homes and how its is affecting their conditions.  I recently had the pleasure of reading the work of Thomas Leo Ogren in his new book  “The Allergy Fighting Garden”.  This book made me aware of some of the problems occurring with the types of trees and plants we may be putting around our homes that can be worsening our children’s asthma and allergies.   Thomas is my Guest Blogger of the day and has graciously shared with my readers a wonderful piece of work about Stress and Allergies. I hope you all enjoy it.

Forget about Perfection

Stress and Allergies

© Thomas Leo Ogren

Wisdom from the Vet

When I was in college I took a class in veterinary science that was given by the head veterinarian of the university, Dr. Dale Smith. Our university, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was known for its school of Agriculture and had a reputation as being a “hands on” college. As a result we had large herds of cattle, flocks of sheep, pigs, horses, foul and so forth. Our vet believed in a holistic approach to animal health.

Dr. Smith had been the university vet for almost thirty years, and his own father had been a vet before him. The first day he told our class, “The most important thing of all for you to be concerned with in animal health is reducing stress. Virtually all the diseases of livestock you will encounter are caused by stress. “

He further explained that most genetic diseases had long ago been eliminated with livestock through selective breeding. What you saw instead were animals that were sick because the farmer or rancher wasn’t taking care of them properly. They were left outside with no shade in the heat, left with no protection to get out of the wind, stuck in an over-crowded corral, fed a diet too low in nutrients, something that would cause stress.

“The stress causes a breakdown,” said the vet, “and then disease of some kind shows up. It could be pneumonia, cancer, allergies, any number of things, but stress always sets the stage for this disease.”

I have long wondered how it was that a veterinarian understood this so clearly and our own doctors didn’t seem to pay much attention to it at all. We are animals after all. Stress must affect us just as it does all the other species of animals. I think most of us who have lived with allergies understand that stress can aggravate the allergies. We’ll never be able to eliminate all stress from our lives. But we can learn ways to reduce it, and we can learn ways to deal with it. Whenever possible it is healthy to try to see some of this stress as a challenge. If we live active lives, we can expect plenty of stress, and that’s all right as long as we don’t let it get the best of us. 

In Allergy-Free Gardening, later in Safe Sex in the Garden, and most recently in The Allergy Fighting Garden, I explored how plant sex influences human wellness. If we have female rather than male plants, we won’t be inhaling all that male pollen and we won’t suffer from it. Allergy-friendly yards and gardens are stress busters.

In addition to decreasing the number of allergens, pollen grains, molds, and fungal spores, there are other things we can do to reduce stress in our lives, in our gardens.

Are allergies just a head-trip?

There is a reoccurring problem with stress and allergies. The problem is one of perception. It is well known that stress aggravates allergies. If you did a computer search using the terms “stress, illness, disease,” you might well be amazed at the hundreds of thousands of entries you’d find. For example, on the website healthdoc.com there’s an article, “Stress, the number one cause of disease and Illness.”

Even if the role of stress and illness is not as generally well understood, as it ought to be, it is certainly well documented. Stress contributes to heart disease in certain individuals. Stress also contributes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other cardiac risk factors, and many other negative things as well. 

Someone with allergies who is under stress will almost certainly experience worse allergies. The problem here is that too many people mix up cause and effect. Allergies are caused by an allergic response to allergens, to perfectly real substances, pollens, molds, dust, dander, allergic plant saps and so forth.

All too often ignorant people will imply that someone has allergies simply because they don’t know how to deal with stress. The implication is that you have allergies (or asthma) because you don’t really have your head screwed on straight. This isn’t true at all, and actually it is rather insulting. The next step in this illogical progression is that you deserve to have allergies since you’re bringing it on yourself. The people making these assumptions are, of course, people who don’t have allergies themselves. They don’t know how lucky they are, nor do they realize how arrogant their views are. Having persistent allergies can become pretty depressing and frustrating and critics are often insensitive to this as well.

Yes, allergies can be aggravated by stress, but then too, so can any other illness be complicated by stress. Allergies are completely for real. A few examples of this: Years ago when I gave my students different flowers to sniff, we quickly found out that a third of the class reacted strongly to bottlebrush pollen. Later, in blind tests with different types of pollen, the same students all again reacted strongly to the bottlebrush pollen. Another example: I have seen people who were very allergic to shrimp. I have seen what happened to them when they ate some food that they’d been told did not have shrimp in it, but that actually did. They immediately became very ill. 

When an allergist skin tests someone, often this is done on their back. They can’t see the pricks nor do they know which allergen is being tested with each prick of the skin. Their skin will then react with a welt to the ones they are allergic to. If they are re-tested soon afterwards, the results will be the same. Allergic responses are totally for real and this simple fact needs to be respected.

Back to stress. Here are some things we can do to reduce stress in our gardens.

Forget about perfection

We don’t need perfect gardens, not at all. Our gardens do not need to conform to some ideal. We should have gardens that please us, and that is what’s really important. Think of your garden as your place to feel relaxed, to kick back in, to unwind. Good gardens can be great stress reducers.

Also, forget about perfection for yourself. None of us is really perfect; we’ve all got our flaws. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t always try to improve ourselves, of course we should. But we need to learn to cut ourselves some slack, to give ourselves a break now and then. We need to forget about perfection and enjoy who we are and what we already have.

My father used to like to say, “The best is the enemy of the good.” There is great value in this concept. Trying to be perfect, expecting ourselves to be perfect, assuming other people actually are perfect (when of course, they are not)…all of this is counterproductive and it adds to stress. Accept yourself, love yourself, enjoy being you.

Garden Design

When you first set up your gardens think about how they will be used. Borrow liberally from good feng shui concepts of energy and harmony. Consider first the function and design gardens that are a pleasure to be in. If you can possibly afford it, get professional advice from a landscape designer or a landscape architect. These people are experts on how to create comfortable, attractive, stress-free gardens. Their advice might in the long run, turn out to be quite a bargain. With some things you do get what you pay for. With a good designer you get a quality design, one that will long keep you pleased.

While you’re thinking about how your landscape might look, buy some of the magazines on landscape design and look them over. See what attracts you. There are many excellent books on landscape design and these too can help you set up a relaxing, enjoyable garden. I recommend you go down to the bookstore, take some time, and look over all the books on garden design. Even if your yards are already landscaped, these books and magazines are still valuable, because you can always make changes. You can always try to improve your garden.

Wild Birds

Wild birds in a garden make it more fun and it is stress reducing just to watch them. All bird feeders add to your pleasure. I especially love those long, porous mesh bags that you can fill with Niger thistle seed. You hang these over a high branch, and the goldfinches will go crazy for it. Quickly the little goldfinches become almost tame. Just watching them feed is relaxing. The larger, more aggressive sparrows tire quickly of trying to feed from these mesh bags, and this conserves the niger seed, which as bird seed goes, is a bit pricey.

Humming bird feeders are great additions to a garden and who doesn’t like to watch humming birds? If you can’t appreciate humming birds, almost certainly your life has far too much stress in it right now. Hang up a hummingbird feeder, relax, and enjoy the show.

A birdbath can be handsome in the garden, and the birds will enjoy it too. Watching robins splash in a birdbath is good karma. Be sure to keep the water clean. A dirty birdbath can spread diseases among the birds, so hosing it out daily is a great idea.

Wind Chimes

I especially like those bamboo wind chimes but actually, almost any wind chimes add a nice, mellow touch in the garden. I will admit though that there are a few chimes that are pitched too high for my taste. The most important thing is that the chimes sound pleasant to you. Hang your chimes in a spot free of obstructions, where they will catch the breeze. When the wind blows, the chimes sing to you.

Water

Little ponds, tiny waterfalls, water fountains, all of these are proven stress reducers. Certain sounds irritate the human psyche, car alarms blasting in the night, dogs barking on and on. But other sounds soothe the soul like the sound of splashing water or water tumbling over stones.  Placed in the right spot in a garden all these wet additions can do much for the ambiance of the landscape.  Fish in a pond can add quite a bit too. More than one new parent has discovered the calming effect that watching fish swim in an aquarium has on their babies. A few goldfish in a pond is attractive too. A little pond also expands the kinds of plants you can grow in your garden. With a pond you can have water lilies.

Today there are many water fountains available and some are not too expensive either. Considering their value for reducing stress, they seem like a bargain.

Lawn furniture

This needn’t be anything fancy, but every garden ought to have a nice spot or two to sit and relax. A few garden chairs can make a big difference. A little table is good too. Lounge chairs are by design stress-busters. When I was young we had something called a chaise lounge that rocked and was just plain fun to sit in. More stress reduction. If you have an overhanging branch that looks perfect for it, hang a swing from it. Swinging reduces stress too. There has been considerable research into the importance of rocking babies back and forth. Any mother understands how well this works. Perhaps swinging works the same way?

A comfortable garden bench is a worthy addition to any landscape. Place it where two lovers, young or old, can sit and enjoy the view and each other.

Read a book

Seriously, sit in an easy chair in your comfortable garden and read a book. Turn off the TV and go outside. Commune with Nature. Read a book on how to reduce stress in your life if you think it might help. Read something on how to maintain a positive, cheery attitude. I find these always give me a boost. But just sitting in the garden and reading a good book is stress reducing. The natural light is good for your eyes and good for all of you. Read a novel if you like. Do sit out in your garden and read. The results are all positive.

Fruit trees

Why not use some fruit trees in the landscape? There is something so basic, so fundamentally satisfying to go outside on a warm summer morning and pick a ripe apricot, peach, apple, or plum. Actually, just watching the fruit develop on the tree is satisfying too. If you’re inclined and you turn some of that fruit into jams, jellies, pies, or preserves, that’s also fantastic. And fruit trees can be perfectly ornamental in the landscape. Few trees look half as good to me as a fruit laden apricot tree.

Vegetables

If you have the space consider some kind of a vegetable garden too. There is something about growing tomatoes and string beans that is good for the soul. You certainly don’t need a large spot for growing vegetables although it would be great if you had the room. Working in a vegetable garden is relaxing, something very basic. If you have a spot that gets good sunlight most of the day, consider having some sort of a vegetable garden. Even if it is just a little area where you can grow a few tomato plants each year, the pleasure and stress reduction from this can be incredible.

Compost

A compost pile doesn’t need to be big or fancy or complicated. You can build a simple wooden box with no bottom and throw all your old banana peels, apple cores, carrot tops, grass clippings, leaves and so on into it. Get some red worms and add them to the compost. They’ll multiply like mad and turn all the garbage into wonderful compost. Now and then you can remove some of the finished compost and use it in you garden. Composting is easy, fun, is earth-friendly, and it makes you feel good.

A Barbecue

It doesn’t need to be elaborate but if you still enjoy a hamburger or steak or grilled piece of chicken, why not have some kind of a barbecue? Even if you’re vegetarian, you can still cook outside on a grill. Bell peppers, chilies, and corn taste great right off a grill. Anyhow, you can get creative. Sometimes this provides a good excuse to sit out in the yard while the food cooks. A barbecue can turn an ordinary meal into a little outdoor adventure.

Moveable Pots

I like to have some large pots of flowers that I move around. When they are looking great, I move them up front where everyone can see them. When they are looking ratty, I stick them off on the side of the house to recuperate. I use enough moveable pots with enough different kinds of flowers planted in them, so that I can almost always have something colorful to brighten up any day.

A Lawn

Lawns are a lot of trouble, supposedly, but really, they are great places for kids to play on. Far too many people get hung up on having a “perfect lawn” and with this attitude a lawn can quickly become a big chore. A perfect lawn ought to be a lawn that you like. If it has three different kinds of grasses in it and a dandelion or two—and that doesn’t bother you, then that’s a great lawn. Lawns don’t need to be huge; in fact excessively large lawns are not worth the effort. But a small nice piece of lawn is a people-friendly addition to a garden. Use lawn grasses that are low-pollen or pollen-free.

Another note here about lawns: have yourself a small bit of nice lawn if possible. If for no other reason, a lawn is a fine place to do Yoga. For anyone who has yet to try yoga, I highly recommend it. It will make you more limber, stronger, improve your balance, and yoga (and the yoga meditation) is an excellent stress buster. Do it on your lawn.

Privacy

If you like to sunbathe in the nude or just feel like walking out back in your underwear in the morning, you ought to be able to do it without some neighbor looking at you. Front yards can be wide open perhaps, but a back yard needs to provide some privacy. Screens of shrubs or trees can provide this as can a simple 6-foot tall cedar board fence. Having privacy in your garden makes it feel like more of a retreat, a spot to get away from the troubles of the world, somewhere to step right out of the rat race.

The author, Thomas Leo Ogren, is an internationally recognized expert on plant sexuality as it relates to human health. He is author of Allergy-Free Gardening, of Safe Sex in the Garden, and most recently, The Allergy Fighting Garden. His work has been reviewed in many publications including Alternative Medicine, Garden Design, Women’s Day, Earth Island Journal, Wild One’s Journal, New Scientist, Landscape Design, Pacific Horticulture, the London Times, and Garden Gate. He has made numerous appearances on HGTV and was the focus of a recent Discovery Channel episode. He does consulting work for county asthma coalitions, the USDA, and the American Lung Association. www.safegardening.org

allergy

Let me know your thoughts and comments about today’s post and visit Thomas Ogrens site at safegardening.org for more info on his work. Stay well!

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!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 Gift Treats here at FARE’s website.

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

tppprintposterthumb

 

They have some FAQ‘s on their site. Here are a few:

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.

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

#TealPumpkinProject #KidsTummyTroubles #FARE #foodallergies

 

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Coconut French Toast

Not sure if you guys can tell but I LOVE breakfast foods, so when I find a yummy recipe I am always trying to convert it over to gluten free.  This french toast is a no brainer, it’s made with coconut milk, so its DAIRY FREE also!!

The only issue was finding a delicious, flaky, sweet golden brown brioche bread to use.  So instead of me reinventing the wheel I used a wonderful recipe for brioche bread that I found on Carol Kicinski’s site Simply Gluten Free.  I highly recommend her recipe for Gluten Free Brioche.

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts!

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Coconut French Toast

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Coconut French Toast

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yields 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 lg. eggs
  • 1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice ( McCormick is gluten free)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 8 thick slices of your favorite Gluten-Free brioche or challah bread
  • 3 tbsp. sweetened shredded coconut
  • Mixed berries, for serving (whatever is in season- blueberries, raspberries or blackberries will do)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for serving ( be sure gluten free- Dominos and C&H brands state they are gluten free)
  • Maple Syrup, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Whisk eggs, coconut milk, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of salt together.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil on medium.
  3. Soak 4 slices of your bread in the egg mixture, letting excess drip off; add to skillet.
  4. Sprinkle each slice with sweetened shredded coconut; press to adhere. Cook 4 minutes or until bottom of bread is deep golden brown. Gently turn slices over; cook 2 minutes or until coconut flakes are deep golden brown.
  5. Transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheet and keep warm in 300 degrees F oven. Repeat with 4 more slices bread, adding another 1 teaspoon oil if necessary.
  6. Serve with mixed berries, confectioners’ sugar, and maple syrup, if desired.

 

#KidsTummyTroubles #GlutenFree #GlutenFreeLiving #Glutendairyfree #Celiac #CeliacRecipes #GlutenFreeRecipes

Breastfeeding- The Ups & Downs Told By a Kids Tummy Doc

Mother breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding is the recommended form of sole nutrition for babies until 6 months of age.  Once the baby starts solids it is still recommended that breastfeeding continues with the solid foods until at least 1 year of age.

There are many benefits of breastfeeding for the baby.  These include a decrease in the following:

  • chance of ear infections
  • allergies
  • respiratory illnesses
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • meningitis

The benefits of breastfeeding to the mother is:

  • Return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster
  • Reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Less postpartum bleeding
  • The hormones that help with breastfeeding also make the uterus contract and helps decrease your belly size more quickly

These are the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  They have many helpful links for breastfeeding moms and many FAQs on their webpage that are very useful.  I now want to share with you my experience with breastfeeding as a “Kids Tummy Doctor.”

I see so many new moms come into me exhausted, frustrated and emotional.  I was one of these new moms with my first daughter.  It was exhausting to breastfeed her especially when my milk hadn’t come in yet fully.  She was constantly crying and hungry.  As a Peds GI doctor I should have been able to do this easily, right??  Well I guess not.  I was an emotional mess!! Eventually with taking some some herbal supplements ( I took fenugreek 3 times a day) and drinking Mothers Milk Tea to help my milk production, pumping constantly between feeds and latching her on as frequent as possible it started coming together. BUT I had to supplement her with formula due to her poor weight gain and not enough wet diapers.  As a new mom we try to write EVERYTHING down.  We keep a record of when they pee, poop, eat, burp.  We follow the rules, do what we are told to do by our doctors.

As a doctor, I tell my new moms something and I will tell you guys now, it’s okay if you have to supplement.  It’s okay if you only partially breastfeed because that is what works with your schedule and for your own sanity.  When I see moms with very apparent postpartum depression, sleep deprived and worried to switch to formula because they were told breastfeeding was the “right thing to do” I say to them that as a mom you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your baby.  I see moms who won’t take their antidepression meds because they don’t want to keep breastfeeding. PLEASE DON’T FEEL GUILTY IF YOU HAVE TO SUPPLEMENT OR STOP BREASTFEEDING!  You can still pump your milk to keep up your supply if you want to return to breastfeeding.  If you tried breastfeeding for 2 months than your baby did receive some of these valuable benefits for the first 2 months.   Please take care of yourself as a mommy so that you can take care of that beautiful, wonderful baby.

Also to those moms that are able to keep breastfeeding and pump and stock pile a freezer full of milk, YOU ROCK!  I was always so envious of you as a mom.  I honestly was breastfeeding my daughter probably for a full month every night towards the end and she would receive probably 2 oz combined from both breasts.  I knew this but didn’t want to lose that bonding that breastfeeding gives us with our babies.  Did I feel guilty when I realized that it was time to stop?  Yes.  I was so sad that I cried. In retrospect why did I feel guilty?  Why did my supply dry up?  It was most likely a combination of things.  When I went back to work when my daughter was 8 weeks old ( yup all i got off was 8 weeks; I had 6 weeks maternity leave plus my 2 weeks vacation that I saved and added on… but don’t get me started on that) I was never able to pump more than once a day during my workshifts when that timespan would cover 3 feeds, and the breastpump also never produced much milk for me.  I was supplementing with formula which can get tricky to do and still keep up with breastfeeding.  I felt guilty because I should have been able to make this work.  I am a Peds GI doctor, this is WHAT I DO!!  AGHHH!!  I was so angry with myself and what I want to say to you is that it’s okay to stop breastfeeding whenever you want.  Everyone’s situation is different.  You have to do what is right for you.   We try our best.  I paid for a private lactation consultant to come to my house, did everything and with my first baby I breastfed til 14 weeks old, with my second I was able to breastfeed til she was 7 months old.   Just because it doesn’t work perfectly with your first doesn’t mean the same scenario will happen with your other children.

Why am I telling you all this you ask??  Its because I don’t feel like enough people tell you their real stories.  They make it seem like breastfeeding will be easy.  That once you become a mommy you are supposed to automatically know how to do this. And if it doesn’t come naturally you feel like you are a bad mother.  I want you to know that it’s not easy for everyone.  It can be painful, so painful that when they latch onto your nipple it can make your toes curl.  That it is difficult and if you are able to experience this with your child even if only for a few weeks, you did awesome!!

Please, make sure you ask for help when you need it.  Call your pediatrician, they can recommend a lactation consultant if they can’t help you.  If your are feeling sad and overly depressed and emotional please go back to your OB/GYN and tell them.  You may be suffering from postpartum depression and need help.  As women, professionals and mothers please lets start to help build each other up as a society.  Share your true stories with your family and friends.  Don’t sugarcoat it, lets help each other become better moms.

#KidsTummyTroubles #Breastfeeding