Chop, Chop! Get your kids in the kitchen

Getting your kids in the kitchen at an early age can teach them an important skill that will help them throughout their life. Here are some tips to get your kids involved in cooking.

-Don't worry about the mess. Put your kids in a cooking apron or clothes that you don't mind getting messy. Don't stress about the mess on the floor or counters. You can clean it up later. Now is time for cooking fun!

-Start with simple recipes like a baked good or a smoothie. Even relatively young children can help with tasks such as cracking eggs in a bowl, gathering ingredients, mixing ingredients in a bowl, and measuring ingredients can be great ways to get your kids involved in the cooking process. Avoid having them work with raw meat or hot pots on the stove.

-Keep them safe. Avoid burns by keeping kids away from the stove when cooking. Remind them to not put their hands near their face or in their mouth while cooking. Keep kids away from knives and other sharp objects like vegetable peelers and food processor blades. Mixing spoons, handheld whisks, and potato mashers are safe for even very young ones.

-Get them excited about the process of cooking. Have your kids pick out a recipe that looks fun to them. Take pictures of your kids while they are cooking. Let them taste some of the individual ingredients in their basic form (e.g. cocoa powder, raw vegetables). Turn on the oven light so can peek in on the work in progress.

-Have your kids present the final product to friends or family members. Let them take pride in the food that they have created and showcase their work to others. 

Here's my favorite recipe, Cocoa Banana Bread, to get your children involved in cooking.



Will my SIBO ever go away?

I hear this question frequently in my office. I have been seeing patients with recurrent SIBO in my office regularly for the past 5 or so years. I am always hopeful about client's ability to conquer SIBO. There is so much more known about SIBO today than even 5 years ago. Some important questions that I aim to answer to ensure that we get the best chance of conquering SIBO and avoiding recurrences are as follows?

  • What are the causes of SIBO in this particular individual? They range from GI surgery, antibiotic use, proton pump inhibitor medication, GI viruses and food poisoning and even stress. If we don't address the underlying cause then recurrence is more likely.
  • Has the individual had follow up breath tests to determine if treatments have been effective? After every treatment, a follow up breath test should be done to determine how effective the course of treatment was in eradicating bacteria. If it is not effective or doesn't reduce the bacterial count significantly, then a different course of action is necessary.
  • Does the individual have hydrogen and/or methane dominant bacteria? The treatment course is different depending on the type of bacteria. I always urge my clients to get a copy of the report.
  • Has the individual modified their diet during or after treatment? Dietary modification is important but should be closely monitored by a skilled dietitian to ensure nutritional deficiencies don't develop and that the diet is not more restrictive than necessary.
  • What types of dietary supplements is the individual taking during and after treatment? This is a very important topic. Probiotics, enzymes and amino acids are some of the most common supplements used for SIBO. However, supplements need to be carefully reviewed to ensure that they are helping and not hindering treatment results. Also, they need to be used at the appropriate time of treatment.

Exercise and auto-immune disorders

When you have an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto's (hypothyroidism) or fibromyalgia, it is important to consider the type and frequency of exercise that you choose. So often I come across clients who are trying to push themselves with high intensity exercise of long duration. When you have an autoimmune condition, it's important to listen to your body and not add further stress. Exercise such as nature walks, Pilates, and restorative yoga are all excellent choices for most individuals with autoimmune disorders. If you find that you cannot do 30-60 minutes at a time, break it up into small chunks throughout the day. You still experience the same benefits. As with many aspects of our health, it is so important to heed those message that are body is giving us. This is particularly important when it comes to exercise as well. 

Make meal time a priority

How do you make meal time with your family a priority? Turn off the TV and pack away the cell phones and other electronic devices. Dinner is an especially important meal as this is the time of day when there is often an opportunity to slow down and eat with others in our household. Try to avoid stressful conversations. Make the meal time even more enjoyable by using nice plates or even cloth napkins. Why save these for only special occasions? When we are multi-tasking while we are eating are brains are less able to perceive satiety and we often end up eating more than we actually need. So take time to savor your meal and enjoy the company of those you share it with. Bon appetit!

Should I take a multi-vitamin?

The answer isn't the same for everyone. A multivitamin generally includes both vitamins and certain key minerals. There are different multivitamins based on age and gender; however, the differences are generally minimal. For those who are on a restricted diets such as during active weight loss or food elimination diet, I do recommend a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral at least in the short term. However, there are some situations where a multi-vitamin/mineral may be more critical. These includes during pre-conception and pregnancy, post-bariatric surgery and recovering from certain disease states (celiac, inflammatory bowel disease) where malabsorption of nutrients may be compromised. A multi-vitamin/mineral is generally a very safe choice because it doesn't contain mega-doses and can help prevent deficiencies. I also find it beneficial to use a micronutrient test to take a more targeted approach to nutritional supplementation as there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

A Yeast with Probiotic Properties

When you hear the word "probiotic", the name by itself implies bacteria. Good bacteria in our small and large intestine is important to our GI health. But, there is also a lesser known yeast that can also populate the gut and have similar beneficial properties. It's called Saccharomyces boulardii. It's a non-pathogenic yeast that can be particularly beneficial for our gut health. I often use it with clients who are taking antibiotics. Because Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect on it. It can help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. In those individuals who have diarrhea-dominant IBS or acute diarrhea, this yeast can be particularly helpful for decreasing the frequency of loose stools. Human studies have also found that it can reduce Clostridium difficile diarrhea.