Friday, July 24, 2009

Link between Physcial Activity and Cognitive Function

Walkers, yet another parent convenient toy you can do without for many reasons but mainly because they delay walking and can even prevent crawling, are dangerous and lack mental stimulation and they've been outright banned in Canada from being sold, advertised or imported (the US AAP is pushing for the same).
What's wrong with walkers? Where do I begin. Walkers overdevelop calf and ankle muscles while doing nothing for stomach, thigh and hip muscles. This occurs primarily in the "sit in" walkers. In addition they confuse and slow the developing mind of a child who has yet to learn to crawl, sit up or otherwise scoot their way across the floor on their own. Babies need to be aware visually of how their body works. Walkers block the view of feet and legs. The walk behind or push walkers are less damaging to the muscle development but still can cause irregular development with weight not being directly applied over the hips.
Now on the other hand if your child has started walking on their own without assistance and consciously chooses items like bar stools, chairs, tricycles, boxes or whatever else they deem suitable as walkers-no harm there. Their muscles are properly developing and they are simply being cognitively creative to propel themselves through space.
It may seem harsh to deem walkers as parent convenient toys but typically walkers are for those who want to pop their little one in and merrily go on their way of doing "other" things. Did you know walkers are the leading cause of injuries of all "baby products". They are simply a false security on so many levels. A baby can propel themselves quickly toward stairs-even ones with gates and with considerable force break through. Over 75% of accidents involve stairs.
Studies have concluded walkers are not beneficial for physical or mental development. Even with this knowledge parents continue to use these devices. It's really important to think long term here as well. Feeling your child is occupied and content while in reality they are far less active in their physical motor development and mental development. They are not working on crawling, scooting or other creative ways to move across the floor. This is lost physical time. They are not discovering how their bodies can enable them. They are not "reaching" for objects with earnest physical effort. This is not the normal progression of development.
Walkers will have long term affects in the preschool and primary school years. Children who used walkers early on are less physically active in those later years. Break down your childs' day of physcial mobility and inactivity (sitting in carseat, high chair or other restrained device). The majority of their waking day should be physical with very little restraint.
In addition, the majority of walkers are large hunks of plastic. Which if you are not yet aware come from petroleum and do not break down readily. Minimize your landfill load and interact with your child at the level their at instead.
Call me crazy but really ponder the use of baby-sitter and baby-sat when screening for caregivers during the baby and toddler years. Sitting the baby in a bouncer, excersaucer, walker, jumper or tv is detrimental to their development and health. Cognitive learning and physcial activity are imperative for a balanced being. If you really want to get down to the science of learning, the same part of the brain processes learning, physical activity and music. If you are questioning learning and desks-I'm right there with you.
Anyway, give your baby every opportunity to take advantage of the early days of motor development. Try playing with water, painting, playing or listening to music, baking, gardening, swimming, baby yoga or even- you become their prop-you'll both be stronger by your chooses today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vinegar the All-Purpose Cleaning Warrior

How do I count the ways of Vinegar use? You can clean your house, clean your ears, wash your hair face and use on sunburns, boost your laundry, clean diapers, and pickle food. If anyone knows where I can purchase a 50 gallon drum or make my own please let know. I'm looking into fermenting apples later today and hopefully will discover how to make apple cider vinegar.

My only household cleaner is 50/50 vinegar and water with a few drops of essential oils like tea tree, lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender and myrrh. Fill in a spritz bottle and clean the counters, floor, sinks, windows(use newspaper here), handles and cupboards. I have a crawling-walking 1 year old and we can eat off the floor.

For a little extra scrubbing action and excitement use some baking soda in the tub and sinks. Besides buffing hard water stains it will also unclog drains and is fun to watch(remember those science volcanoes of yesteryear?)

Plus, it's cheap. No need to buy expensive "organic" cleaning products when vinegar will do the trick. Eliminate bleach, windex, ant-bacterial soaps and other toxic cleaners from your home. If you can't eat it don't clean with it! If your interested in learning more on common household products and their detrimental health effects read this book.

To make an all purpose ear cleaner for after swimming or even for you doggie-Mix 50/50 alcohol and vinegar add a drop of lavender or tea tree and drop into ear.

For super shiny, healthy, stronger hair-pour apple cider vinegar over a fresh jar of nettles leaves and let sit for 1 week. Strain and use 2 tablespoons per 1 cup of water as a hair rinse-If using dried leaves use 3 tablespoons per 8 oz mason jar for a strong brew.

Spray in full concentration on poison ivy-spotted knapweed and your other least favorite weeds.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Organic Plastic Food for Thought

Yes, you read right-Organic Plastic Food. How can this be? Even if you avoid canned and plastic packaged foods and buy items in glass the lids contain a "rubber like" seal made from plastic-bpa containing plastic. So here in lies the "convenient parent" dilemma. For those who purchase their baby food instead of making from scratch-your consumer options for bpa food is virtually non existent.

Here in lies the importance of making your own food- baby or otherwise from raw ingredients.

Oh the woes of the "not enough time" to make your own food-Enter the Pressure Cooker. Not only does it save




But you can be assured of a bpa free food experience.

I love my pressure cooker. I just add a little Super C to naturally preserve carrots, apples and other fruits and veggies if I'm not eating them right away.

Say hello to potatoes in 10 minutes, rice in 20, applesauce in 5 minutes. Plus you have to plenty to freeze, can or refrigerate for later use.

Some of you may be thinking- Come on what's the big deal about bpa, the FDA says it okay, who cares if Europe has banned it and the health nuts are just raving mad. Well take a look at your own health, your parents health and national statistics of


Hormone and Thyroid Dysfunction

Endocrine Disruptor Health Issues

You see BPA mimics estrogen thereby increasing your estrogen hormone levels significantly. This article on baby food sights bpa level a 1ppb in a single baby food jar. That's the average, some had levels in the 7+ppbillion. That sounds pretty insignificant numerically except that natural hormone levels ride a pptrillion not billion.

Therefore, your slamming your system or your little ones with estrogen. As consumers you have the a purchase power voice. Stop buying items that contain plastic and email or write letters to companies that continue to use plastic in their products. Here's a hit list

-Baby Food Jars with metal lids

-Tetra Pak Containers

rice, soy, hemp milks, orange juice etc

-Any food or beverage product in plastic

-#7 Plastics

-canned food

Some other BPA items include your old nalgenes (this will pass through breastmilk), teflon, dental fillings, plastic children toys and rubber duckies.
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