Category: General Tooth Care Info

Indoor Entertainment for the Winter Months

When the temperatures outside drop, it can become hard to find reasons to pull the kids away from the television and limit the amount of computer games that are played.  Here are a few ideas for keeping both you and your kids entertained and interacting with each other while being creative at the same time!  By the end of the day, the kids will be so distracted with all of the fun things they’ve accomplished that they’ll forget to complain about not being allowed to spend the day on the couch.

1. Build-a-Story Time

This is a great activity to enhance creativity.  Have all the kids sit in a circle on the floor.  Pull out your phone so you can record using either your video camera or voice memo app.  Recording the story you and your kids are about to create makes it more fun since you can all listen to it afterwards and laugh at all the silly things you came up with.  The goal is to have each person make up a sentence to the story, building on whatever the previous person said.  So if you start the story by saying,

“Once upon a time, Mr. Paul Porcupine was walking through the forest when he came on Mr. Clarence Crow wearing a kilt.”

Then the next child will continue like,

“’Why are you wearing a kilt, Mr. Crow?’ Mr. Porcupine asked.”

And so on.  The story can go on as long as you like.  Maybe decide in advance how many times you’d like to go around the circle to keep it from going too long.  When you’re finished, stop the recording and replay it for the kids.  It’s a great way to get them feeling creative and make a fun memory that you can relive again and again by playing the recording!  You can even share it with any family members who missed out that night over dinner to get a few more laughs.

2. Have a “Snowball” Fight

If the temperatures have been below freezing or you live somewhere where a white winter isn’t something you get in the early months of the year, then maybe this fun activity will help pacify your kids’ need for snow!  Assuming you feel up to the work of re-matching them all later, have the kids gather together all the socks they can find.  Then have them ball them all up and split them into even piles.  Once the kids have picked their teams, have them build up barricades using couch cushions or pillows and then have them go for it!  Make sure to remove any breakables from the war zone ahead of time to ensure the activity remains fun for everyone.  The first team to run out of snowballs has to clean them all up and redistribute them to the winning team before beginning round 2!

3.  Put on a Puppet Show

Pull out a few old white socks and have the kids make them into pieces of art with personality!  The longer the socks, the better puppets they’ll make.  Set the kids up at the kitchen table (or wherever is most convenient) and have them use markers, glitter glue, paint, old buttons, pipe cleaners or whatever else you have laying around to make some colorful puppets.  Assign each child a character like a princess, prince, knight, etc.  Or have them make animal puppets like a fox, a bear, or a bird.  Then find a big cardboard box (or a smaller table with a sheet draped over it) and send the kids to rehearse.  Have their puppet show be the after dinner entertainment that night!  It’s fun for everyone and makes for a break from movies and games.

4. Indoor Ice Skating

If your kids are still little enough that they take daily afternoon naps, then this activity will make for the perfect middle of the day entertainment to tire them out before they go down.  All you need it some wax paper, a few rubber bands, and a carpeted room with open space.

Cut off pieces of wax paper big enough to fit over your child’s feet and then wrap them up and rubber band them around the ankle so it looks like they have on little wax paper booties.  Then have the kids start sliding around on the carpet.  Make sure there aren’t any hard pieces of furniture too close by to ensure they can’t slip and hurt themselves.  It’s a great activity that gets them moving and tires them out even when they can’t be outside running around!

5. Build a Fort

One of the most fun things for a child is to have a space they can call their own.  What better way to do that than by having them build themselves their very own fort? First, decide what room in the house you don’t mind them invading.  A room with couches and chairs can be fun because it allows them to string blankets between the different pieces of furniture.  Or maybe nominate one of the kid’s bedrooms as the location for the structure.  Inform them at the beginning how long the fort can be up.  This will help make sure they cooperate when you say it’s time to clean it up and will help you keep your sanity so you’re not staring at a mound of pillows and blankets for a whole week.  Pull out blankets and sheets that are acceptable for them to use, set any ground rules you need to (perhaps you don’t want them stealing cushions from your snow white couch or have them using the crystal bowl from your great grandmother to hold blankets in place) and then have them begin!  This is a great activity for kids who are a little older.  It helps sharpen their reasoning skills since they have to figure out how to put all of the pillows, cushions, and blankets together in such a way that ensures their structure stays intact.

Once their fort is complete, make some popcorn and send a stack of fun books or coloring materials in with them.  Let them make the space whatever they want it to be and have them spend their afternoon and evening playing house.  And, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, pull out the sleeping bags and let them sleep in there for the night.  What could be more fun than a cozy campout beneath blanket ceilings?

 

Make Brushing Teeth Fun

When children are old enough to understand its importance, getting your kids to brush their teeth ceases to be a struggle.  But when you’ve got toddlers on your hands that want everything to be fun, it can be difficult to come up with ways that keep you from feeling like you’re fighting with your child every night at bedtime.  If your toddler sees brushing their teeth like a chore, their willingness to do it is much less than if it seems like something enjoyable and game-like.  The following are some creative ideas to get your little one’s pearly whites shining with as few tears and meltdowns as possible!

1. Copy Cat

Bring your toddler into the bathroom with you and show them how you brush your teeth.  Show enthusiasm and excitement.  Explain how it’s fun and feels good to your teeth and gums and makes it so your teeth will stay strong and healthy.  Explain how food and sweets can get stuck in your teeth and how it’s your toothbrush’s job to get them out of there.  Make it fun!  Put your child up on the counter and have them try brushing your teeth.  This will help them see that it’s not scary at all and that it won’t hurt.  Then have them brush the teeth of their favorite doll or stuffed animal.  Finally, have them brush their own teeth and let you help with reaching the difficult spots.  This will help them see that brushing their teeth can be fun even though it’s necessary.

2. Give Them the Choice

Help your child feel that brushing their teeth is a big kid activity that they get to be a part of.  Make it an outing with them!  Take your child out to the store when you go to buy their toothbrush and make it a fun occasion.  Show them which toothbrushes will work for their mouth size and have them pick the one that they like best.  Then look at kids’ toothpastes together and have them pick out their favorite flavor like strawberry or bubblegum.  This helps them feel in control of what’s going on and excited about brushing their teeth!

3.  Make it a Musical Affair

What makes something feel more fun than with a song?  Making a tooth-brushing jingle or song can make the process feel like more of a game to your toddler.  Sing something like, “Brush, brush, brush your teeth…” to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat or simply sing the theme song from your child’s favorite cartoon like Mickey Mouse Club House, Winnie the Pooh, or Sid the Science Kid.  Sing it while you brush their teeth and decide in advance how many times through the song makes for a thorough brushing.

4.  Create a Diversion

Having your child distracted while you brush their teeth may make the process a whole lot easier on you.  Maybe have them sit in your lap while they watch a few minutes of a show or just put them on the counter in such a way that they can watch themselves brushing in the mirror.  Sometimes just seeing their reflection can be enough to make it interesting for them and distract them from what they’re doing.

5.  Try a Fancy Toothbrush

With today’s plethora of teeth-brushing options at affordable prices, it may be worth it to invest those few extra dollars and get your child an electronic toothbrush.  They even make ones that have music built in so that your child knows how long to brush for. It’s easy to find one that will be right up your child’s alley and make brushing more pleasant for everyone!  Children’s Sonicare toothbrushes are available for purchase at The Kidd’s Place.

6. Change it Up

Here are some random tips and tricks that have worked well for some parents:

–          Try changing up your language.  Say something like, “I’m going to tickle your teeth!” rather than saying “brush”.  This makes it feel silly and fun for your toddler!

–          Try brushing while your little one is in the bath.  It might be easier to incorporate it right into their bath time routine rather than making it a separate event.  Brush rubber ducky’s teeth and Mr. Tugboat’s teeth and then make it your child’s turn.

–          Find a funny video of your child on your phone or maybe a special YouTube video they enjoy and make it the brushing video.  They can only watch it while getting their teeth brushed and they have to sit very still while watching.  This creates a distraction while making your child see it as something fun rather than a chore.

If songs aren’t working for you, try making it a tooth-brushing countdown.  Pick a number like 15 or 20 and start counting down to 1.  When you’ve done it once for the top and once for the bottom, you can be through!

7.  When All Else Fails…

Sometimes you can try every little gimmick and game and your child still won’t fall for it.  They’ll be too smart for their own good and know exactly what you’re trying to do no matter how well you disguise it.  When this happens, don’t despair!  Teeth brushing will still get done.  It just may not be as fun as you were hoping.  When this happens, resort to the basics:  hold your child in your lap with their neck resting on your non-dominant arm.  Then proceed to brush their little teeth until they sparkle!  If you have a particularly stubborn toddler, you may need to tag team them with your partner, having them hold the lower half of your child’s body while you have their head in your lap.  The more used to the process they get, the less they’ll squirm.  Make sure to keep it from being a scary thing though.  You don’t want them blurring the lines and developing a fear of everything that involves their teeth.  Keep it as light as possible and hopefully in time they’ll come to see it as an enjoyable practice!

Of course, with any of these methods, always make sure your toddler’s teeth are getting fully cleaned. Teach them how to move their brush and make sure they’re reaching far back enough in their mouths to get all of their little pearly whites.  Happy brushing!

The Importance of Sealants

There is a reason that in America today pediatric dentists perform more than twice as many sealants as general dentists and hygienists combined.  In order for sealants to have the optimum conditions and most potential for cavity-prevention, they should be applied as soon as a child’s adult teeth begin to come in (usually between the ages of 5 and 7).  While dental sealants are not a cure-all for the possibility of tooth decay, they can certainly help in preventing it.
 

What is a sealant?

A dental sealant is a plastic-like liquid that is applied to the biting surface of the tooth.  The goal of the sealant is that it covers all the pits and grooves and fissures that could potentially trap food and other bacteria within the tooth.  Unlike fillings, sealants are a painless procedure that is preformed to help reduce the likelihood of tooth decay.  The steps for applying a sealant to a tooth is relatively simple:

  1. First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
  3. An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
  4. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.  Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.

Do they have negative side effects?

There have been debates that the exposure to the bisphenol A and BPA found in sealants could be harmful to children.  However, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services has done extensive studies concluding otherwise.  They have deemed these concerns unnecessary stating, “This exposure is considered an acute and infrequent event with little relevance to estimating general population exposures.”  In the case of sealants, the benefits nearly always outweigh the possibly negative side effects.
 

Why they’re almost always worth the investment…

In America today, it is safe to say that nutrition has become something that our society as a whole has little grasp of.  Foods and beverages are expected to be quick and convenient.  Getting the most for your money has become the general mindset in relation to how we feed ourselves.  As such, our children are being fed foods that, while they may be cost effective, are anything but nutritionally beneficial.  This has lead to diets of fast food and sugary drinks that are packed full of harmful, tooth-decaying preservatives.  As such, you can recognize the importance of finding ways to protect our children’s teeth as much as possible.  Dental sealants now may be a way of helping save your child from a mouthful of cavities later on (although a change in diet would certainly be a good thing to implement as well).

Over 90% of adult tooth decay is on the biting service of the back molars.  Every year, tooth decay can be blamed for problems with heart health, sinus related issues, headaches, and other general health concerns.  When you begin realizing the importance of your oral hygiene in relation to the rest of your body, the benefit of dental sealants at an early age becomes clearer.  Taking this preventative measure can save your child’s oral health from a world of hurt. Even if your child is in their early teens and has not yet had sealants, it may still be worth talking with your dentist about the possibilities of getting sealants for your child.  If your child has a healthy mouth, then getting sealants may still be a viable option, even if they’ve had their adult teeth for a few years.  Dental sealants do have the potential to last up to 10 years, but regular check-ups should be scheduled so that your dentist can keep an eye on them.  A good number of insurances cover the cost of sealants, so don’t be afraid to ask.  Investing in your child’s mouth now, may save you from unneeded grief years down the road (both physically and financially).  Just be sure to remember that even with sealants, regular brushing and flossing is imperative to ensuring your child’s mouth stays healthy!

Sources:

–          http://www.nbcnews.com/health/decay-dilemma-do-kids-need-dental-sealants-752956

–          http://www.ada.org/1766.aspx

–          http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-sealants

–          http://www.deltadentalins.com/about/community/sealants.html

Why Eating Healthy is Best?
Why Eating Healthy is Best?

With so much continuous discussion about healthy eating, it can appear that there are many secrets and much mystery surrounding the acquisition of a healthy diet. Yet logically, eating healthy should simply be tied to increasing the quantity of fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, protein and healthy fats in the diet. Additionally, there should be a reduction of food items that contain excessive amounts of salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. Any discussion about eating health should also include an exploration of key elements − variety, balance and moderation. The results are evident that consuming healthier food options is critical for creating a healthy lifestyle overall.

healthy eating

A Balanced Diet:

It’s recommended that a healthy diet includes a balanced diet. This can mean many things for many people. Vegans for example eat only vegetables and dairy-free items that are found in nature; they do not consume anything that is an animal bi-product. A balanced diet would be consuming enough protein, roughage, fresh fruits and vegetables for a vegan. For people that have celiac disease or have an intolerance to gluten, a diet free of whole grain foods, but including fresh fruits and vegetables, protein foods and dairy products would be considered balanced. Healthy eating and eating a balanced diet are also tied to a need for moderation, suggesting that one must eat when hungry and stop when satisfied to keep healthy and fit.
 

Add variety to diet:

Eating healthy can be also be achieved by adding a variety of food items from different food groups. This can also make eating healthy an adventure − when one is willing to be creative and include a variety of items in a balanced diet. Variety can be integral in creating a balanced approach to food consumption. The benefits of ingesting a variety of healthy foods are that each food contains different essential nutrients. For examples, the beneficial nutrients contained in apples are different from those contained in bananas or pomegranates.

Moderate diet:

A healthy diet that includes all types of food items in a balanced way is still in need of moderation. While you may love carrots and they are natural and quite beneficial, you would not do your body justice to consistently eat an abundance of carrots. Any one item in excess can be counterproductive to the goal of improved health and overall wellbeing.

Top reasons for healthy eating

Increased energy, clarity, healthy complexion, strong immune system, weight control and longevity are among some of the reasons healthy eating is essential. By eating a natural and balanced diet, one ensures that their body receives plenty of the minerals, vitamins and other nutritional elements required to function at optimum potential. By maintaining a healthy diet, you become increasingly aware of the choices you make regarding what you consume. It’s likely that one becomes pickier and choosier − and this is a healthy habit. Those who eat healthy tend to be less stressed and they also handle stress better. This healthy lifestyle will decrease an individual’s chances of acquiring various diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes and perhaps even avoiding several types of cancer. Disease and discomfort is greatly diminished by adopting healthy eating habits. 

apples_healthy

Difference between dieting and healthy eating

Some people misunderstand healthy eating as dieting, but there is no direct connection between the two concepts. Healthy eating allows people to get more enjoyment out of life. Eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle allows people to make wise choices and not select impulsive unhealthy options, such as certain fast foods. These eating habits can provide permanent positive changes in one’s life. Diets however, when employed strictly for reduction of body weight, provide a temporary effect. With such diets, individuals refrain from certain items in their diet, and for some this may be frustrating and hard to stick with in order to see the desired results. Healthy eating on the other hand can be satisfying, helping an individual to stay leaner and fitter in the long run, doing so in a healthy and conscious way.  

Making eating healthy a habit

As physics tells us, and we know to be true, what goes up must come down. This is true for healthy versus non-healthy food options. Some food that you might find in your local market can trigger inflammation, add too many calories or increase cholesterol because of unhealthy ingredients. On the other hand, there are companies that are just as concerned about your wellbeing as you are. Such companies create foods that are natural, satisfying and good for you. These are the products to seek in your local market, those from companies that take your health as seriously as you do. Where to start? Start by substituting the food you love with healthier options, healthier choices. If you love pizza − and it is part of a tradition to share a pie and relax with your family, there is no reason this should change. Simply make smarter choices and substitute less healthy pizza for one that is good for you instead. Some find it surprising to find that pizza is among the items that are relatively easy to find healthy substitutions in supermarkets nationwide.

Portrait of a pretty little girl biting an apple

Healthy eating options

When changing dietary patterns and gravitating toward healthier options, it’s sometimes best to adopt these changes gradually, as abrupt change in eating habits can cause a rebound effect, making the change temporary rather than long term. Adding fresh fruit and salad to a food consumption routine is a smart start toward a more healthful eating lifestyle. Some people opt for gluten free diets, dairy free options and preservative free options, to help structure positive changes in eating habits that can be maintained. For some people, vegetarian diets provide a healthy solution, focusing strongly on the benefits associated with consuming increased quantities of vegetables and fruit, combined with the benefits of eliminating the fat and cholesterol present in animal protein sources. Healthy eating is the best option for anyone seeking to improve overall health and lead a more productive and balanced lifestyle.
 

Food Preservatives & Why They Are Damaging to Your Family’s Health
Food Preservatives & Why They Are Damaging to Your Family’s Health

As parents, if we think that anything absent of a strange food coloring or not in a can is without preservatives or additives, then we are wrong. It’s important to know that there are a variety of preservatives and additives on the market, sometimes disguised as healthy options. Here are the most common types of additives:

  • Antioxidants
  • Sweeteners
  • Colors
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Acids
  • Gelling, thickening and stabilizing agents
  • Preservatives
  • Emulsifiers

These items can add additional flavors as well as preserving the shelf life. However, it should be understood that these food preservatives are not typically good for our health. More and more, healthy professionals are recommending that we consume preservative free foods that are increasingly available at the local market. In this article, we’ll explore the danger of food additives.

The real question is, “Are they safe?” The Government doesn’t seem to think so. The Agency that monitors this area of the government is known as FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). This agency and assorted health professionals have concerns that some additives can cause behavioral changes in children and health issues.

These can cause temper tantrums and disruptive behavior in children, and links have been established between a child’s mood and their behavior as a result of ingesting such additives. Hyperactivity has also been attributed to various food colorings, artificial flavors and sweeteners.

esphoto_food_colors_coal_tar_dyesA variety of health and wellness professionals increasingly recommend that people stay clear of the following:

  • Artificial Colorings
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Flavor Enhancers
  • Preservatives

There are some negative side effects that may happen when we consume these food additives regularly. It should come as no surprise to that the more natural the food we consume, the better it is for our body and our overall health. We know that if people who are gluten intolerant for example, consume gluten, that their bodies react negatively. They become sluggish, bloated and in some cases may experience serious sickness. With gluten intolerance, the individual’s body does not digest these enzymes and proteins.

If gluten is natural and found in nature and has this type of effect on people with gluten intolerance, imagine the likely mechanisms of how a healthy body may react to additives and preservatives that do not naturally appear in foods.

Studies have been done that indicate some secondary effects of consuming additives over a lengthy period of time, with frequent ingestion. Here are examples of findings:

Hyperactivity in children and adults

Some food preservatives may cause increased hyperactive behavior. Therefore, it’s recommended to limit the consumption of food additives.

Digestive system disorders

Food preservatives can also cause some digestive system disorders. These symptoms can include bloatedness, bowl irritability and stomach aches.

Headache, nausea & possible nerve damage

Studies have shown that consuming certain additives over a long period of time have been known to show nerve damage and other serious health problems.

food preservative allergiesAllergic symptoms

There are some food additives that can cause allergic symptoms in people, similar to the allergic reaction one might get from gluten, for example.

Although studies continue to be conducted, and the studies are not 100% conclusive, we know that additives and preservatives should be avoided when we can help. Thanks to natural foods, it’s becoming easier to avoid these additives at the grocery store, when shopping for your family. It’s advised to purchase items that are created with consciousness; food that is made with natural ingredients, preservative and additive free.

There are many healthy foods that provide satisfying taste and quality, without the use of food additives in their preparation. By reducing the consumption of food additives, we can feel good about the foods that we consume and those that we provide for our family.

Creative Thanksgiving Fun for the Family
Creative Thanksgiving Fun for the Family

Whether you’re entertaining all the aunts and uncles and cousins from out of town or having a quiet day with your family this Thanksgiving, it’s always nice to have activities to keep the kids occupied (especially when the dropping temperatures make it harder to herd them outside). Here are some great ideas to get the family doing some fun crafts and participating in some thanks-inspiring activities!

Crafts Ideas

turkey_votiveIf you’re the type who plans ahead, and have kids who are old enough to handle a hot glue gun, have them make a few of these turkey candle votives:

Not only will having their little pieces of art as the centerpieces of the Thanksgiving table make them feel special, but they’ll give you small keepsakes to use for years to come. Make a quick trip to the dollarstore or your local craft store to grab what you’ll need. Click on the link to see step-by-step instructions from the creative minds at the spoonful.com blog (http://spoonful.com/crafts/glowbird).

turkey_craft_2Or, if you have little ones who are a bit younger, you can turn this fun turkey craft into an afternoon, outdoor excursion for Thanksgiving day. These adorable orange-pinecone-leaf turkeys are easy to make and use items that you probably already have in your kitchen and backyard.

Follow the step-by-step instructions on the website to help your little ones feel like they’re a part of the holiday preparations (http://www.parenting.com/article/gobble-gobble-turkey).

Decoration Ideas

placematIf you’re looking for thanks-inspiring details for your Thanksgiving table, try making these craft paper placemats. Have everyone share what he or she wrote with the rest of the table before you dig into the pumpkin pie! (http://theglitterguide.com/2013/11/18/diy-to-try-thanksgiving-entertaining/)

chain_craftOr you could begin a fun family tradition by starting a thanksgiving paper chain to hang above the table or along the wall.

Use these pretty calligraphy print-outs or create your own by cutting out strips of paper in your favorite fall shades (http://www.secondhandwithstyle.com/2010/11/diy-thanksgiving-round-up.html). Have each family member date their strip of paper and then write when they’re most thankful for before adding it to the chain. Over the years, you can pull out the previous year’s chain and reminisce over past and present blessings. Or make one big chain with all the years strung together!

Gift Ideas

candleIf you’re the one travelling to visit family this Thanksgiving and want to take more than your traditional contribution of green bean casserole and pecan pie, have the kids help you put together one of these fall themed gifts to say thank you to the hosting family members. Tie cinnamon sticks around a vanilla scented pillar candle for a delicious smelling gift. See on Pinterest

thanksgiving_potIf you have a green thumb in the family, buy some succulents like elephants ear or jade and have fun decorating the terra cotta planter with painted designs. Or, for a more personalized touch, have the kids write to the recipient things they love about them and are thankful for. They’re sure to keep the pot long after the plant has died. These are great thanksgiving craft ideas.

We hope these ideas help create some wonderful memories for you and your family this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Eat Dairy Free & Get your Pizza Too!
Eat Dairy Free & Get your Pizza Too!

Why Dairy Free Eating?

For those who suffer from adverse affects caused by dairy consumption, eliminating dairy products from the diet is a step in the right direction to promote good health. As it turns out, for some individuals, a variety of conditions can be cured by simply choosing dairy free eating. Among the ailments that can be related to dairy consumption includes digestive issues, acne, ear infections and chronic congestion. Often, these conditions will disappear a few weeks after dairy is eliminated.

People who suffer from dairy-related conditions are frequently advised to try a dairy free diet for about one month to see if there are improvements. Many notice an improvement in quality of life, above the cessation of symptoms, once they eliminate dairy products. However, it is important to realize that while embracing a dairy free diet can be beneficial, it’s also necessary to ensure that valuable nutrients are not simply omitted.

Aside from eliminating specific conditions, there are other benefits from going “dairy free.” For example, whole milk is high in saturated fat and sugar, which are bad for health. While milk may be rich in calcium and vitamins A and D, it does not contain any iron or fiber, and certain milk replacements include various combinations of these nutrients. There are also a number of dairy related concerns related to hormones injected into cows and bovine-oriented diseases that could end up in milk.

For individuals who are gluten intolerant, another reason to be wary dairy, is because of certain flavored milk and yogurt products which frequently contain gluten byproducts.

There are also a number of ethical arguments that prompt some to support dairy free eating. For those concerned about livestock not being cared for adequately on dairy farms, a dairy free diet alleviates such concerns. Those who oppose dairy for these reasons point to the fact that many dairy farm cows do not have an opportunity to roam around fields; instead they live a confined existence. Cows should have a lifespan of about 20 years, but the sad fact is that most never make it to five years on a dairy farm. They are also moved along the production line as soon as they stop producing the required quantity and quality of milk.

Start your Dairy Free Diet

trader joes vegan cheese - non dairyMost people consider the idea of dairy free eating challenging. For the individual suffering from allergies and a compromised immune system, a healthy reboot may include dairy free eating. Those coming from an ethnic or cultural background with heavy amounts of dairy used in foods may find it especially challenging to begin a dairy free diet. Often it’s best to begin slowly, eliminating dairy from the diet item by item, until all have been replaced. Learning about healthy products that can substitute is a smart way to feel good about changing to a dairy free diet.

Perhaps most daunting is the idea of eliminating those foods that are comforting or fun to eat. For some, the love of a hot and tasty pizza or a cold cup of yogurt may be reason enough to object to a dairy free lifestyle. In order for some to be successful, it comes down to making a gradual transition.

To succeed in one’s attempt to begin a dairy free diet, there needs to be a strong strategy about making better choices when purchasing grocery items at the market. There are many wonderful replacements; products designed precisely to help ease the transition. You can still get your pudding, cream cheese, coffee creamer, butter, yogurt, milk, cheese and ice cream – they’re simply vegan options, dairy free. Many vegan foods, while made from dairy free ingredients, taste every bit as good (and often better) than the dairy foods they replace. This means that with an open minded approach and an adventurous spirit, choosing to eat dairy free requires no sacrifice at all! The idea is not to let go of favorite meals, but to find healthy and satisfying substitutes. After a while, people who start to eat dairy free claim to enjoy their food every bit as much, or more, than they did when they ate dairy.

For many who choose to eat dairy free, the best news is that pizza can be still be part of their diet. Eating dairy free means that you can still enjoy pizza with your favorite toppings, by simply substituting dairy cheese with non-dairy cheese. Dairy free pizza can be found in a variety of places. At the supermarket, Better4U Foods dairy free pizza is healthy, convenient and tastes great. This natural brand’s dairy free pizza is also gluten free and made with fresh “flash frozen” ingredients, without preservatives.

Dairy Free Cooking

better4u dairy and gluten free pizzaBaked goods are traditionally made with milk and other dairy products (like butter), yet this does not need to be the case. There are several excellent dairy free cookbooks, filled with delicious recipes that are free of dairy products.

It is quite possible to make delicious cakes, cookies and other foods without eggs or milk. Many of the world’s most talented chefs bake incredible cookies and brownies, dairy free, that rival the best versions made with dairy. Those who believe that eating vegan means suffering and eating tasteless food, have likely never tried good vegan fare. Delicious dairy free food is simply about making different, healthy ingredient choices. Today, you need look no further than Pinterest, Facebook or YouTube to find an incredible number of amazing vegan recipes that are easy to make and appropriate for every occasion.

Whether preparing your own dairy free foods − or popping into the local grocer to pick up a Better4U Foods Gluten Free Dairy Free Pizza – choosing a dairy free or vegan lifestyle can be healthy and fun. Try it!

Food Preservatives – What You Should Know
Food Preservatives – What You Should Know

In the natural order of things, spoilage is the end-stage of every food left uneaten. Spoilage is the result of an increase in the number of microorganisms in food. In order to prevent spoilage and waste of said food, scientists and experts have come up with components or substances that are popularly known as food preservatives. The addition of food preservatives increases the lifespan of almost every food item. These preservatives are extremely helpful in preserving the freshness of food and inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. For many years, people have considered food preservatives as “all-good” products. However, after recent studies and research, it has been found that these products are not as good for us as once believed. As is often the case when man introduces a process that goes against the natural order of things, the use of food preservatives entails several risks which every consumer must know about.

Food Preservatives: What are they?

Almost all food and beverages seen at the market today contain food preservatives. Food preservatives are combinations of several chemicals designed by experts in laboratories. Each chemical included in food preservatives has special properties which prevent spoilage. Although most food preservatives sold in the US are considered as generally safe by the FDA, these products can still cause adverse effects to the human body. Common chemicals included in food preservatives are ascorbic acid, sorbic acid, and calcium propionate among many others.

Disadvantages of Food Preservatives

Compared to their benefits, food preservatives have an alarming number of disadvantages. These include the following:

  1. Little to no nutritional value

    empty nutritionFresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, meat and fish and others are generally full of vitamins and minerals which the body needs to perform essential bodily processes. When foods lose their freshness, their nutritional value also diminishes, as their enzymes and minerals begin to decrease. In the past, companies that produced food containing preservatives claimed that the nutritional value of food was preserved through the use of such products. However, it was found recently that food preservatives do not preserve nutritional value but merely preserve the flavor or taste of food. This is why you may notice that preserved foods taste fresh even when they have already been there for several days, months or years from the manufacturing date.

    Eating food with no nutritional value is useless. Although you may feel full after eating, your body’s cells will not feel energized and satisfied. This may compromise your health and make you less resistant to diseases.

  2. They may cause disease

    As you eat foods with preservatives, unhealthy chemicals are being accumulated in your body. These chemicals may cause toxic effects, especially when they are not flushed out of the body. The chemicals used in preservatives usually start destroying the body by targeting the cells. They may also cause mutations to your DNA, which in turn could cause serious disorders such as Cancer. Toxic chemicals also weaken your immune system. When your immune system is very weak, microorganisms can easily invade your body and cause severe disorders.

  3. They are expensive

    Preserved foods are not cheap. They can even cost more than the fresh foods at your local market. This is because they can be stored much longer than fresh foods and therefore their perceived value can be rationalized.

Choosing Healthy food

Health consciousness is something that hopefully grows with each passing day. It seems that everywhere we turn people are seeking to live more healthfully. Aside from exercising regularly, having adequate amounts of rest and drinking enough fluids, eating healthy foods is also an essential component of health. The following are very good healthy food choices:

  1. Gluten free choices

    gluten freeA gluten free diet used to be an exclusively adhered to by people suffering from Celiac disease. However, upon discovering the numerous benefits associated with eating gluten free, the dietary choice has gained popularity by the public as a healthy food choice. A gluten free diet excludes the consumption of foods that contain gluten, such as barley, wheat, rye and triticale.

  2. Fresh Cohen Diet

    cohen diet - fruits and vegetablesThe Fresh Cohen Diet is another balanced-nutrition diet which promotes consumption of fresh or raw fruits and vegetables instead of those which are processed. This diet has been claimed to aid in weight loss.

Overall health should be on the top of everyone’s list. It is our birth right as participants on this planet that we enjoy healthy good food and good health. We know that food, whether processed or not, does not have to contain preservatives and additives. There are options such as flash freezing vegetable and fruit, which preserves their nutritional value. It seems that there may be increased danger in consuming preserved foods and building up toxins, rather than eating as natural as possible and flushing these toxins out with a natural and gradual detox.

Teething Myths
Teething Myths

Every child is different, but every child goes through the teething process, and parents often ask what they can do to help. It seems like teething goes hand in hand with runny noses, ear aches and upset stomachs, which is difficult for the child, but also frustrating for a parent.

Historically, teething has been blamed for a variety of ailments, including runny nose, earache, diarrhea, fever, and other conditions. Contrary to popular belief, however, several studies have shown that teething does not cause any of these conditions. Multiple studies in Pediatrics and The Journal of Family Practice found that although diarrhea, cough, vomiting, sleep disturbance, rashes or temperatures higher than 38.9 C were reported occasionally, they were not reported in enough children during the time teeth were erupting to be significantly associated with teething.

It is important to remember that teething takes place over a period of 2 and a half years, so it is not surprising that coincidental symptoms occur. Children are often becoming more social during this time period, and may be entering daycare or preschool for the first time. They are around other children who may be sick, and are putting more items into their mouths and the mouths of other children. It is more likely that other mild infections may be present during this time, in addition to teething.

If you notice that your child has a high temperature, it is important to visit your child’s pediatrician. There are some symptoms that are correctly associated with teething, including daytime restlessness, thumb-sucking, gum-rubbing, drooling, hand or object-biting, and potentially a loss of appetite. Slight temperature elevation may occasionally be seen.

Some simple techniques can be used to help alleviate the true symptoms of teething. If you notice excessive drooling, try to keep your child’s mouth and chin clean and dry to prevent skin irritation. Sore gums are common, and can be rubbed with a chilled teething ring, damp gauze, clean finger, or cold wet washcloth. We do not recommend using common over-the-counter numbing gels, as they have recently been linked to serious health risks in some children. These gels may contain benzocaine, a local anesthetic which has been linked with a serious blood disorder that reduces oxygen in the bloodstream. Commonly used gels include Anbesol, Orajel, Baby Orajel, Orabase, and some store brands. Using over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be used at the recommended dosage for your child’s weight, although children should not be given asprin. Asprin can cause a potentially fatal disease called Reyes Syndrome, which affects the brain and liver.

We encourage parents to visit their child’s dentist with any concerns during the teething process, but to visit the pediatrician for vomiting, diarrhea or fever.

Sugary Drinks & Tooth Decay
Sugary Drinks & Tooth Decay

As sugary drinks have become more popular, more studies have been done to find out if the consumption of the drinks is connected to the rise in tooth decay. Whether it is an energy drink, sports drink, soda, or store bought juice-, all can be negatively influential in oral health.

The high acidity levels and sugar content in soft drinks and energy drinks are especially dangerous. Keep in mind that drinks that are sugar-free are not necessarily better. Yes, the sugar content is low, but the acidity levels do not change and the sugar substitutes are not very beneficial. As of late, many dental professionals have come to agree that these drinks are connected with the rise in tooth decay. For children, especially with the summer months in store, parents often give out drinks like Capri Sun, Gatorade, and various bottled juices. Some of these choices are better than others, but all of these choices are very high in sugar.

To ensure the proper development and protection for your children’s teeth, as well as the upkeep of your own, it is first recommended to reduce the consumption of these sorts of drinks. Also, knowing the way that these drinks should be consumed is also important. It is dangerous to drink any fizzy or sugary drink over a drawn out period of time- say if one were to sip a Pepsi over a few hours, because to do so means constant and prolonged acid and sugar exposure for the teeth. For example, it is better to drink a beverage of this kind with a meal. While you eat, the chewing action will produce saliva, which then moves along the acid and sugar content of the drink. It also helps to swish with water after drinking any of these drinks, but to brush them immediately after does not. The reaction between the drink and the toothpaste on the teeth can actually cause erosion. It is best to swish with water and wait thirty minutes to brush.

So as summertime begins, think of alternative, fun, and yummy drinks for the little ones. A great idea is homemade lemonade versus making it out of the can. Also, make your smoothies at home unless you have a trusted place like Jamba Juice. Many store-bought smoothies have high sugar content and are also highly pasteurized, which causes many of the nutrients to be lost. When you make them at home, you can add a little plain yogurt or milk (whether cow’s milk, almond, or soy- as long as they are calcium & vitamin D fortified) for a calcium boost. Another good idea for summertime is to put water in a pitcher, add cucumber, and refrigerate it- this way you can pull it out when the children are thirsty and want something besides ‘plain, old water’ to drink. It tastes a little differently, so it may take getting used to but is nice, cool, and refreshing. One last recommendation is tea- green, black, or an herbal blend, but leave out adding sugar. Go ahead and put a few tea bags in a big glass jar of water, put a lid on it, surround it with aluminum foil and put it outside in the sunshine. This is called sunshine tea; it is an easy way to make a big batch of delicious tea all at once. The foil will insulate the jar and draw the heat of the sun. Leave it out until the color has evenly spread (a few hours) and then refrigerate for delicious refreshment! With any of these ideas, it is most important to HAVE FUN! Feel free to experiment, but limit high acid fruits like lemon.

Happy smiling!