Easy Apple Cinnamon Quinoa

I am always looking for more ways to get my children to eat good and healthy food.  This recipe that a friend gave me was so easy, and yummy!  Our middle son, Owen, is currently in the Brain Balance program and along with all the therapies and work he is doing there 3 days a week, we also have exercises for home program and a nutrition plan.  This plan is pretty restrictive.  No gluten, dairy, soy, or refined sugars, and very limited corn.  He also is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs so although we can have those things and stay on program with him, he can’t.

When we first began trying new foods Owen would absolutely refuse.  He would have meltdowns, throw fits, I mean you would think we were asking him to move mountains, not take a small bite of food to try.  Sometimes when he finally would try something, he would then throw up or spit it out because it was terrible.  We have learned through his testing at Brain Balance that his “smeller” is off.  He failed the portion of the test where he is supposed to guess smells, and smelling our food is a big part of how we taste our food so it makes sense that not very many things taste good to him.  If it wasn’t the taste, it was the texture that threw him off so many times we felt like we could20160817_114859n’t win.

He is slowly making progress.  He is more open to trying new foods and taking at least 2 bites and swallowing.  We haven’t found very many new foods that he likes yet, but the fact that he isn’t throwing up when he tries them is definitely progress!

We tried this recipe with some success…

Apple Breakfast Quinoa

Begin by peeling and coring the apples, then cut them into bite size pieces.  In a medium saucepan add apples, water, and quinoa.

20160817_111919 (2)

Bring these to a boil, then cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir in cinnamon, then separate into 2 bowls.  You can drizzle with honey if needed.  I made a double batch so that I could have it all ready for the next day as well, so I put them in containers.  It reheats quite well!

20160817_114712

This was a definite hit with my littlest.  He’s 3 and can nearly eat an entire serving by himself!  My Brain Balance kid, Owen, doesn’t love it, but will eat about 5 bites and given our history, I’d say that’s a win!  My oldest who is 9 will eat about 1/2 a serving before she says she is full.

I absolutely love it!  It tastes good, but more than that, it is filling and keeps me full until it’s time to eat again, no mid-morning hunger to try and battle.

I’m going to be sharing some more recipes that we are trying soon, so be sure to follow our blog and check us out on Facebook at Wellness Momma.

**To learn more about cooking with Essential Oils, or to place an order, simply email me at wellnessmommaelyse@gmail.com or use this contact form.

 

Positive Changes in my Son

We have been a part of the Brain Balance program for 3 months now and I wanted to be sure and update everyone on how Owen is doing.  This is the half way point, and he has already met or surpassed a portion of his goals!  It has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs.  It has been hard, it has been a lot of work, and it has changed our entire family.  Don’t get the wrong idea though, no one ever told us that this program would be easy!  No one said that this was going to be a quick fix, or that change would happen overnight.  At certain points I didn’t realize it was going to be so hard and I almost wanted to give up….but your know what?  It’s all been worth it!  All the sacrifices, all the driving, all the meltdowns, all the home program work, all the diet changes…it was all so overwhelming at first!  But every step has been worth it.

My little boy has grown, changed, and matured so much in the past 3 months! I sit here in disbelief with a tear running down my cheek as I look at him across the room problem solving and trying to figure out how to get his Lego structure stabilized.  You see 3 months ago, that would have been a meltdown…like end of the world, throw the Legos, stomp, scream, kick sort of meltdown because the Legos weren’t doing what he wanted them to.  When he was 2, that behavior didn’t seem like a big deal, but at 6 and a half he has to learn to handle these emotions.  Now he is able to stop, think about how it should go, talk it out, or just make more attempts at his structure without losing control of his emotions!  THIS IS AMAZING!

Another giant milestone for him is his diet and nutrition.  He was EXTREMELY picky, and mostly ate junk food. (looking back I realize it was mostly junk, I didn’t see that it was so much junk before)  With a lot of hard work and persistence, we have been able to stick to a healthy meal plan of real foods.  We even spent this past weekend at a church retreat where every meal contained mostly food that he couldn’t have.  He dealt with this better than I did I think, and was happy to eat his Brain Balance approved foods, and stay on track with all the progress we’ve made so far!  He is still picky, and has his struggles at times, but he has come so far in such a short amount of time, that I’m not complaining.

Then one more change that I saw recently is his smile.  You see, before if he wasn’t making a funny face when looking at the camera, he sort of had this odd smile.  We learned from Brain Balance that his eyes have trouble focusing, and I figured out that’s probably why in most of his pictures he isn’t actually looking at the camera.  Then because his frontal lobe is under-developed and that’s where most of our emotions are held, I think he struggled with knowing  how to get his face to make a real smile.  I struggled to find a picture that shows what I’m referring to because we don’t keep a lot of those and just retake a bunch of pics to get a good one, so this is as close to an illustration I can show.  The one of the left was taken last fall, the one of the right was this past weekend.  See him making eye contact?!?  🙂

Owen 2

I’m so proud of all the progress he has made his first 3 months with Brain Balance, and I can’t wait to see how far he will go in his last 3 months!

Follow this blog to keep up with our journey, and be sure to like our page on Facebook called Wellness Momma to follow along as well.

If you want to know more about Brain Balance, go here.

Progress to a Real Hug!

My 6 year old son has been a part of the Brain Balance Program for a little over 2 months.  He has Functional Disconnect Syndrome – FDS, and is Right Brain Weak.  It is absolutely amazing to me the progress he has made on the program in such a short amount of time!  There are so many areas that we’ve seen changes in, and we are so glad we found this program instead of going down the road of having him diagnosed with Autism or ADHD and the doctors recommending different medications to change his mood. Brain Balance is definitely a great fit for our family.

The one area that has changed and had one of the biggest impacts on me the past few days is touch.  You see, my son doesn’t like to give hugs to anyone really.  He’ll hug me, his dad,20151226_100900 and my dad…but everyone else that is immediate family he is very reluctant to hug.  He will usually do it because he has learned that we hug when we say goodbye, but he doesn’t ever want to.  I just thought that this was who he was.  I didn’t realize that “Some children with FDS can be extremely sensitive to touch.  They’ll squirm away from a hug and keep a distance when sitting with their family.” –Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo

Well , this past weekend he spent time with my mom and step-dad. My step-dad was amazed at the changes he saw in our kid.  He said that he asked him to sit with him during a movie they were watching, and that he gave him a real hug!  It made me think about how my son was even interacting with me lately…

I thought about his hugs recently and how he has been putting his arm around me when he sits on the couch with me.  I thought about his schoolwork and how I’m able to be closer to him to show him how to hold his pencil or how to write a letter without him becoming irritated.

I get a little teary eyed realizing that he is beginning to FEEL!  Previous to Brain Balance he had little to no empathy and truly didn’t understand others emotions, let alone his own.  The fact that he has begun to give real hugs, and that he lets me give him kisses is a change that this momma is LOVING!  You see, many children who are right brain weak are not able to show empathy or understand emotion because that part of their frontal lobe hasn’t developed so that they can.  It’s something that I took for granted before, but now I am so incredibly thankful for the work he is doing.

How do you celebrate progress with your kids?  How do you effectively praise and encourage your children with they are doing well?  We are doing our best to recognize his small changes and praise him when we see the differences for the good in him.

I’m going to continue with other blog posts of his progress and changes we have made in different areas.  Follow along on our blog, and our Facebook page, Wellness Momma –> here.

20160325_150115

The Struggle of Less Screen Time

As part of doing the Brain Balance program, we are supposed to be limiting my son’s screen time to 1 hour a day.  It didn’t really sound that hard at first, I already limit the amount of TV they watch in a day, but when it is ANY screen, not just TV, it makes it a little harder than I thought.  He wants to play games on my phone, or on the computer, and that’s part of screen time too!

owen chalkHe loves to play outside, so that is a big help on days that it is nice enough to send the kids out, but it has been in the upper 90’s a lot lately, so they only last outside for about 10-20 minutes before they need to come in and cool down.

We definitely have made more trips to the swimming pool! These kids LOVE to swim, thank goodness their grandpa has a neighborhood pool that the kids can swim in for free and we go almost weekly.  They swim and move the entire time just wearing their little bodies out!  It’s so good for them to owen swim 1get moving like that, plus it is something to do outside and NOT in front of a screen.
Plus, they rarely have any sibling fights in the pool, which mommy LOVES!  Anything to keep the peace, right?

The kids have also had fun making up their own games, and playing the board games we have.  Plus he is getting really good at UNO, he actually beat me last time we played!

What are some creative ways that you reduce screen time with your kids?  How do you encourage move movement with couch potato kids?

Continue to follow our journey through this blog, and on our Facebook page, Wellness Momma –> here!

Had a Bad Day? 7 Things I Strive Not to Do

All of us have bad days.  Sometimes even bad weeks, bad months, or even times we feel like we are trapped by events or people in our lives and it lands us in a bad mood.

Many times the advice you get are all the ways to make you feel better.  Ways to relieve stress, or take the worries off your mind, but it can be hard to even have the initiative to do those things!  No one ever really talks about the things you should NOT do.

At our house, things have been a little crazy and upside down.  It feels like at least one person is having a bad day in our house everyday.  We are adjusting to a new schedule, home programming, and a whole new diet plan to support our son with his Brain Balance program.  We try to play outside, visit with friends, get out of the house to get our minds off of the stresses, but many days lately I feel like we are circling the drain!  So, how can I help my family and I to STOP doing things that contribute to a bad day?  Here are some ideas…

1. Quit Feeling bad for feeling bad.

So many times I apologize for my mood, for feeling bad.  But really, we CAN’T be happy ALL the time.  It’s ok to experience our full range of emotions from time to time.  Instead of dwelling on your bad feelings, please just allow yourself to be present in your emotions and work THROUGH them!  Many times you are able to let things go and make room for a sense of peace.

2. Don’t Eat Your Feelings.

I promise, it only feels good for a moment!  In my experience, shortly after I’m done eating that comfort food, guilt and shame make their way in and I end up feeling worse than when I started.  It’s taken me a LONG time to remember that each time I’m tempted by that feeling of a need for comfort food, that I feel worse afterward.  Now I’m able to reach for healthier food options or make a smoothie.  So remember to keep your favorite healthy food options close at hand in your home, especially when bad moods strike!

3. Are you focusing on the problem, or the solution?

Sometimes it feels really good to vent to your friends and share all your troubles with them, but be sure you aren’t complaining about the same things over and over without searching for a solution.  Plus, your bad mood could spill over on them, and you don’t want to be the cause of someone else’s bad mood.  So instead of complaining, try and come up with ideas and steps you can take to better your mood or situation.

4. Are you avoiding the fresh air?

Go OUTSIDE!  It will boost your mood almost instantly. Don’t give in to that feeling of wanting to crawl in bed and binge watch episodes of your favorite show on Netflix.  Instead to out and enjoy nature!  Find a local nature trail, take the kids to the park, or simply go for a walk around the block.  Sunshine is nature’s antidepressant.

5. Never moving at all. Ever.

I know, I know…exercise is tough, and not fun for so many, but even if it feels like the least appealing thing to do in the entire world, DO IT ANYWAY!  5 minutes with an elevated heart rate can boost your mood for hours after.  For me, taking TRX class has been a giant help for my mood.  Even when I don’t want to go, I go anyway because I know how much better I will feel after it’s over!  Plus my coach is really awesome about accountability.  So get up and DO something, I promise it’ll be worth it to help you get out of your “blah” mood.

6. Staying in your head.

When we’re in a rough mood, we tend to focus on the bad. We go over negative situations and outcomes like a video replaying in our mine. Don’t wallow in self-pity or overanalyze past drama, start living in the here and now instead. Do activities that bring you joy: coloring, cooking, reading a good book, or doing yoga.  Find what works as an outlet for your mind to release those bad emotions.

7. Use some essential oils.

I know, crazy right?  But really they help tremendously with helping your body feel more balanced.  One of my favorites is Stress-Away from Young Living.  I put a little on my neck, or a few drops in the diffuser and it makes a world of difference for all of us in our home.  Check out Oils 101 for more info on these wonderful oils, I’d be happy to help you with a wholesale discount.

Want to continue to follow our family’s journey in health and wellness?  Like our Facebook page Wellness Momma, and follow our blog!  We’d love to have you along!

I Don’t Want My Kids to Worry About Food

I read this blog post the other day, and so much of it resonated with me that I wanted to share it here.  (Plus it’s  a really awesome blog/resource for me right now)

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/05/10/i-dont-want-my-daughters-to-worry-about-food/

Changing our diet as a family is hard.  Helping other people in our life understand why it is important is even harder, and frustrating.  I don’t want my children to have a bad relationship with food, it’s something I’ve struggled with for many years, and I don’t want that for them.  I don’t want them to feel left out or singled out at birthday parties or family events either.

It can be a fine line between teaching our children to value their bodies and minds by choosing healthy food and becoming too extreme. I like how she talked about seeking the balance between the two. What do you guys think? What kinds of conversations do you have with your children about healthy eating?

Follow our blog and “like” our facebook page to follow along our journey.  Wellness Momma

Angels in the Snow

This right here…it’s the one movement that is part of his home programming that he actually enjoys.

It’s called the Angel, but he calls it “Angels in the snow”.  It’s the only one that I don’t have to correct his breathing, or help him with it to get his body movements going the right direction.  I do the deep breathing right along with him, mostly for my own sanity.

Stepping back and realizing that this isn’t as easy for him as it is for me, has been a great adjustment.  All his exercises in the home program are things I’m able to just do, with very little effort, but for him it takes great effort to overcome those primal reflexes that we are trying to work out so that he can better control his body and overall self awareness.  This is just as much a learning moment for me as it is for him.

Day by day, we are making tiny bits of progress, and I am so excited to see where he will be in a few months!

Like Wellness Momma-Elyse McLeod on facebook, and follow our blog to continue learning more about our story!