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

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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?

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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

As new moms we have all been there.  We are so happy to be home with our new perfect infant.  They are being perfect angels, sleeping, feeding wonderfully.  We know exactly what they need and all is right in the world……okay so that lasted for about the first 10 minutes you got home.  Now your baby is crying and  its time to feed her .  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 us always think of the worst case scenario.   So when my kid began to cry for HOURS at a time I was looking for mosquitos in her crib at night, hair tourniquets, early signs of teething, until it finally dawned on me that I had a kid who had colic.  What is colic you may ask??  Colic stinks.  It sucks for the baby, it sucks for the mommy and daddy and everyone else involved.   

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, three days a week for three weeks or longer. The Infamous “Rule of 3s”. Nothing you do to try to help your baby during these episodes seems to bring any relief.  When the parents come to see me with their colic infants they are frustrated, sleep deprived and in need of help.

There are many supportive measures that can be used to help with colic.

The 5 S’s

The Dr Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s should be the first line to help.

Shush- this should be loud enough to be heard over the babies crying, white noise and music can be used with this also.

Swaddle- infants need to be wrapped up snug.  Many times their own limbs will wake them up from sleep. This can be done with a blanket or with the swaddling blankets with the velcro.

Side lie- also known as football hold, this works great when you are holding them on their side and you are gently swinging them at the same time.

Swing- This was my best friend. Typically works best when the child is about 4 weeks old and up.

Suck- It has been proven that pacifiers have decreased the rate of SIDS and also makes for a happier baby, but sucking will help colic also.

Carriers

mobybc-miracle-why-forward-tiny-pngOther methods that help colic babies is to wear your baby in a front carrier or sling.  The baby likes to be close and this sense of comfort instantly soothes the baby.

There are a variety of carrier options available.  Just to start with a few,  the Moby Wrap offers the wearer different configurations using the given fabric.  There may be a learning curve associated with it but the babies do love the belly to belly positioning that helps with the colic.

The Baby K’Tan is also available and is a “ready-to-wear” wrap, meaning that you do not need to buckle or wrap anything.  The double loop design goes on over your head and you adjust it for comfort. They also have videos on their website but they describe it as an easy 3 step process.

The Baby Bjorn is one of the first commercially available. It is well known and has good lower back support as the babies get bigger.

Feeding

bottlesThe best advice that I give all my patients is to not stick to your schedules so strictly.  If you think your baby is hungry but your chart says its not time yet- WHO CARES!! Feed the baby.  Many times feeding the baby will calm her down. Since we are talking about feeding I always like to look at the baby feeding during the appointment.  Many times we may need to change the bottle.  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.

Homeopathic Medications

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Gripe water, Colic calm and Simethicone drops can be given for symptomatic relief.

 

 

Chamomile and Bay Leaf

If you actually look at the ingredients in the above products you will find these herbs.  I have been recommending to my patients to brew one bag of chamomile tea with a bay leaf and let it come to room temperature and it give the baby 1 oz of this during their fussiest time of day.  If your baby also suffers from contipation I have them add 1 tsp of Karo Corn Syrup to the tea which aids with the stool softening.

Massage

Gently massage the babies belly and legs.  Bring the legs back and forth bending the knees towards the belly button.  Ths promotes gas release and makes the baby more comfortable.

Warm compress

You can apply a warm heating pad over the babies onesie.  Place it on the abdomen for a few minutes.

Music

Music or white noise is very helpful for both mommy and baby.

 

Occasionally other changes may need to be made including changing the babies formula, or eliminating foods from the breastfeeding mother’s diet.  This may need to be discussed with your pediatrician.

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

 

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.

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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

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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.

Duke Collage

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



Meet My New BFF

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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!

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