ID-100163322FASD Awareness: What’s Nutrition Got To Do With It?

By Lauren Bartell Weiss, Ph.D.

As International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day approaches, people all around the world are planning events to raise awareness about the potential risks of consuming alcohol during pregnancy and the difficulties of people and families who struggle with FASD. The first FASDay was celebrated on 9/9/99. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, a woman should abstain from drinking alcohol. As a published researcher specializing in nutrition and it’s impact during pregnancy, I thought about how I could do my part during FASD Awareness Month. It came down to spreading the word about what I know best- good nutrition.

You might be asking yourself, “what does nutrition have to do with FASD?” The answer might surprise you. Let’s start with some facts about alcohol consumption. Approximately 60% of child-bearing-aged women consume alcohol and it has been suggested that up to 30% of women drink while pregnant. In addition, about 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and it is likely that a woman may unintentionally drink during the early stages of pregnancy.

Here’s where nutrition comes into play. While the recommendation is still to abstain from consuming alcohol during pregnancy, there are ways to reduce potential risks to the baby by optimizing your nutrition status. While eating a healthy balanced diet is very important for health and disease prevention in general, women of childbearing age, especially those who consume alcohol, should also take a multivitamin/prenatal supplement to maximize their nutritional health in the event that they do unexpectedly become pregnant. Pregnancy increases the demand for many vitamins and minerals in order to adequately support a developing fetus and alcohol can interfere with nutritional supply from the mom to the unborn baby. It can also change the metabolism of the nutrients. This can be dangerous by potentially increasing the risk of pregnancy and baby complications and, also, of birth defects. There is strong evidence that a deficiency in folic acid is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects. Folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy protects against this. The same may hold true for other vitamins and minerals in the protection of FASD so taking extra vitamin supplements before and during pregnancy may serve as a type of “insurance policy” if a pregnancy were to occur.

A new study I co-authored found a link between multivitamin use and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. We looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s multiple-state Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) of more than 100,000 women between 2004 and 2008. The women answered a series of questions involving their alcohol use before pregnancy as well as multivitamin consumption during it. The study found women who reported consuming alcohol regularly or binge drinking were significantly less likely to take a multivitamin supplement compared with those who did not report alcohol consumption. The findings of this study, in addition to other research, emphasize the importance for all women of childbearing age, especially those who drink alcohol, to take a multivitamin supplement regularly whether they’re planning to have children or not.

I now encourage you to do your part during FASD Awareness Month by spreading the word about daily multivitamin use among your circle of friends. Let them know, a prenatal vitamin today could make for a healthier child tomorrow, even if they don’t plan on starting a family for a very long time.

MotherToBaby has facts sheets on alcohol’s risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which can be found at MotherToBaby.org. For more information or to get a personalized risk assessment about alcohol, medications or other exposures, call MotherToBaby toll-free at (866) 626-6847. MotherToBaby is a service of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). MotherToBaby and OTIS are suggested resources by many agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About the Author

Lauren Bartell Weiss, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UC San Diego’s Center for the Promotion of Maternal Health and Infant Development and co-author of “Associations Between Multivitamin Supplement Use and Alcohol Consumption Before Pregnancy: Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2004 to 2008,” which was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research earlier this year.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

fresh shrimp_spring_rollThere is nothing quite like a fresh, crisp spring roll! The blogger behind Mommy Hiker shows how deliciously easy it is to make your own at home – YUM!

Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls

Ingredients

1 package of Rice Paper Wrappers
1 cucumber
1 carrot
1 bunch of Radish
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of thai basil
1/2 pound of cooked Shrimp
1 tablespoon freshly-grated Ginger
1 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
1 teaspoon of Rice Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

Julienne all of the veggies, thinly slice the radish and cut your shrimp in half length-wise, then toss everything in the rice vinegar, freshly-grated ginger, salt and pepper. To prepare the Rice Paper Wrappers simply soak them in water for about a minute until they become pliable. Place a small handful of the mixture in the center of the rice paper (double up the rice paper per roll so they are a bit more sturdy in the hand), fold in the two sides at the ends, then roll up and devour! SO easy, SO yummy, SO healthy! Enjoy!

*Recipe and image courtesy of Mommy Hiker.*

Amala face polish setTo combat skin issues that have come about from a summer of sun and fun, and make the transition easily through the seasons, Amala’s Brightening Face Polish will help keep your skin healthy, hydrated, and radiant! “Mom” was recently introduced to this seemingly magical face polish that was created by Amala, which is known for their responsible skincare line. The new face polish is recommended to be used twice weekly to achieve a bright and beautiful complexion.

Amala’s Brightening Face Polish revives the skin with its unique blend of Narcissus, Raspberry Seeds and Algae Extract, peeling away pigmented surface cells and revealing a smooth, even skin tone. A little goes a long way to help your skin resist dark spots and depigmentation, and “Mom” loves the way her face feels after each use!

Amala Brightening face polish

What are the skin benefits of using Amala’s Brightening Face Polish?

Narcissus: has the ability to slow down the synthesis of melanin, the skin pigment that leads to dark spots. Also helps combat the appearance of fine lines.

Raspberry Seed: delivers gentle, effective exfoliation to smooth skin texture and dissolve pigmented surface cells

Algae Extract: helps inhibit melanin production, while infusing protective polyphenol antioxidants. Also boosts cell turnover and activates skin’s natural exfoliation enzyme, optimizing skin’s ability to eliminate dull, pigmented surface cells.

For more information on the entire line of Amala’s eco-beauty products, visit AmalaBeauty.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

hierloom_tomato_gazpachoThis recipe courtesy of Mommy Hiker  is SO easy, there’s no reason you can’t have this staple in a pitcher in your fridge all year long! Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Ingredients

4 large tomatoes
4 celery stalks
4 small persian cucumbers, peeled
1/4 red bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp red onion
1 avocado
1/3 cup of olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Finely dice the first 6 ingredients and toss them into the food processor and top it off with the juice of 1 lime and a bit of salt and pepper. Pulse the processor just a few times while adding olive oil. Chill, then serve with a garnish of sliced avocado (and feel free to add any fresh herbs you have on hand!) Voila! That is literally it! 10 Minutes, TOPS! Enjoy with a great Sauvignon Blanc!

*Recipe and image courtesy of Mommy Hiker.*

ID-10069058Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and obesity is an epidemic that everyone in the family can help combat!

Did you know that in a study researching the trend of childhood obesity, an estimated 43 million children around under the age of 5 were overweight or obese, globally, in 2010. This number is staggering, but in honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, here are a few tips to help prevent any more children from becoming part of this statistic.

Designate Family Time for Getting Active

Whether it’s a walk together after dinner or getting together in a park on a Sunday afternoon, there are always times to get in some time for physical activity. Doing this together holds you all accountable, sets good examples for kids, and gives you more time to be with your loved ones!

Limit TV and Video Game Time

Sitting in front of electronic screens for prolonged periods of time isn’t good for kids—it makes it easy for them to fall into couch-potato status instead of getting outside and playing sports or meeting friends outdoors.

Fresh-Fruit-Bonanza

Cook Meals Together

Here’s another easy opportunity to stay fit as a family. Cooking homemade meals together increases bonding time with the family and prevents you from picking up take-out or pizza on your way home from work

Usananimals

Make Sure They Get Proper Nutrients

Following the idea of cooking meals together, you have to make sure what you are feeding your kids will help them continue to grow strong and healthy. Try to limit sweets, increase veggies, and make sure they get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need. Incorporating a children’s multivitamin like USANA USAnimals into your kid’s daily routine can help ensure that this happens.

*Main image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

UsananimalsAs the kids start back-to-school, a nutritious breakfast is a wonderful start to the school day, and to make sure they are receiving all of the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, choosing a high-quality vitamin is essential. “Mom” was recently introduced to Usanimals by USANA, which has a wild berry flavor that her little one enjoys! No struggles to ger her to take her vitamin every morning – it is delicious and easy to chew! Science-based and free of artificial flavors and sweeteners, Usanimals daily multivitamin helps support development for children ages 2 to 12.

Usananimals

Why Choose USANA Usanimals?

Provides excellent nutritional support for growing children*
Supports healthy immune function with vitamins A, C, E, and zinc*
Includes vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline for healthy brain function*
Includes calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D for strong bones and teeth*
Includes iron, thiamin, and B12 for energy*
Easy-to-eat chewables stamped with fun animal shapes

To learn more about USANA Usanimals, or the other various supplements and products offered by USANA, visit USANA.com.*

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

ID-100117639Mom” has discovered another blog that features delicious, healthy recipes and interesting content that Tiny Green Mom readers would enjoy! The blogger behind Mommy Hiker was kind enough to share this decadent and super simple cold soup that makes a tasty lunch on a hot day for the whole family – no cooking required!

Cold Cucumber & Yogurt Soup (Cacik)

Ingredients

6 Cups of Plain Yogurt (“Mom” prefers Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Yogurt)
2 Cloves of Garlic
4 Persian Cucumbers
1 Cup of Water

Preparation

Into a large bowl, grate the peeled cucumbers and use a zester or microplane to add the garlic. Dump the yogurt and water in and blend until it is smooth. Mommy Hiker usually uses a fork because it easily breaks up all of the lumps, but doesn’t aerate the yogurt. Chill and serve! That’s it, literally!

In Mommy Hiker’s house, they usually prefer it on the thicker side, but feel free to add more water, in very small increments, to get it to the consistency that works for you. This dish is also delicious with finely chopped mint or dill, a drizzle of olive oil or served as a side dish with any yummy protein!

*Recipe courtesy of Mommy Hiker. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

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7 Steps to a Smarter Kid

With kids headed back to school, it’s more important than ever to support their healthy development to ensure they have every advantage in school!

One of the most overlooked aspects of brain development is the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids on a child’s brain. A recent study shows the significant impact of omega-3 DHA in relation to a child’s vocabulary and comprehensive testing. Early intake of omega-3 supplements will benefit your child’s cognitive learning and may increase intelligence in their pre-school and school-aged years.

Karlene Karst, a mother, Registered Dietician and five-time published author on “Healthy Fats,” believes so strongly in the power of Omega-3’s that she developed her own line called Sea-Licious, which she gives to her two young boys every day! To help other parents, Karlene has outlined 7 steps parents can take to help build smarter kids by incorporating Omega-3’s into their everyday lives.

7 Steps to a Smarter Kid:

1. Supplement each day with ½ tsp. of pure Omega-3 oils. Sea-Licious is one of the tastiest and most powerful options on the market.

2. After age 1, begin to incorporate nut butters such as almond and sunflower as a way to increase healthy omega-3s. Nut butters can be spread on brown rice cakes, pita bread or sprouted grain bread for a delicious breakfast or snack.

3. Incorporate ground flaxseeds, chia and pumpkin seeds into baked goods such as muffins, loafs and cookies. They can even be added to soups and stews for additional fiber, protein and of course healthy fat.

4. Greek yogurt — such a delicious, healthy snack! You can incorporate a brand such as Sea-Licious right into the yogurt if your child doesn’t want to take their omega-3 oil on its own.

5. Smoothies — this is one of the easiest and delicious ways to pack a ton of nutrients into your child’s diet. As a base use organic milk or a dairy alternative such as rice, or almond milk. Load the smoothie up with spinach, berries, and add a banana for sweetness. You can also add the chia/flaxseeds as well as Sea-Licious right into the blender!

6. Serve fish such as halibut and salmon. There are many delicious ways to prepare it. Make it flavorful and your kids will love it!

7. Be your child’s role model — they will do what you do! If you are taking your Omega-3’s, so will your children! If you eat healthy, so will your children!

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*