10 TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR KIDS TO DRINK MORE WATER

get kids to drink more water

1- Don’t go cold turkey!

If your house’s main beverages are juice and fizzy drinks, then throwing them all out overnight will feel harsh and unjust to your kids, making water an even harder sell.  Gradually dilute the juice with increasing amounts of water over a couple of weeks and buy the fizzy drinks less often until it is normal to not have them around. Continue Reading →

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5 TIPS FOR TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT HEALTHY EATING

carrot fries isla stop eatingThis is not an exhaustive list, and may in fact be a Part One, but for now, here are five tips for talking to your kids about healthy eating.

1-  Don’t talk about weight.  Ever.  Whether it is about your child’s weight, your weight, the weight of the models in the magazine or your neighbor next door.  Talk about eating to nourish your body and model it, too. Bringing weight into the conversation will do much more harm than good.  It makes children self-conscious and ashamed- I’ve seen this many times turn into a body and dieting obsession in children as young as 6.
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FIT FOR LIFE- IT TAKES GUTS

immune health

Seventy percent of your body’s immune system lies in the most unlikely of places- your gut.  The 5-8 POUNDS of bacteria in your gut acts as a mainline defense mechanism for your body- each bacterium a soldier in the fight.  Keeping your gut healthy by ensuring you have more good bacteria than bad, is crucial to keeping the rest of you healthy.

There are a five keys to a healthy gut…

  1.  Probiotics- Probiotics are your good (pro-) bacteria (-biotic).  Your gut already has Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, etc are great natural sources.  There are many probiotic supplements that will support gut health, too.  Align and Culturelle are my favorite brands in America.  (I will update this post once I’ve sourced a go-to for my UK friends.)  Be sure to get a dose of probiotics every day.
  2. Prebiotics- Another interesting fact- those little bacterial soldiers are vegetarians.  They feast on the fiber that travels through.  This is just another reason why it is so important to have half your plate veggies and fruits.
  3. Cut down on sugars.  Bad bacteria have a raging sweet tooth.  Every time you indulge- whether it’s on Oreos, fruit juice, biscuits, or any other over-processed carbohydrate, you are giving your bad bacteria a feed.  In healthy individuals can stand to do this more often than those prone to stomach issues.  If you find yourself with digestive issues, do yourself a favor and tame your sweet tooth.
  4. Take time with your meals- Digestion starts in your mouth with the enzymes in your saliva.  Put a small piece of bread in your mouth- don’t chew.  Notice how the taste of the bread gets sweeter the longer it’s in there?  That’s because the amylase in your saliva is breaking down the complex carbohydrates into simple sugars.  Will you hate me if I insert a chirpy “Science is fun!” here?
  5. Stop grazing.  Your gut has a cleansing wave go through every 90-120 minutes, but only when fasting.  If you snack often, you won’t allow your body the opportunity to initiate the cleansing wave.  This can contribute to bloating, gas build up, and eventually overgrowth of “bad” bacteria in those with sensitive tummies.
  6.  Sleep.  If you are one of those that runs on 5 hours of sleep a night because you are so busy- stop it.  Sleep is not for wimps.  It is essential to keep you healthy so you can keep going.  If it makes you feel any better, sleep is an active event.  This is when your body does most of it’s restoration and repair.  Get at least 7 hours.
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FIT FOR LIFE- CUT THE SUGAR

cut-the-sugar

 

For all those who were at Fit for Life, I thought doing a follow-up post might be a helpful supplement to the 5 minutes I get with you on Thursday nights.  For last week’s talk, check out this post from last week’s talk.

FIT FOR LIFE RECAP

When you read a food label, 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar. For some common UK foods, this is what it can look like…

 

Grams of sugar

Teaspoons of sugar

Caramel square 28  7
Buttons 17  4
Haribo 12  3
Rice Krispie Treat 9  2
Sweet Chili Sauce 20  5
Crunchie 24  6
Chocolate Digestive 5  1
Nature Valley Apple Crisp Bars 12  3
Special K 4  1
Coco Pops 12  3
KitKat 12  3
Baked beans 9  2

 

And be aware that even “healthy” snacks can contain a ton of sugar.  These are sugar’s more discrete aliases:  Corn sweetener • Corn syrup • Dextrose • Fructose • Sucrose • Glucose • High-fructose corn syrup • Invert sugar • Lactose • Maltose • Malt syrup • Raw sugar • Cane crystals • Cane sugar • Fruit juice concentrates • Evaporated cane juice

Other surprising foods with hidden sugars:  salad dressings, jarred tomato sauces, baked beans, bbq sauces and marinades, and of course- the beloved sweet chili sauce.

WHY CUT SUGAR?

When you eat sugar, your blood sugars shoot up (I know you didn’t have to read a blog post to hear that part, but wait for it…) and along with it your energy and mood shoots up as well.  You are on a sugar-driven serotonin high.  The problem is there is usually an equally sharp crash in your blood sugars, leading you to seek out more sugar to bring your mood and energy back up.  As this cycle continues, you can be left feeling more sluggish and low.

Also, sugar leads to inflammation.  When you eat sugar occasionally, you experience a minor inflammatory blip that, with an otherwise healthy diet, is something your body can handle easily.  When you indulge frequently, however, this blip, blip, blip turns into chronic (or long-lasting) inflammation that can overwhelm your body’s defenses and contribute to the development of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.  Eek is right.

STOPPING THE CRAVINGS

I’ve already written a post listing 5 strategies to cut sugar cravings.  Let me add to that by giving you a practical tool to help you think through a nutritious, blood-sugar stabilizing snack.

fruit/vegetable + protein/healthy fat = perfect snack

The fruit and vegetable part of the equation is a no brainer.  Good proteins & healthy fats include…

  • avocado/guacamole
  • hummus
  • boiled egg
  • nuts
  • nut butter
  • tahini sauce (try this)

When you need a sweet treat, you can’t get any better than fruit (one of my favorites is frozen blueberries with a splash of oat milk.  Yes, you will get blue teeth.), but dark chocolate is great, too.  The darker the better.  When you go for 70% dark or higher, it only takes a small square to give you your fix.  The darker the chocolate, the more the antioxidants as well.

THE TRUTH OF IT

I hate to say it, but you are going to feel awful when you first cut sugar.  You will likely be bugged at life and slightly obsessing over sweets. Sorry, champ.  This WILL go away after 3-5 days (not research based, but from personal and client’s experiences), at which point you will feel GREAT from stabilized mood and energy levels.  That initial hump, though, is the pits.  Fight through, though.  It’s worth it.

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