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Michelle

  • Blog, Healthy Living, Michelle

    World Health Day! 5 Steps You Can Take

    What can you do for World Health Day? Here are 5 Steps that can make a difference for yourself and someone else.

    Let’s take Diabetes for example.  Did you know the world diabetes rates have nearly doubled since 1980?

    Whaaat? Diabetes is a disease that most people can avoid through healthy eating and exercise!

    At a minimum, you can change your own life. Better yet, change the lives of your kids! And, all of us can influence a parent, friend or colleague.

    Consider these 5 Steps:

    1. For one day, count the number of grams of sugar that you consume. Maybe create a MyFitnessPal challenge for your family on sugar consumption.
    2. Challenge yourself to a minimum of 30 mins of exercise every day.
    3. Pack a healthy, but incredibly tasty, lunch for your kids – and one extra to share with a friend.
    4. Next time at the grocery store, count the number of items in the cart with abnormally high amounts of sugar.
    5. Unload and reload! Replace what you put in your grocery cart with healthier choices.
  • Blog, Healthy Living, Michelle

    Bringing back fun with board games!

    Remember the days of board games? Do kids these days even know about them?  I decided to do some research with my own kids to find out how we can ‘turn off the tech‘–get away from tv, cell phones, social media.  I just want to spend a fun afternoon playing with my kids.

    An oldie but a goodie: Cards!  There are a lot of fun card games out there. My old fav is Uno. It has been updated a few times, and my kids and I love it. Another one of my daughter’s favorites, believe it or not, is Old Maid. There is just so much laughing and excitement that it creates. Go fish and Skip-Bo are a few others that can be a lot of fun.

    Board games are a bit more challenging. I had to dig them out of the closet.  I dusted them off and was able to find several that I used to love to play when I was young. Life, Sorry, Clue, Risk and of course Monopoly. We had so much fun back then!

    I gathered my kids up, and started the Game of Life. Its an older version. You basically have to put the board together and get the wheel on straight, but my kids really enjoyed spinning,  moving their cars around the board, collecting their cards and money as they went. Of course as a Mom, I’m trying to incorporate a few real world vs Life, as a board game, along the way.

    Next up, Sorry! Choosing your favorite color pieces, rolling the dice, moving around the board, and trying to be the first one to get all of their pieces back to their “home”. Mine is a Disney version, but its basically the same as the original Sorry.

    Finally, can’t leave it out, Clue! Who did the deed?  The suspense of a crime committed, in what room, with what weapon?  How much fun!  We laughed and chatted as we found our way through the mansion looking for clues?

    So, where do we get board games any more? There are a few you can still get at Walmart, Target… or better yet, Amazon! But, most of us have a few sitting on a shelf collecting dust. The real truth, board games have taken a backseat to video games and electronic devices. There’s just something very different about family relationships formed over a great board game!

    With summer break coming, and the old familiar ‘we have nothing to do!’,  maybe its time to dig them out, dust them off and show the kiddos a new kind of fun!   Make a few memories playing Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Battleship and other games that we all grew up enjoying.

  • Blog, Michelle, Supplements

    Are you getting enough Calcium?

    Calcium is critical for healthy, strong bones. When we are babies, milk and calcium are a huge part of our nutritional intake. It is an essential building block for growth.

    Our calcium intake tends to decline as we get older.  And, women tend to need more calcium, not less.

    So, what happens when you stop getting the daily calcium required? Or, what happens if you are lactose intolerant and unable to take in the dairy products that supply you with Calcium?

    Not getting enough calcium accelerates bone loss, regardless of age.  Our bodies are not able to produce calcium. In order to get the daily nutrients, you must consume calcium from outside sources, such as supplements, dairy products and calcium-rich foods. It is recommended that we get 1000-1200 mg as the daily allowance of Calcium, depending on our age and sex. This will help maintain strong bones, preventing Osteopenia (Pre-Osteoporosis) and Osteoporosis.

    Doctors are able to detect deterioration of bones through a test called a DEXA or a bone density scan. If detected early, adding in a daily calcium supplement can help prevent weakening or deterioration of our bones, which are vital for physical health during aging.

    In addition to calcium, vitamin D is a good supplement to take because it assists with the absorption of calcium needed for bone health. If you are not sure if you are getting the amount of daily nutrients your body needs, check in with your healthcare professional for their recommendations.

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  • Blog, Food, Michelle

    The Importance of Family Dinners

    Are family dinners a thing of the past?

    When I was little, every evening at dinner time, my family would gather around the dining table.  My mother put dinner on — no tv, no cell phones — just my family  chatting, laughing and sharing the day.

    The concern for what we ate was irrelevant.  We ate whatever my mother made! We didn’t count carbs, fats, or even calories, but we did eat healthy foods.  We also had lots of exercise, though.  We were active kids, always in sports.

    Fast forward to today.  Do families still have dinner together?  Without distraction?  Does your family eat the same thing or does everyone eat something different?  Are we too busy with evening activities, so we just grab “something to go?”  Do we get enough exercise that we can ignore carbs, fats and calories?

    I think the answers to these questions vary.  However, there are more distractions and evening events that get in the way.   There is not as much time or concern for what we are eating — our obese children tell the story

    Maybe its time for simple, again. Get back to everyone participating in dinner — as a family.  A great way to encourage healthy cooking and eating is to cook and eat together!

    With diabetes and obesity being such a huge issue for families, a few simple ideas for improving your family’s diet.

    • Make Sunday meal planning time. What does everyone want to eat for the week?
    • Look for recipes together. There are great apps out there!
    • Get your kids involved in helping to prepare a healthy grocery list.
    • Shop as a family, and talk about preparation time.
    • Read food labels.  What does all of it mean?

    Even small changes can make a huge difference, and motivate the family to find time to eat together.

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  • Blog, Michelle, Wellness

    The Importance of Breakfast

    Breakfast!  We hear repeatedly how important it is, but what is the truth behind this statement?

    The reading and research I have done would confirm that this is a factual statement.  Being in the healthcare field, I decided not only to research this subject, but I tried a few days of eating breakfast vs. going without.  The conclusion I have come to, is that it is, in fact, a true statement.

    A healthy breakfast in the morning is like putting gas in the tank of your car.  A full tank of gas will get you to wherever you need to go that day.  An empty tank won’t get you very far and can cause multiple problems for you.  The same is true with eating breakfast.  A good healthy and nutritious breakfast will get your metabolism going, help you focus and give you the energy you need to get through to lunch or throughout the day.  Doctors recommend a combination of carbohydrates, fiber and lean protein for breakfast.

    On the go and in a hurry?  Consider protein shakes, a yogurt bowl with your cereal added on top, or pack breakfast for the car ride!

    A healthy breakfast to start your day will help you get the nutrients that your body needs.  Without it, you may have low blood sugar, feel sluggish and lack the energy you need to tackle your day, so don’t skip it.  Make it a priority to start your day in a positive, healthy way!

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  • Healthy Living, Michelle

    Nurturing Kids and Family

    There was a favorite book that I’d read to my children, “Love You Forever”, by Robert N. Munsch.  In it’s playful story of the lifecycle of mother and son, it is a reminder of the precious gift of the parent and child relationship.

    “I love you forever…I love you for always…as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be…”

    So lovely!

    But, as the book points out, parenthood is stressful. Regardless of age and day activities, the world demands a lot from us.

    We can’t eliminate the stress.  We can’t hide from the world.  The challenge is building a family environment…a family culture…ways and patterns for dealing with stress.

    Remember the mantra encouraging “quality over quantity” in time with kids?  But, sometimes quality can’t be achieved without quantity.  Kids are not light switches, they don’t turn on and off on a schedule. In my endeavor to create “quality time” for my family, I tended to place an unreasonable expectation on all of us.

    Then one day, I got over myself.

    I knew that I entered every weekend tired and yearning for a little quiet time.  My ears were over-stimulated, my mind was over-loaded and my nerves were on edge.

    So, why wouldn’t I think my kids weren’t having the same issues entering the weekend?

    Once I considered they were just mini-me’s, I focused less on what and more on how with my kids.  It didn’t mean we became a picture perfect family, but it meant the bonds of our family strengthened.

    The weekend is coming.  Assess the calendar.  What is the plan?  How can you approach the activities with your kids – finding that balance in time and activities, talk more, do healthy and let down the protective force fields.

    It’s less about the what and more about the how!