The Moms Of Moods And Foods 4 Kids

Tell me a little bit about your background and family?
My husband and I have three little boys (7, 6, and 3) and live just outside of Chicago. I am a former middle school/high school teacher who eventually went into educational publishing and software development. I recently left my full time job and took on a freelance role so that I can be at home more and have a little more involvement in the day to day happenings at our house and in the kids’ school! We are a very active family! My husband and I are both runners and he played hockey through college. As one might expect, our kids now play hockey several days a week, and my husband and I do our best to stay in shape with regular workouts. We are out and about in the town we live in as well as in the city.  And we enjoy traveling immensely…even with the kids, believe it or not! We believe strongly in teaching by example and living a healthy lifestyle so that we can continue to explore and adventure for many, many years to come!

Why do you choose a whole food diet for your family?
I’ve been a runner for some years now and have been pretty selective about my diet since I started long distance races. Having kids, including one with asthma and a number of other food and environmental allergies, reinforced the need for smart, healthy food choices. We started going organic, natural, and non-GMO and focusing on fruits and vegetables, but it wasn’t always absolute. About a year ago, my husband was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma, which is a non-Hodgkins diagnosis. It was a somewhat puzzling diagnosis for his healthcare providers because of his age, health, and lifestyle.

In my own research, we realized that a high percentage of patients with this diagnosis were farmers or others exposed to chemicals on a regular basis. My husband was at ground zero on 9-11 and we both think there’s a strong possibility that breathing in the aftermath of the towers falling could be responsible for his diagnosis. (That is just our suspicion; it hasn’t been confirmed.) At any rate, he is doing really well, and it’s been a very convincing wake up call to really examine all our lifestyle choices. We do our best to ensure we’ve removed as many chemicals as possible from our home and that we are only putting nourishing whole foods into our bodies.

What is your go-to real food snack?
We’re pretty simple around here. My kids love hummus, so we always have that on hand with vegetables. We also enjoy fresh and dried fruits or granola.

What do you find most difficult about feeding your kids a non-processed diet?
Well there certainly aren’t as many short cuts when you’re pressed for time and looking for something quick at the grocery store! I’d love to say that I spend hours cooking, but that’s not me either; so for us, it’s all about planning. If I can get a weekly menu together before I go to the grocery store Sunday mornings, we’re in good shape. If not, we have pretty boring meals until the next week. Fortunately, my family is kind enough not to complain all that often.

What are your concerns as a parent when it comes to childhood mental health?
Honestly, I don’t worry that much right now as my kids are young. They have some fears and some moments of being overwhelmed – fire safety prevention week at school was a slew of new fears at home! But, generally speaking, sitting down to talk to them will calm their anxiety. What absolutely terrifies me is the pressures and stress they’ll face when they get a little older, specifically those that can be brought on by social media and peer pressure. Right now, I’m really working on building a solid relationship with each of my kids so that when they get older, they’ll know we’re always a safe place to discuss feelings and anything that may be weighing on them, and that they’ll have some tools to help combat any assaults on their confidence or moral choices.

What I love about your story is your action and your willingness to be open.  Your family faced  your husband’s difficult diagnosis and you found a way to double down and actively make changes.  By sharing your story, you have inspired others who are possibly facing illness or who are looking to prevent illness in their lives.  Thanks for sharing, Katie! You are making a difference.  


5 Reasons Why It Is Easier To Feed Your Kids Real Food

We can make up all kinds of reasons as to why it is easier to feed our kids processed food.  But I am here to tell you we have been sold a bill of goods by real fine advertisers and the general population at large.  Please humor me for 3 minutes of your precious Friday and read further as to why I think they are just plain ole’ wrong.  When you buy real food from a farm and not a factory there is so much you don’t have to worry about.

Keep on reading>

Reduce Back To School Stress In 5 Simple Steps

Returning to school can be a trigger for many children, teens and even parents.  The flexibility of the summer gives way to the rigidity of the school year and with it comes an increase in anxiety, acute and chronic stress and depression.  Whether your child struggles with a clinical diagnosis or not does not take away from the impact the beginning of an academic year can have on a child’s thoughts, feelings and behavior.  Make sure your child gets off to a good start when the school bell rings.  Try out my ideas below:

Keep on reading>

Nutritional Benefits Of The Watermelon

Nothing says summer like a nice, big slice of sweet watermelon; however, you can enjoy the health benefits of watermelon all year long. Comprised of nearly 91% water this delicious fruit helps detox the body by flushing the system of toxins and excess fluid.  Particularly love the juicy pieces of pink flesh?  Go ahead and swallow the seeds and rind too! All is edible with the rind containing more chlorophyll and citrulline than the core.  Dr. Mercola informs us that “citrulline is converted to arginine in your kidneys, and not only is this amino acid important for heart health and maintaining your immune system, but it has been researched to have potential therapeutic value in over 100 health conditions.”  No need to list 100 health conditions.  Just eat watermelon and know you pretty much have it all covered.

Keep on reading>

2 Simple Ways To Make Eating Healthy, Quick And Inexpensive

Most people would equate healthy eating with the notion that it will take heaps of time and money, therefore, they glide through a drive-thru in an attempt to avoid the inconvenience of cooking and the expense of shopping.  But I think that is where the Western mentality gets it absolutely wrong. It is cheaper to cook at home. It is healthier to cook at home.  And it does not have to take an inordinate amount of time to do it.

Keep on reading>

How To Take The Happy Out Of A Happy Camper

I thought it was time for a summer P.S.A.  Your little camper might not have a happy tummy with these Happy Camper Cakes. And while the taste of pure sugar may momentarily make your child smile, his or her mood will soon turn sour from the effects of disregulated blood sugar levels and the hormonal shifts it creates. Not to mention the artificial ingredients seem to outnumber the real ingredients.  Actually, I was hard pressed to find any real ingredients.  And as a parent, I like to steer clear from items which represent food but are, in fact, not actually food.  Maybe it’s just me but I want my food to rot.  But I will leave it up to you to decide what you find to be acceptable. For now, read along.

Keep on reading>

Random Thoughts On Gardens And Thumbs

Photo courtesy of my dear friend, Laura Forssell – a nonmurderer of gardens.

I wish the garden could be my medicine cabinet.  But it can never be my medicine cabinet.  Because I kill gardens.  Even when I try not to kill gardens.  I under water my pots.  I go three, four or five days without watering my pots.  Then I realize I have neglected my garden.  So I over water my pots.  I over water to compensate for the poor decision to under water, which in fact is just another poor decision.

Keep on reading>

Peas: The Gateway Green Vegetable

Kale is all the rage these days.  It’s touted as a super food for its superior nutrition but the average kid isn’t going to bring a wilted piece of kale within five inches of his or her sweet little lips for two reasons usually.  One: it is green.  Two: it is a leaf. So what is a parent to do?  You could get into a battle over dinner about the kale that has found its way to your child’s plate or you could escort a new little guy into town.  Welcome my friends to the gateway green vegetable – the pea.

Keep on reading>

How Snacking Behaviors Can Work Against Us

Children like love snacks.  Ask any kid.  They don’t want breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Who wants a crazy thing like a meal when you can have… wait for it, wait for it… a bag of snacks!  We wonder why our children aren’t hungry at meal time and then realize they have quietly been grazing their way through the day. Doesn’t allow for the hunger pangs to exactly set in, does it?  Don’t worry.  I am not being one of those judgy (is that a word?) moms.  I’m guilty as charged.  In fact, I am guiltier (really I should work on my grammar) because I actually write a blog about food and emotional health and all that jazz.  Anyway,  where were we? Keep on reading>