Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ADHD: How diet and nutrition may help

America is obsessed with dieting, but the word "diet" really means "the kinds of food that a person habitually eats." With so much information in circulation about diets, it's hard to know what foods to consume or avoid. For example, at one time, coconut oil was considered taboo and now it's all the rage! All the conflicting information can be overwhelming. However, there is some consensus on what types of nutrients and foods can be beneficial for those with ADHD. You can find out more information in the following article from Additudemag.com The ADHD Food Fix: How to Use Diet and Nutrition to Fight Symptoms. I suggest just focusing on one or two simple changes at first. The most important two things, in my opinion, are eating more protein and decreasing simple carbohydrates. This is hard to do with our culture's busy schedules, but it can be done.

Below is a high protein, healthy recipe I have been making recently for a grab and go any time of the day. These little puppies are great in the morning before school and the kids can help make them the night before, varying the ingredients to their tastes. Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. Just pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute in the morning and out the door you go. Add some whole grain toast, oatmeal, nuts, etc. and you have a filling start to the day. Yum!

Egg Muffins

Yield: 6 muffins
Prep time: 10-12 min.
Cooking time: 20 min.

     - 6 eggs
     - Medium onion (amount used depends on personal preference)
     - Red pepper
     - 1 1/2 C. of sliced mushrooms
     - Medium tomato
     - Herbs/Seasoning of your choice
          (seasoned black pepper and thyme are my favorite)
     - 1/4 C. cheese of your choice
          (my favorite is Parmesan, but cheddar is good, too)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spray muffin tin cups generously with non-stick spray.

3. Beat the eggs well in a bowl and pour the eggs into the muffin tin cups, filling about 2/3 of the way full.

4. Finely chop onion and red pepper, slice the mushrooms, and chop the tomatoes to your liking.

5. In a saucepan, heat a touch of butter on medium-low to medium and add mushroom slices, onion, and pepper until cooked. Next, add the tomato and seasoning until the tomatoes are cooked just a bit.

6. Distribute veggies evenly between the egg-filled muffin tin cups.

7. Top with a small sprinkle of cheese (too much becomes greasy)

8. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until egg is cooked through. An easy way to check if done is to touch the middle of the muffin...if it's still gooey, they need a bit more time.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Life's Passion: Found

    I have always known that the work I do with my students is my life's passion. After all, I started StudyWise Tutoring so I could tutor and coach academically full-time. However, I realized last week that I am more enthusiastic about my work than ever before and that's pretty exciting "ish", as my lovely high school students would say. 

     Last week was my first ramped up work week since school ended in June. As a business owner, I'm always working. So, contrary to all of those "haters" (again, I learn amazing vocab from my pop culture professionals and consultants), I don't have the summer completely off! But, things have been pretty low key this summer in that I haven't been working with students, except for a few summer school kiddos. I have been busy hiring new contractors, networking, revising policies, taking an online class to renew my teaching license, and of course you can't forget the accounting. But, these are not the reasons I started my business. The kids and the families are why I do what I do. 

     So, last week I was fortunate enough to meet several new families and amazing kiddos that we will be tutoring this school year. I also awarded my first scholarship, a $3200 value, to tutor with me in August and the entire school year. The winner is an amazing young woman and I already know we will be connected for life! In addition, I had a "date" night with a fashionable and fancy student of mine who also doubles as my dog and house sitter when I'm out of town. It was fun to have girl time away from schoolwork and now that I think about it, I will need a new house and doggy sitter once she graduates in a year! Applications now being accepted. Lastly, I happily sipped coffee with a special student who will be attending U of O next year. I have missed him dearly and he made my life when he said to me, "You changed my life." In reality, these kids have changed my life, so I guess the appreciation is mutual. 

     The connections I made with students, new and old, this week immediately resulted in pure bliss and happiness. All of a sudden I had an inner energy that has been missing all summer. Now, I still am napping every day, because apparently the warm fuzzy feelings make me want to cuddle up for a nap still:) But, the happiness I feel from these students is amazing. The one problem with forming such strong bonds with some of my students is that eventually they fly on their own and leave the nest. I am a blubbering mess when I have to say goodbye to my seniors. As I write this I am actually tearing up because one of the most amazing students in my life will be moving to New York soon for college. This amazing person is pictured above. She is smart, talented, funny, beautiful, caring, and the strongest person I know. I gifted her with the necklace that was the inspiration for my blog and she is only the second girl to receive this special gift. Shea, with brave wings you will fly and without you in my life weekly, I will have to be brave too. I love you. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Meshuga Monday: The Time Will Pass Anyway

     As some may know, I am working on a 60 day #couchpotatogetsfit summer challenge. I came across the above quote and the last part, "The time will pass anyway", has really been helping me make better choices.

     Often times I have grand ideas that don't come to fruition and when the date I could have had these things accomplished by comes and goes, I feel pretty bad about myself. Speaking for my students I would say they feel the exact same way when they miss their schoolwork deadlines. The problem with this is that one "failure" can snowball into several other "failures" because we think we just don't have it in us to accomplish a difficult feat. It is a real challenge to talk oneself into turning things around. Stuck in a slump myself, the idea that I might as well make the best of the time that will pass anyway sounded pretty darn good for my summer theme. Although it has only been a week since I started my challenge and I've already experienced frustration, making me want to throw in the towel (a sweaty one at that), I reminded myself that giving up after one week is not an option. I would never tell my students to give up, so I'm not going to tell myself that either.

     Often times our self-doubt, uneasiness about change, or fear of hard work gets in the way. We don't need to be perfect, so doing something is better than nothing and those little somethings will add up to a big something once the due date rolls around. It's going to take a lot longer than 60 days to get fit, but focusing on a small window of opportunity for a jump start has been helpful. I challenge everyone to make their own 60 day summer challenge and remind themselves along the way that the time will pass anyway, so might as well kick some booty along the way!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Genetic Engineering Is Not Just About Food

There is a lot of talk these days about GMO foods, but I find the engineering of human genes even more fascinating. Like most people, I am always looking to improve myself, but find that I am "stuck" in several areas and unable to change. Remembering back, I have always had certain personality traits that I have to say weren't (and still aren't) always easy to deal with. Sorry, mom, for all the tantrums. My mom was the Superwoman of mothers, but I still had daily outbursts, so can I blame it on genetics? Many scientific studies show that yes, I can....partly. But, does that let me off the hook? Absolutely not. While studies show that certain personality traits are genetic, obviously other factors, such as environment, family, life opportunities, etc. also play a large role, just maybe not to the extent genetics do.

I have seen first hand how medication can alter the brain and help control some unwanted and stressful personality traits, so I believe that how we act has a lot to do with the brain chemistry we are born with. Medication is a touchy subject, but for some, the benefits can definitely outweigh the risks  in controlling behaviors otherwise uncontrollable. However, there is a limit to how much we can alter ourselves genetically, so it's important to also focus on changing environmental factors, habits, parenting styles, and ways of thinking and acting in order to make improvements. I've heard many parents say they don't think their kids can change, but that's simply not true. Are kids going to be exactly how parents want them to be? Absolutely not because they are unique and complex individuals, but improvement can be achieved with the right support system and consistency. Changing genetically set and habitual behaviors takes time, but I want more parents to realize transformation is possible so they don't give up so easily on their children. And because children learn behavior from parents as well, giving up sends kids the message that they cannot change! It's a double whammy situation that works against them.

So, let's stop expecting our children to be perfect and work with who they are so they can be the best individuals possible. What I would like parents to understand is that what may be easy for them, may be very difficult for their child and it's not necessarily their child's fault. And what works for one child cannot be expected to work for another. In the article Major Personality Study Finds that Traits are Mostly Inherited I (NY Times), Dr. Lykken, a psychologist in Minnesota, says, "The message for parents is not that it does not matter how they treat their children, but that it is a big mistake to treat all kids the same. To guide and shape a child you have to respect his individuality, adapt to it and cultivate those qualities that will help him in life." I could not have said it any better myself!