Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do you have a picky eater?

One of the biggest troubles with children getting enough or the right kind of nutrients is due to the infamous "picky eater syndrome" that seems to share the dinner table with our families every night. Parents feel forced to give in to this child and let them pick and choose what they will and won't eat, but this battle can be won!
How? Well through some simple tricks, fun indoor party ideas, and that age old "good example" we should be setting! But first, let me go over a few facts that might tip your scales and ruffle your feathers.

  1. Eat meals together. I know this sounds so simple, but studies have shown that children who frequently eat together as a family have shown better nutritional intake of calcium, fiber, iron, B6, B12, C, and E, as well as consuming higher portion of fruits and vegetables. Add to that a decreased risk for unhealthy weight and substance abuse later in life and there's some motivation and inspiration for family dinner night! Read more on this here.
  2. Set a good example by making healthier choices and be open to trying new things! Children tend to mimic their parents eating habits and views on food as well. If you cook at home you'll not only have better control of what goes in the food and portion control but your little one will witness that you value healthy eating. Trying something new should be an experience for the whole family to taste and will open plenty of opportunities to new cuisine and cultures! 
  3. Involve your child in meal planning. Children don't have much power in their lives and that's why refusing to eat something can be how they will flex their muscles. But let's change this around to a positive note and have THEM choose what they will eat in the fruit and veggie aisle. Bring them with you to the supermarket so they can see the many different types of foods available to them and touch them too. Sometimes a cool texture or weird shape may inspire them to create with it! 
  4. This goes right along with #3 but involve them in the preparation of a meal too! When kids get involved in the meal prep they feel proud and will not only eat it themselves but push other family members to eat more as well. Some children may be too little to chop up veggies but shucking corn or simply holding open the garbage can lid while you're chopping can be the highlight of their meals. Something as simple as having them mix instant pudding for dessert will make them eager to clear their plate for the next course. Make sure to praise them for their hard work, remind everyone at the table (within earshot) that they helped with the meal, and make sure to comment on how great it tastes!
  5. Be patient. With changing hormones, growth spurts, and tummy aches comes days where children just don't have a big appetite or where they just aren't in the mood to try a new food. Always make an offer to try new things but don't push too hard or they may link negativity with a certain type of food. Just offer it again another time and remember that it may take more than one time of introduction before your child will try or even admit to liking a new food!
  6. When all else fails, change it up. Sometimes children need something fun to add to the boring old meal and dipping sauce or fun colors added to mashed potatoes or other side dishes may add just the dash of fun to the meal. Dipping sauce is magical to a child's mind and will often add a familiar flavor to a new taste that offers comfort to them. If you've ever heard of the muffin tin trick then you'll already familiar with this concept. You haven't heard of the muffin tin meal? Click here. 
  7. Cut down on in between meal snacks and heavy liquids. Often children fill up in between meals on milk or juice or even snack enough to replace a full meal. Cut down on large snacks in between meals or limit snack portion sizes to make sure that your child will be hungry at meal time. Cut out milk and juice in between meals and offer water instead so that they don't fill their tummy before a meal and so they don't fill their caloric intake with high sugar liquids. 
  8. Still have a picky eater who's not getting their servings of fruits and vegetables each day? There are many alternative supplements that can be mixed into other food or even smoothies to ensure they are getting their daily requirement of fruits and vegetables. Here at AlignLife we have a supplement called Absolute Greens that can be added to water, a smoothie, or even a pudding they helped prepare to make sure they're getting their daily dose. 1 Scoop will do ya for a day!! Click here for more info or to order!
Find some great recipes below:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hydrate your Life!

What do you think is the most DEFICIENT nutrient in your body?

If you guessed water you are CORRECT!!! 75% of people are dehydrated. Stop, now re-read that. WOW, that means that 3 out of 4 people are dehydrated RIGHT NOW. Are you a part of that percentage?

Your body is made up of 60% water so it makes sense that it is extremely important to how your body functions. In fact, every system in your body depends on water in order to function properly. For example, water is needed to flush out the toxins and chemicals that you consume in your diet and breath in your body each day. Water is also responsible for carrying nutrients to each and every single cell in your body. The moist tissues in your ears, nose, and throat also depend upon having enough hydration in order to function properly to protect you from harmful chemicals and bacteria. The lubricating fluids in your joints also depend on having enough hydration in order to move and replenish fluids necessary to decrease joint degeneration and arthritis. In fact, 8-10 glass of water per day has dramatically decreased joint pain in 80% of people.

So where does all the water go that you drink? Well as a matter of fact you expire it through your skin when you sweat, it evaporates as you breath, and you excrete it when you use the bathroom. But the biggest question is.... Are you drinking enough water to replace the water you lose through your body's daily functions? If you have dry lips or feel thirsty then the answer is probably no.

So everyone supposed to get 8 glass of 8 oz of water each day right? NO! In fact everyone's water intake differs according to the health of their body, the food they eat each day, their activity levels, and even the weather. So if you're unhealthy or don't eat a good diet you may need to drink more than the 8x8 rule. In fact, in a study by the Institute of Medicine they found that on average men should be drinking 3 liters of water (about 13 cups) and women should be drinking 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). Are you anywhere near that number on a daily basis?

The recommendation is to drink 8oz of fluid 8 times a day, however this doesn't take into account the fact that many people reach for coffee, tea, and even soda for this fluid intake. Guess what ladies and gentlemen, all of these caffeine and sugar filled fluids actually contribute to you becoming MORE dehydrated!!! When you consume sugary drinks, your body is forced to pull water from your tissues to balance out the excess sugar that is deposited into your blood. Which will trigger your thirst mechanism and cause you to possibly reach for another soda or cup of coffee. Vicious cycle huh? So not drinking enough water or just water in general can actually lead you to become thirsty and more dehydrated. In turn this can also effect your body's general function and cause it to react by slowing function and shutting down systems. This can lead to you to become fatigued as well as thirsty!

Did you ever notice how young children ask for water or juice quite often during the day? That's because their brain connections between food and water aren't interconnected yet. In fact as we get older and our brains develop further, we lose the distinction between when we are thirsty and when we are hungry. In fact, in most people they only recognize that they are hungry, and so reach for food rather than water first! So try reaching for a glass of water next time you get hungry and wait 20 minutes. If you're still hungry then go ahead and eat rather than just always reaching for food. You'll satisfy your body, decrease your calorie intake, and possibly even contribute to some decreased numbers on the scale.

Another factor is the type of water you drink. Tap, distilled, or filtered? Tap water has extra added chemicals that the body will need to filter out and get rid of, which means that you're kidney will be working overtime and you're going to need water to excrete that waste to get it out of the body. If you've been watching the news lately, you may have even heard prescription drugs such antibiotics, anti-convulsants (seizure meds), anti-depressants and other mood stabilizers, and even hormones have been found in our water supply in 24 major metropolitan cities. Read more here.  Distilled water is free of the added minerals found in natural and as a result you won't get the benefits of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. So filtered water is the best to drink because your body won't have to filter it and lose water in the process and you'll still have the benefits of the vitamins and minerals present in the water. Many stores now have inexpensive water filters that can be attached to the kitchen sink, water filtering pitchers,  and even filtered water bottles available for purchase. These are a great investment in your health and will make it easier for you to get the water your body so vitally needs.

So here's some tips on how to make sure you're drinking enough fluids.

  1. Designate a place for a water pitcher in the fridge, this will ensure that you have water cooled and ready to pour into a glass. 
  2. Make sure you have a designated glass or water bottle set aside each day filled with water.  If its within reach, you'll reach for that rather than getting up to grab a coffee, tea, or soda. If the glass or water bottle has an attractive color or design it will only add to the desirability of reaching for that container as well.
  3. Drink water while you're outside in the sun whether you're sun bathing, working in the yard, or playing football with your buddies. This will help to ensure that you're replacing the water lost from the hot weather.
  4. When you're hungry, try reaching for a glass of water first and then wait 20 minutes. If you're still hungry then go ahead and eat rather than just always reaching for food. You'll satisfy your body, decrease your calorie intake, and possibly even contribute to some decreased numbers on the scale. 
  5. Try keeping a tally of the number of glasses of water you drink each day. Reward yourself and give yourself a pat on the back when you reach your daily goal. (Goals should be 3 liters or 13 cups for men and 1.3 liters or 9 cups for women. However if you're more active or out in the sun add a few more glasses to that number.)  
  6. If you have difficulty drinking plain old water and need a little flavor, try adding a teaspoon of lemon juice into your glass for flavor or add some fresh fruit (I love adding watermelon!) into your water pitcher for some extra flavor when it's time to pour another glass.

I hope this helps you to become more hydrated and supports your healthy body function! If you have any questions don't hesitate to give me a call in the office (309) 689-6200.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

News and Home/Natural Remedies

So this has been a busy couple of weeks for me! I am pleased to inform you that I will be moving to a new office in Peoria, IL next week. My new office is AlignLife of Peoria and can be found at 4812 N Sheridan Road behind Walgreens. I am very excited to join the team and begin serving the Peoria community to the best of my abilities and beyond. If you want to find out more info about my new office, click here.

Ok, so let's talk about some natural remedies I've found very useful so far.

**Caution should always be used before using any home remedy and you should always consult your doctor before use.**

Tea Tree Oil has anti septic, anti bacterial, and anti fungal properties so it has a variety of uses, however it is a very strong product and for this reason shouldn't be used for long periods because it can cause skin irritation, redness, itching, or blistering. Some people may have sensitivies or allergic reactions to tea tree oil so if you have any reaction stop use and consult your doctor. Tea Tree Oil can alter hormones levels as well so consult your doctor before use, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Tea Tree oil should not be taken internally as it can cause decreased immune function, diarrhea, or other serious conditions. I personally like to dilute the solution with water or olive oil depending on method of use due to the aforementioned reasons.  I mixed 1 tsp tea tree oil with 1 tbsp of olive oil and used a small makeup brush to apply it over the nail and voila! Nails are nourished, moisturized and if you apply over a course of 3 days you'll notice decreased yellowing and brittle quality to the nail. I've used this on my 1 year old's toe nails with great results as well! A randomized controlled study from the Journal of Family Practice had the same results. A 25 to 50% solution of tea tree oil and water can be sprayed with a spray bottle on the foot especially between the toes and will reduce symptoms of athlete's foot. I'd recommend drying the foot completely after applying as fungus can flourish in moist environments. Don't use for more than a week as skin irritation will occur. A 10% to 25% solution of tea tree oil and water can also be sprayed onto cuts or bedsores to help encourage healing and prevent infection. I used this solution myself after vaginal delivery and found the tissues healed very quickly and the cold solution also helped with pain post delivery. Tea tree oil treatments are becoming all the rage for hair products, and for good reason! If applied on the scalp (I prefer diluting with water or olive oil) for a few days it can reduce dandruff or a shampoo with tea tree oil can reduce it as well.  A study in the Department of Dermatology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia compared a 5% tea tree oil gel with 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion for open and closed acne lesions and it was found that both showed promising results. However the benzoyl peroxide lotion performed better over a 3 month period of time.

Honey has wound healing and anti-bacteria properties as well. In previous times it was used to help seal wounds from infection. Mixed into hot water or tea can help to sooth an irritated throat or it can also be used on cuts/acne. I found a single spoonful is a sweet treat that's great for children over 1 year old who are suffering from a cold or sore throat and it's usually quite easy to get them to swallow. It can also be mixed with petroleum jelly to rehydrate and heal those chapped lips.When mixed with lotion or olive oil can help to heal damaged skin and remoisturize as well.

Salt is great for helping with cleaning and it solutions mixed with water can also help to soothe irritated tissues. Salt can be applied on a new carpet stain to help soak up the fluid before it soaks in. Warm water mixed with 3 tbsp salt and gargled by mouth 2-3x per day can help to sooth irritated tissue and can also help to loosen phlegm and mucus. This can help to flush out irritants and possibly even decrease duration of sickness.

Parsley chewing can help to reduce bad breath by fighting the odor causing bacteria that like to take residence in your mouth.

Chamomile is very calming and can help decrease stomach cramps by decreasing spasms in the stomach and lower intestine. Chamomile tea can has a variety of uses but I've found its also great for calming you to reduce stress or before bed in addition to reducing stomach cramps or upset.

Lemon juice is also great for cleaning and revitalizing the body as well. If you take a small bowl of water mixed with 1-2tbsp lemon juice and place in the microwave for 3-5 minutes you should be able to wipe the microwave clean very easily afterwards! Lemon juice can also be used on carpet stains and wiped up after 5 minutes. Lemon juice has been found to help switch an acidic body environment/condition to a more alkaline one and for this reason can be used to help with flu, hangovers, and reflux. I recommend taking a shot glass of it or adding it to hot tea or hot water with honey to lessen the sourness. Lemon juice mixed in a glass of cold water is great for stomach upset and I found it very useful during pregnancy for the "empty stomach" feeling following nausea or first thing in the morning.

Well folks, there's plenty more uses for the above that I mentioned but I thought I'd share what I could before I get back to packing!!