Kids Health and Nutrition

I'm blessed to be a part of a wonderful online community of real women supporting real women, called Women's Wellness Tribe, founded and managed by the lovely Kacey Morrow [Kacey is also an amazing Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, whose professional work I deeply trust and resonate with, and who I love collaborating and consulting with!]

This past Thursday, one of the hot topics among some of the mamas in our group was KIDS' NUTRITION ... Although I am yet to embark on the adventure of motherhood, I found the topic very interesting and relevant to many of my own friends, clients, colleagues who do have little ones running around. 

So, I decided to share some of Kacey's wisdom here on my blog. Read on to see why I love working with her so much!


KIDS HEALTH THURSDAY - Kacey Morrow, RDN, CLT, Women's Wellness Tribe

Today we are talking BEFORE SCHOOL BREAKFAST!
Kids do so so so much learning before lunch. This is true at ALL grades! Some people (adults) can skip breakfast and still do ok (as long as their other meals of the day are larger) BUT with kids in school this simply doesn’t work well!
DUH! {I’m sure that’s what many of you are thinking} However WHAT we include in our kids’ breakfasts is even more important than “just having something.”
When people consume carbohydrate alone for breakfast, they will experience a quick rise in blood sugar followed by a fairly rapid “crash.” This is due in part to how quickly carbohydrate-rich foods are digested and absorbed (leading to the quick rise in sugars moving INTO our bloodstream) as well as thanks to one of our ever important hormones insulin (answering the call to “do something with this blood sugar rise!”) and subsequently grabbing onto those sugars and racing them off to storage in our liver, muscles, or fat stores.
How do we FEEL during this series of events? BEFORE breakfast…maybe hungry or not hungry…we are all different in the morning! WHILE eating breakfast…”mmmm this tastes good and I can eat it pretty quickly and be out the door in a jiffy!” AFTER eating breakfast….”yay I have energy!”…followed very quickly by…”wow, I’m hungry again already, how did that happen?!”
This is an incredibly tough chain of events if you are a child stuck in a desk seat at school and you don’t have an option to get a snack! You are left with lower-than-optimal energy the rest of the morning…all the while being expected to read, write, answer questions, head off to different specialists (library, gym, art, music), and all the while beings asked to “Sit still! Don’t answer until I’ve called on you! Speak up! Let’s read that again!” {Btw…I feel that teachers are THE most amazing professionals on this planet. THANK YOU TEACHERS FOR ALL YOU DO!!!}
Let’s help our children AND educators out by avoiding this spike and crash in blood sugar and instead create a nice, sustained rise in energy for the whole morning! How do we accomplish that?!
We need to include sources of proteins, fats, and fiber in that morning meal. These things take longer to digest and as a result provide a sustained energy release into the body! Don’t get me wrong…still include carbohydrate! {fruit, grains, sweetened dairy, starchy veg, etc.} However, we just don’t want the first meal to be ONLY from that previous list of foods. This will help create better energy and an increased ability to be an engaged learner for our kiddos!
For my kids, eggs are on the menu several times a week. We also incorporate high-quality breakfast sausages as well as yummy baked goods made with coconut flour (high in fiber as well as protein and fat due to the amount of eggs used in these recipes). I know that not everyone does great with eggs! I had a long Hot Topic post about it earlier this week . What works for one family will look completely different for another!
Now I would love to hear from you! What are some PROTEIN, FAT, and FIBER-RICH options     that you like to include for breakfast?

If you would like to join the conversation, click here!

Whether or not you are feeding little ones breakfast every day, Kacey's advice above is golden! It's important that as parents, or child-less adults, we nourish our bodies properly at the start of the day too to avoid crashing and burning.

Check out Kacey's website to learn more about her virtual wellness programs and nutrition counseling!

With loving gratitude, 

Rachel

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network


Pacific Marriage and Family Therapy Network

We provide teen, couples, and family therapy, and have therapists who are skilled in working with kids, teens, and adults experiencing difficult transitions, relationships, or emotions.

Pacific MFT Network is a professional network of highly skilled licensed Marriage & Family Therapists and Interns that are committed to empowering a sense of self in our clients and helping them live the life they want. We do so by creating a relationship that is based on genuine care and concern, non-judgment, and support. Our mission is to help you help yourself live a happier and more satisfying life. 

www.pacificmft.com

Manhattan Beach, CA

rachel@pacificmft.com

Strong Body-Strong Mind | Eating Disorder Support Group | Fall Schedule

Sliding fee scale available if needed.

See Fall schedule below.

Please contact Pacific MFT Network directly for information on joining!

www.pacificmft.com

Fall ED Tribe Schedule

Fall Session I

Tuesdays 430-6PM

Sep 6th

Sep 13th

Sep 20th

2 week break

Fall Session II

Tuesdays 430-6 PM

Oct 11th

Oct 18th

Oct 25th

Nov 1st

Nov 8th

Nov 15th

1 week break

Fall Session III / Holiday Session

Tuesday 430-6PM

Nov 29th

Dec 6th

Dec 13th

Dec 20th

SquadTalk & Brunch Girls Group! (Pacific MFT Network)

 New girls brunch group in Manhattan Beach! Details below. #squadgoals

New girls brunch group in Manhattan Beach! Details below. #squadgoals

Come hang with the girls and:

When: Sundays at 10:00am, BEGINNING July 17th, for 6 weeks

Where: Pacific MFT Network, 1230 Rosecrans Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA

How much: $45/session - includes breakfast, coffee, and tea.

Now what: Call or text Pacific MFT Network at (310)-226-2826 for more information*

*Squad Talk and Brunch is a closed anxiety process group for women between the ages of 17 and 24 years old, facilitated by one of our fabulous therapists, Marina Braff, MFT Intern 89340, under the supervision of Tracy Bevington, MFT 53455

Pacific MFT Network is a professional network of highly skilled licensed Marriage & Family Therapists and Marriage & Family Therapist Interns that are committed to empowering a sense of self in our clients and helping them achieve goals. 

email me: rachel@pacificmft.com

Gain Clarity This Summer

 " Live the life you have imagined" - Henry David Thoreau

"Live the life you have imagined" - Henry David Thoreau

School will soon be out, work schedules may be slowing down, and that June-gloom is hopefully burning off by noon...yup, it's about time to grab those flip flops and beach towels!

For those lucky enough to actually experience a "vacation" over summer, increased leisure time & a less hectic schedule provides the perfect opportunity to hit the beach, get off the grid, and do more things that make you happy.  Hooray! 

Summer break is also a chance to reflect and create positive change for yourself.

We're about half-way through 2016...How are your resolutions going for this year? Are you accomplishing steps towards your big-picture goals? And most importantly, are you honoring yourself, your wellness, your family, and your visions?

Whether you are in search of something more, feeling defeated by life or relationships, or simply would like to explore and understand yourself more deeply, we encourage you to reach out & learn more about how one of our skilled therapists can support you here at Pacific MFT Network.

We are here to serve our local South Bay/LA Community, empowering strength in self and encouraging whole-hearted passion and participation in life. 


You have the Power to Live the Life You Want

We are a network of highly skilled licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and Interns who are committed to cultivating a sense of empowerment in our clients, to help increase self-esteem, identity, and actualization of goals and visions for a fulfilling life.

We do so by creating a relationship that is based on genuine care and concern, non-judgment, and support. Our mission is to help you help yourself live a happier and more satisfying life.

Individual Therapy - Adults, Teens, Children

Couples Therapy

Family Therapy

Group Therapy

...click here to learn more about our services and specializations...

Contact:

310-226-2826

www.pacificmft.com

Letting Go: "Perfect" is not a real thing

While I've been taking some time off from sitting down to reflect and write in the past month, I can't stop thinking about this particular article by Lee Neagle, MA & RiverMend Health, and have decided to share some of the wealth of wisdom I've been coming across lately!

One of the major themes I see coming up in my own personal sphere, as well as with many of my clients, is the glorification of being overworked, overwhelmed, over-scheduled, and going above and beyond...all.the.time. We are praised for having packed schedules, working 50 plus hours a week, pulling constant all-nighters to stay at the top of the class, etc. etc.....I notice this especially with adolescents and young adults, but regardless of age or stage of life, that pressure and drive to constantly achieve, do, succeed, or win seems to be hammered into our brains as necessary and honorable - but at what cost? 

My own experience with letting go of obsessing and striving for perfection makes me particularly passionate and close to this topic. It may seem counterintuitive, but thinking you have to do everything perfectly all the time, and trying to be the perfect version of yourself (whatever your version of that is) may actually be destroying you and doing the opposite of moving you forward.

Perfectionism can lead to a variety of serious physical, emotional, and mental hardships, eating disorders being one of them. This article says it all, and I encourage you to read it if you or someone you know fits the description of "perfectionist"..... that life isn't as easy or glamorous as it may seem. 

http://www.rivermendhealth.com/resources/life-for-the-perfectionist-can-be-imperfect/

P.S. - by no means do I undermine the importance of hard work, dedication, goal-setting, and follow-through...the key is finding a healthy balance, which is a whole other important topic in itself...stay tuned for more on that!

False Ideas of Self-Worth

One of my favorite quotes from Brené Brown - Researcher and Storyteller

Where do you find your worth? 

Yesterday, i attended a wonderful *local training event about substance abuse and eating disorder recovery, and one of the many points that caught my attention was the idea that people who struggle with these issues have extremely low self-esteem and a false sense of self-worth (even though they can seem confident, independent, or strong on the outside). 

Specifically with addiction or eating disorders, self-worth is often linked to long-standing cemented beliefs that their value and worthiness are dependent on false ideals and extrinsic factors completely unrelated to their actual identity as a person. Many times, these distortions can be linked all the way back to even the smallest messages received in childhood. 

Whether or not you struggle or have struggled with a mental health disorder such as addiction or an eating disorder, self-worth is a very loaded topic for us all. So this gets me thinking, where do we find our worth? 

I think that this answer will vary person-to-person, but some ideas that come to mind from my experience working in this field, and just from being a person myself, include:

  • how much wealth and $$ you have - this one seems obvious, and can be pretty controversial and sensitive. All I have to say is that yes, money has value - it is what our economy and human livelihood is built on - but the value that has been put on wealth (and the skewed distribution of it) is pretty corrupt and devastating (that's just my opinion). And no, money does not = worthiness. 
  • how many friends you have - or instagram likes, facebook or twitter followers, etc. 
  • from the number on the scale, to the number of calories you eat/don't eat a day, to the number of push-ups you can do or miles you can run, to your latest plastic surgery, this is a big one in our society.
  • what others think of you. let's not pretend that we haven't all dealt with this one at some point in our lives. separating our own opinions, desires, goals, or likes & dis-likes, from those of others - especially people we naturally seek belonging, love, and approval from - can be a very difficult balance. 

Okay, so maybe all of these can be controversial and sensitive - and it really is about balance. Some of the things I mentioned can be healthy to a point, but, more than likely, quickly turn into a slippery slope, demanding unrealistic expectations or ideals about things that may not actually define who you are on the inside, as a human, a friend, a parent, a child, an advocate, an explorer, or a believer. 

So, my hope is that as a community, we will continue to be cognizant of the tempting, yet dysfunctional, ideas of what makes people valuable or worthy of love and belonging. There are far healthier and more productive ways for us to define our worth, and while I can't tell you what those things may be for you, I encourage you to reflect on how you tend to measure you worth, and where your worth really lies. 

"You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging" - Brené Brown

  

* The event I attended was put on by Clear Recovery Center, a comprehensive addiction recovery center in the heart of the South Bay, and A New Journey eating disorder recovery center, located in Santa Monica. 

Making Meaningful Resolutions for a New Year

It's just a few days until we ring in the New Year and start fresh with 2016. I know I'm not the only one with New Years resolutions on the mind...and this year, I want to approach it a little differently.

I am all about embracing new beginnings and setting goals, but it seems to me that these resolutions are oftentimes arbitrary and unrealistic (I speak for my own experiences here too). Every time I see a list of resolutions or hear people talking about it, they seem to be focusing on things like saving x amount of money, losing weight, or cutting some random food group out of their diet. And hey, if these are healthy resolutions that are realistic, purposeful, and important to your personal life context, who am I to discount that?

Whatever your resolutions are, the key is to set yourself up for success, perhaps with baby steps by making your resolutions small and manageable, but still meaningful to you. Don't make unrealistic expectations of yourself that will either discourage you from trying at all, or will cause shame or guilt if you don't reach them.

Remember that sometimes the smallest steps forward are the biggest victories.

Try to think big picture, rather than a "quick fix" to a problem you're having or something you are dissatisfied with in your life. Most importantly, make sure your resolutions align with your values, your wellness, and your long-term goals in life.

What we hope to accomplish and change in the future is relative person to person, but one thing that I believe is very important across the board is not to forget about the year(s) past...

If you are going to take the time and thought to make a new years resolution (or a few), be mindful about it. In the process of making goals and promises to yourself for the year to come, think about the past 12 months and what you have accomplished, learned, and experienced that has molded you to the place you are sitting right now. The past, present, and future are all intricately connected - so whatever your resolutions may be for 2016 - be sure that they honor you, those you love, and the big picture of what is most important to you.


Experiencing Joy When Your Cup is Empty

It is mid-December and we are in the middle of the holidays, also known as the "most wonderful time of the year". A time when we are supposed to be full of joy, surrounded by love, and at peace. But the disheartening truth is that our world is suffering from a lack of such things.

The irony is that right now I should be running a therapy group with 7 middle-schoolers, leading them in an activity intended to encourage reflection around "intangible gift-giving" (such as kindness, hope, gratitude, and trust). Instead, these children are not able to be at school due to threats of violence targeting the LAUSD, resulting in 900 school closures across Los Angeles today. Yes, we have a violence problem, a terrorism problem, a gun problem, but at the root of it all we have a humanity problem.

In these moments I wonder: how do we stay in the holiday spirit (or any kind of positive spirit) when there is such pain, fear, and tragedy happening around and within us?

As I sit at my desk feeling discouraged and saddened, I have to make the conscious choice to see the word "joy" printed on my tea-cup, to smell the "balsam fir" candle burning next to me, and to hear Frank Sinatra's rendition of "I'll be Home for Christmas" playing in the background. Here are a few simple ways to experience joy, even if your "cup of joy" appears to be empty...

1. Get outside. As tempting and cozy as it may be to stay indoors during this "harsh" California winter, getting outside can be the perfect redirection from negative feelings. Whether you take a five minute work break for some fresh air, find a beach to sit on, or go for an hour long walk, getting a taste of nature is a great "pick me up".

2. Snuggle a furry friend. Spend some extra time with your pet. Experiencing unconditional love and affection from a dog (or any animal you share a bond with) is actually an evidence-based way to feel a multitude of renewed uplifting emotions.

3. Tell someone you love them, and tell them why. In my opinion, the first step to feeling joy and combating the negativity in the world, is to open our hearts to others, spread the love, and remind people why they are cherished.

4. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Glad you have hot water to take a warm shower with later? Thankful to have someone who loves you despite how weird you really are behind closed doors? Blessed with money to pay for other things you enjoy and/or need? ... Perspective is the key to happiness.

5. Give back to your community or a charity. Because giving feels good. And the world needs our time and money invested in things that actually matter. Every little bit counts.

6. Exercise. What's that? Physical activity is good for the body AND the mind? Yes! exercise = endorphins = happy.

7. Make use of that mistletoe. Speaking of endorphins...if you're looking to self-medicate, kissing is one dopamine-producing drug I'm actually willing to support.

8. Remind yourself that it's okay to be happy, and that you deserve to be. Make a conscious decision to allow yourself to experience joy, however that may be for you. Mindfully living with intent, purpose, and awareness of the positive things, however small, is part of breaking down the walls that can prevent your heart from feeling happy.

There are many ways to experience joy, but sometimes it can seem impossible to find joy in things that normally bring us pleasure. Personal therapy is a good way to rediscover that ability in yourself. If you are interested in considering therapy, I encourage you to contact me to discuss options for therapeutic services.

How You Treat Your Body Is Affecting Your Mind

...because hangry is a very real thing...

As highlighted in my previous article called Emotional Self-Care, one of my greatest passions as both a person and a clinician is increasing understanding of the link between physical health and mental health (that "power couple" I like to call overall well-being).

A colleague and good friend of mine, Jessica Brennan*, is a Registered Dietitian who focuses her practice not only on the importance of adequate nutrition and exercise, but also on things like quality sleep and stress management to improve overall health and wellness. While this is wonderfully convenient for me personally, I also trust her as a key resource and referral for any of my clients who struggle with nutritional health, maladaptive relationships with food, or who need help figuring out the best diet and exercise routine for their specific needs, goals, and lifestyle (key word: specific).

One of the many reasons I appreciate Jessica's work is that she doesn't believe in any one perfect diet (hallelujah!). At a recent training conference, I heard a statistic that the #1 area of marketing with the most money spent per year in advertising - targeting us every single day in more ways than we know - is dieting. That may seem pretty obvious, but it still blows my mind how obsessed we are as a society with approaching quality of life and values from a highly superficial outward perspective. Majority of the time, these subliminal messages are targeting those of us longing for a quick, easy fix to all of the things we are dissatisfied with about ourselves and our lives (spoiler alert: that doesn't exist).

Lately, Jessica and I have been discussing how similar our viewpoints are on health and wellness, inspiring us to join forces with our differing skill-sets, educations, and specialties to talk about how exactly this is all connected, and why it is so important.

One major point that I try to discuss with all of my clients, regardless of what issue brings them to therapy, is that there is no way to be "running on all cylinders" mentally, intellectually, or emotionally, if your nutrition** and physical health***  are suffering - and vice versa! I find that a lot of people are either unaware of the implications of that fact, are making themselves sick trying to overcome or "prove it wrong", or are simply in denial to avoid making positive and necessary change.

...while that is tough to see - I understand it. I have been there, and I know there are layers upon layers of reasons why people choose unhealthy lifestyles that often inadvertently end up sabotaging their efforts to be successful, attractive, happy, or in control.

But we can't ignore the subjects that are easiest to avoid, and there are mountains of studies and empirical research findings revealing the direct key role that nutrition plays in the onset, severity, and duration of serious mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, psychosis, addiction, and common issues people struggle with on a daily basis like lack of motivation, sadness, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, relationship distress ... i could continue, but you get the picture.

To continue reading about this, and to learn about Jessica's holistic, realistic, and self-compassionate approach to the food we put in our bodies - please click here for part 2 on this topic.

Stay tuned for further research in the field on this, and for updates on my blog about how I am integrating the powerful bond between nutrition and mental health in my practice - with a wide array of human issues and concerns.

* Jessica Brennan, RD, has a private nutrition practice in Redondo Beach, CA. For more information on her services, you can visit her website here.

** Nutritional health does not necessarily mean either over-eating or under-eating, being over-weight or under-weight etc. These overused labels are often arbitrary and vary person by person. Nutritional health is about eating a balanced diet, from which your body is able to get all of the energy and nutrients it needs to function properly. It is important that you consult with a professional if you are concerned about your nutritional health.

*** I use the term physical health here as a general umbrella term, encompassing many factors such as sleep, stress management, nourishment, physical fitness, medical self-care, substance use, neurological functioning, etc.