Category Archives: Nutrition

Seed Your Soul – Chicken Quinoa Soup

Quinoa Grain

Chicken and quinoa are a dynamic duo especially in the fall when it’s getting chilly. If you are looking for a low fat protein then the bird is the word. Chicken is high in amino acids, which rebuild broken-down muscle tissue. Chicken is also packed with vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa has high nutritive value. It provides anti-inflammatory phytonutrients (plant substances that fight disease), zinc, and magnesium, which may improve muscle strength and soreness in athletes. Additionally, zinc and magnesium have been shown to improve depression in adults. Thus, this soup makes you happy, fights disease, and reduces muscle soreness – amazing!

INGREDIENTS

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

1 Diced Onion

2 Sliced Carrots

I pound Chicken

1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms

2 Slice Celery Stalks

2 Minced Garlic Cloves

4 Cups Chicken Broth

1 Cup Water

¾ Cup Quinoa

Dash of Thyme

Hot Sauce

COOK THIS: Organic chicken breast in a crock pot or in the oven on 300 for 2 hours.

SIMMER THIS: Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pot; cook onion, mushrooms, and 2 sliced carrots for 6 minutes. Add 1 pound thinly sliced cooked chicken breasts, 2 sliced celery stalks, and 2 minced garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken broth, 3/4 cup quinoa, thyme, and salt and pepper. Boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes, till quinoa is tender. Top with parsley and a dash of hot sauce.

This soup is delicious, healthy and easy. Yes, food can actually be all three!   Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

EMPowerplus To Improve Mental Health

apple

Research has shown that adding vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, iron, and omega-3 supplements to the diets of children with ADHD, depression, and autism, improved their social emotional functioning (Kaplan, Fisher, Crawford, Field, & Kolb, 2004; Shaw, Rucklidge, & Hughes, 2010).  Wait, say what?  How does that work?  Vitamins and minerals are precursors to neurotransmitters ( (brain chemicals that transmit information throughout our body and brain).  If our body is deficient in vitamins and minerals it can’t make neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters regulate our moods so not having enough can affect our mental health.

This is great information, but children won’t always eat their fruits and vegetables. Also, some children prefer a “sameness” of food items that limits their nutrient intake. This is where EMPowerplus can help. EMPowerplus contains 14 vitamins, 3 amino acids, 16 minerals, and 3 antioxidants and has been proven to improve psychological symptoms. And no, I do not work for EMPowerplus, I have just read the research.

The EMPowerplus website lists a multitude of research studies supporting it’s use for different disorders. Since not everyone enjoys reading scholarly research I’ve summarized a couple of the studies for you.

Kaplan et al. (2004) reduced psychiatric symptoms in children with behavioral disorders by introducing EMPowerplus for eight weeks. Six out the eleven children given the broad-based nutrient formula showed significant improvements. The findings of the study demonstrated improvement on attention, anxiety, delinquency, mood, and aggression. However, it should be noted that the sample size was small and parents gave ratings on all the outcome measures.

Rucklidge, Gately, and Kaplan (2010) found similar significant improvements in 120 children (7-18) with both pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) and ADHD, and an alternative sample of 41 children with just ADHD, who were given EMPowerplus for 6-months. The symptom decrease for the entire sample (120 children) was a 59% reduction on the symptom checklist. Wow, a 59% symptom reduction!

As with any supplement if your child is on a psychotropic medication do not stop taking it or start any supplement without first discussing it with your physician. Also, it is best to obtain vitamins and minerals from whole food sources. Supplementing should only be considered when your child will not eat a wide variety of whole foods. The two supplementation solutions that are backed by the most research are Juice Plus+, which is a whole food, not a supplement, and EMPowerplus. Finally, don’t expect results to occur right away vitamin and mineral deficiencies can take months to correct.

Reference

Kaplan, B. J., Fisher, J. E., Crawford, S. G., Field, C. J., & Kolb, B. (2004). Improved mood and behavior during treatment with a mineral-vitamin supplement: An open-label case series    of children. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 14(1), 115-22.

Rucklidge, J. J., Gately, D., & Kaplan, B. J. (2010). Database analysis of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder consuming a micronutrient formula. BMC Psychiatry, 10doi:10.1186/1471-244X-10-74

Shaw, I., Rucklidge, J. J., & Hughes, R. N. (2010). A Possible Biological Mechanism for the B Vitamins Altering Behaviour in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pharmaceutical Medicine, 24(5), 289-294.

 

 

Want to Improve Your Child’s Learning and Focus? Drink This.

Children portrait

It s odorless, tasteless, and colorless, but makes up eighty percent of our body weight at birth. Need more hints? The brain has more of it than any other organ in the body with estimates as high as ninety percent. Last hint. It is essential to life.  Yep, you guessed it, the secret elixir is water.

Okay, we know it is an essential substance for life, but why learning? Our bodies are electrical systems. Water is essential for electrical transmissions, which distribute oxygen and nutrition (Hannaford, 2005). Electrical transmissions in the nervous system help children use their senses, learn, focus, and act.

Water is emphasized in Brain Gym, simple exercises that increase blood flow and aide in learning. Drinking water during school will help with learning and keep dehydration at bay during stressful situations such as presentations and tests.

Children should drink water and avoid drinks such as soda, fruit juice, and milk. These drinks have sugar and salt in them, which binds  water in the body, leaving less available for electrolyte levels in the nerves.

It is advised to start the day with a glass of water for digestive and liver support. Efforts should be made to keep children hydrated with at least 2 quarts of filtered water daily and more if they are in sports or very active. Try water with lemon or orange slices to give it a bit of flavor. Most importantly drink it yourself, children learn through modeling.

Reference

Hannaford, C. (2005). Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head. Salt Lake City, Utah: Great River Books

Try this for Breakfast to Boost Mental Health!

Spinach smoothie

Super Quick and Tasty Smoothie

Getting children to eat a healthy breakfast can be challenging. This green chocolate smoothie is loaded with nutrients and best of all it’s quite tasty!

Spinach is considered to be a super food, which means it is loaded with vitamins and trace minerals.   Research has shown children with ADHD and autism have deficient iron, magnesium, and zinc. Iron and magnesium are important for mood and sleep regulation. Good news is spinach is a great source of both iron and magnesium!

Apples are full of antioxidants, including vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Vitamin C helps block damage from free radicals (damaged, problematic cells) and enhances the immune system. B-complex vitamins help keep us calm and are good for the nervous system.

Bananas are high in potassium and contain tryptophan. Tryptophan, an amino acid, improves mood and memory. Additionally, the London Imperial College found that children who ate a banana a day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma. Wow, improved mood, memory, and ability to breathe all by eating a banana!

Start your child’s day off right by giving them a green smoothie. Remember to buy organic to avoid pesticides. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, think of what an apple, spinach, and a banana can do!

INGREDIENTS

2 bananas, cut up and peeled

1 apple, cubed and cored

1 tablespoon flax seed

1/3 cup coconut water

2 tablespoons cacao powder

½ bunch spinach, rinsed and stems removed. If you have a Vitamix blender include the stems for extra health benefit.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add bananas and apples to the blender first.
  2. Next add spinach and flax seed, pushing it into the bananas and apples.
  3. Finally, add coconut water, cacao powder and a few ice cubes, blend.
  4. Optional. Drinking a thick smoothie is good for oral motor sensory input. To thicken do not add coconut water. Drink through a straw to maximize sensory input.

Reference:

Okoko, B., Burney, P., Newson, R., Potts, J., and Shaheen, O. (2007) Childhood asthma and fruit consumption. European Respiratory Journal, 29 (6), 1161-1168.

Mindful Child Wellness, LLC 2014, All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means: electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Splish Splash, Put Magnesium In The Bath

Magnesium is found in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and peas.  Dietary intake of magnesium is low in the Western diet.  Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions.  This means children need magnesium for optimal brain functioning.

Magnesium may be depleted from the body during stress; therefore, children dealing with chronic stress may be at-risk for a magnesium deficiency. Signs of magnesium deficiency include: anxiety, muscle spasms, constipation, and insomnia. Additionally, Werbach (1991) asserts magnesium has been linked to aggressive behavior.  An excess or deficiency may result in aggressive behavior.  This is hypothesized to be due to magnesium being a cofactor in the activity of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.  Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are neurotransmitters, which means they are brain chemicals that regulate mood and sleep.

Magnesium is easy and inexpensive to supplement.  Magnesium may be added to the bath and absorbed through the skin. Consequently, pouring a cup of lavender scented epsom salt in your child’s bath at bedtime is a fantastic way to supplement magnesium.  The combination of magnesium and lavender may improve sleep, especially when combined with calcium. Rub a dub, your child will be relaxing in the tub. Long about a Saturday night, yeah!

Reference

Werbach, M.R. (1991).  Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness, (2nd ed.). Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press.

Introducing JuicePlus +

Food as Medicine, Introducing Juice Plus+

For over 1,000-years it has been established that psychological functioning may be associated with nutritional deficiencies. Yes, seriously, 1,000-years! In Greece, 2,500-years ago Hippocrates described food as medicine. The body and mind are interrelated and good health maintained by an adequate intake of essential nutrients is linked with good mental health.  Consequently, anything that affects the body will affect mind. So the yummy happy meal your child just consumed will not result in a happy affect, but just the opposite! Ironic, right?

Making sure children maintain a healthy diet can be challenging.  Current data from the National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS) on micronutrient intake in children found deficit intakes of nearly all minerals and vitamins. How do busy families insure their children’s nutritional needs are met?  By incorporating the next best thing to fruits and vegetables, Juice Plus+, in their diets!

Juice Plus+ is whole food based nutrition with juice powder concentrates from 25 different fruits, vegetables, berries, and grains.  Juice Plus+ helps busy families insure their children eat the essential micronutrients needed for optimal brain functioning.

Juice Plus+ is backed by research from more than 20 prestigious medical and scientific journals. So put down the hoe, there is no need for a garden, simply click on my Juice Plus+ links below and decide for yourself.

Juice Plus Links

juiceplus.com

towergarden.com

Fish Oil, Really?

When fish oil is typed into a search engine phrases, including curbs Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms, is the key to unlocking the ADHD brain, and is more effective than Ritalin appear.  But does fish oil really improve attention?  Unlock the brain? Improve autism symptoms?

This is what can be conclusively said about omega-3 fatty acids.  Children with ADHD and autism have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.  This is believed to be due to an inability to metabolize and absorb some micronutrients. Cognitive and neural growth depends on omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are often lacking in the child’s diet.  A deficit of omega-3 fatty acids may result in not only atypical behaviors, but chronic health problems as well.  When there is an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats the body has increased inflammation and it changes the balance of fats available to the brain and nervous system, which hinders the child’s brain function.  Recent evidence demonstrates that this imbalance may be associated with a variety of physical and mental health disorders, such as ADHD and autism (Montgomery et al., 2013).

So yes, while it may not entirely unlock the brain.  Fish oil can supplement psychotropic drugs and improve brain functioning in children with a deficit of omega-3 fatty acids.  No need for a fishing pole, just head to a reputable source such as Whole Foods.  After all who wants to take rancid fish oil high in mercury? Happy fishing.

Reference

Montgomery, P., Burton, J. R., Sewell, R. P., Spreckelsen, T. F., & Richardson, A. J. (2013). Low blood long chain omega-3 fatty acids in UK children are associated with poor cognitive performance and behavior: A cross-sectional analysis from the DOLAB study. PLoS One, 8(6) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0066697

Teaching fun, therapeutic, aerial yoga and mindfulness to children