Calling All Parents -We Are Here to Support You !
Here we are, that wonderful time of year when school starts for children and parents are looking forward to a little relief in the process. This is still one of my favorite times of the year, as Fall starts to come in, there is the excitement of a fresh start and the promise of children excelling and enjoying their life with their teachers, friends (new and old), while learning how to engage their mind, body and spirit. Unfortunately, this 2020 year is presenting a different landscape and framework to work with, which is posing some very new and challenging decisions. With school being started remotely and with a strong possibility it will not happen in person at all this year in CO, it has presented many challenges for our entire community. Parents of children K through College are all trying to coordinate, navigate, and figure out how education will work. This includes finding childcare for working parents, having the time to help your children complete schoolwork, and keeping your kids up on their class meetings. There is also the social aspect that your children will have to miss out on. Of course, they have their family, but this is limiting and isolating to not engage with their teachers in person nor play and learn from their friends, as you would normally get from a classroom experience. I am hearing from most parents that they have a level on anxiety and even panic around how they will make this all work. “How will I be able to support my child’s learning while I am working and managing my life when normally they would be in a classroom all day?” “ How can I nourish my children and family with food while trying to keep this household together? “ How can I continue to work if I have to monitor my child while they are on a computer screen all day?” “ How will I manage my own time and continue to practice self-care in the process?” With the ever-evolving changes and uncertainty of these times, these are just a few potent questions that are collectively difficult to answer and reconcile. Please know, you are not alone!!!! Despite not having children myself, I am very empathetic to the state of this situation, especially having been raised by teachers, having a school aged niece and nephew, and many friends struggling with these exact decisions as well. I have tried to look into where I and BIH can support you and I have decided to focus on recommending nutritious food that is both healthy and easy to prepare, so that you can move forward with one of these decisions with more ease and support. I am also offering a 25% off discount (my highest discount ever offered or will ever offer) on our Medical Grade Intravenous Therapies to ALL PARENTS who are dealing with these challenging issues. I want you all to take the time to get special nourishment for yourself, while relaxing in our beautiful new space on Pearl (and with no child or partner asking or needing anything from you while you sit here, as it’s your time for Self-Care!!!
Because I am not a mother, I have asked Sabrina, one of my office team members and a single mother of two young girls, what her challenges might be during this time to give some additional insight, and this is what she had to say,
“What I think of most, is how I can find enriching extracurricular activities for the kids. The school districts usually provide some great activities that a lot of parents are able to take advantage of. I have been wracking my brain for activities to make into a personal weekly enrichment program for my children. Activities where they learn, are engaged, and have fun. Of course, we can do outdoor walks, bike riding, and art projects for example, however finding a new activity that they truly would enjoy has been very difficult. One of the first activities I thought of was cooking together. I think everyone will be cooking more at home. This makes me excited as I think America is losing some of our handed down food culture due to the easy, fast convenience of dining out. Making the week’s snack with our kids during lunch or on an independent study day is something I will be doing now, which is a bit daunting for me. The kids and I have decided that we are going to try making a dish from a different region of the US or a foreign country each week and then put pins on our world map to mark our food journey across the world.. I am hoping this will be a great way to not only learn about cooking, but also to learn about world food cultures, geography, innovative cooking methods and nutrition. Cooking and baking can be a great way to introduce chemistry lessons as well. Cooking is an accessible activity that all families can use this year because cooking can lead to so many great discussions, plus there is the benefit of coming together with our children while giving them nourishing comfort during this time.” ~Sabrina Mahony
We would like to introduce a few of our local favorite Nutritionists that have great ideas for meals, no bake dishes, and snacks. With their help this year, Nutritionists are a fantastic resource and can provide families with the knowledge of food and how important it is to nourish our body, so that we have the energy to stay focused and learn new and exciting things! A session with a professional Nutritionist is also a great enrichment activity that kids can also partake in with their parents. The first person (in no particular order) we would like to introduce is Debbie Steinbock HHC with Mindful Nutrition 303-938-1468 Please copy/paste this link to learn more about Debbie’s philosophy https://mindfulfamilymedicine.com/mn-philosophy/ Here are a few fun recipes Debbie says are a crowd pleaser with her children and others, especially on these hot summer days! Mint Chocolate Chip Popsicles by Debbie Steinbock Ingredients: 1 (13.5 oz) can of full fat coconut milk 1 cup packed spinach leaves 1 small-size ripe avocado (or ½ of a medium-large avocado) 3 Tbsp. raw honey ½ tsp. peppermint extract 2 heaping Tbsp. raw cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips Popsicle molds Method:
In a Vitamix or other high powered blender, combine the coconut milk, spinach, avocado, raw honey and peppermint extract until smooth.
Add the raw cacao nibs or chocolate chips and pulse the mixture until the chocolate is chopped into pieces but not pureed.
Pour mixture into popsicle molds.
Place in freezer until set.
To remove you may need to run warm water on the mold for a few seconds. Enjoy!
Frozen Yogurt Bark by Debbie Steinbock Ingredients: 2-3 cups yogurt (there are many yogurts to choose from and if dairy doesn’t work for you try Forager’s Cashew milk Yogurt like Vanilla Bean or GTs plain CocoYo Coconut Yogurt various toppings, including:
toasted, flaked coconut
nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter)
berries (sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
freeze dried fruit
whole grain cereal
mini chocolate chips
Method: 1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Spread the yogurt in a smooth, even layer about 1/4 inch thick 3. Sprinkle on the toppings of your choosing. 4. Freeze 4-5 hours or overnight. 5. Break into 3-4″ pieces and store in a large freezer storage container or bag. Enjoy! She also has 12 Ways to Boost your Intake of Vegetables & Fruits copy & paste to learn more https://mindfulfamilymedicine.com/12-ways-to-boost-your-intake-of-vegetables-fruits/ The second person we would like to introduce is Diana Walley MNT at Every Bite Counts Nutrition 401- 835-5687 Please copy/paste this link to learn more about Diana and her philosophy https://dianawalley.com/about-diana/ “With COVID-19 looming it's more important than ever to keep our immune systems strong. Because nutrition plays such a key role, it's critical to fill kiddos up with healthy foods! They seem to eat more when stuck at home (maybe this is just my house?) so stocking the fridge with healthy choices is a must! It doesn't have to be hard; we're all under enough stress as it is so here are a few recipes you and your kids will enjoy”~Diana W There are more free recipes on Diana’s website, and of course she is open to consultations as well! Crave-worthy cauliflower flatbread This is a scrumptious gluten-free, grain-free base you can use for pizza or enjoy it plain! We love it paired with lemony baked chicken thighs and a garden salad Recipe: 32 ounces frozen cauliflower “rice” 14 ounce can white beans 2 eggs Salt and pepper Toppings (we like red sauce, olive oil, sautéed zucchini and onion, basil, fresh Parmesan and chèvre) Cook cauliflower rice per package directions. Drain well. When cool wrap tightly in a dish towel and squeeze the liquid out. Really squeeze hard! (If you don’t flatbread may be soggy.) When cauliflower is dry put it in your food processor with beans, eggs, salt and pepper. Process until combined but still with some texture. Press onto a greased baking sheet. Add toppings except cheeses and basil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Top with cheeses and basil and bake for 10 more minutes until cheese is bubbling. Enjoy! Simply scrumptious homemade spring rolls! Homemade spring rolls are such a fun family dinner that I just had to share! This simple recipe gets the whole family involved with chopping veggies, slicing mango and making peanut sauce. Yum! We like shrimp but you can substitute with the protein of your choice (chicken or tofu or beef). Give them a try and let me know what you think: Ingredients: Rice spring roll papers 1 beet grated 1/2 yellow and red pepper, seeded, thinly sliced 2 large carrots, shredded 1 ripe mango, cut into thin strips 1 large bunch mint leaves 1 large bunch cilantro, cut from stems Shrimp to serve 4 people Ginger Peanut Sauce Ingredients: 1/2 cup salted natural peanut butter 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut aminos 2-3 Tbsp raw honey 1/2 lime, juiced 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional) hot water to thin Method: Prep veggies and set aside for easy assembly. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a kettle and set aside to cool slightly for cooking rice papers. We cook our rice papers in a rectangular baking dish. Prepare peanut sauce by adding all ingredients except water to a saucepan and whisking. Add hot water 1 Tbsp at a time and whisk until desired consistency is reached (should be pour-able but thick). Set aside. Add hot water to rectangular baking dish and submerge a rice paper to soften for about 20 seconds. If you let it go too long or if your water is too hot, they will get too fragile to work with. Once soft, transfer to a clean, slightly damp surface (like a plate), and gently smooth out into a circle. Add shrimp, carrots, peppers, mango, beets, and a healthy handful each cilantro and mint (and any other desired fillings). Fold bottom over the fillings, then gently roll over once and fold in the side to seal, then roll until completely sealed. If you make them ahead, place on a serving plate and top with a room temperature damp towel to keep fresh. Repeat process until all toppings are used. Serve with dipping sauce. The third person we would like to introduce is Pam Vagnieres MS, MNT, CSCS with NutriPhysique 303-665-7992 Please copy/paste this link to learn more about Pam and her philosophy https://www.nutriphysique.net/bio Pam has cooking classes online, e Cookbooks that are very affordable, and offers private consultations and brings a wealth of knowledge and resource for yummy food! Pecan Cocoa protein Bars – containing only 3 Ingredients! Ingredients • 8-10 medjool dates • 2 cups pecans (raw or lightly toasted for 12 minutes @ 300º) • 3 Tablespoons cocoa or raw cacao powder • Tiny bit of water if needed Here’s how you do it 1. Pit and rinse dates. 2. Combine all ingredients in food processor until batter sticks together when pinched. 3. Press firmly into 8 x 8 inch pan. Roll out smooth using a spice jar or a drinking glass. 4. Cut into 1-inch square bars. Store in refrigerator. Dipping Dinners with the Kids “You can eat just about anything, probably even cardboard, if you have a delicious sauce to dip it in! What a great way to eat your veggies!” Start with steamed artichokes, grilled peppers, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, fresh raw, steamed or blanched veggies. Here are a few basic easy sauce ideas to get you started: • Olive oil, garlic, lemon, basil, thyme, sea salt and fresh ground pepper! • Olive oil and lemon, lime or orange zest, marinate all day. Drizzle in a pool of balsamic vinegar (or flavored vinegar). • For “Olivey Mayo”, blend in food processor: Mayo*, kalamata olives, and garlic. You can thin it w/olive oil if desired. • In food processor: Blend roasted red or yellow peppers, garlic, olives, basil, parsley and olive oil. For more flavorful dipping veggies: Marinate firm veggies such as radishes, jicama, bok choy, celery, carrots, cabbage, onion...in cilantro, fresh lime juice, sea salt and a dash of agave or honey. Make your life even easier and choose store bought dips/dressings; • Favorite salad dressings...Annie’s, Drew’s, Cindy’s Kitchen Wild Blueberry Dressing, or Vidalia Onion and Cilantro Dressing. • Hummus comes in a million varieties, just make sure it’s chemical and preservative free. • Pestos, Salsa, Guacamole, plain organic Greek yogurt can be made into a creamy lemon dip for veggies (add lemon juice, zest and lemon stevia drops to taste). *Please use healthy mayonnaise without chemicals, GMO’s and preservatives. Hain brand carries a good safflower mayonnaise. There are other healthy brands as well. Hint: Don’t bother with the low fat mayo, they don’t taste good and the fats in (the healthy brands) mayo are healthy! Flavored Butters, Herbed Oils and Cheesy Sauces Here is a delicious easy way to incorporate healthy fats into your meals and spice up any steamed or grilled vegetable! These can even be delicious over meat, fish or poultry! The following are suggestions, but YOU (being the fantastically creative chef that you are!) will come up with many, many more of these just by experimenting! Herbed Olive Oil • 4 T extra virgin, cold pressed, unfiltered organic olive oil • 1 t basal • 1 t oregano • 1 t fresh chopped garlic • 1 t lemon zest • pinch chili pepper seeds (crushed red pepper) or to taste Combine all ingredients and marinate a few hours. Can also be used as a delicious dip for artichokes, broccoli, fresh veggies, bread, pasta and as a salad dressing! Mint Pesto • 1 T lemon juice (and zest of one lemon) • 1 c fresh mint • 1/3 c walnuts • 3 T olive oil Drizzle in 3 T olive oil while blending in Cuisinart or blender. This is a great summer dip for chilled, steamed vegetables. Creamy Herbed Chevre • 4 oz. goat chevre (plain) • 2 T ghee or butter (optional) • Fresh herbs to taste Melt all ingredients in saucepan just until creamy. Remove from heat and serve with steamed vegetables. You don’t need the butter, you can just soften cheese to room temperature and add herbs. Creamy Dill and Caper Sauce • 1 package organic cream cheese (softened to room temperature) • 2-3 T olive or walnut oil • 2-3 t capers • 1 T Lemon zest • Lots of fresh dill Combine all ingredients until creamy by hand or in Cuisinart or blender (add capers by hand). Serve over vegetables, but great with salmon too! Jazzed Up Hummus • 1 package organic traditional hummus • 2-3 T olive or walnut oil • 1 T balsamic vinegar • 1 tsp Italian herb blend • 1 clove chopped fresh garlic Drizzle oil, vinegar, herbs and garlic on top of any hummus. Dip your veggies and say it’s homemade! When I asked Pam about her ideas around activities with kids since she is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, here is what she shared with me Physicality with Kids Make your own fun “Phys-Ed” class for the kids. Get them moving, get them running, kids don't get near enough physicality in their lives anymore. Be sure to let kids play as long as they want, and of course, as long as you can afford the time. Letting them play and be creative allows for full expression and development of their intelligence and creativity. They love the chase!! "I'm gonna get you!" was the game we always played everywhere. Kids love the chase. We played it in the house (no socks or slipping!), we played it in the yard, we played it at the park, we played it everywhere. Give up your exercise classes, and your urge to go for a run. Engage physically with your kids. I promise it will be a challenging work out for you! You have the rest of your life for boring aerobics classes. For now, put your energy into your kids, and have fun with them while you both stay fit. The new generation of kids is at a much higher risk for obesity and diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle. Your engagement with them will create life long healthy habits. Hide and Seek Hide and go seek is fun, but it's even more fun for the kids at night in a dark house with a flashlight. Flashlight Walks Take a midnight flashlight walk. Of course, don't go at midnight, that's way past the kids' bedtime, but it’s more fun to call it a midnight flashlight walk. As soon as it gets dark, everyone grabs a flashlight. Just take a walk and see what happens. Mom on the Monkey Bars. I was an old mom, a good 10 or 15 years older than most of my peer moms in the playground. I was often at the park alone with my kid, and I was his best buddy. We played dozens of games in the playground. In fact, I threw him on the back of my bike, and we took off and hit every single park within a 10 mile radius! You'll be amazed at how many cool parks there are in your nearby neighborhoods. We even found a cave park! He came up with the games, I just went along. Let the kids be creative, they will always come up with something more creative than we can come up with. If there was a train in the playground, we were taking off to who knows where! We made villages in the sand. You can push them on the swings, but I have to admit, I was so happy when he finally learned how to pump his legs and keep himself going on the swing. Get on a swing and swing with the kids, you’ll remember how good it feels to swing. You will instantly feel like a kid again, there's no feeling quite like it! Enjoy this fleeting time with the kids, they really do grow up fast. ~Pam Vagnieres I hope these suggestions offer some delicious bites for you and your family to enjoy, while offering some play and levity in the meantime. Remember to breathe and stay grounded, ask for help, pod with other parents, consider hiring a tutor, make sure you ask for your school’s curriculum and utilize the outdoors and social educational experiences to enrich both you and your children in the process. And please do not forget to come into our new office space for some Self-Care during this process, as YOU DESERVE IT!!! To your and your families health! Carrie Ballas and Sabrina Mahony