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So it seems that people either love rhubarb or actively despise it. I’m one of the rhubarb lovers and have been happily stewing rhubarb for the past few days. I’m the only one in my household who likes it, so, all the more for me! Here’s how I make it:

Go in the backyard with a knife and hack off 3 stalks from our plant lovingly named “Ruby”. My kids make me apologise each time I cut her up. Jeepers. You can also buy stalks of rhubarb at the grocery store or farmers’ market.

Wash off the stalks then chop them up in 1/2 inch slices.

Throw them into a saucepan and pour a small amount of water into the pot. Just enough to cover the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t burn. Not enough to cover the rhubarb.

Turn the stove top onto minimum heat and cover the chopped rhubarb.

Get distracted by the millions of things.

Recall that I’m cooking rhubarb when it starts to smell delicious. I think a better way to do this would be to time it. So let’s say after 20 min, check on the rhubarb and give it a stir.

Add honey. You can add 1 tsp if you like it tart or 1 Tbsp if you like it sweeter.

When is it done? When you stir the rhubarb and it all falls apart into a stringy sweet gooey mess, it’s done.

You can add it to granola, toast, ice cream, whatever you like. Or eat it out of the pot.

Rhubarb is very high in fibre and high in vitamin K and contains vitamin C.

Enjoy!img_1382.jpeg

 

 

 

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Here is the link to the Environmental Working Group’s guide on sunscreens for kids:

https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/best-kids-sunscreens/

Hope it helps!

Kim

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Here is the link to the Environmental Working Group’s list of moisturizers with sunscreen – the good and not good.  As a sunscreen hater, I’m doing my best to cover up with non-rashy, non icky sunscreens myself.  I’m finding the one by the Body Shop easiest to find and not too icky.  Good luck to you!

Moisurizer with Sunscreen

And here is the link to list of sunscreens which aren’t bad according to their criteria.  I’m still using Badger for me kids and while it’s pretty icky, they’re both tolerating it.  Phew!

Sunscreens

Hope you’re enjoying the summer!

Kim

 

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I’m a big believer that kids want to do what feels good for their bodies but, let’s face it, sometimes things taste bad or feel icky.  Here are excerpts from an email from a mom who read my previous blog post, “Natural Remedies for Acute Cough”, and the game she and her boys played to fight those viruses!

Here’s the email:

Thanks for the call yesterday. I’ll let you know as soon as we get in to see the MD. In the meantime, this should make you smile.

Picture the kids and I sitting with mugs of tea in hand.
“This is a new tea that will help to kick the last of your coughs out of your chest.” says I bravely, knowing that the crushed garlic and honey water will most likely be rejected.
The 5 year old willingly takes the first sip… “ooooh it’s spicy!” he says wrinkling his nose

The 7 year old looks at his cup suspiciously…

I frantically cast my mind about, searching for strategies… and then I remember the beginning of your blog post!

“We’re going to play a game – the ‘Take That’ game!” I say triumphantly.

Now everyone is listening…

“Think of something in you body that is bugging you and/or makes you feel unhealthly and take a big sip of tea and yell ‘TAKE THAT'”

Needless to say they were hooked immediately (the yelling was an important component of the game) and the garlic tea disappeared in mere seconds.  Long after the tea was gone they continued gleefully verbally abusing their coughs, itchy bums, runny noses, etc.

Thank you!

So, here’s to a rousing game of “TAKE THAT!” for all of you.  No more colds, flus, viruses, bacteria, worms, lice, whatever!

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1.  EAT VEGETABLES.

It seems so obvious, doesn’t it?  Before I was a mom, I thought my kids would eat 10+ servings of organic fruits and veggies every day.  I was sure they’d grow up thinking kale was wonderful and broccoli delightful.  Well, of course, I was wrong.

I do find that they consume more veggies using these tricks:

  • cutting veggies into fun shapes eg. carrot circles for eyes, red pepper slices for eye brows spinach for hair, beets for ears
  • playing “who can make the loudest crunch”
  • adding dips (hummus, balsamic vinegar and olive oil)
  • making smoothies with veggies or greens powder
  • blending veggies in soups
  • making vegetable based baked goods like pumpkin bread and zucchini cookies

And, while processed “kid food” cuts out vegetables all together, most children will eat a few veggies if they know the veggies help kill germs that cause colds and coughs.  It’s a treat when a child comes for a follow up visit bursting to tell me that they’ve been eating green beans or swiss chard!

2.  AVOID PROCESSED SUGAR.

Sugar slows down the white blood cells responsible for attacking bacteria.  Once again, I find that kids make great choices when they understand the reasoning.  If you eat sugar, you’re more likely to get sick.  And stay sick longer.  Keeping sweets as treats for once in while helps the body stay strong to fight infections.  You can read labels with your children to check if there is added sugar.  For example, I never remember which tomato sauce is free from added sugar.  The kids love reminding me.

Click here for a link to video of a white blood cell engulfing some bacteria.  The bacteria are the little dark ovals in clusters.  The white blood cell overtakes them in a process called phagocytosis.  My kids love to cheer for the white blood cell.  And we talk about what foods will make it strong and fast.  We boo for which foods will slow it down.

3.  EAT HONEY.
Honey contains antimicrobial properties that help the body fight infections.  It has been shown to be an effective alternative to pharmaceutical cough syrup and topical antimicrobial for burns.  It soothes sore throats and helps prevent viral and bacterial infections from taking hold.  Local honey is best and the less processed, the better.  Babies under the age of 1 year should not consume honey.

4.  SLEEP.
Again, I was certain, pre-children, that mine would go to bed early, sleep peacefully, and generally regulate themselves with rest.  Hilarious.  Home from after school care / daycare, dinner, homework, reading, bathing, lice prevention combing, after school playdates and activities – it’s next to impossible to fit it all in.  As parents, we need to be mindful that children need loads of sleep.  Not only to recharge their bodies to fight infections, but also to dream away stresses of the day, to process new skills, and to recalibrate all kinds of systems of the body.  If any of these jobs are not completed, the child becomes more susceptible to colds and flus.  I enjoyed this recent article from the Globe and Mail about back to school sleep routines.  I, myself, must remember that bedtime is non-negotiable.  And earlier is better.  (Grown-ups take note for yourselves as well!)

5.  SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WITH HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS.
There are so many helpful herbs and supportive supplements to help the body fight colds and flus quickly and efficiently.  Some herbs you can add to foods include: garlic, tumeric, cumin, oregano, basil, onion.  Deeply therapeutic herbs to support the immune system include: Astragalas, Codonopsis, Eleuthrococcus, Elderberry, Yarrow, Mullein.  These are wonderful for children but best taken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner (ie – naturopathic doctor or herbalist).  Some supplements that help children’s immunity include: fish oils, vitamin C, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc.  Again, best to check with a practitioner for dosages and strengths.

Here’s to a healthy fall season for your children!  (And you too!)

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A recent study looked at the relationship between SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) and weight gain, waist circumference, BMI, blood sugar, cholesterol levels.  Each SSRI affected these markers for health with Paxil increasing each of them after only 16 weeks.

These medications increase the serotonin available to the brain and body by interrupting the mechanism that breaks down this neurotransmitter.  Now, we know that serotonin plays a part in mood, inhibition, satiation, as well as in digestion and sleep.  It also affects how sugar is metabolized or modified in the body.

Metabolic syndrome is a diagnosis used to describe the following symptoms which increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

  • central obesity (weight gain in the abdominal area)
  • dyslipidemia (messed up triglycerides and cholesterol)
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased fasting blood glucose

So, this study raises lots of questions about the relationship between SSRI’s and cardiovascular and diabetes risks.

One of the reasons I think naturopathic medicine is so important is that it can work to moderate the side effects of medications without messing up the therapeutic effects of that medication.  Sometimes pharmaceuticals are necessary and important and naturopathic therapies can mediate the ill effects.  Sometimes there may be effective alternatives to the pharmaceuticals so the patient may bypass the ill effects entirely.

In the case of SSRI’s, weight gain, increased BMI, high triglycerides and cholesterol there are many naturopathic changes that will help.  Nutritional supplements, diet changes, herbal remedies, acupuncture – all are effective in treating these worrisome changes in the body caused by SSRI’s.

And, of course, there are safe and effective naturopathic remedies to treat depression and anxiety.

Thinking further about this study, I’ve noticed in my practice that children who take SSRI’s gain weight around their middle, crave sweets and simple carbs, and usually decrease their exercise.  All indicators that the metabolism is not functioning optimally and that their blood sugar may be going awry.  There don’t seem to be studies about metabolic changes with SSRI’s in children, but, well, I’m thinking about it.

Here is the link to the study, if you’re interested in having a better look.  And please do comment if you’re interested in a discussion.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23798963

Here’s to healthy mental, emotional, and physical health!

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The Environmental Working Group has come out with it’s recommendations.  Click here to check their evaluated list of sunscreens.

Also check this link to read about a few more don’ts for sunscreen.

Each year my older, very fair skinned and super sensitive daughter and I do a variety of patch tests on each of our forearms and check the results.  This year, Badger did not give her a rash (me? – big rash) and ranked highly on the EWG’s list.  Sounds great, right?

Well, since she is super sensitive, she hates the feel of the sunscreen on her skin.  She hates the scent (unscented) and she hates the lumps.  I must say, I can’t really blame her.  I also eschew sunscreen and, full disclosure, avoid it as often as I can.

I wrote a couple of years ago about things I’ve tried to get the sunscreen onto her skin with no screaming (herself and myself) and in a decent amount of time.  (You can read that post by scrolling down.) Well, a few of them work now that she’s 7.  We have reason and understanding consequences on our side now.  Still, though, while the other kid slathers on any old sunscreen without rash or squirm, the elder kid, has a hard time indeed.

So, dear readers, if you have any suggestions at all, please do leave a comment.

Here’s to a safe and skin-happy summer!

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