Monday, February 25, 2013

Gummy Vitamins? Yes Please.

Brothers: An unrelated but oh-so-cute photo!
They are holding hands!
Back in November, Bolt got invited to his very first playdate. Let me explain, this is not the first time he's been on a playdate, it was the first time the playdate was arranged at the request of the children rather than the parents.

In fact before we arrived, I was feeling just a little bit anxious about spending time with an unknown woman who could quite possibly have parenting and lifestyle philosophies that differed greatly from my own. But my boy, who doesn't always make friends that easily, had been invited over to play and there was no way we were passing up on an opportunity for him to develop his budding little relationship.

I need not have worried however, us Mom's got along great and in no time flat we were tlking about naturopathic medicine and the vitamin regime Bolt's friend was currently on. Although not prone to catching every single cold like Bolt, her cold's were always accompanied by a five day fever. When she started taking a suite of children's vitamins however, the duration of her fever began to diminish.

In a second I was sold; ever cautious of the supplements I chose, I headed out to my local Choices and bought a plethora of Children's vitamins including: Multi-vitamins, probiotics, omega 3's, calcium, greens, immune boosters and cold guard.

I am well aware that both gummy and chewable vitamins can be dangerous for kids because they don't understand that it they are medicine and not candy, so as parents we have to ensure we keep these products well out of our children's reach. That said, it also means that vitamins, particularly gummy vitamins, can be particularly effective as a bribe.

On one particularly cranky day, Bolt was refusing to eat dinner, not because he wasn't hungry, but because he's 3.5 and wanted to assert his willpower. Simba on the other hand had devoured his dinner and was waiting (not so patiently) for his vitamins.

Almost like magic, when I pulled the vitamins off the shelf and began handing Simba his meagre share, I simply told Bolt that for every three bites of his dinner he could have one vitamin. He finished his dinner and his vitamins in about five minutes flat.

I know that food is the best source of nutrients and that ideally we shouldn't need to supplement our children.  I also know that a month after starting this vitamin regime, Bolt fought off a cold for a good three days before he succumbed. Two weeks later he lasted almost a week and the cold lasted only two days. A month into his vitamins he completely fought off a cold.

I give my boys a ton of gummy and/or chewable vitamins each and every day; they love eating them and when combined with the nutritious home-made foods we eat the majority of the time, I am confident that we are giving their bodies the best chance possible to grow up strong and healthy.

Do you give your kids multi-vitamins and/or other supplements?
I'd love to hear your rationale.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Healthy Shopper

Eating healthy is hard. Not super impossible hard, but takes some effort and a little bit of planning hard. As you know I recently decided that it was time to get my eating habits under control. I loaded up on superfoods, participated in the Meghan Telpner Fab Detox and started to get my eating habits under control.

A few months ago when I was out grocery shopping I noticed The Healthy Shopper coupon book and was amazed how many of the coupons were for things I would and could actually use like gluten-free sauces, coconut milk and organic products. 

When I was invited to receive some product from The Healthy Shopper I was super excited and when I read the following quote I was simply inspired.

“We started the Healthy Shopper Picks to let consumers know that healthy choices are available in their own supermarket, and not just in health food stores – it’s all about reading labels and knowing what’s in your food,” said Boyer, co-founder of the Healthy Shopper.  

Have you tried any of these products? Have you seen them in your local stores?

Although there are a number of gluten-free tamari's available in stores, San-J
is my number one choice and I ALWAYS choose it over the other brands. It has a deep, rich flavour that is so much more intense (but not overpowering) than what I remember regular soya sauce to taste like. San-J gluten-free Tamari is fermented with corn rather than wheat, certified kosher, certified gluten-free anNon-GMO Project verified. Perhaps my favourite thing about San-J is that I find the price considerably better than the other gluten-free options.

Before I found out that Bolt was allergic to peanuts, San-J gluten-free Teriyaki sauce was a regular fixture in our house, in fact when my little brother realized his body was having trouble tolerating gluten, I promptly bought him a bottle for his gluten-free care package I was compiling for his birthday.  San-J has a number of gluten-free Asian cooking sauces including orange sauce, Szechuan sauce and a sweet and tangy sauce; unfortunately (for our family) they also have a peanut sauce and all the gluten-free sauces (except the Tamari) 'may contain peanuts' so we no longer eat them at our house.  That said, if you are gluten-free and peanuts aren't an issue for your family, San-J gluten-free sauces are amazing!

I'm also currently enjoying a wide selection of Simply Naturals salad dressing; I admit salad comprised entirely of vegetables isn't exactly my thing, but if you throw some quinoa, buckwheat or other nutritious grain into the mix, I'm all for it. Now that I have a cupboard stocked with delicious, organic gluten-free dressings (the Goddess dressing is the only one that contains gluten) grain salads come together in a flash. I've also been using the roasted garlic vinaigrette on my roasted potatoes and vegetables and the kids have been gobbling them up!

I'm also quite impressed with the quality and softness of the Natracare products I received in my Healthy Shopper kit. I'm really not sure why its taken me so long to realize that the products next to my sensitive nether regions should be both natural and organic. "Natracare products are made from certified organic and natural, plant-derived materials that are chemical and additive free, and biodegradable, containing only organic and natural ingredients sourced from sound ecologically managed producers and certified free from animal testing." Um, yes please.
Last but not least, I want to share a cool little book, Unjunk Your Junk Food which is devoted to helping everyone and anyone make better junk food choices. The book is divided into eleven chapters including chapters devoted entirely to chips, ice cream, cookies and of course, chocolate.

Each two page spread includes a photo, nutrition facts and ingredients for a bad choice on the left and a 'naturally savvy APPROVED' choice on the right. It de-mystifies and defines ingredients we see every day. For example did you know vanillin is an artificial flavour made from wood pulp (yuck) and it can be found in a variety of products, including Sun-Maid vanilla flavoured yogurt covered raisins?

If you are serious about getting your family's health in check and committed to making small changes that matter, then its time to check out The Healthy Shopper.

I received product in exchange for this post however, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Introducing, My Family

I'm not a particularly imaginative individual; even as a child I wasn't very good at make-believe. Rather than swaddling, rocking and caring for my babies, I would simply strip them of their clothes before deserting them in some random corner. All things considered, I guess it shouldn't be surprising, that when I started The Momma Stuff Blog, I didn't take the time to find pseudonyms that were clever, cute and fitting for the important people in my life.

Unfortunately, by the time our second son arrived his nickname was, by default, simply the baby. Given that he will be two years old in only a couple months it simply seems inappropriate to continue calling him a baby, even though he will of course, always be my baby.

I have spent literally months, trying to come up with nicknames that suit my boys' personalities, but in the end I needed to look no further than my movie cabinet.

BOLT, formerly known as 'the boy', is my oldest son.

Born in 2009 on St. Patrick's Day and these days he is a full blown preschooler. Just like his Disney namesake he is loving, strong, loyal, proud and feisty. In many ways he thinks he's invincible and yet at the same time he is incredibly sensitive.

SIMBA, formerly known as 'the baby' is my youngest son.

Born April 24th 2011, my littlest man is a rambunctious walking, talking little ball of energy, that loves and trusts easily and doles out hugs and kisses like their going out of style.  Plus his very first animal sound was a lions' roar and that precious sound will forever be ingrained in my heart.

THE HUBS, isn't particularly in need of a new nickname, in fact, I'm quite fond of his.

The Hubs and I first met in the Spring of 2001, when some girlfriends and I joined a mixed orthodox softball team, he played shortstop and I was playing third base. We began dating that July and except for a month-long breakup when I moved away to attend University we've been together every since.  We were married on September 2nd, 2006 and in 2008 we decided it was time for our family to include the pitter patter of little feet.

AMBER,.is my name and I feel no need to use a nickname on the blog.  In addition to being a full-time Mom, I work full-time for the Province of BC in Environmental Services. I love to bake and cook (always gluten-free), though I absolutely hate cleaning and organizing. For some reason, I have a particularly strong dislike for vacuuming.

I hope that these introductions have helped you feel just a little bit more connected to our family; I look forward to sharing our journey with each and every one of you.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shift Your Mood with Gratitude

The last few months have been a whirlwind; between family obligations, perpetual illness, work and corrective laser surgery I've barely had time to breathe, relax or just stop and smell the roses, but right now, in this moment, I feel good.

I'm laying in my bed, watching Monsters Inc, snuggling with the boy, eating buttery homemade microwave popcorn and the icing on the cake is that I've found the drive to write my first blog post in months.

Do you remember when I shared 50 things that make me happy? That simple exercise left me smiling for days, quietly contemplating the things I'd listed while concurrently thinking of new items to add to the list.

Sadly, I haven't thought of my Happy List in ages, but when I read about An Easy Way to Shift Your Mood -- Permanently! from Aha! Parenting, I instantly felt inspiration welling up inside of me.  And so, just as Dr. Laura has suggested, I would like to share with you, in no particular order, a few things that I'm feeling truly grateful for.

TODAY, I'm grateful for...

  • Little boy snuggles.
  • A husband that loves me.
  • The paediatricians at BC Children's Hospital.
  • A family that supports me.
  • A job that gives me the flexibility to put family first.
  • A job that stimulates my brain and soothes my soul.
  • Social media.
  • My vision.
  • Best friends.
  • Love.
What are YOU grateful for today?