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Mom’s Health Archives

Why Soda is Making You Fat

by Jennifer Faimon

If you’ve been drinking one or more sodas every day, that aluminum can in your hand is to blame for those extra digits on the scale. We’re not talking a couple pounds either. We’re talking long term weight gain. One can of cola adds more than 100 calories to your daily intake. That’s over 10 lbs of additional body fat every year.

Obesity, type-2 diabetes, and soda addiction have all risen together steadily and scarily over the past decades. Coincidence? Not a chance. Soda is sabotaging your body.

What’s so bad about a little bubbly liquid?
Lots and lots of calories and zero nutritional value. Sugary soft drinks account for almost 10% of the average American’s daily caloric intake. That’s a ton of empty calories that lack any of the nutrients, fiber, or minerals your body needs to function. Because soda’s missing what your body craves, no matter how much you drink you’ll still be left feeling hungry. So, on top of hundreds of empty calories, you pile on additional food that still counts against your ideal daily allotment. Remember, there is one absolute truth: if you take in more calories than you burn you will gain weight.

Your odds of becoming obese increase as much as 1.6 times for every 12 ounces of soda you drink over the course of the day. That’s because one small can of soda holds a whopping 140 calories of added sugar. Reality check: at most fast food restaurants, a 12 ounce serving of soda is considered the kiddie size.

All these added sugars are simple sugars, meaning they are readily and easily absorbed. When you take in such a high volume so quickly your insulin spikes. Your body can’t handle the rapid influx, which leads to extra glucose being stored as fat. You don’t get any lasting energy from the liquid carbs; you get that familiar and inevitable crash. Instead of being ready to hit the gym to burn off any extra fat, you’re so exhausted you just hit the couch.

I’ll just switch to diet soda!
Not so fast. Recent studies show that over time diet sodas still cause weight gain. If you drink 2 or more servings of diet soda a day you are 5 times more likely to increase dangerous visceral fat in your midsection. That extra fat puts you at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses.

Let’s say you only drink a single serving of diet soda a day. Diet soda is still high in sodium. The more sodium in your body, the more water you’ll retain. Which means if you’re trying to lose weight, diet soda can actually make it that much harder move the scale in the right direction. And let’s not forget the artificial sweeteners in diet soda – a BIG no-no!

Instead of sodas, why not reach for healthier and even more refreshing beverages?
If you won’t give up the carbonated bite of soda, mix two parts seltzer water with one part 100% fruit juice – like pomegranate or cranberry. You’ll get your pleasant pop and fizz along with rich antioxidants and vitamins. Embrace homemade smoothies made with fresh fruit and almond milk or Greek yogurt for added protein.

Maybe it’s time you jump on the green tea train. Even if you sweeten your tea, you’re more likely to check your sugar intake when you’re the one spooning in the sweetener. Or reach for that oldie but goodie, pure H2O.

One thing is for sure: cut out sodas and you’ll start to feel lighter than carbonated air.

Let us help you rid yourself of the nutrition which sabotages your health and help you make better choices you can trust and a workout that gets results!

Amazing Herbs That Women Should Know About

By Dr. Kezia Shine

I am doing this segment because so many women come in to see me with their shoulders up to their ears in stress, with constant headaches, they feel snappy, or just not quite themselves, because menopause has thrown them through the loop, or postpartum depression has hit them over the head.  The good news is, you can take care of most of these problems naturally with plants that have amazing effects on the body.  The following herbs are the 6 most recommended in my practice for the everyday lives of us amazing women.

  1. St. John’s Wort-  This herb has been found to decrease the stress the on the body especially with emotions, and the nervous system.  This allows for the body to cope with everyday life changes including the day to day stress that women have trying to be a mom, wife, and your amazing overachieving self.  This amazing herb also promotes a healthy immune response to environmental stresses such as when the allergy season hits, or inclement weather. This is what I call the herbal happy pill!
  2. Valarian Root-  Have you ever just laid in bed and you can’t get to sleep because your brain just will not shut off because you are planning, deciding, making lists, or replaying the day’s events with all the different outcomes that could have been possible?  This herb not only helps support the nervous system, but it promotes relaxation and encourages sleep.  No more need for those over the counter meds that toxify your liver!
  3. Chaste Tree- promotes a natural, healthy balance within the female endocrine system (particularly in relation to supporting normal progesterone levels), while encouraging a healthy menstrual cycle.  This has been an amazing savior for many teenage girls, or women who have a very painful monthly cycle or uncontrollable mood swings associated with PMS.
  4. Black Cohosh- this hefty herb is loaded in Estrogen!  So for those women who are menopausal, this will help ease the mood swings, and decrease hot flashes and night sweats while providing a healthy balance amongst all the female hormones.  This will also maintain and support healthy joints and lower the risks of osteoporosis.
  5. Echinacea- We have all heard of this one over and over again, mostly because this herb is our immune system enhancing herb.  When our bodies get worn down, or the weather changes, it is the perfect time for those little bugs to hit us and make us sick.  If you take Echinacea during these seasons, it will not only enhance the immune system making it harder to get sick, but it will help promote healthy white blood cells that fight off illness, encourage healthy upper respiratory systems to avoid coughs and bronchitis types of illness, as well as promote a healthy lymphatic system.  The lymphatic system is the sanitation system of the body that picks up all the trash from the body and disposes of it.
  6. Shatavari- This herb when translated means: “She who possesses a hundred husbands”.  That is right ladies, this is your libido tonic, which not only ramps up your sex drive, but increases fertility, and helps with lactation.  Shatavari has also been used in recent clinical research studies, with findings showing a potential decrease in post-partum depression.

As with any supplements, you need to make sure that the source or manufacturer is reliable, and the cheapest is usually not the greatest.  You should make sure that it is a whole food supplement, or the herb is pick from only the finest, or freshest environment that is not polluted with environmental toxins.  As far as dosage, be sure to consult a physician who specializes in herbs to ensure that you are taking the correct amount. In my practice I sell only pharmaceutical grade herbs and supplements.  For more information or to find other resources, please feel free to contact me at drkezia@myalign.com

Eco+Logical Soiree Kansas City

The Eco+Logical Soirée is a new and exciting way for modern parents to connect with top-notch, eco-conscious companies.

You are invited to attend the FREE soirée on May 19, 2012. Drop by anytime from 6-9pm at the New Birth Company 9209 West 110th Street, Building 36 Corporate Woods, Overland Park, KS.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the mission behind some of the best products and services Kansas City has to offer while enjoying the company of other moms like you and The Soft Landing Team.

A Fun Gathering with a Purpose

  • Enjoy a laid back evening with local wine tasting by Rowe Ridge Vineyard (featuring Kansas grapes – who knew?) and hor d’oeurves provided by The Freedom Chef and The Local Pig (we’ll have organic Earth Mama tea for pregnant mama too!)
  • Schmooze with other amazing moms while you soak in the relaxing atmosphere of the New Birth Company
  • Connect with high quality, mission-driven companies offering products and services for your family
  • Live music by a local violinist

And you won’t want to miss the amazing Grand Prize Giveaway worth over $1,000!

Hard Time Finding Balance?

By Dr. Ladd Carlston

Do you feel like you need more “balance”.  Do you feel pulled in too many directions?

That feeling in your chest or stomach, or that tightness in your shoulders is the stress of wanting to do it all, but not having enough time in the day.  That much desired balance in your life only happens if you have clarity on what is most important and the focus to make it happen.

Look at your actions and how you spend your time each day.  Does it reflect your priorities?  Odds are you’re spending time on something that really isn’t high priority and it’s resulting in you getting to the end of the day and being dissatisfied.  Yikes.

So here’s the deal.  When you’re stressed, the part of your brain that helps you prioritize and see the consequences of your current actions doesn’t function very well.

mom stressHere are some suggestions:

1. Take a breather.   When you’re stressed, your breath becomes more shallow.  Pausing to catch your breath from the race of life is essential and can restore much needed perspective on what you’re facing.

You know the feeling – you’re frantically looking for something and then you find it was right in front of you the whole time.  If you’re stressed, that’s how you’re leading your life – missing pieces that will make things easier if you would just become aware that they’re there.

If you think you’re too busy to take a breather for a few minutes or you find that when you do you can’t stop your racing thoughts – you REALLY need to slow down or you’ll look up one day and wonder what happened.

2. Close those open loops. Researchers say that keeping a to-do list on your mind or having too many things that are undone not only zaps your brainpower, but can make you anxious, forgetful, and indecisive.  The solution?  Write things down.

Odds are that you’re keeping too much on your brain.  Think about your house, your car, your finances, work, etc.  There are things in each one of those categories that need doing and it’s impossible to keep it all in your head.

Here’s the deal – if you spent time right now going through all those categories and writing what you had to do down, it would free up energy for you to have more willpower to focus on what’s most important to you.  There are tons of research about this.

3. Energize your prefrontal cortex. What leads to the discrepancy between what you SAY you want to focus on and what you really end up doing is the lack of brainpower to see and make the right choice.

The specific area of your brain that is in charge of how you spend your time during the day is called the prefrontal cortex. There are different ways that have been used over the centuries to bring energy and blood-flow to this critical area of the brain.  Below are two different options – one that you can do on your own and the one I’ve developed as  a new alternative at my practice.

relaxAn exercise that you can do on your own:

  • Start by simply carving out 5 minutes of your day morning or night to sit in a quiet undisturbed place.  Have your spouse be “on watch” for the kids or do whatever you have to do to be undisturbed.
  • Next sit comfortably and focus on your breathing.  Thoughts will come to your mind which is okay, but just bring your focus back to your breathing and make sure you take a few deep breaths during that 5 minutes. Continually bring your focus back to your breath.
  • Gradually increase the time to 30 minutes.

Part of a 45 minute session in my practice is a hands-on technique to clear physical stress and energize the prefrontal cortex.  In short, this portion of the session is a combination of breathing techniques, meditation, acupressure, and massage all in a 45 minute session.

After a few sessions, people gain more focus and clarity on what they need to be doing and get in action with their relationships, health, organization.  Things are changing in dramatic ways for them!

Whichever of the above options you choose, DO SOMETHING to be able to spend time doing what’s most important.

This May Change How You Get Through December

By Dr. Ladd Carlston

Which one are you – The busy, stressed mom who is exhausted at the end of the day or the mom who has pockets of gratitude and joy throughout the day and ends the day with satisfaction and energy?

Here are 3 quick tips to feel incredible as you go through this busy time (yes it IS possible)

1. Start by saying NO to some things so that you have some breathing room to recharge and enjoy the holidays this time around so you can truly be present for others and be more enjoyable to be around! What if this holiday season with your family and friends was the last?

Here’s some things that you might consider saying no to if you’re overwhelmed:
-baking school treats
-making goodies to take to friends just to keep up with others who are doing the same
-church parties

Also consider the following verbiage:
- “I won’t be able to – I’m maxed out right now and need to catch up with some things
- “I don’t want to commit to this yet as I think I’m already a bit over-committed until the first of the year
- “Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. How about we reconnect after New Years?
- “I’m not the best person to help on this. Can you give someone else the opportunity?

2. Next, how many times do you catch yourself thinking about something else while your child or a coworker is talking to you? Yikes. You may have heard that you’re LESS productive or efficient if you’re trying to do multiple things at once. It’s really true. Resist the urge.

Research shows that you’re happier and less stressed if you can truly focus on what’s happening in the moment….sure you need to plan and think about the future – but not HALF of your waking hours (which is what research shows!) It’s called “mindfulness” and it’s gaining popularity because of the results.

3. Do something to re-boot your brain so you can handle all that’s coming at you.
- Recommit to prayer or meditation time to keep stress at bay and help you approach situations in the best way possible during the rest of the day.
- Sometimes it’s just stopping for a minute instead of charging recklessly through your day – I do “brain rest” for 15 minutes each day and it makes all the difference in how I tackle the rest of my day.
- Go for a walk, stand up and stretch, take a really deep breath and sigh it out.

To sum it up, say no when you can, be mindful more often, and get your body working again if you need to, so you can feel great and enjoy time with family and friends (or by yourself!).

Bonus Tip. If you were dragging before the holidays and you’re feeling the effects of menopause or hormone imbalances, or worse yet, you’re suffering from an autoimmune challenge, the holidays can be extra difficult – and drinking caffeine or other energy drinks will make things worse down the road.

Talk to me about something simple I use with my clients that is miraculously giving them their energy back, balancing their hormones, and stopping the auto-immune process in it’s tracks.

Kids and overwhelming responsibilities in the modern world can take their toll but this is an easy way to tackle things and have energy left over!