Reading about a child’s death is gut-wrenching as a parent.  The solidarity you feel with other mothers and fathers makes it virtually impossible not to weep for their loss and question your faith in the world.

You can’t help but imagine your own family experiencing such tragedy and reeling from the unthinkable heartbreak of losing a child.  You find it hard to look your own children in the eye because the very thought of going through what five-year old Taliyah Marsman’s family is going through in this moment is too unbearable to comprehend.

You feel helpless to protect your loved ones and though you try and tell yourself the world is filled with more good people than bad, you can’t help the sense of uncomfortable suspicion that washes over you every time a stranger crosses your path.

What is a parent to do when it feels like the world has turned upside down?  How do you move from one day to the next without feeling abandoned in a sea of more bad news than good?

I wish I had answers, but in this moment only questions.

Rest in Peace Taliyah Marsman and Sara Baillie.  May you find lasting comfort in the arms of each other.

Five-year old Taliyah Marsman in a photo released by Calgary Police.
Five-year old Taliyah Marsman in a photo released by Calgary Police.

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Ontario’s Minister of Children and Youth Services has penned an open letter to Toronto’s City Council making his case for why the city’s current street hockey ban should be lifted.  Council is expected to debate the issue later this week.

Michael Coteau says Ontario’s capital city can lead the way for other places around the province to encourage outdoor play.

“Road hockey bans are commonplace in municipalities across Ontario and I am hoping your council will show leadership by making it clear that children can and should play safely on neighbourhood streets,” he said.  “A vote to overturn the prohibition and let kids play will challenge other municipalities to abolish similar road hockey bans in their own communities.”

In his letter, Coteau, a father to two young daughters and MPP for Toronto’s Don Valley East constituency, stressed the many upsides of physical activity that go beyond on the obvious health and wellness benefits.  He said life skills such as communication, patience, perseverance and teamwork go hand-in-hand with an active lifestyle.

At paramount issue in this debate is the safety risk posed to children who are playing in the street. Council will also weigh the potential hazard for motorists as well as possible interference with city maintenance.  A city staff report recommends keeping the ban in place for those reasons.

“Transportation Services believes that the “Status Quo” option represents the best balance of competing needs. Recognizing that street hockey, basketball, and other sports activities do occur on public roadways, there are legitimate safety and liability concerns with permitting this activity,” the report states.

Coteau says he’s taken safety under consideration in his proposal and believes there are ways to encourage physical activity while also ensuring the well-being of children across the city.

“The obvious issue at hand is the safety of our children, and I agree that our kids need to be safe, but there has to be a better way than denying them of their right to play,” he said.  “That’s why I am urging all City Councillors to think carefully about this debate.”

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Summer Fun

 

No one revels in the art of taking smart shortcuts more than yours truly. You know the one that leads from point A to D with expedience and without sacrificing quality. It’s a thrilling thing! And when you master it, there is no turning back. The sheer delight in increased efficiency, timely turnarounds and NOT wasting time is, “in short” — phenomenal!

The convenience industry which characterizes much of society today includes a fulsome range of neat businesses and “hard-to-live-without” services running the gamut. From healthy daily meal preparation with delivery to your door, to grocery shopping online and the endless variety of cleaning services, personal trainers, landscaping artists — the list goes on and on.

Then there are the veritably endless apps that can conveniently keep you honest with food intake and weight loss, sleep trackers and the enabling gifts of all kinds to magically appear at the front door of family and friends marking a special occasion — and within swipe or click or tap range, or flashing from a wearable device. It’s truly head-spinning material.

Which brings me to a newly discovered convenience, one that may very revolutionize an entire industry: buying a car — from loan to purchase — entirely ONLINE. Honestly, I found the concept truly amazing. Making one of the largest purchases one has to make in their life, using the click, tap, swipe method. Whoa!

It all got me thinking, as I watched my 16-year-old son climb into the gleaming taupe-coloured Driver’s Education car, with the instructor in the passenger seat, poised to begin the lesson.

The convenience industry has definitely enabled efficiency to a large extent which means in theory we should be able to spend more time doing more of what we love and hopefully less time, doing the opposite. That should presumably give us more time to chase those creative pursuits, do more of what brings up happiness, free up time to spend on what matters — family, friends, fitness, faith, to-do lists before they become bucket lists on a time limit, etc.

For parents, being able to tap into some of what makes up the convenience industry — hopefully the free or less-costly things — should mean freeing up time to spend that ever-elusive “quality” time with our children, spouses and partners.

But does it? Or do we somehow resist the benefits of the convenience industry and fill up that newly gained time with more stuff — that “stuff” that renders us all busy, ALL.THE. TIME. The B word that forms the common refrain to questions like: How’ve you been? How is life treating you? What have you been up to?

Time management is an ongoing odyssey for many of us, but for parents, it must be mastered quickly and on an ongoing basis as a matter of pure survival. Working parents understand this best. No time to waste. The clock is ticking. Drop-offs, pick-ups, schedules, nap time, calendars, activities, snack, meal and potty time, and of course timeouts. The clock whirrs.

While we cannot stop the clock, despite many valiant efforts to attempt such a feat, we could try to outsmart it. Perhaps stealing time — precious moments, priceless seconds, an hour here and there — truly leveraging the age of convenience that we live in to our own advantage, could offer the best of both worlds: A greater appreciation of living in the now.

I can frequently be heard saying to my children when they respond, “I’ll do it later.” Whatever IT is. Depending on the importance of the IT, a.k.a. the ask, I’ll reply, “Why not do it now, later may not come.”

And then there’s the priceless magnet on my father-in-law’s fridge reads which provides further food for thought and summarizes this concept so well: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

By: Melinda Lamarche

July and August are right around the corner and with these hot summer months comes another list of local fresh produce available for the picking.  The produce popping up in July and August are very similar so we’ve decided to combine them in one comprehensive guide.

Although you can find many of these fruits and vegetables year-round in the grocery store, it’s a special treat to enjoy these foods when they are available from local farmers; their fresh flavour can’t be beat!  Check out what’s available this summer and find ways to sneak these foods into your grocery bags and onto your family’s table!

Apricots

These light orange, fuzzy fruits are available in late July and August.  They are full of beta carotene an antioxidant common in orange produce.  Apricots also contain lots of vitamin C and lycopene, both with antioxidant power that help to reduce the risk of various chronic diseases.  Lycopene in particular has been linked to reduced risk of prostate, colorectal, breast, lung and stomach cancers. Apricots are also full of potassium, known to help lower blood pressure and of course, like many other fruits and veggies, these little fruits also contain fibre, helping with GI and heart health.

Buying

Look for apricots without any bruises or blemishes.  Make sure there are no browning soft spots as these spots will develop mold in no time.

Storage

You can ripen apricots in a paper bag and once they’re ripe, transfer them to the refrigerator. Keep apricots in a plastic bag or container to keep them fresh a little longer

Peaches  

In late July and early August we start to see baskets of peaches on grocery store shelves and at farmers markets.  Nothing beats the taste of an in-season, locally grown peach.  Peaches are great on the nutrition front containing lots of fibre, potassium, vitamin C, beta carotene and two other antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin.  Both of these antioxidants have been found to play a role in eye health by preventing macular degeneration.

Buying

Choose peaches that are plump and firm with no soft spots, bruises or blemishes.  Tan or brown circles on a peach are a sign of spoilage and like apricots, you will quickly see mold develop on these spots.

Storage

Firm peaches will ripen at room temperature in a few days, once ripe, refrigerate to prevent spoilage

Plums

Plums are also available during these very warm summer months.  Plums are great sources of Vitamin C, beta carotene and the B vitamin riboflavin.  This B vitamin helps the body convert carbohydrates into a source of energy. Beta carotene and vitamin C have antioxidant power helping to reduce the risk of cellular damage that can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Plums are also known to have high fibre content, especially when they are dried and referred to as prunes.

Buying

Plums come in a variety of colours from yellow, to red to a dark purple. Choose firm plums but avoid those that feel too hard as these were likely picked from the tree too early and will not taste as good, even as they ripen. Avoid plums that have cracks in them or discoloured spots or bruising.

Storage

Ripen at room temperature, then store, covered in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator

Blueberries

Early summer brings us sweet strawberries, but as we move into the warmer months of summer, blueberries make their debut.  Blueberries are known for being full of nutritional value.  They contain phytochemicals called anthocyanins that act as antioxidants preventing cataracts and glaucoma.  The antioxidants in blueberries have also been found to reduce the risk of colon and ovarian cancers. Research also shows that blueberries may reduce the risk of Alzheimers, lower blood pressure and have a positive impact on heart health.

Buying

Buy blueberries that are deep blue and firm.  If some berries look crushed or damaged this is a sign of spoiling. Remove berries that are crushed or moldy as these will cause the rest to spoil quickly.

Storage

Store blueberries in the refrigerator. Wash before eating.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Raspberries

Raspberries are also available in July and August.  Raspberries are known to contain the most antioxidants per serving when compared to other berries.  Raspberries contain an antioxidant called ellagic acid which has anti cancer properties.  Their bright ruby red colour also means they contain anthocyanins which are antioxidants which have been shown to inhibit growth of lung, colon and leukemia cells.  And if all those health benefits aren’t enough, raspberries also contain lutein which promotes eye health.

Buying

Raspberries are the most fragile berry and can be crushed easily and spoil quickly.  Look for berries that are somewhat firm and have held their shape after being picked.  Take a look inside to be sure they are not starting to mold.

Storage

Raspberries can spoil very quickly, remove any berries that are crushed or moldy as these will cause the other berries in the same package to spoil quicker.  Keep refrigerated, and like other berries, do not wash them until you are ready to eat them.

Watermelon

Watermelon – the quintessential summer fruit. It is juicy and refreshing on hot summer days thanks to its high water content. These beautiful pink melons are a great source of lycopene, the antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancer.

Buying

There are many tips and tricks to buying the perfect melon.  Choose a melon that is ripe, to determine ripeness, tap the melon, if it sounds hollow then it is ripe.  A ripe watermelon should feel heavy for its size.  Also, look for a side of the melon that is yellow or creamy and a bit flat, this is also a sign of ripening.

Storage

Keep the uncut melon at room temperature.  Wash the melon before cutting and store cut watermelon covered in the refrigerator.

Corn

Who doesn’t love fresh, local corn in the late days of summer?  Corn is a great source of folate which has been linked to heart health and also prevents neural tube defects in developing fetuses.  Corn also contains the B vitamin thiamin, like other B vitamins, thiamin plays a role in energy metabolism which means it is important for growth, development and the overall function of cells.  Corn is also a source of potassium which helps to lower blood pressure.  Corn helps to promote GI health with its fibre content and has been linked to a lower risk of lung cancer thanks to an antioxidant called beta-cryptoxanthin.

Buying

To ensure corn is fresh, look for ones that have bright green and moist husks with inner silk that is shiny and golden. Kernels should be plump and shiny, not dull and shriveled.

Storage

Corn loses its sweetness and flavour soon after being picked. Store corn in the refrigerator for a few days but don’t wait too long to enjoy.

Peppers

Different varieties of peppers are also available during July and August.  Peppers contain vitamin C helping to promote good immune function and acts as an antioxidant.  Peppers also contain vitamin A which is important for eye health and the B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin which play a role in energy metabolism helping the body use carbohydrates as a source of energy.  Red bell peppers contain more vitamin C and vitamin A then green peppers.

Buying

Choose peppers that are firm and feel solid.  The skin should be shiny and it should feel heavy for its size.  Avoid those that are wrinkled or shrivelled by the stem.

Storage

Store peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator

Tomatoes

Beautiful red tomatoes are popping up in gardens at this time of year.  Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene an anti oxidant with cancer fighting potential.  Lycopene has been linked to reduced risk of prostate, colorectal, breast, stomach and pancreatic cancers.  Tomatoes also promote heart health due to their folate and potassium content.

Buying

Choose tomatoes that are firm with shiny and smooth skin.  Avoid those that are bruised.

Storage

Always store tomatoes at room temperature.  Storing tomatoes in the refrigerator changes their texture and flavour.

Zucchini

Zucchini

Zucchini are another vegetable available in July and August. Zucchini are a great source of vitamin C, with just ½ cup providing more than 15% of the daily requirement for adults. This means that zucchini are full of antioxidants which play a role in boosting immune system and preventing some cancers and heart disease.

Buying

Avoid zucchini that are very large, those that are are allowed to grow beyond 6” in length and 2” in diameter tend to have less flavour.  Choose zucchini that are firm with shiny skin and avoid those that are wrinkled or bruised.

Storage

Store, covered in the refrigerator.  Try to use zucchini within 2-3 days.

Melinda Lamarche has been working as a Registered Dietitian for more than 10 years.  After completing her dietetic internship at the University Health Network in 2005 she went on to complete a Masters degree in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Toronto.  Melinda has experience working with Toronto Public Health and various Family Health Teams in the Toronto area.  Melinda recently completed a Culinary program and is using her new skills to prepare yummy and healthy dishes for her husband, daughter and new

RELATED LINKS:

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It seems we can’t go more than a few days without hearing a daycare-related horror story. From incidents of disturbing neglect to overcrowding, the daycare industry as a whole has come under serious fire in recent years.

As a result of some of this negative press and my own preconceived notions, I really grappled with the prospect of enrolling my daughter in a daycare program when she turned a year old.  I downright resisted it for a while.

In my mind, daycare wasn’t a place with a lot of rhyme or reason. I pictured dropping off my child in carpeted room with a few toys and basic supervision where she’d largely be left to her own devices for the duration of the day.  In short, I was expecting little more than a glorified and rather expensive babysitting service.

I’m happy to report I was wrong.

In the months since our daughter began attending daycare, I’ve noticed such positive developments in her growth and demeanor.  Beyond the obvious displays of maturity – from learning to eat with a spoon to expanding her vocabulary and learning to put her toys away – it’s been a joy to see her evolve socially into a tiny person with a life of her own.

So much thought and care goes into the daycare’s daily curriculum, from indoor sensory activities to physical outdoor play, she is constantly stimulated by new and challenging activities to exercise her body and mind.

Suffice it to say that seeing her thrive in her new environment has completely changed my perspective on what daycare’s all about.  The care and attention she receives coupled with the top notch programming has turned that “glorified babysitting” stereotype I once believed right on its head.

At this point, I’d even be willing to say that choosing to go the daycare route was one of the best parenting decisions we’ve ever made.

I realize my family’s experience isn’t universal and that plenty of daycares across Canada are the focus of justifiable anxiety, concern and in some cases – legal trouble.  We are extremely fortunate with our daycare experience thus far and it isn’t lost on me that many people in the system are not so lucky.

The point of this post is simply to shed light on the other side of the issue and reassure any of the non-believers out there (I used to be one of them!) that beyond the disturbing headlines we so often read, are the many wonderful upsides of sending your child to daycare.

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By: Cara Scholl

Developmental maturity matters more than age when deciding how to explain tragic world events to children says a leading child psychiatrist.

According to Dr. Gail Beck, Director of Youth Outpatient Psychiatry at The Royal in Ottawa, parents should tailor their approach to their child’s unique cognitive needs understanding that coping mechanisms differ from one child to the next, even within the same family.

“You can have some 10 year-olds who can understand more than some 14 year-olds and that’s not unusual or even abnormal,” Beck says. “The rule of thumb is that the parent has to be prepared to answer whatever questions a child brings to them and be prepared to have to explain that.”

Beck says children who are at a stage of development where they take thing very literally are particularly vulnerable to upsetting news because they might conclude that an incident – like the recent mass shooting in Orlando – is imminent in their own life.

Sunday’s shooting rampage in Central Florida claimed the lives of nearly 50 LGBT club goers when a lone gunman – apparently motivated by extremist ideology – fired into the crowd.  The massacre is classified as the deadliest shooting on U.S. soil and the country’s second deadliest attack since 9/11.

One of the bright spots to emerge in the aftermath of the tragedy has been the outpouring of support  both locally and from LGBT and non-LGBT communities worldwide.  On Monday, Orlando’s OneBlood blood bank tweeted that the response has been “incredible” adding the center is booking donation appointments two-weeks out.

Beck says emphasizing positive actions or storylines – like the lineup of blood donors in Orlando or the scenes of thousands who gathered in vigils around the world – is another effective strategy in helping children cope with distressing news.

“Those positive outreaches, those offers to help, they show us that in every terrible thing that happens there are people who are good and there is still good in the world.”

The worldwide eulogizing of arguably the greatest personality of the 20th Century has been simply riveting to observe, on so many levels and for so many reasons.

Each of us should make time, regardless of age or interest, and take in a little bit of the more-than-full life lived with passion, purpose and principle that Muhammad Ali led. And the heavy, weighty legacy he leaves behind.

What struck me about the self-professed ‘greatest of all time’, or #GOAT as one of my kids reminded me is something I hope that my children will embody in their own lives: Muhammad Ali was his own man. Love him or hate him, question him or applaud him — he did his own thing.

That ‘own thing’ was usually rooted in a commitment to doing the right thing — and often against definite, daunting odds. Doing the right thing for him was a mirror reflection of his personal beliefs, hewn from his upbringing and environment. After all, we are all ultimately products of how we were raised and the environment we are exposed to — are we not?

His unwavering principle is something to marvel at. Principle supported by action. He didn’t just talk the talk (which in itself he was highly-skilled it and evidenced in a litany of piercing quotes). He backed it up with action — which was usually followed by some degree of conviction and courage — cause being your own man is usually a road riddled with potholes, even in the best of times.

Just think about the pockmarked backdrop that defined Ali’s formative years: racial strife and social injustice (the plight of ‘colored’ people in the United States at that time), political unrest (the Vietnam War for which Ali refused to be conscripted) — all this and much more as the fire ignited in the 12-year-old boy who set out to be the architect of his own destiny, emerging as a confident, outspoken boxer of ‘colour’ whose drive, diligence and desire propelled him to international fame, glory and controversy.

Muhammad Ali had many reasons to throw in the towel (something he rarely if ever did in the boxing ring) — in his life. Instead he persevered to pursue his beliefs, seemingly never swayed by anything or anyone but his strong sense of self and his personal convictions.

That is something to be admired. And definitely something to emulate. And in my opinion, sadly, a dying breed.

Muhammad Ali/U.S. Library of Congress
Muhammad Ali/U.S. Library of Congress

Today, doing the right thing, is also widely tested but in different ways. Measured against opinion from our family, friends, classmates, social media, the internet, what the Joneses are doing — it’s a robust, often influential list. It is easy to get sidetracked and even sideswiped. Staying the course is not a matter of course. The tide of ‘peer pressure’ ebbs, flows and usually devours those who hesitate.

At the end of the day, the only real measure of any consequence should be doing the right thing. Easier said then done.

As a parent, trying to raise children who understand right from wrong is something that starts early and is reinforced often. Adults can get led astray. Why should we expect a child to be any different. When you boil it down, the examples of right vs wrong occur daily in our lives, in both mundane and mammoth ways. Daily reality checks, should we choose to view them as such.

Doing the right thing is rather obvious when you think about it. Literally black and white. The challenge is following-through when it feels like you are on an island. Those who are capable of that follow-through usually emerge as true leaders. They may not have the title or the handlers or the finances to tell them they have the stuff of a leader, but their actions speak volumes. And that is what counts.

Sure, Muhammad Ali will be remembered by many for his memorable feats in the ring rising to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Others will surely admire his devout faith and finding it. There will be those who marvel at his searing courage in the face of mounting adversity. Individual traits, all of them, that should definitely be highly regarded. But when you strip it all down, you’re left with the core — a man guided by his principles and the desire to live them, daily.

The dramatic jabs, uppercuts, misses and body blows he endured in the ring mirrors greatly Ali’s life outside it. He even perfected the ‘on the ropes’ move as a part of his in-ring strategy. All focused on winning the bout. Outside the ring, focused on preserving his principles. And while he no doubt had his flaws, it’s difficult to knock a man down for doing what’s right.

I look forward to hearing from his children — what it was like to have such a giant as a parent.

Talk about humongous footsteps to follow.

That too, should be riveting to watch unfold.

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By: Melinda Lamarche

Summer is here and it’s time to hit the road!  Whether exploring new places or rediscovering old favourites, family road trips can be loads of fun and a chance to create lifelong memories.

To keep everyone’s spirits up throughout the journey, it’s a good idea to pack some delicious snacks to keep little tummies happy during those long stretches of highway.  Not only do homemade snacks save time and money along the way, they are also your best bet in terms of offering your family a healthy and satisfying nibble.

Below are some tips and tricks to keep you and your family well-fed while on the road, here’s to a happy (and healthy) journey!

SNACKING BASICS

  • Choose snacks those that contain a source of carbohydrate for energy and some protein to keep you feeling fuller longer, examples include: yogurt and fruit, cheese and crackers, nuts and dried fruit.
  • Before you hit the road, invest in a small cooler and ice packs. Look for reusable containers like mason jars and don’t forget to stock the napkins, wet wipes and utensils.

SNACK IDEAS

  • Yogurt, berry and granola parfait
    • Layer plain yogurt, berries and granola in a mason jar, sprinkle with cinnamon and a squirt of honey before sealing the lid
  • Hummus, veggies and bread sticks
    • Spoon a few tablespoons of your favourite storebought or homemade hummus into the bottom of a mason jar, place cut up vegetables in the hummus and place the lid on top. Serve with whole grain breadsticks or crackers on the side
  • Fruity tortilla roll ups
    • Mix softened cream cheese with a little bit of cinnamon, vanilla extract and maple syrup, spread on a whole grain tortilla. Place a mix of cut up fruit and berries on top of cream cheese, roll up and cut into 1” circles
  • Homemade mini muffins and fruit
    • Make a batch of your families favourite muffins, be sure to use whole wheat flour and keep the amount of sugar low, sneak in some mashed bananas or applesauce to hike up the nutritional value, for some fun stir in some nuts or dried fruit and chocolate chips, bake in a mini muffin tin to get more and keep portions snack sized.
  • Roasted chickpeas and cut up veggies
    • Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, place on a parchment lined backing sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of olive oil, roast in a 400degrees for 30minutes, stirring occasionally, then sprinkle with your favourite flavours, try cumin, garlic powder and thyme.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with the tried and true snacks, think cheese and crackers, fruit and nuts and granola bars.

  • When buying crackers look for those that are low in fat, containing less than 5g of fat per serving, low in salt and containing at least 2-4g of fibre per serving. Choose unsalted and dry roasted nuts.
  • Granola bars can be tricky, they are one of those foods with a health halo, meaning they are often marketed as being healthier than they actually are. If buying granola bars, look for those made with whole grains (hint … whole grains should be listed as the first ingredient), low in fat and with less than 8g of sugar.  Making your own granola bars could be a fun way to experiment with your family’s favourite flavours.

So, this summer, pack your coolers and hit the road with some delicious and nutritious snacks to keep you and your crew fuelled for non-stop fun!

Melinda Lamarche has been working as a Registered Dietitian for more than 10 years.  After completing her dietetic internship at the University Health Network in 2005 she went on to complete a Masters degree in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Toronto.  Melinda has experience working with Toronto Public Health and various Family Health Teams in the Toronto area.  Melinda recently completed a Culinary program and is using her new skills to prepare yummy and healthy dishes for her husband, daughter and new baby.

RELATED LINKS:

Delight Your Senses with Our Summer Produce Guide!

Buy Local to Add “Spring” to Your Diet!

Why Pulses are the Family-Friendly Food of 2016

Incorporating Pulses Into Your Family’s Diet

Fall Foods Your Family Should Try

Real Food: Feeding Your Children Right

 

Please Note: The below Q&A is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for seeking advice from a healthcare practitioner regarding your child’s unique health needs.

WhereParentsTalk.com spoke with Dr. Jessica Burke Browman, a licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctor based in Toronto, about the practice of Naturopathic Medicine as it relates to children’s health.

Can you provide a brief overview and explanation of Naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system combining modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. Built on a patient-centred approach it emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that support the body’s natural ability to heal and help the patient achieve sustainable health and wellness.The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. There is also a strong focus disease prevention and health promotion.

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are able to work with each patient or family to create a health plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Naturopathic Doctors will work with your other healthcare providers to ensure a collaborative and complementary approach to your health. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, may also be used during treatments.

In Ontario, NDs are regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act and are regulated by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO).

What type of pediatric health issues can be treated by Naturopathic medicine?

NDs are primary healthcare practitioners in Ontario, and can treat the same conditions as a family doctors, including  both acute and chronic health conditions. Some common pediatric health concerns may include skin conditions (i.e. eczema, psoriasis), immune response (i.e. frequent colds, ear infections), dietary or food issues, digestive concerns, and basic preventative health measures.

How do parents know if Naturopathic medicine is the right course of treatment for their child?

Many parents want to make sure they are making the best choices for their child’s health. Whether parents are seeking alternative options or are looking to complement existing health care measures, naturopathic medicine can play a role in all treatment plans. Parents typically bring their children in for three primary reasons; they are seeking health promotion and disease prevention strategies, their child has symptoms that cannot be addressed by another health care provider, or their child has been diagnosed with a disease or disorder and parents are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects to drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.

At what age can a child first visit a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors are qualified to see children of all ages. From newborns struggling with feeding issues to children scraping knees, and teenagers dealing with hormonal changes, NDs can play a vital role at any stage of your child’s life.

When might a parent want to consult a Naturopath or alternative courses of treatment for their child’s health?

Parents typically seek naturopathic care for three reasons. They are seeking tools to promote and maintain health and wellness for their family, their child has symptoms that have not been reduced through conventional treatments, or their child has been given a diagnosis and the parents would like to complement the conventional treatments to minimize side effects and maximize health and quality of life.

Dr. Jessica Burke Browman is a licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctor based in Toronto. Her practice is family oriented with a strong focus on women’s health and fertility, musculoskeletal injuries, weight loss, and digestive disorders.

Please Note: The above Q&A is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for seeking advice from a healthcare practitioner regarding your child’s unique health needs.

By: Melinda Lamarche

While the weather has been on the upswing for a while now, the official start to summer is just around the corner! School is winding down and friends and family are coming out of hibernation to spend quality time together, often over a meal or two (or three!)

To get you ready for this season of entertaining, we present our June produce guide featuring a bevy of popular fruits and vegetables to delight your summer senses!

This month the best finds will be cherries, strawberries, cucumbers and green peas.  There is truly nothing better than enjoying these seasonal goodies at the peak of their freshness!  These foods are not only delicious but offer great nutrition profiles, be creative and think of ways to make these foods the star of your family’s next meal!

Strawberries

Is there anything more quintessential to summer than picking and eating local strawberries?  Strawberries are available all year round at the grocery store, however we all know the flavour just doesn’t compare to the berries we can get locally this time of year.

Local strawberries tend to be smaller, but sweeter and with much more flavor than those we can buy at other times of year from other countries.  Strawberries are a great snack, quick and easy to prepare and eat and also full of nutrition.  Strawberries contain folate, Vitamin C, potassium, fibre and phytochemicals.  This nutritional profile makes strawberries strong contenders in fighting against heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure all while helping to promote and maintain gut health with its fibre content.

Buying

Look for berries that are firm and plump with no white or yellow blemishes.  If packaged into pints or plastic containers look for one that is loosely packed with no moisture developing between the berries.  Strawberries are highly perishable and even the smallest amount of moisture will make those berries develop mould in no time.

Storing

Do not wash strawberries in advance, wash only when you are ready to eat or use them in a recipe.  Store them in a covered container or resealable bag.

Cherries

Cherries are great when picked locally; not only is their vibrant colour beautiful to behold but they are tasty and healthy to boot!  Cherries come in many varieties ranging from very sweet to very tart.  They also come in different colours from a bright blood red to a yellowish pink hue.

Regardless of the type of cherry you favour, they are all a nutritious and delicious. Cherries are high in soluble fibre, meaning that they are great for gut health but also help to lower cholesterol levels by binding with cholesterol in the body and helping to excrete it. Cherries are also high in vitamin A, C and potassium.  Their vitamin C content makes them a great antioxidant which can play a role in decreasing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Buying

Look for cherries that are plump and firm with shiny exterior and bring colour

Storing

Store cherries unwashed and covered in a plastic resealable bag or container to maintain freshness

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are an undervalued vegetable in my humble opinion.  They taste great, especially when grown locally, are extremely hydrating due to their high water content and are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants.  Cucumbers contain two prominent phytonutrients that act as antioxidants.  The phytonutrients that are found in cucumbers are called lignans and cucurbitacins.  Studies have linked these two phytonutrients to decreased risk of some cancers.

Buying

Look for cucumbers that are bright green without any yellowing.  Make sure they are also firm, have no moisture or indented spots and are without significant wrinkling, especially at the ends.

Storing

Cucumbers do best when stored in a cool environment, so keep in a resealable bag in the refrigerator.

Green Peas in the Pod. (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
Green Peas in the Pod. (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Green peas

Peas are delicious when you can pop them out of their pods and eat them fresh.  This is the time of year to enjoy them that way.  Bursting with flavor, wonderfully sweet and part of the legume family, green peas are high in soluble fibre which benefits gut health but more importantly can play a role in reducing cholesterol levels and helping to improve heart health.  Peas are also high in Vitamin C, boasting antioxidant qualities, such as the aiding in the prevention of chronic diseases and folate which has been linked to better heart health and the prevention of neural tube defects in pregnancy.

Buying

When buying peas in the pod, look for pods that are tightly closed and firm to the touch.  Give the peas a little shake, if there isn’t any noise, you know that pod is tightly packed with sweet and delicious peas

Storing

Store fresh peas in a resealable plastic bag.  If freezing, shell the peas and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, once frozen, transfer to a plastic bag and store in the freezer.

Here’s to a wonderfully delicious and nutritious summer!

Melinda Lamarche has been working as a Registered Dietitian for more than 10 years.  After completing her dietetic internship at the University Health Network in 2005 she went on to complete a Masters degree in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Toronto.  Melinda has experience working with Toronto Public Health and various Family Health Teams in the Toronto area.  Melinda recently completed a Culinary program and is using her new skills to prepare yummy and healthy dishes for her husband, daughter and new

RELATED LINKS:

Buy Local to Add “Spring” to Your Diet!

Why Pulses are the Family-Friendly Food of 2016

Incorporating Pulses Into Your Family’s Diet

Fall Foods Your Family Should Try

Real Food: Feeding Your Children Right