Superbugs Becoming a Health Crisis in America

Likely, you’ve heard about the growing health crisis in America concerning superbugs. These are bacteria that are becoming resistant to the antibiotics that we use. Antibiotics were first developed in the 70s, creating a revolution of sulfanilamide antibiotics like penicillin, which was used in World War II, saving millions of wounded soldiers and civilians. After the rise of antibiotics being used for everything from the common cold to pneumonia were being used. Today, the overuse of antibiotics is putting a whiplash on the medical industry. Both people and livestock are witnessing antibiotic-resistant infections, known as superbugs. This isn’t only happening in America, it’s happening all across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, superbugs are a larger threat than terrorism.

The amount of superbugs popping up throughout the world is rising rapidly. More people are getting infections, sometimes killing them. For instance, Staphylococcus, or Staph, is a bacteria that causes skin infections.  When it get into your bloodstream through the gateway of a cut, oral antibiotics like methicillin (cousin to penicillin) are given to you to treat it. But because methicillin has been overused, Staph has become resistant to it. This new superbug is known as MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staph aureus, which today, it a deadly infection. Something as simple as a skin infection can now put you in the hospital, requiring you to receive powerful antibiotics via IV. This can cause serious side effects to patients. Common ailments like children’s ear infections and UTI in adults are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Why Superbugs Develop and Antibiotics Stop Working

Because antibiotics are over-the-counter, it causes an overuse of them by the public. This makes them less effective to fighting disease, causing superbugs to be born. Antibiotics are commonly used in the agriculture business for livestock. It is fed to the animals and now, it is causing resistance. Humans don’t receive antibiotic resistance by eating treated meat, but it does contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance for human medicine. People can fight this by eating grass-fed beef that is certified to be antibiotic-free.

Lack of New Antibiotics

Not only are we fighting a problem with antibiotic-resistant superbugs, but we are also facing a lack of new antibiotics to fight them off. Pharmaceutical companies haven’t had their focus on creating new antibiotics, so there aren’t many on the market. Only one new antibiotic has been approved by the FDA since 2010. Seven others are on the way, but none of them have a guarantee for approval.

How You Can Protect Your Health

The number one solution to this problem is to not overuse antibiotics. There are some common sicknesses that you can get over without the use of antibiotics, such as the following:

  • Common cold: Lasts about seven days and can be soothed by teas and other herbal remedies.
  • Sinusitis: Stay away from antibiotics unless it lasts for more than 10 days.
  • Urinary pain: some aren’t infections, especially for women who have gone through menopause.
  • Skin problems: use a topical antibiotic versus an oral antibiotic.
  • Chronic bronchitis: caused by cold air or low air quality. See the doctor if you start to see yellow or green phlegm.

Protecting your health is just as important as protecting your finances. You can shop for deals on Groupon from brands like Victoria’s Secret, Home Depot and Walmart.

Juicing For Weight Loss

Add Juicing Benefits To Natural, Healthy Weight Loss

Juicing for weight loss has such a wealth of body benefits that it is fast replacing water detox regimens. If a healthy diet and nutrition program is uppermost on your list of priorities, you will soon discover that juicing for weight loss is the optimal option. So much so, that water fasts will hopefully gradually be phased out. However, don’t expect the colorful nutrient-rich juice flowing from a vegetable juicer to magically melt away the pounds on its own. You will unfortunately still need to get off that couch and rev up your metabolism with some form of activity.

While it will be helpful to focus on juicing for natural weight loss, making juicing for health your aim will soon have the health benefits stacking up. You need to make a commitment to incorporate juicing for weight loss into a health style change, a healthy, sensible nutrition program you can stick to for life, and new thinking patterns. Do this, and you will soon see a vibrant, svelte, confident, and happy self in the mirror.


Juicing For Weight Loss Complements Any Healthy Nutrition Plan

The biggest plus of a juicing for weight loss program is that it adds valuable, bio-available micro-nutrients with a wealth of health benefits at a minimal calorie cost, with no dietary fat. You will be downing highly concentrated health cocktails brimming with all the enzymes, vitamins, and minerals necessary for vitality and a healthy immune system. This facilitates optimal functioning of all your body systems.

Consumers are very aware of the side-effects of appetite suppressants, but often feel that they have no other option. Fresh vegetable juice acts as a healthy, harmless appetite suppressant and craving curber, and is therefore without equal in a diet and nutrition program. By juicing for weight loss, you can opt for a glass of fresh juice before your main meal, and experience rapidly diminishing hunger.

Vegetable juice can also play an important role in stabilizing blood sugar levels, a vital factor in nutrition and good health. The sugar percentage is much lower than that of fruit juices and the calorie count is up to 50% less, yet the juice succeeds in satisfying a sweet tooth every time. This makes juicing for weight loss an absolute pleasure. Experiment with carrot or a combination of carrot and parsley juice when a craving hits you, and the juice jolt will give it a knock-out before you know it! Just don’t concentrate too much on sugar-laden fruits in the process.

Juicing For Weight Loss – Tips For A Trimmed-Down Lifestyle

If you have more than a few pounds to drop, you may want to consider kick-starting the process with a short juice fast. While a water fast often drains energy, juicing for weight loss has the potential to give you an energy injection. It also gets all the systems clear and functioning optimally, ensuring that your body is in the best shape to shed the extra weight.

Variety is the spice of life. This also holds true when juicing for weight loss. You want to use veggies and fruits of every color, rotating the different kinds constantly in order to extract a diverse range of nutrients. By juicing for weight loss, you ensure that your body still has access to all the calories it needs for vitality and energy.

If you prefer to start with a balanced, nutrition-rich eating plan, you will discover that having at least one glass of vegetable juice per day will make it easier to reach your weight loss goals in the long run. Fresh juice also becomes an excellent tool in your weight maintenance endeavor later on.

Once you had a taste of the benefits of juicing for weight loss, you will probably not be tempted to fall back into ‘the old ways’. You will experience such an enhanced sense of well being, that it will be easy to maintain the juicing routine.

Juicing for weight loss also supplies your body with the concentrated nutrients it needs to manage any ailment more effectively. It also boosts your immune system, and soothes the digestion. You can easily take care of water retention, by juicing a delicious combination of celery, cucumber, cranberry, and watermelon.

Twelve steps to a healthy pregnancy

Now that you know you’re pregnant, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. You can boost your chances of having a problem-free pregnancy and a healthy baby by following a few simple guidelines.

Get early prenatal care

Good prenatal care is essential for you and your baby. Call your healthcare provider right away and schedule your first prenatal visit, During that visit you’ll be screened for certain conditions that could lead to complications.

If you haven’t yet chosen a provider, get started now. Finding the right person — whether you’re looking for a doctor or a midwife — can take a while. In the meantime, let your current caregiver know if you’re taking medication or have any medical concerns.

Watch what you eat

Now that you’re eating for two, you may be surprised to learn that you only need about 300 additional calories per day. Make sure you get plenty of protein. You now need 70 grams a day compared to 45 grams before you got pregnant. And while your calcium requirement remains the same, it’s more important than ever that you meet it, which is a challenge for many women.

You’ll want to steer clear of undercooked eggs and meat, unpasteurized dairy products and juices, raw seafood, and cold deli meats to avoid ingesting bacteria that could harm your baby. Also avoid certain fish that may contain high levels of mercury or other contaminants.

Take prenatal vitamins

Most prenatal supplements contain more folic acid and iron than you’ll find in a standard multivitamin.

It’s important to get enough folic acid before conception and during early pregnancy. Folic acid greatly reduces your baby’s risk of developing neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.

Ideally, you should start taking 400 micrograms of folic acid at least one month before becoming pregnant. Once your pregnancy is confirmed, up your daily dose to 600 mcg.

You also need to make sure you’re getting enough iron. Your iron requirement increases significantly during pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters.

But more is not necessarily better — taking too much of certain things can actually be harmful. Avoid megadoses of any vitamin, and don’t take any additional supplements or herbal preparations without your caregiver’s okay.

Exercise regularly

A good exercise program can give you the strength and endurance you’ll need to carry the weight you gain during pregnancy, help prevent or ease aches and pains, improve sluggish circulation in your legs, and help you handle the physical stress of labor. It will also make getting back into shape after your baby’s born much easier.

What’s more, exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and some research suggests that staying active can boost your level of serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood.

Just remember not to push yourself too hard or let yourself get overheated or dehydrated. (You’ll also need to avoid hot tubs and saunas while you’re pregnant.)

Get some rest

The fatigue you feel in the first and third trimesters is your body’s way of telling you to slow down. So listen up and take it easy as much as you can. If you can’t swing a nap in the middle of the day, give yourself a break and let your other responsibilities slide a little. If you can’t sleep, at least put your feet up and read a book or leaf through a magazine.

Relaxation techniques such as yoga, stretching, deep breathing, and massage are all great ways to combat stress and get a better night’s sleep.

Just say no to alcohol

Don’t drink while you’re pregnant: Any alcohol you drink reaches your baby rapidly through your bloodstream, crossing the placenta, and your baby can end up with higher levels of blood alcohol than you have.

As little as one drink a day can increase your odds of having a low-birthweight baby and increase your child’s risk for problems with learning, speech, attention span, language, and hyperactivity. And some research has shown that expectant moms who have as little as one drink a week are more likely than nondrinkers to have children who later exhibit aggressive and delinquent behavior.

Women who have more than two drinks a day are at greater risk for giving birth to a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Children born with this condition suffer from mental and growth retardation, behavioral problems, and facial and heart defects.

Drinking also increases your risk for miscarriage and stillbirth. So play it safe — avoid alcohol completely and have a nonalcoholic drink instead. Let your caregiver know if you’re having trouble giving up alcohol, so you can get help.

Swear off all illicit drugs

Any drug you use gets into your baby’s bloodstream as well. Some studies suggest that marijuana may restrict your baby’s growth and cause withdrawal symptoms (like tremors) in your newborn.

Using cocaine is extremely dangerous. It restricts the flow of blood to the uterus and may lead to miscarriage, growth problems, placental abruption, or premature delivery. Your baby could be stillborn or have birth defects or developmental and behavioral problems.

Other drugs can be very harmful, too. If you have a drug problem, seek help now.

Stop smoking

Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage, growth problems, placental abruption, and premature delivery. Some research has even linked smoking to an increased risk of having a baby with a cleft lip or palate.

Not convinced yet? Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance that a baby will be stillborn or die in infancy. It’s never too late to quit or cut back. Every cigarette you don’t light gives your baby a better chance of being healthy. If you’re unable to quit on your own, ask your caregiver for a referral to a smoking cessation program. Even if you’re not a smoker, stay away from secondhand smoke.

Cut back on caffeine

The March of Dimes advises women to limit their caffeine consumption intake to less than 200 mg per day, an amount you could get from one 8-ounce cup of strong coffee. This recommendation came from a 2008 study showing that women who consumed that much doubled their risk of miscarriage compared to those who had no caffeine.

What’s more, caffeine has no nutritive value and makes it harder for your body to absorb iron, something pregnant women are already low on. It’s also a stimulant, so it can make it even harder for you to get a good night’s sleep, give you headaches, and contribute to heartburn.

Limit your coffee drinking or consider switching to decaf. And check the caffeine content of other products you consume, like tea, soft drinks, “energy” drinks, chocolate, and coffee ice cream, as well as over-the-counter drugs, such as headache, cold, and allergy remedies.

Eliminate environmental dangers

Some jobs can be hazardous to you and your developing baby. If you’re routinely exposed to chemicals, heavy metals (like lead or mercury), certain biologic agents, or radiation, you’ll need to make some changes as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that some cleaning products, pesticides, solvents, and lead in drinking water from old pipes can also be harmful. Talk to your doctor or midwife about what your daily routine involves, so you can come up with ways to avoid or eliminate hazards in your home and workplace.

See your dentist

Don’t forget about your oral health: Brush, floss, and get regular dental care. Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can make you more susceptible to gum disease. Increased progesterone and estrogen levels can cause the gums to react differently to the bacteria in plaque, resulting in swollen, bleeding, tender gums (gingivitis). So see your dentist for a checkup and cleaning now if you haven’t had a visit in the last six months.

Take care of your emotional health

Many women feel like they’re on an emotional roller coaster at one time or another during pregnancy. But if your mood swings are extreme or interfering with your daily life, you may be suffering from depression, a relatively common condition.

If you’ve been feeling low for more than two weeks and nothing seems to lift your spirits — or if you’re feeling particularly anxious — share your feelings with your caregiver so you can get a referral for professional help.

Also let your caregiver know if you’re in an abusive relationship. Pregnancy can cause stress in any relationship, and it’s a common trigger of domestic violence, which puts your health and your baby at risk.

10 tips food kids

t’s no surprise that parents might need some help understanding what it means to eat healthy. From the MyPlate food guide to the latest food fad, it can be awfully confusing.

The good news is that you don’t need a degree in nutrition to raise healthy kids. Following some basic guidelines can help you encourage your kids to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.

Here are 10 key rules to live by:

  1. Parents control the supply lines. You decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. Though kids will pester their parents for less nutritious foods, adults should be in charge when deciding which foods are regularly stocked in the house. Kids won’t go hungry. They’ll eat what’s available in the cupboard and fridge at home. If their favorite snack isn’t all that nutritious, you can still buy it once in a while so they don’t feel deprived.
  2. From the foods you offer, kids get to choose what they will eat or whether to eat at all. Kids need to have some say in the matter. Schedule regular meal and snack times. From the selections you offer, let them choose what to eat and how much of it they want. This may seem like a little too much freedom. But if you follow step 1, your kids will be choosing only from the foods you buy and serve.
  3. Quit the “clean-plate club.” Let kids stop eating when they feel they’ve had enough. Lots of parents grew up under the clean-plate rule, but that approach doesn’t help kids listen to their own bodies when they feel full. When kids notice and respond to feelings of fullness, they’re less likely to overeat.
  4. Start them young. Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer variety. Likes and dislikes begin forming even when kids are babies. You may need to serve a new food a few different times for a child to accept it. Don’t force a child to eat, but offer a few bites. With older kids, ask them to try one bite.
  5. Rewrite the kids’ menu. Who says kids only want to eat hot dogs, pizza, burgers, and macaroni and cheese? When eating out, let your kids try new foods and they might surprise you with their willingness to experiment. You can start by letting them try a little of whatever you ordered or ordering an appetizer for them to try.
  6. Drink calories count. Soda and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. Water and milk are the best drinks for kids. Juice is fine when it’s 100%, but kids don’t need much of it — 4 to 6 ounces a day is enough for preschoolers.
  7. Put sweets in their place. Occasional sweets are fine, but don’t turn dessert into the main reason for eating dinner. When dessert is the prize for eating dinner, kids naturally place more value on the cupcake than the broccoli. Try to stay neutral about foods.
  8. Food is not love. Find better ways to say “I love you.” When foods are used to reward kids and show affection, they may start using food to cope with stress or other emotions. Offer hugs, praise, and attention instead of food treats.
  9. Kids do as you do. Be a role model and eat healthy yourself. When trying to teach good eating habits, try to set the best example possible. Choose nutritious snacks, eat at the table, and don’t skip meals.
  10. Limit TV and computer time. When you do, you’ll avoid mindless snacking and encourage activity. Research has shown that kids who cut down on TV-watching also reduced their percentage of body fat. When TV and computer time are limited, they’ll find more active things to do. And limiting “screen time” means you’ll have more time to be active together.

Myth vs Fact Which Solid Foods Baby Should Start With and Why

The baby food landscape is continually evolving, so parents can feel lost and confused when they start feeding their baby solids. Let’s break down what’s myth and fact.

While introducing your baby to solids is an exciting rite of passage, it can also bring a lot of uncertainty, especially for first-time parents. Whether the conversations are taking place in a mommy group or on a message board, many parents circle around those age-old questions about how to give baby the best start possible:

  • “When do I know when my little one is ready?”
  • “Which foods are best to start with?”
  • “And what about food allergies?”

As the science and baby food landscape continue to evolve, parents can find that even between their first and second babies, the answers and available food options have changed. But let’s start with some basics: according to the USDA, during the first year of baby’s life he transitions from being able to only suck and swallow to being able to hold his head up independently and chew more textured foods. On the inside, your precious little one’s digestive tract also undergoes changes as it matures—at first taking in only breast milk or formula, but soon digesting a wide variety of foods. While most babies begin eating solid foods between 4 and 6 months old, every child is different. So talk with your pediatrician and look for signs of readiness in your own baby to make sure he or she is truly ready for the spoon.

To help you have confidence and enjoy this exciting time of transition, here are some common myths many parents ask me about, along with what the latest science suggests.

Myth: If my baby grabs my plate or tries to touch food, it means he or she is ready to start eating solid foods.

Fact: A perked-up interest in food may or may not indicate readiness. A better strategy is to watch your baby’s development for a cluster of behaviors that offers a more reliable signal your baby may be ready:

  • Your baby can sit upright without being held.
  • Your baby opens his/her mouth when offered food.
  • Your baby begins to notice and express interest when you are eating.
  • When full, your baby will turn away or lean back to show that he/she doesn’t want to eat more.
  • Your baby reaches out, grasps for things and brings them up to his/her mouth.

Myth: Offering my baby fruits before vegetables will give my baby a permanent sweet tooth.

Fact: Strained single fruits or vegetables are both wonderful first food options because they provide babies with an important array of vitamins and minerals that support healthy development. What’s more important than “which” fruit or vegetable is to be sure to continue to offer your child a wide array of nutritious foods that have a broad range of tastes and flavors. It’s also a good idea to offer an iron-rich option as one of baby’s first foods. That’s because between the ages of 6 to 9 months, a baby’s own iron stores may naturally decrease. You could choose a iron-fortified cereal, such as rice, oatmeal or even quinoa; alternately, you could offer finely milled meats, poultry and even fish. Yogurt is also a great early food because it contains calcium and protein. Be sure to add new foods one at a time and wait a few days before introducing more foods to watch for potential signs of food sensitivity or allergic reaction. And choose organic options, such as Earth’s Best Organic® 1st Bananas or Earth’s Best Organic® 1st Carrots, to minimize potentially harmful exposure to synthetic pesticides during this important time of growth and development.

Myth: It’s best to avoid foods that may cause a potential food allergy to keep my child safe.

Fact: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its guidelines in February 2013. It now says foods considered highly allergenic, such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish, can be safely introduced to most healthy children between 4 and 6 months of age, with the exception of whole cow’s milk, which should be avoided until after 1 year of age. Babies can’t digest milk protein until their gastrointestinal tract has fully developed. No conclusive evidence exists that delaying the introduction of highly allergenic foods decreases the risk of food allergies. In fact, growing evidence suggests delaying these foods might actually increase the risk of a food allergy. Talk with your pediatrician about your own family history and when you can safely welcome these foods onto your baby’s high chair.

Kate Geagan, award-winning nutritionist and expert for Earth’s Best, has been coined “America’s Green Nutritionist.” She is the author of “Go Green Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline with the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet” (Rodale). Kate’s expertise has been shared on Dr. Oz, Katie Couric and Access Hollywood.

Tips for Parents Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight

You’ve probably read about it in newspapers and seen it on the news: in the United States, the number of obese children and teens has continued to rise over the past two decades.1 You may wonder: Why are doctors and scientists troubled by this trend? And as parents or other concerned adults, you may also ask: What steps can we take to help prevent obesity in our children? This page provides answers to some of the questions you may have and provides you with resources to help you keep your family healthy.

Why is Childhood Obesity Considered a Health Problem?

Doctors and scientists are concerned about the rise of obesity in children and youth because obesity may lead to the following health problems:

  • Heart disease, caused by:
    • high cholesterol and/or
    • high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Social discrimination

Childhood obesity is associated with various health-related consequences. Obese children and adolescents may experience immediate health consequences and may be at risk for weight-related health problems in adulthood.

Psychosocial Risks

Some consequences of childhood and adolescent overweight are psychosocial. Obese children and adolescents are targets of early and systematic social discrimination.2 The psychological stress of social stigmatization can cause low self-esteem which, in turn, can hinder academic and social functioning, and persist into adulthood.3

Cardiovascular Disease Risks

Obese children and teens have been found to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and abnormal glucose tolerance. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, almost 60% of overweight children had at least one CVD risk factor while 25 percent of overweight children had two or more CVD risk factors.2

Additional Health Risks

Less common health conditions associated with increased weight include asthma, hepatic steatosis, sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes.

  • Asthma is a disease of the lungs in which the airways become blocked or narrowed causing breathing difficulty. Studies have identified an association between childhood overweight and asthma.4, 5
  • Hepatic steatosis is the fatty degeneration of the liver caused by a high concentration of liver enzymes. Weight reduction causes liver enzymes to normalize.2
  • Sleep apnea is a less common complication of overweight for children and adolescents. Sleep apnea is a sleep-associated breathing disorder defined as the cessation of breathing during sleep that lasts for at least 10 seconds. Sleep apnea is characterized by loud snoring and labored breathing. During sleep apnea, oxygen levels in the blood can fall dramatically. One study estimated that sleep apnea occurs in about 7% of overweight children.6
  • Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being reported among children and adolescents who are overweight.7 While diabetes and glucose intolerance, a precursor of diabetes, are common health effects of adult obesity, only in recent years has Type 2 diabetes begun to emerge as a health-related problem among children and adolescents. Onset of diabetes in children and adolescents can result in advanced complications such as CVD and kidney failure.8

In addition, studies have shown that obese children and teens are more likely to become obese as adults

What Can I Do As a Parent or Guardian to Help Prevent Childhood Overweight and Obesity?

To help your child maintain a healthy weight, balance the calories your child consumes from foods and beverages with the calories your child uses through physical activity and normal growth.

Remember that the goal for overweight and obese children and teens is to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. Children and teens should NOT be placed on a weight reduction diet without the consultation of a health care provider.

Balancing Calories: Help Kids Develop Healthy Eating Habits

One part of balancing calories is to eat foods that provide adequate nutrition and an appropriate number of calories. You can help children learn to be aware of what they eat by developing healthy eating habits, looking for ways to make favorite dishes healthier, and reducing calorie-rich temptations.

Encourage healthy eating habits.

There’s no great secret to healthy eating. To help your children and family develop healthy eating habits:

  • Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
  • Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
  • Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
  • Serve reasonably-sized portions.
  • Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
  • Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Limit consumption of sugar and saturated fat.

Remember that small changes every day can lead to a recipe for success!

For more information about nutrition, visit and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.

Look for ways to make favorite dishes healthier. The recipes that you may prepare regularly, and that your family enjoys, with just a few changes can be healthier and just as satisfying.

Remove calorie-rich temptations!
Although everything can be enjoyed in moderation, reducing the calorie-rich temptations of high-fat and high-sugar, or salty snacks can also help your children develop healthy eating habits. Instead only allow your children to eat them sometimes, so that they truly will be treats! Here are examples of easy-to-prepare, low-fat and low-sugar treats that are 100 calories or less:

  • A medium-size apple
  • A medium-size banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 cup carrots, broccoli, or bell peppers with 2 tbsp. hummus

Balancing Calories: Help Kids Stay Active

Another part of balancing calories is to engage in an appropriate amount of physical activity and avoid too much sedentary time. In addition to being fun for children and teens, regular physical activity has many health benefits, including:

  • Strengthening bones
  • Decreasing blood pressure
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Helping with weight management

Help kids stay active.
Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily.11 Remember that children imitate adults. Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your child to join you.

Some examples of moderate intensity physical activity include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Playing tag
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing soccer
  • Swimming
  • DancingReduce sedentary time.
    In addition to encouraging physical activity, help children avoid too much sedentary time. Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time your children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television viewing for children age 2 or younger.12 Instead, encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity. See the Screen Time Vs Lean Time – info graphic

    Want to Learn More?

    Here are some additional resources that you (and your child) can use to help reach or keep a healthy weight through physical activity and healthy food choices!

    For Parents and Guardians

    Child and Teen BMI (Body Mass Index) Calculator
    Worried about your child’s weight? For children, BMI is used to screen for overweight, but is not a diagnostic tool. For more, see About BMI for Children and Teens.

    Childhood Overweight
    This Web site provides information about childhood overweight, including how overweight is defined for children, the prevalence of overweight, the factors associated with overweight, and the related health consequences.

    • Basics
    • Data & Statistics
    • A Growing Problem
    • Strategies & Solutions

    Physical Activity for Everyone
    Provides information about physical activity for you and your children.

    How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls
    Confused about portion sizes? Play the CDC’s portion control game!
    Provides a tailored explanation of how to balance your meals and includes an interactive game for kids.

    We Can!
    This national education program is designed for parents and caregivers to help children 8-13 years old stay at a healthy weight.

    For Kids ONLY

    BAM! Body and Mind
    Have fun, stay active and healthy.

    Blast Off Game
    Learn what it takes to blast off in the food pyramid space shuttle!

    Best Bones Forever!
    A bone health campaign for girls and their BFFs to “grow strong together and stay strong forever

nutrition guide for toddlers

Nutrition Through Variety

bniGrowth slows somewhat during the toddler years, but nutrition remains a top priority. It’s also a time for parents to shift gears, leaving bottles behind and moving into a new era where kids will eat and drink more independently.

The toddler years are a time of transition, especially between 12-24 months, when they’re learning to eat table food and accepting new tastes and textures. Breast milk and formula provided adequate nutrition for your child as an infant, but now it’s time for toddlers to start getting what they need through a variety of foods.

How Much Food Do They Need?

Depending on their age, size, and activity level, toddlers need about 1,000-1,400 calories a day. Refer to the chart below to get an idea of how much your child should be eating and what kinds of foods would satisfy the requirements.

Use the chart as a guide, but trust your own judgment and a toddler’s cues to tell if he or she is satisfied and getting adequate nutrition. Nutrition is all about averages so don’t panic if you don’t hit every mark every day — just strive to provide a wide variety of nutrients in your child’s diet.

The amounts provided are based on the MyPlate food guide for the average 2- and 3-year-old. For kids between 12 and 24 months, the 2-year-old recommendations can serve as a guide, but during this year toddler diets are still in transition.

Talk with your doctor about specifics for your child. And younger toddlers may not be eating this much — at least at first. When a range of amounts is given, the higher amount applies to kids who are older, bigger, or more active and need more calories.


Green Smoothie Recipes

Can green smoothies stop junk food cravings?

There are many easily found testimonials all over the internet testifying that this is true. Drinking whole raw foods blended in to a nice smooth drink can help overcome addictive cravings for coffee and donuts.

There is no magic in drinking a green smoothie and ‘poof’ our cravings for junk foods are gone. It is the gradual change of a bad habit. Drinking a green smoothie is taking the first step to replacing a bad eating habit with a better one. It is a conscious choice you make daily to replace the soda or doughnut with a green smoothie or choose to blend up a smoothie the night before so you are not tempted to take a drive-thru in the morning.

What is in a Green Smoothie? 

Green smoothies are fresh, raw food that contain fruits, seeds, nuts, vegetables ,and most importantly dark, leafy greens. These power-packed drinks are full of phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, and live enzymes. After one of these, your appetite is fully satisfied. Green smoothies are capable of replacing a meal, being a quick snack, or a breakfast on the go.

What is in Junk Food that causes us to crave it?

Junk food has very little or no nutrition at all. Sadly consumers are tricked into purchasing products that should have no part of being in our body. Packaging and marketing techniques target our ‘sweet spots‘ that get us to buy and bring into our homes these poisonous little time bombs to feed to ourselves and our children.

Sugar is a main ingredient in junk food, as well as oil and salt. Sugar is a highly addictive substance that some scientists have compared with hard drugs. I have often heard of sugar as ‘kids crack’. There is much truth in that statement. Slurp down a soda, or throw back a packet of Twinkies and you get a rush or ‘pick-me-up’ until you crash. Then the process is either repeated or thought about until repeated.

How can a Green Smoothie stop junk food cravings?

The difference between real fruits and vegetables in a smoothie and junk food is that your body can sense the nutrients flooding your system with smoothies and signals when it has had enough. On the contrary, junk food has no nutrition and your body ends up eating more and more awaiting the signal that enough nutrients are consumed. Foods used to make green smoothies make you feel good and stable. Junk foods make you feel bloated and sick.

A small search on Green Smoothie Girl’s testimonials produced the following quotes:

“I feel less like eating junk food when I’m eating lots of greens and fruits and veggies”

“Greens will help stop junk food cravings by giving it (the body) the nutrients it (the body) is craving”

“The more greens in my diet the less I crave junk”

Why we crave what is not healthy for us and not crave what our body really needs, like broccoli and Brussels Sprouts.

The additives and flavor enhancers in processed junk food, like refined white sugar and MSG, are addictive substances that easily gets us hooked to the junk food and wanting more. Or it tricks the brain into thinking this food we are eating is good. The desire for these foods increase and become addictive. Raw foods do not contain these substances.

However, once your body is continuously filled with the nutrients it strongly needs (from green smoothies), the desire for junk food seems to diminish. For some, it may take days. For others, it may take months of a daily (or several times a day) green smoothie to kick this dangerous habit. The rewards are great in the end.

The easiest way to start is to just do it, but with small steps. Start with a kitchen blender, any blender will do to get you started. Try a combination of ingredients until you find the right taste for you. For a simple beginner green smoothie recipe, blend the following ingredients:

Simple Green Smoothie Recipe:

1 cup liquid (water or milk)
1 big handful of fresh spinach (spinach is a sweet green that can’t be tasted in the smoothie)
1 banana
1 handful frozen blueberries or strawberries (or whatever frozen fruit you have)

Add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend well.

From this recipe you can add different types of greens, different vegetables, more fruit or less and so on. To make the transition easier start with more fruit and less veggies and slowly change the ratio to more veggies as your taste buds adapt.

Blend up a big batch of Green Smoothie and take with you to work or keep in a container in the fridge to drink on through out the day.

Here is another quick smoothie recipe to get you started:

Cranberry-Orange-Banana-Spinach Green Smoothie Recipe:

1 1/2 cups apple cider
2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
1 orange, peeled (add a few small peelings/zest)
1/2 to 3/4 cup raw cranberries
1 banana, peeled

Add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend well.

Check out more interesting articles and recipes on using the blender by April Jones:

Chicken Salad with Champagne Mayonnaise
I usually make chicken salad out of one of the breast pieces – it makes just enough and I love to ‘much’ on it while I’m writing. So, just to prove to you that I’m not out of my mind, I’m sharing my favorite Chicken Salad recipe. You’ll only need one appliance – your blender -and your skillet!

Juicing For Health – Can green smoothies stop junk food cravings?
Drinking whole raw foods blended in to a nice smooth drink can help overcome addictive cravings for coffee and donuts. Drinking a green smoothie is taking the first step to replacing a bad eating habit with a better one.

Juicing vs. Blending
Is it better to juice or blend? There is always a lot of discussion among my friends about whether they should juice fresh produce or blend whole foods.

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops
I’m always looking for ways to prepare something that is a regular, every day, old-fashioned ingredient, and pork chops filled the bill. I figure the meal, I’m going to tell you about, cost no more than $2.50 per plate. Where are you going to beat a deal like that? This recipe takes no more than 30 minutes to prepare, and I guarantee that your family will be hanging around the kitchen wondering when dinner will be ready.

Zesty Prime Rib Steak with Chimichurri
It takes less than a couple of minutes to blend a fantastic chimichurri or roasted red pepper sauce for a tasty bit of beef (that you seared and roasted in your cast iron skillet!)

Some Teething Remedies Can Make Babies Sick

It’s normal for your baby to experience oral pain as teeth buds emerge. But how you treat the pain could make your baby sick, according to the FDA. Learn which over-the-counter remedies to avoid and safer alternatives to use instead.

When the tears flow and wailing begins, a mother will do just about anything to make her baby’s teething pain go away. But according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, she shouldn’t head to the drugstore. The FDA warned parents in a recent Consumer Update that mouth-numbing gels and liquids don’t belong on babies’ gums.

FDA warning

The FDA has previously warned parents not to use over-the-counter mouth-numbing benzocaine products, but the new warning adds prescription drugs, such as lidocaine viscous, to the list of medications that should not be used on children younger than 2, unless directed by a medical professional. Babies who are given too much lidocaine viscous may suffer the following overdose symptoms, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices:

  • jitters
  • confusion
  • falling asleep too easily
  • vision problems
  • shaking
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • heart problems
  • severe brain injury

Although mouth-numbing products may provide relief from teething, using them puts a baby at risk for methemoglobinemia, a disorder which limits the amount of oxygen in the child’s bloodstream. Babies suffering from this condition will exhibit blue-tinted skin, shortness of breath and lack of energy.

Safe teething remedies

Keep your baby safe by opting for a more natural approach to soothing sore gums. Teeth buds begin to emerge around 6 months of age and continue until approximately age 3, when the child’s mouth is filled with temporary baby teeth.

To ease oral pain during this time, try:

  • Offering the baby a frozen teething ring to cool and numb sore gums.
  • Rubbing the baby’s gums with a finger or a cold, damp wash cloth to reduce swelling.
  • Giving the baby a chilled pacifier fresh from the freezer.
  • Holding a cold carrot for the baby to gnaw on to apply soothing pressure to the gums.

Have you found a natural way to ease your baby’s teething pain? Please share your ideas and tips with other parents in the comments section below.

Giving Babies Antibiotics May Cause Obesity Later in Life

The negative effects of penicillin on good gut bacteria early in life may make it easier for children to become obese when they are older.

A study has found a possible link between giving young children antibiotics and them developing obesity later in life. The study focused on penicillin’s effects; however, the problem appears not to be caused by penicillin itself, but rather by the damage it does to certain types of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

The study, by microbiologist Martin Blaser at New York University, was conducted on mice. It adds to other studies, which found that children who were given antibiotics before 6 months of age were more likely to be overweight at 7 years old. Blaser believes there’s a “window of time” during which penicillin can have the greatest consequences on good bacteria. He thinks it’s somewhere between 6 months and 3 years old.

Approximately 100 trillion bacteria live in and on the typical human. As we’ve learned in recent years, part of a healthy life includes good microbes. Blaser’s study found that disruption of the “microbiome” of the mice during their first month of life resulted in 25 percent more weight later. It also appeared to worsen the effects of a high-fat diet, and males were affected more than females.

The question for parents is: Should you keep your sick child off antibiotics because of these results? No, says Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at Glasgow University. While the results are interesting, he says, “Antibiotics in children or newborns should be given on the basis of clinical needs, whereas the usual advice about lifestyle remains the most important means to tackle obesity.”

Blaser agrees, to a point. “If a kid is very ill, there is no question that they should get antibiotics, but if it’s marginal, perhaps the doctor should be saying, ‘Let’s wait a day or two’ before taking another look. Doctors give out antibiotics thinking they won’t do any harm, but this provides evidence that they might,” Blaser says.

On a related matter, the federal government is taking steps to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, one result of overprescribing antibiotics. President Obama recently signed an executive order outlining instructions to federal departments and agencies. Part of the order reads, “Controlling the development and spread of antibiotic resistance is a top national security and public health priority.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says antibiotic-resistant infections are associated with 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses in the United States each year.