Friday, May 30, 2014

Who is right…TV, Social Media, or Mom?

 Orriant Mommy Blogger, Emily, talks about communicating with your kids, who are being attacked by society’s mixed messages.

I have been pondering a lot lately about communication between my children and me. I joke that, as parents, we can't wait for them to talk, then wish they would give a few minutes of silence, then once teenagers, we are back to wishing they would talk to us again.

Although my children are still young, I worry what messages I send them through my words. Am I encouraging? Do I help them to see their potential and instill confidence? Am I teaching them, not just by words, but by what they see me do? I don't think most parents purposefully say things to hurt a child. We ultimately want what is best for them.

How do we balance what we say against the influence that society provides? Especially, it's perspective of body image, comparisons, purpose for eating healthy, exercise, or “fad” diets.  Society focuses on size, popularity, so called beauty, and success. But really isn't it about quality of life and taking care of what we are lucky to have? How do you most effectively teach the concept of eating healthy and exercise for health, not size or appearance?

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in adolescents in the United States, over the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This has had a profound effect on children’s health.  Conditions formerly only seen in adults, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, are now being diagnosed in children (

My daughter is 8 years old. She is by no means overweight, she is just a tall 8 year old. She is over a head taller than all the girls on her soccer team. Her dad is 6'2” and I am 5'9”, so her tall height is expected. I remember as an 8 year old in ballet class feeling bigger than the other girls, but thankfully my mom helped me to find ways to celebrate it. I could run faster on the soccer field or leap further across the stage. But I still felt the influence from other girls, and emotionally struggled. I felt bigger and often less attractive. During the off season in college, I found myself extreme in my eating and exercise. Not to be fit, but to try to align my skewed image of myself with society’s reality. How easily reality can become distorted. I don't want to pass that sort of conflict on to my children. We come in all shapes and sizes. That's something to be celebrated!

I want to instill in my children to love their bodies, take pride in their appearance, and keep focused on their abilities. To appreciate what they can do and their potential. I find myself saying, “Make sure you are eating so your body can grow healthy.  Listen to when your body says it's had enough.” Or, “Don't just eat because it tastes good, you can have more later, if you're still hungry.” Tell your children that fruits and vegetables will help them to be healthy and strong, and not connect them with size or weight loss.  For many, this is a new perspective. Growing up I often heard the phrase, “You need to finish the food on your plate. There are starving children in the world who would be grateful for that food.” I even catch myself saying that at times. Why not just put less on their plate to begin with? By clearing our plates, we train our minds to ignore our bodily cues. We lose the ability to recognize the “full” sensation and eat based on emotion, rather than with the purpose of fueling and providing nutrients.

Dr. Ronald Feinstein, an adolescent medicine specialist at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York said, "We need to focus on healthy lifestyle, and parents need to lead by example.” This includes appropriate meal planning and having healthy food available. "Set an example and avoid putting kids in a position where they have to make poor choices." (Source:

It can be hard to find just the right words and ways to teach this message. I don't want my children to feel I'm nagging, or keeping them from “enjoying” life. Leading by example is the most powerful way to influence your children. 

I've found some creative ways to start and continue our children on a healthy path.  I plan to share my ideas in future weeks, so keep following this blog.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dip into the BEST Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Orriant Mommy Blogger, Emily, shares her favorite recipe to celebrate your holiday weekend.

Black Bean and Avocado Salsa
1 can/soaked black beans rinsed
1 can/soaked black eyed peas rinsed
1 can/frozen/fresh corn rinsed
1 avocado diced
1 tomato diced
1/2 green pepper diced
1/2 yellow pepper diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 red onion diced
1 Jalapeno seeded and diced

Mix the following:
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Poor dressing over vegetables and toss until coated. Chill and serve with pita chips or whole grain tortilla chips.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"The energy in the starting corrals was electric." Orriant Blogger, Ron Fehr, talks about the Boston Marathon 2014.

The first day in Boston was spent at the athlete's race expo, picking up gear bags, checking into the race, meeting other racers and enjoying the pre-race, carb-load pasta dinner.  I tried to get as much rest as possible the night before the race, which is difficult to do for a race that is surrounded by so much hype. 

Race morning was slow moving and essentially stress free, making it to the subway and getting on the buses that had to transport nearly 33,000 runners to the small town of Hopkinton.  Being in the first wave, I made it to the start with plenty of time to rest and get comfortable before the ¾ mile walk to the start. 

The energy in the starting corrals was electric, with the race director interviewing past race winners and introducing the “elite field” (athletes who have won more than 80 global marathons).  As the clock started ticking closer to 10:00am, you could feel the runners inch forward, and hear the spectators reach a fevered pitch.  I felt very good, but with a little worry due to my heel injury suffered a week before the race. 

The gun went off, and I was on my way.  The first 2 miles went well and I was right on my goal pace.  However, my heel started to cause me some discomfort, and I had to slightly alter my stride.  Even though the adjustment was miniscule, my muscles were not used to running that way and by mile 8, my leg muscles (all of them) started to hurt tremendously.  Between miles 10-12, I knew that my sub-3 hour goal was shot, and I now had to focus on just finishing the race.  After the half-way point, my joints started to lock up.  I couldn't get my legs to complete a smooth stride, which only continued to cause my leg muscles even more pain. 

Despite the bodily discomfort, I had an incredible time on the course.  The race is organized very well, and the spectators are beyond description, displaying unlimited enthusiasm.  I received many nicknames during the race due to my hair, but more people called me 'Wheeler', which was great to hear (notice my shirt in the picture).  I don't think I would have been able to run this race without the sponsorship of my company, Wheeler.  I am very grateful for that opportunity. 

After finishing the race in 3:27:55, I nearly collapsed due to my legs forgetting how to walk.  Fortunately a med-tech was there to catch me.  After finding my way to the water station, I was feeling better and am happy with the result.  It almost seemed surreal that it was over after so much time spent preparing.  Despite not meeting my sub-3 hour goal, I couldn't have asked for a better race day, and experience.  If anyone reading this is a runner, I would recommend putting this race on your bucket list.  It deserves all the hype, and is well worth it. 

Again, I am grateful to Wheeler for sponsoring me and helping me fulfill this goal.  I am also grateful for Orriant, letting me post my thoughts and supporting me along the way.  The list is long of those who deserve my gratitude, including my lovely wife, family, co-workers, and great friends. 

My future goals (after taking a few weeks to relax, of course) are the Missoula Marathon in July, and perhaps a triathlon here and there, if I remember how to ride my bike.

Thank you all so much for the support, I can't tell you how much it helped me train for, and achieve this goal.  Until next time, live health, and happy!

Friday, May 2, 2014

How to have a "cheat meal" without going overboard

Eating a healthy diet does not mean you have to say goodbye to your favorite foods for good. In fact, incorporating your favorite foods is a great way to stay motivated with healthy eating. We often refer to this as a ‘cheat day’ or a ‘cheat meal’: a day or a meal where you indulge in foods that you do not normally eat throughout the week. Many dietary professionals recommend implementing a cheat day or meal, especially if the individual is on a strict eating plan. This can promote a more sustainable and realistic way of eating. It is important to be cautious and not go overboard. Here are a few things to keep in mind on your cheat days:

Have a plan. It might be tempting to let loose and eat everything in sight on your cheat days. After all, you’ve been so good all week! But adding more structure to your splurging can go a long way to preventing you from overindulging. Planning out what you are going to eat allows you to indulge, without over doing it.

Eat just your favorite foods. If you are going to “cheat”, then make sure you do it only on your favorite foods. Avoid eating something just because it is there, like a stale cookie at a party you will likely not even enjoy.

Focus on portion control. Even your cheat days need to have some boundaries. The best way to do this is with portion control. If ice cream is one of your favorite foods, then have one scoop to satisfy that craving, rather than a whole pint.

Turn off the TV. Studies show we tend to eat greater quantities when we are distracted by the television. Set time aside to mindfully enjoy what you are eating, without distractions.

Get back on track. If you are more thoughtful about your cheat days, then there should be no feelings of guilt afterward. Accept that you allowed yourself to reasonably indulge, and get right back on track with your healthy eating habits.