Feed Them Well By Leslie Rusch-Bayer

Screenshot 2016-01-28 10.41.00We all love our children. I believe most parents would say they would do anything for their children. We spend our lives working to provide our children with love, shelter, wisdom and nourishment. With the rate of childhood obesity increasing every year, we as parents must look and analyze whether we are doing something wrong?

Childhood obesity is not only a problem in America, but it has reached alarming rates all over the world. The amount of overweight children in Africa has nearly doubled since 1990. Asia accounts for nearly half, about forty-eight percent, of the world’s overweight or obese children. Why are some of the world’s most wealthy, educated and strong countries struggling with childhood obesity?

A closer look at different cultures can help us understand the epidemic in other countries. In wealthier countries, poorer children are more likely to be obese. This is due to lack of availability to more healthy foods due to cost. Many of these obese children are living on cheaper, sugar-laden and highly processed foods. However, in poorer countries, the wealthy children are more likely to be obese. This is a sign of wealth.

Why is childhood obesity on the rise? One explanation may be found in our genes. Research is showing some biological pathways that may shed some light on which children may be predisposed to obesity based on their genes. Children who suffered from even the slightest malnutrition while in utero and during the early years of childhood may struggle with obesity due to the impact on gene function. Also, reports are showing children who were conceived by a mother who was obese or had pre-diabetes “predisposes the child to increased fat deposits associated with metabolic disease and obesity.”

Childhood obesity is clearly a concern in America. In 2012 the CDC reported that seventeen percent of the children between the ages of two and nineteen were obese.

Unhealthy, processed foods are very inexpensive. The typical American only spends about seven percent of their family budget on food. Other countries, like Japan, who are ranked in the top 10 healthiest countries, spend upwards of 15-25% of their income on food. If we invested more of our money on whole, unprocessed foods would our rate of obesity decline? Probably. Many people voice their concern on how expensive it is to eat “healthy.” An important question to consider is, “Is it truly expensive to eat healthy, or is it just cheaper to eat unhealthy?”

So how do we as parents try to take steps in preventing obesity in our children?

  • Encourage your children to be active. Play with your children. Turn off the television. Go for a walk after dinner. Children are full of energy, encourage them to burn it off.
  • Let your children see you cooking. Explain which foods are healthy and how eating healthy will affect them. Your children will model what they see you doing.
  • Do not put your child “on a diet,” or restrict calories. Children, no matter the age, are still growing. They need to be nourished. Restricting calories or certain foods may mean that your child is missing out on the key nutrients or energy that they require at this important stage in their life.
  • Emphasize the importance of healthy foods, and praise your children when they eat them. Fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products and unprocessed foods should be the building blocks of a child’s diet. Provide what you budget allows. Any amount of unprocessed fruits and vegetables is better than none.
  • Let your child eat a cookie every once in a while. It is just a cookie, they will be ok.
  • Do not criticize your child’s body, or criticize your body in front of them. What you say to your children at this fragile age will impact how they think as an adult. Always promote a healthy body image.
  • Realize they are children, and they are still growing. If your child is overweight, do not panic. Children are all different and grow at different rates. Growth spurts and puberty hit children at different times. Be patient. If your child is healthy, active and eats a wide variety of foods, you are doing everything right.
  • Love your children. They are our future and deserve the best.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer

Winter Habits for a Strong Immune System By Hope Placher, MMS, PA-C

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I am proud to share that as of the last week in January 2016, I have avoided all illness this winter season. I know that making such a declaration of health may have completely jinxed all hopes of wellness in February, but I will be bold when I say my victory over contagious disease has not been by chance. I don’t live in a bubble.  I am intentional with specific habits of wellness that strengthen my immune system. Let me share with you my tips for resilience.

  • High antioxidant smoothie for breakfast. I don’t mind a cold drink in the winter – talk about a morning pick me up! I create a whole food smoothie incorporating kale, celery, ginger root, blueberries, raspberries and carrots. Throw in a scoop or two of vegan protein powder and a probiotic sachet and I’m ready to take on the day with a happy gut.
  • Strengthening supplementation. In a perfect world I would get all of the nutrients I need through diet alone. If you’re able to do this, I salute you. I take a daily multivitamin to boost my cellular and mitochondrial energy production and support my immune system. In addition to my multivitamin, I try not to forget Vitamin D. It is excellent for the immune system and mood. I take a dosage that is based on what my blood levels show. An ideal range for Vitamin D is 50-70 ng/mL. A simple blood test ordered by your provider can help you determine how much Vitamin D is right for you.
  • Meditation.  This is a new practice for me. Setting aside at least 5 minutes of my day to meditate is an excellent stress and anxiety tool. A 2003 study demonstrated that participants that meditated activated an area of the brain that increased antibody titers to a recently administered (influenza) vaccine. These findings demonstrate that a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function.
  • Detoxification. This doesn’t have to be complicated. I focus on getting as much garbage out of my body as possible. I drink clean, reverse osmosis water throughout the day. I complete a 7 days liver detox the first of every year (Core Restore – Orthomolecular).  Make it a priority to break a sweat daily by exercise or time spent in an infrared sauna. (We have one at the Couri Center – have you seen it?)
  • Rejuvenating sleep. Sleep is considered an important modulator of the immune response. Thus, a lack of sleep can weaken immunity, increasing susceptibility to infection. For instance, shorter sleep durations are associated with a rise in suffering from the common cold. At least 8 hours. Nine if I’m lucky.

To your health,

Hope Placher, PA-C, MMS

Sardinia Minestorne

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Sardinia Minestrone

A bountiful dish that is eaten every day for lunch by the some of the world’s longest-lived families in Sardinia, Italy.

Serves 8-10


  • 1⁄2 cup dried peeled fava or cannellini  beans
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cranberry or canned pinto beans
  • 1⁄3 cup dried chickpeas
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 2⁄3 cup)
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (about 31⁄2 cups)
  • 3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced (about 11⁄2 cups)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups chopped fennel
  • 1⁄4 cup loosely packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2⁄3 cup of Sardinian fregula, Israeli couscous, or acini di pepe pasta
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup finely grated pecorino Romano (about 2 ounces)


  1. Soak the fava beans, cranberry beans, and chickpeas in a large bowl of water for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours (that is, overnight). Drain in a colander set in the sink. Rinse well.
  1. Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery; cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
  1. Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, parsley, and basil, as well as the drained beans and chickpeas. Add enough water (6 to 8 cups) so that everything is submerged by 1 inch.
  1. Raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly, uncovered, until the beans are tender, adding more water as necessary if the mixture gets too thick, about 11⁄2 hours.
  1. Stir in the pasta, salt, and pepper. Add up to 2 cups water if the soup seems too dry. Continue simmering, uncovered, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
  1. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into each off our serving bowls. Divide the soup among them and top each with 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese.


Ordinary Life By Sue Lang, CNM, APN

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I recently read an article on Facebook that my cousin posted. This article echoed such truth that I felt compelled to share it with you. The original was from the book “The Parent’s Tae Te Ching” by William Martin.

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable, but it is a way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of ordinary live.

Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry when pets and people die.

Show them the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

Although this was intended primarily for parents and child rearing, I feel that we could all benefit from its purpose. Every January, people make these resolutions to improve and start a new and better life. Often we are feeling that we have failed to achieve this new extraordinary life. Might I suggest, adopting the philosophy that William Martin suggested.

Don’t ask people to do the extraordinary, but strive to savor what we have. Help the people that you know to look at the wonder of the ordinary life and see the virtuousness, the touch, feel, smell and taste the goodness of ordinary life. Every day we try to look at how we can improve when maybe we should be savoring each and every moment of the day. From that first stretch before we get out of bed to the last stretch when we crawl back into bed for the night, look at our life. Look at what we are eating; listen to the voices around us. Are we truly hearing them? As I have said before, look at our children and see the wonder of nature and the enjoyment of simple things in their eyes. Often, taking stock of our everyday life provides new prospective to everything. How many of us bought a lottery ticket and dreamt of the life that we could have?

How many people do you know that are driven by the need to achieve more because they are dissatisfied with their life? Maybe the extraordinary that you are seeking can take place only after you actually make the ordinary every day come alive.

Look beyond yourself. Cry, laugh, offer a hug and show love to achieve the most of our day. Savor the ordinary life. Make that ordinary life the best that it can be. We only have one short life. Make the most of what we are given and the rest will often follow.

P.S. Yes, I did buy a lottery ticket.

Sue Lang, CNM, APN