Posts filed under ‘In the news’

Nutrition Tidbits: Coffee is Good for You (and Me) and More

A couple of interesting facts I gleaned from my weekend and early Monday morning reading. I’ll save the best for first:

1) A Swedish study associates coffee drinking with a decreased risk of stroke in women. Oh yeah! I don’t usually like to take one study out of its body of evidence, but this one is speaking directly to me. Over the last year I have really come to cherish my coffee. I love my Nespresso machine at home and my Bridgehead coffee when I’m looking for a change of scenery.

If you’re looking for a lay person’s interpretation of the study check out this article from the Washington Post. As the article states, if you’re not a coffee drinker now, you don’t need to run out to the coffee shop this minute. At this point, researchers have just discovered a lower risk of stroke in coffee drinkers with no defined causal link.

I’m going to enjoy a sip of my second cup this minute – aaahhh…

2) I read a fabulous blog about kids’ nutrition called Raise Healthy Eaters written by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and parent. In her post today, she listed five myths about children’s nutrition. I consider myself fairly well-versed or at least aware when it comes to nutrition but do you know, I believed, at least to some degree, three of the five myths listed? Check it out and see what you know about these myths. While you’re there, also take a peek at her series on Managing Sweets. I’m trying to gradually implement many of her suggestions with Lil C.

Now, to finish that cup of coffee…

March 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm 4 comments

Thoughts One Year Later

A year ago Fit For a Kid was born. I had no idea about the why, what, how, or when of blogging (I got the where part: right here). I still don’t. But I keep at it, without a purpose, just for fun.

I found it interesting to look back at my first few posts, and compare where I am now to where I was then.

  • Lil D’s eating habits: Lil D’s diet no longer concerns me. He eats only when he is truly hungry, prefers vegetables and fruit to sweets, and will usually try almost anything (or at least touch it to his lips). Nowadays it’s Lil C who takes up this particular space in my head.
  • Toilet-training: Done!
  • “Pure Parenting”: No comment. Still flabbergasted.
  • Immunization: While I no longer do paid work as an immunization educator, I do continue to advocate for immunization locally and globally. Did you see this: if you were at one of four major U.S. airports in the last day or two, you may have been exposed to measles. I was not immune to measles until recently; actually, I don’t know if I’m immune, I just know I was vaccinated. That would have been fun.
  • An Olympics-themed craft: The boys still talk about the Olympics. My bro and sis-in-law live in London. We’re considering cramming into their place for the 2012 Games. Anyone ever been to the Olympics? Was it worthwhile?
  • Breakfast cookies: Just finished eating a Bridgehead granola cookie for breakfast, but I haven’t made this recipe in awhile. I think it’s time.
  • Skiing: Last year, there was only one set of little ski equipment in the house. Now we have two. Yesterday, I watched with glee as Lil D led Lil C down the hill in a series of lovely turns.

If nothing else, I love that this blog has become an online journal and a way to keep in touch with family and friends, old and new, and making new friends, online and offline. I look forward to looking back in another year.

Oh, one last thing: Today also marks the end of my second month participating in the Post a Day 2011 challenge! I have posted every work day for two months now.

February 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm 5 comments

A Fear Realized

This story from the Ottawa Citizen hasn’t left me since I read it 36 hours ago. I woke up this morning thinking about it.

The quick synopsis: A five-year old girl slipped under the safety bar and fell off the chairlift this past weekend at the same ski hill where Lil D and Lil C take their lessons. She was with her instructor and one other person. She was taken to hospital but has since been released with minor injuries. The story describes a similar incident in January at another ski hill close to Ottawa.

Let me start by saying that I do not have a fear of heights, but I am naturally a little paranoid. True story: there was one spot on the McGill campus that I avoided during the winter because I pictured myself slipping on the ice, bouncing off the wall, sliding into the street, and run over by oncoming traffic.

But sometimes you have to be willing to take risks, and occasionally I had no other choice but to walk on that side of the road.

And I really like skiing. Some of my fondest family memories are of weekends skiing in Vermont or family trips out west.

As a child, I remember watching mitts, skis, and poles fall from my place in the sky when I was busy chatting with my friends on the chairlift. I would sometimes imagine the cable breaking and all the chairlifts unstringing like pearls on a broken necklace and crashing to the ground one by one.

As a teenager, my friends and I became cavalier about the safety bar, leaving it up above our heads (my adult self is horrified).

I  now put the bar down and feel the paranoia keeping me vigilant while I ride above the slopes.

When I take the chair lift with my kids, I keep a hand on them. If I’m with two kids (took Lil D and his friend up this past weekend), I try to keep a hand on both (I ski without poles). But it still makes me nervous.

I honestly hadn’t worried about the kids with their instructors because I know they are cautious about the adult to child ratio. But now that I’ve read that story I will be. Lil C is so little. He could slip under the bar if he were squirming enough. Lil D is a cautious child so I am less worried about him. He is usually his own safety check when he is aware of a danger (and this one is obvious).

But this won’t stop me from letting them take lessons without me. It’ll just mean more frequent trips to the salon to deal with the greys and forehead creases.

This coming Sunday, when I leave the boys with their instructors, I  will find comfort in telling myself that chairlift safety is now top of mind because of this very scary incident.

Oh, and another skiing safety note: We do all wear helmets. Even the old guard (my parents) has adopted them.

February 25, 2011 at 12:54 am 1 comment

Two Thousand and Eleven

Happy New Year!

My reader is full of “year in review” posts and “goals for 2011” posts. I’m in the middle of a very busy weekend, and therefore I will skip the lengthy recaps and goals and just give you a few random thoughts for this morning, which may include a few goals for 2011 and thoughts on 2010.

Every year, rather than making resolutions for the new year, Derek and I set a theme for the coming year. Past themes have been Renewal, Consolidation, Replenishment (2010), and others which have slipped my mind right now.

We both feel like we really lived 2010 according to our theme of Replenishment. I didn’t know at the beginning of 2010 that replenishing my cup of energy would include leaving my outside-the-home job to begin work for-the-family as house manager (my current title; I am hoping for a merit-based promotion in 2011), and to work for the family business.

We are all thrilled with our current arrangement.

Now here we are in 2011. And we have about 12 hours to come up with a theme for 2011 (self-imposed deadline) but, unlike in past years, we are having a difficult time settling on a theme. I’m taking this as a good sign, a sign of contentment. But I need a theme.

In the meantime, other plans for 2011:

1. I have set some fitness goals for the first half of 2011. I think setting specific fitness goals for the whole of the year is setting myself up for failure, so I’ve settled on about 6 months.

2. I will blog every weekday for all of 2011 (except for holidays). I plan on completing Nanny A’s story this year so I hope to write about that about once a week. I will continue to give updates on my fitness challenges, and I will of course continue to write about my boys’ escapades and my baking experiments. I am hoping to achieve some structure in the way I spit out posts as I love systems and processes.

And I will leave it at that. I always expect the unexpected and hope there is some of that too!

Best wishes to all for 2011. I’m on my way to run off the bubbly. We’ve got a New Year’s Day wedding to attend tonight and I’m sure there will be more liquid calories consumed!

January 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm 3 comments

My Kid-Friendly Restaurant Review at Kids in the Capital Today

Today I’m doing a kid-friendly restaurant review of Smoke’s Poutinerie at Kids in the Capital.

Speaking of kid-friendly restaurants,  I will soon post my thoughts on an Ottawa restaurant turning away a reservation for a group with a three-month old infant. 

Stay tuned.

July 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm 1 comment

Celebrating Immunization

In celebration of National Immunization Awareness Week, I thought I would write about my work and why this job will stay with me, even after I leave my paid position in a couple of months.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

When little D was born, I was anxious.  About everything.  My anxieties were mostly the common anxieties of a first time mom:  Was he eating enough, pooping enough, sleeping enough, looking around enough?   And what was that little red spot on his body; would he survive the stuffy nose he got at  3 weeks, and that irritation from the diaper, what should I do about that?  All of these anxieties were grounds for extensive Google searches.

At the time, in 2005, autism awareness was increasing, with a campaign on DirectTV which, before you got to your TV guide, gave you signs of autism to look for in your child.   In my anxious state, I would screen Little D daily for these signs.  Also around the same time, a connection between vaccines and autism was being touted by celebrities in the media.

It stands to reason then, that the impending 2 month well baby check where Little D would receive his first set of vaccines, was cause for concern to me.  I talked with friends, I ruminated, I Googled, and then, I asked my family physician about immunization. She is the expert I trust to fix us when we are not healthy, so why wouldn’t I ask her about immunization, a way to prevent future visits with her?

My first question about vaccines was about the connection with autism.  Dr. G. was unequivocal in her response and pointed me directly to the research.  She said to me, “you work in health research (I did at the time), read the literature”.  She gave me key words to search in PubMed, and off I went.

A few hours later, I was convinced.

1.  The proposed connection with autism had not been replicated.  The proposed association was extremely weak and the temporal relationship was not proven (i.e. the babies showed some signs before they were vaccinated with the vaccine in question).

2.  I would be protecting my baby from terrible diseases some of which, thanks to vaccines, are largely absent from our community, but which reappear from time to time, and are only a plane ride away.

2.  I would be protecting my baby’s aging great-grandparents, and our friends’ newborn babies whose immune systems were compromised or who were not yet fully immunized.

3.  I would be protecting others in my community for whom immunization was not an option or who had compromised immune systems.

I understand that it can be scary and uncomfortable to have your baby injected with a needle (or four).  I understand that we all fear the unknown.  But to me, the fear of a sick child, trumps all that discomfort and anxiety.

At 4 months of age, Little D came down with pneumonia.  Whether that pneumonia was one that we are immunized against is unknown, but I can tell you that those hours in the ER were not fun.  I would do anything to prevent that from happening again.

This year’s National Immunization Awareness Week’s theme is Vaccines Save Lives.  Just 100 years ago, many children did not reach their fifth birthday because of infectious diseases.

I saw this firsthand a year ago, when my husband’s Nanny R. died.

Nanny R. was in a wheelchair due to post-polio syndrome.  At her funeral in the oldest cemetery in our city, I noticed her mother’s gravestone (my husband’s great-grandmother).  It was a family gravestone which listed her name, and 2 of her children, ages 2 and 12, both of whom succumbed to what are now vaccine-preventable diseases.  In that one immediate family, there were 3 children who either perished or were severely disabled.

As we walked back to the front of the cemetery, I couldn’t help but focus on all the gravestones marking the little buried bodies of infants and children in the first part of the 20th century.  Again, my eyes were opened to the value of vaccines.

So, here I am, just about five years after questioning vaccines, working as an immunization advocate and educator.

In two months, I will leave this position to go work for my little bosses at home, but I will not leave be able to leave behind advocacy for immunization.

Happy National Immunization Awareness Week.  Please make sure that you and your loved ones are protected.

To those of you who immunize, thank you for all the work you do.  I’m sure you don’t hear that enough (especially from the kids).

Great resources on immunization in Canada are available at immunize.ca.

Complete info on immunization available in Canada, Canadian Immunization Guide

Easy to read, evidence-based book, Your Child’s Best Shot

April 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm 1 comment

So long slacks. Bye bye blouses: It’s leggings, jeans and cute summer dresses from here on in.

No, the dress code didn’t change in my conservative office.  It’s me changing my mind again!

I cannot figure out how to include all of this into one cohesive post, so, in random order, my thoughts for today:

1)  I have quit my job and it will be officially announced at work today.  Come mid-June, I will be spending time with my children, working with my husband, and living the life of a desperate housewife.

2)  Little C has cried every morning this week as I’ve left the house.  Am glad I made this decision.

3)  Derek says that I have decided to take a different approach to working part-time:  One year on, one year off.

4)  Am going to a Dress for Success event on Sunday; perfect timing – now I have work clothes to donate.

5)  I can’t figure out another run to do in late May or June since Ottawa Race Weekend 10k is sold out.   Any suggestions for a good 8k – 11K?

6)  They are beginning sex ed in grade 3 in Ontario; curriculum just unveiled.  Read Toronto Star article here.  I am so in favour of this.  If they begin teaching other anatomical and physiologic concepts, why not this one?  Better to learn truths than school yard or, more likely,  internet myths.  What do you think?

7)  I think clogs like these might be a nice addition to my summer wardrobe.

Off to Town Shoes tonight after bedtime!

April 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm 4 comments

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