Week of 5/19/13: Change Trumps Charities
The media is abuzz with Angelina Jolie's revelation that she underwent a double mastectomy. With this in the news and Breast Cancer Walks approaching this summer, I'd like to propose some extra education for many of us who may unfortunately find ourselves facing this terrible disease.
Did you ever stop to think about where your money goes when you donate to charities? I'm sure you have, but I'm not sure we can always see the big picture. The evidence is piling up that it is much easier to prevent certain cancers than to cure them, but education is slow to reach the general public. It is becoming more apparent that the "cure" for many of these cancers greatly lies in our efforts to prevent them, but few people know what that means. Of course, many cancers happen due to factors outside of our control, but that should give us even more incentive to control the factors we can through dietary and lifestyle choices, exercise, sleep and stress reduction. Before we sign up to donate time or money to raise awareness for cancer, we should investigate the event or the charity. If big pink buckets of fried chicken or sodas are going to be served at the event, we might want to consider donating our resources elsewhere. If prevention education is not at the forefront of the movement, or not included at all, our time might be better utilized by bringing that information to the forefront rather than donating our money to "curing" cancer, which is most likely impossible without the other changes.
According to DiseaseProof.com : There are powerful protective steps women need to be aware of in order to possibly avoid breast cancer, such as:
•Eat lots of green vegetables, onions, and mushrooms daily
•Do not eat mass factory farmed dairy products, especially those given rBGH
•Stay away from fast foods and insulin promoting refined foods such as white flour and sweets
•Do not eat mass factory farmed meats given antibiotics and growth promoting hormones
The next time you are asked to join a walk or attend an event to help find a cure, consider that a walk that serves eggs and sausage links for breakfast, deli meats for lunch and sweets after dinner, is not interested in preventing cancer.
Week of 5/12/13: Modern Medicine
Our diets, our healthcare system, and the way we treat disease, has changed more in the past 100 years than any other time in history. Food was not created to have certain tastes and smells in a laboratory until recently. Doctors did not replace organs until recently. And it wasn't until 2011 that an unprecedented 4.02 billion prescriptions were written in the United States.
While early diagnosis of some health issues can clearly have strong benefits, it can also create difficulties. A NYC cardiologist recently plead guilty to health care fraud in the amount of $19 million dollars. According to a Forbes.com article, Dr. Jose Katz admitted that he billed Medicare Part B, Medicaid, and numerous private insurers for unnecessary tests and unnecessary procedures based on false diagnoses and for medical services rendered by unlicensed practitioners. When we look for more illness, we find it. When we find it, we treat it, but that is where the story often stops. Pharmacopoeia, a 2011 exhibition at the British Museum, estimated that "the average number of pills a person takes in his or her own lifetime in the UK is 14,000." That's as a result of prescriptions. Including over-the-counter drugs, the 14,000 number would swell to 40,000 pills taken in a lifetime. The CDC numbers are just as staggering. According to Dr. John Abramson, author of the fascinating read, Overdosed America, there is a common misconception that more medical care means better medical care. In the absence of searching for the underlying problem, more medical care often means more prescriptions, more surgeries, and more complications. The major piece missing from the puzzle is the discovery of what caused the sickness in the first place and what changes need to be made to prevent the sickness from growing. Many doctors have had success treating and reversing Type II Diabetes, Heart Disease and Autoimmune diseases with lifestyle changes, but still many others continue to treat with medical interventions alone and no education for the patients on how to create their own recovery. Certainly many of the advances that modern medicine has made are lifesaving, hope-giving and miraculous, but to gain the knowledge to fabricate one's own optimum health is priceless. Placing a stent without counseling the patient on the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary to regain one's health is negligent. To be fair, many patients are counseled and choose to make excuses or ignore advice, placing an unfair burden on our entire healthcare system.
Recognizing the need for improved health, setting health goals, and forging a path to achieve those goals is the responsibility of every one of us. This practice is crucial to the future of healthcare in this country. It isn't policy, drugs, screenings or surgeries that will improve our health, it is awareness, education and practice. The path to change begins with just one step, but it is impossible to achieve success without each and every individual striving to improve their health. Be part of the solution, take the step. Health truly is Wealth.
Week of 5/5/13: Consider Yourself Healthy?
What does being "Healthy" mean? Does it mean following nutritional advice you learned in school 20 years ago? Following the advice of your doctor? Exercising regularly? Or is your picture of good health comprised of more than just a few things? Might it require eating nutrient dense foods, getting a good night's sleep the majority of the time, exercising, and incorporating stress relief into your life?
Does being "Healthy" mean being physically fit, even if one is sidelined by recurrent injuries, ailments, and illnesses? Can one be truly healthy when inflammation is widespread in their body?
Consider what a growing number of health experts is dangling in front of the population: A life free from the common cold, autoimmune disease, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, allergies, cancers, fatigue, dementia and more. We have become accustomed to sickness and dependent on medication, but we are rarely told to search for the underlying cause of our problems. When you get a headache and take medicine, is your body deficient in ibuprofen? Maybe taking control of your health means smart self education.
When we begin to focus on the very pillars of health, begin to choose foods for the benefits that can be derived from them rather than the synthetic protein and fiber they contain--in the form of processed protein bars, cereals and breads--or the fats that they don't, we may uncover the path to lasting health. With education and dedication, we can begin to change the epidemic of disease in our society and reap the benefits of better behavior from our children, extra energy for our afternoons and protection from diseases that threaten us as we age. Be honest with yourself, are there changes you can make to improve your health? You'll never regret taking the leap!
Week of 4/28: The Extraordinary Science of Junk Food
The common mantra of the modern parent is, "Everything in Moderation". However, as this section of Healthy Tips has pointed out before, moderation no longer exists. The entire landscape of our country has changed. Fast food, once limited to a few big names, is now a booming industry with chain locations along our highways and in many towns. Once frequented by only a few, many families now eat fast food daily. Cheap, thin burgers, have been pushed aside for "healthful" burrito bowls, gourmet sandwiches and loaded salads. However, with very few exceptions, restaurant meals are always laden with more fat, sugar and salt than one would eat at home. Along with our penchant for fast foods, our appetite for snacks and convenience has also grown.
In February, the New York Times published an article providing an amazing glimpse into the world of big food manufacturers, entitled, The Extraordinary Science of Junk Food. You can, and should, read the article here in its entirety. The expose provides reasons behind the change in our tastes. Our American diet is often referred to as SAD, the Standard American Diet, by health pioneers who blame our diet for our health epidemic. The NYT article details reasons for our unending desire for junk foods, and it is a fascinating look behind the scenes. When we eat packaged, processed, salty foods, just as when we eat fatty, sugary foods, our desire for those foods is increased. We experience unnecessary, but very real, cravings when we first withdraw from eating them. These foods have been incredibly, scientifically developed with the intent to increase our desire for them. No one is immune to this pull. Children, who used to maintain the ability to eat when hungry, and stop eating when satisfied, now eat way past that point, past satiety. This can be blamed partially on a phenomenon called "Vanishing Caloric Density", which Steven Witherly, a food scientist and author of, "Why Humans Like Junk Food', defines this way: If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there are no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever. This, he maintained, makes Cheetos the perfect junk food. Scientifically designed with just the right crunch, saltiness and melt in your mouth quality to keep fans hooked for life.
The next time you feel the repeated urges for an old, familiar comfort food, be cognizant of the science that creates that craving. Restaurants and food manufacturers design that food to hold maximum appeal to the masses. Returning to wholesome, unprocessed foods, lessens those cravings over time. The food companies know this, it is one of the reasons they have begun to market "healthful" options, but beware--most of these emerging products are simply more of the same junk food, with new packaging and healthy claims created to hook you right back in again. With awareness, you can create healthy habits, so be aware of the battle over your tastebuds. It is big business!
Week of 10/21: Define Moderation
Time and time again we are told that everything in moderation is the way to go. The problem is that moderation no longer exists. Americans used to eat out several times a year, now many eat outside of the home several times a day. We consume over 500 calories more per day than we did in the 1970s. Our sugar intake was approximately 5 pounds per year (in the form of honey) in the early 1900s and now we imbibe more than 150 pounds per year! Meals are super-sized, 64 oz. sodas abound, and treats are required fare for everything from athletic events, to preschool parties, to church functions. Coca-Cola used to market a 16 oz. bottle as 3 servings! School food is worse than fast food and candy is offered at our doctor’s offices. A recent suburban “Health Fair” offered bowls of Halloween candy, donuts, sandwiches made on white bread, and cream puffs along with some fruit. None of these factors are conducive to moderation. There are opportunities to overeat unhealthy foods multiple times every single day. And they are difficult to resist.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, and winter Holidays are upon us. Moderation surely goes out the window during this season, prompting ER doctors to dub heart attacks during these months, “Holiday Heart”. Last winter, two moms decided to change their eating habits after educating themselves on nutrition. Amazingly, they kept track of the junk food that was offered to their children during a period of 45 days. Their results are astounding.
What can be done to stop this downward spiral? Consider offering alternate treats at your house for Halloween. Kids love it! Playing cards, super balls, rubber bracelets, and glow in the dark trinkets are some offerings that kids will even detour for. Learn delicious, healthy recipes and make them part of your Holiday traditions. Check out Pinterest for colorful themed fruit and vegetable platters to bring to parties and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Mention to your doctor that you are concerned about sugar and encourage them to offer stickers instead of lollipops. Ask parents to bring fruit and water for snacks after sporting events.
Small changes CAN add up. Make a change for your health this season!
Week of 10/14: Alternatives On The Go
Still think kids need sugary sports drinks and protein bars to help muscles recover? Time and time again, studies are emerging that point to added sweeteners as a source of many health woes. The best recovery foods and drinks are somewhat of a myth. A better route for healthy bones, muscles, joints and immune systems is to eat a healthful diet every day. Want to change, but don’t know where to start? Below are a few items you can try out on your family as you transition to a more healthful diet.
Water is still king for hydration, but if your kids are hooked on water alternatives, there are better options to sugary, dye filled drinks. Cherry juice has been touted as “the ultimate antioxidant” by Dr. Oz. According to Nutrition and You.com, coconut water is consumed worldwide for its nutritious and health benefiting properties.
Fruits and vegetables are the ultimate fast food, but if your kids have become accustomed to protein bars, be sure to keep in mind they are not all created equal. Many protein bars contain a lengthy list of ingredients and more than half of the recommended daily allowance for sugar (about 25 grams for children and 30 grams for adults). They are truly nothing more than glorified candy bars. Remember, any source of calories provides the body with energy, but what type of energy is of great significance. Ingredients from nature, such as those found in Lara bars, Kind bars, or Pure bars (to name a few), provide lasting energy as opposed to the dreaded surge in energy followed shortly thereafter by a crash. Look for a short list containing ingredients that you recognize.
While quality pre and post activity meals do provide nutrients to athletes, only focusing on healthy food choices during workouts does the body a disservice. When the focus is placed on making healthful choices at every meal, the body is better equipped to recover from activity in order for athletes to train without interruption.
Week of 10/7: Eating For Health, Not Weight
The above title is from an article in last week’s New York Times written by Dr. Dean Ornish. The article, found here, maintains that eating a high nutrient diet is the most favorable diet for weight loss, disease prevention and even disease reversal. Focusing on health is extremely effective when choosing the right diet. There is a common sense approach to regaining one’s health, and weight loss is a welcome added benefit.
While the vast long term benefits of weight loss are of great importance, oftentimes the daily benefits of weight loss are overlooked. Childhood obesity is a regular topic in the media, yet many parents have difficulty recognizing that their child is overweight. This anomaly may be due to the fact that so many children are now overweight, that we have become accustomed to it. What it means for the children, however, is alarming. Not only are they prone to everyday illness, asthma, Type 2 Diabetes, and hypertension, the toll on their joints and muscles is astounding. According to Campshane.com, among growing youth, bone and cartilage in the process of development are not strong enough to bear excess weight. As a result, a variety of orthopedic complications occur in children and adolescents with obesity. In young children, excess weight can lead to bowing and overgrowth of leg bones. Increased weight on the growth plate of the hip can cause pain and limit range of motion.
Although lack of activity has been blamed, more often than not, the role of diet is the bigger culprit. Many overweight children are active in multiple sports. Being overweight certainly hinders athletes on the field, but perhaps more critical, it can make daily activities like climbing stairs or walking to school very uncomfortable. Supplying a variety of fruits and vegetables and refraining from purchasing unhealthy foods is a good option for families with overweight children. Parents who model a healthy diet teach their children about the importance of good eating habits. Placing the focus on the health benefits children will derive from eating well is more effective than placing focus on weight loss. Parents should emphasize that choosing wisely will enhance immune system function, energy on the field and focus in the classroom. As discussed above, choosing junk food has far more detrimental long term health effects than weight gain alone.
Knowing where one falls on the BMI scale can help to determine goals for health (and weight) in the future. As the weight of our nation has reached epidemic proportions, the more each one of us can do to reverse the trend, the better the health of our society becomes. With the election in view and our healthcare in crisis, we would do well to recognize that our collective individual efforts will have a greater impact on our society’s health than any plan that the parties can devise.
Week of 9/30: Let Food Be Thy Medicine
People look at food in many different lights. Some consider food solely nourishment, others create menus out of history and tradition, and still others view its consumption as entertainment. We’ve said before, in this space, that with all of the confusion surrounding what one should eat, the one aspect that all experts agree upon is that what we do eat, has a profound effect on our health. With much attention being focused on obesity and weight management, we rarely hear about links between food and behavioral issues. Not only does proper nutrition provide our immune system with the nutrients it needs to function optimally, it also provides our brain with the nutrients it needs to function with clarity.
Are you experiencing behavioral problems with your child that seem above and beyond the norm? This article discusses interesting aspects of the controversial possible link between food dyes and ADHD. It offers parents simple advice: If you notice that certain foods seem to cause hyperactivity in your child, try eliminating those foods and see if it makes a difference.
While the study of nutrition can be maddening in its ever controversial interpretations, parents often know their child better than any experts. Elimination diets, like the simple one suggested by the article above, can be more beneficial, and certainly less potentially harmful, than medication. The next time your family experiences a medical issue, attempt to find the root of the problem rather than symptom treating with medication alone. You may just be surprised by the outcome.
Week of 9/23/12: Let Prevention Be Thy Cure
As October comes into view with NFL players donning pink in support of breast cancer awareness, it becomes questionable whether awareness is what is needed. Certainly we are all hopeful for a cure, but are walks, pink ribbons, and pink footballs getting us any closer to finding one? Does wearing pink and purchasing candy at the concessions stand of your child’s (Fill In The Blank) for The Cure event hurt or help our chances of beating this terrible disease? While it is important for many of us to feel like we are doing something to help, educating ourselves, getting active and modeling a healthy lifestyle for our children might have more impact than any amount of money or time you could donate.
According to the American Cancer Society: Except for quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:
Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life.
Be physically active on a regular basis.
Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.
Is a cancer walk that serve participants sausage links for breakfast, deli meat for lunch and sweets after dinner interested in prevention? Is an event at a local restaurant serving soda, fries, ice cream and other fast food the best place to focus our efforts?
IGLA is interested in helping our participants realize their potential for optimum health. This is one of the reasons our snack policy is strictly for fruits, vegetables and water. We want to help families feel supported in their health goals and, according to Cancer.org, we should be eating 2 ½ cups a day to protect ourselves. Interestingly, it must be shared, the Susan G. Komen website finds: Eating fruits and vegetables seems to have little, if any, impact on breast cancer risk.
This conflicting information by two of the countries leading cancer charities highlights why it is so important to educate yourself on health issues. On the SGK website alone, there are long lists of studies which have been done or are in progress. If the experts can’t agree, what are we to do? Research, find what is feasible for you and your family, discover what makes you feel your best, gives you the most energy and protects you from sickness. Forgo the bad, include the good. Stop listening to others and listen to your body. It is okay to question; I disagree with the statement from Susan G. Komen. Many doctors, nutritionists, dieticians and researchers agree with me. Adding more fruits and vegetables and removing sugars, dyes, white flour, oils and processed foods has changed my health dramatically, but this isn’t about me. It is about YOU.
What will you do this October to reduce your risk? What friends can you enlist to join in your endeavors? What type of lifestyle will you model for your family? Reducing the incidence of disease and sickness is within our control. By focusing on healthy choices we can provide more protection than money or medicine combined.
Week of 6/3/12: Making Choices
Week of 9/16/12: Stand Up For Our Children: Know Where Your Food Comes From
The kids are back in school. Do you know what your child ate for lunch today? The National School Lunch Program serves an estimated 30 million lunches per day. Very few school lunches in the United States meet basic nutritional guidelines. Even if your school’s food supplier meets or exceeds the USDA standards, the gap between what is served and what is necessary for good health remains awfully large. Nutritional guidelines favor whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. They eschew sugary, dye-filled, fatty processed foods. Yet the menus at the vast majority of schools continue to offer corn dogs, pizza, macaroni and cheese, nachos and cookies, to name a few. The ingredient lists on some of these items contain over 50 ingredients! A recent trip through the lunch line at my children’s elementary school offered two slices of white bread French toast, syrup made almost entirely of high fructose corn syrup, and eight slices of Canadian bacon. A bag of carrots was also an option, though only two children chose them. Whether or not they were eaten in the nineteen minutes provided for lunch was uncertain.
One doesn’t need to be a nutritionist to see a connection between good health and real food. Behavioral problems abound and test scores in many areas are falling. While many reasons exist for these issues, the lack of unprocessed, high nutrient foods available in our schools is a certain contributor. The USDA’s Schools/Child NutritionCommodity Program offers nitrate filled lunch meats, hydrogenated oils, refined flours, high sodium canned beans, high sugar canned fruits, and pork, beef and chicken in cans. The side effects of the quality of food we are consuming are ravishing. Our children’s brains are not all functioning properly and their behavior is affected by those foods. Not only has disease become an epidemic, but overweight has become the norm. 20 years ago, not one single state had over a 20% obesity rate, today the United States lacks a single state that has less than 20% obesity.
A visit to my local farm or farmer’s market offers just-picked tomatoes, cabbages, radishes, beets, corn, squash, melons, onions, cucumbers, broccoli and more. Quite a different picture from the Illinois lunches described in the local blog, Fed Up With Lunch.
Yes, our time is a precious commodity. Yes, it can be difficult to pack a healthy lunch, but it is nearly impossible to purchase a healthy lunch at most schools. We often forget that a piece of fruit is the ultimate fast food. Take another look at your school’s menu. Is it really food that improves your child’s behavior, brain function and immune system? Maybe it is time to reevaluate convenience.
We are all faced with many choices daily. At least three times a day, we make important choices about what to eat. When we go to the store, we make important choices about what we buy to stock our home with nourishment for our families. We make choices about which sports to play, which teams to try out for and what to do in our increasingly rare spare time. Recently US Lacrosse came out with Participation Recommendations for their athletes. I would highly recommend that you visit their site and peruse their astute suggestions. They attempt to encompass many "healthy" guidelines that are appropriate for all youth athletes. As a coach, I see the importance of players working hard year round, but as a parent, I encourage my children to take breaks from training for numerous reasons. We try to make the best decisions we can for our family and don't worry too much about what others think. We are steadfast in our support for, and our modeling of, a healthy, active lifestyle, but recognize that many activities are included in that realm. As many forge a path toward year-round, early specialization, please think seriously about what that means for your family and stay true to your values. You know your children best. Be realistic about your goals and theirs and never be afraid to create your own path to attain them.
Week of 5/20/12: The Oil Debate
For some people, making small changes is a big deal. Trying to make one change at a time is a good practice. Maybe one change per week, or per month, depending on your quest for change. These changes may include drinking more water, buying and serving more fruits and vegetables, consuming less sugar, or switching to whole grains. Some are happy with those changes, some desire further changes to reach a goal weight or obtain optimal health.
Different types of oil, and how people use them, stir up quite a controversy in the nutritional world. While experts agree that trans fats and deep frying foods are not healthful, many highly disagree on which (if any) oils are healthful as well as disagreeing on how to use oils. As usual, things are not black and white and one would do well to do their own research regarding different types of oils as it is a vast, controversial area. One area of concern surrounding oils is the point at which different oils smoke and/or become rancid due to high heat or extended time on a shelf. Another is the way in which they were extracted, either by heating or by mechanical separation. One school of thought brings up an interesting viewpoint. When ordering a side of steamed vegetables in a restaurant, that serving is approximately 1/2 cup and contains around 25 calories. All oils are 100% fat and contain 40 calories per teaspoon. All of a sudden, that side order of veggies with oil, becomes a side order of oil with veggies. Also consider that most people use more than one teaspoon. Most people are unfamiliar with water or broth sauteing, but both can be used in place of oil. It is even possible to carmelize onions in water at a low heat, though it may not be as tasty during a transition from oil to water sauteing.
Because nutrition information varies, some people become overwhelmed. One thing all experts agree upon is that what you eat truly affects your overall health, brain function and physical performance. Accepting that nutrition matters, deciding on what your goals are, researching solid information, and effecting feasible changes will put you on the path to better health.
Week of 5/13/12: The Whole Truth
Why all the talk about whole grains? A whole grain consists of the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Grains can be an important part of a healthful diet, but many of us are consuming overly processed grains that can lead to health issues. Examples of healthful grains include whole rolled oats or steel cut oats, quinoa, millet, brown rice, and corn. Many of the breads, crackers, granola/protein/power bars, and cookies we consume contain enriched flours, additives, and sugar. When grains are refined, they are stripped of their many beneficial nutrients to give them a finer texture and a longer shelf life. Then a few synthetic nutrients are added back in. While whole grains and flours contain more fiber and are slower to digest, white and enriched flours generally act like a sugar in digestion. Try to think of snacks as fruits and vegetables rather than chips and pretzels. Instead of instant oatmeal with loads of sugar, start your day with something new. Heat 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk in large pot. As it is heating dice one ripe banana and 6 dates, when milk begins to boil, add dates, banana and 3/4 c. of whole rolled oats to pot and lower heat. Cook until desired tenderness (usually about 5 minutes), adding more milk if necessary. This breakfast will keep you fuller longer and contains no refined sugars. Kids love the creaminess and sweet flavor.
When shopping, avoid enriched flours and processed foods in favor of whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Replace white rice with quinoa or brown rice. Let your kids find a recipe for a new food on the internet and help you cook it. The habits that children learn will stay with them. Be patient and be persistent. My family now requests foods that I never dreamed they would have enjoyed when we started this journey to optimal health!
Week of 5/6/12: Vegucate Yourself!
With the health of our nation declining, we are facing all types of issues that have never been seen before. The weight of our nation is increasing and the fallout is astounding. This was an eye opening read in the health pages this week: Reuters Article So what are we to do? How can we feed our families so that we can reverse the trend?
With the USDA continually 5-10 years behind the scientific research, we need to educate ourselves, but that can be tricky. Case in point: this Healthy Snack Tips suggestion sheet from the American Dietetic Association, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Many nutrition experts would take issue with more than half of the snacks on this list, but when you are looking to improve your health and the health of your family, the ADA would be a logical place to start. It is clear that when a "healthy" snack suggestion includes graham crackers, chocolate pudding and mini marshmallows, logic has flown out the window. Cheese and dairy products are continually touted as healthful for their calcium content, but more and more nutritional experts are warning that these foods are linked to a plethora of diseases. We have to advocate for our families and we can only do that if we research the truth on so-called health foods.
With 17 out of 25 of the ADA list containing suggestions for cheese or yogurt, it would imply that the ADA believes dairy to be health promoting. I think it is important to note that the following doctors, who are seeing tremendous results when patients follow their programs, believe the polar opposite to be the truth about dairy: Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Those are just a few in a long list of doctors who take issue with dairy. This article: Understanding Problems With Dairy tackles some of the controversies.
We've grown up believing many foods are necessary for our health. Many of those foods are now shown to cause disease. We believe kids should have "treats". Many Americans are experiencing health issues earlier than ever in history. We believe doctors know best. The vast majority have no training in nutrition and therefore favor symptom treating over getting to the heart of the issue. My intention is not to diminish the vast knowledge that our health professionals possess, but rather to encourage parents to research health issues for themselves. You might just be surprised by your findings!
Week of 4/29/12: Fitting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together
When our children learn to write stories, they bring home worksheets about making connections between their lives and their writing. As adults, we can make connections in our everyday lives too. Like the connection between our lifestyle and our health. Dr. Sears, "America's Pediatrician", calls Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition the Four Pillars of Health. Keeping these pillars in mind can help improve the focus and performance of adults and children alike. Often before a test, a recital, or a sporting event, kids are told to get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy breakfast. Why just on test days? Let's strive to realize this goal every day so that our children may maximize their potential. A child's health begins with their parents. One day your children will thank you for your efforts!
US Lacrosse Issues Youth Participation Position Paper
In support of US Lacrosse’s youth game project, the organization’s Sports Science and Safety Committee has issued the position paper “Boys’ and Girls’ Youth Lacrosse Participation Recommendations.” Find the must-read for parents, coaches, officials and players here.
Eat Well. Such a simple concept, but advice swings wildly on this topic. What should you eat? How should you feed your family? Are you interested in leading a long, healthy life free from medication and disease? How can you get started? Where should you look for information? The best place to start is on the internet and then in the library. Decide on a path. Research which "experts" have the greatest track record for halting and even reversing disease. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Grandma was right. So was Popeye. Use common sense to determine which foods have the greatest disease fighting properties, don't be fooled by the packaging. Read the actual ingredients. The shorter the ingredient list the better. Consider the ingredient lists of fresh produce. Each has only one ingredient, most have been around for many years. Enlist a friend, a sibling, a spouse and make the commitment to get healthy together. You won't regret it!
Week of 10/16/11: 5 Easy Tips
Trying to begin your journey to better health? Here are my 5 favorite pieces of advice:
5. Get enough sleep!
4. Research! Nutrition is ever-evolving. Make it a point to learn about how you and your loved ones can be protected from chronic disease. Warning: This is a long one. Did you read in last week's Tribune that antioxidants are not all that they are cracked up to be? Did you make it through the whole article? Antioxidants are just the latest in a long line of nutrients to be touted as a health must only to fall under scrutiny years later. Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Folic Acid and Calcium have seen similar fates. Why? Because it is awfully hard to single out one nutrient. When you eat whole foods, you get the benefit of all the the vitamins, minerals and nutrients intact in their original state. Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Folic Acid, Calcium and Antioxidants are chock FULL of goodness for you if you actually eat the foods that contain them!
3. Drink Water! (And very little else.)
2. Limit all sweeteners and dyes. Keep sugar intake under 30g per day, lose the Diet Coke and watch out for artificial sweeteners. Don't eat foods or drink beverages that are bright colors unless they are grown from the ground or on a tree.
And the number one piece of research guaranteed to lead you down the path to better health...
1. Eat many more fruits and vegetables.
Week of 10/9/11: Consistency in sleeping and eating
Our ability to stay healthy is fundamental to our performance in all areas of life. School administrators remind us to get a good night's sleep and eat a good breakfast before standardized tests, but even more beneficial would be to follow this practice daily. According to experts, children from 7-12 years old require 10-11 hours of sleep per night. 12-18 year olds require 8-9 hours. As for nutrition, more and more experts are gravitating toward a plant based diet, citing that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is key to optimal health. Even the USDA recently changed their MyPyramid to MyPlate, suggesting that half of our plate at every meal should consist of fruits and vegetables.
Week of 10/2/11: Feeding our performance
As a pediatrician, I wonder how so many smart moms and dads, who truly love their children, can feed their family so much fake food. I believe it is because they don't really understand how junk food harms their children or appreciate how real food will help their children grow smarter, healthier, and happier.--Bill Sears M.D.
When discussing nutrition, I can get most people to make the connections between salt and high blood pressure, fatty meats and heart disease, and sugar and hyperactivity, but somehow we all seem to stumble when it comes to children and nutrition. There now exists overwhelmingly conclusive evidence that what we eat greatly affects our immune systems, brain function, overall health and performance. After athletic events, our bodies need water and good nutrition to help our muscles recover in anticipation of their next event. Treats and sports drinks have become the norm, incidentally, so have injuries, illness, and broken bones. Help us stop the trend. Model good nutrition by stocking up on fruits and vegetables and limiting sugar, chips, candy, and sugary beverages. Be the change you want to see!
Week of 9/25/11: Respect for our bodies
At IGLA we are concerned with the big picture. We believe the athletes gain a sense of strength and self-confidence when they participate in sports. It is never too early to start respecting their bodies and recognizing that when one exercises, gets a good night's rest and eats real food with real nutrients, their bodies will reward them in the form of increased prevention of illness, injury, and disease, heightened focus, and improved stamina. We would like to help them make the connection between good choices and good health. Let's get old school. Rather than the players associating athletic activities with sugary drinks and treats, let's introduce them to our youth with water and orange slices! Let's empower our athletes to make healthy choices now to instill a sense of pride in them to make healthy choices in the future!
These tips appear in IGLA's weekly game emails. They are provided by Leigh Ann Boscarino, IGLA Naperville/Wheaton Director
Leigh Ann grew up in Scarsdale, NY and was introduced to lacrosse when she was five years old. She played through high school and continued her career at Villanova University in PA. After college, she returned to Scarsdale to coach the varsity team for 4 years before moving to IL. Leigh Ann runs a nutrition consultation business and enjoys playing tennis. She lives in Naperville with her husband and 4 boys who enjoy a large variety of sports. She is very excited to be involved with growing girls lacrosse in the midwest!