I’m a bit of a neuropsychology nerd. I find it fascinating and so helpful to truly understand people. While I already understood that yoga can be helpful in treating trauma and PTSD, Dr. Bruce Perry, whom I greatly admire, introduced me to the idea that yoga can also be helpful in helping the brain develop in an organized fashion, especially for children who have been traumatized.
As a result, I routinely recommend adoptive parents practice yoga with their children. Whether your child has been adopted, traumatized, has other struggles or not, yoga can help him or her develop physical, emotionally, and neurologically; here’s why:
- Learning to control breath and body can help children feel more in control of themselves, which can be extremely powerful for children that have been traumatized, children that have been adopted, and children diagnosed with ADHD.
- Yoga has been known to enhance concentration and attention span, while teaching focus.
- Children can increase confidence by successfully attempting new poses and developing new skills.
- Flexibility can prevent injuries, and children can increase strength through yoga with little risk of injury.
- Yoga develops bodies, brains, and motor skills. (more…)
I’ve been writing for Diets In Review for a while, but I just found out recently that Labor Day is the second biggest diet day of the year; I am assuming following New Years Day.
With the rush of back to school and getting ready for the holiday season, I did not expect weight loss to be a high priority for many people. As the weather cools off and we look forward to boots and sweaters and layers, I expected fewer people to be concerned with dieting.
While I am slightly surprised to find out that Labor Day is the second biggest diet day of the year, there are reasons why it makes sense.
Back to school time, at least for me, brings to mind fresh notebooks and clean slates. If you grew up thinking of each fall as a new beginning, then autumn might be the perfect time for a habit change for you. (more…)
For many people making physical activity a habit is made more difficult because it simply is not enjoyable. Exercise can be painful, hot, messy, repetitive, and just not interesting. Some people can overcomes this hurdle by finding the right activity, finding a buddy, cranking up music, or even watching television. Some people simply need more challenge or more excitement. A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to try Go Ape!, “a treetop adventure,” with other Indianapolis bloggers and our loved ones, and I think this kind of activity could be a great way to find fun in a physical challenge and perhaps a kick start for more regular exercise.
Go Ape! is a high ropes, zip line, and Tarzan swing course with three locations across the United States (Indiana, Maryland, and Virginia). The exercise you will experience includes climbing, balancing, and engaging muscles by hanging on for your life. Let me be clear that as long as we followed the instructions to stay clipped in we were at least mostly safe. Intellectually I knew this, but simply being so high the adrenaline response kicked in. (Although my former-gymnast mom recalled her days on the balance beam and held on a lot less frequently than I did.) (more…)
I cheated on my gluten-free diet (again). Now I can share with my clients in my adoption nutrition class the symptoms of gluten sensitivity from experience, not just research. I chose to be gluten and wheat free based on research upon hearing that all wheat in the United States was genetically modified. I prefer to avoid genetically modified foods. When I read Wheat Belly, it was clear that gluten certainly had other impacts on the brain and body, and some people’s behavioral and mental health diagnoses could be a result a gluten sensitivity of which they were unaware.
After giving up wheat and gluten for several months but not being very cautious, I had been much more strict in the last several weeks. If I do not naturally have a tendency toward gluten sensitivity, I had now created a situation in which my body would be sensitive to this new item in the diet. It is said to determine if you have a sensitivity or allergy to any food you should eliminate it from your diet for at least three weeks and then cautiously introduce it back into your diet to notice any symptoms.
Sunday night, I cheated on the gluten-free diet. My dreams were a bit chaotic, but Monday morning I noticed plenty of energy. After my run, I noticed a bit of a rash on my neck but I assumed it was just heat. I also noticed some very minor asthmatic symptoms which I thought were odd since I had finished the run and usually breath better after running. When I realized the rash had not gone away even after I had cooled down several hours later, I consulted my friend and allergy advisor Heather who was gracious enough not to say “I told you so,” even after my rash had spread on Tuesday. (more…)
Waking to the news about the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, this morning reminded me a lot of September 11, 2001.
My responses were somewhat different, but prior to both tragedies, I had received sad news about death and loss impacting me and those close to me in quick succession. Just this week, two families I know lost babies and other friends experienced other losses. With social media, I was also exposed to the losses of friends of friends. In 2001, I had been to four funerals in just the few months prior to 9/11. Today, the sky is gray and it matches how I think many people are feeling.
When we are stressed, we tend to reach for sugary or fatty foods. It is kind of a natural craving, but it doesn’t mean that it will help you manage your stress. While we may be most tempted to cheat on our diet plans when we are stressed or grieving, it might be the worst time to do it. (more…)
Allergies, sensitivities, and avoidance of animal products are some of the most common reasons that people choose alternatives to the traditional cow’s milk. While raw milk and goat’s milk are growing in popularity, they do not eliminate the majority of problems with allergies, sensitivities, and avoidance of animal products. Courtney Hardy shared, “I started drinking non-cows milk after a series of allergy shots where I found out I was allergic to cottonseed. I am not allergic to dairy nor am I lactose intolerant, but since dairy cows are fed a grain mixed with cottonseed it comes through their milk.”
I stopped drinking cows milk when I was fairly young; I just didn’t enjoy it at all. I still used it for cooking, until I decided to limit the dairy in my diet to see if my allergies and sinus issues could be resolved. Recently, I have been comparing milk substitutes to determine what would work best for my family. Real Food University provides a very handy comparison chart that compiles and compares the nutritional information in an eight ounce serving. An eight ounce serving of whole milk contains 146 calories, 8 grams of fat, 13 grams of sugars, 8 grams of protein, 28% calcium, and 0% iron.
I did not consider soy milk because soy is a growing allergen. It’s been suspected that more and more people are showing allergies to soy as a result of the increase in genetically modified soy. I have read that soy can inhibit the absorption of protein which may persuade others to avoid soy milk as well. An eight ounce serving of soy milk contains 105 calories, 4 grams of fat, 9 grams of sugars, 30% calcium, and 6% iron. (more…)
Admittedly, I was somewhat skeptical about the video Copy-Kids eat fruits and vegetables, but I was still interested in reviewing it. I was sure that it could not hurt, but I wasn’t sure if it would be as powerful as all of the testimonials I had read.
My nephew is an awesome eater who loves healthy foods. It seems that he would eat as much quinoa as we would give him. However, he is somewhat moody on whether or not he wants fresh blueberries, so I sat down with him with a small bowl and turned on the blueberries segment. At my house, he never watches television, so that might account for his quiet focus. He sat in my lap, and I held the bowl of blueberries in front of us. As he watched the first couple of children, he held a blueberry in his fingers, then he looked back and fed one to me before eating one himself. He silently, but with increasing gusto, ate all of the blueberries and immediately wanted more.
Habit, convenience, and proximity are major factors in shaping where we purchase food and which foods we purchase. The decision to eat a healthier diet can be much easier than deciding which foods to purchase and from where to purchase them. While healthier options are becoming more widely available, where you live may determine what is or is not available. In Indianapolis, the 12th largest city in the United States, we have at least one farmers market year round, as well as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh Market. Proximity plays a major role in where I shop most frequently, but perhaps that is not the most important factor.
Farmers markets may give you the best opportunity for the freshest produce and to speak with farmers about the conditions in which animals and produce are raised, but they are often not available throughout the week and selection of goods can vary. Whether we like it or not, we all visit a grocery at least occasionally, and the majority of Americans buy the majority of their food at a box store. Your farmers market may not offer fresh-made pasta or gluten-free baked goods like mine does, but your Whole Foods is probably a lot like my Whole Foods. (more…)
On May 23, GNC and Discovery Fit and Health announced the launch of “Transformation Diaries,” a web series following four women with health and weight loss goals through their journey.
One of those women is 31-year-old Simona from Washington, D.C. who is working to lose weight and set healthier habits after the birth of her second child. Simona is on her way to success, despite the complications of being a working mom with very young children, and she took a quick break to answer some of our questions.
What was the most concerning part of the game plan for you when you started?
The plan required a lot of significant change, which concerned me given that we were already introducing so much change to our family with the new baby. It also required me to balance my needs against those of my family, which was difficult for me personally.
How do your children interfere with your goals and plan?
For me personally, children and family come first. That means that I need to think about what my children’s schedules, likes/dislikes, and needs before I think of my own. The lack of a schedule with a newborn in particular kept me from establishing a good fitness routine initially because I could never predict exactly when she would wake for feedings. Additionally, the stress of childbirth was harder this time than it was last time, so I wasn’t cleared by my doctor for exercise until about eight weeks after the baby was born. (more…)
Yet again it seems that mass media is not accurately portraying scientific research. This time the research is by Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. The headlines are claiming that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) damages memory or “makes you stupid“. Unfortunately, the study was not done with a control group on a regular diet, just rats eating HFCS and other rats eating HFCS with omega-3 fatty acids, so it is difficult to draw any solid conclusions from the research.
When trying to navigate a maze learned six weeks earlier, the rats that had only been eating HFCS “were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier,” according to researcher Gomez-Pinilla. This could imply that:
- HFCS causes memory loss
- Or it could be interpreted that HFCS interferes with focus and attention span
- Or it could mean that omega-3 fatty acids counteract the harmful effects of HFCS (more…)