Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Healthy Children a Healthy You

As I come to this time of the year when I recognize how many years it has been since my cancer treatments ended, and how many years I have been cancer free, I begin to look at the things we are doing in our home to promote good health not only for ourselves but for Selena. We struggle in many areas, exercise is the number one area. I know we need to be getting out and walking more, Selena should be getting out playing more, but hey where are all the children for her to play with? We just happen to live in an area where children are not allowed to play outside unsupervised, it is harder to get play dates for her, and this time of year the weather is not the best for outdoor fun. This is not to say that we do not try our best to get our exercise on in the home, but I always feel something is lacking because we can’t get outside.

The other thing I look at is our diet. Selena is a picky eater so getting fruits and vegetables down her is not as easy as most children. We do our best in this area, and truly hope someday she will discover that these foods truly are not bad. One thing a person is told when they go through cancer is to cut back on the amount of sugar they eat. Our bodies do need some sugar as it is the sugar that our cells use to grow, but in cancer, the cells will use too much of this sugar and grow faster, which helps to cause cancer. We do not eat a lot of sugar in our home, and never really have. Selena loves her candy and such but it is not something she gets all the time, and she is not a soda drinker, so I feel outside of the lack of fruits and vegetables we are not doing bad in this area.

Another concern in our family is the fact that diabetes is beginning to be one the rise. My two brothers have been diagnosed with diabetes, and I have had others in the family with diabetes, which honestly I was not aware of until we had to do the genetic testing for Selena’s kidney. When I was approached by Carolyn from Full-On Fit, asking if I would allow her to do a guest post about Diabetes, I couldn’t help but to agree since I want my readers to know and understand that we need to start NOW while our children are young, train them right in the amount of exercise and the importance of a well balanced diet for a healthy life.

I hope you enjoy Carolyn’s article and will take time to visit her blog here.

Finding Fun Ways to Prevent Diabetes

Last month was recognized as American Diabetes Month—normally I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but since my little cousin was just recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, the awareness meant something completely new for me. According to information from St. Joseph’s Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 of today’s kids are diagnosed with diabetes. This number continues to rise, and the nation's rising levels of childhood obesity and inactivity fuel this fire. Fortunately, this isn't a binding issue. There are fun, simple steps we can take with our kids to help lead them to a healthier life.
Since Type 2 Diabetes is caused in part by a poor diet, it should make sense to focus on getting our kids to eat healthily. In an attempt to prevent diabetes, it’s important to avoid "fad diets" (usually identified by some crazy premise like only drinking orange juice at night) and obvious unhealthy choices.

In contrast, we should work to include things like fiber and whole grain. While foods high in fiber and whole grains may seem to be unappetizing to children, there are easy ways to get them to eat and enjoy balanced meals. Apples, for example, are loaded in dietary fiber (as long as the skin isn't shaved). Similarly, peanut butter is another great high-fiber food! A great-tasting, healthy snack would be to have your kids dip the apples in peanut butter so that they're both satisfying and good for them.

Or, encourage some creativity and let them play with their food. Set out a shmorgishborg of healthy foodstuffs and let them have at it- within reason, of course. In order to ensure your kids have a well-rounded overall diet, you can help map out some of their meals. Be sure to make it all-inclusive so that they don't feel that they're being singled out within the family.
Another reason Type 2 Diabetes is on the rise is due to the meteoric increase of sedentary activities; kids are often purely entertained by video games, television, and many other technological trappings. The CDC recommends that children and adolescents get roughly one hour of exercise per day. In order to inspire them to play outside, parents might have to get a little creative. A good way to start is by playing with them. Just throwing them outside and saying "have at it" won't be enough. Be part of the inventive process. Plus, who says they have to truly abandon the characters of their favorite fictional universe? Use this outdoor playtime to encourage them to expand upon it. Have them get creative and pretend that they too are part of that mystical world they see on TV.

Or say that the weather outside isn't really conducive for play. That would be a great time to start teaching your kids the active yet relaxing practices of yoga. Yoga burns calories while also promoting calmness and physical and mental balance. You can also use their video games to your advantage – have a dance competition with Just Dance! Or pop in a Wii Fit game and take turns playing against one another!

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at!

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  1. Carolyn approached me as well. I am glad you were able to fit it in your blog nicely.

  2. I didn't know your family struggled with diabetes.

  3. Great goals of the year and useful information from Carolyn. We are struggling with picky eating here too, but I remember food wars of my childhood, and I swore that I won't do this to Anna. I am just hoping she will grow out of her pickiness with time.