I recently became interested in cleansing/detoxing diets. My online search led me to a book called The Beauty Detox Foods by Kimberly Snyder, a celebrity nutritionist. I don’t usually like to follow the fad diets of celebrities, but this book had good reviews and seemed along the lines of Clean, the book I’d just used to complete my second cleanse.
After seeing diet change her skin, hair, and life, Snyder traveled the world for 3-years to learn about food and health. These experiences led her to formulate an unconventional nutrition plan. How it caught on with celebrities, I don’t know, but her program is endorsed by Dr. Oz, Drew Barrymore, Fergie, and Ben Stiller. Her basic premise is that digestion takes up a lot of energy. If we eat foods that contain enzymes to help with digestion (raw fruits and veggies) or are partially processed (smoothies and juices), we can free up energy to be used towards other bodily functions like detoxification and maintaining healthy skin and hair. Her recommendations include:
- Eat more veggies–a lot more!!
- Eat fewer animal products, especially dairy (she is a vegan)
- Eat as much organic food as possible
- Eat more raw than cooked vegetables
- Eat high alkaline foods
- Avoid wheat and gluten. Eat grains like quinoa, millet, and amaranth instead.
- Avoid sugars (she recommends Stevia, coconut nectar, dry fruit, raw honey, or organic pure maple syrup instead)
- Avoid soy
- Drink her glowing green smoothie at least once per day (blended spinach, romaine lettuce, celery, apple, pear, banana, lemon and optional cilantro or parsley).
- Consume fermented foods to provide probiotics and enzymes (she recommends a recipe for fermented cabbage)
- Consider supplementing with probiotics and digestive enzymes
- Have frequent, large bowel movements (she encourages supplements for this, or even gravity-centered colonics to cleanse the colon). Continue reading »
I think the title of this book is off-putting. I doubt that most parents really want to raise a “superbaby.” Most just want to do the best they can. Perhaps focusing on the parent rather than the child and calling the book Superparenting would have been better.
Regardless of the title, I think this is an excellent book. It is everything I believe parents should do. The author, Dr. Jenn Berman, covers twelve different ways to help your baby thrive. These are the things I painstakingly researched over the past six years all located in one convenient book. A must read for any parent with children under three!
If you want to be a Super Parent, you need to try to incorporate these twelve principals:
- Respectful Communication – Don’t treat your infant like a doll. Talk to her. Tell her you’re about to change her diaper. Tell your toddler she has a few more minutes before its time to transition to another activity. Respect your child’s feelings. Give your child choices. Make your praise specific, rather than constantly saying “good job!” One of my favorite suggestions from this chapter is to tell your toddler/preschooler “as soon as you’re done with lunch, we can go play” rather that “you cannot play until you’re done eating.” This small positive twist is so much more pleasant to say all day long instead of “if you don’t…., then you can’t…..”
- Responding to Cues - How to respond to your child so that he develops a secure attachment to you. The importance of spending one-on-one time together.
- Creating Security and Predictability – The importance of having a schedule and how it can help you better understand your child’s needs. How to help your child sleep better.
- The Importance of Touch – How skin to skin contact isn’t just good for premies. How massaging/touching improves IQ, immunity, sleep, self esteem, etc. Continue reading »
John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist with a passion for the brain, has written a book I enjoyed called Brain Rules. But even better is his latest book specifically about children under five–Brain Rules for Baby. This book tells parents what science has really shown us about the developing brain and how to make your children smart, happy, and moral.
The first chapter discusses pregnancy. Most notable is the effects of a stressed mother on the developing fetus. Next, Medina discusses mom and dad’s relationship. This is a chapter that all soon-to-be-parents need to read. Bringing baby home rocks your life and marriage and I only wish I had read this good advice before becoming a mother. The final chapters dive into how to raise a smart, happy, and moral baby. The conclusion and practical tips at the end of the book do a great job of summarizing the most important information from the book. Highly recommended!
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I have previously posted how poor indoor air quality can be but how the right plants can help clean and purify your home’s air. As the weather cools, I’ve been again motivated to examine this great way to keep indoor air clean.
I recently checked out the book How to Grow Fresh Air from the library. This book is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about which plants can purify the air of toxins like formaldehyde. Although I was disappointed to read that the author, Dr. B.C. Wolverton, doesn’t believe that opening your windows more often is a viable solution to poor indoor air quality, I did enjoy his thorough description of the various plants known to purify air of toxins as well as their pictures. The first third of the book discusses why indoor air quality is poor and why plants can clean it, while the remainder details 50 plants you’ll want to get into your home. Each plant is covered in two pages, one full-page picture and one page of text describing the plant. They are organized by those that clean the air the best and are easiest to maintain, making this book super easy to take to your local nursery to assist you in plant shopping.
The best air-cleaning plants are Areca Palm, Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Rubber Plant, Dracaena “Janet Craig,” English Ivy, Dwarf Date Palm, Ficus Alii, Boston Fern, Peace Lily, Corn Plant, and Golden Pothos. With the help of this book, I just bought a few more plants for my house (including a lady palm and several dracaena) and love the way they look in my home. Plus I get the peace of mind knowing that they are cleaning the air now that it’s too cool to open the windows regularly.
The book Slow Death by Rubber Duck doesn’t sound like a pleasurable read, but it is! Well, at least as much as could be given the subject matter of toxins that are slowly poisoning us and our environment.
The two Canadian authors, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, decide to experiment with phthalates, BPA, mercury, and PFC’s (non-stick chemicals) to see what their personal levels were and whether they could increase them via normal, daily activities (like using personal care products, eating canned foods, or eating lots of sushi). In addition to describing these mini-experiments (n=1), they elaborate on the history of these toxins, the science behind them, and why they are dangerous. Particularly interesting to me was the research showing that even infinitesimally small amounts of certain chemicals, like BPA, have measurable effects. Slow death indeed!
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Deirdre Imus has written three books in her bestselling Green This! Series. The first volume is Greening Your Cleaning, an excellent resource on how to clean your home and clothes with fewer chemicals. The second volume is Growing Up Green, a book that covers plastic baby bottles, vaccines, etc. Probably my favorite in the series is her third book, The Essential Green You! In this book, she discusses how to detox your diet, body, and life.
First, Deirdre tackles food, explaining the importance of organic food, eating less animal products, and eating more fresh produce. While this information isn’t new or hard to find, in this book it is concise and easy to read. Then she moves onto personal-care products, listing ingredients to avoid and giving examples of products that are high in dangerous chemicals. This is the best book I’ve found on the subject. I appreciate her exhaustive lists of safer products out there. Finally, she moves onto clothing and medication. Both topics are interesting, but not covered in much depth. Continue reading »
I just read a book by the author of Real Food, Nina Plank, but this more concise version is specifically about nutrition as it relates to pregnancy, babies, and nursing. It’s not really any new information from her previous book, but I did enjoy reading about her advice to mothers, her humorous experiences as a mother, and her honest accounts about what motherhood is really like (even she gives her baby crackers!)
Nina believes that we should be eating “real food,” stuff your great grandparents ate, and not any new age concoction made from corn and soy products. She promotes a diet full of meat and dairy from pastured animals, fruits and veggies, and no imitation products (i.e. soy milk). Readers of my blog know that I don’t completely agree with her, but the book is still a very good read. Unlike Nina, I think that meat should be used more sparingly, as suggested by the author of Blue Zones. However, I do agree with her stance on breastfeeding, the importance of omega-3′s, and feeding baby real food from your plate rather than pureed baby food from a jar. Women pregnant for the first time will especially benefit from hearing her birth story and experience with nursing–she’s honest, funny, and gives really good advice to first time moms.
Our family recently took a trip to a local farm. My five year old loves the book Charlotte’s Web and we try to go to the farm at least once a year to see “Wilbur.” I think it’s important that children see farms and farm animals and understand where their food comes from. I also want my children to develop compassion for all animals, including the ones they eat, and to understand why Mommy is so particular about the foods we eat. The below scene prompted a lengthy conversation about why pigs should be allowed to lounge in mud and not have their tails cut and be put in cages so tight that they can’t turn around and have to defecate where they sleep. When we do eat meat, I want it to come from animals that had a happy life, like these:
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I’ve been wanting to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for some time now. I had trouble getting it through the library as the wait list was ridiculously long. But I finally got my hands on a copy and read it in just a couple days. Part of that was due to good writing, part due to my confinement in a rocking chair these days.
The author, Barbara Kingsolver, and her family of four move from Arizona to an area where they can more easily grow their own food. Then they try to eat locally for one year. The book is a fascinating account of that year, with additional useful information (recipes, facts about industrial food, etc, etc.) I learned a lot about asparagus and turkey mating that I doubt I’d ever hear about otherwise. I personally do like to eat local and grow my own vegetables, but eating healthy is still my number one priority. And if that means buying oranges from Florida and strawberries from California, then so be it. Still highly recommended though!