Archive for April, 2012

April 26, 2012

Childhood Obesity Bites! Get Kids to Eat Healthier

                                               I have always thought this! Plus there’s a lot more involved in the process of making a hamburger than a salad! For God’s sake an animal has to killed! I guess that’s supply and demand for ya at the expense of our children’s health.

Well this time my blog was inspired by my post on Facebook. One thing that breaks my heart is childhood obesity. Many times this epidemic could be easily avoided. Now, I’m not  a big stats and facts person, but I will state some plain and simple ones in this blog. It is pretty common knowledge that obesity for adults and children is at an all time high. The fact that crushes me most is that our generation’s life expectancy will outlive our children’s. Childhood obesity causes so many risks and complications. Physical complications include heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, breathing problems, apnea, and let’s not forget the emotional consequences like  low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  So this translates to problems in school, academically and socially and issues at home. More than likely, these issues will continue to be challenges as they become adults. This makes  basic things such as getting a good job, having good relationships with others, or just enjoying life  complicated! Do you really want to set your child up for this? When for the most part it could easily and quite simply  be avoided.

The majority of child obesity is behavioral, now of course there  can be complex genetic or biological factors. BUT,  less than 1% of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Another simple fact:  Obesity occurs when the amount  of calories going in is greater than the calories going out!  Not rocket science. More basic facts: “If a one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese.  However, when both parents are obese, their children have an 80 percent chance of being obese.”  Ok, so when I hear “Oh, little Johnny is overweight because it runs in the family, I am quick to point out NO, probably the behavior runs in the family. So…  I feel, as a parent one of the best things you can do is teach your child healthy behaviors and guide them into living a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives. The best way you can do that is to set a good example and you will set them up for success! For the most part most kids by nature are active, so let’s start by getting them to eat healthier. Here are seven top tips for getting started on the right track with getting your kids to eat healthier!!

1. Be a good example. This is the most important, if you are turning your nose up at eating your Brussel sprouts and downing a couple Cokes a day, what kind of message do you think you’re sending. Get to know good nutrition. All I have to say here is MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO.

2.Get them involved! Kids love to be involved and  be helpers, so let them! Whether it’s helping with grocery shopping, creating  the menu or with preparation of food. This is a good time to teach them the values of good nutrition. I have one that likes to chop and one that likes to stir. It works out nicely 🙂

3.Don’t skip, stick to schedule. Kids need to eat like us every 3-4 hours. Even if you’re on the go, have something healthy handy to snack on like fruit or trail mix. This beats dealing with the crankies or (in my case) little slugs. lol! This also keeps you out of the fast food drive thru!

4. Start with a great breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day, it will make or break the day! Keep in mind, they have been fasting for the last 10-13 hours. After that long with no food it’s important to refuel! If they don’t eat in the morning they’ll be tired and unable to concentrate in school. It should be nutritionally balanced. Avoid the high sugar cereals!

5.Be in control.  You can’t expect your kids to make healthy choices when the cupboards and fridge is full of bad ones. Limit the bad choices you bring home or keeping them out of site is helpful.  I keep healthy selections easy to grab. We keep veggies chopped up in fridge and there is an endless supply of yogurt.

6. Dress it up or dip it! This is just like it sounds, make foods fun by being creative, use your imagination or better yet theirs! The web is full of cute ideas! As for my kids, everything’s better with ranch. Find a sauce or a dip your kids enjoy and they might be apt to try a new veggie or two. You can also disguise food nicely by being a creative parent 😉

7. A time and a place. Remember, anything in moderation is ok. While we want the majority of what our children eat  to  be healthy for their growing bodies, a special treat once a week or even once a day won’t do any damage. There will be birthday parties and sleep overs that you have no control over and that’s ok. If you deny these treats too much you will find candy wrappers behind your furniture, as I have in the past! In all seriousness, allowing this will help make eating a more enjoyable experience and will help your child build a good relationship with food.

Ah, and I can’t forget the one that inspired my topic Don’t buy into marketing for kid’s! It is a cause that feeds childhood obesity. Well that can be another blog. Now go enjoy healthy bites with your family! Sandy C.

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April 25, 2012

Deodorant dilemma

Hi everyone, it’s Shanon G. For the last nine months for some strange reason I have not needed to wear deodorant! It’s very weird to me that as soon as I became pregnant I no longer needed it, but it’s something I just can’t explain and honestly I’m thrilled! This got me thinking, deodorant is a real dilemma for some people. You don’t want to smell or sweat, but you don’t want to use deodorant or anti-perspirant that has harmful toxins. The active ingredient in anti-perspirant is aluminum chlorohydrate (or sometimes aluminum zirconium), an astringent that is used as a topical antiperspirant or body deodorant. Although it’s the least irritating of the aluminum salts, it can still result in allergic reactions. But here’s where it gets stickier: Aluminum also happens to be a neurotoxin that alters the function of the blood-brain barrier, linking it to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. We don’t have any conclusive proof, however, that antiperspirants actually increase your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.
Still, some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and result in estrogen-like behavior. Because the hormone has been known to promote the growth of breast-cancer cells, some researchers have suggested that aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants could contribute to the development of breast cancer. Now that to me is scary stuff! I used to buy the anti-perspirant SURE before I did the research and realized what I was putting on my body. I then switched to a brand that my friend Marzia recommended to me called Crystal body deodorant stick, an excellent, natural alternative to the anti-perspirant I used to use. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself I have included the link to get more info http://www.thecrystal.com/crystal_insights.cfm. There are also recipes for making your own deodorant that I have heard work well too. If you’re interested in trying to make your own here is a link to a recipe http://homesteadrevival.blogspot.com/2011/01/homemade-deodorant.html. Good luck and good smells 🙂

April 23, 2012

Colostrum: The “super supplement”

I’m sure most of you know what colostrum is. The fluid produced by mammals during the first few milkings. It builds the immune system and provides nutrients, including growth factors, and therefore is vital to the health of children. Bovine colostrum is molecularly identical to human colostrum.

Three recent studies suppport bovine colostrum as highly beneficial to humans. Some health benefits include increased energy, increased ability of the body to burn fat, acceleration of injury healing; including significant anti-aging properties and is seen to promote longevity.

Studies that included athletic performance show; retained energy after intensive training, higher performance levels, fewer signs of fatigue, and increased peak aneroebic power.

So far there have been no significant side effects reported, including lactose intolerant users.

Local dairy farmers carry raw colostrum and it would need to be refridgerated and consumed in a short amount of time. Processed colostrum comes from hundreds of cows and has a broader spectrum of immune factores. Pasture fed cows have a higher range of immunites. Also, make sure thy are pesticide, anitbiotic and rBst free. Powdered froms are best because heat can alter the structure in tablet forms. To learn more on how colostrum and help you reach your goals click here: http://www.naturalnews.com/022851.html

 

Thanks for reading,

Shelly!

April 19, 2012

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY!

Easter is not the only special holiday in the month of April; Earth Day is an important day too. This April 22nd, celebrate the planet with the people you love. Do your part to appreciate the planet by making others aware to be more eco friendly even if it is only one day of the year. The more eco aware you are, the better our planet gets treated. So what are you going to do this Earth Day to save our planet?

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day was founded by United Sates Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22nd, 1970 to promote ecology and awareness for life on the planet. It also brings up the growing concerns that our air pollution, water, and soil are in. What was just a small idea to bring people together turned into an ongoing worldwide public event. Can you believe that over a whooping 20 million people participated at Earth Day that year? Today it is an estimated 500 million people who will celebrate this special day. Most communities will celebrate it all week, which is even better for the planet. Unfortunately it is not a public holiday even though it is currently being observed by 175 countries around the world. But one can hope that it will be. I believe that one day it will be in the near future.

About the Earth Day Founder

 

                Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin, called for an Earth Day to be held on April 22nd, 1970. He was an environmental activist who conceived the idea after the horrific oil spill off of the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969. Outraged by the devastation, Nelson proposed a national teach-in on the environment to be observed by every university campus in the U.S. He announced his idea on September 20, 1969 to a group in Seattle. Nine days later it made the New York Times in a long front page article in which it swept the nation by storm. What was a hope full dream became a reality that exceeded everyone’s expectations. Nelson’s idea marked the beginning of a modern environmental movement. Today Earth Day has evolved into a mainstream way of living by being observed all around the world. The world has become aware by “going green” in everyday life.

How to Celebrate Earth Day

Many green minded people celebrate Earth Day by planting trees, recycling, composting, picking up trash on the side of the road, and not driving or traveling that day. But, if you are looking for something a little more fun, most cities have a carnival-like Earth Day rally with festivities to educate and entertaining you. Take the family and educate the little ones about our future. By coming to an event like this it gives those who have not taken part, a chance to embrace changes in their lives today. Or if you are currently being green, you may discover new ways to be eco-friendly. If there is not an event in your community, become a leader and start one.

 

 

 

Earth Day Fun Facts

  1. Earth Day was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970.
  2. Earth Day was chosen because April 22nd is the first official day of spring in the Northern hemisphere.
  3. In 1970 only one country participated in Earth Day, today over 175 countries observe it.
  4. In 1970, over 20 million people celebrated Earth Day, today over 500 million will.
  5. The earth has been around for an estimated 4.6 billion years.
  6. 75% of the water pumped out of the ground is recycled.
  7. Only 11% of the Earth’s surface is used to grow food.
  8. The world’s first national park was started in 1872 at Yellowstone National Park.
  9. Today only 32% of our waste actually gets recycled.
  10. Never underestimate the power of recycling. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch 3 hours of TV.

 

I leave you with this final thought….Make everyday earth day!

Marzia Prince

April 12, 2012

Benefits of breastfeeding

Hey everyone, it’s Shanon G. As you all know I am nearing the end of my pregnancy (9 months!) and lately I have been researching the benefits of breastfeeding. I was truly shocked at what I discovered. Now I have always assumed I would feed my little one formula so that I could “get my body back” ASAP and not have to worry about leaky and engorged boobs, pumping, sore nipples, and all the other not-so-fun issues that sometimes come with breastfeeding. Well I have certainly changed my tune! The benefits to both mother and baby are incredible, check it out!

Benefits to baby:

Many studies show that breastfeeding strengthens the immune system. During nursing, the mother passes antibodies to the child, which help the child resist diseases and help improve the normal immune response to certain vaccines.

Respiratory illness is far more common among formula-fed children. In fact, an analysis of many different research studies concluded that infants fed formula face a threefold greater risk of being hospitalized with a severe respiratory infection than do infants breast-fed for a minimum of four months.

Diarrheal disease is three to four times more likely to occur in infants fed formula than those fed breast milk.

Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the likelihood of ear infections, and to prevent recurrent ear infections. Ear infections are a major reason that infants take multiple courses of antibiotics.

In developing countries, differences in infection rates can seriously affect an infant’s chances for survival. For example, in Brazil, a formula-fed baby is 14 times more likely to die than an exclusively breast-fed baby.

Researchers have observed a decrease in the probability of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in breast-fed infants.

Another apparent benefit from breastfeeding may be protection from allergies. Eczema, an allergic reaction, is significantly rarer in breast-fed babies. A review of 132 studies on allergy and breastfeeding concluded that breastfeeding appears to help protect children from developing allergies, and that the effect seems to be particularly strong among children whose parents have allergies.

Benefits to the Child Later in Life

Some benefits of breastfeeding become apparent as the child grows older. Among the benefits demonstrated by research:
Infants who are breast-fed longer have fewer dental cavities throughout their lives.

Several recent studies have shown that children who were breast-fed are significantly less likely to become obese later in childhood. Formula feeding is linked to about a 20 to 30 percent greater likelihood that the child will become obese.

Children who are exclusively breast-fed during the first three months of their lives are 34 percent less likely to develop juvenile, insulin-dependent diabetes than children who are fed formula.

Breastfeeding may also decrease the risk of childhood cancer in children under 15 years of age. Formula-fed children are eight times more likely to develop cancer than children who are nursed for more than six months. (It is important to note that children who are breast-fed for less than six months do not appear to have any decreased cancer risk compared to bottle-fed children.)

As children grow into adults, several studies have shown that people who were breast-fed as infants have lower blood pressure on average than those who were formula-fed. Thus, it is not surprising that other studies have shown that heart disease is less likely to develop in adults who were breast-fed in infancy.

Significant evidence suggests that breast-fed children develop fewer psychological, behavioral and learning problems as they grow older. Studies also indicate that cognitive development is increased among children whose mothers choose to breastfeed.

In researching the psychological benefits of breast milk, one researcher found that breast-fed children were, on average, more mature, assertive and secure with themselves as they developed.

Benefits to the mother:

Studies indicate that breastfeeding helps improve mothers’ health, as well as their children’s. A woman grows both physically and emotionally from the relationship she forms with her baby. Just as a woman’s breast milk is designed specifically to nourish the body of an infant, the production and delivery of this milk aids her own health. For example:

Breastfeeding helps a woman to lose weight after birth. Mothers burn many calories during lactation as their bodies produce milk. In fact, some of the weight gained during pregnancy serves as an energy source for lactation.

Breastfeeding releases a hormone in the mother (oxytocin) that causes the uterus to return to its normal size more quickly.

When a woman gives birth and proceeds to nurse her baby, she protects herself from becoming pregnant again too soon, a form of birth control found to be 98 percent effective — more effective than a diaphragm or condom. Scientists believe this process prevents more births worldwide than all forms of contraception combined. In Africa, breastfeeding prevents an estimated average of four births per woman, and in Bangladesh it prevents an estimated average of 6.5 births per woman.

Breastfeeding appears to reduce the mother’s risk of developing osteoporosis in later years. Although mothers experience bone-mineral loss during breastfeeding, their mineral density is replenished and even increased after lactation.

Diabetic women improve their health by breastfeeding. Not only do nursing infants have increased protection from juvenile diabetes, the amount of insulin that the mother requires postpartum goes down.

Women who lactate for a total of two or more years reduce their chances of developing breast cancer by 24 percent.

Women who breastfeed their children have been shown to be less likely to develop uterine, endometrial or ovarian cancer.

The emotional health of the mother may be enhanced by the relationship she develops with her infant during breastfeeding, resulting in fewer feelings of anxiety and a stronger sense of connection with her baby.

A woman’s ability to produce all of the nutrients that her child needs can provide her with a sense of confidence. Researchers have pointed out that the bond of a nursing mother and child is stronger than any other human contact. Holding the child to her breast provides most mothers with a more powerful psychological experience than carrying the fetus inside her uterus. The relationship between mother and child is rooted in the interactions of breastfeeding. This feeling sets the health and psychological foundation for years to come.

I hope that any pregnant women out there who are undecided whether they plan to formula or breastfeed will seriously consider the benefits to both mom and baby. As for me there is no way I am going to formula feed unless for some reason I am unable to breastfeed. Breast REALLY IS best!

April 9, 2012

THE GIFT OF GIVING

The gift of giving is healthy for one’s soul.  I am not talking about the kind of gifts that come with presents and bows. The kind of gift I am talking about is love, kindness, and selflessness. Studies say that giving time or money to someone in need or a charitable organization increases one’s happiness. I know that I feel great after I have helped someone who needed it. There are so many wonderful charities and organization out there that need your help. Find one that speaks to you and brings meaning for your life. The charities I picked in my life all happened for a reason. Here is one of my recent charities I am helping out:

MZ & Emmers Sports Bra Auction for Brest Cancer

This amazing sports bra auction was formed through a friendship between a professional women’s soccer player McCall Zerboni (MZ) and a family’s little girl Emma Bayer (Emmers) who is five years old.  In July 2011, this great charity team collected 84 sports bras from professional women’s soccer player and World Cup champions to raise money for breast cancer awareness. They were so successful they decided to do it again. This time they wanted all types of women willing to donate in different sports and fitness genres. And they did just that! Some of the famous sports bras that are going to be up for auction in April are Jane Fonda , Gabriele Reece, and many world Olympic athletes. The MZ & Emmers Sports Bra Auction will be the feature charity for eBay Giving Works page in April 2012. Ladies, there is still time to donate. If you would like to donate your sports bra for this great cause, please check out this link. https://www.facebook.com/MZEmmers

Why I donated my sports bra for auction: Last year I received an email from David Bayer, cofounder of this loving charity, who is Emma’s father. I could tell immediately through his email he was passionate about the cause.  I checked his auction out on Facebook to see some very impressive autographed sports bras. I was honored that he asked for mine. I decided to sign my September 2011 Natural Muscle magazine sports bra that I wore on the cover, along with that issue of Natural Muscle. Being a woman, how can I not save the ta tas?!

Love ya, Marzia Prince

Here is the link to bid on my sports bra:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Marzia-Prince-Autographed-Sports-Bra-/220983626979?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3373a68ce3#ht_500wt_1287

April 4, 2012

Yet another reason to buy ORGANIC

Hi everyone it’s Shanon G. Today I would like to talk about my lifelong love affair with chocolate. I don’t know anyone that dislikes chocolate. Since I can remember I have loved chocolate, the smell, the taste when it melts in your mouth, steaming hot chocolate on a cold day, yummy, and I don’t discriminate, I like it all- white chocolate, dark, or milk, it all tastes good to me! There is one word for it-delicious! (My personal favorite is Green & Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate, just one little piece hits the spot when I am craving something sweet). Chocolate contains Phenylethylaminehis- a compound that may be responsible for some of the pleasurable feelings you get after eating chocolate. It releases natural feel-good chemicals called endorphins in your brain, the same chemicals that are released when you are falling in love!

Well you might start to feel a little differently when eating your delicious treat if you knew how your chocolate was being made. I myself was totally shocked to learn that slaves (sometimes children!) on the Ivory Coast are making it. Unbelievable right? Well UNICEF estimates that nearly a half-million children work on farms across Ivory Coast, which produces nearly 40% of the world’s supply of cocoa. The agency says hundreds of thousands of children, many of them trafficked across borders, are engaged in the worst forms of child labor.

There are a few things you can do to stop supporting companies that use slave labor to produce their chocolate:

#1 buy ORGANIC! Organic companies have fair trade labels- When a product carries the FAIR TRADE mark it means the producers and traders have met Fairtrade Standards. The standards are designed to address the imbalance of power in trading relationships, unstable markets and the injustices of conventional trade.

#2 sign the petition! Here is the site for signing the petition to end child slavery in producing chocolate. http://www.stopthetraffik.org/takeaction/chocolate/

#3 Spread the word! You would be surprised how many people have no idea this is going on. If we as consumers simply mention it on facebook or tell a friend and then stop buying products from companies that engage in child slavery, things can change!

#4 Be informed of the specific companies that engage in child slavery to make their chocolate. I was shocked to learn that there are some very well known companies on the list. Here is a link to specific companies and whether or not they use slave labor to produce chocolate http://www.betterworldshopper.com/chocolate_data.html