philosophies and politics and motherhood – oh my!

All this TIME magazine hoopla got me thinking about the philosophies and politics of mothering.  Simply put, how do we discuss or share our parenting philosophies with others without looking opinionated and judgemental?  Is it possible?  Did Jamie Lynne even stand a chance given the chosen cover photo or that controversial headline?  Is holding a view that is different from some of your mommy friends automatic grounds for tension?  Can we agree to disagree on subjects that we hold so dear?

We all have different ways of nurturing, nourishing, and raising our children.  We all make choices about how to live our lives – What we eat, how we exercise, if we exercise, how we love, who we love, what we learn, how much me learn, where we go, where we work.  We have different sets of priorities.  Most of which we are extremely passionate about and for good reason.

This is me…

My priority is health.  Health for my children, health for my family, health for myself, health for others, health for the planet.  Every single day I ask myself how I can contribute to keeping my children healthy and happy.  Every single day I try to educate myself on a topic whether it be agriculture, politics, chiropractic, health care, pharmaceuticals, supplements, yoga, etc.

From the food we eat to the products we buy to the relationships we build to the love we give – all of the choices we make affect our lives and the lives of others, especially children.

In America today, the rate of chronic disease among children has more than doubled in the past two decades from 11% in the 1990’s to over 25% in the year 2006 according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.  And it’s only getting worse.

According to the 2010 Drug Trend Report, prescription drug use among American children rose by 5% in 2009.  The highest of any other single demographic for the second year in a row.  The report found that more than 1 in 4 insured children are now taking at least one prescription medication to treat a chronic condition such as diabetes, asthma, autism, ADHD, cancer, and arthritis.  The most significant increases over the past 9 years have been seen in the use of antipsychotic, asthma, and diabetes drugs.  There was a HUGE increase (over 150%) in diabetes over the decade seen especially in girls (a 200% increase).  Higher rates in obesity, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), autism, and ADHD have all contributed to significant increases in drugs approved for younger patients.

Bottom line: Our kids are sick.

We need a grassroots movement to change the health landscape in this country.  It needs to start with the foundation and core of our society – OUR FAMILIES.  We NEED to educate ourselves and do all we can to stop this insanity.  We have the POWER to take back our children’s health.

The dilemma…

How do we as moms encourage such debates with our mommy friends?  Or do we avoid them simply to not look like know-it-all’s?  Should our passion for health and wellness be put aside to keep the peace?  Isn’t it about time we engage adults and children in topics relevant to living healthy, happy lives?

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all. ~Pearl S.Buck.

What do you think?

lisa

Vegan is L❤ve

As a mom who writes children’s books on veganism, Ruby Roth is on a mission to help change the way we see food and the world.  While Roth has recently drawn criticism for her new book ‘Vegan is Love,’ I really believe the overall message she is sending to moms and dads and families across the globe is invaluable.

The harshest criticism this book is receiving according to registered dietician Nicole German:

“...it could easily scare a young child into eating vegan, and without proper guidance that child could become malnourished” and “…children are impressionable and this is too sensitive of a topic to have a child read this book.”

I agree that children are impressionable, but I also believe that it is our responsibility to convey truthful messages to our children without guilting them or instilling fear.  Furthermore, any diet that is not properly overseen by a responsible parent has the possibility or tendency to become unhealthy – not just veganism.  It’s the lack of supervision, not the diet in this case.  Why does the media tend to forget that WE are RESPONSIBLE for raising healthy, well-adjusted kids?

In a video book trailer (below) for ‘Vegan is Love,’

Roth says:

“If we want to move towards an era of solutions where the planet is healing, people are fed and healthy, there is good in the way we do business and a reverence in the world for all living things, then all we have to do is live that life ourselves.”

Whether you are vegan or vegetarian or omnivore – we ALL need to become more connected to our food and to Mother Earth.  As parents we need to teach our children about proper nutrition, why healthy eating is a must, and how every decision we make influences our world.  The best way to do this is to live that life ourselves!

Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be.~David Bly

Remember to get your Earth Day on this weekend!

dr. lisa

The Whole Food Philosophy

Two of the most common questions I get from all the mamas out there:

  1. What types of foods do you feed your kids?
  2. What kinds of supplements do you give them?

First of all, I know very well that it takes time and knowledge to prepare a kid-healthy diet.

Is it easy?  No.

Is it practical?  Not all the time.

Can it be done?  Yes.

Here is a list of major food groups and what I feed my kids (or at least try to on a day-to-day basis):

Supplementation:

If kids eat healthy, organic foods most of the time, then I don’t think there is a desperate need to supplement.  But the case for supplementation does remain because farming methods (even some organic farms) in the US deplete our food of nutrients, and many families either because of expense or a fast-paced lifestyle- do not eat balanced, nutritious, healthy meals or snacks.

It’s also very important to understand that not all vitamin supplements are made equally.  Some are much better quality than others.  In my home we use Standard Process.  Established in 1929, Standard Process is the oldest physician supplement company in the country.  These products are only sold through health care professionals and are made from dried, organically grown whole foods.

Why is this important?

Dr Royal Lee, founder of Standard Process challenged common scientific beliefs by choosing a holistic approach of providing nutrients through whole foods.  His goal was to provide nutrients as they are found in nature – in a whole food state where he believed their natural potency and efficacy would be realized. Dr. Lee believed that when nutrients remain intact and are not split from their natural associated synergists – known and unknown – bioactivity is markedly enhanced over synthetic nutrients.  Following this philosophy, even a small amount of a whole food concentrate will offer enhanced nutritional support, compared to a synthetic or fractionated/isolated vitamin. Therefore, one should examine the source of nutrients rather than looking at the quantities of individual nutrients on product labels.

Makes so much sense!  And the best part- Standard Process has a line of children’s products!  My kids take Catalyn Chewable a daily multivitamin for a child’s overall health, Omega-3 Chewable provides beneficial omega-3s, and Congaplex Chewable for immune support.  We also use Standard Process Complete in our smoothies!

Two amazing quotes from Dr Lee:

“We have drifted into this deplorable position of national malnutrition quite inadvertently. It is the result of scientific research with the objective of finding the best ways to create foods that are non-perishable that can be made by mass production methods in central factories, and distributed so cheaply that they can sweep all local competition from the market. Then, after there develops a suspicion that these “foods” are inadequate to support life, modern advertising steps in to propagandize the people into believing that there is nothing wrong with them, that they are products of scientific research intended to afford a food that is the last word in nutritive value, …and the confused public is totally unable to arrive at any conclusion of fact, and continues to blindly buy the rubbish that is killing them off years ahead of their time.”  Dr. Royal Lee June 1943

“The American people have been humbugged into digging their graves with their own teeth!” -Dr. Royal Lee

If a consistent, vitamin-healthy diet is not practical, then expecting our kids to grow up healthy is not a practical outcome.

After all, you are what you eat, right?

dr. lisa

Person10 Handmade Organic Tank Top Giveaway

For this week’s giveaway, Sylvia from Person10 Etsy Shop is donating a $25 gift certificate to be used on one of her handmade, organic workout tanks.  I’m so excited because I know you gals are gonna love these!

But before I get into why I love her shirts and how wonderful she is for giving back to her community, I have to let you in on the true meaning behind the name Person10-

Origin of the Company Name-

“For every nine people who denounce innovation, only one will encourage it… For every nine people who do things the way they have always been done, only one will ever wonder if there is a better way. For every nine people who stand in line in front of a locked building, only one will ever come around and check the back door.

Our progress as a species rests squarely on the shoulders of that tenth person. The nine are satisfied with things they are told are valuable. Person 10 determines for himself what has value.” – Za Rinpoche and Ashley Nebelsieck, in The Backdoor to Enlightenment

Isn’t that awesome?  And so right up my alley!

Now more about her amazing tanks:

Sylvia designs and hand makes all the products at Person10.  She specializes in tank tops, with a little added flair, for active moms and women.  She use two types of fabric in her shop, catering to two different needs: organic cotton for the eco-friendly and sweat wicking for the hard-core running/gym enthusiast.

The organic cotton comes in softer, more subtle colors and is ridiculously soft!  The sweat wicking is a lighter fabric which absorbs sweat off of your body and dries at lightening speed.  Wear sweat wicking during hot yoga, marathons, or long-distance runs.

Sylvia sews all of her products and her partner (graphic designer and artist) silk screens on a custom quote or image.  Right now, they have several quotes related to working out and fitness- some motivational, some funny- ALL inspiring and positive!  And if that’s not enough to get you over to her etsy shop– Person10 donates 20% of all sales to a local Food for Kids Backpack Program.

Check these out:

And my favorite:

Is this motherhood or what?

A big THANK YOU to Sylvia from Person10!  Please take the time to visit her Etsy shop, her blog, and her Facebook page to learn more about her success in making shirts that make changes- 100% handmade! Make a purchase, make a difference.

To have a chance at winning the $25 gift certificate from Person10, just leave me a comment below or on my Facebook page under the Person10 giveaway link.  Easy! Giveaway open until Friday April 13th, 11:59 pm EST.  Winners selected through random.org and notified through email.  Winners will be notified by email within 5 days after the entry deadline date.  Winners must respond within 5 days or a new winner will be selected.  Contest open to USA and Canada.

FIT > skinny

dr. lisa

salute the sun and your health

This beautiful rendition of the classic Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) was created by Inne Choi and can be found here.

Morning is always a hectic time for me as a mom. Force my body out of bed, get showered and dressed- get the kiddos up, washed, and changed. Make breakfast. Try and make them eat it. Grab a little something for myself and we’re out the door.

Morning is also the perfect time for me to get in a little exercise to help prepare my mind and body for the day ahead. After much trial and error deciding on a rise and shine, “get fit fast” routine, I’ve finally found (and fallen in love with) Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation.

Sun Salutation consists of a beautiful set of asanas that massages, detoxifies, and stimulates almost every organ of the human body and brings suppleness to the spine. It is a wonderful way to warm up and stretch at the same time. 

In just ten minutes, your body gets a comprehensive and systematic workout. No other exercise routine can surpass it. It makes the body strong, supple and flexible and tones every part of the body. The back is bent and straightened, the abdomen is compressed and stretched, it loosens up all joints, flexes the muscles, massaging internal organs, and activates all the systems of the body.

Sun Salutations are a series of 12 postures, linked by the breath, in one single flow:

  1. Stand with both feet touching. Bring your hands together, palm to palm, at the heart. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale.
  2. Raise your arms upward. Slowly bend backward, stretching arms above the head. Relax your neck. Inhale.
  3. Exhale while you slowly bend forward until your hands are in line with your feet, touching your head to your knees, if possible. Press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes (bend your knees if you have to), and touch the floor.
  4. Move your right leg back behind your body in a wide lunge. As you inhale, keep your hands and feet on the ground, with your left foot between your hands, and raise your head.
  5. Bring your left foot together with your right foot.
  6. Exhale as you lower your body, resting on your forearms.
  7. As you inhale, lower your pelvis to the ground and raise your head and bend backward as far as possible, while straightening your arms.
  8. Putting your hand on the ground and keeping your arms straight, raise your hips and align your head with your arms. Exhale.
  9. Slowly inhale and bend your right leg to take a wide forward step. Keeping your hands firmly on the ground, place your right foot between your hands and lift your head up.
  10. Keeping your hands in place, bring both feet together. Straighten your legs but keep your waist bent and upper body lowered. Touch your head to your knees, if possible. Exhale.
  11. Slowly rise, straightening your back into a standing pose. Bend backward, stretching your arms above your head as you inhale.
  12. Return to position number 1. Exhale.

Remember to decide how many Sun Salutations you do and how fast you do them by listening to your body. If you’re a beginner, start by doing two: one for health and one for well-being! As you advance, start your morning by doing three and building from there. Side note: I also incorporate Sun Salutations into my day whenever I’m feeling tired or stressed.

Salute the sun and your health every morning.

dr. lisa

i see red

In keeping with the red theme for Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to revisit one of my biggest annoyances when it comes to holidays and children, and that is stuffing them with tons and tons of treats and candy. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about fun and the occasional cookie or bag of skittles here and there. What I can’t stand is the fact that children almost always associate holidays with junk food and crap that’s not good for them. And in our culture, it’s acceptable for them to think that way. In fact, society actually pushes this trash on them- and teachers, parents (me included), and grandparents, etc., fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Let’s take Valentine’s Day for example. When did this day turn into an all-out cookie, cake, and every-kind-of-candy you can think of festival? When I was younger all I remember doing is exchanging folded Scooby Doo or Barbie valentines. Oh and the little candy hearts with sayings on them. Not anymore. My kindergartener came home yesterday with a huge bag filled with valentines plus all sorts of goodies- from M&M’s and red suckers to foiled chocolate hearts and pixie stix. Besides the diabetes-in-a-bag treats, her class also had a St. Valentine party. This included a plate filled with chocolate chip cookies, Hershey kisses, and cupcakes. All at once! For five year olds! I don’t know about you, but I find that completely insane.

While I happily participated in sending in a bag of goodies (in my defense I sent in plastic rings, bouncy balls, and stickers all of which were probably made in China, but I’ll save that for another post), I don’t place blame on any of the other parents for sending in treat bags at the school’s request. I think it’s pretty safe to say the blame should be put on all of us as parents for tolerating and participating in the rising epidemic of type II diabetes and obesity and hyperactivity that has gripped our nation’s youth in the last decade. I know Valentine’s Day is only one day of sugar fun for kids in school and there’s no need to overreact, but-

From Boo! Wake up!

The problem is that for most kids in the US it’s not just one day, it’s every day. Every day our children are bombarded with ads for crap food and sugary drinks. Fundraisers at school for cookie dough, frozen pizzas, potato chips, and chocolate candy. SpongeBob and Dora spewed all over every fruit gummy treat in the store. Colored food products targeted to children around every corner. From popsicles and colored goldfish crackers to fruit loops cereal and M&M’s.

I really believe it’s time for us to ban together and say enough is enough. I’m starting NOW. Tomorrow for snack, I’m sending in Raw Revolution Organic Live Food Bars made with all-natural organic ingredients including cashews, dates, spirulina, almonds, and sprouted flax. Oh boy, the kids are gonna love me. What are you sending in?

Health is contagious.

dr. lisa

baby it’s cold outside

The winter blues are in full swing here at my house and my family is in need of some sort of “lifting of the winter spirits” exercise. You know, maybe something where we all get together in the morning, stand holding hands in a circle, and chant for the sun gods to shine some light and send some heat and bathing suit weather our way. I don’t know about where you live, but winter can get pretty damn depressing in the northeast. Every day is like groundhog day. Get up, look outside- cloudy. Make breakfast, get the kids dressed, start the car- freeze my ass off. Run back into the house, bundle the kids up in winter jackets-boots-hats-mittens, and scoot them out the door as quickly as possible- would you look at that it’s raining/sleeting/snowing/a blizzard. And pretty much every morning, I have the same conversation with my kids as we leave the house. Here’s my end:

“Hurry up and get in, I need to buckle you my head is getting wet.”

“Yes, you have to wear your hat, it’s cold.”

“Because I said so.”

“No, you can’t open your window.”

“Your boogies will freeze.”

“Sorry, but we can’t play outside today.”

“How are you going to roller skate in slush?”

“Your bike is put away for the winter.”

“I’m pretty sure your training wheels wouldn’t make it through that snow bank.”

“The park is closed.”

“Because they took the swings down.”

“No, we can’t go swimming.”

“Baby, it’s cold outside.”

As a mom of two very active and energetic young kids, the best way to keep them happy and thus maintain my sanity is to open the door and let them go, go, go. In spring, we throw on our rain gear and stomp in muddy puddles. In summer, we ride bikes, run through sprinklers, and picnic under a shady tree. In fall, we take hikes and go on nature walks.

Then comes winter.

It’s great in the beginning because the holiday season is in full throttle and the kids are preoccupied with Santa and sleigh rides. But then comes January, February, March. Can you say boring? After I’ve exhausted every do-it-yourself craft activity, book reading session, puzzle time, watch-momma-cook-dinner fun- and the kids are still bouncing off the walls, it’s time to bundle them up and brave the cold.

My kids are desperate to get outdoors in the winter even when it’s 6 degrees and I can’t say I blame them. I’m desperate, too. Being cooped up inside (home, work, school, daycare) for months on end starts to take it’s toll. Any sign of sunlight and 30+ degree temperatures and my family is hitting the front yard like it’s an 80 degree beach day.

The benefits of keeping kids active during the winter are key to their optimum development and overall well being. Outdoor exercise builds strong bones and muscles, reduces stress, strengthens immunity, releases endorphins in the body, increases much needed Vitamin D levels, and allows for an overall better mood and night’s sleep.

So get outside with your kids even if it’s just for a brisk walk. And the next time you find yourself hauling out the Radio Flyer wagon and trudging through six inches of snow and slush in mid-February, know that I am right there with ya.

lisa