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4 Ways to Improve Digestion and Improve Gut Health
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As a Holistic Lifestyle Expert and Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I don’t think you can ever do enough to ensure that your digestive system is in fabulous health.

The vitality of our digestion system plays a significant role in your immune system as well. More than 70% of your immune system lives within your gut micro-biome and it has an internal ebb and flow that is essential to both protecting your body and to work synergistically with your breath, your food intake, good bacteria, and movement to reduce and kill off any bad bacteria, parasites, and junk that comes into your body through your food, water, and environment. When there are too many bad bacteria through antibiotics, medications, corticosteroid creams, processed foods, too many animal products, dairy and sugar, the bad bacteria spreads, multiplies, and creates big problems.

We don’t realize that our digestive system is quite literally the foundation of our entire health and wellness; working alongside our nervous system and every major organ system within our body to provide us with the wellness and vitality we’re all after.

Here are just a few of the digestive issues you could be dealing with:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Reflux and acidity
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings, anxiety and/or depression
  • Inability to focus or stay engaged.
  • Insomnia
  • Bed wetting
  • Eczema, psoriasis, hives and acne

So what can be done?

  1. Avoid the irritants SAD GAS: Soy, artificial sweeteners, dairy, gluten, alcohol and sugar. These six foods right here are the game-changers for my private clients. Unbelievable freedom will happen in your body when you begin to clear out the biggest culprits behind bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, acne, mental fog, anxiety and insomnia. TRUTH. Trust me and trust the process. When you are eliminating these foods you cannot even have a morsel of them during our guided period of time. Even the littlest bite can throw your system off and re-activate inflammation and trigger an autoimmune response. I have worked with so many families and individuals and have had the most incredible digestive turnouts you could ever imagine.
  2. Ensure proper hydration. Without enough water in your body daily, it will be virtually impossible for you to have regular bowel movements, detoxify your system, absorb nutrients optimally, or to feel energized. For Children aim for 1-1.5 litres daily and for adults at least two to three litres of pure, good quality water daily. Water-rich fruits and veggies plus organic herbal teas, coconut water and healthy non-dairy based low-sugar smoothies will also help you achieve your hydration goals.
  3. Eat the rainbow. (that grows from nature not a factory). Begin introducing more fresh vegetables to your family and small amounts of fruit. Try smoothies, baking and pureeing with them as well as getting your children involved in the meal shopping, prepping and cooking process. Also try buying organic and non-GMOwhen you can, the EWG has a great resource to help you know what to select to work within your budget and what is available locally too It is incredible to watch the energy, mood and digestion plus the sleep of a child change when we remove the major gut and body irritants and begin to supply their system with more whole foods. Problems that we thought could never be helped begin to resolve themselves once the body has the right tools and resources to draw from. Each day in practice I watch children overcome and heal from; constipation, eczema, anxiety, depression, inability to focus, chronic ear infections and colds, poor sleep and so much more simply by giving their body nutrients.
  4. Include a daily probiotic supplement. Probiotics are hugely important in your digestive health. These good bacteria enhance the breakdown and absorption of vitamins and proteins, and help to reduce the bad bacteria and viruses that live in our gut. Choose a product that is refrigerated and has at least 20 billion cultures per capsule.

Your digestive system is a gift…treat it well.

Jenn Pike is a mom of two, nutritionist, master personal trainer and author. For more quick and healthy tips and to learn more about Jenn, her best-selling book The Simplicity Project and more, visit 'The Simplicity Project' and follow her on Instagram @jennpike and Facebook under The Simplicity Project.
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5 Ways to Make the Most out of Book Time with Our Kids
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Wandering through the children’s section of a library or book store is like wandering blissfully down memory lane. Books take us back to times with a favourite teacher, a comfy couch with mom and dad, or the bedroom floor—lying on one’s tummy, rereading an old favourite. Life was simple. Books made everything better.

These days, there are so many other ways that kids might spend their time. Yet literacy remains critical to the development of many skills. In addition, book time creates an incredible opportunity for connection with our kids, developing strong relationships, memories, and inspiration for future discussions. Reading is the gift that keeps on giving.

On the other hand, almost every parent has felt their eyes rolling back in their head at the thought of reading that same book one more time! So, how do we get the most out of book time with our kids?

1. Let them ‘read the book’
With young children, choose books with pictures that tell a story and words that rhyme. Your kids can help you ‘read’ the book. Have them finish the sentence using the sounds of the rhyming words and the pictures as clues. They could even tell you a version of the story by going through the pictures. Although they aren’t actually reading the book, when kids have memorized parts of a book and can pretend to read it to you, they see themselves as readers and that encourages future reading.

2. Keep books with you in the car
It’s so easy to let your electronic device entertain the kids while waiting at the doctor’s office. However, if reading is important to your family, get really clear on how much screen time is right for your kids and then use available time for reading, puzzles and other games that allow hands-on problem-solving and creativity development. Reading a book builds a child’s imagination.

3. Visit the library
Feeling trapped in the house? Getting out to the library is a great escape. Kids can look through shelves and shelves of books and discover their own treasures. In addition, story times mean that you don’t have to do all the reading and that your child learns to sit and listen while in a group.

4. Do home-reading during the day and read to them at night
It’s best to do school reading homework during the day. Waiting until a child is sleepy can be really tricky for kids who aren’t confident readers. At bedtime, read books that are slightly beyond your child’s reading level. This exposes little ears to new vocabulary and engages their imagination. It leaves them dreaming of a wonderful story when they close their eyes to sleep.

5. Use the book to start your own story
If you have read the story one time too many, ask your kids a question about the characters or their actions: ‘Have you ever felt that way before?’ ‘What would you do if you saw a giant beanstalk growing up to the sky?’ These are great ways to connect with conversation and build a foundation for your growing relationship.

Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell provide tools for real life parenting through their company, Parenting Power™. Using over 40 years of combined experience, they work with parents across the country through telephone coaching, podcasts, and video courses to ease the stress and guilt of parents while providing practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges. Visit www.parentingpower.ca to ask your own parenting questions.
Comments | Tagged under books, reading
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