Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sportball Phoenix: Noncompetive Sports Instruction

Sportball Phoenix:  Noncompetitive sports instruction for children 16 months – 12 years old!

We were introduced to Sportball Phoenix this summer through the Goddard School summer program.  We are so happy that we decided to participate!  My son who is almost 3 years old, came home every Wednesday eager to show us his newly practiced sports skills.  I have to say that I was really surprised when he said "Mommy watch me dribble!"  And he actually dribbled twice...which is probably a lot better then I could do!  We have seen a noticeable improvement in his balance and coordination since the beginning of the summer and I really think that Sportball has helped.  My son has enjoyed it so much that we have decided to have a Sportball birthday party for him.  I really like that it's noncompetitive and it helps to build confidence and socialization in a safe environment.  If you have a child between the ages of 16 months and 12 years old, you should look into a Sportball program in your area.  We are glad we did!

Check out the Sportball programs and schedules!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Your Green Baby Shares Immune Boosting Tips for Your Baby

This week's guest blogger is Kim Corrigan-Oliver, CNP, ROHP.  She is the owner of Your Green Baby, a holistic nutrition practice focusing on the health and well being of mom, baby and toddler. She is the author of Raising Happy Healthy Babies and blogs regularly at www.yourgreenbaby.ca. She is a first time mom, who is passionate about food, cooking, living sustainably and ensuring the next generation is full of vitality, health and well being.

Supporting the Immune System for the Season Ahead: 
Kim Corrigan-Oliver, CNP, ROHP

Is It The Germ or The Terrain?
When we get sick we often blame “a germ”. Is the germ really responsible? Or is it our terrain that could not handle the attack? Our bodies require a ton of resources to mount and sustain an immune response. If it has not had enough good nutrition, sleep, love and other important substances the immune response will be weak and the body will not be able to defend itself.

Strengthening the Terrain
Many of us are realizing that rushing to the doctor’s office for every little sniffle is no longer a good idea. It is time to go back to natural ways – gentler ways with no side effects, ways that support the immune system.
There are a number of things we can do to strengthen the terrain:

Breast Milk
Breastfeeding as long as possible means a strong immune system for your child. Breast milk is more than food, it supplies factors needed to develop strong immunity and protect your baby against disease. Breastfeed as long as you and your baby are willing participants.

Ensure Adequate Antioxidant Intake (from Real Food)
Antioxidants are immune protectors. Antioxidants are compounds in food that protect and repair cell damage caused by environmental pollution, pesticides, sunlight and normal body processes. They include: beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and minerals zinc and selenium. It is best to get antioxidants from whole foods.

Beta carotene increases the number of infection fighting cells, natural killer cells and helper T-cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess free radicals.
Sources of beta carotene include: carrots, spinach, apricots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, red pepper, cantaloupe, pumpkin, broccoli and dark leafy greens.

Vitamin C increases the production of infection fighting white blood cells and antibodies.
Sources of vitamin C include: citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, red peppers, pineapple, guava, black currents, cabbage, turnip greens, broccoli, cantaloupe, kale, papayas, cauliflower, spinach and cranberries.

Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells that seek out and destroy pathogens and cancer cells. It enhances the production of B-cells – the immune cells that produce antibodies to destroy bacteria.
Sources of vitamin E include: nuts, seeds, wheat germ, whole grains, oatmeal, broccoli, sweet potato, alfalfa, lima beans, avocados, liver, egg yolks and butter.

Zinc increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. It also helps white blood cells release more antibodies and can increase the number of infection fighting T-cells.  Sources of zinc include: wheat germ, oysters, clams, liver, other meats, egg yolks, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts and almonds.

Selenium increases natural killer cells.  Sources include: brazil nuts, whole grains, vegetables (if selenium content in soil is high), brown rice, egg yolks, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, and garlic.

Fats are needed for optimum health, are essential for growth and development, are used for building membranes around every cell in the body and can enhance or impair our immune function.

EFAs – essential fatty acids are vital to normal immune function and require our attention to ensure we are meeting our needs. Deficiencies in EFAs increase our susceptibility to infections; increased arthritis conditions, asthma, eczema, hair loss, liver and kidney degeneration, growth retardation, vision problems and learning problems.

The EFAs of most concern are omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are difficult to find in the diet unless special effort is made to include them. It is the one EFA that most children tend to be deficient in. Sources of omega 3 include flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cod liver oil, walnuts and fish.

For breastfed babies under the age of 1, mom should ensure adequate intake so breast milk is rich in essential fatty acids. For formula fed babies, there are many formulas on the market now which supply essential fatty acids.

The word probiotic means “for life”. Probiotics provide good bacteria for our gastrointestinal tract, where up to 80% of our immune system is located. Probiotics affect the body in a number of ways that promote stronger immunity including increased white blood cells, increased phagocytic (cell eating) activity, increased viral killing cells (kill viruses as they enter the body), they provide added immunity while taking antibiotics and they provide protection for weakened immune systems.

A supplemental form of probiotic is best, as food sources cannot provide enough.
For infants up to 12 months Natogen by Seroyal is an excellent product that is easy to give. After age 1 HMF powder is an excellent choice and for adults HMF Forte. Post antibiotic treatment HMF Replete will help to re-inoculate the digestive tract.

Vitamin D
Research is beginning to find that vitamin D, most commonly associated with the development and maintenance of strong bones, may also play a key role in the immune system. Higher levels of vitamin D have shown to enhance immunity. There has been a clear link established between vitamin D deficiency and an increase in the incidence of respiratory infections in children.

Sources of vitamin D include: natural sunlight, unsunscreened skin exposed for 20 to 30 minutes daily, cod liver oil, fortified foods, or supplemental vitamin D in drops or tablets. It is difficult for us to get enough vitamin D, so supplementation is necessary, especially in the winter months.

The Vitamin D Council recommends a dose of 1000IU for children under the age of 1 who are breastfed; those on formula will need 600IU, 2000IU for children age 1 to 4 and 3000IU for those between the ages of 4 and 10.

Staying healthy this winter means more fun, and less stress. Eat real food, ensure adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids and get your probiotics and vitamin D – while this won’t guarantee a sick free winter, it will make the immune system stronger and better able to fend off whatever comes calling.
Be well and stay well.

Kim offers consultations, workshops and cooking classes focusing on preconception through to toddlerhood. She assists clients with preconception care, pregnancy nutritional needs, pregnancy issues and postnatal care. Her pediatric nutrition services help guide parents to optimize their baby’s health and wellness, setting them up for good health and well being later in life Connect with Kim on Twitter @yourgreenbaby. Check out her blog nutrition blog at www.yourgreenbaby.ca and check out her mommy blog Mothering with Mindfulness at www.motheringwithmindfulness.blogpsot.com

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Monday, October 3, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One great way of spreading breast cancer awareness, is spreading the word about lowering the risk of breast cancer through breast feeding!  

Breastfeeding acts in several ways to protect women from breast cancer.  The lymph system within breast tissue, which is important in keeping the breast tissue clean, only develops fully during pregnancy.  Nursing keeps the mother's oxytocin levels high.  Oxytocin, one of the hormones within human body, can help prevent breast cancer because it inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells.  

And studies have shown that women who breastfed for two years or longer reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50 percent!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Winner of the Boon Squirt Spoon Giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry into the Mush End of Summer Giveaway!

Congratulations Erika T. for submitting your tip for feeding your little one on the go!  You will receive the Boon Squirt Spoon which will make feeding your baby that much easier.

Here is Erika's tip:

Quick and easy! We travel from CA to FL a lot. I bring mashed potatoes, Gerber puffs, and apple sauce mixed with rice cereal for a quick snack on the plane between meals. I might get strange looks but it keeps her belly full and there is less mess for me!

Interesting combination.  Thanks Erika!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chill Out with Homemade Popsicles

Over the summer months Dylan has asking for popsicles everyday (he calls them bicycles...but I know what he means).  It's been pretty hot, so homemade popsicles are a great way to beat the summer heat without all the sugar and artificial colors.  Two of our favorite flavors are Coconut Pineapple and Strawberry Banana Yogurt.  I found some affordable popsicle molds (under $5) at Target.  Now is a great time to look for them because it is the end of the season!  You don't need any fancy equipment, all you need is a blender and a freezer.  If you don't have popsicle molds, just use Dixie cups with a wooden stick. 

If you are worried about your little one using the wooden stick, just freeze your purees in the Dixie cups without the stick and cut the popsicle into bite-size cubes once it is frozen.  Mesh feeders work great for this too!

The possibilities for flavor combinations are endless!  Here are a couple recipes to get you started.

Coconut Pineapple Popsicle
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup fresh pineapple

Combine all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth and creamy. Divide mixture into four (4-ounce) Popsicle molds. Freeze for 4-6 hours and serve.

Strawberry Banana Yogurt-sicles 
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
3-4 strawberries
1 banana
3/4 cup milk (any milk of your choice...breast, soy, rice)

Combine all ingredients in the blender until smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds.  Freeze for 4-6 hours.  Drink the left over as a smoothie!  Yummy! 

*If you have trouble removing your popsicle from the molds, just run mold under warm water for 5-10 seconds and the popsicle will slide out easily.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Get The Scoop: Baby Bullet Product Review

With all of the choices these days for homemade baby food making equipment, it's easy to get overwhelmed when selecting a baby food appliance.  Personally, I am a fan of any pureeing and steaming appliances you already have in your kitchen.  There has been a lot of buzz lately about the Magic Baby Bullet by Baby Bullet.

The "As Seen on TV" type of advertisement may be a little off putting.  And the promo video boasts that it purees "organic baby food"...well that is true only if you are using organic produce.  It's storage containers are BPA free, and it retails for about $59 on most sites.   

Online reviews seemed to be relatively positive with the main complaints being that there is no fill max line printed on the storage cups.  Others mentioned that if the base of the blender is not screwed on tightly it leaks making the "push down mechanism" sticky.  Pros appeared that it was easy to use and clean and came with 2 blades that made pulverizing grains easy.

Here is what Suzy B. from Scottsdale, AZ had to say about her experience with the Baby Bullet.

Q: Which factors were most important to you when choosing this product?
A:  How easy it would be to use and clean, and how well it would work overall.

Q: What features of this product work well for making baby food?
A: The Baby Bullet purees food very quickly and the amounts made seem to be perfect, not too much and not too little.  The storage system, which comes with the product, is very easy to use and has a dial system that enables the user to indicate on the jar when the food was made.

Q: What would you change about this product or what improvements could be made to this product?
A: I would like to see ounce measurement lines on the storage jars because I don't always know how much food I am feeding my baby.

Q: Does this product have any special attachments?
A: The product comes with small batch jars and a large batch jar as well as a milling blade for cereals and a regular blade for purees.  In addition, it comes with a complete storage system and nutrition information and recipes for the various stages.

Q: Is this item dishwasher safe?
A: Yes

Thanks for your input Suzy!

This product can be purchased online at Babybullet.com, Amazon.com, and HSN.com.  It can also be purchased in stores at Bed Bath & Beyond.  You can use the Bed Bath & Beyond 25% off coupon.