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10 months ago
Jill's Blog

5 Tips for Better Mental Health
Hop into spring with these 5 tips to positively impact your eating habits and boost mental health for both yourself and your kids.

1:
Minimize sugar intake -

Studies have linked excess glucose consumption to depression and anxiety, as well as memory and cognitive deficiencies. This article from Psychology Today offers more detailed information - 4 Ways Sugar Could be Harming Your Mental Health.

Sugar can be addictive, so if you find it difficult to kick the habit, you’re not alone. One tip is to satisfy your hunger by first filling up on healthy fats and/or proteins. A handful of nuts, apple slices with peanut butter, or a snack plate of cheddar cheese, olives, and avocado slices are good options. Still craving sweets? Try a cup of unsweetened full-fat yogurt with a sprinkle of granola or berries.

2:
Enjoy fatty fish -
Seafood like wild-caught salmon, cod, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are high in brain-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

While there are many proven benefits of consuming foods rich in Omega-3s, recent attention is being given to the effects this nutrient may have for those suffering from depression and other mental health issues. According to this Harvard Health article, promising new research shows a positive connection between Omega 3 consumption and reduced symptoms of depression, postpartum depression, and bipolar disorder.

As an added bonus, a diet rich with Omega 3s is shown to lower risk of dementia.

3:
Add probiotic-rich foods -
Consuming items like naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, and unsweetened yogurt can help build your good gut bacteria. Keeping your gut healthy by boosting your microbiota can have positive effects on your mental health.

Studies show a healthy and diverse gut microbiome can positively impact the production of serotonin, which affects our mood and sense of wellbeing as well as sleep and digestion. This specific study of 710 young adults - Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model - showed that a higher frequency of fermented food consumption was associated with fewer symptoms of social anxiety.

4:
Dig into a good salad -
Eating more leafy greens like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, and collard greens is not only tasty, but also amazingly good for you. Among other nutrients, these greens are high in folate which is associated with reduced anxiety, depression, and even fatigue.

Dr. Uma Naidoo, a Harvard trained psychiatrist, Professional Chef, and a trained Nutrition Specialist, states in this article “Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is used for cell development throughout your body. Deficiency may interfere with DNA synthesis and repair and overall cellular function in the brain leading to chronic fatigue, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders”.

So dig into that delicious salad and top it off with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for added benefits (olive oil contains heart-healthy fats and antioxidants and balsamic vinegar can help lower cholesterol).

5:
Take a hike -
Once you're done savoring all the tasty and healthy foods, enjoy the great outdoors! Being in nature is especially important during the winter and early spring months when our exposure to the sun (and subsequent vitamin D production) is lowest and many people experience the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

There is ample evidence, both anecdotal and clinical, that being in nature offers a multitude of benefits to our psyche. According to the article Nurtured by Nature in the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology, “From a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation.”

So get out there and enjoy the wonders of nature in your neighborhood.

I hope you find these tips useful and easy to implement. Should you need extra help getting your child to enjoy the healthy fare you present at mealtime and at snack time, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.
... See MoreSee Less

5 Tips for Better Mental Health
Hop into spring with these 5 tips to positively impact your eating habits and boost mental health for both yourself and your kids.
 
1:
Minimize sugar intake -

Studies have linked excess glucose consumption to depression and anxiety, as well as memory and cognitive deficiencies. This article from Psychology Today offers more detailed information - 4 Ways Sugar Could be Harming Your Mental Health.  

Sugar can be addictive, so if you find it difficult to kick the habit, you’re not alone.  One tip is to satisfy your hunger by first filling up on healthy fats and/or proteins.  A handful of nuts, apple slices with peanut butter, or a snack plate of cheddar cheese, olives, and avocado slices are good options.  Still craving sweets?  Try a cup of unsweetened full-fat yogurt with a sprinkle of granola or berries.

2:
Enjoy fatty fish -
Seafood like wild-caught salmon, cod, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are high in brain-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.  

While there are many proven benefits of consuming foods rich in Omega-3s, recent attention is being given to the effects this nutrient may have for those suffering from depression and other mental health issues.  According to this Harvard Health article, promising new research shows a positive connection between Omega 3 consumption and reduced symptoms of depression, postpartum depression, and bipolar disorder.  

As an added bonus, a diet rich with Omega 3s is shown to lower risk of dementia.

3:
Add probiotic-rich foods -
Consuming items like naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, and unsweetened yogurt can help build your good gut bacteria.  Keeping your gut healthy by boosting your microbiota can have positive effects on your mental health.  

Studies show a healthy and diverse gut microbiome can positively impact the production of serotonin, which affects our mood and sense of wellbeing as well as sleep and digestion.  This specific study of 710 young adults - Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model - showed that a higher frequency of fermented food consumption was associated with fewer symptoms of social anxiety.

4:
Dig into a good salad -
Eating more leafy greens like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, and collard greens is not only tasty, but also amazingly good for you.  Among other nutrients, these greens are high in folate which is associated with reduced anxiety, depression, and even fatigue.  

Dr. Uma Naidoo, a Harvard trained psychiatrist, Professional Chef, and a trained Nutrition Specialist, states in this article “Folate, also known as vitamin B9,  is used for cell development throughout your body. Deficiency may interfere with DNA synthesis and repair and overall cellular function in the brain leading to chronic fatigue, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders”. 

So dig into that delicious salad and top it off with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for added benefits (olive oil contains heart-healthy fats and antioxidants and balsamic vinegar can help lower cholesterol).

5:
Take a hike -
Once youre done savoring all the tasty and healthy foods, enjoy the great outdoors!  Being in nature is especially important during the winter and early spring months when our exposure to the sun (and subsequent vitamin D production) is lowest and many people experience the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  

There is ample evidence, both anecdotal and clinical, that being in nature offers a multitude of benefits to our psyche.  According to the article Nurtured by Nature in the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology, “From a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation.”  

So get out there and enjoy the wonders of nature in your neighborhood.

I hope you find these tips useful and easy to implement.  Should you need extra help getting your child to enjoy the healthy fare you present at mealtime and at snack time, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.
1 years ago
Jill's Blog

Milk Allergy in Your Home?
This topic is near and dear to my heart, as my youngest son has a life-threatening dairy allergy that we discovered when he was about a year old. He got a hold of his brother's sippy cup which contained milk. I knew he was sensitive to milk because he would cry every time I breast fed him after I had consumed milk or cheese. He was so sensitive that I gave up dairy while I was nursing him. When he took that first sip of milk from his brother's cup, he immediately projectile vomited and began wheezing. Gratefully he was fine and we got him an Epipen shortly after that incident. But we have spent the past 2 decades working around his dairy allergy.

So, believe me, I understand first hand, how difficult it can be to manage a milk allergy. Below are a few of my tips for doing just that, as well as some additional information about milk allergy versus milk intolerance and signs and symptoms to be aware of.

Tips for Managing a Milk Allergy
First of all, what is the difference between a milk "allergy" and a milk "intolerance"? For an answer that is in "layman's terms", I chose the info I found on the Food Allergy Research & Education website:
"A food allergy happens when your immune system overreacts to a specific food protein. When you eat or drink the food protein, it can trigger an allergic reaction. Symptoms can range from mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) to severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). A food allergy can be potentially life-threatening."

"Unlike food allergies, food intolerances do not involve the immune system. People who are lactose intolerant are missing the enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. As a result, people with lactose intolerance are unable to digest these foods. They may experience symptoms such as nausea, cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea. While lactose intolerance can cause great discomfort, it is not life-threatening."

According to The Mayo Clinic, some immediate signs and symptoms of a dairy/milk allergy include:
* Hives
* Wheezing
* Itchiness or tingling around the mouth
* Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
* Coughing or shortness of breath
* Vomiting

Signs and symptoms that may take more time to develop include:
* Loose stools or diarrhea, which may contain blood
* Abdominal cramps
* Runny nose
* Watery eyes
* Colic, in babies
* Eczema
* Allergic shiner (persistent dark circles under the eyes)
* Sinus issues caused by increased mucus production

Here are a few tips to help you avoid dairy products while still feeding your child a well-rounded diet.

1. Become a prolific food label reader. There are many ingredients that may be derived from dairy that could be a problem for your child. Learn what those ingredients are and carefully read food labels to spot them. A short list includes: whey, casein, caseinates, galactose, hydrolysates. For a more complete list, you can get more info here: KidsWithFoodAllergies.org Milk Allergy Info.

2. Non-dairy substitutions are available. Gratefully, there are lots of options when it comes to milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy items. Many different forms of "milks" are on the market and readily available including almond, rice, and coconut, along with other not so common options like cashew, macadamia, and pea protein. As for cheese, I enjoy the Whole Foods Market 365 brand shredded cheddar and sliced cheddar, though I'm sure you can find others. Also, SoDelicious has a variety of tasty coconut based yogurts. For ice cream fans, there are a plethora of options out there from coconut, to almond, to cashew, and even a very tasty version of the sweet treat made from avocados!

3. Be adventurous and cook with non-dairy substitutes. I have made whipped cream from canned coconut cream and it was delicious! Making cream sauces with non-dairy milks takes some practice as they do not thicken the same way, but you can still manage with a bit of corn or tapioca starch. Non-dairy cheese doesn't melt as well as regular cheese, but if your dish has moisture, it usually melts good enough.

4. Consider leaving out ingredients that are dairy based, if they are not critical to a recipe. I tried a broccoli, mushroom, and rice dish that originally included 2 cups of shredded cheese, except that I omitted the cheese entirely. I discovered that the remaining ingredients created a very hearty and tasty dish that my entire family loves. We really don't miss the cheese!

5. If attending gatherings where others are cooking ask the host what dishes might contain dairy. Consider bringing your own non-dairy version. For example, if cake and ice cream will be served at a birthday party, bring milk-free cookies or brownies and a non-dairy ice cream option like raspberry sorbet or NadaMoo coconut based ice creams.

These are only a few tips and hints. If you need more support, please feel free to reach out. I'm here to help!
... See MoreSee Less

1 years ago
Jill's Blog

Dealing with Challenging Behavior
by Lisa Meincke
founder abc Special Education Support
www.abcspedsupport.com

Almost all parents want the same things for their children whether their child has special needs or is “typically developing”. We all want our children to be healthy, happy, safe and independent, to have success learning in school and to get along well with others.

Some of us have what seem to be “easy kids” and others of us have kids that are more challenging. There are many ways that we as parents can seek assistance for our children’s challenging behaviors. If there was only one right way, we would certainly all know about it!

Some of us seek advice from other parents we know, some use a trusted pediatrician, some work with a therapist, some of us read books, blogs and articles and others seek help from another professional such as their child’s teacher or a psychologist.

No matter who you reach out to, it’s been my experience as a special education teacher and as a parent, that the sooner you address problem behavior the better.

Here are some things that I suggest to parents and that apply to almost every situation related to children’s behavior.

Observe
What do you think is happening and why do you think your child is acting in a particular way?

Brainstorm
Think of as many possible ways to address the problem as you can.

Follow through
Choose one of the ways and be as consistent as you ­­­can be implementing it.

State expectations
Tell your child what you expect in specific situations. Re-state this as often as you need to.

Ignore
Pick your battles carefully and ignore the little things that you can.

Model
Do or say the exact words that you might want your child to use.

Praise
www.abcspedsupport.com/Tell them as often as you can when they demonstrate the behavior you are looking for.

Some of the phrases that I use often with kids and that I find work very well are:
Tell me when you are ready. I’ll wait.
What can I do to help you?
What is your job right now?
First you need to_________, then you can___________.
I think that you’re feeling _________ but you have to ____________.
You’re upset because ____________. Is that right?
You can _____ or ________. You have the choice.

Managing your child’s challenging behavior is not easy, especially when you are busy or tired. I heard a saying once that went something like: "Small children-small problems, but when not dealt with … Big children-big problems."

I hope you found this information useful. If you decide you need more help designed specifically for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer a free phone consultation so that we can decide together if my expertise and services might be a good fit for you.
... See MoreSee Less

Dealing with Challenging Behavior
by Lisa Meincke
founder abc Special Education Support
www.abcspedsupport.com

Almost all parents want the same things for their children whether their child has special needs or is “typically developing”. We all want our children to be healthy, happy, safe and independent, to have success learning in school and to get along well with others.

Some of us have what seem to be “easy kids” and others of us have kids that are more challenging.  There are many ways that we as parents can seek assistance for our children’s challenging behaviors.  If there was only one right way, we would certainly all know about it!

 Some of us seek advice from other parents we know, some use a trusted pediatrician, some work with a therapist, some of us read books, blogs and articles and others seek help from another professional such as their child’s teacher or a psychologist. 

No matter who you reach out to, it’s been my experience as a special education teacher and as a parent, that the sooner you address problem behavior the better.

Here are some things that I suggest to parents and that apply to almost every situation related to children’s behavior.

Observe   
What do you think is happening and why do you think your child is acting in a particular way?

Brainstorm    
Think of as many possible ways to address the problem as you can.

Follow through   
Choose one of the ways and be as consistent as you ­­­can be implementing it.

State expectations   
Tell your child what you expect in specific situations. Re-state this as often as you need to.

Ignore   
Pick your battles carefully and ignore the little things that you can.

Model   
Do or say the exact words that you might want your child to use.

Praise   
http://www.abcspedsupport.com/Tell them as often as you can when they demonstrate the behavior you are looking for.
 
Some of the phrases that I use often with kids and that I find work very well are:
Tell me when you are ready.  I’ll wait.
What can I do to help you?
What is your job right now?
First you need to_________, then you can___________.
I think that you’re feeling _________ but you have to ____________.
You’re upset because ____________. Is that right?
You can _____ or ________. You have the choice.
 
Managing your child’s challenging behavior is not easy, especially when you are busy or tired.  I heard a saying once that went something like:  Small children-small problems, but when not dealt with … Big children-big problems.

I hope you found this information useful.  If you decide you need more help designed specifically for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer a free phone consultation so that we can decide together if my expertise and services might be a good fit for you.
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