I want to tell you about a man who never knew how amazing a parent he truly was – my father

My father was the first father in Oakville to be awarded sole custody of his children….I was four years old and my brother was only one. My dad made every weekend an absolute delight. We hiked, biked, canoed, camped, and skiied regularly. We spent hours and hours at the library, Ontario Place, Harbourfront, Bronte Park, Algonquin, Grandview ..and so many other incredible places. We travelled all over Canada. He took us to meet Eskimos in the Yukon, went panning for gold and it was there that I caught my first fish with a smaller fish inside…

He made us tiny pancakes, cut all sorts of incredible shapes out of apples, made us ice cream cones with delicious candies embedded inside. We watched “Emergency”, the “Beachcombers” and Disney movies every Sunday night. He took us to the variety store where he taught us how to spend money wisely; he also taught us how to save. He converted an old tv into a puppet theatre. He watched every show my brother and I put on for him. He converted boxes into robots. We made forts with him in the snow and the leaves, as well as in our blankets and chairs inside. When it was a special occasion, he cut footprints out of paper and we had to follow them around the house to find our presents. He bought us big helium balloons and special, meaningful gifts. He went to a lot of work every April Fools’ Day. And Christmas was so abundant. When I only received one toy but a lot of clothes one Christmas, I cried. My Dad comforted me and explained that I was growing up and I didn’t need that many toys anymore. When we got home from visits with our mom, we found newspaper clippings on our desks that he thought would interest us, small items he thought we would like, and notes he had written us.

When my father put my brother and myself to bed, he told us wonderful stories that he made up all by himself. We spent hours each night in an even more beautiful world than this one. I used to have many nightmares. One night, my dad picked me up from my bed in my nighty and took me to the end of the driveway and set a fire there for me. We roasted marshmallows together.
My dad called me “Twinkle Toes” because of my zest for life. He told me I was brave. He told me I was important. He told me I could do anything and I knew he believed it. He told me when I made smart decisions. He helped me sort the lies out from the truth; I could always count on him to always be honest with me. He taught me values. He modelled integrity and hard work. He helped me with my school work, explaining the tricky concepts to me. My brother and I respected him so much that we never misbehaved. And we both knew how much love our father had for us; his eyes said it all.

When I reached the age of ten, my dad remarried. Our whole world turned upside down. My father put my stepmom in charge of raising us. We hardly saw him after that. He climbed to great positions in the corporate world. Years later, I came to realize that my Dad never knew his importance in our lives. He never knew what an incredible father he had been to us. My mother, nanny and then stepmom caused such pain for us that subconsciously he felt he had failed us.

My dad no longer speaks to me. He lives across the country from me. I never was able to convince him of what an amazing father he was. He has other children with my stepmom and they are a big part of his life now that he is retired: I am happy he is not alone. But I believe he hurts every day because he feels he failed my brother and me. I will always love my dad and be grateful for those first 10 years of my life with him. I hope that whatever my dad is doing today, he has a good Father’s Day.

A Letter to My Daughters This Mother’s Day

When I met the father of my girls, I told him that having children would be the most important thing I ever did with my life. This baffled him because I was such a corporate girl, at the time. Shortly after we were married, I even went so far as to tell him that I thought we should apply for adoption, in case we were never able to have children. That’s how important having children was to me.

Giving birth and raising my girls has been the greatest pleasure of my life. And having my girls led me to my calling. Because of what they taught me, I get to be a “mother” to many individuals, through my company “The Resourceful Mother”.

I am dedicating this blog post to my girls, Taylor and Paige. Oh boy, the tears have already started welling up in my eyes…

Dearest Taylor and Paige,

Your bodies taught me the value of eating healthily and we can see the results of doing so in all aspects of our lives. Your emotions have shown me the value of truly feeling, then encouraged me to learn how to process those emotions properly and, in turn, allowed us to always find the perspective we needed to heal from any situation. Your minds have challenged me to find greater wisdom, guiding us to learning unique information about this world. Your spirits caused me to probe deeper into what lies beyond that which we are able to see and, as a result, we know that we are never alone on this planet and that there are a multitude of beings that help us each and every day. Your hearts, open wide right from the start, pried mine wide open, which then allowed us to keep our hearts wide open, as we navigated the trials of being human.

I was not truly living until the two of you entered my life. I owe my energetic body, my deep joy, my unique wisdom, my deep connection to spirit and my great love and respect for myself and others to the two of you. And I now know that this is an opportunity that EVERY parent has when they give birth and raise a child.

We have spent almost 18 years learning from one another. This fall, you head off to university, Taylor. I don’t feel any pulls at my heart strings because I know I have done my job and you have done yours; I have full confidence that you have everything you need to venture forth in this world. And Paige, you will enter grade 11, and through your co-op, you will decide the direction you will take in venturing forth in this world. I have full confidence that you will make the right decision for you. Whether or not either one of you makes the large contribution to this world that you plan to make, our souls have evolved in the direction they were meant to go in.

I am infinitely grateful for the two of you. I thank you for the depth of our connection and for the profound joy and never-ending love that we experience. I thank you for giving me the family I always wanted so badly. Thank you for allowing me to celebrate the gift of YOU each Mother’s Day and every day of my life.

All my love and appreciation,

Mama

Minimizing and Eliminating Allergies Part 3 of 3

The Resourceful Mother's Secrets to Healthy Kids

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In this blog series on Food Allergies, you learned to discern the difference between food sensitivities and allergies as well as some of the symptoms or conditions caused by adverse reactions to foods (part 1), and how to detect the culprit foods and which foods present the most common challenges in babies (part 2).  In this last post of the series, you will learn what to do to minimize and eliminate food sensitivities and allergies. All of this information is covered in more detail in my first book “The Resourceful Mother’s Secrets to Healthy Kids.

All adverse reactions to foods cause inflammation in the body. Food sensitivities and allergies cause the gut lining to be inflamed, which subsequently makes it hard for vitamins and minerals to be properly absorbed. Inflammation is behind all illness. I want to briefly discuss the link between inflammation and illness, by using gluten as an example. A recently written book, “Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter, MD does an excellent job of explaining that gluten is behind almost every inflammatory condition, especially those involving the brain. “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis discusses how gluten causes obesity, one of the conditions caused by inflammation. Many well-known authors have shown the link between gluten and arthritis, M.S., Lupus and other diseases! Continue reading

Our Children Are Our Mirrors

The Resourceful MotherNot only do children often look like their parents, they often end up being like their parents.  We can literally view our children as hand mirrors that reflect not only the messages and cues they receive from us but also, our thoughts and actions.

If we are still wounded (incomplete or hurt) from our childhood, we will wound our child, usually without being conscious of it.  If we were not accepted by our parents for who we are, we, in turn, might not accept or value our child for who they are.  If we are worried about being separated from our child, bedtime might be a nightly battleground for us or our child might be worried about starting school and leaving us.  If we are frequently angry, we might teach our child to be angry.  If we have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for our child and allow our mind to work overtime, our child might be busy, restless or unable to fall asleep quickly or sleep soundly.  Unfortunately, whatever we have not dealt with from our past, we pass onto our children.

Whatever character trait we don’t like in our child usually mirrors something we don’t like in ourselves.   Each time a mother sees her daughter lazing about the house, she finds herself getting really angry.  Telling her daughter that she is lazy is not going to incite a work ethic in her; in fact it will accomplish the exact opposite and the daughter will only resent her mother for not seeing the beauty inside her.  When the mother delves into her deeper feelings about this, she realizes that she has a tendency to be lazy and has set this example for her daughter.  The mother has a choice as to whether she accepts her laziness and thereby accepts that aspect of herself or whether she takes steps to change that aspect of herself so that her daughter doesn’t adopt this trait for life.  There are positive aspects of each seemingly negative trait.  The mother may come to the realization that her laziness is a good thing because relaxing in our society is under-rated!  As long as we are accomplishing things at other times of the day, being lazy for a few hours a day can be just what the body and mind require.  When we become less critical of ourselves, we become more supportive of our children.  But if this mother feels that her laziness is too much for her liking, she may decide to start living her life in a way in which she could never be described as lazy and will get one step closer to becoming the energetic, goal-achieving person she wants to become.

One of the biggest tasks in parenting is seeing things from a perspective that does not necessarily come easily to us.  If we can look at each challenge with our child as an opportunity to understand ourselves more than ever before and as potential for further growth, this helps us ease up on our children and prevents us from seeing things as “wrong.”  In fact, this is how we convert our “problem child” into our teacher!

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Until next time,

Meredith

How to Help Your Child Become Interested in Exercise

importance of kids exercisingIt was warm out, the sun was low in the sky and the world couldn’t have looked any more beautiful.  I was riding my bike, listening to music and feeling like a million bucks.  It occurred to me that there are too many children missing out on this euphoria.  We all know how important exercise is for our physical and emotional wellbeing but I know that some parents are out there, wondering how to get their children interested in it.

Before my eldest daughter joined a gym that she absolutely loves and visits regularly (she started when she was 12 years old, which is the minimum age at most gyms), and before my youngest got into baseball and competitive dance, neither of my girls were very interested in regular exercise.   I had thought that their school gym program got their heart rates up regularly but was saddened to learn that that was not the case.

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A Case Study Showing the Benefits of a Gluten-free Diet

A lot of us don’t understand why some people are moving to gluten-free diets.  Here is a real life case study to show you the positive benefits of a gluten-free diet for a teenage girl.

Ashley is a 16 year old girl who used to consider herself overweight, unattractive, and an outcast in her peer group at school.  She moved to a new high school in grade 9 and found it difficult to make new friends.  She had always struggled in school and found it even more difficult after the move, as the curriculum was different.  Her complexion broke out, and she found herself hibernating at home most of the time when she wasn’t at school.  Although she was a good athlete when she was younger, her extra few pounds made her fearful of participating in any of the teams or activities at her new school.

With the support of her parents, Ashley realizes that her diet is contributing to her health, weight and emotional issues.  She has decided to remove all the gluten-containing bread, buns, and cookies she was eating from her diet to see if it will help.  Within a few short days, Ashley has begun to feel better.  Her mood is improving, she has lost a few pounds, and her complexion is now improving.  She is elated and committed to remaining on this diet.

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Delicious, Easy and Healthy Recipes for Kids Created by Nutritionists

bigstock-mother-and-teen-daughter-makin-30302912I decided that it was time to provide you with some DELICIOUS, EASY and HEALTHY recipes created by Nutritionists for your children!  The first two recipes came from my book The Resourceful Mother’s Secrets to Healthy Kids and the last one came from my wonderful friend, a fellow nutritionist, Nancy Morency.  For more information on Nancy and for more of her recipes, please click here.

Banana Mama Muffins

3 Bananas (approx 1 cup) mashed
3/4 cup  Sucanat
1  Egg
1/3 cup  Olive oil
1-1/2 cups Spelt flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Sea salt
1/2 cup Chocolate chips

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8 Steps to Manifesting Your Health Goals

bigstock-Golden-shaded-British-shorthai-37404811a copyA New Year is upon us once again.  It is at this time that we are naturally drawn to reflect on our lives.  I hope that the majority of us are reflecting on the aspects of our lives for which we are grateful.  But I am also aware that many of us want improvements in our lives. Many of us are lacking in energy, brain power, good feelings, love for our bodies and/or overall wellness.  So, where do we begin? Here are 8 steps to manifesting our health goals.

1. Your starting point is to remember that you have a beautiful spirit within yourself, regardless of the circumstances of your life.  Whatever it is that you dream of in your heart of hearts, you can achieve.  Do you trust yourself and your abilities? If so, you can begin by writing down the improvements you want to see in your life.

2. Ensure you list your easy-to-achieve, as well as your harder-to-achieve goals.

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Juicing – Maximum Nourishment For You and Your Child

Many of us know that we are to eat approximately 8 servings (the size of our palm, without the fingers) of fruits and vegetables a day but finding the time to consume this amount can sometimes seem like an impossible feat!  Many of us are aware of the possibility of making smoothies, which keeps the fibre in our diet.  But how many of us are aware of the possibility and power of juicing?  Juicing, a process that removes the fibre, allows all nutrients and enzymes to be quickly digested and absorbed by the body – the juice becomes jet fuel for the bloodstream!  Drinking live juice also helps the body quickly rid itself of toxins.

Certain fruits, vegetables and spices can be combined to assist in the healing of certain ailments.  Juicing carrots, celery, garlic and parsley can treat the flu and other infections.  Parsley is a good source of zinc, which promotes healing and boosts the immune system.  Garlic is a natural antibiotic (no need to juice more than one clove per glass of juice).  Carrots and celery are high in potassium and sodium, which are nutrients that can be lost if one has a fever or diarrhea. Carrots also provide energy and help sweeten concoctions.

Any fruits and vegetables can be used for juicing.  Because apples contain malic acid, a compound that assists in generating energy at the cellular level, they are often used in juicing.  Other herbs that are often used in juicing include dandelion greens (an excellent liver detoxifier), fennel (great to use at the onset of any illness due to its anti-inflammatory properties), ginger root (wonderful for digestion and reducing inflammation) and mint (helps with digestion and stomach upset).   It is best to use fresh herbs in the juicing process.  Ensure to check the herb for safety if you are pregnant or have a heart disorder!

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New Canadian Guidelines for Introducing Solids to Babies

bigstock-Baby-Boy-3549230There was an article in The Toronto Star last week (on September 25, 2012) stating that the new Canadian guidelines suggest that parents should be introducing meat, fish, poultry or meat alternatives to babies for their first solid food.  Health Canada said that these foods should be offered to babies two or three times a day to increase their iron stores.  Previously, meat was one of the last foods recommended for introduction to babies.

Another new recommendation is that whole eggs, a common allergen, can be offered to a 6 month old if there is no family history of allergies.  Previously, eggs were not recommended until a baby turned one year old.  Carol Harrison, a registered dietician, was quoted as saying “There is no evidence that withholding whole eggs prevents allergies later on.”

Other iron-rich foods recommended for babies as first foods include tofu, legumes and iron-fortified infant cereals.

As a pediatric nutritionist, I am deeply concerned by these new guidelines.  No babies are born with mature digestive systems.  And the digestive systems of today’s babies are at even more risk than the digestive systems of babies born in previous generations, due to the toxicity of the world we live in today.  And more babies than ever are being born by caesarian, which means these babies are already born with less good bacteria in their digestive tract than babies who go through the vaginal canal and collect good bacteria there. Because a baby’s digestive system is rapidly developing in their first year, the last thing a parent would want to do is to introduce hard-to-digest foods to a baby. All of the new recommended first foods for baby i.e. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes and cereal are hard to digest compared to other foods.

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