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As a new mom, I’ve been trying to provide the healthiest foods possible for my family that don’t have added chemicals and unnecessary ingredients.  According to the 2015 Nielson Survey, I’m not alone in this journey!  Consumers are going back to the basics with about 4 in 10 global respondents regarding having foods with natural ingredients (43%) and no artificial colors (42%) and flavors (41%) very important.  This is great news, but take a look down just about any food aisle and you’ll quickly realize this task is easier said than done! Read More »

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One is good enough!

Many of you know that I have lived for over a decade in an under-resourced neighborhood in Durham.  I love my neighbors and my community.  And I have learned the truth of Aboriginal activist Lilla Watson’s sage axiom, “If you have come to help me you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

What I also know from experience that is based on solid research is that a healthy adult role model can make all the difference in the life of a young person.  I find that modeling can be quite natural (walking briskly in my neighborhood for exercise after work each day, disagreeing with my spouse in a calm & non-confrontational way, leaving for work on time each morning, tending to my yard and helping an elderly neighbor with hers).  But guess what?  Kids on my street notice these things and comment on them.  Even passively, my life has impact.

Being a healthy adult role model can also be quite active and can take many forms—coaching a sports team, tutoring a student, assisting with a science fair project, teaching a Sunday school class, leading a scout troop or after-school coding club, or even apprenticing a young person in your hobby.  According to Gene Roehlkepartain, PhD, with Search Institute, the 5 things any young person needs to experience in their relationship with you are[i]: Read More »

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3 Reasons Why You Should Try Exercise in the Water This Summer

I was born in Florida and I like to think I'm a water baby.  I love the way water feels so restorative and relaxing when my body needs a break from all the impact I put it through.  I also love that swimming and water walking feel so relaxing, yet when I hop out of the pool, I'm tired and hungry (indicators that I've worked hard,) and, it's not uncommon for me to be sore after a water aerobics class.  If you haven't tried a water workout, it's time you did!  Here are 3 reasons you should try exercising in the water this summer: Read More »

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Fun Ideas for Children and Older Adults to do Together

Fun ideas for Children and Older Adults to do Together

When my daughter was a year old my mother had a stroke.  Since my mother was my child care and then she needed help, I stopped working so I could care for them both.  My daughter got to spend most of her days during her formative years with my mother (who could no longer talk or use her right arm) and my grandmother who was elderly.   I can’t begin to enumerate on the ways this situation benefited my daughter.  She has always been comfortable around people who are elderly and/or disabled.  She has high emotional intelligence and empathy.  While they were living she counted them among her best friends.

The research is undeniable.  Children who participate in mentoring programs with older adults have better social and communication skills, have improved problem-solving abilities, have positive attitudes toward aging, and gain a sense of purpose.  They are 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27% less likely to begin using alcohol, and 52% less likely to skip school. Read More »

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Teens Putting the Brakes on Driving?

Little known fact: My dad started teaching me how to drive (stick-shift) at age 12 and the first episode was an emotional disaster…for both of us.  I don’t think my Dad had thought this through.  He was introducing me to all aspects of driving (steering, braking and accelerating with a stick shift) simultaneously.  The adventure began on a quiet neighborhood street.  I must have stalled out more than two dozen times before the car moved an inch.  Finally, we were moving and, as I engaged the second gear, my Dad pointed out that there were kids playing in the street several blocks away and I should be careful not to hit them.  So, I responded immediately by smashing my foot to the brake.  Did I mention that we were not wearing seat belts and that my Dad had a manhattan cocktail in his hand to steady his nerves?  Somehow in the midst of our heads hitting the windshield and my Dad’s drink spilling over him and the car, I managed to accidentally shift the gear to neutral.  As the car was rolling forward with my Dad cursing a blue streak at me from the passenger seat, I ran home crying to mom.  For the next two years, I dreamed that I would never learn how to drive, and, even as an old biddy, kind strangers would have to chauffeur me.

I share this story because, back in my day, getting your driver’s license was a rite of passage.  My hesitation to want to achieve this grand goal—even as I matured into a 15 – 16 year old--was highly unusual.  I chalk it up to the trauma induced by my first encounter.

But, what about today?  Why is it that so many teens are delaying the onset of driving?  According to a national study[i], less than half (44 percent) of teens obtain a driver’s license within 12 months of the minimum age for licensing in their state, and just over half (54 percent) are licensed before their 18th birthday.  Read More »

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Guide to 4 Amazing Greens

We’ve all heard that dark leafy greens are good for us. Did you know that dark green leafy vegetables, calorie for calorie, are considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods available!

Check out this video to learn about 4 of the most nutrient dense green leafy vegetables.

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Water Safety Myths- TRUE or FALSE


Summertime has arrived! Here are some fun, serious and what some might think are absurd questions about water safety. Take the quiz and test your knowledge. Read More »

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Parenting in Shifting Sands

There is so much going on in our country right now socially, that I feel like someone has just placed a soapbox in front of me and dared me to climb up.  Never one to resist, let's talk about parenting in shifting sands.

Talking to your kids (of all ages) about a variety of topics is so important in parenting.  A lot has happened in the U.S. last week that will affect them... because other kids are discussing it at school/camp... because it changes the world they live in... because it may personally effect them or their family.  Anyone who has ever attended a lunch-and-learn with me knows I am a big fan of capitalizing on current events as a strategy to bring up those difficult topics with your kids.  Having conversations on a variety of topics also let's your child know that those topics are not off limits in your household.

A note about "my child knows they can talk to me about anything."  Whenever I hear a parent say this it concerns me.  If you haven't explicitly brought up a topic with your child, your child does not know they can talk to you about that topic and they probably won't.  Bringing up difficult topics is, well, difficult.  But if we can't do it as adults (thereby modeling and teaching our children how), we shouldn't expect them to be able to do it.

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Is this Added Sugar or Natural Sugar??


You may have heard that the World Health Organization (WHO) released its new Sugar Guidelines which recommend keeping Added Sugar to less than 5% of our total calories or 6 teaspoons of Added Sugar per day. Read More »

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National Safety Month: Fire Safety

It was 3:00 am one week day morning this April. The whole house had long been asleep when we were startled by the sound of a fire alarm. My husband and I jumped out of bed disoriented…. is there a fire?  We didn’t smell any smoke... Our youngest daughter was frightened and crying hysterically, our older daughter somehow continued to sleep through the commotion, and our 12 year old black lab was a panting, trembling mess... Read More »

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