the weather begins to warm up, we at Whole Child
Wellness want to help you welcome the Spring and Summer with healthful tips to enjoy the beautiful days to come…
Get Out and Play!
Elisa Song, MD
sunshine is one of our best medicines. Just 10 minutes/day during
non-winter months can provide us with enough Vitamin D to enhance
our mood, help us sleep better, boost our immune system, and protect
against a whole host of chronic diseases including osteoporosis, heart
disease, autoimmune illnesses, and many cancers. Richard Louv, in
Nature Deficit Disorder, hypothesizes that the lack of time spent
outdoors by our kids due to increasing time pressures and exposure
to electronic media can result in a wide range of behavioral disorders,
including attention problems, depression, and anxiety.
So get out and play! I wanted to share with you
some ideas to enjoy the outdoors with your kids – all approved by
Kenzi and Bodi, of course!
Whatever you decide to do, just get out and enjoy
nature! You and your child(ren) will reap the benefits.
- Water the flowers. Get your watering cans out! Water the
trees, flowers, grass, potted plants, weeds, or whatever is growing
in your yard. While you’re at it, discuss how plants need water
to stay hydrated, nutritious minerals from the soil to keep well-fed,
and sunshine to help them grow strong and healthy – just like
- Look to the skies. Take a walk around your neighborhood.
Count how many birds you see. Look for ladybugs or butterflies. Imagine
what shapes the clouds in the sky look like – we’ve seen
ducks, pirate ships, airplanes, and more!
- Bugs, bugs, bugs! Search for all the different bugs you
can find. Ladybugs are our favorite. Get on your hands and knees,
use a magnifying glass, and find all the little critters that abound – ants,
roly polys, spiders, caterpillars, ladybugs, you name it!
- Make a pet rock. Search for the most beautiful, smooth,
rough, colorful, big, small, or special rock ever. Then use paint,
glue, glitter, and googly eyes to make an endearing pet rock. Find
the perfect home for him/her in your yard that can be visited over
and over again.
- Treasure hunt. Perfect for toddlers who like to collect
things. Use a small toy bucket or container to collect leaves, rocks,
flowers, sticks, pine cones, or any other special treasures. Discuss
each of these treasures and what makes them special.
- See shells, sea shells. We’re blessed to be so close
to the seashore. Find your way to the coast and collect sea shells,
sea glass, seaweed, sand – whatever takes your fancy. Bring
them home and make a collage of your expedition to the shore. If you
have the opportunity, go to Fitzgerald Marine Preserve during low
tide and explore the tide pools – discover hermit crabs, sea
urchins, star fish, sea anemones, and more!
- Take a hike! There are so many amazing places to explore
in the Bay Area. Look up your local county and state parks to discover
new hikes to explore with infants, toddlers and older kids. Our only
caveat – watch for the poison oak that can grow rampant in some
areas. Some of our favorite places to hike – Edgewood Park in
San Carlos, Hidden Villa in Los Altos, Huddart Park in Woodside, and
Rancho San Antonio in Mountain View.
- Join a nature group. If you prefer to join a group to enjoy
the outdoors, consider Tiny Treks or Caterpillar Kids’ Club.
They meet at a different nature spot, sing songs, explore nature,
and do a different crafts project each week. Kenzi and I have had
a blast doing this, and it takes the pressure off of coming up with
a creative new spot and activity each week. Fun!
When the Going Gets Hot, Drink a Smoothie!
Stellmon, Certified Nutrition Consultant
Smoothie season is here! Farmer's markets and grocery
stores are stocked with the season's best, like strawberries, mangoes,
kiwis and cherries (almost time for these - can't wait!). Time to
dust off your blender and whir up a tall cold glass of yumminess.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Now for some deelish smoothie recipes:
- Start with a splash. Add your liquids first, to help get
things whirring. Experiment a little - Milk
can make your smoothies creamy - cow's milk
or almond milk work great. For a tropical twist
try coconut milk or coconut water (super hydrating)
or a dollop of coconut cream for a luxurious
smoothie. Juices work too, but
remember that they add extra sugar and calories
that you might not want in your smoothie.
- Load up on the good stuff. After you've added your liquids,
it's time to put in the 'meat' of your smoothie
- the fruits and veggies! Your smoothie will
have a different texture depending upon whether
or not you use frozen or fresh produce. You
may need to add some ice if all your fruit
is unfrozen to get that 'icy slushy' feel.
Don't be afraid to add veggies to your smoothie
- this is a great way to add low calorie nutrition
to your day (and sneak greens in for the
kids!). Throw in a handful of raw spinach or
kale and you won't know the difference. Try
swapping avocado in place of banana. This adds
creaminess to your smoothie and gives your
brain a boost all at the same time!
- Make it last. Protein will turn your smoothie into a meal
and help even out the sugar from those yummy
fruits you added. Greek yogurt, protein powder
(whey, hemp, rice, pea...lots of choices!) and
nut butters are perfect choices.
- Secret super-hero power. Now that you've got the basics
of your smoothie in the blender, it's time
to add the secret power ingredients. Ground
flaxseed, chia or hemp seeds (a tablespoon or two)
add fiber and a nice dose of Omega 3 Fatty
Acids. Nutritional yeast, bee pollen and powdered green and red veggies
that you can add. Dark unsweetened cocoa powder
adds antioxidants and deliciousness in one
punch. Be creative - see just how good you can
- Not for Whimps. Finally - the matter of the blender itself.
Yes...a standard blender will do - absolutely!
But if you are serious about blending and really
want to turn that kale leaf into liquid power,
then a super duper blender may be just what
you need. There are many of these blenders
out there (e.g. Blendtec, Vitamix, Ninja )
- something to think about :)
Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie
Mango Tango Tropical Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen organic strawberries
- 2 kiwis
- 4 ounces strawberry Greek Yogurt
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup raw organic spinach
- Honey to taste
Cherry Berry Beet Smoothie
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut water
- ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 cup mango chunks
- 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen organic cherries
- 1 small, peeled, steamed beet
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- ½ small avocado
- ¾ cup cold water
- 1 frozen banana (peel and slice before freezing)
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal or ground chia seeds
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- ½ cup ice cubes
- Honey to taste
Aachooo! When Allergies Get in the Way
Dana Gerstbacher, MD
The Bay Area is in bloom! With the arrival of
spring, we have seen a huge increase in allergic symptoms. Dry, irritated,
watery, and itchy eyes, scratchy throat, nasal congestion, sneezing,
dry cough. Sounds miserable, right? There are several easy and natural
ways that you can reduce your allergy symptom load.
Avoid or minimize allergens. Find out what you
may be reacting to with testing if possible. This can be done through
blood or skin scratch testing, through your pediatrician or an allergist.
If you know what you are allergic to, try to stay clear. Use HEPA air
filters for your home. Keep windows closed, especially on windy days.
Irrigate your nose to remove allergens daily, if not more. This can
be done with sinus rinses, like a neti pot, Nasopure, or Neilmed sinus
rinse, or saline sprays like Xlear. Take a coldish shower after being
outside on a high pollen day. As soon as you get in from outdoors, change
your shirt, wash your face focusing on eyebrows and eyelashes, and take
a wet comb through your hair – to remove as many allergens as
possibly so you’re not constantly shaking them into your eyes
and nose when you move your head. Carrying wet wipes to wash your face
and wet your hair frequently even when your outside can be very helpful.
Removing your shoes before going inside can prevent tracking allergens
into the house.
Eat Omega-3 rich foods, like wild salmon. Try
to “eat a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables everyday. Ensure
adequate Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 from your food
and/or supplementation. Eat a diet that is rich
in anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, and Quercetin-rich
foods. Avoid foods that are rich in histamines
(unfortunately, chocolate is on the list of high
histamine-containing foods) or that may cross-react
with pollens you are sensitive to (you know that
itchy mouth you get after eating cantaloupe – it could be due
to your ragweed allergy!). Kandice
certified nutrition consultant, is available to
help optimize your or your child’s diet to best support your individual
Herbal medicines like Quercetin, a natural anti-histamine
and powerful anti-oxidant, and other anti-inflammatory
herbs can often be used in the place of over-the-counter
anti-histamines. Our favorite Quercetin-containing
product is Orthomolecular Products D-Hist and D-Hist
Jr – these work
best when first taking a “loading dose” followed
by a maintenance dose. Local honey, which contains
pollens from local plants, flowers, trees, and
grasses, in small frequent doses, taken
several months before the pollen season can help
prevent allergy symptoms by “desensitizing” you to the most
common allergens. And for immediate relief from
those annoying allergy symptoms, don’t
forget homeopathic medicines. Consult with one
of our doctors to figure out which homeopathic
medicine(s) is best for your specific allergy
symptoms. Options may include individual remedies,
SyAllgen tablets and nasal spray, Boiron’s Sabadil combination
allergy tablets, and Boiron’s Optique eye drops. And remember
acupuncture as a powerful option for both prevention
and treatment of allergies. We are available to
help you figure out the best treatment
plan for your and your child’s allergies.
So, put away that tissue box, take control of your
allergies, and feel great outside again!
Acupuncture and Kids
Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of medical
conditions in kids and adults, both acute and chronic.
Among these are allergies, headaches, fever,
ear infections, upper respiratory infections,
acute wheezing, gastroenteritis, infant colic/reflux,
eczema, asthma, chronic urticaria, constipation,
and a weakened immune system. For over
4,000 years, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine
have been practiced as one of the oldest Healing
Arts of Oriental Medicine. In 1997, a consensus
statement was formed after a conference of acupuncture
by the NIH stating “the
data in support of acupuncture are as strong as
those for many accepted medical therapies.”
Acupuncture has been found to be extremely beneficial
for those suffering from seasonal allergies – with immediate improvements
in acute symptoms, and reduced need for allergy medications. Acupuncture
performed preventatively, for the month or two prior to allergy season,
can dramatically reduce allergy symptoms once everything begins to bloom.
But don’t worry – it’s never too late. Even once allergy
season is in full force, acupuncture can significantly alleviate symptoms
such as itchy watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and congestion. Chinese
herbs, like Kan Herb’s Windbreaker and Enviroshield, can work
synergistically with acupuncture to further heal allergies.
In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), our physical
body and all of its internal organs are regulated by a life force, called
Qi (pronounced chee) which circulates throughout the body along major
channels. This is similar to the way blood runs through the vessels
in our bodies. Hundreds of points have been identified along these pathways
that when stimulated by needles, affect our bodily processes. When Qi
flows abundantly, one can experience optimum health; however, when there
are blockages to the flow of energy, pain and dis ”ease” occur.
Acupuncture restores the body’s natural circulation of Qi, by
unblocking and rebalancing the natural flow of energy throughout the
body. The most commonly employed acupuncture technique involves the
insertion of fine, sterile, metallic needles into the body at specific
points to restore the flow of vital energy. Needling some specific points
and/or combination of points is the heart of acupuncture treatments.
Other options include laser acupuncture, Japanese Sho-ni-shin (“needleless
acupuncture”), and Tui Na (Chinese infant massage).
Acupuncture works amazingly well on children.
Yes! It really does!!! You may be wondering how on earth a child would
tolerate an acupuncture treatment. It’s easy! The needles used
on children are incredibly fine, and virtually “painless.” Most
kids don’t feel a thing. And for children under 8 years
of age, needles in general are not kept in – they are simply put
in, stimulated, and taken right out. They don’t even have to sit
still! An entire acupuncture session may take less than 5-10 minutes.
Ruiz and Dr.
Elisa Song are both trained
in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Please feel welcome to come in for a consult at
any time to discuss whether acupuncture may be
appropriate for your child.
In a previous email announcing upcoming classes,
there was an error with the date for one of the
classes. For clarification, the correct
information for our May classes is:
Caring for the Caregiver –
How to Manage Parental Anxiety and Burnout
Saturday, May 4nd, 10:00am - 11:30am
Join Dr. Callum Eastwood for a presentation
on parental anxiety, stress, burnout, and approaches to intervention
Baby Food 101 - Introduction to Solids
Wednesday, May 22nd, 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Learn the basics for introducing solids to your little one!
Stellmon, our Certified Nutrition Consultant, will discuss when
to start, which foods are best through the first year and
tips to make things easier. Topics also include variations
for a vegetarian diet and spotting food allergies/intolerances.
Last but not least, there will be a fun home-made baby
food cooking demonstration!