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, 


© 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.

Manhattan Beach, CA

How to Raise More Mindful Children

So many things to love about the below article!

How can we raise new generations of calmer, happier, more balanced children?

I'll keep it simple and let MindBodyGreen do the talking on this one. 

by Sean Grover August 7, 2015

As a therapist and child development expert for over 20 years, I've learned a lot about the power of mindfulness. 

Sure, children are born with different personalities and temperaments; some are impulsive while others may be more cautious or tentative. But no matter what your child's character, there's plenty of evidence that mindfulness is a powerful tool that can better many aspects of his or her life.

Here are some of the biggest benefits of mindfulness, according to research:

It improves social skills. In a study published in the journal Developmental Psychology, children who were taught mindfulness skills showed a 24% improvement in social behaviors. They were less aggressive and more empathetic and optimistic than peers without the training.

It boosts school performance. The Developmental Psychology report also found that math scores for children with mindfulness training increased 15%. Plus, there were measurable improvements in sustained attention in class. A mindfulness practice empowers children with the ability to self-soothe, quiet their thoughts, and focus on the tasks before them.

It fosters creativity. Stress is the enemy of creativity. Scientists at Harvardshowed through neuro-imaging technology that meditation reduced hormones that produce stress and anxiety. Creativeness and inspiration naturally spring from children who experience less emotional tension. As they develop the ability to quiet their thoughts, they are more capable of engaging in artistic activities such as drawing or playing an instrument.

It reduces impulsivity. Impulsive kids don't look before they leap — and that often gets them into heaps of trouble. Mindfulness helps by putting a reflective pause between impulse and action, and inspires children to make better choices. When a California middle school introduced a mindfulness program to students, suspensions were reduced by 45% during first year, and there was a significant upsurge in attendance and overall grade point averages.

It encourages independent thinking. Mindful children are far less likely to cave to peer pressure. Numerous studies suggest that children introduced to mindfulness experience less social anxiety and symptoms of depression. Such kids have a stronger sense of self, and are less likely to be swayed by schoolyard bullies or seduced into making poor choices.


8 Ways to Raise More Mindful Children

Raising a mindful child does not require moving your family to a monastery. I've seen parents foster it in everyday activities by creating more reflective spaces at home, making room for greater contemplation, and strengthening family communication.

To encourage greater mindfulness with your own kids, consider these eight steps:

1. Take technology blackouts.

Set aside times during the day when no one in your family touches technology. You too, mom and dad! That's right: turn off all cell phones, televisions, computers, etc. Children who are always engaged in technology are more impulsive and rarely have time for self-reflection, which is the bedrock of mindfulness. If your family is technology dependent, create more quiet space for relating and exchanging thoughts and feelings without a glowing screen between you.

2. Offer creative outlets.

Painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, sewing, and similar hobbies require thought and patience to follow through to completion. Children who learn to sit quietly and assert themselves to creative tasks are more grounded and self-motivated to succeed. They learn to work through frustration by keeping their eye on the prize.

3. Encourage journal writing.

Journaling is a great tool for developing greater mindfulness. If your child is resistant to starting a diary, start one together. A sense of calm and empowerment emerges when kids take time to create a narrative for their lives and reflect on their daily experiences. A diary also offers them a chance to consider their choices more fully.

4. Hold family meetings.

Family meetings are a great way to introduce structure to household communication. Set aside a time each week, and make sure everyone has the chance to voice his or her concerns. When family members learn to honor each other's feelings and work through frustrations together, a healthy sense of trust and cohesion emerges.

5. Cultivate a meditative practice.

Studies have shown that kids who engage in a mindfulness practice, such as martial arts, yoga, or meditation, experience a greater sense of well-being. They instinctively start to embrace a spirit of self-improvement, which leads to greater inner strength.

6. Nurture altruistic activities.

True mindfulness lives and breathes in the compassionate bonds of friendship and community. Help your child develop a greater sense of interconnectedness through volunteer work, charity or supporting neighborhood projects. Altruism deepens your child's sense of humanity, gratitude and empathy.

7. Organize your child's day.

Kids crave sameness. Even though they may resist boundaries, they fall apart without structure. Strive to create a household of shared responsibilities and dependable schedules. Flexibility is welcome, but you need a baseline of consistency first. Too much chaos or inconsistency in a child's life never allow for mindfulness to take root.

8. Lead by example.

Mindful parent, mindful child. In other words, mindfulness rarely appears organically in children — parents must foster it. What's the best way to introduce mindfulness into your kid's life? Practice what you preach. Develop a mindfulness practice for yourself and demonstrate its power in your own behavior.

Article source: MindBodyGreen

© 2016 Rachel Cord

8 Simple Ways to Manage Stress & Anxiety in the Moment

It's inevitable that feelings of stress and anxiety come in moments that we can't predict or control. Whether you are scrambling to meet a deadline at work and it's only 8:30 AM on Monday, or you're in a personal crisis ... or an all-consuming anxious feeling of dread comes over you "randomly" ... it's difficult to deal with these emotions when they surprise us at very inconvenient times.

The fact is that no feeling is final, and you are physically and mentally equipped to handle it with finesse. 

Okay, great...but HOW?   

Life is busy. Responsibilities and challenges mount naturally as we get older. 

Even if you have good self-care outlets in place, you won't always have the luxury of dropping everything and heading to yoga or therapy when stress hits.

It's easier to respond mindfully in the present, than to recover from self-destructive reactions later.

So here are 8 easy ways to manage, cope, and decrease feelings of stress and anxiety in the moment.

1. Breathe. It's really simple. Don't forget to breathe! Breathe calmly with intentionality behind it. There is hard science behind this...breathing=oxygen to your brain=brings you out of fight or flight mode--back to your prefrontal cortex=rational, logical consciousness. Even taking 3 long deep breaths can make a huge difference. Click here for a useful guide to calm breathing.

2. Name it. Naming and acknowledging emotional experiences reduces the sting from raw feelings of stress and panic on the body. And now that you're breathing and back to true consciousness, you can think clearly. When you're stuck in emotion and your brain is lacking oxygen, your perception about what is really going on is cloudy.  This is paramount, because oftentimes in stressful, unexpected situations, we need to be able to respond accordingly, make positive decisions, and think with rationale (bonus: this applies to communication and conflict resolution too).

3. Talk to yourselfIf you find yourself naturally catastrophizing and sinking into negative thinking ["this is so bad", "I can't handle this", "I suck", "I'm gonna lose it", etc.], it's important to teach your brain how to reframe the negative thinking into positive self-talk. Talk yourself through the situation like you would a good friend. 

4. Endorphins! - Endorphins are neurotransmitters that act as natural analgesics and calming defenses to both stress and pain responses in the bodyPhysical activity is the most effective way to release endorphins. That doesn't mean you have to hit the gym or go run 5 miles...even a short walk or squeezing a stress ball can be helpful. 

5. Phone a friend. Or text, snapchat, ping.... choose an appropriate person from your support system. Sometimes just the security that someone else knows you're having a rough day and has your back is a great comfort and reminder that you're not alone. 

6. Get outside.  When possible, it's important to step away from a stressful situation, even for a couple of minutes. Going outside takes positive redirection a step further. Feel your feet on the ground, gain a broader perspective, breathe in the fresh air and allow yourself the time and space to re-group.

7. Take a shower. If you're home or somewhere else you can jump in the shower...this can work wonders. Water is a natural calming agent. Add in some essential oils, deep breathing, and positive've got a refreshing recipe for recovery and re-set.

8. Last but not least - make the time to schedule a thorough self-care activity.

When you do find yourself in one of those inconvenient, unsuspecting, all-consuming moments of stress, anxiety, or panic, and you don't have the time or luxury to drop everything and go to -- schedule it instead. as soon as you can. Most of the things listed above are quick and simple for in the moment...but "your happy place"  taking care of yourself and allowing your mind and body to recover in the long term is imperative for ongoing mental and physical health.

© 2016 Rachel Cord

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.

Manhattan Beach, CA

South Bay Heart and Soul: Beauty Beyond Boundaries

South Bay Womens Body Acceptance and Soul-Survival Movement

This is a group for women of all ages (18+) in the LA Area, who wish to take their self-esteem beyond the body-image.

I am gathering a group of women together to share, support, and love one another through a journey of learning to love and honor thyself...and being OK with that.

The South Bay / LA area is full of resources for us to improve our images and to “feel better” about ourselves — juice bars, over-priced boutiques, salons and spas, cycling studios, gyms….yes, these things can be incredible self-care tools for a fulfilled and healthy lifestyle…but health = balance. 

I 100% support fitness and wellness of all kinds, but I believe there is a need for increased focus on exercising our hearts and minds too, from the inside out.

We were designed to be something other than beautiful, fit, thin, wealthy, successful…& all those other “shoulds” you may tell yourself. And we are more than just what we do. 

Let’s discover what that is together.

Come experience open, loving, and nonjudgmental conversation about things like: media, cultural and societal pressures, parenting, being positive role models for young girls, community change, marriage, relationships, friendships, raising healthy kids, fitness, holistic health, wellness resources…etc.

Please contact me for details, questions, comments. I would love to hear from you and work with you on this amazing journey of self-loving and soul-survival!

Rachel Cord, MFTI 89397, under supervision of Tracy Bevington, LMFT 53455

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

We provide teen, couples, and family therapy, and have therapists who are skilled in working 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.

Manhattan Beach and West LA, CA

(310) 226 - 2826

How to Help Prepare your Teen for College

It's officially August, and as summer starts to wind down, many new high school grads are beginning to feel the excitement/nervousness/anticipation of heading off to college in the next month or so. They can taste the sweet, sweet freedom and adventure they should!

This can be an incredible phase of life full of new experiences, identity building, new friends, new romances, new passions, great education, and a whole new perspective on life.

College is wonderful...but it is also an extremely difficult adjustment, not only for the kids, but for parents.

Many college students experience some form of depression, anxiety, or loneliness at some point during this whirlwind adjustment.

And it is certainly no surprise that there is a slew of other mental and physical health risk factors they will be exposed to... (ahem....drugs and alcohol!). It's tough for some parents to think about that reality, but sugar coating it won't do anyone any good.

The point here is definitely not to scare anyone or deter or inhibit you from sending your teen to college. In fact, it is an incredibly healthy and developmentally appropriate decision and step in their life, and in yours. We do, however, want to encourage you to talk to your kids about all of this. 

Do you have specific concerns or worries about a path they may go down? Are you aware that they tend to isolate and withdraw in new situations? Do you have ideas of how they can gain support and stay on track on campus? Talk to them about it!

At the end of this page, I have included a link to a very useful article from Clear Recovery Center in Hermosa Beach, regarding preparing your kids for the social aspects of college.

Remember, this is a completely new experience for them too, and while their new sense of independence and self-determination should be encouraged, you are still, and will always be, their's imperative to still offer support and help them prepare for success.

If you need help having this conversation with your teen, are concerned about already existing issues with your teen, or find that you need help adjusting to sending them off to college, please contact me!

The clinicians at Pacific MFT, including myself, provide teen, couples, and family therapy, and are skilled in working with adolescents, young adults, and parents experiencing difficult transitions.

Manhattan Beach and West LA, CA

(805) 231 - 7361

HOWARD BARKER | JULY 20, 2016 | Clear Recovery Center

click to here view original post with full detailed content


From the time a baby enters the world, parents have high hopes for their child. Parents often begin planning for college long before applications are submitted. Once a teen has accepted admission to the college of their choice, parents are faced with the harsh reality that their child is leaving the nest. If your child has been accepted into a 4-year university, it is safe to assume that they have been adequately prepared academically. What about socially? How can parents prepare their child for the social aspects of college? Here is a list of 5 things you need to do this summer to prepare your teen for college.







Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world - Nelson Mandela

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

Dealing with World Crises in the Age of Social Media

Pacific MFT | LA Parent

Pacific MFT | LA Parent

In an age where it is impossible to avoid world news, it can be difficult to protect ourselves from mass media coverage of the violence and tragedy rampant in our world. While there are many pros to social media and globalization, it can be a slippery slope if we don't set healthy boundaries for ourselves, our families, and our children. 

We found a great article on LA Parent, specifically speaking to the trickiness of balancing exposure and education, versus constant bombardment of negativity, hate, and loss...oftentimes instilling to anger and fear.

LA Parent offers some great advice as to how to handle this with children. This is particularly important as kids are highly impressionable - they internalize everything they see and hear in the media, as well as messages they receive from their caregivers (even subliminal or indirect ones). Kids are fragile in many ways, but they are incredibly resilient - so we mustn't allow their hopeful, innocent hearts and minds to become jaded, judgmental, and tarnished. 

Even within the tragic state of our world, a child's most significant world is their home -- it is important that their immediate context is their safe place, the place where they are encouraged to explore, learn, and develop, but also where they are loved, supported, reassured, and secure.

Click here or see below to read full article from LA Parent... 

Dealing With Tragic News

Published June 20, 2016

By Christina Elston

"Whether it’s happening in Nice, Dallas, Louisiana, Orlando, Brussels or Paris, it can sometimes feel like tragedy is also taking place right in the palm of your hand – or your child’s – via social media and smartphones.

“It’s just a constant bombardment of input. I was shocked to hear that kids are getting news information from Instagram,” says Caroline Knorr, parenting editor of Common Sense Media, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of technology.

Even if you don’t allow your child to use social media, you can’t be sure he or she won’t see things on a friend’s account. That means policing your child’s sources of information shouldn’t be your top priority. “The most important thing is to help kids learn how to view media critically,” Knorr says. Teach your older child:

  • which news sources (i.e. public radio, newspapers) are more reliable,

  • what sensationalism is, and

  • that there are other perspectives out there besides the one that shows up in their social media feed.

When you hear about tragic news, start by asking what your child has seen or heard about it before diving in with your perspective. Knorr hadn’t wanted to tell her teenage son about the Orlando shootings in June, but he heard about them before she did.

Whatever your child’s age, react calmly. “They need to be reassured that they are safe and stable,” says Knorr. Point out that even though we are flooded with information about these events, they are isolated incidents. Minimize your younger child’s exposure to information about these events if you can.

Teens and tweens, meanwhile, might benefit from the chance to express feelings with their peers on social media. They can see other kids’ reactions, and respond. “That’s super powerful for kids,” Knorr says.

You can also offer your child a chance to get involved. “It’s super important for kids, especially now, to feel like they can do something,” says Knorr. That might mean showing support for a related charity or participating in a peaceful demonstration.

Responding positively will help your child feel more empowered and less afraid. Learn more about kids and media at"

Adult, child, and family therapy in Manhattan Beach and West LA. Please visit

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

How Self-Love Can Save Your Marriage

via Huffington Post | Pacific MFT

via Huffington Post | Pacific MFT

{How Self Love Saved My Marriage - Melody Godfred, Huffington Post}

We resonate so much with the real-ness of this personal story of self-recovery from Melody Godfred, co-creator of the Self Love Pinky Ring.

From both a clinical and personal perspective, her story is so relate-able and so important. 

As wives, husbands, partners, parents, friends -- as people with the fundamental need for healthy attachments -- we must start understanding the value of {balanced} self-love and self-care as part of our relational health. We just can't stress this enough. 


"Self-love for so long was associated solely with narcissism. You would think self loves makes it harder for you to love others. But it doesn’t. Exactly the opposite.When you are full, you have a well to pull from in service to others" (Godfred, 2016). 

Life usually doesn't get easier as it continues ... certain things may ... but it's nature that our responsibilities grow continuously - especially when marriage, family, and raising kids kicks in on top of managing life in general.

Unfortunately, it's all too easy to get lost in the madness and lose yourself.

"As I grew older and responsibilities mounted, two things started to happen: I became a perfectionist (which means I was not only hard on myself, I was extremely hard on everyone else), and I became a self-sacrificer. Now neither of these things was a stretch: I am the latest in a long line of superwomen who are adept at martyring themselves in service to others" (Godfred, 2016). 

...and as you may have experienced already, perfect parenting certainly doesn't exist, perfect marriages are just not a thing, and self-sacrificing really only hurts yourself and everyone around you. 

So, I encourage you to take a coffee break from your busy day, check out the full article, and really think about what comes up...

...are you on your life train?? Or did you forget yourself at the station?

Please click here to view full article on Huffington Post, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on FacebookInstagram, Linkedin, or via email!

If you'd like to talk to someone about how you can "re-find your you" and redefine your life and your relationships, please contact us! We offer therapeutic services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups...helping people work through their pastlive in the present, and look toward a hopeful future. 

South Bay, Los Angeles - Manhattan Beach

West Los Angeles

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

Oh yes, the past can hurt, but there is purpose in the pain...don't run from it

As humans (yep, that includes you), we all experience pain ... trauma history, abuse, loss, rejection, mental illness, tragedy, broken hearts...the list is infinite. No matter what makes up our past, there is pain there. And oftentimes, we are told to "never look back", to "keep what's passed, past", and to "be strong and move on" ....

- why? -

because it's uncomfortable. it hurts. and we often adapt to that by avoiding, running,and suppressing the painful yesterdays.  

It's natural to do so, and maybe you were taught or modeled that as a child. But the truth is, we can never really, successfully, run and hide from our past...because our past is part of our story, not the end of our story, but the painful parts are a big chunk of it....and where the most growth is! 


Yup, your past...even the most painful chapters that you've "forgotten" about, are parts of you -- and while the past does not have to define you, it has helped to shape and form your path to right now.


I believe in the importance of owning and honoring every single part of yourself ... even the parts you hate...mistakes you've made, wrong-doings done to you, shame, regret, anger... 
Disowning those parts of yourself impede on the ability to truly move forward, and to ultimately feel and be whole. 


By running away, you give more power to the past that hurts you, and take power away from your ability to grow.  


I would love to hear your thoughts and experience with this ... please go to our Facebook page, Instagram or Linkedin profile and drop me a note!


If you'd like to talk to someone about how you can face, process, and set free from a painful history, please contact us! We offer therapeutic services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups...helping people work through their pastlive in the present, and look toward a hopeful future. 

 © 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

Recovery means trusting that stifled, yet healthy, part of you that knows you are actually not OK

cross post - Pacific MFT Network

cross post - Pacific MFT Network

In the pre-stages and early stages of eating disorder recovery, your world can feel like it's turning upside down. Like everyone around you who "cares" about you and your "health" is just trying to take away the one thing you can always count on...the one thing you are successful at...or that no one else can really control, but you can. 

It's infuriating... terrifying...and you won't want to let go.

You'll want to fight, you'll want to deny, justify, and hide, even more than you already have been.

But there will be a seemingly silent part of you, a part of you that has likely been significantly stifled by your eating disorder running rampant in your mind and body...this small part of you will know that you need help, and that no, you are actually not OK, really. 

We came across this beautifully personal piece from The Mighty, giving advice to those in early recovery, and were compelled to share it. Click on the following link to see full post, titled

"What I Wish I Could Tell Someone in the Early Stages of Eating Disorder Recovery"

If any of it strikes a chord for you, we encourage you to seek support. 

If you're in L.A., we offer outpatient services for those struggling with eating disorders and other mental and emotional illnesses. Please visit our website for more info on our Eating Disorder Recovery Group, and resources for individuals and families.

Click here or scroll to the bottom of this article for details on my ED Group in Manhattan Beach.

If you or someone who know may be struggling with an eating disorder, please consult your physician, or visit the following websites for help finding resources: