Tag Archives: food

The Leaders of Tomorrow, Raising Children

water-fight-442257_1920Kids - and more kids everywhere.   Whether or not you have kids living at home, or adult children, or no children at all; WE are ALL affected by the kids of the world.  Raising children is vitally important.

The youth of today WILL be some of the leaders of tomorrow.

The youth of today WILL be our teachers, police officers, our war veterans, our doctors, our lawyers, the business owners, and the administrators and care givers helping us adults when we enter old age.

The youth of today will possibly be the homeless adults of tomorrow, the veterans having issues, parents that can't find work, and even the criminals locked up in prison.

WE ALL have a responsibility to raise kids that can be the LEADERS of communities, states and this great nation.  We have a responsibility to nurture kids that will want to do the hard jobs and do them well.  We need to raise kids that want to be great teachers to help educate future amazing adults.  We have a responsibility to provide an environment that fosters the arts and creativity in children to help their amazing minds reach their full potential.  We need to place emphasis on raising children in a healthy and dynamic way.

"It takes a village to raise a child." -African Proverb

I know this to be true.  One, I was once a child and two, I have seven children myself.american-soldier-381847_1280

As a kid, I knew that I anywhere I went, if I mis-behaved any adult would be free to correct me.  And as a kid, I respected every adult.  No, life wasn't perfect.  There were adults in my village that were not honorable.  But, that didn't matter.  I had a whole village.  I had church, school, my neighborhood, my friend's parents, my extended family and of course my parents.  Most of them felt it was their duty to correct me when needed along my path.  I think I turned out pretty decent.  I NEVER had the perfect childhood either.  Go figure.

I had good and bad examples.  I learned from both.  I was nurtured by the good examples.  And I was allowed to develop my talents and stretch my brain.

I didn't have a perfect childhood, I didn't get special training or classes, I often got picked last, sometimes I won, sometimes I was alone and scared, sometimes I lost, sometimes I had no friends, my heart got broken and sometimes I got in trouble for things I didn't do and sometimes I actually got away with something.  I fought with my siblings, babysat them and thought my parents were unfair.  I did have people in my life who loved me and some who didn't.  I had a village.  I am the product of that village.

When I was very young, racism was very much alive and real.  Once I was even told not to play with kids that had a different skin color by one of the adults in my village.  That was still an accepted idea at that time.  But I saw those same adults treat other adults with different colored skin with respect and I knew we were all the same.  Then my grandmother did some research, privately but because she was part of my village we all saw and learned from her; anyway she did some research on different races, read books, prayed and changed her view on this topic.  My grandmother was born in the 1920's in the west.  I learned from my grandmother we could adapt and learn on some very controversial topics.  This same grandmother kept taking classes and learning.  Her world went from horses and a few cars to jet airplanes and computers and she kept up with it.  She even took language classes.  I learned from her to keep my mind busy, learn new things, and stay active.  She also served the community a lot in the local hospital and at church.  I saw her quilting blankets for the hospital all the time.  She was serving others until she was 90 years old and passed away.  I learned to serve as a virtue from her.

When I was born, I was left handed.  Although most of the adults thought I "should be" right handed.  In 1st grade I broke my right arm.  The school of course hired a tutor to take care of me even though I insisted I still could right with my left hand.  Nope - I wasn't "allowed".  And I missed that very important time of the day COLORING.  However in 4th grade my teacher was a hippy rebel, she even made us sing "hippy songs" which I still remember to this day.  Well my hippy teacher thought it was good to be left handed and even got me left handed scissors.  I didn't have bad feelings to the other teachers, but sure my heart was happy with my 4th grade hippy teacher that made a huge difference in my life with teaching me that lefties are awesome, hippy music was fun, and basically learning was fun.  She dressed well and taught more than what was in the books.

piano-1493797_1920I always loved to play the piano.  I didn't have a teacher once so I asked my granny if she would teach me.  She was very talented.  She was very blunt and honest with me and said she didn't like kids and wouldn't be able to.  She just didn't have the patience to teach piano lessons.  The horror..... NOT.  My granny was kind and loving and honest.  A trait she taught me.  She taught me that you can be openly honest and kind.  I never held it against her, in fact I loved her even more and admired her.  She did obviously have children of her own, that is how she became my granny.  She had six children.  And she played cello and other instruments, she painted, carved, and made tons of amazing crafts.  In fact this granny kept her hobbies up and learning new arts until she died.  She stayed busy doing and creating.  She in her youth was in an orphanage.  She went onto be one of the artists in Disney's movie "Snow White".  I learned you are never too old or too limited to develop talents.  And I learned you can be honest with yourself and others and still love people.

I had a friend at the age of four.  I still know her today.  She is my oldest and dearest friend.  I spent a lot of time at her house.  Her mother was an industrious person, always busy making things.  And no matter what, anytime I went to her house, she smiled and said hello.  She was a happy person and always had a meal to share.  I don't know if I know a happier person.  She is getting old now but when I see her, she still has a big smile and says hello.  My friends dad was a tease.  He teased me non stop.  They both made me feel accepted in their home and I was expected to follow the rules, which I did of course.  I learned from them how to treat other all the time.

I had a piano teacher, my neighbor.  She went above and beyond teaching me the piano.  She loved the piano herself and she saw in me greatness when I didn't see it myself.  She weekly inspired me.  She had loads of patience even when I didn't practice and she encouraged me to excel and strive for my very best.  I didn't believe in myself or my talent, but she did even when there were others that could play better than me.  She helped me believe in me, the real me.  She taught me that if I worked hard I could play the piano well.  As a senior in high school I learned to play Brahms Rhapsody in G minor.  I learned to keep practicing the rest of my life and the joy of playing an instrument.

I had uncles in my life that not only teased me and played tricks on me, they nurtured my scientific mind and encouraged me to go to college, a university.  Which I did to major in Aerospace Engineering.

When I was eight, I got bit by a rattlesnake and I was in the hospital for nearly a week.  Adults in my village from the community that knew my dad and from church came to visit me.  One of the "old men" snuck me in a milk shake which made my day during the long days at the hospital.  They visited me, which was so nice.  We didn't have computer games, Game Boys, or much TV at that time.  Visitors made the difference.  They even played games with me while I was stuck in bed.

In addition to setting a good example for children - your own or in the community; teach them to endure.  They also need to learn to work in groups.  They can learn the art of negotiation in groups, with their friends or siblings and in school.

Give kids opportunities to make decisions.  As small children this starts with choosing their clothes with your help, you might offer two acceptable outfits and let them choose.  As they get older, the choices should be more complex.  But never make it a do or die situation, they need to LEARN TO MAKE CHOICES.  Our job as mentors (parents, family, neighbors and community) is to help teach them how.

Kids need opportunities to speak out and even debate issues.  They need to learn to speak with confidence, to look people in the eye and shake hands.  They can learn these skills in school, at home, at church and other community programs.

Raising my kids, I was shocked at how many kids in the neighborhood didn't have chores or work to do - or very little and even more shocking was that their friends enjoyed coming and helping my kids do work.  The value of work is an important skill for them to gain.  Small kids can have chores, be patient with them.  I gave my kids chores and at night I went behind them and cleaned up or fixed the job.  But they can learn to do a job and do it well.

My mother had eight children of her own.  She made most of our food from scratch.  She took the small salary that my dad, a police officer, had and raised us all.  I guess we didn't have a lot of money, but I never knew it.  She was thrifty and industrious.  She made clothes for us - especially new dresses for Easter.  She made Christmas gifts for us.  I have a jewelry box, quilt, and other treasures that were made by my parents.  She canned, had a garden and taught me to be self-sufficient.  She got us part time jobs to earn money.  I weaned animals for farmers, chopped weeds in cotton fields, and babysat.  All this before I was twelve years old.  I learned to work from my mother who had an endless supply of jobs that we were to do well before we were allowed to play.  I knew I could work hard.  I could chop wood for the fire place, and move a bale of hay which can weigh about 50 lbs.  I also learned to ride horses from my mother, which I love to do.  We worked hard and then we played.  My mom had us on picnics, horseback riding, camping, and cooking out.  She taught us to have a good time with each other.  She sacrificed a lot for us.  And one time without knowing, she taught me to pray.  I went into her room late one night and saw her silently on her knees for a long time.  And I knew where she got her strength from.  She loved us.

My dad was in the air force, in fact he was in boot camp when I was born.  After he served he came home and did a few odd jobs.  At one point he owned a janitorial company and I remember helping clean the businesses that hired him. We all pitched in the family business.  My dad went to school and then became a police officer and finally he ran for the office of sheriff.  My dad was a hard worker.  He figured out how to remodel and keep our house that was about 70 years old at the time in good shape.  And of course, guess what - we all learned.  By the time I was in high school I learned to sheet rock a wall, and do a roof.  And when we did that roof, the village showed up to help.  We didn't have money to hire people to fix all the stuff a family of ten goes thru, so my dad learned to do a lot.  I thought he was a genius.  I learned a lot I could do.  And my dad loved to travel, so we did and I learned to love the diversity of this country.  His favorite and mine was the beach.  Most importantly my dad taught me what you focus on grows.  He taught me to raise my kids focusing on what I wanted, not what I didn't want.  He sacrificed a lot for us.  He loved us.

I had tons of bad examples in my life.  I'm sure we all do.  But these are just a few of the great lessons I had in my life from the people in my village.  They all made a difference in who I am today.

Get involved with the youth of today - play games with your children, grandchildren or anyone.  My mother-in-law at the age of 92 still plays games with my kids and that that is one of the best memories they have with her.  She never lets them win either.  When they win, they earn it and they know it.

We all, no matter what, need to make a difference today.  The future needs us to.  Our village needs us.baby-1317627_1920

We are mothers to other's children.  We are teachers.  We are extended family.  We are examples.  We are guardians of virtue and values.  We are the story tellers.  We are the village.

I am grateful to all the adults in my village that continue to teach me and I am grateful to all the adults watching over my children all over the world.  My 2nd child lives in China.  She works for a family and spends a lot of time with this family.  We got to go visit her.  The grandmother assured me they were taking care of my daughter (she is 27 years old) and watching over her.  They knew they were her village and wanted me to know they would watch over her and they do.

You can be sure that I watch over the kids I am around.  I love them all.  And I am excited to see the things the children of this world create.  I look forward to the art and the music being created child-1260421_1920within them.  With pride in my community I listen to the younger ones running for political office and standing up for their values and the good of our community.  There is good in this world and there is greatness in our children!  We are a village and we need each other and we need to watch over and nurture the children.

What are you doing to support your village?  What do you think we need to make happen in our communities?

11 Nov 2012 653Do you know someone special that makes your village better?  If you do, send them a thank you note.

Keep up the good work!

Kally Efros

Indigo Mountain


Eating Healthy While Traveling

fruti basket by Grant Cochrane at freedigitalphotos.netIt might be tough to stick to your usual diet while traveling.  It is possible to keep a routine of eating healthy while traveling.

You barely have time to sleep, let alone think about how you will find healthy foods to eat, but there are some steps you can take to eat right while you're away. By taking a few extra minutes to adequately prepare for your trip and making wise choices when you are on the road, you can fuel your body and get the energy you need to power through your busy days.

Catch the radio broadcast here - Eating Healthy While Traveling.

In the old days of traveling for me, we relied on fast food chains, processed foods, and bad sandwiches.  This was considered normal eating for us, but not every day. When we decided to change our lifestyle and eating habits, I had no clue how to travel without bringing the whole kit 'n caboodle including the kitchen sink.

Why do you want to eat healthy?  So you can stay healthy, avoid sickness as much as possible, not gain a bunch of weight, avoid moodiness, better behavior in kids and adults, and more energy.

Eating healthy on a budget is simple to do as well and may even be more affordable.  This doesn't mean you can't enjoy eating out or having desserts and treats.  It does mean that you make nutritious food a priority so you can have those treats.

Here are some of our favorite travel foods.

  1. Make your snacksBeef Jerky by rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
    1. Jerky with no added sugar or MSG
    2. Dried fruits with no added sugar
    3. Dried veggies
    4. Fruit leather and yes green smoothie fruit leather
    5. Dense breads with nuts and seeds - energy bars
  2. Bring quality protein shakes and bars.
  3. Peanut or nut butters.
  4. Humus and veggies
  5. Boiled eggs
  6. Nuts and trail mix
  7. Muesli

DSC03220We just visited Disneyland, and we had plenty of good food.  One of our favorite meals was a baggie of jerky with dried tomatoes.  Standing in line was much easier while munching on humus and veggies.  We didn't have to eat fast food, or spend the high cost of food in the parks or even take the time.  We had our own delicious snacks with us.  And,  because we ate nutritious meals, we were able to enjoy a few desserts.

Mark and I traveled to South America a few years ago to kayak.  I was the newbie and not in great shape.  We were on the river or lakes for a whole week camping out.  We hit storms for 2 days on the lake.  Waves were 3 to 4 feet high and we were rowing against the wind.  It was tough!  We stopped on a rock - Chile144 (640x480)basically to get lunch and rest.  We huddled in a wood shed out of the rain and wind.  I kept telling myself, it is warm to trick my mind.  All I had left was the power of my mind and determination.  As we ate lunch, many people in the group were eating comfort foods - oreo like cookies.  I refused them and I told Mark to refuse them - he was feeling awful as it was, very sick.  We were in double kayaks.  Well as we were in Chili where avocados are abundant - we had some for lunch.  Most people were turning them down.  I snatched them up - avocados are full of energy and good fats.  Guess what?  I was the first to our night camping spot with the guide - I had the energy because I didn't tax my body consuming junk cookies and I was rowing poor Mark across that river mostly on my own strength.  As a result I got to see otters playing in the waves, rain and wind.  I felt amazing!

You need your nutrients:  protein, good fats and lots of fruits and veggies.  Then you can have the treats.

Avoid wasted calories that you don't really want.  Avoid artificial food and coloring.  Avoid junk food just for the sake of junk food.  Avoid sodas - don't make them a special treat for traveling.

Carry herbal tea bags and stevia packs.  You can always get hot water to make tea.

Rural American Fruit Market by Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.netSample the local food.  Stop at fruit stands.

Once we were in Hawaii and we stopped at a fruit stand for lunch.  They had these huge avocados, 1 was a meal for 2.  I asked the guy if he had salt.  "For what",  he said very confused.  I said, "for the avocados".  He told us they put sweet milk on the avocados and gave us some to try .  It was actually good.  We also sampled papayas with lime juice which is delicious as well.

In Europe we enjoyed the local markets.  We often walk in and ask for their best cheese or salami and most of the time we hit the jack pot.  Once however, the cheese was so smelly I couldn't eat it.  But what fun.   So much better for you and so much more fun than fast food joints with the same old food.

Take along some basic supplements and vitamins to keep your body healthy and just in case you get sick.

DSC03299Enjoy your vacation by eating well.  I remember the old days of traveling with junk food - the kids were always so much crankier.  Eating better really does make a better, more enjoyable trip and we have the energy to do all we want.  Did someone say "Turkey Leg?"

Bon appetit!

Kally and Mark

Photo credits by:  rakratchada torsap, Grant Cochrane at freedigitalphotos.net.jpg

Healthy Breakfast Ideas Part 1

What's for breakfast at your house?  Is it a healthy breakfast?  Will it fuel you and your kids for the morning?  Is it going to add stress to your body?  The word ‘breakfast’ comes from break the fast from not eating since your last evening meal. 

Americans have generally lost touch with breakfast.  We fill our bodies with chemicals, food coloring, preservatives and sugar.  A typical cold cereal has anywhere from 11 to 20 grams or more of sugar PER SERVING!  Who do you know that eats only one serving of cold cereal?  If you read the labels you will see on almost every box that sugar is the second ingredient (second highest in content) and there is usually more than one type of sugar listed.  Combine that with milk and you do not have a good source of fuel for the day.  Many people add more sugar on top of that.  It only takes 4 grams of sugar to equal 1 teaspoon.  You do the math.  That is a lot of sugar.  Besides cereal, on a typical breakfast table in America you might find:  white or wheat bread, muffins, chocolate milk, processed juice, eggs, pancakes, waffles, or even fast food.  Now add to that sodas, coffee or tea, each with lots of sugar and very little nutrition or fuel for the body.  This is not the most ideal way to start the day.  

One of the reasons people eat like this for breakfast is convenience.  Most people do not have very much time in the morning.  So we have gotten into the habit of quick and easy.   Some people just are not hungry in the morning – well that is pretty normal at 7 am.  That might be too early to eat.  WebMD has some good things to say about the importance of breakfast.  It is especially important for kids.  I can tell you, better fed kids are happier kids and they have fewer behavioral problems.  I see too many people, especially children, that are overfed and undernourished. 

A better breakfast can boost a child's brainpower according to an NPR report.   Adults benefit as well.  Sugary cereals cause a drop in energy after the first two hours.  On the other hand, oats stay with you longer and provide consistent energy through the morning.   

In my work with kids that are dealing with ADHD and other conditions, all have huge improvements by learning to eat better.  One mother reported that when they changed the diet, her child's anger got better.   They don't miss as much school and you don't miss as much work.  

Eating better in the morning WILL lead to better sustained energy throughout the day not to mention experiencing fewer cravings.  

Everyone is different.  Learning to listen to your body is important. You do not have to eat a large meal in the morning.  It can be fast and easy and full of nutrition.  Many things can be prepared ahead of time.  You are looking for a balanced intake of food for the day.  You do not have to hit all the food groups for breakfast.  I like to call fruit ‘the original fast food’. Just a piece of fruit can be plenty to get your day started.  My teen boys will eat only fruit and be completely satisfied for several hours.   

Another benefit to a healthy breakfast is a stronger immune system.  When you get a carb and sugar-heavy meal with no nutritional benefit, your immune system takes a nose dive.  Then you run off to work, go shopping, or send the kids off to school where you have a good chance of running into an opportunistic virus or bacteria.  With your immune system on the low side of efficiency and your body attempting to recover from that meal, you’re an easy target. 

Breakfast can be a quick meal that fuels the body until lunch and providing all the get-up-and-go that you need. Stay tuned for 20 healthier breakfast options coming up soon. You will want to avoid sugary carbs and empty calories.  It isn't about filling the belly, it is about getting needed vitamins and minerals.  

Many people say they just can't afford to eat better.  In my own personal experience in eating and working with others, you save money.  Let me say that again. Learning to eat healthy actually SAVES YOU MONEY.  For one, you just don't have the cravings.  Empty carbs leave you wanting more.  When we changed our diet, my kids ate less food and were better nourished.

Let’s Get Real, we all have lots to do and need quick and easy options.  But don't sacrifice your health!  We need to fuel our body with good, simple, and nutritious meals to get our days started better!   

Green Smoothie Cleanse for Energy and Vitality

I've been doing a green smoothie and some protein flush for 5 days.  I feel great and full of energy.   I really believe that if we observe the 80/20 rule (80% of the time healthy life-promoting food and 20% of the time - not so much) we can maintain great health.  Of course some people can find great health in different ways and if you have health challenges, you might need to eat well 100% of the time until you change your profile.  But in general the 80/20 rule works.  Keep in mind each person has different needs and health challenges.

In our FREE 10 Keys of Wellness, you can read about what I consider a healthy way of eating in general; fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, whole grains, and healthy fats as organic as you can is my general rule of thumb.  These 10 Keys of Wellness can help you get REAL health.

Lately, I fell off the wagon.  I started consuming more bread than my body tolerates and some junky candy.  I know - why????  It was there and October was a crazy busy stressful month with so much going on and my daughter was visiting from China.  But, my diet was not in balance and it wasn't what my body wanted.  I put on a few pounds and wasn't feeling as full of energy as I normally do.  This is where some people, me included have been tempted to say, "Well I blew it so I might as well just enjoy myself."  No, each and everyday you get up and start fresh with new resolve.  And use a scale properly as a feedback device.   Sometimes we abuse ourselves with the scale.  Sometimes we hide from the scale.  I've done both.  Now I've learned to use it as a feedback device.  When I don't eat well or exercise - it goes up.  I don't want it to.  So being honest with myself and taking responsibility I do something about it.  

As we go through November and December there will be a lot more opportunities to fall off the wagon.  But it doesn't have to be 60 days of horrible eating.  We can find balance.  For Halloween and other special occasions where I know we will be in the 20% plus side of balance, I feed my family real healthy before and after.  I make sure they are full of good food (no bread or pasta) before going trick or treating and eating a bunch of candy.  That way, they are full with good stuff.  I like to increase their fiber as well which helps with increased sugar.  

So as I said, I fell off the wagon just a little bit and decided that I needed a periodic cleanse with a green smoothie, extra fiber and protein.  This is not a prescribed plan or program, but it is what I felt like my body needed.  As always, you should check with your health care professional before making changes.

I've been eating some raw fruits and vegetables; green smoothies with only greens, fruit and stevia; fresh squeezed lemon in water and a deliciousAmbro chocolate protein drink from DesBio (one of the best you can get actually) with psyllium husk powder for fiber and cleansing.  I feel amazing and have lots more energy.  I have dropped 6 of the 10 lbs pounds gained since summer.  I eat a little fruit, raw vegetable or drink a green smoothie when I feel hungry and make sure that I have drank half my body weight in water.

DesBio's Optima Lean Ultimate Weight -Management Protein Powder (you can find this at Indigo Mountain, ask for it from me if you're looking for it online)  has 15 grams of protein, 6 grams of natural sugar, .5 g of fat and contains medium chain triglycerides (good for you) and lots of nutrients and enzymes.  It is a whey protein and contains chia seeds.  There is no soy, no gluten, no starch, no preservatives, no corn, no sodium and nothing at all bad for you.  It has 110 calories mixed in water.  I drink it just in water and it is good.  

Today I made my Optima Lean a bit more of a treat for 5 days of good work.  I mixed a scoop of chocolate Optima Lean with 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 rounded teaspoon psyllium husk powder and 3 ice cubes and blended.  Then I added a nice rounded tablespoon of cacao nibs and 8 drops of English Toffee Stevia.  HEAVENLY!!!  What a treat!  I probably increased the calories to just under 200.  No big deal.  I am full and satisfied.

Day 5 of my cleanse I will also add a salad (slowly breaking my green smoothie fast in a healthy way) for lunch.  For dinner I'll have some okra (just can't resist the fresh okra out of the garden and a smoothie for dinner.  It is always a good idea to break a fast eating simply. 

I have so much more energy in just a few days, I released some extra pounds and my whole system feels more vital.  

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.  Don't fall too far off the wagon this season.  And if you do, then wake up with a new day eating how you choose in a healthy way.  


Connect with us at www.facebook.com/indigomountain sign up to get our FREE 10 Keys of Wellness at www.wellnessandtoys.com

Images courtesy of Gameanna, Ambro, and Thampapon1 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net