Archive | February, 2013

Illness and Remedies

24 Feb

I don’t know why I haven’t thought to share this before, but it occurred to me today. Would you like to kill those nasty bacteria? Would you like to feel better faster? Are you willing to try something new? Great!

Apple cider vinegar and honey. Acid kills bacteria. Boom!

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Version One:

1 cup boiling water
2 heaping tablespoons of honey (honey is acidic)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
optionally a green tea bag
optionally a few squirts of lemon juice (yes, more acid)

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Version Two:

1 cup hot apple juice
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 heaping Tablespoon of honey
1/2 tsp lemon juice
sprinkles of cinnamon and allspice

I know, I know. That sounds gross. Well, it’s not the best thing in the world, but if you are really sick, you probably won’t taste much of it anyway. We’ve been drinking this since I was a kid and it works! I told my Mother the other day that I was sick and she said, try some honey and vinegar, as if I didn’t spend almost 30 years under her guidance and would have forgotten the brilliance of these remedies 🙂

Gargle salt water AND use a neti pot. I gargle hot water with salt three times a day and use a neti pot when I’m sick. Salt also kills bacteria by drying it out. I had strep three times one year. By the time I got to the doctor’s office the third time I had strep I had already been gargling salt water that morning and she couldn’t detect any streptococcus virus when she did the swab. Do you know what that makes me? A winner.

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Chicken soup. Yes, it’s true. Chicken soup really does help you get better faster, but probably only if it’s homemade. When ever I make one of my delicious roast chickens I always save the bones and the tasty drippings from the pan and I boil them in water to make a broth which I then store in the freezer for the next time I get sick. The other thing that helps you feel better would obviously be vitamin packed vegetables. When you make your soup add lots of vegetables!

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Humidifier shumidifier. When our baby was sick we went out to Walgreens and bought a $30 humidifier and a $10 bottle of eucalyptus. That stupid humidifier stops working when it’s halfway empty and spits out streams of water if you fill it to the top. This leaves me running around refilling it to 3/4 full and monitoring it when it gets to 1/2 full and refilling it just a little again. This seems like a huge waste of my time, so I decided to just get a huge pot and boil some water on the stove. Much more water gets into the air this way! Just be careful not to use a good pot, or to wash it every now and then because when you keep adding water you are also adding more minerals and salts from the tap and you will end up with a layer of crust on the bottom of your pot. Even if you use filtered water from a Brita.

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Vicks. I have always loved it and i always will.

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EmergenC. Or any additional vitamin C, really. DO NOT give this to kids. It won’t make them throw up, but it will make them… the other thing.

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How did I get my almost two year old to be such a good eater?

23 Feb

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How did I get him to be such a good eater?

My friend Pricscilla asked me my opinion on dealing with kids who are picky eaters. I feel I nipped this in the bud fairly early as I let him taste almost everything I was eating by age one. I’ve even puréed a BMT Subway sandwich with pickles and peppers for his mesh teether. This might not be the route you’ve taken, but here is how I encourage healthy eating now:

Grocery shopping. Most parents avoid taking kids to the grocery store at all costs. I don’t really have a choice most of the time. My husband works late often and on Saturdays. Today I let Braden walk in the grocery store instead of sit in the stroller and I let him help me find the things on our list. He finds distractions along the way- anything brightly colored and within reach, really. We have to remember as parents that marketing execs make packaged foods bright and shiny, because it stimulates excitement in our brains, especially for kids. It looks fun, like a toy. Among the things he asked for were Oreos, chocolate bars, a big squishy ball, an 8 pack of batteries, a bag of jelly beans, beef jerky, a dish sponge, etc. He has no idea why he wants it, he just likes the way it looks. He asked me to buy several things he saw with “strawberry” on the front, including jelly and pop-tarts. We compromised by getting strawberry yogurt. The fresh strawberries looked like they’d seen better days. He also picked himself out a grapefruit, which I let him buy. Good news- he liked it! Kids keep asking just to see what they can have. It’s exciting for them to pick out foods. Kids are curious by nature and letting them help pick things out encourages them to eat healthy. I also let him help me cook whenever possible.

No means no. Curiosity isn’t reserved just for healthy foods, unfortunately. When we were at the checkout he picked up every single item in the candy display and was told “no” to each one. People around me say things like, “looks like you have your hands full.” I laugh because I think he’s like any normal kid in the store. I absolutely get tired of saying “no,” but I stand my ground even through a tantrum. And at his age, by the time you get home he will have forgotten the 40 things you didn’t let him buy. If you even let one tantrum change a “no” to a “yes” I can guarantee you will see “Tantrum: part two” on your next trip 😉

Tips, tricks, and tests. Kids need to be given a few healthy choices, but not unlimited choices. They don’t have to eat everything on their plate, but I’m still going to put on the plate. For some children the more you insist, the less inclined they are to eat it. If they refuse to eat one healthy meal, they will just be hungrier for the next, as long as you don’t offer snacks after an un-eaten meal. You can even offer the same meal a second time when they say they’re hungry, but when I do, I always have a backup plan. Let’s be honest, who wants to eat reheated eggs and hash browns? My friend Jacquelyn has a three year old and when she says she’s hungry Jacquelyn asks her if she wants a boiled egg. If she says yes, then she’s actually hungry and not just bored. Another good trick I use is one I learned from my Dad- a tactic that had us begging to eat spinach as kids. I make only one plate for myself and then he inevitably wants a bite. I pretend like its so good that I am sharing reluctantly. When I control the fork he can’t pick out the tiny pieces of spinach from the spaghetti sauce. Speaking of sauce, sauce makes everything better so if a child doesn’t like something, you can always add a small amount of sauce. Spinach dip is a big hit around here 🙂

Limitations. Some foods are also distractions from healthier foods. When a child acquires a preference for a food like chicken nuggets, graham crackers, ketchup, bananas, etc, it can reduce their desire for other foods which are necessary for a balanced diet. Bananas, and to a lesser extent now, crackers, seem to be his first choice. While not necessarily unhealthy in moderation, a diet of only crackers and bananas is not good. I take one of two routes when he becomes fixated on a food. The less restrictive route, which I have established for things like bananas, is a daily allotment. Braden is allowed only one half of a banana per day. If it were his choice he would eat three bananas a day. After he has the amount of something he is allowed and asks for more, I remind him that he already had some, he can have more tomorrow, and I suggest something else.

Take charge! There are some things that I have gone on strike about, like Ketchup and Ritz, because they offer little nutrition, and frankly, they should not be a measurable percentage of his diet. I let him have ketchup on his eggs once and every time he would see eggs he would say, “ketchup.” I threw the ketchup away and that was the end of the story. We do sometimes have ketchup, but I am watchful that we don’t have it more than once a week. Kids need rules. Kids even LIKE rules, so if you have a picky eater on your hands, don’t give up!

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Simple Paleo: Seasoned Beef, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts

14 Feb

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1 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
16 oz frozen carrots
16 oz frozen Brussels sprouts
1/2 stick butter

Start veggies in a large pot with water on high until boiling and simmer 5 minutes. Drain and coat with butter. Brown beef with seasoning in olive oil and serve over veggies. Fast. Easy. Tasty!