Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kids and Alcohol don't mix: Ask, Listen, Learn distills some advice.

As parents, we see the changes that take place when our kids become adolescents. This is the time when their brains are in development and hardwiring for challenges of adulthood. While we may have mixed feelings about their increasing independence,  we should  feel assured that 9-12 year-olds still look to us for guidance. This is huge because studies show that parents still have most influence over our teens' decisions.  Drinking - or not drinking -  is one of them.

Now is the time to engage in conversation about alcohol with our tweens.  The Century Council , a national nonprofit organization funded by distillers, is dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. They have developed a wide range of initiatives and public awareness campaigns.  Ask, Listen, Learn provides practical tips on how to talk to adolescents about alcohol.

The website offers plenty of materials for parents, teachers and kids and encourages tweens to become part of the Ask, Listen Learn Team to live a healthy, active lifestyle.  Adults can do their part by learning when and how to discuss alcohol with their kids:

Ask:  After sharing your reaction to an example about alcohol, be sure to ask what your tween thinks about it.

Listen:  Do this very carefully, and make sure they know they can speak freely by not criticizing their thoughts.  “Kids need to know that if they speak openly, they won’t regret it,” says Dr. Paul Coleman, a psychologist and author of How to Say It to Your Kids.

Learn:  Keep it a conversation, not an argument.

Kids and alcohol make a toxic cocktail.  Here are ways to say "no!"

1. Alcohol is a toxin and disrupts this crucial window of development during puberty.  
"Sorry, I need all my brain cells."
2. Insufficient brain development can lead to many problems such as learning difficulties, cognitive deficits, memory impairment and emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety.
"I'm a thinker, not a drinker!"

3. Teenage drinking is also dangerous, as alcohol can inhibit their ability to consider the consequences of their actions, leading them to take negligent risks, like getting in fights, drinking while driving, promiscuous behavior, or life-threatening accidents. 
"I'd like to live the rest of my 90 years, thank you!"
4. The more a teenager drinks, the less likely they are to get involved in other activities which are important for building confidence and maturity. 
"I'm smarter thank I look."

5. Drinking alcohol can become a negative distraction not only from study, but sport, creative pursuits, family life and socializing with friends. 
"You may be a follower, but I'm a leader, so follow me."

Ask, Listen, Learn provides tools for kids, parents and teachers.  They feature top-notch "SuperStars" like Apolo Ohno, Louie Vito and Dara Torres to inspire kids to say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to underage drinking.  

Start the conversation.  Remember to give lots of love and praise.  Comment if you have any thoughts or personal experience you'd like to share.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cooking with Your Kids is a Start to Healthy Living

We're heard it all too many times.  Childhood obesity is a reality in America.  Fortunate are we to have resources like Nutrition Interactive, Sajai Foundation, and Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, to name just a few, that inspire us to eat healthier and get active.  I say we take all that good information that's out there and bring it home into the kitchen.  Cooking with your kids, though it may sound a little cumbersome at times, is great fun for them, but more than that, it is beginning of a lifelong appreciation for good eating.

Now, they may think good eating is getting that toy at McDonald's or the school lunches that offers pizzas, mini hot dogs and burgers.  That's normal.  It's also the problem.  Good nutrition starts at home with education, experimentation and exploration to eating new foods and making the right choices.

You're in control of what your child eats.  Cooking with them offers the "activity" that they crave, so make it fun, interesting, and most of all, eat up and be well.

The benefits of cooking with kids:
  • Encourages eating together
  • Introduces the entire family to try a new dish
  • Instills the importance of eating healthy
  • Gives kids the satisfaction and pride of being part of a "project"
Tips on cooking with kids:
  • Shop together 
  • Give them a kitchen task they can complete
  • Allow them to experience the whole process - from beginning to end
  • Encourage them to suggest a new ingredient
  • Clean up together
  • Eat together and enjoy the fruits of your labor

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Get outside and play, kids!

Did you know that 25% of 8-year-old kids can identify Pokemon™ characters more readily than wildlife species?  (Balmfold, Clegg, Coulson and Taylor 2002).  No offense to Pokemon, but what about giving some attention to the living characters that breath our air, share our soil and drink the water that our beautiful earth has to offer?  No time to take the kids out?  Well, what about the next time you head out to the grocery store (which can be as often as everyday, for some), stop at the local park to get some fresh air?  Better yet, when you get that frozen yogurt treat, bring it to the park and eat it there.  Bottom line - you have to make time.  I'm not saying you have to teach your kids all about the ants that are crawling along the sidewalk cracks and the night-time bats that swoop down for a drink from the pond, but since I mentioned it already, why not?  Getting kids engaged with nature is the perfect way to get them to go outside and get some exercise.  So here's what another study reports:  "Children are smarter, more cooperative (this is big!), happier and healthier when they have frequent and varied opportunities for free and unstructured play in the outdoors." (Children and Nature 2008).  Get 'em!

Sacred healing at Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa

When you enter Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, you’ve entered into shrine of all things sacred - namely, your body, mind, and soul.  Like a precious box of relics, there’s a deep feeling of serenity that breathes faith into guests who long for rejuvenation and renewal.  Beyond the dark, rich woods that surround a plush seating area in the parlor, double doors take you into the bath house, the central focus of Reliquary. The bathhouse is a co-ed communal gathering place, and with the waters remaining at a comfortable 94 degrees, it’s easy to step in and stay for a while.  Or, opt to lounge in one of the luxurious seats that surround the balmy, open space where you can gaze at the rich details of this sanctuary, such as the Byzantine-inspired cross laid in mosaic on the bathhouse floor. The 23,000 square-foot spa offers signature services that will leave you feeling spiritually balanced.  The Ancient Cane Ritual starts with a sugar crystal exfoliation, followed by a ritual of drumming, tapping, and rolling using bamboo reeds.  The energy flows from deep within.  The Heavenly Touch combines two of the most popular services for guests, which is the 50-minute Swedish massage and 25-minute facial.  Finally, Reliquary’s Signature Precious Metals Facial brightens and renews your skin’s radiance.  Your skin will be silky and smooth after the treatment, and with the final dusting of silver and gold mineral powders, you’ll emerge out of the Reliquary – but keep yourself sacred until you return again. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Renew Your Senses with Floral Extracts in Las Vegas Spas

Like delicate flowers that emerge during the season, your skin should be soft and glowing, and more importantly, hydrated.  Let nature's powerful florals deliver you blissful treatments that will rejuvenate your skin after the harsh winter and give you a new sense of beginning.  Drift Spa and Hammam inside Palms Place offers the Cherry Blossom Full-Body Ritual.  The luxurious 50-minute treatment starts with a cherry blossom exfoliation that naturally polishes and cleanses your skin.  Then, indulge in the sweet fragrance of a moisturizing cherry blossom wrap and a traditional dusting of silk powder to complete this sumptuous ritual.

For those of you who indulged in long soaks over the winter, you'll love the Lotus Flower Bath at Qua Baths & Spa inside Caesars Palace.  Concentrated with detoxifying lotus flower extract, the bath is the perfect remedy for jet lag and other imbalances due to environmental effects.  Essential oils derived from natural sources have gained notoriety for their healing properties.  And, like a lotus flower that manages to produce beauty amid its murky environment, the Lotus Flower Bath will deliver purity to your skin.

Closer to the desert environment is the healing essence of desert sage.  Appropriately named after one of the Southwest desert's natural remedies, the Desert Sage Massage is a signature treatment at Spa Mandalay inside Mandalay Bay.  Native American Indians use it to purify the mind, body and spirit before prayer and ceremonial rituals.  Developed with the purest essential oils, you will experience rejuvenation through sensory-stimulating aromatherapy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

8zone Nourishes the Body 'Round the Clock and Ensures Absorption

In an earlier post, I introduced 8zone, Apolo Anton Ohno's nutritional supplement and all the potential good that it offers.  A little more now on the meaning behind the name.  8zone was derived  from the three zones of the day that Ohno recognizes as the key times in which nutrients can be uniquely targeted.  Moreover, the ingredients in each zone are specifically delivered and - key word here - absorbed.

Claims that vitamins are not treated equal are true. Most of it has to do with absorption rate and potential blockers that prohibit absorption.  8zone is a health supplement that not only delivers usable vitamins and minerals, but also natural ingredients that promote balance, focus, weight loss and energy.  The supplement facts are there for you to read in full on the 8zone site.

Now about the zones.  8zone is delivered three times per day and is respectively called the red, white and blue zones.  The Red Zone, to be taken at the most active part of the day, offers a proprietary energy blend that promotes balanced energy and mental clarity without stimulants or caffeine.  In addition, the Red Zone boosts the metabolism to promote weight loss and provides a full-spectrum multi-vitamin complex to deliver "usable" vitamins and minerals.

The White Zone replenishes nutrients that are lost during the day and enriches the body with antioxidants from super-fruit extracts to support immunity.   It's also formulated to reduce the effects of aging and prolongs weight loss management throughout the day.

A late night complex, the Blue Zone promotes restful sleep and recovery without dependency.  There's no grogginess from a sudden awakening.  The body's muscles are repaired and released of oxidative stress. 

Besides the fact that 8zone is effective,  taking it is also a conscious reminder, if you will, of being  proactive with your body. This sets in motion (and I hope it will for many others) an effort to eat well and start (and stick to) a regular exercise program for optimum benefits.

That's why I call it wellness in a bottle.

Aligning Your Chakras

Ayurveda means the "science of life" and has been practiced in India for over 5,000 years.  As a perfect opportunity to celebrate National Meditation Month, I experienced a Chakra Balancing at Qua Baths & Spa inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. 

A little tense that my artisan might find out even the most minor conflicts in my life, she gently laid me down, placed a cool compress over my eyes and started reading my energy zones (Chakras).   An aromatic infusion burning sage filled the room.   Using a quartz crystal suspended from a string, she slowly read the vibrations from my body.  

After discovering where my imbalances were and sharing them with me, she gave me a brisk Ayurvedic massage.    Using  large amounts of oils, infused with herbs, the massage is meant to promote heat and accelerate the penetration of healing properties into my skin.  The overall experience was surreal.  After the workup, another reading took place to reveal a more balanced and relaxed me.  The parting gift was a necklace comprised of gemstones that would help keep me balanced and consciously work to realize my intentions.