Children vs. Vegetables

I should start this by telling you a little story. This is perhaps a little scary because I’m giving you the opportunity to judge my parenting skills. Two years ago we had the opportunity to bring two little boys into our home. Derek and I were nervous because although we loved children we had never been parents before. This occasion presented us with the challenge of doubling our family overnight, but we felt like this was an opportunity that we could not pass up.

Enter Hayden and Landen… Hayden was quiet and reserved. He was also very protective of his younger brother. Landen on the other hand was very excitable and also a little clumsy. Neither of the boys quite knew what to think of my cooking. I had recently made some serious lifestyle changes to my diet and decided that I wanted to feed my family the healthiest foods possible. This created some interesting drama for our new little family.

Week 2 I served meat and vegetables for dinner. Landen decided that he did not want to eat his celery so after 20 minutes of him sitting at the table refusing to eat his celery, I told him that if he didn’t finish it he would not get a sonic drink. He immediately agreed to this and got up to go play with his toys. Later that evening we left to go to Sonic. Landen sat there quietly as I placed our orders and waited for our drinks to come. As soon as the lady came to the car to give us our drinks, Landen immediately started crying as loud as he possibly could. I reminded him that he chose to not get dessert when he didn’t finish his celery. (Although I doubt that he heard me over his wailing.)

This is just one example of the many adventures we have had adapting to food battles. I’ve learned how to be smarter and pick my battles with more wisdom and grace. The lessons I’ve learned can be summarized into one thought: You can’t force your child (or anyone really) to eat something they don’t want to. However, you can incentivize a behavior with either positive or negative consequences.

Five tricks to help your kids eat more vegetables:

  1. Eat more vegetables yourself! As parents you are the ultimate example for your kids! If you don’t take care of yourself and eat junk food all the time, your kids will model that behavior. However, this can also work in your favor when it comes to encouraging your kids to try new things. If you are eating something your kids will want to eat it! My kids have begged me to make them Brussel Sprouts because I told them that I was only making them for myself! (P. S. I’ve also used this trick with liver!)
  2. Cook your vegetables! When you cook vegetables it softens them and makes them easier to digest as well as chew. It also helps improve the taste if you cook them in a healthy fat such as butter or coconut oil. Be generous with the spices as well!
  3. Provide incentives if they eat their vegetables. My rule of thumb is no dessert unless they finish their vegetables. This might seem counterintuitive because sweets aren’t good for kids. However, the more exposure they have with healthy vegetables the more their taste buds will evolve so they will actually enjoy eating vegetables.
  4. Require the kids to eat their vegetables first. My sweet Landen has a big appetite, and if he isn’t hungry he will fight me all night to avoid eating his vegetables. However, if I have him eat his veggies first it provides him with additional motivation to finish his veggies without complaining.
  5. Make vegetables part of every meal. Yes, I know this will be a pain at first but in the long run it will pay off with huge dividends. Children like having a routine and if vegetables are part of your routine as a family they will adapt! Make sure your kids know that vegetables are good for them. Yes, they might not appreciate it now but in the future those habits will serve them well and will translate into good habits in their adulthood.

How do you get your kids to eat their veggies?

~Shelby

Feeling Anxious?

Yesterday I was feeling anxious. Perhaps you can relate? I was short tempered with my kids. It seemed like every little thing that could go wrong happened including one child spilling cream all over the kitchen floor and the other children getting into a screaming match. Some days I’m convinced that stuff like this only goes on at my house!

So what is anxiety really?

At the end of the day I am convinced that anxiety is a physical and emotional response to an attack on our well-being. Now sometimes that anxiety is well founded. Other times it is imagined but either way when you experience anxiety it is real! Anxiety results when our brains tell us that something harmful is out to get us.

Anxiety can come in several different flavors including panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, phobias, post-traumatic symptoms as well as generalized anxiety.

Essentially all of those diagnoses are attempts to describe a core problem in our ability to regulate our emotions: FEAR.

It all comes back to fear. Our body responds to fear in an interesting way. Our heart beats faster, we start to monitor our surroundings (hyper-arousal), blood is shunted to our vital organs, and our breathing increases. Our goal is simple: Survive. We shift into fight or flight mode to take on the impending attack.

Now don’t get me wrong this reaction is perfect if you are being chased by a bear; however, it is not very useful for keeping your cool when your children are asking you a million questions or your boss wants you to complete a project by tomorrow.

Many people experience anxiety on a daily basis and for some people anxiety itself can develop into a serious problem.

So what do you do?

A non-anxious person might tell you to just stop worrying, but as someone who has struggled with anxiety I will be the first to tell you that truly treating your anxiety requires a total shift in your mind, body, and spirit.

So let’s start small:

Here are three things you can do/ know to immediately help calm your anxiety…

  1. You are not alone!Did you know that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States? It directly impacts around 18% of the general population (NAMI, 2018). Although often stigmatized, anxiety is a very common disorder, so please let go of any shame you may feel around this issue. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a natural response to stress.
  2. Breath!Anxiety is your body’s response to stress. It is a natural response but is also something that needs to be managed so it doesn’t start to run your life. Breathing is an excellent coping skill that has strong evidence to support its use. Now it is important to note that you need to truly breath deeply to gain the full benefit of this exercise. Put your hand on your stomach and when you breath in your abdomen should move out. If your shoulders are moving up and down that means the airflow is shallow. Try inhaling for four counts and exhaling for four counts to regulate and calm your autonomic nervous system. Try this exercise to calm yourself!
  3. Check your internal dialogue. What kind of self-talk do you allow yourself to participate in? What things do you say to yourself? Are they negative or disaster oriented? Our words have power including the words that we say to ourselves. Speaking negatively to yourself is only going to result in more anxiety so make a commitment to stop that behavior.

Anxiety like any mental illness is normal. However, it is something that can be managed with help and proper treatment. Only about 40% of individuals with anxiety seek treatment for their symptoms. I personally have grown tremendously from working with a counselor that I know and trust. I’ll post another blog post soon about the coping skills and the resources that I have found to be helpful!

~Shelby

 

 

Resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers

Breathing Exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFcQpNr_KA4

Cold care from a nurse

Hello again,

Let me start by saying I hate winter… Essentially we have endless darkness for the three months after Christmas with little reprieve. This post will have a little science integrated into it so bear with me…

This year I’ve tried my best to keep all my kids as healthy as possible. I have four kids in elementary school and a 5 month old at home so this has proved to be a challenge. Here are the tools that I have found to be extremely beneficial for keeping my kids healthy this winter.

Quick background:

There is no cure for many viruses and the common cold. I’m sure someday a brilliant group of scientists will find a cure and become millionaires overnight. Working as a nurse I’ve seen people who run to the doctor immediately expecting a quick fix as well as individuals who wait until they are on the verge of dying. I don’t think either approach is healthy and so I’ve done some personal study to find treatment options to help my family. I definitely want to give credit to the work of Aviva Romm. She is a medical doctor, midwife, and herbalist. Her work is very thorough and a great resource if you are searching for more in depth information.

https://avivaromm.com

Flu:

Common symptoms include fever, chills, malaise, nausea, a stuffy nose, fatigue, and a cough. Anti-viral medications (like Tami-flu) can be helpful in reducing the duration of flu symptoms especially if they are started within 48 hours of symptom onset (1).

Cold Care:

There is no definitive cure for the common cold***

Antibiotics do not help. Colds are viral and trying to take antibiotics to fight a cold is like trying to kill a deer with a fishing pole. It’s the wrong tool for the job. Additionally, chronic antibiotic use can contribute to other serious health problems as both good and bad bacteria are eliminated from our systems.

That being said I did a brief literature review, and I did not find strong evidence to support these recommendations. However, I have personally found them to be beneficial. It is often difficult to get studies to support the use of alternative treatments because of the lack of continuity with how supplements are formulated.

General Guidelines

~Sleep… Seriously go to bed and rest!

~Stress management

~Eat real food… Pizza doesn’t count. I’ve found homemade soup recipes with bone broth to be very healing as well as comforting. Danielle Walker has some incredible recipes! Be sure to check her out! https://againstallgrain.com/2014/03/03/chicken-stock-bone-broth/

Finally after all that let’s talk about these cold remedies! The first list includes remedies that I found to have a moderate level of evidence to support their use in improving cold symptoms (2). (I really like the Herb pharm brand. Click on the title for amazon links)

  1. Use a humidifier: This helps prevent your mucus membranes from drying out which improves your ability to remove mucus. Dry air makes mucus sticky whereas moist (yes I used the word moist!) air loosens secretions.
  2. Pelargonium sidoides: Helps fight invading bacteria and viruses and also helps support the immune system.
  3. Andrographis paniculata: This herb is often used in traditional chinese medicine and has some evidence to support its use in cold care.

These are supplements I use but was unable to find research to support their use. However, I have found them to be very effective!

  1. Oregano and Thyme: I try to find recipes with these spices, and if I’m desperate I will take a shot of these essential oils in elderberry juice. Both of these have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
  2. Garlic: Smash a clove of garlic, cover it with honey, and swallow it. I got this idea from listening to the balanced bites podcast. This works wonders but doesn’t taste the best. Thankfully my kids are good sports! Garlic is anti-inflammatory and has anti-bacterial/anti-viral properties as well
  3. Elderberry juice: I use this for its immune boosting properties.
  1. Herbal teas: This brand creates multiple teas that are very beneficial for a variety of disorders. I use them often whenever my kids have a cold or stomach ache.
  2. Immune Avenger: This is helpful to boost immunity.
  3. Essential oils: I use both the young living and doterra brands. I find them very useful not only for cold care but other complaints as well.
  4. Smarty pants vitamins: I don’t give my kids vitamins all the time but I will supplement when we are fighting sickness.

 

Sources:

  1. Dynamed (2017, September 9). Clinical presentation of influenza in adults. Ipswich

MA:EBSCO Information Services. Retrieved February 23, 2018, http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.wilkes.edu/dynamed/detail?vid=9&sid=6732045f-63ee-4e0b-9c82-e6c5824561ad%40sessionmgr4006&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZHluYW1lZC1saXZlJnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#AN=912569&db=dme

 

  1. Dynamed (2017, November 29). Upper respiratory infection (URI) in adults and adolescents. Ipswich

MA:EBSCO Information Services. Retrieved February 23, 2018,

http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.wilkes.edu/dynamed/detail?vid=11&sid=6732045f-63ee-4e0b-9c82-e6c5824561ad%40sessionmgr4006&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZHluYW1lZC1saXZlJnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#db=dme&AN=114537&anchor=Andrographis-paniculata

2017 Lessons

Hello everyone…

Well it’s official. Today I am blogging.

Who knows if I will actually finish this post today or not? I intended to start writing at 8 am this morning and it is now 2:23 pm. #momlife

Today I started my morning with prayer, and it has completely changed the tone of my entire day. I think God was just reminding me how faithful He is. Anyway to catch most of you up, 2016 was a year of tremendous personal change and growth. I was working full time, taking graduate nursing classes, and trying to juggle my family with two energetic young foster boys.

Enter 2017… I found out in January that I was pregnant with our first child. This alone was a miracle. A reproductive endocrinologist had told us that we would be unable to have children on our own without IUI. My husband and I were thrilled, but I quickly found that keeping up with everything especially while being pregnant was going to be a challenge.

Honestly, I was mad. We had tried for years to get pregnant. Why now God? I had moved on. I had accepted that we probably wouldn’t have kids of our own. I had found a career I was passionate about. We had two beautiful boys that we were optimistic we would be able to adopt. I was getting ready to start my nurse practitioner clinicals. Why now God? Why now during literally one of the busiest seasons of my life?

I hated being pregnant. Then I felt guilty. I had prayed for this baby so many times. Why was I not filled with joy? I felt powerless, tired, and overwhelmed.

Motherhood terrified me. I was having a hard time bonding with my kids. I loved them, but I was so terrified that my own demons would ruin my children. After all when you choose to love something it always costs you. Would having this baby cost me my career or worse the dreams that I had placed all of my value and hope in?

Everyone has a god. It’s the thing that terrifies/motivates you more than anything in the world. Some gods hold more weight than others. My god was that I would accomplish nothing valuable while living on this planet.

God was making the executive decision that this god had to go, and I fought Him. HARD.

Three things I learned in 2017 that I would recommend to everyone:

  1. Learn about yourself: What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What’s your biggest fear? What do you believe about yourself? You can only help others if you are willing to explore and accept who you are.
  2. Find a counselor you trust who will provide you with an objective perspective on your life.
  3. Identify your god and decide is that who you actually want to serve with your life? (Money, power, influence, codependent relationships, children… We all have gods, but often we can’t see them because we are to busy letting them run our lives.)

I wallowed in self-pity and anger for a few months until finally I agreed with the decision God was telling me. I decided to quit my job and stay home. I was mad at first but by the end of spring I was so tired that I didn’t feel I had a better option.

August came and the kids went back to school. (At this point we had four foster kids… Another story for another time.) And I stayed home and waited for the baby to come…

And in that waiting God did something amazing. He showed me how to be still. He showed me how to trust him. My anxiety and depression were lifted. I had peace because I no longer had anything to prove. I’m valuable. And that value can never be taken away.

I sit here today watching my 4-month-old Tobias sleep peacefully beside me. I am so thankful for my children. God has rearranged my world in a beautiful way. Everyday I get to wake up and ask God for peace and strength. Peace for my sanity and strength to parent bravely and with love and passion.

I’m so excited for 2018,

Shelby

Psalm 18:2

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.