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October 2018-Building Fun and Traditions

Halloween Witch10-18Meet Gilda the Silly Witch…at least that is what I affectionately call her!  I saw her while travelling through Maine one day this fall and I couldn’t help but laugh and enjoyed the silliness of the moment!!

Don’t you just love the fall, it is full of fun and silliness, especially when it comes to Halloween and fall activities!  From apple and pumpkin picking, to hikes in the woods when the leaves are turning colors to dressing up in a costume to go Halloween Trick or Treating!  Oh, Mama’s to be a kid again and have the freedom to just be, enjoy, try on your favorite character for a night and then there is the candy!! 🙂  We all enjoyed our candy!

As parents, sometimes in celebrating with our kids it can bring us back to the fun and outrageous times we had growing up!   Do you remember your favorite costume?  I do remember being a witch one year and I loved it….I was a Salada tea bag another year and wore my favorite silly quote!!!  Having fun and being silly is just as important for our kids as eating healthy, brushing the teeth and getting their rest….it is part of setting good neural connections in the brain and good habits of being!

So on Halloween, our neighborhoods become places for lots of fun and joy for our kids.   Half the fun for our kids is thinking about what character they want to be and knowing that Mom or Dad will be making or buying a “new gift” for them to enjoy!!…Spiderman, Arielle the Mermaid, a Ninja, a Princess….it brings a smile just thinking about the Trick or Treaters knocking on the door shouting “Trick or Treat”, full of energy and excitement for the surprise that awaits them in the candy basket!!!!   It is the one time in the year when my daughter and I would dump the candy out on the livingroom rug and indulge without guilt whatever candy she (or I) wanted to eat!  As kids, it is so important to have family and cultural traditions that create fun and treasured memories.  They last a lifetime and give life meaning and pleasure!

What traditions do you create in your family?  What silly moments do you have for the holidays?   What fun do you and your kids look forward to throughout the year?  You may have some that you want to share on the Facebook, “Beyond Cancer Survival Page”.  We all need fun in life, especially our kids.  Hope you feel comfortable to share your own creative ideas for FUN!!  Above all, wishing you lots of JOY, FUN and SILLINESS this Halloween!

To your Good, Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.!

 

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September 2018-Connecting with Nature

Polyface Farm chicks7-18September is the season for the kids going back to school, students starting or returning to college or graduate school and parents to design a new schedule for the academic year.  While it can be very hectic, it can also be a wonderful season of new beginnings as we carve out a brand new schedule for the year!  It is often a season when the days are warm and nights increasingly cooler or frankly cold at times.  The leaves are changing color, the animals are preparing for the winter and collecting their seeds, nuts, acorns, etc to make it through another winter  season.  It is also a favorite time to visit farms, go apple and pumpkin picking, go on hay rides and pick up a favorite jar of honey or apple cider!

Polyface Farm piggies7-18Connecting with nature is a wonderful way to appreciate the amazing treasures of our planet and our environment!  The Cycle of Life, the miracle of birth, the rhythms of our planet, ecosystem and universe.  The way that we take care of our environment and our food system is a reflection of our overall health.  Healthy, Happy Pigs; Healthy, Happy Chickens; Healthy, Happy Cows; Health, Happy People!!!  It is that simple!!!!

In his classic book, “Folks this Ain’t Normal” by Joel Salatin he reminds us that the food system we have developed in the later half of the twentieth century is not only not normal but not good for our health!  To be healthier, we need to return to the wisdom of our grandparents and great grandparents who respected the earth, grew local, often fresh, organic, sustainably in their own backyards to produce, whole, nutrient-dense fresh fruits and vegetables.  Every part of the ecosystem of the soil, the bugs, the worms, the animals, the crops are dependent on each other for a healthier soil, plant, egg, animal and environment.  So as you begin your new academic year, I hope that you will take the time to reflect about the quality of food that you want for yourself and your family.  Go out, connect with nature, visit a farm, pet a few cows, chickens and pigs, buy some fresh fruits, veggies, herbs and meats from the farm!  Come home and create a meal together with your kids.  It can be a great way to connect our kids to the food they eat and build an appreciation of the value of taking good care of our food system for our own benefit!  As a bonus you can create really fun memories for your kids!

To your Good, Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S. Parenting!

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August 2018-Taking Time to Renew

Book-Make ImpossiblePossible11-18August is a wonderful month to take a deep breath and recover from the busyness of the year before the new academic year begins!  I love this month, like many parents, as it is the last time for a year when we have more time as parents for ourselves and just being present with our kids.  So often as our kids are growing up, there are so many activities such as homework, sports, music lessons and recitals, not to mention the responsibilities of work and life, that being a parent can seem overwhelming at sometimes.  August is a great month to relax a bit more, review the year and prepare anew for the next.

Hey Moms and Dads, wouldn’t it be great if everything went smoothly…life is rarely like that though and so in that light, I wanted to share with you a favorite book that is inspiring, full of wisdom and a true account of one man’s quest to achieve a goal which felt out of reach.  The book, as seen above, is called, “Make the Impossible Possible”.  It is a gem and one that brings so much hope and can “prepare the soil of our minds and spirits” to reach for the life of our dreams!   This is important because when our kids see that we have a dream and we work towards, and reach our dreams by role modeling for them, then it allows them to reach for their dreams too!!

Written by Bill Strickland, he shares how his own life growing up poor was transformed by a teacher who believed in him, mentored him and encouraged him to go to college.   He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and dreamed of running an Arts Job Training Program for life-challenged adults and an after school arts program for at risk youth.  He had a passion for this and many could not see how this program could be funded or be manifested.  Bill Strickland believed in his dream, focused on creative ways to start and maintain this school, and kept a positive and persistent attitude everyday while networking with the elite of Pittsburgh.  He eventually was able to receive the funding for the Manchester Craftsman Guild and the Bidwell Training Center as CEO and founder.  Bill helped to inspire kids who were living in poverty so that 90% completed high school and 85% went on to college!

Bill’s story will inspire you whether rich, poor or middle class, ill or well, because his message is universal and easily transferred into other life lessons.  His basic message is that nothing is impossible if we have the courage, vision and persistence to reach for the doors to our dreams…we need to visualize it, feel it and believe in it!  I hope that you enjoy this book for the wisdom it shares for our kids!!

To your Good, Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.!!!!

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July 2018-Thrive on Five

Farmers Market8-14 Farmers Market2.8-14

 

 

 

 

 

July is a wonderful month for eating whole, fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables.  I remember as a child growing up on Cape Cod, my mom would take all of us to the back roads of Truro early in the morning so that we could pick wild, ripening blueberries off the bush to eat for breakfast.  My mom always made an adventure out of it!  We had the music cranked up with some rock and roll song, we would be singing along, bee bopping as my mom drove the car to the infamous spot where we were sure to find a plentiful supply of blueberries!  We would all jump out of the car and run for the bushes and start picking.  Of course, we couldn’t help but eat some along the way as we each filled our buckets!  When my mom decided we had enough for what she had in mind to bake, we then piled back into the car and away we went back home so that my mom could start making fresh blueberry pancakes, muffins and the classic blueberry pie for my dad, his favorite!!

Those are some of my sweetest memories as a child.  We all need sweet memories and it helps to form good nutritional habits to incorporate into those sweet memories with healthful, great tasting natural and wholesome real food!   Today, there is a whole new movement in our country for sustainability, growing local, going organic, from Farm to Table!  It is a wonderful trend and our kids will greatly benefit from the colorful fresh fruits and veggies that growing bodies need to develop well for the long term.  So as you go about your days this summer, and especially on vacation, try one adventure with your kids that is fun, fresh, wholesome and creates great memories with super foods like blueberries!

Five Ideas for Wholesome Adventures with your kids:

1. Go picking at a berry farm (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) and make a berry breakfast bowl out of it.

2.  Make a trail mix from organic almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and great chocolate bits and then go for a hike!

3.  Make your own peanut butter or almond butter using whole organic almonds or peanuts with a food processor or blender.  Then create ants on a log by spreading the peanut or almond butter on a celery stick and top off with raisins or craisins!

4.  Make a dish for dinner called the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, a Mollie Katzen special-this was a favorite of my daughter when she was in elementary school.  We would gently cook the broccoli just until it was bright green and then cut the stalks lengthwise to make trees out of them and stick them into a rice foundation in a casserole dish.  The rice can be white, jasmine or brown rice mixed with mozzarella cheese and an beaten egg.  Add  spices to taste and bake in the oven @325 for half an hour.  It is great way to add fun to cooking and to put a positive spin on broccoli (loaded with phytonutrients such as the antioxidants lutein and sulforaphane as well as magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc!

5.  Go to a Farmers Market and gather vegetables and fruit such as carrots, beets and apples as well as many others you would enjoy!  Come home and make your own juicer or smoothie in a Blender, NutriBullet or Vitamix (or similar product).  This is a great way for kids to get their nutrients without realizing the veggies inside!  Another favorite of my daughter’s was the carrot, beet, apple juicer on saturday morning!  Have a toast to “Peter Rabbit” when done and drink up!!

Bunnies.6-18

 

 

 

 

 

So here is to your Good, Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.!!!! 🙂

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June 2018-Celebrating Cancer Survivorship Month and Those Making a Difference

KathySullivanJune is a Special Month.  We get to Celebrate Cancer Survivorship Month!  Our world is in the process of transformation, I am sure that you have noticed and can feel it too!!  There is so much energy on this planet now.  It is in transition so not all of it feels comfortable but it is changing and is moving towards a new Paradigm that is even better!  We are developing newer treatments to help people to live with cancer better and longer as well as ways to prevent some cancers.  So this month, I wanted to share with all of you someone who I have admired as an Amazing Role Model for Being their Best, Doing their Best and Surviving Well as a Cancer Survivorship Champion!

I wanted to share with you my cousin and Most Amazing Role Model that I know for being a Cancer Survivorship All Star!!  Kathy McCarthy Sullivan is a beautiful, bright, humorous and fun loving cousin.  She has a gift for fashion and design with a mindset for Dreambuilding!  Kathy was originally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in the summer of 1969 at the age of 15.  At the time, we never spoke about cancers, especially Pediatric cancers.  Kathy went thru 21 Cobalt-60 treatments at Mass General Hospital. As her aunt had recently died of breast cancer, Kathy was never told that she had Hodgkin’s until her early 20’s just before her wedding day because, at that time, it was common in our culture not to tell kids and it was felt better not to worry them about their diagnoses, as many of them would die of their disease!   We have come a long way since then with improved survival and being more open and honest with people’s diagnoses!  Kathy went on to become one of the few at that time who would survive her cancer!  That was her first miracle!

Kathy 3Kathy got married to Richie Sullivan and they created a great life together building a family and having 3 beautiful children:  Kelley, Ryan and Brendon!!   Since then Kathy has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and had triple bypass surgery for  heart disease that was a long term complication of her treatment.  She has survived them all with a full life, humor and grace.  It hasn’t always been easy but Kathy always spins some humor into every situation and these events have been no different!  She and her husband Richie live a charmed life on Cape Cod, overlooking Cape Cod Bay and are now enjoying their grandchildren!  She believes that  “environmental exposures that damage DNA” contributed to her Hodgkin’s and that the radiation therapy that she received along with great doctors, nursing staff, family, friends and faith helped her with her healing and her ability to Live for the last 50 years  with her 3 other miracle’s.  She is an Amazing Champion Cancer Survivor!!

I think that you will agree that Kathy is a Great Role Model of W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S. for herself as well as for her family.  As Kathy said, “there are many family members who support you along the way” so they also, in essence, become Survivors.  We honor Kathy and her family this month for her Example as a True Champion of Health and Wish both she and her family the Best for Cancer Survivorship Month!  Let us honor and treasure the 15.5 Million Courageous and Brave Cancer Survivors in the US today, their family members and all those Living Every Day to be their Best!

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May 2018-Celebrating Mothers who are Making a Difference

I Love the Month of May!   As a Mom, every day is Mother’s Day because being a Mom is the BEST  and no one can explain how Amazing and Overwhelming the feelings are until one has actually held that baby.  There is nothing else like it!!  Hey Mom’s, I think that we could also acknowledge that it is a very challenging role too!!  You dedicate your life to your kids and your family and there are days when it does truly feel overwhelming and quite a challenge!!  Mom’s have a unique role as the Health Manager, Coach, Organizer, Life Educator and Chief Bottle Washer of the Home!  Today, Dad’s do alot too to help but it seems that Mom’s, for the most part, are still greatly responsible for the kids.   When one is faced with cancer, the stress of being there to oversee our kids lives and growth can become even more intense.  So this month, I wanted to share with all of you 3 Mom’s Living Well with Cancer who I have admired as Amazing Role Models for Being their Best, Doing their Best and Surviving Well after Breast Cancer!

Christy Flory4-18First, is my dear friend of over 35 years, Christy Flory, who was diagnosed with stage 1 Breast Cancer in 2017.   We first met as young Oncology Nurses in Boston together…youth is a wonderful thing and looking back, Christy was always someone with a big smile, a warm heart, lots of positive energy and an encouraging presence on our floor!!  Being bright and energetic, Christy quickly moved on to becoming a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner and she provided personalized, energetic and excellent care to her patients.   With time, Christy would find her soulmate, Peter, and they are a great team devoting their energies to raising their daughter, Grace.

As Christy will attest, however, life is full of unexpected events, and last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It is much different being on the other side of the virtual patient bed however.  It is never easy, and always a shock to hear that one has Cancer; as a Health Care Provider, it can be even more of a shock!   After her diagnosis, Christy quickly mobilized her supports as she navigated the road to treatment and spent the next 6 months undergoing treatment all while caring for her 12 year old daughter, Grace!  She always interjected humor into the situation and is now living her life one day at a time, having completed her treatment!  Christy believes that genetics (her Mom and identical twin also had BC) contributed to her Breast Cancer.  She also believes that continuing Small Group Weight/Cardio Training three times per week during Chemo and after surgery, and walking 10,000-15,000 steps per day has helped in her recovery and also to remain healthy and work towards healing every day!  She has also found that being involved as a Survivor Offering Support (SOS) at her local hospital, and coaching/educating women via Breast Cancer Facebook Support Groups is therapeutic and healing for her.  BEATABLE and TREATABLE is her motto!  Being a true Champion of Good Health and Good Humor, Christy THANKS Breast Cancer for giving her an excuse to COLOR her HAIR a rich auburn red color…something she has always wanted to do but never did!! 🙂

Kara Galvin5-18Second, is my dear friend Kara Galvin whom I met through her work as a Certified Health and Wellness Coach.  Kara is a bundle of energy as she coordinates working not only as a Health Coach, Adult Yoga Teacher, and Children’s Yoga Teacher as well as a Full Time Mom of a 3 year old!!  She inspires women to “Eat Clean”, de-stress thru “Yoga” and get exercise thru the Family Hikes that she is organizing for her community over the summer!  I have seen Kara go thru a Transformation in the last year or two and she is an Amazing Role Model for other Mom’s who are trying to find the balance between work, being a Mom and Managing one’s own Good Health!!  Kara believes that decades of being a workaholic, too much processed foods and not enough self care contributed to her cancer diagnosis. To heal, she embraced as many healing modalities as possible including Yoga, Meditation, reiki, nature therapy and a complete re-prioritizing of her life. She quit her corporate job to become an entrepreneur in the health and wellness field.   As Kara told me, “Cancer helped me to slow down and remember what’s really important: my faith, my health and my family & friends.  Career had to take a back seat and her health and family were a major focus of her life.   Kara describes that her husband, Dave, was her rock during treatment. As she says, “My husband did lots of hand holding and serious talks about treatment decisions at wee hours of the morning”.   Check out her websites at:   https://nopicklesplease.com and www.bStillCounseling.com

 

An-Thanh PhamThird, is my dear friend, An-Thanh Pham whom I have known for over 25 years. She was originally from Hue, the city that was once the imperial city and capital of Vietnam. She first set sites on the United States when she was 13 years old.  In college, she met her now husband, Chau Pham, and they have been a team for 28 years! They were blessed with two children that are now young adults.   An-Thanh was my dental hygienist in Connecticut.  She was one of the THE BEST dental hygienists I have ever had.  She was so astute, so kind and gentle!  For quite a while, we tended to live near each other out of coincidence.  When my daughter was young, An-Thanh and her family would take care of my daughter at times when I had to work on the weekends. I always knew that my daughter was in great hands with them and their two children— they practically grew up together.  An-Thanh is a very smart, athletic person; she has a true gift and passion for gardening.  Her latest project was creating a Japanese Garden with her husband in their backyard!!!

Even though An-Thanh has led a healthy and active lifestyle, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer (IDC) three years ago. She still considered herself lucky, nevertheless, to have had it detected early and that the treatments were not as involved. During treatments and recovery, however, she made it her goal to nourish her body with an even more wholesome diet in order to continue with another passion, playing tennis. Eating less red meat and processed foods; opting for more wild caught fish, fresh and organically grown vegetables. She has also made healthy eating a priority for her whole family.  An-Thanh and her family not only believe in a healthy diet but also a fair amount of exercise to truly stay healthy and strong. They are regulars at their local gym, and they keep it interesting by doing a variety of exercises. Anything from swimming to indoor cycling, some weights, yoga and tennis. On days when the weather is nice, they take long bike rides or walks!  An-Thanh has always struck me as an authentic person who is energetic, humorous, positive and adaptable to the circumstances of life.  She is now a 3 year Survivor of Breast Cancer.  Having been in Vietnam during the war, she feels that the environment, being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam1, may have contributed to her breast cancer and feels that a positive outlook on life, a healthy and active lifestyle as well as the support of her family have contributed to her healing.

I think you will agree that these 3 Moms are Great Role Models of W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S. for themselves as well as their families.  We honor them this month for their Example as True Champions of Health and Wish Them the Best Mother’s Day!

 

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April 2018-Champions for Change!

This month I wanted to highlight two more people that are doing wonderful work on  Nutritional and Environmental issues.  As my patients have taught me so well, what we are knowingly or unknowingly exposed to in the environment or in our food and what we choose to eat for food can have a huge impact on keeping us well OR increasing our risks for cancer.  Both of these women are leading by example, working every day on positive changes to the Environmental exposures and Creative solutions for good nutrition to  advocate for Indigenous Peoples in the States as well as in Hawaii!

Indigikitchen-Mariah GladstoneThe first person I want to highlight this month is Mariah Gladstone. I first saw Mariah when she testified before Senator Tom Udall at an Oversight hearing regarding Native American Agribusiness as the Senate and Congress prepared for Reauthorization of the Farm Bill.   She is a bright and energetic 24 year old from Montana who is a member of the Blackfeet and Cherokee nations.    Mariah is a 2015 Environmental Engineering graduate of Columbia University and one of 5 Native American Youth recognized as a Champion of Change in 2017.   She is so articulate and a strong advocate for Environment, Sustainability and Food Sovereignty.  This is so important as we know too well that Nutrition is Key to Good Health.  What I was shocked to learn, is that despite the fact that connection with Mother Earth and consumption of whole food is an intricate part of the heart and soul of Native American cultures, many Native peoples have been denied the opportunity to eat wholesome, culturally based food, leaving many malnourished and at high risk of chronic diseases.  Mariah is set on changing this situation.   She has her own online cooking show, Indigikitchen, about Native foods and cooking to bring wholesome alternatives and healthy food to Indigenous people and others interested in really fun and delicious food!  Check out her Creative, Nutritious and Delicious recipes at www.Indigikitchen.com or on Facebook at Indigikitchen…her recipe, Nested Elk, looks Amazing!!!   She is one to follow and a True Champion for Change!

Terri NapeahiSecond, is my dear friend Terri Napeahi who is an Indigenous Hawaiian, and has been a Champion for Environmental Advocacy for all in Hawaii for the last 6 years.   This year, she is running as a Hawaiian State Representative in the Big Island.  I first met Terri when I was lost on the Western Side of the Island and needed to get back to Hilo but needed to go up and over the highway along Mauna Kea, the 13,800 foot mountain.  OMG…Being afraid of heights, I was sure glad to find that Terri was willing to show me how to drive over this mountain pass and back to Hilo without hesitation!  This is Terri’s nature and she is a steady advocate for Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Good Health. She is like an eagle, very bright and visionary, constantly on the look out to help those in need, coming up with better strategies and solutions  to provide a healthful environment and advocating for those who are more vulnerable in our society.  Working with those with cancer has given me a unique perspective on health.  Today, more than ever before, our environment is linked intricately with our basic health and that of future generations.  A simple, clean and toxic-free environment is important for life long health and Terri is a tireless advocate for Environmental Sovereignty.  We need more people like Terri in this world today and one of those Champions of Change that is doing valuable work for the most vulnerable in our society!!

To your Good, Better and Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.  Like these 2 women above, I encourage you to develop your own ways of being a Champion for Change with your family, your kids and your community!!

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March 2018-Radical Remissions……

Book-Radical RemissionThis is my new favorite book!  I read it while I was on vacation and it is a gem I wanted to share with all in our Parenting Community.  Did you know that there are a number of people who have had life threatening and advanced cancers who have been able to attain life long remissions?  I have seen this in my own career as an Oncology Nurse/ Nurse Practitioner.  However, I never realized how often this can happen and the unique ways that people have been able to heal!

While I am not saying that this is possible for everyone or for the vast majority of people with cancer, what Kelly Turner PhD is documenting is that it IS possible and that it is very important to capture these Radical Remissions to understand them better for the benefit of all.   She has done extensive interviews and fact finding with people with cancer all over the world as well as the healers who help these individuals achieve remission.  She outlines the 9 Key Factors which seem to be a common thread in all of these Radical Remissions!  What is even more exciting is that she also has created a website, www.RadicalRemission.com for individuals to document their own Transformative and Healing Stories Her website has two sides:

**Those with a particular cancer looking for strategies that have been found to be helpful in achieving remission AND

**A platform for those who have achieved remission to document their own story and what factors they felt helped in their survival!!

I highly recommend you read these amazing stories of courage, resilience, persistance and survival in achieving Radical Remissions!   Many had to make Radical Transformations in their diet and decide that they were going to take control of their own health in unique and beneficial ways!   A fascinating and hopeful read on the power of the body to heal itself when the right conditions were created! Check it out!

To your Good, Better and Best Life Through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.!  Have a Blessed Spring!

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February 2018-Living a Heart-Centered Lifestyle!

AC bali cooking3-18This is me having fun and enjoying a cooking class in Bali, Indonesia!  I highly recommend vacationing there as the Balinese people have big smiles and warm hearts.  They are very community oriented and this is a tradition that we could learn alot from.  February is American Heart Health Month and for good reason!  It is easy to feel that cancer is happening to everyone around us.   The reality though is that Cardiovascular Disease, including heart attacks and strokes,  is the #1 cause of death not only in the US,  but also in the world and this is especially important for women!  So I wanted to share what we can do to keep our hearts healthy, in all ways, by reviewing a few strategies.

Many of us know that keeping our blood pressures low helps.  But as one with high blood pressure, how do we do that?  If your blood pressure is high one of the first things we can do is to keep our weight in the “ideal range”.  What is ideal for good health?  Check out this table and it will help guide you to your best weight for good health, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

On this note, the #2 strategy for heart health is to exercise!   One of the best kept secrets is that exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight.  I find that there are so many today who are engaging in healthy exercise….and this is Fantastic!!  If you do exercise regularly, you are having a great impact on your overall health!  Engaging in aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes per day, will not only keep you in better shape but also reduce the stress which pushes up those BP numbers.

#3 is to to Eat foods that lower blood pressure.  What are those foods?  They are foods rich in potassium(avocado, banana, spinach, sweet potato, salmon, pomegranate, coconut water, carrot juice), magnesium(spinach, swiss chard, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds), calcium(milk/yogurt/kefir, kale, sardines, broccoli and watercress) and fiber while keeping our fat intake and salt intake low which is part of the DASH (Diet Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.   Be aware that many foods naturally have sodium in them.  In fact, if you have a glass of milk and a tuna fish sandwich you have gotten all your sodium requirements for the day!  Imagine a bag of potato or tortilla chips..Oh My!

#4 is to keep alcohol intake low because alcohol can drive up blood pressure.  What does low or moderate mean?  More than you might think! For men, this means less than or equal to 2 drinks/day and for women 1 drink/day.  Alcoholic beverages have different amounts that are considered one drink.  Beer=12 oz; wine=5 oz; hard liquor=1.5 oz.  Of course, less is always better!!

#5 is to manage stress in your life.  This can be done in a variety of really fun ways: Yoga, Mindfulness Meditation,  Qigong, and Tai Chi.  One of the best ways to lower stress is to watch comedy.   Try Jimmie Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, Roy Wood Jr or Al Madrigal on a daily basis-it just may fix your blood pressure!!!  As for female comedians, try a steady dose of Ellen Degeneres, Michelle Wolf or Jen Kirkman.  Avoiding the news these days might be another helpful tactic.   The news has the potential to skyrocket your blood pressure in no time flat!!  I am sure you agree!

#6 and most important for lifelong health is to surround yourself with a support network of loving souls!   Over time, this has been found to be more important to life long health than exercise, smoking, drinking, diet or even getting your flu shot!!!  Amazing what good relationships can do for our health!!

To Your Good, Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.  Have a Blessed Heart Healthy Month!

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January 2018-Identifying Challenges, Creating Solutions

Aurelie-Acacia-Darcy.GovBakersOffice11-28-17

As we now enter a whole new year of 2018, I am excited to refocus on where we are going and share some Food For Thought!  As a Mom who is raising a millenial and cares about health, education, the environment and the future, I have concerns about the direction of our global community at this moment in time…I am guessing you do too!!  It is a world in transformation.  There are issues, there is inequity, there is a system and an environment which needs healing.  There are moments when it is easy to feel discouraged.  So what do we do about it?  I invite you to keep focused on an image of where you envision the direction of our world.  I also want to introduce you to 3 amazing people/groups who are doing their part to create this new world by making a difference for our kids, our families, and our world.  They have seen challenges and they are creating solutions in Big and Small ways.  Let me introduce you to Current Day Champions for our Kids!

strawesome2First is Daedra and Brian Surowiec who have a company called, Strawesome!  They had heard about all the plastic that is disposed of in our oceans and threatening the health of the marine life.  They came up with the idea to make glass straws which would be better for our kids and better for our environment!  Posted is a picture of Daedra and Brian with one of their sons who is fortunate enough to grow up only knowing how to use glass straws!  As a team, they design and make the straws by hand-they are beautiful!!  You too can have some in your family!  I bought a set for myself this month and absolutely LOVE them!  Many different colors and designs.  Check them out at www.strawesome.com   Better for your kids; Better for the planet!

Robin-Palliative Care Ctr-FairfieldUniv8-17Second is my dear friend, Robin Bennett Kanarek.  Robin is a wise and experienced nurse who has faced many challenges. Robin and her husband, Joe, lost their son David when he was 15 years old to Leukemia.  It was a very painful experience and Robin identified aspects of the health care system that was so focused on cure that there was no discussion of symptom management or identifying what was important to David/ his parents throughout the course of his illness and the choices that he/ his parents could make to prevent his suffering.  Out of this experience, Robin has become a champion for Pediatric Palliative Care.   Last month, Robin’s vision of nursing becoming a key member of helping patients to navigate this journey was  birthed with the opening of the Kanarek Center for Palliative Care at Fairfield University.   Housed in the Nursing School, it is the first Nursing School in the US to offer expert Palliative Care Training for nursing students.  It was a 16 year journey for Robin that had come full circle and is a lasting tribute to her son and will hopefully provide the guidance for future patients that Robin wished had been there when her son was very ill.  Check out www.kanarekfamilyfoundation.org for more information on the work that Robin is doing!

Aurelie-Acacia-RepDylanFernandes-DarcyCreech11-28-17The third person and group that I want to honor is Moms Across America led by Zen Honeycutt.  Featured in this photo taken at the State House is the Massachusetts Group with Acacia Warren, Darcy Creech and myself, along with Representative Dylan Fernandes.   One moment making a difference for kids through the work to advocate for and inspire all about the harm of glyphosate and toxic pesticides to our kids, our families, our neighbors, our pets, our seafood/ marine life, our aquifers and our environment.  Glyphosate is a neurotoxicant and has been found to be a risk for leukemia, lymphoma (a 50% increase), multiple myeloma, breast cancer and prostate cancer.  In agricultural workers it has been associated with liver and kidney dysfunction and kidney failure.  Rep Dylan Fernandes has submitted Massachusetts House bill H.3927 “An act empowering towns to protect their environment and residents from harmful pesticides”.  You too can be part of this effort by connecting with your friends, community and other moms and dads to create a network of support.  Then connect with your legislators to voice your concerns and be the change!  Check out www.MomsAcrossAmerica.com and www.dylanfernandes.com

All of these groups, Strawesome, Robin Bennett Kanarek, Moms Across America and Rep Dylan Fernandes are making a difference every day by Identifying Challenges and Creating Solutions!  Kudos for all they do to give our kids, our communities and our world a better chance at a better life!!

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December 2017-Words of Wisdom to Ponder

KelsMomPenny-Appalachian Trail9-17As a Clinical Oncology Nurse, I have taken care of many different patients with a variety of illnesses.  One of the wealthiest patients I ever took care of said something to me one time that stuck with me and I have taken as Words of Wisdom.  He said, “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it can not prevent you from getting sick.  In life, there are only 3 things that are most important:  Our Health, Our Family, and Our Friends”!  I have pondered that statement many times.

My daughter is now 19 years old and I don’t get to see her very often as she explores the world, her interests and what she wants to do with her life.  In September, my daughter was home for two months in between her first and second gap years before she attends college.  She was interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail so off we went to the Berkshires to have an adventure.  We camped and hiked and had an opportunity to reconnect after she had been away in Oregon for a year.   We had an amazing time and it was very special for us because her little dog Penny came too.  Penny was sick at the time but navigated each day with enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, she had to put to sleep in November due to her progressive symptoms and condition.  Kelsey did an amazing job caring for Penny in her last months.  We were grateful that we were able to have so much fun together during that time.  Life is like hiking the Appalachian Trail.  It is challenging, it is adventurous, it is uncertain and unpredictable but we always know that there is a beginning and an end.  If we so choose, there IS Heaven here on Earth!  Yes, my patients words came back to me.  It is so true, our Health, Our Family and Our Friends are the Most Important in this Life!

May you each have a Blessed Holiday and Remember that we can each have a Good, Better, Best Life Through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.!!

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November 2017-The Art of Self-Care

AC+KelsBabyPic5-1998This is a picture of my daughter and I when she was about 2-1/2 months old.  So precious!! I am sure that you remember those days…who could forget!!  It is a precious time for moms, dads and babies when all of their needs are met by trying to understand their unique communications-when they are hungry, when they are wet, when they are tired?

I had so many hopes and dreams for my baby then and luckily I was very tuned into the fact that being a parent, as Jon Kabat-Zinn has said for many years, is like being on an 18 year Spiritual Retreat!  He had that nailed!!  Now that my daughter is 19, I have a different vantage point and I am so grateful for my “Miracle from God”.  I was prepared and I wasn’t prepared for being the parent that my daughter needed me to be.  I had learned some of the important points about feeding her, changing her diapers, putting her in her crib face up so that she could breath safely and the potential stresses of being a new parent.  I was totally unprepared for the the Amazing Love that overcame me when my daughter was  born, as well as the Amazing experiences and the Challenging stresses of parenting my own daughter!  That would come with time.

What I know for sure is that without caring for ourselves, nourishing ourselves, loving ourselves and spending time rejuvenating and replenishing our own “Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Parenting Bank”, this work can be difficult, can leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed at times and, without realizing it, spill over into creating stresses and life challenges for our kids.  What we focus on multiplies and there are an abundance of Things we can do to keep our life replenished and balanced today: Mindfulness Meditation, Yoga, Qigong, Exercise, Prayer…some of us need alone time and some of us need friendship time and some of us need community time!

So I invite you to Ask yourself, “What is important to me, us, our family for Good Health? AND “What do I need to nourish my Parenting Bank”  for my good, better, best Good Health as a Parent?”  Listen for the answer within….and Trust what answer comes to You!    Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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October 2017-The Secret to a Longer, Healthier Life

Rachel Carson-90yoBird Watcher10-3-17In keeping with the theme of Believing that Good Health is Possible, this month I wanted to share a story of a couple that I met on a nature walk I had at the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Maine this week.  I often go there when I am needing a space to connect with Nature and rejuvenate my spirit!   As I was walking along, I met a man and his wife who were taking the same walk along the trails with their binoculars so they could spot some favorite birds of the season.   As we got chatting, the husband said that he had just celebrated his Birthday and he wanted to know if I could guess his age?   As you look at the picture, take a guess yourself!!  He told me that he and his wife walk 4 miles a day-2 miles in the morning and 2 miles in the evening.  He does 250 push-ups a day (breaking it up into 50 pushups five times a day!) and 100+ sit ups.  His mind was really sharp and he spoke quite well.  I guessed he may have been 75!   He then told me he was 90 years old!!  I was shocked…90, what was the secret to his good health?  He told me 2 things: 1) Nutrition, he ate a Mediterranean/DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet with fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, legumes, nuts, healthy olive oil and he told me 2) Exercise!

What struck me is that this is so very, very simple!   Many researchers have found that one of the healthiest diets in the world is a Mediterranean Diet -Real Foods that you can pronounce (!!).  It consists primarily of Fresh Veggies and Fruits, grains, legumes/ beans, olive oil, fish, herbs and spices and nuts.  For those who eat meat, choose lean meats like chicken and turkey.  For more info on a Mediterranean Diet check out http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801   The DASH Diet helps to reduce the chance of getting High Blood Pressure. For more info on the DASH Diet, go to: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456

Research has also found that 20-30 minutes of Exercise per day that pumps up your Heart Rate is also beneficial for life long health!  Team sports in adolescence has been found to reduce the risk of cancer throughout life and continuing with some aerobic exercise reduces morbidity and mortality.  Getting exercise can be as simple as getting a good power walk out in nature!!

Follow this man’s advice and you will be giving yourself and your kids the gift of a better chance of a Longer, Healthier and Happier Life!!  The First Step is BELIEVING THAT YOUR GOOD HEALTH AND THE LIFELONG HEALTH OF YOUR KIDS IS POSSIBLE!!! : ).  You can check out other good health ideas or research tips on my Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/BeyondCancerSurvival/posts/1927701300591530?notif_id=1506999766084290&notif_t=like

Here is to Your Good, Better, Best Life Through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.   W.orking E.very L.iving day towards L.ove N.utrition E.xercise S.erenity and S.pirituality

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September 2017-Believing that Good Health is Possible

Kelsey-Disney Princess8-2003This is a picture of my daughter when she was 5 years old and I took her to Disneyworld where she got to be a Princess for several days and meet Mickey Mouse who spun her around before I took this picture and Mickey helped her to feel like a Real Princess!!!  It was one of my favorite memories with my daughter when she was growing up!!

It brought me back to my own childhood when I remember as a child getting so excited every Sunday evening waiting for the Walt Disney show to come on.  Tinkerbell flying across the sky and sprinkling pixie dust all around, the Disney Castle in the background and the next enchanting tale that I would be able to see that would transport me to a magical place where life was good, and wholesome and beautiful….there was always a plot, with challenges and sinister people but the outcome was always a triumph of good over evil, peace over pain, and happiness at the end of a struggle!  Deep down, for me, that show was my inspiration and guiding faith that no matter what happened in day to day life, there was always a decent outcome and the challenges were all worthwhile.

The story of Walt Disney is like that.  I was surprised  to learn, years later, that Walt Disney himself had many obstacles to overcome before becoming the successful artist and entrepreneur that he was.  He began as a starving artist.  He sought work but no one wanted to hire him; no one thought he had any talent.   He went from place to place in the Midwest looking for work.  It wasn’t until a minister with a barn in his back yard BELIEVED in Walt Disney and decided to hire him to do some art work for his church bulletin that Walt Disney had a beginning to his career.  He offered him a place to stay in the barn.  It turned out that the barn was full of mice  and Walt Disney decided to draw some of the mice that he saw running around in the barn…and one of those mice was the Birth of Mickey Mouse!!!

Our health can be like that.   As a parent, if there is one thing I know for sure in the United States, many parents work really, really hard every day to give their children a better life.  We want the best for our children and work hard to give them a better life.  Do we KNOW AND BELIEVE that we can give them a healthy life?   There are many things that we can do to help our children to stay well, grow up healthfully and have a better chance at a longer, healthier life.  The first step is BELIEVING that Good Health and a Longer, Healthier Life is Possible.  As a Nurse who cares for patients with cancer every day, if there is one thing I know for sure, what we do to help our kids to be healthy when they are young in mind, body and spirit will serve them well and give them a Better Chance of Living a Longer, Healthier and Happier Life!!  Believing, despite the challenges,  is Definitely Worth It!!!

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August 2017-Refresh, Rejuvenate, Renew

Sunrise-Lecounts8-7-17 Sunset at Cove8-6-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

August is a wonderful month to Refresh, Rejuvenate and Renew the Spirit!  It is a quieter month in the year, as many families vacation and kids have some down time before they return to the academic year.  There are actually no designated “Awareness of Cancers” for this month, which is perfect!  August is a great month to designate as “Awareness of Health”!!

If there is one thing my patients have taught me is that Our Health, Our Family and Our Friends are the most important aspects of Life!!  As parents, we put a lot of time, energy and emotional investment into helping our kids to grow into the Amazing Souls that they were born to be.  In order to sustain that level of energy and be the best parents we can be for our children, it is helpful to take a break, have fun and recharge our physical, emotional and spiritual batteries so that we can continue to be the parents our children need us to be for them.

I just returned from a wonderful vacation spent with my Mom, some cousins and some friends….it was a great way to connect with the important people in my life and Recharge my batteries!!  I made a point of experiencing the sunrises on the ocean and sunsets on the bay to connect with nature and remind myself of the simple beauty that can be found in everyday life which is available for free!  I took long runs on the ocean to let go of the stress and have a renewed sense of calm and peace within!!     How do you Recharge your batteries and make time for yourself?  Hope that you can make your health Priority #1 this August….it will be a great example for your kids to follow!!

To your Good, Better, Best Health through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S. : )

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July 2017-Giving Kids a Fair Chance….

Book-GivingKidsFairChance
This month, I wanted to share with you my new favorite book by James Heckman.            Dr Heckman is a Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, and a Nobel Prize Recipient who has devoted his career to understanding the root cause of social inequality and injustice.  Stay with me on this one…you will be surprised to try it!  It’s an easy read, great for an afternoon summer at the pool.  Great info….This is not just gloom and doom; this is a solution-oriented book!!!  He has taken insights from his work to devise strategies and solutions to address these problems to make a difference in the lives of these children born into disadvantage and in turn be of benefit to all of society!!  Being a mom, I have seen the innocence, the love, the joy of a new baby and a toddler…they all deserve our effort to help give them a chance in this life!!

I love Dr Heckman’s thinking, I love that he has so much info to share on the early life environment of kids and the research which has been shown to make a difference.  It is easy to assume that how things operate and the reality of our world is “just the way it is”.  That nothing can be done to make a difference-people are poor, some starve, some go to jail, some die and that is just the way it is.   What Dr Heckman calls us to do is to revisit this “as is” thinking to reimagine the world which is in a period of Massive Transformation and how we can make it better.  This is an opportune time to do this!!

I believe that we DO HAVE the KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, INTELLECT, KINDNESS, COMPASSION and MOTIVATION to make a difference for the next generation.    Dr Heckman works at the Roots of Social Injustice and we can work at the Roots of Health and Wellness to make a difference for our kids and ALL KIDS, one step at a time.  Moms Across America, Mothers Out Front, Savvy Women’s Alliance and Beyond Cancer Survival:  Parenting for Health are working everyday to make a difference for all of us and the next generation(s).  Moms are making a Difference; Get involved in your own way, Large or small.  To your Good, Better and Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.

 

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June 2017-National Cancer Survivorship Month-Finding Purpose!

Book-AnticaNewWayofLife

In a follow up to last months blog on Debating Chemicals in our environment, I wanted to share with you more info on that topic.  In 1995, as a Clinical Specialist for Women’s Health in Stamford, CT, one of my roles was co-leading a very active and vibrant Breast Cancer Support Group. On one particular evening, I will never forget when one of the members of the group spoke up and said, “Look at all the young faces in this room, there has got to be something in the environment”.   I wasn’t sure how to respond at the time except to say that yes, that did seem to be true.   That night however, I went home and thought a lot more about what that young woman and mother said. At the time, our Medical and Nursing backgrounds taught us that although we were not sure what caused breast cancer, that it was associated with women who got their periods earlier, went through menopause later, and had their kids later but we never spoke about the environment. It was our patients with their personal experiences who would shed greater insight into the nature of breast cancer. I thought about what she said and intuitively knew she was right.   There WAS something in the environment even if we were not sure what that was. That woman’s statement changed the direction of my career and life; I am grateful to that woman for having the courage to share her insights because even though I was the breast cancer specialist, at that time, I was not even aware of environmental factors contributing to this disease.

In the 22 years since then, what we have learned is that environment does impact breast cancer, some we have control over and some we need to be aware of.  Smoking, alcohol, ionizing radiation to the chest, DES, or workplace exposures like gasoline, petroleum products and soldering materials can impact the development of breast cancer.   So what can we do about this-be aware, avoid cancer causing environments, foods and products, set healthful standards for our families that will go a long way towards potentially improving lifelong health for ourselves and our kids, and keep up with the new info!!   Anticancer A new way of life is the resource I wanted to share with you above and I hope you have a chance to read it because it has so much valuable info for Cancer Survivors, those who are in the midst of their cancer treatments and parents who are working to give their kids a better life!!

With that in mind,  I have come to firmly believe that it is the Moms of this world who will help direct our knowledge of how our changing environment and food is impacting our health; it is the Mothers and Cancer Survivors of this world who will Lead the Movement to Change it, and who will Make a Difference. Women are the Hope and the Promise for our health, our environment, our kids health and our grandkids health.   Moms Across America, Mothers Out Front, and Savvy Woman’s Alliance are some of the other groups led by Moms who have become a collective Force for Good as we join forces to spread knowledge, resources and tips for our kids and families.  Hope you can join in to help spread the message of how important our environment is to our health now and always!  To Your Good,Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.  and of course, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who make a difference in their kids lives!! : )

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May 2017-Debating the Chemicals in our Environment

Book-Only One ChanceThere are numerous debates going on now…some are in the halls of Congress and the Senate, some are in the media, in our state governments and in our homes.  Debates can be good opportunities to openly discuss important issues and find out how others think.

I wanted to share some information that has been debated in the last few months that is showing up on your dinner plate.  A chemical called Chlorpyrifos.  This chemical is commonly used on our fruits and vegetables even though you can’t see it and it can be having effects on your health and your children’s health.  Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxicant.   It was scheduled to be banned on March 31, 2017 initially by the Obama Administration.  However the EPA and Current Administration reversed that decision on March 30, 2017 so Chlorpyrifos is still being used, according to the President due to a “lack of enough evidence”.  If you check out the book above, you will see that we have lots of evidence of its toxic potential, especially on our children.  Surprisingly, it is being  used on strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower and apples.  If you eat any of these foods, I highly recommend you eat the Organic variety to protect yourself and especially your children.

Chlorpyrifos is not the only neurotoxic chemical in our environment however.   There are doctors and researchers which are finding that chemicals in the environment are contributing to the increased incidence of not only cancer in children but other increasingly common diseases in children, particularly those that impact on the brain and neurobiological and neurocognitive development. In 2014, Grandjean and Landrigan of Harvard School of Public Health and Mt Sinai published an article which synthesized the known chemicals which are neurotoxicants. The first set of five were confirmed in 2006 and included lead, methylmercury, arsenic, toluene and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s).

Six more have been discovered to be neurotoxicants affecting the brain and causing neurocognitive or neurobehavioral disorders.  These additional chemicals are CHLORPYRIFOS, fluoride, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, manganese,and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).   However, there are over 80,000 chemicals currently in use in the US and only a small fraction, roughly 200, have been studied and determined to be toxic to humans; some we know are also immunotoxicants which can have negative effects on the immune system.   The majority have not been studied adequately to determine their toxic potential even though they are being manufactured, distributed, bought, used and incorporated into our everyday products.   One thing that is known about these chemicals is that the developing brain, especially of the fetus, infant and young child is very sensitive to the impacts of these chemicals, even in low dose. These chemicals have a functional affect on the neurological system in about 10-15% of children at birth but the effects are not often recognized until these children are growing and developing and many of the changes have marked effects on IQ, risk of autism, ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities and behavioral issues which have lasting consequences.

I encourage you to communicate with your State and Federal Legislators both Representatives and Senators to let them know how you feel about the use of these chemicals in the environment and on our food which commonly seeps its way into our water, food, animals and children.   For further information, there are 2 good reads:

Grandjean, P (2013). Only one chance How environmental pollution impairs brain development and how to protect the brains of the next generation. Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.

Grandjean, P & Landrigan, P (2014). Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity. Lancet Neurology, 13, pp 330-338.

To your Good, Better, Best Health…Happy Mother’s Day!!

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April 2017-Springtime is here-New Life and New Beginnings!!

Seed-The Untold StoryHave you seen this movie yet?  It is one that I wanted to share with you!  The other day I was talking to one of my friends, Nina, at the barn where we board our horses.  We were discussing how to protect our kids while also protecting our horses from the bugs.  We were talking about some effective yet non-toxic natural horse sprays to keep the horses from being bitten by the flys and bugs and she was sharing with me the products that she has found helpful.  This led me to think about all the chemicals in our environment, many of which start to be sprayed during this season!

As we enter the Springtime season of the year, this is a movie I highly recommend to all in our Parenting Community, Seed: The Untold Story.   It has won numerous awards but more importantly shares information about the loss of native seeds over the past century-would you believe 94% of our native seeds no longer exist?  I did not.

As you start to organize your gardens and plant your seeds and prepare for new life and new growth, consider seeing this movie and then planting some organic and heirloom seeds to help replenish the stock!  Also consider growing your garden without pesticides which are often neurotoxic to insects, animals and humans especially our children and future grandchildren.   These chemical neurotoxins often sprayed on our food, lawns and gardens can affect our health, especially our kids and their growing bodies and brains.  Just a Thought!  As Always, To your Good, Better and Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.!!

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March 2017-Want to guess what the key to Happiness Is?

St Paddy-FredSt Paddy-IrishBrownBreadSt Paddy-AC

Are you happy?  Do you want to be happy?  Want to know what the keys to Happiness and Life Long Health are?   I was surprised to find that a 75 year old Longitudinal Harvard Study found that the key to Happiness is Good Relationships!!  What do you do to nurture your Good Relationships?

I wanted to share one of the fun things I got to do for this St Patrick’s Day ….a fun, nutritious and joyful dinner including this beautiful Irish Soda Bread with a genuine Leprechaun!!  Here is to your Good Health and Good Relationships!!  To your Good, Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.

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February 2017-National Cancer Prevention Month

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This is my daughter when she was about 12 years old! She had been learning yoga in elementary school and we would practice together with a Gaia Kids Yoga Video that I had at home.  While this brings back many happy memories with my daughter, one of the most important messages that I want to share with our parenting community is that practicing yoga, mindfulness meditation, tai chi or Qigong with our kids is one of the lifelong skills that we can share with our kids to help them to be more resilient in the face of life’s challenges… it provides a “protective coating” so to speak to help them with life long health!   Simple, easy, low cost and fun!  May you enjoy this precious National Cancer Prevention Month with your kids living the Good, Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.

 

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January 2017-Positive Steps Toward Healthy Eating-The Foundation of Good Health

Baby Food Bible 3Remember those days when your kids were first born and it finally hits you how tiny, vulnerable, and precious they are…I do, I remember it well and can totally relate to new parents who feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for this little baby along with the feeling that you want to do everything just right and not sure what that just right thing is!!  Just when I would figure things out, she would change and then I would be thinking OMG…now what do I do?

When it comes to feeding your kids, I know that it can often feel this way too.  So I found a wonderful book that is one of my favorite resources for feeding kids when they are young.  It is a wealth of info of how to create a healthy food palette for kids!!  I wish that this book had been available to me when my daughter was young…I had to wing it!!  As my daughter started to grow and was very interested in cooking we would go to Stonewall Kitchen in York, ME and started taking Mother-Daughter cooking classes together!  It was here that Kelsey and I first listened to Eileen Behan RD who had worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as a Nutritionist and then branched out on her own to develop her own business, For the Love of Food!!  Eileen has so many great ideas of foods and tips to help kids to enjoy eating healthfully.  This is a wonderful book for any family with kids from 6 months to Preschool!! Hope you get to take cooking classes with your kids too…it was one of my favorite memories with my daughter when she was young!!!

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December-Being the Life of Good Health Champion for kids!!!

aurelie-kelsey12-14The Holiday Season is always extra busy for moms and dads.  There are special meals to plan for and make, parties to attend, gift lists to make, shopping to do, and presents to buy and wrap.  During the Holiday Season we often think of the “things” that we need to give and this can add to the stress of the season which is meant to be rich with tradition, good cheer and memory-making.  Wonder if we tweeked our concept of the Holidays to include not only what we can give materially but also what we can give Wholeheartedly, WholeMindfully and WholeSpiritually.  What I wonder in this fast paced, GMO laced, environmentally challenging world in which we live….can we give the Gift of Being a Life of Good Health Champion for our kids?

Anyone who has ever had cancer knows how hard the road can be to be diagnosed and treated for this Life-Altering disease.  It’s hard…it’s scary…it leaves most people I know feeling very vulnerable, dismayed, angry, sad and financially burdened on an emotional as well as practical level.

There is no greater gift that we could give our kids this Holiday Season than to be a “Life of Good Health Champion for our kids” of what it means to live a Bold, Broad, Wholesome Life based on the Fabulous Five by

W.orking E.very L.iving day towards L.ove N.utrition E.xercise S.erenity and S.pirituality

in other words, Living the Life of W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.!!!  That would be one of the really special gifts that we could offer our kids this Holiday Season and the best part is that it doesn’t cost anything but has a $1,000,000 Value!!  From My Heart to Your…Wishing you the very best of Holidays!

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November 2016-Giving Thanks for Caregivers!

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This is a picture of my Mom and I at Indian Neck in Wellfleet.  My mom is 80 years old and is more vibrant now than ever.  She is a shining example of a Caregiver Par Excellence!!!  She was married for 58 years to my dad, having gotten married when she was 20 and moved from her parents house to being married to my dad.  The last 2-1/2 years of their marriage, my dad was on Home Hospice with Advanced Parkinson’s disease with progressive Parkinson’s dementia.  My mom took care of him gladly, giving of her time and love to a man that forgot who she was.   He stopped talking and had to be washed, fed and dressed.  He had to be reminded that she was his wife and her strength, love and dedication to giving him a good day and a comfortable existence and a loving presence never wavered.  She is a shining example of the power of caregiving.  My dad was never able to say Thank you, to let her know that he was grateful for all that she gave to him so I say it here for him.   Mom, thank you for being a Shining Example of the Power of Caregiving-giving of yourself, in service, with kindness, compassion and love!

I wondered how my mom would do when he died.  She has thrived!!  Now, she cares for many of the seniors in our town, she takes them to their doctor appointments, she drives them to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston when they need their Chemotherapy and she does it gladly because she has a purpose for her life every day that she wakes up.  The world could not function without caregivers!  This Thanksgiving, give thanks for all the caregivers that have touched your life!  As parents, when we role model caregiving, our children are the beneficiaries of the best example of the power of purpose to make this world better!  Happy Thanksgiving!

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October-2016 Focus on Breast Cancer Survivorship

This month, we turn our attention not only to Breast Cancer Awareness Month but to all those who are surviving breast cancer, those who are newly diagnosed and those with metastatic disease.  It turns out that of all those with cancer, 18% have children under the age of 18!!  This month, I wanted to share with you two moms who are amazing role models for other women but, most importantly, their families and kids of the power of a fierce and unwavering attitude to focus on maximizing their health with breast cancer and having fun doing it!!

carol-wonder-womanCarol Chaoui is a mom of 4 and survivor of breast cancer and thyroid cancer.   What I most admire about Carol is her unwavering spirit of outdoor exercise, creative spirit, fun and team effort for all of the activities she is involved in, as you can see her here as Wonder Woman!!!  She loves to run and make it notable and fun at the same time!!  Her energy and fortitude are amazing as she has focused her efforts on organizing a running group, “Couch to 5K” which meets every friday for a run, on running the Boston Marathon several times raising money for Dana Farber and multiple other local notable races.  These “laugh out loud” activities culminate each year at Thanksgiving with the annual Turkey Trot, a 5K race and non-profit which Carol founded to raise money for breast cancer causes.    She is the one who rallies the troops to join her in the fun! Most recently, Carol received the Fitzherbert award from the Tufts 10K Women’s Race for being a Rock Star towards focusing on health, family and community, while she has been undergoing her own treatment for cancer. Go Carol!!

 

theresa-xrtsurv-award9-27-16Theresa Coffey Keresztes is another mom of 2 and amazing survivor of breast cancer.  She was diagnosed several years ago and also likes to run.  You can often see Carol and Theresa running together on the trails and in the local races.  What I most admire about Theresa is not only her fun with running and trying to maintain a healthy exercise routine to maximize her health after breast cancer, but Theresa has  developed a passion for helping other women with the skin reactions and sensitivities associated with radiation.  She wanted to make a difference for other women undergoing treatment, and developed My Girls Skin Cream.    Recently through her efforts, Theresa won the 2016 Survivor Circle Award at the Annual American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology, ASTRO, in Boston.  She is also a great role model to her kids of the fun they can have by exercising …Go Theresa!!

As parents, we can also be great role models for our kids through the power of exercise!!  Here is to your Good, Better, Best Life through exercise and W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.!!!

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