6 Steps to End Picky Eating

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Picky eating is SO hard for parents! It’s the struggle between feeding your child what they’ll eat just to make sure they eat, even if it’s NOT healthy or nutritious versus holding your ground and them not eating anything. It’s a really really hard spot for you to be in.  When I work with some of my clients, families are often struggling with a kiddo who will eat only a handful of items (commonly goldfish crackers and chicken nuggets). And while not all picky eating is that extreme, you may benefit from some of my tips with your own kids.

Here are my top 6 tips to turn around the struggle with picky eating and the endless mealtime battles. They can be exhausting, I know!

  1. Make meal times enjoyable. Meals should be a social experience. Eat together. Talk about your day or what you’re thankful for. Engage. Meals should be a family experience, not with kids eating individually.
  2. You are responsible for providing a meal, and your child is responsible for what they eat. No pressure, no force feeding, no bargaining, no polite bites. It’s hard sometimes to resist the urges, I know!
  3. Keep meals and snacks consistent throughout the day. Both you and your kiddos should have regularly schedule times to eat every 2-3 hours. It’s good for your metabolism, your satiation, energy, sugar levels and so much more.
  4. Always have at least 75% of your child’s plate be preferred foods with 25% being non preferred foods. And try to create family meals that are composed of both preferred and non-preferred foods so you are all eating the same foods. No more short order cooking!
  5. Learn to play with your food. It doesn’t have to necessarily be at meal times but creating spaceships, boats, mustaches or the like with non-preferred foods can desensitize aversions and increase the likelihood that your kiddo will try one those non-preferred foods. I encourage families to play with food in lots of different environments.
  6. Even if your kiddo refuses a food once, feel free to continue to expose them to that food. It can take between 7-10 exposures to determine whether or not they actually like a food or just opposing it because it’s new!

Was any of this new to you? Comment below with what you plan to implement.

P.S.- If you’re looking for an awesome kids nutritional shake, my kids LOVE this one!

[Recipe Alert!] Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

I tried out a pumpkin spice latte the other day. It was sorely a disappointment. I used to LOVE them. I drank them for as long as they were out and same with the peppermint mocha. They were my staple go-to’s, the obligatory holiday drink. But this year, it was a true testament to the changes I’ve made in the last few years. It was like drinking a box of candy followed by a headache and sugar crash. Man my taste buds have sure changed! So from now on, I think I’ll be making my pumpkin spice coffee from home!

And I love using coconut oil in my coffee. There are SO many benefits to coconut oil, but adding to your coffee and drinking first thing in the morning can be very advantageous to your metabolism and keep you feeling full longer.

  • 8-12 ounces of coffee
  • 1 TB of real maple syrup, honey or few drops of stevia (or maybe try this pumpkin pie spiced stevia. I haven’t tried it yet but think I may order some!)
  • 1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 TB coconut oil

Add all ingredients to a blendtec and blend! Enjoy! Feel free to adjust the maple syrup to your taste.  For me, I tend to use a little less than a 1 TB.

HAPPY FALL Y’ALL!coffee

How to lose weight for good…Ditch the diet myth

ditch the diet

Experts say that 90 percent of people who go on “a diet” will gain back all of the weight they lost. But even more than that, they often gain back more weight than before they started. Yikes! With the pace of our society, fast food around every corner, and so much confusion regarding the next “fad diet,” it’s no wonder that losing weight and keep the weight off can be such a struggle.

But what if it wasn’t about the weight? What if you could transform the way you thought about food and weight into how you want to FEEL? You know, that feeling you get when you live long enough to walk your daughter down the aisle or hold your grandkids for the first time. That feeling when you can go play baseball with your kids without feeling wiped out or just feeling sexy and confident in your swim suit and skinny jeans. And let’s not even talk about exhaustion…do you know that roughly 2 out every 5 people would say they are tired each day? Is that you? Would you want to wake up each day feeling like you had a restful night of sleep, and don’t hit that 3pm wall where you’re grabbing a cup of coffee or candy bar?

Trade in your “diet” mentality and replace it with a LIFESTYLE. I want you to succeed for LIFE!

What’s your end goal? Where are you headed? Is it getting back into a pair of jeans you’ve been dying to wear again? Or is it wanting to feel confident in who you are? Trade out your diet myths. There’s no trick. There’s no perfect way. Healthy nutrition, exercise, and believing in yourself…consistently…day in and day out are the only proven methods to get you to your goals.

So let’s replace some of these myths with truths and get you to GOAL ACHIEVED! Shall we?

– Snacking leads to weight gain

– Eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day can help keep your metabolism going and blood sugars stabilized. And, because you won’t be ravishing for food at the next meal, you’re less likely to gorge out on more food than you needed.

– Losing weight slower is healthier

– The key isn’t how fast or slow you lose weight, but using tools you can sustain to KEEP the weight off. If it’s something you feel like you could do forever, then go for it. But if you feel like you’re torturing yourself and in total deprivation mode….it’s not going to sustain.

– Eating more fruits and veggies helps you lose weight

– This is a tricky one. Because YES fruits and veggies are so great for you, but if you’re still eating crap foods at other times, you’re still not giving your body the nutrition and fuel it needs. Your body NEEDS good nutrition to run at it’s optimum. Most of what we eat is FAR lacking. For me, drinking Shakeology each day is one way I’ve been able to ensure I’m getting nutrition that my body needs.

– Genetics determine my body type

– While genetics do play a huge role into our body’s shape and sizes, with consistency and the proper tools, you can make vast changes you never thought possible before despite what your genetics may tell you.

– Eating less calories will make me lose weight

– At a quick glance, yes. Eating less calories will help you lose weight. But what you choose those calories to be comprised of is the TRUE determining factor as to whether you lose weight. For example, eating a handful of potato chips is roughly 150 calories but a little over a handful of carrots is only 25 calories. When you are eating nutrient rich but calorie low foods, your body gets the nutrition it needs, you feel full, and you have consumed less calories than a crappy bag of chips.

– Drinking more water will make me lose weight

– Again, yes! Water is ESSENTIAL for your body. You need water and lots of it. And drinking enough water can help your satiation. So many people misinterpret thirst signals for hunger signals. But if you aren’t fueling your body with healthy, and nutritious foods, no matter how much water you drink, you won’t lose weight in a sustainable way.

Did you sense a theme? If not, let me give it to you simply….

Ditch the diet.

Eat for life. Eat RICH, nutritious foods that fuel your body from the inside out. Giving it the energy it needs so you aren’t exhausted. Be consistent. Exercise. And watch your life transform!

I cheated on my essential oils…

… with homeopathy.

I love my oils. I do. I use them all the time. I make laundry detergent, floor cleaner, household cleaner, and more with them. I love what they can do. I’ve been amazed at what I’ve seen them do.  I’ve seen them heal wounds, clear up congestion, calm an upset stomach.  But there’s a lot of misinformation about using essential oils. It’s sometimes difficult to find out the true information. I have found that even among experts simple things are still debated. Bigger companies combat with other companies saying ones better than the other therefore the rules do not apply. It’s hard to wade through all the information and know what you’re doing right healthwise.

I sometimes find myself riding a fine line. Sometimes agreeing with one side and sometimes agreeing with another side of an issue. I think essential oil use comes with a need for people to be diligent about research education and discretion.  It’s not so simple as just slapping an oil on a sore.  There are safety precautions that need to be followed, and oftentimes in the effort to “sell” an oil, these safety things get left aside.

A few days ago I found myself  abandoning my essential oils. I developed an extremely irritable rash on my face and neck. There were a variety of reasons it could have occurred but my likely culprit was an essential oil even though I didn’t directly apply the directly in that area.

When I was pregnant I started getting a rash on my throat when I’d apply lemon (yes, it was diluted) to my throat for a sore throat. lemon rashThe general response I got was that necks are sensitive.

(And the picture doesn’t do this rash justice. My face feels like sandpaper now 4-5 days later).lemon rash 2

This rash was very similar yet a little different.

So I started to dig a little deeper. I had not applied an oil topically anywhere along my neck.  I had dabbed a little whisper blend earlier that morning behind my ear. My first thought. I had been working in the yard, possibly a plant I touched? I applied sunscreen, maybe that? Yet neither of my children reacted to it and I’ve used it plenty of times before. Miserable and uncomfortable I did the allergy blend in a capsule. 2 drops of lemon, 2 drops of peppermint, and 2 lavender. The rash wasn’t getting any better. The itching becoming unbearable. Some of my oil contacts gave me suggestions for other oil remedies and stated that it’s a detox. Then I remembered for the last few days I had been drinking one 32oz water bottle with 1-2 drops of a metabolic blend.  I looked on the ingredient list and low and behold…lemon. So not only did I possibly react to the lemon in the metabolic blend but then added to it by taking 2 more drops of lemon.  The only thing that would resolve the itching was my unda cream (homeopathy) and coconut oil. My husband’s allergy pill didn’t even take away the itch.

Why do I share this?

In my search to determine whether or not it was an oil that I had used that caused the reaction, I stumbled across some startling information. Essential oils can cause reactions.  And they are not always detoxing! It’s simple any substance put into or on your body is going to potentially cause a reaction.  Nothing in this world is completely non-reactive for every single human being. Well I guess maybe water…

Just because it’s natural does not mean it is safe for everyone. 

However, even with a possibility of reacting, I would choose something that is natural that has a chance of reacting over synthetic toxins anyway!  I just hope to do it as safe as possible to avoid a possible reaction.

So many people have reactions to simple mundane things that others do not. It cannot be eliminated the an essential oil could be the same. Or that your body is going to remain the same for your entire life. Your hormones shift. Your diet changes. Your exercise changes. The toxins present in your environment change.  I stumbled across multiple accounts online of changes to people’s response to simple things like aloe vera (being fine with it for 30+ years and then one day breaking out into hives and not being able to use it again).

How do I use essential oils safely?

1. Dilute dilute dilute.

I cannot express or stress diluting enough.  I think this is KEY! So many reactions can be eliminated by diluting. Did you know that one drop of peppermint oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea? Essential oils are powerful. People use them because of these powerful properties. But these powerful properties need to be respected. Dilute your oils. Not only does it save your money but it saves the adverse reactions to potentially strong or reactive oils (reactive to be used loosely cause all oils have the power to be reactive).

dilution

(Diluting like this could save a ton of money!)

2. Change up your oil routine

Using the same oil day in and day out can set your body up for becoming sensitive to that oil. In my particular situation that’s exactly what I think happened. When I was pregnant I was sick frequently. Lemon oil was my oil of choice for helping combat my sicknesses. It was one of the oils I felt was safest to use during pregnancy. Some of the other immune boosting oils I didn’t feel safe using. So I used lots of lemon. And then I started reacting. (That goodness I hadn’t overused lavender!! It’s my favorite). Explore more oils.  If you always turn to lemon for congestion, take a look at lavender, digestion blend, lime, respiratory blend, eucalyptus, peppermint, juniper berry, cypress, melaleuca, cedarwood, ginger, rosemary, fennel, etc. If you always use lavender for sleep, try calming blend, vetiver, Roman Chamomile, or marjoram.  You might be surprise at what success you have with an unsuspecting oil. I love ordering oils with my Loyalty Rewards Program because I’ll often trade in my points for oils I wouldn’t normally want to buy.  After I get them, I oftentimes wonder why I’d never ordered it before! Some of my favorite oils have been ones I get for free with points and later end up ordering all the time!

3. Know your oils

Essential oils can be complex. Know an oil before you use it.  Are there precautions you need to take? Are there people with certain conditions that should not use the oil? Does it cause photosensitivity? Are these oils pure or do they contain impurities (the FDA does not regulate essential oils and the minimum amount of essential oil that needs to be in a bottle to receive the “100% pure” label is only 3% essential oil!)? What country are these oils sourced from?  Please do not just take the advice of someone else, unless you trust that person completely. Do your own research.  There are plenty of books, websites, and other resources available to help make sure you are using essential oils safely.  I encourage you to continue to exploring ways to replace things in your homes that may be toxic or synthetic with essential oils (cleaners, laundry detergents, air fresheners, etc).  I feel this is by far a safer choice!  When it comes to using on your body, be more diligent about your research.Each day I learn something new and love that I can continue to learn about them and help others learn about them!

I will still use my oils and will continue to recommend them to others but I now have a better understanding of their power.  They have gained a little more of my respect.  Also, I do believe that I may be able to restore some bit of homeostasis in my body to hopefully not react to the lemon.  It is like food sensitivities, which change over time and can be healed if treated and cared for properly.  I’m just not sure what that will look like for now other than avoiding lemon.

I am dedicated to recommending oils in the safest way possible.  Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions! If I don’t know, I’ll try to find out for you.

Scrub a Dub Dub, What do you have in the tub?

My husband calls me a hippie.  I don’t think he realized it when we got married (neither did I!) but time as slowly progressed me into a more and more natural person, parent, and professional.  I know I still have lots of areas to improve upon but it’s one slow step at at time (did I mention that we just got a chicken coop!?!? sooo excited! I will blog more about that when we get the process rolling. We bought it off craigslist and have a few things in the next few weeks so chickens probably won’t happen for a few weeks!).

But as a part of this journey, I’ve started trading out chemicals for more natural products.  Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it absorbs whatever we put onto it. I’m picky with our sunscreen (and have a homemade recipe here) and we use coconut oil as a moisturizer 99% of the time.  I’ve been playing with homemade cosmetics (I will share!). But being frugal, I just can’t throw away soaps people give me (aka…I get lots of Bath & Body soaps as gifts).  So when I was given a bar of Believe Soap, I was thrilled to be using something way more natural that didn’t require me to buy soap when we still have some in the shower.

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(I meant to take a picture before I started using it but forgot, so here’s a picture from their website).

I got a full bar of Winter Citrus and a couple small samples of Lavender Oatmeal and Refreshing Mint.  So here are my thoughts.

  • 100% vegan (A+)
  • All Natural products, literally the ingredient list was mostly essential oils 
  • Handmade

Their website says they even use herbs freshly picked from their garden when possible! And even can custom order soaps for you because they hand make them.

  • They are $5/bar (it’s really not that much!)
  • Safe for the whole family

Because there is nothing toxic and these are natural products, I feel comfortable and safe using it on anyone in my family (do you know what kinds of  toxins are in baby soaps??)

  • Made in California 

if you are a Californian, you are supporting local business!–if you aren’t, then you are supporting small business! (A+ for both)

  • Lathers well 
  • Scent is pleasant and subtle 

Being an OT I am acutely aware that many people are sensitive to smells. This would be the soap for you if you are overwhelmed by many of the scented products.  It smells earthy, pleasant, and is subtle enough that you don’t think you are washing yourself with a slice of orange.  I tend to like things with a little more scent but I know many don’t so it’s a great middle road.  If you are one that likes stronger scents, maybe try one of the other flavors. My guess would be Rosemary & Mint or similar would smell a little more.

  • Long Lasting

I’ve been using the soap for a few weeks now and it really doesn’t look like I’ve made a dent in the size of the bar. I could see it lasting awhile.

  • Can be used on your face, or body

When I tried it on my face, I got a little in my eye and it wasn’t super pleasant but most soap isn’t. So if you use it on your face, just be sure to wash extra carefully

  • Essential oils can promote healing

It’s one thing to wash your body with just soap, but soaps using essential oils can promote healing while you use them.

My overall opinion…

I don’t know if I will order more soap for awhile (I still have lots) but if you are looking for a natural, vegan, handmade, local option, this is a great place to start.  My only preference would be to have a little stronger scent but it gets an A+ from me in all other categories!

Check them out! Have you used Believe Soap??

Summer Series: Soothing Sunburns with Essential Oils

Gardening and planting my summer garden is one of my favorite things to do! I just love it! When we finally got our fence done, I feverishly worked on getting my garden boxes done and planted.  It was a cloudy day, my baby was sleeping, and my toddler was helping.  It didn’t even occur to me to put on sunscreen.  I didn’t even realize how burnt I had become until I went to get in the shower.  That’s when I took this picture.
sunburnFortunately, it didn’t hurt too bad but as soon as I got out of the shower, I went to the oils! There are a couple different remedies and options.

Sunburn Soothing Gel

(this is the one I used, and then switched out peppermint for frankincense once it cooled a little)

  • 1 tsp of aloe vera
  • 2-3 drops of lavender oil
  • 1-2 drops of peppermint oil

Sunburn Spray #1

  • 16oz. glass spray bottle
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon Aloe Vera Juice
  • 1/4 cup Fractionated Coconut Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E
  • 8 drops lavender oil
  • 8 drops melaleuca oil
  • 8 drops Roman Chamomile oil

Sunburn Spray #2

  • 20 drops of Lavender
  • 10-20 drops of Pepeprmint
  • 2 ounce spray bottle
  • Fill the remainder with either water or fractionated coconut oil.

(Once the initial sting is worn away, you can trade the peppermint oil for frankincense oil)

  • 1 tsp of aloe vera
  • 2-3 drops of lavender oil
  • 1-2 drops of frankincense oil

 

Summer Series: Removing a Splinter

Walking around barefoot, relaxing on the sand, basking in the sunlight…only a few of the wonderful things that summer brings. But in those blissful months, there can be a few deterrents.  My first…a Splinter. Right in the middle of my foot! Right where my flip flop strap hit.  It made walking in sandals uncomfortable.  Who can have that during summer?

This little bugger was big and completely lodged under skin.  It wasn’t deep and I probably could have fished it out by slicing the top few layers of skin and digging it out.  But I had read some information about using baking soda and lavender oil to get it to come out.  I gave it a try.

I mixed a few drops of lavender oil with about 1/2 tsp of baking soda and a few drips of water.  I mixed it into a thick paste and applied to my splinter and covered with a bandaid.  I kept it on over night.

The next morning, when I went to remove the splinter, it didn’t look like much had happened.  Honestly, I was pretty bummed that it didn’t work.  Anticipating beginning to dig it out, I slid the tweezers along the edge of the splinter from the end without the opening, towards the opening.  To my surprise, the thing literally slid right out! I wish I had it on camera!  So, there you have it! It works!  I’ve heard it works with just lavender oil itself, as well but figured the both together made it most effective.

Splinter Removal Recipe

  • 2-3 drops of lavender oil
  • ~1/2 tsp of Baking Soda
  • Few drops of water
  • Bandaid

splinter bakingsodasplinter

What are the Dirty Dozen for 2014?

smoothie (1 of 5) Every year the Environmental Working Group puts out the results of their testing, naming 12 fruits and veggies dirty and 15 labeled clean.  The Dirty Dozen are those labeled as such for coming out on the top of the list for most amount of pesticides when tested.

The Dirty Dozen are the fruits and veggies that you should most surely buy organic! 

The Clean 15 came out on the bottom of the list with the least amount of pesticides and herbicides.  If you aren’t able to afford to buy all your foods or don’t have the option of finding all foods organic, these are the ones you could buy non-organic. So here are the lists The Dirty Dozen Plus (in order of most pesticides to least)

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

The “Plus“-They didn’t make the top 12 list but those that eat high amounts of them should choose organic.

  1. Hot Peppers
  2. Leafy Greens (Kale, Lettuce, Collard Greens, Etc)

Blueberries (domestic) were #14 on the list and due to the high amount of them our family eats, we choose organic. The Clean 15 (in order of least pesticides to most)

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet peas (frozen)
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet potatoes

For the full list, go here. If you’ve never taken a look at EWG’s website, it is definitely worth it.  They rank all kinds of products based upon toxicity and health.  Definitely worth knowing what we put in our bodies and on our bodies.

6/14 days of Sugar Elimination DONE!

sugar2Well, here we are on May 6th.  Six days into our families’ sugar elimination challenge. Is anyone in the challenge with us?

I would highly advise anyone to give it a try.  It isn’t too late to start your own 14 day challenge.  Maybe you don’t eliminate all sugar, but pick one thing, such as sodas, breads, or candies.

It’s really eye opening what items have sugar in them.  I have caught myself attempting to cook or eat something and checking the labels to be sure, and then surprised to find it has sugar in it.  For example, season salt. Salt.  It’s the opposite flavor of sugar and yet it’s in my season salt (which probably isn’t that great for you anyway).

Chocolate and sweet snacks have been my hardest mentally to give up.  I always love getting a little sugar snack at the grocery store.  But I had very little self-control with them.  (Hence one of the reasons for this challenge).  My friend, Stephanie, at Lady Handled suggested I try her Raw Chocolate Turtles.  I decided to give them a try and really liked them.  Being that my husband doesn’t like pecans, I got creative with them and created my own modification of them.  I’ll share my creations in the next little bit (I’ve noticed having 2 kids now has really slowed down my blogging time!).  I did run into another item unexpectedly covered in sugar…coconut.  I made these nice macadamia nut truffles rolled in coconut, only to read the label AFTER I made them.  Yes, my coconut had sugar in them.  I shared them with a friend and picked up some non-sugared coconut at the grocery store today.

Can I say my body feels different? Not really. I hope that over time I begin to feel different.  I can say that my daughter and I haven’t been sick in the last few weeks.  Not sure if it’s related to sugar or our mold elimination attempt. But it makes me feel better to know we aren’t eating as much sugar and instead we’re eating more fruits and vegetables.  I still have my sweet cravings but am excited to continue looking for alternatives. Do you have any recipes to share?