Tag Archives: health

52 FEATS – NUMBER 31 (Taking Vitamins)

7 Aug

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

UPDATE – DAY 7 (Sunday):

Well, I did it – I remembered to take a vitamin every day this week (even though some days it was pretty late before I got around to it).  And I actually have felt less tired.  I also exercised a lot more this week, which could have contributed to my energy boost.

But despite the possibility that my fatigue has simply been due to a basic vitamin deficiency, I think I will schedule a doctor’s visit just to be sure.  I was encouraged to do that by a friend of mine – she had similar symptoms, and it turned out she had not only a Vitamin D deficiency, but thyroid problems as well!  If there’s something else going on, I know it would be in my best interest to figure it out asap.  Gotta take care of myself!


I am always tired.  Let me repeat that for dramatic effect:  I. Am. Always. Tired.  I’ve thought about going to the doctor to get checked out, but I figured that once she heard I have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old (particularly if she met said 3-year-old), I would be dismissed with a scoff.

“Of course you’re tired – you have two little kids!  What do you expect??”  (I just know she’d say that.)

Every time I mention the fact that I’m always tired, my aunt asks me if I take a multi-vitamin.  Ummm…well…my kids do!  Every day.  But I never remember to take one myself.  I suppose it’s worth a shot to see if regular vitamins might give me a little energy boost.

I know there are about a million different supplements people will say that I can/should take on a daily basis for better health, but I honestly can’t sift through all the information (arguments for and against them) to decide what I might need.  So I’m just going to take a regular, run-of-the-mill multivitamin.  Maybe after a week of that I’ll notice a difference in my energy level.  I hope so!

52 FEATS – NUMBER 24 (Eating Healthy)

19 Jun

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

UPDATE – DAY 7 (Sunday):

This past week was one of the worst EVER for me.  No, it wasn’t because eating healthy made me totally miserable – it was because of medication I was taking for a blocked eustachian tube, which was not only painful but causing debilitating dizzy episodes.  The doctor said it was likely due to allergies (which is a new issue for me), and put me on steroids and told me to start taking Claritin-D.

A few days in, I thought I was losing my mind.  I couldn’t sleep; I was weak and so jittery I felt like ripping my hair out, and yet all I wanted to do was lay down and close my eyes.  I stopped the steroids, and for a day I started to feel better, but then I felt worse again.  Then I stopped taking the Claritin-D, too, because I just couldn’t handle feeling so crummy.

That was a couple days ago, and I’m happy to say that I finally feel like a normal person again.  My ear feels better – I guess I got enough meds in me to clear it up somewhat – but I don’t know what I’m going to do about the allergy issue long-term.  The doc wanted me on allergy meds every day but there’s no way I’m doing that.

AND – all of this coincided with my husband being out of town, so, like I said, worst week ever.  Because I felt so horrible, I didn’t do as well as I would have liked with this week’s Feat.  I started out strong but got off track a few times (Thursday night, I ate dinner at a buffet restaurant that shall remain nameless – eek).

Here’s what I was able to do:

  • I ate lots more raw fruits & veggies. When I made myself a sandwich, I sliced up an apple to go with it instead of chips.
  • I cut way back on caffeine and drank a lot more water (thanks, Lisa!).  I also drank milk occasionally.
  • I got out the juicer (dusted it off, as Lori said!) and made a rainbow juice with my kids –  strawberries, oranges, carrots, pineapple, spinach, blueberries, and grapes.  Oddly enough, my picky-eater son liked it more than my eats-anything daughter.  She would rather eat all of the ingredients in their natural state, which of course, is a good thing!
  • I made several smoothies, including an amazing mango & nectarine concoction.  I used plain greek yogurt in my smoothies for a protein boost, and only a little honey occasionally if I wanted any extra sweetness.
  • I took a multi-vitamin every day.
  • We always buy whole grain bread anyway, so that was already done.

Last night I found out that a very good friend of mine was diagnosed with early diabetes.  She’s going to have to eat better and exercise more if she wants to keep that at bay.  My mom has the same thing, and her mother was diabetic.  I could easily slip down that path if I’m not careful.  I’m 37; I can’t eat whatever I want with no consequences.  This week was not just an experiment, it was the beginning of a healthy way of life!

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Arlington Woman Named “America’s Most Deserving Mom”

18 May

Check out the link below for the story of Carol Daley, warrior mom of an autistic child.  She just won big for being a tireless advocate for her son’s health!


Yoginos: Yoga for Youth Family Yoga

16 May

Family Yoga in the Galleries at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, Every Tuesday from 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM

$15 for public, $10 for Crow Collection members, FREE for Wellness members

Yogiños: Yoga for Youth® is an OHMazing™ trilingual children’s yoga program that weaves original music, games, stories, and sensory integrated activities to align, bodies, minds, hearts, and art both on and off the yoga mat! Children as young as 2 years old and their favorite adult can join certified yoga instructors for engaging parent and child yoga sessions in the galleries. Space is limited, mats are provided. For more information, call 214 979 6438.

The Crow Collection of Asian Art is located in Dallas at 2010 Flora Street (between Harwood & Olive).  For the website, click here.

The Easter Bunny Killed My New Year’s Resolution: Detoxing from Too Much Sweet Stuff!

3 May

I am the same pitiful sugar addict who entered 2011 with such high hopes of taming her lifelong sweet tooth. This week, I blame the Easter Bunny, who brought pounds of chocolate to the Martin household this April. The fact that my 5-year-old son asks “what’s for dessert” before we’ve sat down to dinner makes me know I’ve passed along my carb cravings to him, too. Ugh.

But it’s a new month—and I’m planning on dusting off my New Year’s Resolution and giving it another go.

So why am I hating on sugar so much? Last year, I read this newsletter from Gwyneth Paltrow’s “GOOP,” and I knew my long-term health required kicking the habit. Here are excerpts from the post, which may resonate with you as much as it does me. (For the full post, visit http://www.goop.com.)

Overcoming Sugar Addiction

In the past generation we’ve seen the amount of sugar we consume grow exponentially. Until recently, we had been eating sugar mainly found naturally in foods. It was used as a treat or in small quantities and was never a problem. But today, over a third of the calories we consume come from sugar or white flour, which is highly refined and acts just like sugar in our system. Our bodies cannot cope with such an enormous load. Sugar gives you an initial high, then you crash, then you crave more, so you consume more sugar. It’s this series of highs and lows that provoke unnecessary stress on your adrenals. You get anxious, moody (sugar is a mood-altering drug) and eventually you feel exhausted.

Sugar is also associated with many chronic problems that include decreased immunity, some chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, pain syndromes, irritable bowel syndrome, ADD, chronic fatigue, and candida. Research suggests that one of the main causes for decreased immunity is that sugars inhibit the entrance of Vitamin C into white blood cells, which then inhibits immunity. The more sugar, the less productive your white blood cells are and thus, the less immune you are. Furthermore, sugars stimulate insulin secretion in the pancreas, which in turn stimulates the liver’s triglyceride production. Triglycerides are linked to stroke, heart disease and obesity. The list goes on and on. This week, Dr. Frank Lipman provides us with all the info on how to curb a sugar addiction.


What we should know about sugar from Dr. Frank Lipman:

As a serious sugar addict still struggling with my “addiction” I know first hand how difficult it is to get off sugar, and to stay off it. Part of the reason it’s so hard to kick the habit is that over time our brains actually become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugar consumption. Much like the classic drugs of abuse such as cocaine, alcohol and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override one’s self-control and lead to addiction.

One study out of France, presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, showed that when rats (who metabolize sugar much like we do) were given the choice between water sweetened with saccharin and intravenous cocaine, 94% chose the saccharin water. When the water was sweetened with sucrose (sugar), the same preference was observed—the rats overwhelmingly chose the sugar water. When the rats were offered larger doses of cocaine, it did not alter their preference for the saccharin or sugar water. Even rats addicted to cocaine, switched to sweetened water when given the choice. In other words, intense sweetness was more rewarding to the brain than cocaine.

The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction to include three stages: bingeing, withdrawal and craving. Until recently, the rats had only met two of the elements of addiction, bingeing and withdrawal. But recent experiments by Princeton University scientist, Professor Bart Hoebel, and his team showed craving and relapse as well. By showing that excess sugar led not only to bingeing and withdrawal, but to cravings for sweets as well, the final critical component of addiction fell into place and completed the picture of sugar as a highly addictive substance.

In stark contrast to this clinical assessment is the fact that, for most of us, “something sweet” is a symbol of love and nurturance. As infants, our first food is lactose, or milk sugar. Later on, well-intended parents (me included) reward children with sugary snacks, giving them a “treat,” turning a biochemically harmful substance into a comfort food. We become conditioned to need something sweet to feel complete or satisfied, and continue to self-medicate with sugar as adults, using it to temporarily boost our mood or energy. But as any addict knows, one quick fix soon leaves you looking for another—each hit of momentary satisfaction comes with a long-term price.

Here are some tips to help you cope with sugar cravings:

Eat regularly. Eat three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day. For many people, if they don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks.

Choose whole foods. The closer a food is to its original form, the less processed sugar it will contain. Food in its natural form, including fruits and vegetables, usually presents no metabolic problems for a normal body, especially when consumed in variety.

Have a breakfast of protein, fat and phytonutrients to start your day off right. Breakfast smoothies are ideal for this. The typical breakfast full of carbs and sugary or starchy foods is the worst option since you’ll have cravings all day. Eating a good breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings.

Try to incorporate protein and/or fat with each meal. This helps control blood sugar levels. Make sure they are healthy sources of each.

Take a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement, Vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids. Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse and the fewer nutrient deficiencies, the fewer cravings. Certain nutrients seem to improve blood sugar control including chromium, Vitamin B3 and magnesium.

Move your body. Exercise, dance or do some yoga. Whatever movement you enjoy will help reduce tension, boost your energy and decrease your need for a sugar lift.

Get enough sleep. When we are tired we often use sugar for energy to counteract the exhaustion.

Don’t substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar.

Become familiar with sugar terminology. Recognize that all of these are sweeteners: corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, molasses, turbinado sugar and brown sugar.

Sugar in disguise. Remember that most of the “complex” carbohydrates we consume like bread, bagels and pasta aren’t really complex at all. They are usually highly refined and act just like sugars in the body and are to be avoided.

If you follow these guidelines, perhaps you’ll be able to have an occasional “treat.” Be realistic with yourself and remember that a slip is not a failure. Don’t get down on yourself if you slip, just dust yourself off and get back in the saddle. However, if even just a little causes you to lose control, then it’s best to stay away from it completely. And my ultimate tip for sugar-free bliss is to remind ourselves to find and pursue “sweet satisfaction” in nourishing experiences other than food.

Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC and the author of REVIVE; Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again (2009) and TOTAL RENEWAL; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).

Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA

14 Apr

Come to any of the Arlington YMCA branches on Saturday, April 16 from 10 am to 1 pm for Healthy Kids Day!  It’s a day for parents to share the gift of good health with their children – have fun with games, activities, demonstrations, and more.  You don’t have to be a member of the YMCA to attend – it’s open to the public and it’s FREE!

In Arlington, the YMCA has 3 locations:

Central – 2200 S. Davis Street

Cooper – 7120 S. Cooper Street

North – 100 Skyline Drive

For more information, visit their website by clicking here.

Continuing Education

29 Mar

Whether intentional or not, most moms I know seek out some sort of continuing ed.  Reading parenting books and blogs; posing pointed questions to a pediatrician and researching topics; and a good heart-to-heart with a fellow mother all count to my way of thinking.  Even careful observation in the grocery store—scrutinizing the methods a fellow mom uses to corral a trio of toddlers with enviable ease—can yield useful nuggets.  I’m the first to admit I borrow “best practices” from everywhere where I can, adapting them to my own maternal repertoire.

On Saturday, April 9, Jen and I are participating in a more formalized type of training at the Project Mom summit in Fort Worth.  The day-long conference includes motivational speakers, in-depth break-out sessions on everything from children’s health to growing confident kids to talking about the birds and the bees with your offspring (gasp—I’ve signed up for that one!).

Go to www.projmom.com for the scoop. Hope to see you there!

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