Why I don’t recommend rice cereal

People are always asking what to start their baby on when they start solids. A common thing I get asked about is Rice cereal.  Rice cereal has really no nutritional benefit what-so-ever.  It purely is just adding calories to your babies diet.  Additionally, there have been studies showing how rice products have high levels of arsenic in it.  From Consumer Reports:

Arsenic not only is a potent human carcinogen but also can set up children for other health problems in later life.

Following our January investigation, “Arsenic in Your Juice,” which found arsenic in apple and grape juices, we recently tested more than 200 samples of a host of rice products. They included iconic labels and store brands, organic products and conventional ones; some were aimed at the booming gluten-free market.

The results of our tests were even more troubling in some ways than our findings for juice. In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms. We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern. Moreover, the foods we checked are popular staples, eaten by adults and children alike. See the chart summarizing results of our tests for arsenic in rice or rice products.

Though rice isn’t the only dietary source of arsenic—some vegetables, fruits, and even water can harbor it—the Environmental Protection Agency assumes there is actually no “safe” level of exposure to inorganic arsenic.

Another question I get asked a lot is when should you introduce solids?   I do not recommend adding any solids until at least 6 months of age.  There are even sources that say to wait until children are around 1. Think of it this way, food before one is just for fun.  So try not to stress over getting your child to eat.  If he or she is not showing any interest in it, do not force the issue.  One big thing you want to make sure of is that your baby can sit up on his/her own.  If you breast feed, it is always recommended to nurse your baby first because it is your babies single most important food until they turn one.

What do I recommend as a first food?   With Harper, we started with Avocados.  You can mash up avocados pretty easily and they actually are a great super food full of good fats and nutrients!  As with any first food, you want to really milk it down.  Whether you breast feed or use formula add a little of each of those to your introductory foods.  The better the baby gets, the thicker you make the food.  You can even mash up the avocado and put it in the babies bottle, just be sure to use a nipple that allows a stronger flow because of the thickened milk.  Below is a list of foods that I would recommend.  They say that you should introduce one food every 2 weeks.

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet Potato
  3. Butternut Squash
  4. Bananas
  5. Green Beans
  6. Carrots
  7. Egg yolk
  8. Bone Broth

***It is important to note that if you or your family has a history of any food allergies, it is better to be safe and not try any of those foods until your child is at least one.  What we did with Harper was when we knew we were going to go to the pediatrician that day we would introduce foods that are common allergies like almond butter, eggs, strawberries, fish, etc.

***The American Academy of Pediatrics***

  • “Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.
    • Complementary foods rich in iron should be introduced gradually beginning around 6 months of age. Preterm and low birth weight infants and infants with hematologic disorders or infants who had inadequate iron stores at birth generally require iron supplementation before 6 months of age. Iron may be administered while continuing exclusive breastfeeding.
    • Unique needs or feeding behaviors of individual infants may indicate a need for introduction of complementary foods as early as 4 months of age, whereas other infants may not be ready to accept other foods until approximately 8 months of age.
    • Introduction of complementary feedings before 6 months of age generally does not increase total caloric intake or rate of growth and only substitutes foods that lack the protective components of human milk.
    • During the first 6 months of age, even in hot climates, water and juice are unnecessary for breastfed infants and may introduce contaminants or allergens.
    • Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother, especially in delaying return of fertility (thereby promoting optimal intervals between births).
    • There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.
    • Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow’s milk but should receive iron-fortified infant formula.”

Bumbo Seats and Jumpers

I often get asked at when it is OK to put babies in bumbo seats and bouncers.  The big concern is if they are putting them in too soon and/or what are the detrimental effects of putting them in too soon.

My advice is to wait until they can sit up on their own (meaning unassisted and for at least one minute).  The average age is anywhere between 6-9 months.  When a baby is placed involuntarily in a seated position before he or she is able to sit up on their own, the body is impeded from developing necessary tone for creeping and crawling.  Many babies will develop a less-than-optimal movement pattern of bottom scooting instead of crawling to try to get to where they want to go.  This has been found to not be optimal for the joints or development of lower body and torso tone.  Additionally, it hampers the upper tone and chest strength related to speech and language development.

Furthermore, babies have the ability to arrive in a seated or standing position on their own if we let them have floor time to explore and strengthen their developmental movement patterns.  Skipping a step in the pattern is not helpful, as each pattern connects to brain and social-emotional developments, as well as speech, language, and developing stereoscopic (depth) vision.  By encouraging and being present with your baby, it helps him or her to develop a strong sense of body and self awareness and a deep trust and attachment with his or her parents and caregivers.

So what can you do instead to help aid development of necessary tone?  Have the baby on his or her tummy as much as possible when he or she is awake.  (tummy time is an easy way to help combat Torticollis along with chiropractic adjustments) Once the baby starts to elevate their lower legs and feet you can start to prop their arms up by placing a rolled up towel or breast feeding pillow under their chest to help them find their feet and engage with the floor.  This helps to elongate the fetal “c” curve and start to develop the natural form of the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical curves.  Additionally, it is helping develop muscle tone and strength in the legs all the way through the trunk,or core, of the body.  Next, you can start to place objects out of the babies reach to help build up their arm and shoulder strength.

On a final note, until the baby can sit up on their own I would recommend to instead use assisted devices such as the moby wrap or ergo carrier.  This allows you to do more while giving the baby the ability to explore his or her surroundings instead of putting them up in a bumbo seat or jumper when their body is not ready for it.

Diastasis Recti

Ever since having Harper, I have struggled to get my abdominal strength back.  I knew there was something I was missing so when my husband came across this book I was excited to read it.  If you have been diagnosed with a Diastasis Recti or know someone that has this book is definitely for you.  You can find it on Amazon, titled Diastasis Recti by Katy Bowman.  The book explains what it is and gives you stretches and exercises starting from beginner and going all the way to expert.  Below is a short summary of what you will find.  I hope you get as much out of it as I did!

What is it?

It is the unnatural distance (meaning abnormal to you) of the right and/or left halves of the rectus abdominus (abs) from the midline.   Usually caused by the stretching of the linea alba, which is a ligament that holds all the muscles in place in the abdomen and it runs from the rib cage all the way down to your pelvis.  To be clear a DR is not simply just a separating of muscle, but a whole body issue that lead to the symptom of your abdomen separating.

What can cause it?

Most commonly a DR is a result of pregnancy.  Not all women get it, and there are varying degrees of separation.  It can also be a result of muscular imbalances, weak muscles, tight muscles or poor body posture as a whole.  Another reason for DR’s to occur is an increase in intra-abdominal fat.

What can you do to correct a Diastastis Recti?

One of the main things Katy repeats in the book is that it is a whole body issue.  You need to treat it that way and really go back to the basics of simple stretches before getting into the more complex exercises to strengthen, which was what I was doing wrong.  I was trying to get into the exercises right off the bat, not realizing my posture was incorrect during the moves which was leading to more issues and not helping correct the problem.

Secondly, not only do you have to stretch and do exercises, but you have to eat healthy as well.  Nutrition is the building blocks of health.  We can exercise until we are blue in the face, but if we eat like crap or do not take care of our bodies, the exercises and stretches are worthless.

Lastly, our society has become extremely sedentary.  We need to get up more and move.  If we have to sit, we need to learn how to sit better. We constantly hear all day long that I don’t sit much, but if you really think about it you probably are more sedentary than not.   For example, we sit when we commute to and from work, when we watch TV or read a book, when we are eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, using the internet, going to the bathroom, and when we are sleeping just to name a few!

Here are three stretches that Katy suggests to start with:

  1. Floor Angels – AKA snow angel, you want to keep your palms up with your elbows slightly bent.  Do not go any higher than what you can do with your ribs down on the ground!  Do this exercise 10 times moving slowly and making sure your ribs are in contact with the ground at all times!
  2. Windmill Stretch – Starting on your back, bring your knee up toward your chest and then roll your entire body to the left, until your knee rests on the ground.  Without hyperextending the elbow, reach your right hand, arm, and shoulder blade up toward the ceiling and away from the spine.  Slowly drop your arm as far as you can without thrusting your ribcage.  (move your arm between 12-6)  Do this 10-15 times and then repeat on the other side.
  3. Doorway walkthrough – if you can reach the top of the door way, hold both arms up above you for 20-60 seconds.  If you can’t reach do a single-armed version of this exercise, doing one arm at a time on the right and left side of a doorway.  (Make sure your elbows are pointing straight ahead)

With the first two stretches, you need to make sure your ribs are in contact with the floor at all times.  You do not want any gap in between the ribs and the floor. What she recommends is to prop your head up with bolsters(rolled up towels) until you ribs are in contact with the floor and as you do the exercises you will notice that you need less and less of a bolster.

Again, I can’t state how great this book was.  I have been doing these stretches for a week and I already notice a difference.  Check it out for even more details and exercises to help correct your Diastasis Recti.  If you have any questions or are wondering if you are doing any stretches or exercises correctly, come into the office and I will be happy to help!



Correct Baby Wearing

After seeing a mom have her baby in a carrier that was bad for her child, I wanted to make sure you all knew what was good vs what was bad.  As you can tell from the photo above.  It is very important to choose an ergonomic carrier which will prevent you from contributing to hip dysplasia in your child.

Basically, you want to stay away from the dangling leg position in your carrier and look for more of a “M” position, which aids in the development of your child’s hips.  According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, baby’s with straight dangling legs in their carriers are at risk for developing hip dysplasia.


Chiropractic and Infant/Toddler Torticollis

What is Torticollis?

  • AKA “wry” neck or “twisted” neck
  • Is typically caused by a shortening of the SCM (sternocleidomastoid muscle) characterized by head tilt to one side with head rotation (chin points) to the other side.
  • If congenital, it can be present at birth or take up to 3 months to develop.
  • Most babies with torticollis have difficulty latching to one side more than the other, have a hard time looking to one side, or will rather look at you over their shoulder instead of turning to follow you with his or her eyes.
  • About 1 in 250 infants are born with Torticollis.

What are the typical causes of Torticollis?

  • Congenital
    • Use of forceps or vacuum assisted deliveries.
    • Long duration of time during delivery.
    • Cramping of the fetus in the uterus or abnormal positioning (ex. Breech position)
  • Acquired
    • Playtime
    • Participation in sports
    • Sleeping
    • Poor Posture

How chiropractic can help treat Torticollis?

  • Chiropractors use a very light force adjustment, which is safe and very effective.  Adjusting an infant is very different from adults.  Chiropractors will either use their finger (using no more force than one would put on their eyeball) or and adjusting tool known as an activator.

How long does it typically take to resolve?

  • Most infants usually see results after just one treatment or in a few days, but on average it typically will take around 3-4 treatments to see significant results.  It is recommended to then keep your child on a maintenance plan, where your chiropractor will check your child 1x/month.

Exercises you can do at home to help alleviate (please do not hesitate to ask me to demonstrate at the office):

  • Tummy Time!
  • Football hold
  • Exercise Ball
  • Resisted hip flexion (pushing baby’s feet to chest by putting pressure on baby’s heals) while baby is lying on their back.

Why should you get your baby’s torticollis treated?

  • Research has found that untreated torticollis can lead to developmental delays, vision problems,  and scoliosis.

Additional Research showing the effectiveness of chiropractic and treating torticollis in children:


Fever Phobia

Dr. Chris and I recently encountered a very high fever with our daughter, Harper.  If you are anything like us, we had not heard of a fever ever getting that high, and after checking that the thermometer was working correctly on ourselves we started to freak!  We immediately called the pediatrician and scheduled an appointment to come in right away.  After the Dr. checked her out, said she was OK, ruled out strep, and deemed it just a viral infection. She told us to go home, keep giving her plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and to regulate her fever by either giving a sponge bath or using Tylenol.  Unfortunately, she continued to have a very high fever, going upwards close to 107 degrees at some points for several days. Finally, her fever broke abruptly late Saturday night, and then Sunday morning Harper broke out in a rash all over her trunk.  The doctor then diagnosed Harper with the common viral infection known as Roseola.  Thankfully, she is now happy and healthy, and back to her normal trouble making ways.

The reason why I am writing this is to inform you that HIGH fevers do happen. They are important to you and your child’s immune system.  Fevers are the body’s way of turning on your immune response.  They do this by stimulating the body to produce more lymphocytes, T Cells, white blood cells, antibodies, and other immune responders to fight off the infection! A fever is classified as anything over 99.5* via the Temporal Artery Scanner or oral thermometer, and anything over 100.4* rectally.  Anything above 102* or a fever lasting more than 3 days, it is recommended that you call your pediatrician.  Very high temperatures are often associated with seizures.  However, febrile seizures are actually very rare, they only affect 2-5% of children. They are caused by rapid increase in temperature, not by the height of the temperature. Once a child already has a high fever, a febrile seizure is unlikely with the current illness.  If febrile seizures do occur, they usually last 1-3 minutes.  Very rarely will they last longer than that, and typically these seizures when short do not cause brain damage.  According to the NIH, “there is no evidence that they cause death, brain damage, epilepsy, a decrease in IQ, or learning problems”.  Additionally, the NIH states that “Brain damage from a fever generally will not occur unless the fever is over 107.6°F (42°C).”

When are fevers dangerous?  Here is a list of warning signs our doctor told us to watch out for.  This is when you should immediately go to the ER.

  • Lethargy – the baby should be able to hold his/herself up and respond to you.
  • If you notice baby is pale or flushed, or urinating less.
  • difficulty breathing
  • unexplained rash – which indicates a more serious problem when coupled with a fever.
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea – risk of dehydration increases with these
  • Fevers of 104 and above that don’t come down to 101-102 with Tylenol, Sponge baths, etc.
  • Irritability – more than just the usual fuzziness, she explained it to us as consistent crying for hours, if you find that nothing you do soothes them
  • Meningitis symptoms – high fever with a stiff neck or neck pain, headaches, vomiting, or bright light hurting their eyes.
  • If your infant is 6 weeks or younger, and has a fever of 101 degrees or higher, this is considered a medical emergency. Your doctor should evaluate your infant right away, either during business hours or in an emergency room after hours. Do not give any fever-reducing medications in this situation (you don’t want to hide the fever until after a doctor has evaluated your baby). Be sure to confirm any child fevers with a rectal thermometer (if available) before contacting your doctor.
  • Infants age 7 weeks to three months with a fever over 101 warrant an appointment with your doctor within the next several hours. You generally don’t need to contact your doctor in the middle of the night in this situation if the office opens within the next few hours. Simply follow our recommendations on treating fever below and call your doctor in the morning. If it is the early evening you should probably page your doctor, since the office won’t be open until the following day. Be sure to confirm any fevers with a rectal thermometer (if available) before contacting your doctor.

My biggest recommendation is to always trust your gut.  When in doubt, call your pediatrician.  If you can’t get a hold of them go to the ER!

Here are some of the ways we used to bring her fever down:

  • Sponge baths or using wash clothes with lukewarm water (not cold) on the back of her neck, wrists, elbows, knees, and groin. Never use rubbing alcohol because it can cause the temperature to drop too quickly causing it to spike again, plus it can be reabsorbed directly into the babies blood stream.
  • Repeatedly giving lots of fluids to keep her hydrated.
  • Homemade Vick’s on her feet (link included)
  • Lavender Oil mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil on the back of the neck.
  • Dressed her in lose fitting clothing that wasn’t too heavy – one of our mistakes was to overdress Harper thinking she would have the chills, when in fact our Dr. said we would make the fever higher that way.  Even with blankets, she said only put one light blanket over the top of her.
  • Acetaminophen  or Ibuprophen, it is not recommended that you give your child Aspirin because it has been found to make your child more susceptible to a condition known as Reyes Syndrome.  Additionally, make sure to always use the measuring device given with the OTC medication being sure to give the proper dosage.



What causes the rise in colds/Flu’s in the fall?

Most of us know that Flu season and cold season is during the fall, but a lot of us don’t know why it occurs every year at the same time.

As Fall nears, the season starts to change from warm sunshine to a cold and dreary place.  Meaning we get less hours of sunlight, and we get less exercise.  Therefore, we are getting less Vitamin D which in turn will start to tax our immune system.  The journal Nature Immunology provides details of the synergy between the sunshine vitamin and our adaptive immune killer T cells. Vitamin D is shown to provide the activation key that stimulates T cells into action when invaders are detected.  Maintain your vitamin D blood levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml for optimal protection.

Another common trigger is the Holidays.  The fall brings Halloween where we and our kids get lots of candy, and eat more than usual because it is Halloween. Next comes Thanksgiving, where we are overindulging with appetizers that really could be a meal in itself, and then eating a full course meal for dinner with stuffing, gravy, breads, biscuits, candied ham,  candied potatoes.  All filled with excess sugar than our bodies are used to.  And don’t forget we haven’t even gotten to dessert!   Then we have leftovers!  And just when we think we are done with the leftovers, the holiday parties start, the cookie bakes, Hanukkah, and Christmas Eve and Day.  Are you starting to understand what I am saying?  We are eating WAY more sugar than ever before.  There are actual research studies and papers showing the negative effects of sugar on our immune system.  it basically shuts our immune system down because it is so overloaded by the sugar.  The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) demonstrates that the amount of sugar in two sweetened beverages lowers immune response by 50% for up to five hours after drinking or eating. A diet filled with complex carbohydrates has no detrimental effect on immunity and the high nutritional content of fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds provide the building blocks required to mount a healthy attack as needed.

So what can we do about it?  Being informed that sugar, exercise, and Vitamin D all play a role in weakening our immune system is a start.  Get yourself outside as much as possible, try to exercise or do some form of vigorous activity at least an hour/day.  Start taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.  Dr. Chris and I take 4000 IU’s /day, and Harper takes a combined Fish Oil/Vitamin D3 supplement which we follow the directions on how much to give her according to weight/age.  (nordicnaturals.com)   We have found her supplement at Nature’s Nutrition, Amazon, and even diapers.com.  Next, watch what you eat.  Try not to overindulge.  If you have a problem with saying no, don’t keep it in the house.  Eat more salads with dark leafy greens (ex. spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, arugula).   Try to skip all the sugary juices, sodas, or alcoholic beverages.  Drink more water!  Be sure to wash your hands especially after using the restroom or being in any public place.  We need to start to become more proactive with our health and not wait for the symptoms to start.

Importance of Tummy Time!

What is it?

  • Tummy time is when your baby is laying on his or her stomach while supervised.

Why is tummy time important?

  • It helps your baby develop their cervical and lumbar spinal curves.
  • It helps your baby learn to push themselves up, roll over, crawl, sit up, and pull up to stand.
  • It strengthens your babies suboccipital muscles (the muscles located right below the skull.
  • It also strengthens other muscles of the neck, shoulders, and trunk.
  • It helps develop the babies cervical facets by the neck rotation your baby does while in tummy time.
  • It helps round the skull. (prevents flat head syndrome aka plagiocephaly)
  • It aids in visual motor development and depth perception.
  • It helps prevent twisted neck, also known as positional torticollis.
  • Research has found that babies that don’t do tummy time are more likely to have developmental motor delays.

When do you start doing tummy time?

  • You can start doing tummy time from the moment they are born.
  • All babies should have some head control from the first day they are born.
  • For example, babies that are placed in the NICU are placed on their bellies. (research has shown that our bodies function optimally when we are prone or laying face down)

What are some examples of tummy time?

  1.  Dad or mom can lay down with baby stomach to stomach on chest.
    1. You can even do a step further and bring the baby away and towards your chest.
  2. Put the baby on a play mat or favorite blanket on their tummy. (you can place a rolled up towel/blanket under babies chest and shoulders for additional support)  Get down there with them and offer them some eye to eye time and support!
    1. To take it a step further you can put their favorite toys, colored blocks, mirrors or anything that will catch their attention (you can start to do this around 3 months of age)
  3. Baby Wearing – when you wear the baby in a carrier and they are stomach to stomach with you; it is causing the baby to have to use their neck more to see all around them.
  4. Playing airplane.
  5. Burping over lap or lap sooth – place baby tummy down over lap.  A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm them.
  6. Tummy down carry or football hold – Position one hand under the tummy and between the legs and carry baby tummy down. Nestle  baby close to your body to help get baby accustomed to the position.

How long and how often should you be doing tummy time?

  • You and your baby should be doing tummy time EVERY DAY.
  • Tummy time should be done, especially in the beginning, for 2-3 minute increments.
  • Do tummy time as often as you can! You can never do tummy time too much!

Important Notes

  • Always do tummy time while you are supervising!
  • Always do tummy time on stable surfaces where baby is secure.

Importance of Getting Outside to PLAY

Kids today are growing up in a world of technology, and it is affecting their health.  How you may ask?  Well if you look around you can see it walking through the grocery store or mall.  No one looks up anymore.  No one speaks to one another.  Everyone, adults included, are so involved with their phones or electronic devices!  Unfortunately, not only are we increasing screen time, but we are seeing decreased play activity outdoors and lack of socialization.  Now, we are hearing a lot more diagnoses of ADHD and autism.  Scary stuff right?    The American Medical Association guidelines recommend that children ages 3-18 should be getting no more than 2 hours/day of screen time!  Today, children have way surpassed the recommendation and are spending most of their day, even at school now, in front of a screen.  Who would of thought when we were growing up that there would come a time when kids not getting outside enough would ever be a topic of conversation?  Kids are leading too structured lives with little to no time to be creative and imaginative outdoors. We need to make a change for our future, our kids future.

There is one simple answer to combat this activity deficiency, and that is to get not only our kids but ourselves outside more. There are many benefits to getting your children outside.  Not only will it give them room to play without worrying about getting the house dirty or allow them to run around uninhibited, but it will provide these benefits as well:

  1. Improved Vision – research done by Optometry and Visionary Science reported that the more time children spent outdoors increased their ability to see distances compared to children that stayed primarily indoors.
  2. Promotes Social Skills – Kids learn to take turns, share, problem solving, and motivation.
  3. Increasing attention span –  studies have shown that children with ADHD had far less symptoms when they were given the chance to play outdoors, and had more outdoor activity.  The more active the child the less the ADHD symptoms appeared.
  4. Reduces Stress – I am sure you have all experienced the stress relief being outdoors gives us, especially after a long day at work.  I always look forward to that first breath of fresh air and instant relaxation when I leave the office.  One author states that some studies, “…also support the theory that green spaces might help restore children’s ability to focus their attention, thereby bolstering their cognitive resources by allowing neural inhibitory mechanisms to rest and recover from use.”
  5. Provides Vitamin D – although it is tough here in the Northeast, especially in the winter months.  Any time outside spent in the sunlight helps your body naturally produce the Vitamin D it needs to function properly.

One thing you may be thinking is how do I pry my kids away from the screen?  If you children see you being active, it is only natural for your children to follow.  One way to deter screen time is to keep a basket of toys by the backdoor and every time they go to pick up their IPAD, watch television, play video games, or go on the computer take one of the activities out and head outdoors.  9 times out of 10 your children will follow because they want to hang out with you!

Another way to get the kids outdoors more would be to take them out of the house and to a local park.  Some parks are great to play on the swingset, but others are great for Hiking!  If you are looking to try out hiking for the first time try Cattus Island’s blue trail.  It is a very simple hike and it gets you all outdoors! Allaire state park is also a great place to go and explore!  Here is a list of local parks in the area and how close they are to our office:

  • Wind Ward Beach Park – 3.5 miles
  • Mantoloking Bridge County Park – 3.3 miles
  • Cattus Island Park – 6.9 miles
  • Silverton Park – 3.9 miles
  • Castle Park – 6.6 miles
  • Allaire State Park – 15 miles

You can also take the kids to the beach or boardwalk which is just a quick 10 minute ride from our office.  Even during the winter months, it is always found to find treasures on the beach and make a game out of it! Let your kids use their imagination and grow outside of the classroom!

Do yourself and your child a favor, and get off those electronics and get some fresh air!

Dangers of Sports Drinks and What to Drink Instead

Have you or your child ever tried a sports drink or pedialyte?  Both have been advertised to be a great hydration for the body, full of electrolytes, and even better than water!  However, it turns out that they have been misleading us.  There are many harmful ingredients in these drinks that have been linked to a lot of potential problems down the line, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and ADHD.  For example, take a look at the ingredient list found on the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange:  water, SUGAR, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, sucrose acetate, isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosini, and yellow 6.  Basically all I see there is sugar and chemicals!?!  AND, yellow number 6 has been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children, aggravating ADHD symptoms!

One of my biggest concerns is the sugar content.  In just one 32 ounce Gaterade/Powerade there is 200 calories and 52.5 grams of sugar! That amount of sugar alone cancels out the electrolyte benefit right off the bat.  It will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop so quickly that you will feel even more tired than before you had the drink!

Furthermore, according to the journal of applied physiology, sports drinks do not quench your thirst, but actually in fact just make you drink more.  They state in their research that it is actually the flavoring and salt intake that make you drink more, and in turn stay more hydrated than before.

Additionally, the acid found in the sports drink will actually erode your teeth more than drinking a can of soda!  A study done in the journal of general dentistry said “after 5 days of consistent consumption, the acid starts to irreversibly destroy tooth enamel”.

After reading all of this, you must be thinking ok, I do not want to drink that anymore, but what can I do to keep myself and my child hydrated while exercising or playing in sports or even if your child gets the stomach bug and needs to stay hydrated.  There are many different things you can make or use as your own natural sports drink without all the dangerous add-in’s you find in sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or even Pedialyte. Coconut water is the liquid that is found inside the coconut. It has actually been nicknamed “Nature’s Gatorade.” It contains 5 important electrolytes:

  1. Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function. Coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
  2. Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
  3. Magnesium: Important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
  4. Phosphorus: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
  5. Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)

Now you can drink the coconut water alone or you can add it on to your own homemade sports drink.  A simple homemade recipe you can use is the following: 3-4 slices of fresh ginger, 1 cup of water plus any extra you want to add in, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1-2 tsp of raw honey (not for the use of children under 2).  All you have to do is mix well, and it is ready for your consumption!  You can even freeze the concentrate for later use, and all you will have to do is add water when your ready to drink it!