Curb Your Child’s Sugar Craving

jumprope girl

Do you know a highly active child that seems to have an endless supply of energy? The behavior of these children can be frustrating and confusing. Parents may even fear that there is something “wrong” with their child. However, high levels of activity are typical of many children! Almost every child is very active in some circumstances, and some may fit this description more frequently than others.

These children do not necessarily have a disorder such as Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is also important to note that an inattentive
child doesn’t necessarily have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which is
similar to ADHD but without hyperactivity. In many cases, diet may be a major
factor in highly active children.

Linking sugar and other ingredients with very active behavior in children is a
theory which began in the early 1970s by Dr. Benjamin Feingold. Parents who
perceived that their children become more active after consuming sugar-filled
foods have since furthered this theory.

Five easy ways to reduce sugar consumption:
1. Swap out sugar-covered cereals with an item that has five ingredients
or less – and keep sugar fewer than 10g or less.
2. When you pack a lunch – focus on whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
3. Replace sugary sport drinks, soda, and juices with naturally-sweetened water, teas, or milk.
4. Skip the ice cream and serve icy snacks like homemade fruit sorbets and frozen bananas.
5. Switch out candies, cookies, and cakes with wholesome snacks and fruits (apples with peanut butter,
peaches and plain yogurt, whole wheat crackers and cheese etc.)

How you can calculate your sugar consumption?
One small cube of sugar is equal to four grams. Grab a box of cereal, a fruit juice, or a box of cookies from your refrigerator or pantry. Find the amount of sugar in grams in this item, and divide that number by four. The number you see is the amount of sugar cubes for just one serving of that item. Most often, we consume more than one serving and those sugar cubes quickly add up. This method will allow you to see exactly how much sugar you, or the small mouths you may feed, are consuming on a daily basis.

Want to learn more?
1. Recipes for kids: Have fun with healthy eating. Mayo Clinic. 2013.
2. The Feingold Overview. Feingold Association. 2013.
3. Smart Snacking. The Nemours Foundation. 2013.
4. Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2013.
5. Liquid Candy. Center for Science In The Public Interest. 2013.

rewritten with permission © Integrative Nutrition

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy the day in a way which helps you to remain authentic to your beliefs and intentions which you shall carry over into the New Year!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, – not even a mouse:
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there….
Clement Clarke MooreNot a creature was stirring, – not even a mouse:
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there….
-Clement Clarke Moore

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~Janice Maeditere

Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. ~Augusta E. Rundel

Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends. ~Margaret Thatcher

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love. ~Author Unknown

I heard the bells on Christmas Day, The old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet, The words repeat, Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Stress-free Holidays

How To Turn The Holidays Into A Stress-Free Spiritual Experience

Does the prospect of returning to your parents’ home for the holidays fill you with a combination of delight and trepidation?

You’re not alone. Most people I know are eager to reunite with their (or their partner’s) family of origin in the spirit of celebration. But they also dread the inevitable drunken political debates, nitpicking over fashion and dating choices, unintended and deliberate slights, annoying siblings, and troubling remarks from the ever-present inappropriate uncle.

The consensus seems to be:

Multiple generations + too little personal space + loads of booze and sugar = STRESS

The good news is you can prepare yourself for the upcoming holiday hassles by doing more than stuffing an extra suitcase full of gifts. You can choose to put yourself in a frame of mind where insults slide off you like bad mojo off Santa’s sleigh. You can be the bearer of the goodwill that this season supposedly exemplifies. And who knows? You may even end up enjoying yourself!

1. Look at this time as a spiritual practice.

The first and most important step in getting through this season with more joy is to embrace it as a spiritual practice. We know from yoga and meditation that often the most fulfilling activities in life require sacrifice and self-discipline. You may not always feel like plopping down on that cushion for some quiet time, but you do it because you believe it will benefit you over the long term.

So why not look at your “home for the holidays” trip in a similar way? Instead of expecting it to go smoothly, or poorly, accept that it is what it is. Whatever happens will teach you a lesson. Annoyed? Breathe into a more relaxed state. Bored? Take a moment to meditate. Insulted? Let … it … go ….

Look at this experience as one that will take some spiritual work, but ultimately will help you build patience, compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness — all of which will serve you for a lifetime.

2. View your relatives as spiritual teachers.

Spiritual leaders often say that those we love are the ultimate mirrors for ourselves: they show us our flaws, shortcomings, and triggers. What greater opportunity for person growth, in that case, than a long weekend in a house full of relatives?

Your grandmother says you’ve gotten fat? Laugh. Your mom wants to fix you up with her colleague’s “dependable” (read “boring!”) son? Give her a big hug and tell her you’re lucky she cares about you so much. Your cousin says climate change is a myth? Listen, even if it grates. Ask yourself, “What is this person here to teach me?”

If you can overcome your automatic, emotional reactions to your relatives, you’re modeling the kind of behavior you’d like to see in them. I can’t think of a better way to help your family become more evolved.

3. Take frequent breaks.

It seems so obvious. Yet when we’re crowded together celebrating with our family, it’s so easy to forget. Take breaks.

I’m a big believer in self-care. Some people may view this as selfish. But I see it as just the opposite. Only when I’m grounded in myself can I be the best me for the world.

When I’m home for the holidays, I go for an hour walk every morning. Throughout the day, I take five minutes now and then to step outside and breathe. This gets me centered so that the irritating remarks that otherwise might cause my temper to flare don’t get to me.

4. Make your presence the best present of all.

What if, in addition to the wrapped packages, you viewed yourself, your presence, as the most important present of all? I find this reframing of the holidays exceptionally powerful, because it makes your time at home about them rather than about you.

Yes, this may seem contradictory to the previous point about taking breaks. But that’s about getting centered. The rest of the time you’re home, show up fully. Be authentic and engaged. Pay attention. Express your love.

This will also help you let go when things don’t go your way — like going to the religious service you feel forced to attend. Instead of getting bent out of shape and thinking, “Why do I have to put up with this?” you might instead ask yourself, “How can I best be of service?” Suddenly that thing you didn’t want to do is something you can do to make someone else happy.

That energy, that intention, that level of devotion to your loved ones, will have a more lasting and profound positive impact on them than any gift you could possibly procure. And isn’t that what the holidays are truly about?
About the Author
MeiMei Fox is the published author, co-author, ghostwriter, and freelance editor of numerous non-fiction health, wellness, spirituality, and psychology books, articles, and blogs, including New York Times bestsellers Bend, Not Break with Ping Fu, and Fortytude with Sarah Brokaw. Currently, she is developing a screenplay, a TV series, and a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy with her husband Kiran Ramchandran. She has edited books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Columbia professor Robert Thurman, and was Expedition Writer for Alexandra Cousteau’s 2009 Expedition: Blue Planet.

MeiMei graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors and distinction from Stanford University, with a BA and MA in psychology. She also holds an MA in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, and is an Ana Forrest-certified yoga instructor. In addition to writing, MeiMei works as a life coach, assisting clients in realizing their most ambitious dreams. Her loftiest goal is to be a Promoter of Joy. She sits on the board of HOPE Foundation, an NGO dedicated to providing shelter, education, health care, and job skills training to the street kids of Calcutta, India. Her mantra is: Fear Less, Love More!

Accepting the loss of a life taken too soon

Lily of the Valley


                                 To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die                                                                                                               

                                          Thomas Campbell “Hallowed Ground” 

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