In Traditional Chinese medicine the Middle Jiao is the area generally below the heart to the pubic bone. All Middle Jiao issues revolve around the transformation and transportation of food and fluids. We can include the Stomach, the Intestines, the Spleen, the Liver, the Bladder and the Uterus in the Middle Jiao. Read
With Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, comes a customary heap of symbolic food offerings. Chief among these is the combination of apples dipped in honey. This symbolizes the wishing of a “sweet new year” to others, and coincides nicely with other western seasonal traditions of new beginnings and transition coming with the autumn months. Read
by Emma Thake
Summer is winding down and fall is just around the corner. For so many people the beginning of the year feels like if falls around this time and that’s because school is almost back in session. It’s a transitory season for many, whether you’re getting your kid ready for their first day being a third grader or your going back to school yourself, or you just happen to be going with the flow of this transitory time and seeing changes yourself. Read
Today’s blog was written by Jensen Wheeler Wolfe, a certified yoga teacher in Manhattan. She is the creator and owner of The Little Yoga Mat.As our babies grow and discover the world we live in, sometimes what accompanies this indoctrination is fear, stress and a feeling of over-stimulation. City children, in particular, are exposed to thousands of images and sounds daily, not to mention technology. With this barrage of stimuli it’s easy to overload. What can help them is yoga.
Yoga for small children is becoming a staple in preschools around the country. Schools find that the practice helps kids cope and find balance. Children learn to take time to breathe, focus and strengthen their bodies. Kids classes are also playful and stir the imagination.
As children become familiar with yoga poses they can expand on this foundation and carry their practice into adulthood so it’s beneficial to start young. Research is proving that boys and girls who practice yoga are more self-confident and better able to focus in school.
Yoga can also help grown-ups bond emotionally with their children creating the foundation for lifelong healthy relationships. By practicing yoga with your baby or toddler a few times a week, your child will increase flexibility, coordination, and concentration. What many people don’t know is that yoga can also aid digestion because the movements promote healthy circulation and deep relaxation. This means better quality sleep for your little one. why yoga” page. The Little Yoga Mat is an eco-friendly, mini yoga mat for toddlers and babies and is sold at the YinOva Center!
I’m so glad to be writing this post. It’s probably the number one question I get asked: “How can you feed a family frugally if you are living an organic, non-toxic life?” My lovely friends at Healthy Child recently ran this great post on how to live a non-toxic life without spending a fortune, so I know it’s something that we are all trying to work out. I’ve conjured up some very creative ideas in my insistence that my family not be exposed to environmental toxins yet still lead a great life in a fabulous city. If you have any tips to add, have any questions or just have a comment, please don’t hesitate to leave me a note below. Enjoy! x
These tips will work everywhere from the farmer’s market to a big chain like Whole Foods.
Join an online savings club like livingsocial or Groupon. Cut coupons from your regular grocery store. Subscribe to your local organic store, or join their food club. Best yet, join your local food co-op. They require you to work in the store (usually only for an hour a month) and for that you get hugely discounted organic, fair trade food. This could well be the place for the cheapest, yet best food anywhere.
Visit your local farmer’s market.
Check out the specials and base your week’s menu planning around these deals. Suffice to say menu planning is critical if you are looking to rein in the costs.
Buy organic in bulk. So much cheaper than buying branded, packaged goods. From rice to beans to nuts and dried fruit, you will not believe your eyes. One pound of organic rolled oats will cost less than $2. Holy smorgasbord!
Buy whole organic whole grains, fruit, vegetables, condiments etc and make meals from scratch. Processed food is more expensive so embrace your inner domestic goddess and get jiggy in that kitchen!
Have a great repertoire of nutritious, delicious recipes on hand. Unless you are very experienced in the kitchen, the family meal is not the time to play Iron Chef. One of my favorite new books is Laurie David’s “Family Dinner”. This just rocks the house down.
Make extras and freeze. My freezer is my number 2 culinary weapon in my fight against expensive meals, right after my stove.
Rock a rolling pin and a hammer. It might sound mad, but I can stretch a pack of organic chicken legs by taking a hammer and a big knife and reducing each leg to 4 or 5 pieces. That way one leg can feed several kids. Organic chicken breasts and thighs get walloped by the rolling pin (place beneath some wax paper else flying chicken meat will end up your nose) which instantly enlarges them to 3 times their previous size. One piece can often be used in the recipe and the rest frozen. Priceless. I also get to work out my arms and any residual annoyance on those chicken breasts so I get peace of mind too!
I don’t grow my own produce but that’s because I’m navigating small windowsills in a Brooklyn apartment. If you have access to a patch of land, go get those fingers dirty. (Make sure to get your local city government to let you know if lead is an issue for soil in your area.)
Shop online. Amazon and other online retailers often have great deals and I pay a little each year for free two-day delivery, which works out much cheaper than the cost of a subway ticket or parking space. I always get my children to help prepare a meal.
Need to get those husks off your (organic) corn? Weighing beans on a scale? There’s so much your child can actually do in the kitchen! Stirring a pot (under your keen supervision) is amazingly empowering for any child-the proximity to the stove and doing something grown up impresses even the most nonchalant of kids.
Things to AVOID:
Buying any thing tinned. The vast majority of tins sold around the world are lined with BPA (Eden Foods and Wild Planet have a selection BPA free cans.) NEVER BUY TINNED TOMATOES! They are acidic so they leach even more BPA than regular goods. If you must buy processed tomatoes, you need to get them in a jar or carton (although there’s no guarantee that the tomatoes used here haven’t come from a tin in the first place.) I buy my ‘matos organic fresh and make my tomato-based sauces and soups from scratch.
Buying anything processed that’s within a day of its sell-by date or buying fresh produce about to thrown out. Those 12 peaches for a $1 might look like a great value until they spend an afternoon in a hot car/bus/subway train going home and start supporting the league of mold by the next day.
Buying conventional corn/soy/pineapple ANYTHING. The vast majority (as in over 90% of these crops in the US are genetically modified.) Don’t be fooled. Buying conventional red meat or dairy. Full of all sorts of nasties – this is a great area to use your coupons. Buying conventional tomatoes or any of the dirty dozen mostly sprayed produce. According to the book “Tomatoland”, (and you must read it) tomatoes are sprayed with over 100 pesticides and the tomato industry in Florida is linked to human slavery. I kid you not. Note that tomatoes do not turn up on the Dirty Dozen, so use this tool with care.
Lastly, avoid going shopping hungry. Always have a pack of rice cakes or some other healthy snack in your bag. If you are going with children, which I suggest you do (children should know where their food comes from), make sure you feed them before and have water and a healthy snack on hand.
Penelope: Penelope Jagessar Chaffer is a BAFTA-nominated, award winning documentary filmmaker behind Toxic Baby™, a writer and a children’s environmental health advocate. She is a Healthy Child Parent Ambassador and 2010 Mom on a Mission winner. The scrumptious baby in the pictures is Oceana, Penelope’s beautiful baby girl.
Our children are heading back to school. We Moms often have some mixed feelings around this. Most of our YinOva Moms tell me they feel a bit wistful that summer is over whilst at the same time breathing a giant sigh of relief as everyone gets back into routine. At this time of year patients usually tell me that they want to get off on the right foot and ask advice about putting some healthy habits in place. So here’s some back to school advice gleaned from our YinOva Moms (both staff and patients) as we wish you all a healthy transition into fall.
Get a healthy startWe’re all familiar with the morning rush but making time for a proper breakfast is an essential start to the day. It’ll help your children arrive at school alert and able to concentrate.
Unfortunately many quick and easy breakfasts are full of sugar and empty calories. As a general rule it’s best for children to start the day with some protein such as eggs, nut butter, milk or yogurt and some high fiber carbohydrates such as grains, wholegrain tortillas, whole wheat bread or healthy cereals. You can round this our with some fruit – bananas go particularly well with nut butter and whole wheat bread for example.
Check out this blog from our archive which has plenty of healthy and kid-friendly breakfast ideas.
Nutritious Packed LunchesWe’ve talked about packed lunches before on the YinOva Blog so for some good ideas and helpful advice check out this blog from our archive.
If you’re having trouble planning your child’s lunches ask them for some input. Sit down with your kids and talk to them about which foods are healthy and which foods won’t help their body as much. Get their agreement about which foods to eat regularly, which to only eat occasionally and which to avoid altogether. Then make a list of things they want to eat. Help them understand balance by getting them to pick proteins they like as well as grains and fruit and vegetables and get their ideas about how to combine these.
As important as what you put in a healthy lunchbox is what you leave out, so give the following a miss:-
- High fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juice from concentrate
- Artificial sweeteners
- Partially-hydrogenated oils
- White or bleached flour products
- Leftover grains (eg Brown Rice) with leftover steamed veggies and low sodium tomato sauce
- Hummus or other bean dip with whole grain crackers and veggies to dip into it and a banana for desert.
- Greek yogurt with veggie chips to dip into it and a small bag of trail mix.
- A whole grain, rice, or corn pita, no nitrate lunch meat, lettuce, sliced tomato and hummus.
- Wholewheat pasta salad with tuna and veggies and some veganaise and apple sauce on the side.
- A whole grain, rice, or corn tortilla with mashed avocado, beans and rice.
- Rice crackers with nut butter and a bag of cut veggies and some seedless grapes.
When I was young we did PE every day but these days many schools have had to cut their PE programs and academic pressure means that children get less exercise than they used to. Children’s lives have also become more sedentary with TV and computer games replacing outdoor play. Staying fit is important for mental health and concentration as well as physical health and well being. Make sure your kids get some kind of exercise everyday, either by encouraging them to participate in organized sports or by letting them ride their bikes or run around in the park.
Herbs and SupplementsBeing in a stuffy classroom with lots of other kids means that our children are particularly susceptible to colds and flu. Support their immune systems by adopting some of the healthy habits above and also by making sure that they take some useful supplements. This blog from our archive looks at how some of the supplements and herbs we stock here at the YinOva Center can be used to support your kids.
My own personal Mom trick is to give them a probiotic which will not only support good digestion by promoting beneficial intestinal flora but has been shown to boost the immune system and help them fight infectious diseases.
AcupunctureAcupuncture is a great way to address many childhood ailments and disorders. Check out this blog article by a YinOva Mom who came to our center for acupuncture and Chinese herbs which successfully treated her child’s eczema. We use acupuncture to treat kids for weak immunity, repeated ear infections, digestive problems, asthma and behavioral problems.
Mom’s who are new to acupuncture worry that their kids will be upset by the needles but this is rarely the case. This video shows me treating some of our YinOva kids and should reassure you that fer from being scary, acupuncture can be fun.