What is the purpose of your blog? I am hoping to create a change in the conversation surrounding mental health especially for the sake of children. I grew tired of the public discourse: anti-depressants or not? I didn’t see anyone writing about nutrition. I didn’t see anyone discussing exercise. I didn’t see anyone taking a holistic angle to mental health for children and adolescents. There is so much more to add to the conversation. I wanted to open the discussion. We have to admit the medical model is not working. If it were, we wouldn’t have the statistics we have currently. A 400% increase in children using psychotropic medications since the 1980’s has not slowed the march of mental illness in America. A suicide rate that has doubled among teens in the last 10 years; a 30% increase in anxiety and depression among adolescents – these are horrifying trends. As a parent and as a therapist, I felt that we were missing some very basic connections and that is the purpose of my blog – to make the connections for people. And I want to help people. Ultimately, help as many people as I can.
A road trip is the quintessential American vacation. Despite the sibling infighting and peppered threats of “pulling this car over,” from the parental cockpit, countless happy memories flood my head of our road trips to anywhere. Oversized pillows that never made me comfortable and car games that involved nothing but our boredom unraveled were a small price to pay for the excitement and adventure the journey ignited. I have no memories of what we ate but I am almost certain it was whatever the road provided.
Looks yummy, doesn’t it?! Well, it can be good for you too depending on how you work it. I am the queen of swapping ingredients in recipes. My family wants to eat flavorful food just as much as anyone else so I try to take what would be considered a “bad food” and jazz it up in the health department. Now, I don’t think pancakes should replace vegetables. But I do think a healthy lifestyle focused on whole body health (and that does include the often neglected brain) can include delicious food thought to be too naughty to consume. Try this at home:
I called Macon, Georgia my home for roughly 7 years of my life so you could say I am partial to the peach. Little did I know how powerful and potent they can be in establishing and maintaining good health. Be a peach: Read on and you too will find out why southerners adore this tasty stone fruit!
Adventure with children can be a double-edged sword. Yes, life with children is adventurous! The type of adventure? Well, that depends on the day or maybe the moment. Unfortunately, when it comes to food for American children, many don’t venture beyond the kid’s menu. And what is with kid’s menus? Really. Children are only allowed to like four things? Chicken nuggets, pizza, noodles or noodles with butter, if they are feelin’ particularly saucy.
Americans have a notoriously complicated relationship with food. We love it fast, cheap, salty and sweet. Despite our sizable intake, we spend less than any other country in the world on food. Conversely, we spend more money on healthcare than any other place on the planet – $9,237 a person to be exact. A funny little coincidence, I think not. Would we rather spend our hard-earned pennies on doctor’s bills treating illness? Or could we maybe spend a few dollars more on feeding our bodies food that nourishes health? Either way we have to pay. Why not make the payment tasty?
Grapes are a sweet reminder that summer produces the most delicious desserts. No baking required. With every bite, they ignite the taste buds for kids and adults alike. Tasty frozen or raw, grapes are versatile in the nutrition department. Not only can you satisfy a sweet tooth with a handful of grapes, you can obtain the following vitamins and minerals: vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium, and thiamine. And the bus doesn’t stop there. The juicy grape gives you riboflavin, fiber and a wee bit of protein. For those of you who thought protein is only available in animal products; it just isn’t true. Plants have protein too!
I will be the first to admit I reward my children with food on the occasion. I love to find reasons to celebrate. Ask my mother-in-law. When she visits I find ways to spice up the day. Anything and everything can be a reason. You made it here in one piece – let’s celebrate! You recovered from jet lag – let’s celebrate! You survived our household for an entire week – let’s celebrate! Going for coffee (my mother-in-law) and tea (myself) is a primary example. And with the kids in tow, it may be a hot chocolate from our favorite chocolate store or an ice cream from our favorite chocolate store. Yes, they are one in the same. Because I like to frequently celebrate I have to find alternative ways to party with my children. A cupcake every time they smile wouldn’t be conducive to healthy living so I opt out on the food and zero in on the quality time.