The Scoop on Poop

I wonder why children have such a fascination with their poop. They like to talk about it, they like to show it to anyone who will look including parents and siblings. Whether it floats or sinks, is green or brown, thick or thin, they have to let you know what’s up.

I’m not sure at what age this no longer become socially acceptable to talk about your poop out loud. Even my 10-year-old calls me into the bathroom from time to time to show me her poop. Maybe this isn’t a normal thing and it’s just my family that does this? If you’ve ever had a child that has had issues with constipation, then you more than likely have seen your fair share of poops and have requested to see it on the daily. Gross, I know.

Regardless of when we stop talking about it as children and grown-ups, we all need to ensure that we’re having a look at our “bowel movements” as an indicator of what’s happening inside of us. Good or bad, we need to see in order to know when it may be time to either change something in our diets or seek medical attention.

Poop, (aka stool or feces) is a normal part of the digestive process. Poop is made up of waste products that are being eliminated from the body. It may include undigested food particles, bacteria, salts, and other substances. Poop can vary in its color, texture, amount, and smell. Differences are fairly normal and most times you see changes (including on the colour chart below) they usually resolve in a day or two. However, some changes in poop indicate a more serious condition.

So… what is “normal”, healthy poop?  

Well to start, it should not be very difficult or painful to pass. It should be brown (medium to dark), have a soft to firm consistency and come out in one piece or a few pieces. If you there is blood in your stool get medical attention right away.Most people go once per day, some twice – some even more or less. However, it is suggested that, at minimum, you should go at least 3 times per week.

What colours can and should poop be? Other than brown, there are a whole array of colours your poop can be! Here’s an easy chart to see what colour means what and why it may be happening…

 

Colour of Poop Possible Concerning Reason as to Why? Other less concerning reasons as to Why?
Black Gastrointestinal Bleeding Iron Supplements, black licorice, bismuth medication
White or Gray Liver or Gallbladder Issues Anti-diarrhea medication may cause this.
Green Too much bile and not enough bilirubin. Spinach, kale, or other green foods.
Red Gastrointestinal Bleeding Hemorrhoids or after eating beets, red berries or tomato juice.
Orange Blocked bile ducts Rifampin Antibiotic can cause orange poop or eating orange foods rich in beta-carotene – carrots, sweet potatoes
Yellow Too much fat – possible absorption issues or difficulty producing bile.

Most people will experience variations in color at some time. Usually, this is because of diet or some other minor cause. However, anyone who experiences changes in poop color that last for two or more weeks or has red or black poop, should see their doctor.

The point of all this all is not just to say the word poop 17 times in one blog (believe it or not!). We all need to monitor any changes in the smell, firmness, frequency, or color of our own poop as it can indicate if there is a problem. Don’t be scared or embarrassed – check out your poop (18!) daily!

 

 

 

 

 

Losing Weight After 50

It may seem like as you get older, losing weight gets increasingly difficult. It’s easy to blame our age or slower metabolisms as to why we aren’t looking or feeling as good as we want. Well unfortunately this is no longer a good excuse. Even though your metabolism may have slowed down, your weight gain is mostly due to being less active and having muscle loss. Fortunately, these are two things we can do something about.

Do we have the time and energy to work out as much as we did when we were in our 20s? Ummm no. Those were the days when we didn’t have kids, weren’t in the thick of our careers and had much more free time.

But now that we are in our 40s and 50s, we have to make our health a priority. We have to carve out time and pay attention. We have to set goals and get to work.

Here are a few things to do to help you be successful in achieving your fitness or weight loss goals:

  1. Set more than one goal. Don’t just set a goal based on the scale. Set goals to include a fitness component (example: jogging non-stop for 20 minutes) anda nutrition component (example: drinking 6 cups of water a day). Setting a variety of goals will help you feel more frequent success and positivity and help to keep you staying on track.
  2. Talk to the professionals. First of all, consult your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to start an exercise program or if you have any specific issues that need to be considered such as IBS, Diabetes, or injuries (current or past). Make sure you are honest with all professionals you consult about your issues as this will ensure you are safe and programs are tailored to you. Some people you may want to consider hiring either for a one time or multiple sessions include personal trainers and dieticians/nutritionists. Let’s face it, if we were experts in these areas we wouldn’t be needing to get some help here. These pros can make the process much more enjoyable and increase your likelihood of success.
  3. Get moving – more often. Seems pretty basic but it’s a big move. Take the stairs, walk around on your coffee break, plan a coffee walk with a friend rather than sitting and sipping. These will all help to increase your metabolism.
  4. Workout. A few things about working out:
    a. Do something fun – whether it’s a dance class or swimming, find something that you enjoy doing – it will make all the difference.
    b. Buddy Up – whether it’s a friend or family member you meet for your workouts or a group fitness class, getting your sweat on with others makes you more likely to stick with it as you are accountable to others.
    c. Add weight lifting to your routine. This is especially important as we get older. Not only does this help with maintaining muscle to aid in keeping our weight gain at bay, it also helps with balance.
  5. Nutrition is so important! This is probably going to make the biggest impact on your weight loss. A few things (other than talking with a certified dietician/nutritionist) to consider:
    a. Be mindful about what you are eating, how much and when. It’s easy to scarf down an entire bag of chips subconsciously while watching Netflix!
    b. Increase your protein intake. Getting enough high-quality protein in your diet is not only important for weight loss but also critical for stopping or reversing age-related muscle loss. Some examples include lean meats, protein shakes, beans and legumes.
    c. Drink lots of water – try to have this be your more frequent drink of choice!
    d. Eat whole, nutrient dense foods – vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, legumes, and whole grains, are packed with nutrients essential for maintaining a healthy body weight, such as fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
    e. Cook more at home and eat out less. Know what you’re eating. Eating out often usually means eating high fat, sugar and salt and highly processed foods. This will likely save you money too!
  6. Sleep! Not getting enough quality sleep may harm your weight loss efforts. Many studies have shown that not getting enough sleep increases the likelihood of obesity and may hinder weight loss efforts.
  7. Finally, be patient. Just because you start on a path to a better, fitter, healthier you, doesn’t mean it is going to happen quickly. It takes time. But it WILL happen. Just be patient.

Just because you haven’t made yourself a priority in the past, doesn’t mean it has to stay this way. You are worth the effort.

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Why Girls Are Dropping Out of Sport

We have a really big issue in Canada with respect to girls in sport. They aren’t participating in organized sport, and those that do, leave early. In fact, girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports than are boys in Canada by the age of 15. And if a girl is not involved in sport by the age of 10, she has a 10% chance of being an active adult. Let that sink in. 

Now let’s start with the basics. Why is sport so important for kids, especially girls, to be involved in? First, there is the health aspect. Children need 60 minutes of exercise per day to be healthy. If you think your child is getting that at school, think again. They are not. Physical education programs are being cut year after year, and recess does not mean active play time. When girls participate in sport, they have a decreased rate of starting smoking, using drugs and alcohol, a lower rate of teen pregnancy rates, a reduced risk of being overweight, and lower rates of disease including cancer.

Second is confidence. A new report that surveyed more than 10,000 girls across the country has found a positive correlation between playing sports and increased confidence, body image, academic performance and personal relationships. Girls are more confident in their body image and looks, abilities and personalities when they play sports. This correlation is huge, and should be thought of every time you sign your child up for activities. And another cool stat? Over 90% of women who are CEO’s in North America played high performance level sports growing up.

Other than health and a more positive mental state, there are so many things that we learn from sport. We learn how to win, how to lose, teamwork, time management. We can meet new friends, travel across our country and around the globe. But even with all of these positive elements, girls are still dropping out. Why?

Research says there are six major reasons as to why: 

  • Lack of positive female role models in the media. In fact, less than 5% of all sports coverage is given to female athletes. 
  • Transportation and safety issues. 
  • A perceived lack of options for girls versus what is out there for boys 
  • Cost 
  • Social stigma for being a female athlete. Think ‘tomboy’ or ‘butch’ terminology 
  • A decrease quality experience 

But is there more? We think so. In 2018, we worked with hundreds of girls ages 5 – 21 who are currently involved in sports or have been involved in the past. When asking them why they or their friends drop out, we heard a few other concrete reasons that need to be addressed. 

First, was time. When speaking with girls in junior high and high school, they only have so much time on their hands. They have school full time, community and/or family obligations, social or friend obligations, and perhaps other activities that are not sport (i.e. band, art, etc). One thing we heard over and over again was they needed to choose between sports and having a part time job. They want money to buy $20 mascara or new jeans every month, and parents don’t have the means to do this. And when you’re a teenager, these things can end up taking priority. We hear this from both the parents and the girls. We do our very best to encourage the girls and parents to think long term on this. Sports can bring you scholarships to university, work as a coach or mentor in the community, and an overall balance in your life! The long term gain far out weights the short term results of a minimum wage part time job. 

Next, we hear an issue with regards to cultural differences. When speaking to a group of 30 high school girls in Winnipeg, girls were telling us that they felt awkward having to be the only person wearing a Hijab underneath their basketball or volleyball uniform. At a time in their lives where they want to blend in, this could bring attention to them they do not want. And it is not an issue of lack of cultural pride, but rather the sports not thinking about cultural norms that they may need to adjust to. 

Lastly, is a sense of belonging. The number one thing that girls look for when being involved in sport and activity is that they feel a part of something. Be it a team, a club, an organization. They yearn for this feeling of togetherness, acceptance and inclusion. Without that, it doesn’t matter how much they are winning or losing, they are not going to be fully engaged. That is something that everyone needs to ban together on to make it work – coaches, parents, teammates and themselves. 

At Fit Communications and FIT Women and Girls we are doing our best to help tear these blockades down for girls in Canada. From our Confidence Workbook, to our FITGirls Directory to the work we do in the media, we are in constant pursuit to make things terrific for girls in our country. Our goal is to have increased participation rates for girls in sport, and to see the future of our country happy and healthy. Thanks for joining us on this journey! 

Don’t Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out!

Before I had my third child, I admittedly used to (quietly) mommy shame a few moms out there that were super excited about the first day back to school. I wondered why they didn’t want to spend as much time with their kids as possible. Because before you know it, they’ll be too cool for you and busy with friends, school, sport and everything but you. 

Didn’t they enjoy making all of those special summer memories with their kids? Ice cream runs, trips to the beach, water balloon fights, lazy days, camping, picnics, movie nights? I secretly thought that maybe they shouldn’t have had kids if they didn’t want to spend time with them.  

Well that was then.  My opinion on this topic has since changed – drastically!  After having my third child things have changed in my mindset on it all.  I am now on the other side of the fence. I understand why businesses market to parents with the comparison of back to school with the joy of Christmas – “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  I now get it.  It really IS wonderful.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my kids more than I could have ever imagined AND I love spending quality time with them. It’s wonderful because at the end of the nine weeks (but who’s counting?!) of summer break, I’m totally exhausted and dreaming of getting back into a normal schedule and routine.  

Summer break is amazing because we get to do all of those super fun things with our kids that we can’t normally do throughout the cold depressing winter. But the fun times are in between days of anxiety, stress and exhaustion.  It’s a job in and of itself juggling what the plan is for childcare while you work or finding things to keep them busy and entertained so they don’t and spend 12 hours a day on their electronic devices. 

Whether you are working full time and have your kids in daycare or sport and activity camps, or you’re a stay at home parent who now needs to be a nine-week full time entertainer, the struggle is real. Sunday Mimosas seem to be a bit of a need to help you from going bonkers – and don’t worry, there is no judgement on that or on the parents who sneak in a cooler to the splash pad. I get it. Big time. 

Even for those parents with teenagers – they are still having to drive here and there and make sure that they’re not either burning the house down, having people over or spending 25 hours a day on their phones or gaming device.

Then there’s the whole food thing. I remember being so excited at the end of the school year about not having to make lunches for July and August. This was an illusion because since the first day off, I started to wish I had to make ONLY one lunch and two snacks for school.  This summer felt like I was making morning snack, breakfast, brunch, snack, lunch, snack, another snack and then dinner – and then two more snacks!!  Seriously?! Where do you put all this food?! You’re 50 pounds…do you have a hollow leg? 

So this September, I joined the moms I secretly shamed and honestly didn’t even care that it was the end of summer.  I was just so excited to be able to get us all into a normal routine. I’m now singing the praises of Back to School!

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Shannon Jones – Our Summer Inspiration

Do you ever meet someone and right away want to learn so much about them and from them? This is was the case for me with Shannon Jones. I first met Shannon at a fundraiser for Winnipeg youth from the inner city about five years ago via her husband Miles, and a long-time friend from the University of Manitoba ‘Arts’ degree days. She just had a vibe about her that resonated with me. We became friends on social media soon thereafter and that vibe has rung so true. Shannon is a strong, kind, loving soul of a human being doing an exceptional job raising her three young girls. In this week’s blog we wanted to feature Shannon to spread the word about her incredible story.

Shannon grew up as a competitive gymnast, and it gave her the very happiest moments of her childhood. The gym was her second home, providing a source of stability that was lacking at home. After retiring from gymnastics she missed the exercise, building a strong body and mind, and as she says, “burning off the crazy!”. As past national and international level athletes, we absolutely positively can relate!

Shannon tried a few things to invigorate her fitness love again, but it took some time. At the age of 38 she tried CrossFit for the first time and has never looked back. It’s proven to be exactly what she needs as both a physical and emotional outlet for this mom of three.

Keeping up with the Jones’ is no easy task. Their three girls, London (11 years), Hartley (9) and Parker (4) are all super busy and beyond motivated. London is often reluctant to try new things, but with a little prodding she always finds something to love in every activity! She plays hockey and trains CrossFit, loves going to camp, and wants to study to be an Architect.

Hartley is a force to be reckoned with! She is strong, intense, self-motivated, and fiercely determined in all that she does. She is a competitive gymnast, has been selected for the High Performance training path, and confidently tells them to start saving our money for the LA 2028 Olympics, “because you definitely have to come watch my first Olympics!!”

Parker is 4 affectionately nicknamed BammBamm. She is ridiculously strong, and not at all concerned with being delicate! Parker loves to swim, and bounce on the trampoline, and do just about anything active! Last year, Parker was diagnosed with Autism with Language Impairment, which clarified a lot of issues, but also made clear that structured sport is likely not in the cards for her. However, through the amazing people and programs at the Canucks Autism Network, she has since started to learn to participate in swimming and skating, albeit on her own terms.

As both former athletes themselves, Shannon and Miles were very clear on wanting to have their girls experience as many sports as possible growing up. They felt so many tremendous benefits from a life with sport, and wanted to ensure they gave their girls the same opportunities for growth, strength and confidence they received. With London playing hockey, it has at times been a struggle playing on co-ed teams, not because of unfair treatment more so regarding an unfair culture. Girls being ‘tolerated’ rather than accepted, in turn making it difficult to develop a sense of a sport community for the young girls.

“We believe that sport participation is just as important for kids as school. Through training and competition they learn so much more than just a game; they learn to set short- and long-term goals; to be a great teammate; to manage their feelings in the face of both success and defeat; to be proud of their effort first, results second; to develop a healthy relationship with their Coaches; and most importantly, that at all stages success is earned, never an entitlement,” says Jones.

It hasn’t been an easy road for the family. Together they have faced a housing disaster, multiple life-threatening illnesses, uprooting to move across the country, Shannon’s medical retirement, and now trying to help their littlest to develop. Building resilience was the only response to it all while remaining honest about life. That it is not easy, it is not fair, and it is not predictable, but they can lean into each other and rise above it. Shannon often says ‘life is hard, love it easy’ and that rings in my ear every time I personally face any challenge.

The strength of their family runs deep in their veins. Hartley was diagnosed with Epilepsy as a baby, and has been through hell and back…and back again. From the endless medical procedures to the mind-numbing medications, this nine-year old is a pint-size super hero. But that along with her fierce love for gymnastics has made her set goals, crush them and set new ones often. Couldn’t we all just put her in our pockets as a reminder to be such a badass?

The Jones family moved from Winnipeg to Kelowna for a host of reasons two years ago. While they miss so much about Winnipeg, it has been a great move. When they arrived 2 years ago, Hartley required so much medication that she was unable to complete a full day of school, and was not developing academically. By changing their lifestyle, her treatments, and their surroundings, this child is now thriving academically, is medication-free, and is training in a national gymnastics development program. I’m sure they would have moved to Mars for results like this if they had to! Because THAT is what love and family are all about. Sticking together, rising above, and doing it with endless love and dedication in your heart.

I asked Shannon what her biggest dream for her girls is. It’s a tough question to pose to any parent, but she nailed it. “Honestly, that they truly know that they are loved. If we get that right, the rest will be easy.”

Let’s Hear It For the Boys!

From day one, our focus for our FIT Women and Girls initiatives has, of course, been centred around female empowerment, nutrition, health and sport. It’s not that we don’t love the boys, of course we do! But we are two women who have experienced life in sport from only our perspective. The struggles that face girls and women in sport and fitness are not the same as they are for boys. We know that boys and men also struggle with body image, sport participation, bullying and more. And that is why we are super excited to introduce you to Sean Kingswell, and Rising Sons Coaching.

In June, Sean approached us after seeing our work with our FITGirls Directory and Events in the media. Based in Toronto, he could see the obvious passion similarities in the work that we do. Rising Sons Coaching is an online comprehensive wellness program that teaches confidence, mental health (stigma reduction, awareness and skills), fitness, wellness, mindset, character development and life skills to teen and preteen boys.  It is also an initiative to create a community for boys to develop and grow their mind, body and spirit.

Sean’s background is truly in helping others. As a wellness coach and personal trainer he has gained coaching certifications in working with adolescents on confidence and self-esteem coaching, lifestyle coaching, personal training, nutrition, and stress management coaching. And with all of his spare time (yikes!) he is a professional firefighter, and has 3 sons.

The Rising Sons Coaching program is geared for boys in that it is based on the learning style of teen boys. For parents who are looking to build good building blocks for their sons and ensuring that these topics are effectively understood is vital for long term health, success and happiness.

The program is completely online and can start anytime. Their goal is simple – to help build boys who are resilient, capable, strong and kind.  They want to reduce mental health stigma and coach stress management, teach long term fitness, and enact our G.R.E.A.T man principle (Gratitude, Respect, Empathy, Altruism and Tolerance).  Rising Sons Coaching facilitates components of wellness including sleep, nutrition, injury prevention and more, as well as life skills such as responsibility, risk management, attitude, goal setting, and problem solving.

For us to truly build up the next generation, we need to ensure that boys have a solid understanding of these subject areas, and are learning from mentors in the community. Boys face numerous challenges in this day and age including issues with motivation, resiliency, self-care, poor mental health consequences, antiquated or confused outlooks on confidence or masculinity, drug use, goal orientation, risky behaviours, poor body image, obesity and more. Programs like Rising Sons is helping put a positive light in some dark arenas.

Boys and girls do not learn the same. They are faced with different challenges and have different strengths. If you have ever taught in a classroom or on a playing field, you know this first hand. We can’t teach them the same way, but we can have the same goals in mind. To help the next generation of young people to be strong, confident, kind, intelligent amazing humans.

For more information on Sean or to register for the Rising Sons Coaching program, follow this link.

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Girls Participation in Sport

Last week we put out a media release surrounding girls in sport in Canada. According to the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), 41% of girls between the ages of 3 – 17 do NOT participate in sport. More startling is that by the age of 10, if a girl has yet to participate in sports, there is only a 10% chance that she will be physically active as an adult.

We at FIT Communications are looking to change this by providing more options to parents for their girls to participate in sport and activities in Winnipeg this summer. Our FITGirls programming has created a free online list for parents to find these opportunities which also provides discounts to activities. The FITGirls Directory consists of organizations that believe in our city’s girls and the benefits of sport and fitness in their lives. They are diverse in their programs but consistent in their delivery of quality programs for those looking for a unique and super experience.

In addition, we have put together a listing of summer camps for parents to choose from – encompassing a wide rand of activities – from synchronized swimming to Skyzone trampoline camp.

We know that participating in sports improves girls’ confidence and self-esteem, while providing them with the lifelong skills of healthy living, team work, time management and so much more. We want to provide as many opportunities for girls in our city as possible with our FITGirls programming.

We are beyond grateful for the local and national media coverage we received, including Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. Here are a few of the media spots for you to see:

Global News – Winnipeg Team Promoting Ways to Get More Girls Active In Sports

CTV News – FITGirls Directory & Summer Activities in Winnipeg

CityNews TV – Encouraging Young Girls to Be Physically Active

CHVN – Young Girls Lacking Physical Activity

CJOB Radio 

If you are passionate about health and the future of the girls in our country, please sign up for our newsletter here today!

Baru Rubs & Sauces

With Barbeque Season officially here, the timing could not have been better to try what is now my new favourite seasonings! I had been so bored with my regular “go-to” menu and was looking for something to “spice things up” without going completely off what I know how to cook. 

Here’s where Baru Rubs and Sauces steps in! Baru is a Vancouver-based company started three years ago by two BFFs – Zeta Newis and Nina Lafleur – as a spin off of the successful Kitsilano restaurant – Baru Latino.   Part of what makes their products so unique is that they are a small batch, handmade producer based out of an award winning restaurant.  Who wouldn’t want to bring this deliciousness home for their own daily consumption?

I think I may personally love the business for the fact that the co-owners are women, BFFs, foodies and Canadian.  Nina Lafleur attributes their success to their belief in  “fresh, healthy, tasty ingredients and a commitment to our customers”

The friends’ love for food and cooking is evident in their products.  They want to make healthy, fresh and delicious food for friends and family. This is something I completely relate to. “Food is family, friends, and community. It is something that unites us all. With our products, you are able to sample foods which are inspired from different areas of the world, take them home and try new things.”

Having tried all of the rubs and hot sauces, I have to say that they are as unique and diverse as my own family.  Their “Hot’R Sauce – Even Hotter” is, by far, my husband’s favourite he’s ever tried.  Having spent 6 years in the Caribbean, the flavour takes him back.  He LOVES hot sauces – but this one isn’t just hot, it’s packed with flavour.  He said “it’s the habenero…I can taste it in the sauce”.  When I asked him more about what he thought, he said “it’s all gone. We NEED to get more!” For this discerning hot sauce fan, this is the greatest compliment.

Now for the rubs… I have a mixed crew of test subjects and palets … I like spice and flavour, my husband likes HOT and flavour and my daughters like flavour packed spices without the HOT.  The girls favourite was the Chimichurri Rub.  I marinated chicken in the recommended mix of (olive oil) and rub before cooking.  They actually fought over the last piece and asked to have it for lunch!  Success!

I love the fact that these rubs are packed with flavour, not just sauce or salt. I also love that they give suggestions to how to use them – I didn’t even think of using it as a marinade! Baru hit the nail on the head with their focus on putting ethnicity and global tastes into a product.  It goes outside my own personal usual “go-to’s” – which I love!  I can’t wait to try these rubs on fish!  And steak is a “no-brainer”.    

Currently their products are only sold in retail stores in BC but they are wanting to expand outside of the province. Luckily for me, five of their products (including the coveted Hot’R Sauce!) are available online and can be shipped anywhere in the world. Currently their offering free shipping in Canada for orders over $30. Yippee!

I’m happy that I was able to try Baru’s products – not only to have a future Father’s Day gift idea, but also to help me break out of my usual fare of seasoning-free kid cooking to a kid and adult-approved cooking environment!

If you are interested learning more about or trying the Baru Rubs & Sauces yourself this BBQ season (or anytime really!), please visit their website: https://www.barurubsandsauces.com.

This Not That – For Kids

I’m a working Mom of three kids. I know first hand how hard it is to always make the healthiest choices for our kids. Life is busy.  Between work, school, activities, driving, cooking, cleaning and volunteering, there needs to be about 5 more hours each day to fit it all in.

The choice of foods we make for our children not only affect their health now, but also for their future.  Their little bodies are in a constant state of building and their future health depends on what we put in those bodies while growing. Providing good nutrition is also the way to set them on a path of healthy eating for their adulthood.  We know that kids learn their eating habits and views about food from their homes.  Let’s teach our kids to not only enjoy nutritious food, but also to view food as fuel that can help make them make their bodies do great things.

All this said, I know how hard it is to raise a healthy eater. Every kid loves French fries, pizza, candy and ice cream. I admit that my kids eat these things too!  However, when they do have them, it’s infrequently and a treat – not a regular occurrence.  I’d like to share a few ways you can make simple changes to provide better (not perfect) nutrition for your kids.  It’s basically about swapping one thing for another.

 

FOOD BETTER BEST
White Bread Rye Bread Whole Grain Bread
McDonald’s (Fast Food) A&W (no antibiotics) Freshii, Jugo Juice
White Pasta “Smart” Pasta (tastes exactly like white but added veggies or fibre Whole Grain Pasta
No veggies 1 – At least once per day of any vegetable – their favourite

2 – Serve veggies with dip

3 – Cooked with butter and honey (my secret weapon)

A variety of vegetables with lots of different colours –  maximize nutrition intake.
Margarine Butter Ghee
Store Bought:

Cookies, Cakes, Granola Bars,

Store Bought but “all natural ingredients/no artificial ingredients or preservatives” Homemade or other healthy snacks – fruit, vegetables…
Pop or Fruit “drinks”, Slurpees

(all packed with sugar and without nutrients)

Real Fruit Juice ½ water, ½ juice OR
Water
Gatorade/Powerade/

Sport Drinks

Chocolate Milk Water
Processed Chicken Fingers or Nuggets or Fish Sticks Homemade Chicken fingers or Fish Sticks – Baked Grilled or Baked Boneless Skinless Chicken or Fish
French Fries – Deep Fried ½ size Fries and salad/veggies or fruit, mashed potatoes Baked potato, sweet potato
White Rice Basmati or Jasmine Rice Brown Rice, Quinoa
Candy, Chocolate Bars Snack Size/Halloween Size Fruit
Potato Chips Veggie Chips, Baked Chips, Pretzels, Popcorn Nuts, Fruit, Raw Veggies
Waffles, Pop Tarts, High Sugar Cereal (all processed) Homemade pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, whole grain cereal, whole grain toast Add fruit and protein…

Eggs, peanut butter, orange juice, yogurt, bowl of berries

To summarize, stay away from processed foods, deep fried foods, sugar (except that naturally found in fruit), white starches/carbs.  There is always a substitute.  Don’t worry if you’re entire menu is currently on the “stay away from” list.  The good news is that you can only improve from here.  Start today with things you think will work for your kids and then slowly incorporate more.

If you found this information useful, have a look at some of our other blogs on nutrition and health and subscribe to our newsletter!

Confidence of Girls in Canada Reaching a New Low

How’s your self-esteem? Would you consider yourself super confident? Medium? Or totally not? What do you love about yourself? What do you dislike about yourself?

I posed these questions to a group of young girls between the ages of 5 – 17 at our most recent Girls Empowerment Event, and the answers were at times heart-breaking. While some of the younger girls could give me a list of twenty things they loved about themselves, including I’m beautiful, smart, a great runner, I clean my room, I’m a good listener and a good friend, others couldn’t think of one reason they loved themselves. And as the girls got older, the answers took such a negative spin.

“I’m not popular.”

“I’m fat.”

“How do I get better at being less ugly?”

As someone who has always been sure of herself, I try my best to tell those around me how much I love them and WHY. This session brought me to tears. I wanted to run over to these girls and give them a huge hug and tell them that they are perfect. They are beautiful, smart, funny, kind and fun to be around. I wanted to tell them that before puberty their bodies start to change and they start to put on a couple of extra pounds because they are getting ready to grow and become a woman. And that no matter what size they are they are beautiful. It broke my heart to hear these girls think so little of themselves, but the reality of the situation is that most girls’ self-esteem is absolute crap.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the Girls Guides of Canada, 55% of females said the need to look and act a certain way, as reinforced to them by societal expectations, has negatively affected their self-esteem. More than half of girls, 56%, also said that they’re getting mixed messages on the way they are “supposed” to act and dress. One in five girls surveyed said they feel the need to be skinny while also having curves.

The ways in which girls are told to act, and how that influences their behaviour, is just as troubling:

  • 59% of girls feel the need to act in a certain way because society tells them to.
  • 30% of girls didn’t take up a sport because it’s not traditionally associated with women.
  • 24% of girls don’t want to pursue a career of their choice because of unfair pay-differenced between men and women.
  • 16% of girls pretend not to like science and math-related subjects out of fear of being ostracized.

(Source: https://www.mtlblog.com/whats-happening/this-is-why-canadian-girls-have-low-self-esteem)

Does this not sound unreal to you? Pretending to not like science and math because being smart isn’t cool? Or the idea of feeling so conflicted about being both skinny and having a booty – can’t we all relate to that one? Imagine that issue as your 12-year-old self?!?

So what can we do? I wish we could follow young girls around and give them boosts throughout the day on how amazing they are. And when bullies start in we can stand up for them and make them feel loved and so sure of themselves. I wish we could erase any doubt or negative self-talk from their worlds and fill it with confidence. I wish we could start these conversations with them when they are first learning to talk…so we don’t wait until they are 16 to find out how they feel about themselves. And so we don’t have to wait until we are 40 to realize that we should love ourselves – all parts and pieces – that we should do it from day one.

All of these wishes can’t be done overnight, but we DO have a starting block. We have created a tool for parents and teachers to start the conversations with their kids – girls AND boys – about their self-confidence. It is called the Confidence Workbook, and we are so proud of this piece of work.

The Confidence Workbook has ten exercises for kids to do either on their own, with a friend, parent or teacher to start looking at their confidence. We ask questions and relate to the kids with real life examples. We talk about negative self-talk. We play games, we find reasons for them to love themselves, we determine who makes them feel really good and who maybe doesn’t. The Confidence Workbook can be purchased online here for only $16, and we will email you this wonderful e-book within 48 hours.

We have had a terrific response from media with regards to our Workbook. Here are a few links for you to check out:

CTV – https://www.facebook.com/pg/FITWomenandGirls/videos/?ref=page_internal

CBC – http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/manitoba/confidence-workbook-winnipeg-self-esteem-1.4306771

Winnipeg City News – http://winnipeg.citynews.ca/video/2017/09/26/winnipeg-sisters-hope-workbook-will-inspire-confidence-in-kids/

Metro News – http://www.metronews.ca/news/winnipeg/2017/09/25/new-workbook-aims-to-help-winnipeg-kids-build-self-esteem.html

QX-104 – http://www.qx104fm.com/2017/09/25/a-first-of-its-kind-confidence-workbook-for-kids/

My Toba – https://mytoba.ca/featured/winnipeg-women-launch-kids-confidence-workbook/