Sunday, January 11, 2009

Self Care and Caring for Your Children

I would like to begin sharing some more about taking care of ourselves and our children. Sometimes we learn to do one by doing the other. For me, I learned to care for myself by the inspiration of my children, and my pregnancies. 
There are many ways to do this, the hardest part is getting started I find. I am married to a Chef, so I have an unfair advantage around being fed well. However, one of my greatest struggles has been empowering MYSELF around preparation of food. I know how to eat well, I am drawn to healthy food for the most part. My hubby keeps me from teetering into health zealot land thankfully. Anyone who has had his mashed potatoes can attest! 
Now, if you are a parent, look at your baby. You want everything that goes into their body to be rockin'. You want them to be infused with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, so they may grow and develop to the fullest extent. You were once that little one. In my home, food was not fun. I was fed on other people's schedules. I did have some consistency for a spell with my stepmother. Still, if I did not eat what was made, I was forced to or sent to bed hungry. (I love you MM but you know this is the truth!). This has not been my approach with my babies. The majority of my life, my grandmother made me her idea of a good breakfast. All other meals were canned, McDonalds, or whatever I could find. Asking for anything I liked from my grandfather was a NO NO. He was surly and unpredictable, given to fits of rage for infractions that ranged from breathing to more "serious offenses." Our cupboards were also scary, as they were full of cockroaches and mice. My grandmother occasionally graced me with her red beans and rice, but she was pretty aghast at the idea of domesticity in any form, she did not cook. Instant soup is not food. I learned to microwaves eggs in a cup. I ate Chef Boyardee without much fuss. 
Meeting my husband was a revelation is a myriad of ways, food notwithstanding. I did not realize how little I understood about hunger signals until he got ahold of me. He lovingly cooks for me most days of the week. He enjoys this, as his mother and grandmother and aunts modeled for him as a child. So I will be sharing my tools as a parent and a self care advocate. I will cover exercise, nutrition, various therapies, personal self care, caring for children, aromatherapy, creative expression, and other ideas. 


Use Sea Salt. 

Whole Grains are the way to go. Ultragrain can be found in many foods at your local grocery stores, in restaurants, and even in school cafeterias. 
Click here for a list of products with Ultragrain. 
Combine a cup of the good stuff with white to begin the switch if this is hard for you. Recipes made with Ultragrain-blended flour provide a flavor and end result that look, bake and taste like recipes made with white flour productsBaby steps.

Eat Fresh greens.

We should all eat oily fish 2-3 times a week, and organic is better than farmed. It is also more expensive, so don't stress if that's a factor. 
Eat Salmon. No common fish delivers more of the omega-3 fatty acids that help keep arteries clear and hearts strong than salmon. The past decade has shown that these fatty acids may also strengthen the immune system and eyesight, and even improve mental health. 
Try this for starters:

Very quick, very tasty. 

4 salmon steaks. For the crust150g (2/3 cup)low fat natural yogurt, small bunch fresh coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 2.5cm piece root ginger, peeled and grated, 1/2 tsp each ground cumin, smoked paprika

Serves 4: Mix the crust ingredients together and spread over the salmon steaks. Cook under a pre-heated grill for about 10 minutes, turning once, until fish is cooked through.

Great recipes on AllRecipies.
Other great fish include Tilapia. 

Healthy eaters are Empowered Kidz, free of fears and misconceptions about food and eating. Kids who know how to eat healthfully know what they need and how to get it. They are effective problem solvers. Healthy eating habits established in childhood are a precious legacy to be brought with the child into the adult years.
KidsAndNutrition contains over 60 articles written by our experts who continually update and add new content.
I love this site. Cooking Light is a long-established health, nutrition, and fitness authority that inspires readers to eat smart, be fit, and live well. A leader in translating cutting-edge nutrition research into recipes and guidance for the home cook, we offer the tools you need to make better choices for a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Eating: Tips for a Healthy Diet

Food Network: Healthy recipes

BBC Mental Health

One of the many amazing tools on this site: What is Headroom?

Life is full of ups and downs. So the BBC has created Headroom, a campaign to encourage you to look after your mental wellbeing.

We'll help you cope with the everyday stresses and strains of life and provide a safe place to start finding answers to more complex problems.

Mind Spa on BBC

Check out your interactive assessment to get a picture of how you're feeling right now.

BBC Health

Info on diet, health, exercise and the like. Very comprohensive.

Healthy Eating Community:Wellsphere

Health knowledge made personal

Parenting Resources:


Pregnancy  on babycenter

Pregnancy Info on Discovery

Earth Mama angel baby

BBC emotional health and pregnancy

Empowered Parents

Psychotherapist Abigail H. Natenshon has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders with individuals, families, and groups for the past 28 years. She is the author of When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Parents and Other Caregivers, Jossey Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA. October 1999. Based on hundreds of successful outcomes, this book shepherds concerned parents step-by-step through the processes of eating disorder recognition, confronting the child, finding the most effective treatment for patient and family, and evaluating and insuring a timely recovery. A guide to eating disorder prevention, this book is useful to parents, health professionals and school personnel alike in countering the pervasive epidemic of unhealthy eating and body image concerns, and destructive media and peer influences. Her work can be reviewed further at her web site To order visit

"Every stage in a child's life is there for a purpose. If we can respect and respond to her needs fully during each stage of her life, she can be done with that stage and move on." —Naomi Aldort

The Authentic Parenting Site: Naomi Aldort

Naomi does not teach parents how to "get kids to be/do..." but rather how to be with children so that they are free to be their own magnificent selves. Parents say that what they get out of Naomi's work is much more than help in parenting - they get self-realization, which frees them to see the child with clarity and wisdom.

Naomi provides guidance on issues such as:
Healthy attachment* • Behavior • Crying • Nursing • Learning • Aggression 
Sleep • Cooperation without bribes or threats • Tantrums • Siblings • Talents 
Teens • Sharing • Home-schooling • Tics • Fears • Responsibility • Chores
Special needs • Healing from Trauma • Speech therapy 
Parent's needs• and much more.

Naomi Aldort is a parenting counselor, internationally published writer, and public speaker.


I am a ferocious advocate of ATTACHMENT PARENTING. 

To me this is a bit rhetorical, but alas not all see babies and parenting the same way. I beg each and every one of you to hold your babies close, wear them as much as possible, and please not to let them "cry it out."  This is called inadequate nurturing. Inadequate nurturing tends to have different consequences depending on the developmental stage in which it occurs. When nurturing of the child is not adequate in the first three years, what is at risk is the development of psychopathic traits; and when nurturing is inadequate after the first three years, what is at risk is the development of neurotic traits. Whereas psychopathic individuals create difficulties for other people, neurotic individuals create difficulties for themselves. They are prone to excessive worries, phobias, depression, and so on. 

Attachment parenting (or AP for short) is a style of parenting first proposed by Dr William Sears.  It was designed to promote a strong emotional bond between parents and their children (also known as a secure attachment).  Sears explains how this helps the child become emotionally well-rounded individuals capable of forming and maintaining secure and empathic relationships in adulthood. 

This site has helped me tremendously in raising my two boys. 

Dr Sears on Attachment Parenting: WHAT ATTACHMENT PARENTING IS –THE 7 BABY B'S

The Natural Child ProjectOur vision is a world in which all children are treated with dignity, respect, understanding, and compassion. In such a world, every child can grow into adulthood with a generous capacity for love and trust. Our society has no more urgent task.This site has helped me tremendously with my two boys. 

The Critical Importance of Mothering by Elliot Barker, M.D., who is is the Director of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the former editor of the journal Empathic Parenting

Empathic Parenting article on NCP

Attachment Parenting on ParentingWeb

Reactive Attachment Disorder

Attachment Disorder is defined as the condition in which individuals have difficulty forming lasting relationships. 

Peaceful Parenting for a Peaceful WorldAttachment Parenting

Amity Mama

Conscious Parenting...Naturally.

Mothering celebrates the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and fosters awareness of the immense importance and value of parenthood and family life in the development of the full human potential. As a readers' magazine, we recognize parents as the experts and wish to provide truly helpful information upon which parents can base informed choices.

AngelMother AngelMothers is all about Natural Parenting, Positive thinking, Healthy contented babies and children, good and yummy wholesome food with abundance of nutrients and love.

It's always a good idea to keep your immune system in tip-top shape, especially with flu and cold season just around the corner! Emer'gen-C and Rainbow Light's Super C provide an excellent source of antioxidants. Green Magma® is also an excellent source of antioxidants. It will also help provide your body with essential nutrients that promote the health and vitality of the entire body.

Essential Fatty Acids- Now Available at All Natural Mamas! Nordic Naturals, with their patented flavoring process, has made taking your EFA's a pleasure! No more fishy after taste. What are EFA's? " EFAs aid in the maintenance of cell membrane fluidity and stability, development and function of brain and nerve tissue, oxygen transfer and energy production, immune functions, and conversion into compounds involved in all body functions including local hormones governing inflammatory responses.

Magazines for natural living! Tired of the same old fluffy content of mainstream parenting magazines? Now you can purchase subscriptions or single issues of the two most popular parenting magazines for thinking parents: Brain, Child and Mothering.

Bi-O-Kleen nautral, safe, non-toxic cleaning supplies! All Natural Mamas has just added the complete line of Bi-O-Kleen! Including a foaming action spray Bac Out, Automatic Dishwasher detergent, Premium Laundry Powder (safe for washing cloth diapers!), Hand Dish Soap, All Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser; many of these are available in bulk 50lb pails and/or cubes. Keep your family safe when you clean without toxic fumes and chemicals. Kitchen * Laundry * All Purpose * Bulk * Ingredients * More about Bi-O-Kleen

PBS Parents

American Academy of Pediatrics

Listed below are few commonly used essential oils that are used for kids.

- Lavender oil is excellent home remedy for headaches, earaches and even insect bites.

- Geranium and
 rose oils act as a good skin softener, toner and natural astringent.

- Chamomile and peppermint oils prevent hair loss.

- Lavender, lemon and curry leaf oils provide relief from dandruff.

- For any bruises and burns, use tea tree and lavender oils.

- Black pepper oil is good for constipation.

- Cedar wood, eucalyptus and tea tree oils alleviate coughs.

- Ginger, lavender and thyme oil works wonders on sore throats.

- Lavender and roman chamomile oil blend allows for restful sleep at night.

- Lemon and grapefruit oils added to a tub of warm water for a bath refreshes a child.

A word of caution for any parents planning on using aromatherapy oils on their children. Please exercise caution while using essential oils. Its best to stick to mild oils and less is best. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, make sure that they are properly diluted with water or carrier oils. Improper dilution can result in skin irritation for your little ones. Don't let your children be alone while using essential oils. 


Anonymous said...

Lady, you are awesome. What a great source you have going here.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful, more of this!

dixie-cricket said...

We seem to have a few things in common :) I got into natural stuff when I was pregnant and have been passionate about it ever since.
Did you see Ricki Lake's documentary on childbirth in the US? It discusses the medicalization of birth and the midwifrey model of care as an alternative for low risk mothers. Here is a link to the trailer, in case you are interested(It's one of my more specific "crunchy" interests).
I am enjoying your blog :)