Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dr. Greene on Multiple Backups

Parents, I believe that, even though we feed our kids well, it is hardly possible for them to get all the nutrients they need from diet alone.  See what Dr. Greene has to say on this topic.

After reading the article, if you are looking for a high-quality product for your infants, toddlers and kids, please let me know.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


...or your grades could pay a price.

Evidence suggests that eating breakfast really does help kids learn. After fasting all night, a developing body (and brain) needs a fresh supply of glucose — or blood sugar. That's the brain's basic fuel.

"Without glucose," explains Terrill Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University, "our brain simply doesn't operate as well. People have difficulty understanding new information, [they have a] problem with visual and spatial understanding, and they don't remember things as well."

Dozens of studies from as far back as the 1950s have consistently shown that children who eat breakfast perform better academically than those who don't. In a recent study of 4,000 elementary school students, researchers measured the effects of eating breakfast by administering a battery of attention tests. Across the board, Murphy says, the breakfast eaters performed better than those children who had skipped breakfast.¹

Other studies show that children who skip breakfast have slower memory recall, make more errors and are more likely to be absent or tardy. Eating breakfast helps children perform better academically, reduces behavioral problems in class, and sets the stage for healthy eating for life. Research studies find that children who eat breakfast perform better on standardized tests, make fewer mistakes in math, and show a general increase in math and reading scores. They also have fewer discipline problems and visit school nurses’ offices less often.

So now that we know breakfast is important, here’s the next question:


The answer? Most definitely YES!

Foods with a high sugar content, simple carbohydrates and processed foods are absorbed quickly and cause a peak in blood sugar. But the levels then fall dramatically in a few hours. So the kids come into school all bubbly and lively and about 10:30 they “crash.” Whole grains (think oatmeal or whole grain toast) are absorbed slowly so blood sugar rises slowly and gives kids enough energy to last all morning. That’s the goal.

In addition, experts believe that a good breakfast should be packed with protein. The combination of protein and good carbohydrates powers up the brain and keeps kids feeling full until lunch time.

Good nutrition is important for good learning.


First let’s talk about what foods to avoid at breakfast: things like sugary breakfast cereals, white-flour pancakes and syrup, bagels, donuts, coffee cake, and pop tarts. Fruit juice is okay if it is consumed with a whole-grain carbohydrate source.

Here are several ideas that I like to call the Breakfast of Scholars:

1-2 slices of whole-grain toast or whole-wheat English muffin or toasted whole-grain waffle topped with peanut butter, milk and fresh fruit 

Breakfast burrito: whole-wheat tortilla or pita pocket stuffed with scrambled egg mixed with salsa

Whole-grain cereals, hot or cold, with low-fat milk or yogurt and 1-2 tablespoons of slivered nuts on top. If the cereal box label says there are 3 grams of fiber or more a serving, that means there is significant fiber.

Whole-wheat toast, 1 or 2 eggs, milk, fresh fruit

Whole-grain cereal like oatmeal or shredded wheat with low-fat milk, topped with fresh or dried fruit and honey.

And last but not least...One of my favorites is a sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon, topped with vanilla yogurt, oatmeal (right out of the box - it’s OK to eat it uncooked) and some chopped walnuts...yummy!

It's Your Turn:  What do you serve for breakfast?  We'd love you to tell us your favorites for a healthy start to the day.  Share your ideas in the comments box below.


1. A Better Breakfast Can Boost a Child’s Brain Power by Allison Aubrey

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Raising Healthy Kids

Our Children’s Health is Suffering: Allergies & asthma, chronic ear & sinus infections, obesity, learning disabilities, blood sugar disturbances, and high levels of cholesterol – these are all on the rise in children today.

According to the CDC, approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.

The prevalence of asthma is increasing, especially in children. Approximately 500,000 annual hospitalizations (34.6% in individuals aged 18 years or younger) are due to asthma.

Between 3% and 7% of school-aged children currently have a diagnosis of ADHD, according to the American Psychiatric Association. However, nearly 1 in 10 children (9.5%) aged 4 to 17 have had an ADHD diagnosis at some point in their childhood and rates of ADHD diagnosis are rising, especially in older teenagers.

Children Are Exposed to More & More Toxins:
We are frequently told "A little bit won't hurt you" when it comes to chemicals in our food and environment. That may be true, however a little bit here and there eventually adds up to a lot.

Let's look at the potential sources of chemical contamination that our children are bombarded with on a daily basis. There is chlorine in our water supply and often fluoride as well. Fluoride is added to tooth pastes and mouthwashes. Many imported fruits and vegetables have been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides that are illegal in the US.

Meat and dairy products are loaded with residues of antibiotics and hormones from factory farming operations. Look at the ingredients on the label of nearly any prepared food in the grocery store, and you will see a list of chemicals as long as your arm.

Add to this list the chemicals in topical preparations such as body lotions and shampoos. Did you know that your skin will absorb up to 60% of anything you put on it? And then there are environmental toxins such as lawn chemicals and pesticides and household insecticides. The American journal of Public Health has reported a link between bug killers and childhood cancer. In a study of children in Colorado, those who lived in homes where the lawns had been treated with herbicides had a four-fold increase in the risk of developing a tumor.

Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related deaths in children under the age of 20. Leukemia, which is the most common childhood cancer, increased by more than 15% over the last 20 years.

Parents need to become proactive and lobby against the use of dangerous pesticides and chemicals in this country. And at the same time, they need to do everything they can to eliminate toxins in the home and in the schools their children attend. Two great resources regarding children and toxic chemicals are Healthy Child Healthy World and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

Our Kids Immune Systems Need Help
One of the most important jobs parents have is to help their kids develop healthy immune systems. A strong and healthy immune system enables a child to fight off anything that invades the body or threatens it from without or within, including bacteria, viruses and cancer.

The key to a healthy immune system is optimal nutrition. Dr. Leo Galland says in his book, Superimmunity for Kids,  “Optimal nutrition in childhood is a gift that lasts a lifetime.”

How To Build A Healthy Immune System

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months. The advantages of breastfeeding are numerous. Breast milk is ultimately the best source of nutrition for a new baby. Many components in breast milk help protect your baby against infection and disease. The proteins in breast milk are more easily digested than in formula or cow’s milk. The calcium and iron in breast milk are also more easily absorbed.

Breast milk has the perfect combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. There is nothing better for the health of your baby. Some of the nutrients in breast milk help the immune system mature into a fully effective fighting machine. Leukocytes are living cells that are only found in breast milk. They help fight infection. It is the antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones that make breast milk ideal. These cannot be added to formula.

2. Provide a wholesome, balanced diet focusing on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid sugar, processed foods and partially-hydrogenated oils. Eat organic when possible.

3. Supplement daily with immune-building vitamins, minerals, trace minerals essential fatty acids and antioxidant supplements.

4. Remove the toxins from your child’s food, water, air, home and school. Replace cleaners & personal care products with non-toxic alternatives.
5. Encourage regular physical exercise and plenty of good sleep

Do You Really Need To Supplement Your Child’s Diet?
In a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was stated that most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. Because of such things as over-processing, early harvesting, soil depletion, chemicals, preservatives and hormone usage, food today isn’t what it used to be. Additionally, in this fast-paced world, we are eating on the run (and it’s not home-made). Our kids’ are not consuming the recommended daily servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy, and thus their diets fall short of many critical nutrients. The solution is to supplement.

How Do You Know You Are Getting a Good Quality Supplement?
Several years ago, I learned the hard way that vitamins are not all alike. I took lots of different supplements which I purchased at the local drug store. And still I suffered with seasonal allergies and several sinus infections a year. It wasn’t until I changed brands to a better quality line that my health improved. That line was Shaklee and it is what I recommend to my clients today.

There are a few things you want to look for in a good quality supplement:

Bioavailability – a big word for “am I digesting and absorbing my vitamins?” Be sure the company you buy from does these tests. Otherwise how will you know if you are even benefitting from your supplements?

What’s in my vitamins? Can I trust the label? – Unfortunately there is very loose regulation in this area. Some companies formulate to only 60% or less of the label claims. That means that what you see isn’t necessarily what you get, and poor quality products may contain ingredients and impurities never listed on the label.

What should I look for in a multivitamin?  Above all look for a reputable company. “Reputable” means they have their products analyzed and tested by third-party independent labs and that they have developed their products with quality and optimal health (vs. high profit margins) in mind. Don’t assume that just because a supplement is a bestselling brand and shows 100% of most Daily Values that it is a good product. Believe it or not, some of the very expensive brands offer poor quality formulations and use cheap ingredients.

Shaklee products pass all of the above criteria. Your best bet is to buy from a company you trust and educate yourself about the products you buy. Watch out for marketing hype vs. solid and useful information. And don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

I hope you have found this information helpful. I would love to hear your comments below. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Shaklee products please feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Childhood Asthma - An Epidemic

Asthma is a chronic and inflammatory disease of the lung. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get narrower and your lungs get less air. This can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and trouble breathing, especially early in the morning or at night.

When your asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it's called an asthma attack. These attacks may start slowly, with increasing signs of respiratory distress and tightness in the chest. In a severe asthma attack, the airways can close so much that your vital organs do not get enough oxygen. People can die from severe asthma attacks.

Asthma is the most common chronic disorder of childhood. According to the NIH, nine million children under the age of 18 are currently diagnosed as asthmatic—a more than 200% increase over the last 30 years. Roughly six million—or nearly one in every 10—school-aged children suffers from asthma, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And if yours is one of those children, then you know the terror of watching them gasp for breath in an asthma attack. Children have smaller airways than adults, which makes asthma especially serious for them. One in 12 Americans of all ages is affected.

No one knows why some people get asthma and others don’t, but, hereditary factors do play a role. People with asthma usually have “triggers” which make them wheeze. Knowing your triggers can help you control your disease.  Some of these triggers include

  • Allergens - mold, pollen, animals
  • Irritants - cigarette smoke, air pollution
  • Weather - cold air, changes in weather
  • Exercise
  • Infections - flu, common cold, respiratory infections
  • Food allergies

Environmental pollution may be one of the leading causes of this growing epidemic. Exposure to a wide variety of chemicals has also been linked to increased risk of asthma. Food allergies and sensitivities are identified in three-fourths of asthma sufferers.

The most common asthma symptoms in children are coughing and wheezing. Other asthma symptoms in children include shortness of breath (difficulty breathing) and chest tightness

We have known for a long time that asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, the primary reason why kids with chronic diseases miss school days and among the top three reasons why children end up in emergency rooms or are admitted into hospitals. Floyd J. Malveaux, M.D., Ph.D.

According to the Mayo Clinic staff respiratory infections such as colds and the flu are one of the most common causes of asthma flare-ups, especially in young children. A stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, fever or other signs and symptoms caused by a cold or flu (influenza) virus can be a nuisance. But if you have asthma, even a minor respiratory infection can cause major problems. Asthma signs and symptoms such as wheezing and chest tightness may not respond as well to regular asthma medications. Also, asthma symptoms caused by a respiratory infection may last for several days to weeks.

There's no sure way to keep yourself or your child from getting a cold or the flu. But taking steps to avoid getting sick — and taking the right steps when you do — can help.

Antibiotic Use In Infants Linked To Asthma

Research indicates that children who receive antibiotics before their first birthday are significantly more likely to develop asthma by age 7. The study, published in the June (2007) issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), reports that children receiving antibiotics in the first year of life were at greater risk for developing asthma by age 7 than those not receiving antibiotics. The risk for asthma doubled in children receiving antibiotics for nonrespiratory infections, as well as in children who received multiple antibiotic courses and who did not live with a dog during the first year.

Nutritional Support for Asthma

Based on the above study, my first recommendation is to keep your child’s immune system strong to ward off colds and infections. Another important suggestion is to clear the home of all toxic cleaners and laundry products and replace them with safer, non-toxic alternatives.

To build up the immune system, in addition to a healthy diet I would recommend the following supplements:

  • Multivitamin
  • Soy protein
  • Chewable Vitamin C
  • Probiotics (key)
  • Garlic
After taking all sorts of different supplements, I finally found that the supplements from Shaklee were the only ones that improved my health. That’s why I made the decision to market them 14 years ago. So those are the products I would recommend for a natural approach to asthma. If you decide to try this program, just be sure that you select supplements from a reputable company that does a lot of research and testing. And if you have any questions, please be sure to contact me.

To your health,


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Know The Ingredients In Your Personal Care Products

From the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Better products are truthful in their marketing claims and free of potentially worrisome ingredients. Some products might make claims like "gentle" or "natural," but since the government does not require safety testing, personal care product manufacturers can use almost any chemical they want, regardless of risks.

Every personal care product must list its ingredients. Here's how to navigate the label:
1. Start at the end, with preservatives. Avoid:

  • Words ending in "paraben"
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Triclosan
  • Triclocarban
  • Triethanolamine (or "TEA")

2. Check the beginning of the ingredients lists, where soaps, surfactants, and lubricants show up. Try to avoid ingredients that start with "PEG" or have an "-eth" in the middle (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).

3. Read the ingredients in the middle. Look for these words: "FRAGRANCE," "FD&C," or "D&C."


Many parents pay more attention to their kids' environmental health than their own, but adult bodies can be affected by toxic chemicals, too. EWG's Safer Shopping List has nine common-sense tips to reduce everyone's exposures. For instance, buy fragrance-free, skip the nail polish and use fewer products.


Extra caution is in order for kids because, pound for pound, they are exposed to more contaminants in everyday products than adults. Their immature metabolism and organ systems are typically less capable of fending off chemical assaults. Even subtle damage to young bodies can lead to disease later in life.

Follow EWG's top five tips for kids:

1.Use fewer products and use them less often.

 2.Don't trust ad hype. Check ingredients.

 3.Buy fragrance-free products.

 4.Avoid the use of baby powder.

 5.Always avoid EWG's top six chemicals of concern for kids:

       •2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3 Diol

       •Boric acid and sodium borate

       •DMDM Hydantoin


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ear Tubes: Should You or Shouldn't You?

Children between the ages of six months to two years of age commonly get middle ear infections also known as otitis media. These infections involve the space on the inner side of the eardrum and can occur initially as a result of a cold or upper respiratory infection.

When this area is infected, it fills up with fluid which pushes upon the eardrum or tympanic membrane. Infections can be either bacterial or viral. Usually viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, and with time, they will usually resolve on their own.

If the infection is bacterial, the middle ear space will fill up with fluid, putting pressure on the eardrum, thus causing pain. During this period of infection, the child may have a temporary loss of hearing, but usually it is not permanent, unless there is structural damage.

Doctors will suggest ear tubes for children under these circumstances:
• If a child has had fluid behind the eardrum in both ears for more than 3 months and has significant hearing loss in both ears.
• If a child has repeat ear infections and antibiotics aren’t working

A specialist called an otolaryngologist places the tubes through a small surgical opening made in the eardrum (myringotomy or tympanostomy). The child is unconscious under general anesthesia for this surgery.

Tubes can help with ear infections because they:
• Allow air to enter the middle ear
• Allow fluid to flow out of the middle ear through the tube into the ear canal.
• Clear fluid from the middle ear and restore hearing.
• Prevent future buildup of fluid in the middle ear while they are in place.
• Decrease the feeling of pressure in the ears, which reduces pain.

Tubes normally remain in the ears for 6 to 12 months. They often fall out on their own. If the tubes don't fall out on their own, surgery may be required to remove them. After the tubes are out, the child should be watched for signs of ear infection or fluid behind the eardrum.

How Well Do Tubes Work?
Ear tubes often restore hearing. While the tubes are in place, they often prevent buildup of pressure and fluid in the middle ear. And they can reduce pain.
Tubes may keep ear infections from recurring while the tubes are in place. But infections may return after the tubes are gone.

Minor complications occur in up to half of the children who have tubes inserted. Usual complications include:
• A thickening of the eardrum over time. These changes in the eardrum may affect hearing in a very small number of children.
• Discharge of pus (otorrhea) from the ear. This is common and can become an ongoing problem in some children.

Other possible complications:
• The tube may become blocked, allowing ear fluid and infections to return.
• The tube may slip out of place, possibly falling into the middle ear (rare).
• Tissue may form behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma). This is also rare.

In addition, tubes may scar the eardrum which may then lead to minor hearing loss.

(Information above compiled from Web MD and Dr. Leia Melead)

Now, I would like to add my two cents:
There are other avenues that can be pursued that are much less invasive than antibiotics and ear tube surgery. (Putting a baby under general anesthetic if it isn’t necessary?) The goal is to build up your child's immune system and get rid of the infection once and for all.

You might want to try the elimination of highly allergenic foods such as wheat, corn, milk, and soy from your child’s diet.  Dairy can be very mucous forming.  Also, avoid sugar.

Other factors that can contribute to ear infections include taking the bottle to bed and second hand tobacco smoke.

FACT: There are 4000 or more chemicals in cigarette smoke, and research shows that secondhand smoke increases a child's risk of developing ear and respiratory infections, asthma, cancer and sudden infant death syndrome.

I would also suggest the addition of certain high quality supplements. In the fourteen years I have been with my company I have seen many children’s ear infection clear up completely just by making some of the lifestyle changes noted above and adding the following nutrients:

Vitamin C, garlic, and probiotics for the infection

Multivitamin/mineral supplement and a daily protein drink to maintain good health.

Moms, let me know what your experience has been with ear tubes.  I'd love to hear from you.

And, as always, I can’t promise that the above suggestions will be the answer for your child, but these are all positive, healthy steps...and what if it does work?

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Health By Design disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Building Blocks of Health

Source: Health Quest Newsletter
Dr. Frank M. Painter, Editor

It’s sad but true – most Americans fail to meet the basic requirements of good health. Statistics gathered by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) are frightening:

Only 27% of adults eat three servings of vegetables per day (3 – 5 are recommended)

Only 13% of students meet the vegetable goal

Only 33% of adults eat two servings of fruit day (2-4 are recommended)

Only 32% of students meet the fruit goal

Even worse, these numbers are artificially inflated, because foods like sugared fruit drinks and French Fries are still counted as servings.

The next nutritional issue comes from the fact that industrial farms force-grow crops, with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The measured vitamin levels in “conventional” crops are continuing to decline. And it gets worse. More and more American staple crops are grown from genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), which have no established track record of health effects or benefits. European clinical trials, that only fed animals GMO foods, have under-reported subject deaths, damage found in their intestinal tracts, and second- and third-generation sterility.

All the problems in the food chain, and the dietary habits of most Americans, emphasize why it’s important to adopt a basic nutrition program that provides all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we require to maintain our health.

When selecting health products, you want to look for ones that are made from non-GMO crops that are completely free from pesticides, heavy metal residue or other toxic contaminants, and are guaranteed to be bacteria and virus free.

Selecting vitamin supplements can be a daunting task. There are so many out there, how does one know which brand is going to be effective and actually work? You may want to refer to my blog post on selecting good quality supplements for guidance.

The Basic Nutrition Program:

1. The core of any nutrition program starts with a multi-vitamin. We require vitamins everyday to maintain our immune system, energy levels, detoxification systems, and for managing billions of cellular processes, from producing hormones to cell repair and reproduction. Many diseases occur when we lack a particular vitamin, mineral or amino acid. These are referred to as nutrient deficiency diseases. Researchers are discovering that suboptimal levels of these nutrients, along with exposure to xeno-toxins (chemicals that are foreign or poisonous to the body) seem to be associated with the onset of many disease processes.

2. The second building block of health is protein. The average healthy person requires at least 180 grams of protein per day (1800 calorie diet). The ideal, fat-free source of plant-based protein is soy. A word of caution – most soy powder manufacturers use the alcohol extraction process, which leaches out the two most important isoflavones – (Genistein and Daidzein). You want to find a company that uses the water-wash method, because it retains the critical soy isoflavones most associated with soy’s reported health benefits.

3. The third building block of health is antioxidants. The classic antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E. Every time scientists discovered a new photochemical in plants, it invariably displayed powerful antioxidant properties, sometimes ten to hundreds of times more powerful than the classic antioxidants. Phytochemicals (also called phytonutrients), are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventing properties. It is understood that plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves. Recent research suggests that they also protect humans against various diseases. Some of the best known phytochemicals are lycopene, (think tomatoes), isoflavones from soy, and the flavenoids from fruits. There are many health databases that clearly demonstrate that those individuals who eat the most fruits and vegetables also have the lowest incidence of the deadly diseases: cancer, vascular disease, and diabetes.

These are the three basics of a sound nutritional program. There are many other types of products that can boost your immune system, increase energy or memory, improve stamina in sports, etc. But they should all rest upon these three basics. To your good health!