Health & Nutrition

Welcome to the Health & Nutrition Page

Improving childhood health and nutrition are ongoing concerns here at Uncommon Childhood.  Here, you’ll find resources for beginning your journey toward a more healthful lifestyle, as well as articles that delve deep into the multi-faceted issues that affect modern families.

Alternative Approaches to Oral Hygiene for Your Family

Written by Jennifer Miller on Sep 3rd, 2012 | Filed under: Health

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I’ve been learning a lot lately about alternative dental care.

We’re big on brushing and flossing over here, and I’ve long known that fluoride isn’t the panacea it’s marketed as being. I remember that even as a child, my parents had the good sense to write me a note to get out of the monthly fluoride rinse treatment at our school. Kids were given a mouthful of bubble gum flavoured flouride and told to swish as they walked a lap around the gymnasium. Little did most parents know, fluoride is poisonous.

Since so much of “conventional health wisdom” we’re now learning is wrong, I’ve been making a collection of alternative health and hygiene practices to promote wellness and minimize disease.

Here are a few ideas from my “Dental Files” to try with your family: Click to read more…

Eat Your Veggies! Steps to Growing Plant-Based Children

Written by Keri Wellman on Aug 23rd, 2012 | Filed under: Health, Lifestyle

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You watched Forks Over Knives and bought the cookbook; read Eat to Live and vowed to change your health destiny; bought a juicer and a gadget that turns nuts into gourmet sauces; and now, you’re ready to roll with a plant-based lifestyle; ready, that is, until you hear the still, small voice pleading, “What about pizza night?”

Quickly you realize it’s not your food addiction talking, it’s your little princess.

How does a parent cut out processed foods, oils, dairy, meat, and sugar and make everyone feel happy about it?

In his book Disease Proof Your Child, Dr. Joel Fuhrman outlines a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet and offers advice on how to get started in this ‘Nutritarian’ lifestyle.

The ‘right’ way to embark on a nutrient-dense journey is different for each household, some will plunge right in, while others delve into it slowly, but there are certain things our family has found helpful. Click to read more…

Run Away Together: Five Overlooked Reasons to Start Running with Your Kids

Written by Keri Wellman on Jan 23rd, 2012 | Filed under: Health

Man running while pushing a baby trike - Runners at 1st Annual Rock 2 Rock 5 Mile Fun Run

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If you’ve ever gone running with your child, then you know it has both mental and physical benefits.

Kids tend to do funny things during a run, like happily chatter nonstop, skip, and on occasion, run backwards, while you struggle for breath. My nine year-old runner, a kid with severe middle-child syndrome, amuses me with observations that keep my mind off the aches in my rapidly aging body.

In addition to the mood boost that comes with a chirpy child, studies have shown that children who take up running do permanently good things to their bodies. Adult runners who have resumed the sport after a long hiatus have significantly better Vo2 max than their counterparts.

Simply put, running track in high school gives you a better heart and circulatory system later in life—even if you’ve been a couch potato for years. Click to read more…

So Much Generosity, Community and Gratitude!

Written by Laura Combs on Dec 19th, 2011 | Filed under: Health, Lifestyle


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I am immensely grateful to the family and friends who have taught me generosity. Thanks to them I am aware of at least some of the opportunities to practice it and it is so much fun when I do!

I didn’t intend for this entry to be cliché in that it is being posted during the holiday season, but when the opportunity presents, you just have to go with it, and maybe the good community energy can ripple out a little further. With that spirit, here is a snapshot into this past week. Click to read more…

Scrumptious Holiday Desserts That Are Actually Good For You

Written by Laura Combs on Dec 1st, 2011 | Filed under: Health, Uncategorized

Butternut Squash

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Can food be super yummy and actually good for you? Heck yeh!

If you read my post last month, What to Do About Halloween (and all those other holidays that follow), you have a good idea of what a full on food geek I am, and tasty desserts that are good for me are important!

I write a lot about the importance of community when it comes to food. This month I am sharing a recipe developed by my friend, Erin. Erin was a lab researcher turned homeschooling mom and midwifery student. She can’t get away from her research roots, though, and she develops really delicious recipes.

Just how good is this recipe? Taste-wise it is off the charts and will replace the pumpkin pie that I used to enjoy prior to Erin’s creation.

You may have noticed that I wrote about the Whole 30 in my last Uncommon Childhood post, and as an added bonus, Erin’s recipe is pretty darn close to Whole 30 compliance. I would even use it as a meal substitute if I was crunched for time because it is basically a meal.

Now for Erin’s recipe, for which I provide two versions. The first is Erin’s, unaltered. The second version discusses the tweaks I made to the recipe to bring is closer to compliance with the Whole 30. Enjoy! Click to read more…

What to Do About Halloween (and all those other holidays that follow)

Written by Laura Combs on Nov 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Health, Uncategorized

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A really wise friend and healer framed Halloween and the upcoming holidays this way:

We are entering the sugar season and our culture is “profoundly youthful and immature” in relation to how we eat during the holiday season. Could he be more on target? Sugar – public enemy number two after wheat (see Wheat – Cut that Shit Out!) – spreader of disease and death.

The past four months have brought tremendous healing to my family (amazing how much healing there is to do given the strides we have made in the last three years!) and we can see more clearly than ever what sugar does to us. Best of all, we are much more capable of resisting it because we have overwhelmingly broken its grip. In fact, we are sweetener free. No sugar, honey, maple syrup or any other sweetener.

Just so you don’t think we are only hard core food freaks with super sugar avoiding powers (which we are), we didn’t get here over night – it took five years. And we stumbled A LOT!

You can read about the stumbles and many lessons here: So Much Sugar in Two Years! Mistakes happen, and we have to be kind to ourselves. Breaking from the American sugar/food/emotional reward system is tough!

Now on to Halloween – the Sugar Bowl Kickoff.

What to do about it? Most kids are going to pound their candy and their parents will be enjoying some too. I lived that frenzy all of my trick-or-treat years and beyond, and I have the mouth full of crowns and mercury to prove it.

Because the candy that people normally eat for Halloween is just plain nasty – full of wax, colors, preservatives and who knows what else – I have never let my now eight year old eat it. We trade his trick-or-treat haul for a toy and an organic dark chocolate candy bar. The funny thing is that this year, when our eating is as good as it can get, he doesn’t even want the candy bar. He is just in it for the romp through the neighborhood and the toy.

If an eight year old rejects really yummy chocolate, you know that breaking the sugar addiction is possible.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years will quickly follow (talk about a one, two punch – all of that wheat AND sugar), and what are you going to do when those treats start popping up everywhere you go? I will be blogging some more between now and then, so check out Moving Strongly Forward for motivation and ideas for conquering the holiday treats.

Until then, just do your best to help your kids (and yourself) break away from the usual Halloween nonsense.

Make it fun.

Get a substitute for the candy – it doesn’t have to be a big thing. It doesn’t have to be a thing at all – it can be an event. Maybe bowling or putt-putt golf. Just something besides sugar.

If you want to do some advanced reading and get a head start on kicking the holiday junk food in the pants, check out the Whole 30. If you dare to take this healing food adventure, your life will be powerfully, profoundly and positively changed.


Oh What a Food Season: Fall Recipes To Share

Written by Laura Combs on Sep 26th, 2011 | Filed under: Health

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The transition from summer to fall is unreal. In my state we have peaches, watermelon, apples and pumpkins all at the same time. We are savoring the last of the summer fruit and eager to fully enjoy the fall pickings!

Today I am going to share two great tasting, super healthy, non-inflammatory fall recipes: Pumpkin Custard and Raw Apple Pie. Click to read more…

End of Summer Food Fun

Written by Laura Combs on Aug 25th, 2011 | Filed under: Health, Uncategorized

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The last days of summer are here in North Carolina, with peaches, grapes, figs and other fruits preparing to rest, and apples are charging forward. But…there are still amazing blueberries to be picked. We picked 26 pounds of the best I have ever tasted last week, and picking will be good into the beginning of September. I have a lot of plans for those berries, and I want to share a great recipe with you in case you can still get your hands on some too. This recipe is fantastic because it is easy, fast, raw and super healthy. Click to read more…

A Key Ingredient in The Perfect Childhood? Perfect Pancakes

Written by Jennifer Miller on Aug 22nd, 2011 | Filed under: Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

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I’m not saying these are perfect, but I’ve run through 77 iterations of my recipe and this is the best I have made yet and I’m done messing around. I’ve tried yogurt and cottage cheese and buttermilk and all sorts of other stuff but these hit the spot and I can walk into just about any kitchen and whip these up in no time.

These are not some sort of crunchy earth muffin tree hugging whole wheat flapjack pancakes. No sir, that’s not what we are here for – this is about pancake delight, not a high-fiber diet or bonding with mother nature. This is about pleasing that little kid down in your soul (the one your job keeps trying to wrestle to the ground and strangle to death, slowly, while it smiles gleefully) and your real little kids sitting at the breakfast table with silverware in hand chanting “pancakes! pancakes!” Click to read more…

Food, Politics, a Revolution and You

Written by Laura Combs on Jul 25th, 2011 | Filed under: Eco Living, Health

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My previous post to Uncommon Childhood, Independence Day – For Your Health! sets the stage for today’s article. The topic of Food and Politics can be approached from almost innumerable angles, but I am going to address one of the greatest threats to our food system and the human race. Raising your voice in opposition is where you can make the most difference for you, your family and, quite honestly, the entire planet.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs, also known as genetically engineered or GE), have caused food to become the Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my! (not to mention the flying monkeys) of the Wizard of Oz! In the 1800s, things used to be simple. Vegetables and fruit were grown with composted fertilizer, cows ate grass, chickens ate bugs and seeds, and pigs ate whatever they eat. And humans, who ate them all, lived long, vibrant, healthy lives provided they avoided death at childbirth, smallpox or deadly accidents. Fast forward to today, when obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and more run rampant, injuring and killing people in numbers that could not have been even remotely guessed in the 1800s, or early 1900s.

Food is the foundation for a healthy society. Lack of healthy food and the ingestion of deadly food lead to the collapse of our families, our children and our future.

Dr. David Kessler, Former Food and Drug Administration Secretary in the George W. Bush administration, powerfully presents the food drugging and destruction of the American society in his book The End to Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.

Making Americans sick on food is a gazillion dollar multi-industry effort. Not only does the food industry benefit, but so do the medical and pharmaceutical industries. It is insidious. Dr. Kessler doesn’t thoroughly address all of the problems, though. In addition to the problems he details, the GMO industry is literally taking over the planet while Americans sit back and consume their “food” products, dulling their bodies and minds as never before. Europe and Africa are fighting the GMO industrial power, but their resolve is beginning to wane because the GMO pressure is so unbelievably intense. Monsanto, the leader in the legally-supported and almost required GMO monopoly that is sickening and killing people, owns most of America’s politicians, including President Obama.

The Obama administration happily and easily approved numerous GMO foods, including alfalfa, sugar beets, and corn during a three week period in 2011. So much for Michelle’s example of an organic White House garden!

Why should you care about all of these food conspiracies?

Because you and your children (and on and on) will lead sickly and shortened lives if you do not do your best to ensure that your family avoids industrial food.

Read this post for an overview of Genetically Modified Foods and Your Health. To learn more, keep reading at the Institute for Responsible Technology, which is a must read website.

So what can you do about all of this? A couple of things.

First, research the food you are purchasing. In order to be assured that the food you are eating is healthy, you have to make it or seriously research the product to ensure it is GMO-free and does not contain the ingredients outlined by Dr. Kessler. While many people think they don’t have the time to make their food from scratch, not only will they avoid the problems discussed in Dr. Kessler’s book, they will avoid the horrors of GMO. It is a mind and priority shift that will save your family, and it is how you will most directly weaken the companies producing what is literally trash.

Second, speak out. There are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest way to make a difference is to take action when the Institute for Responsible Technology asks you to. They are right on the mark with their work and their Director, Jeffrey Smith, is impeccable (I met with him last fall and was hugely impressed). In fact, you can watch him on a recent Dr. Oz show.

Third, even more powerfully and effectively, meet with your elected officials. Your voice means more than you know to them. Call them, email them, or send a letter. Or, better yet, actually go and meet with them for 15 or 20 minutes. So few people realize that they actually can meet with their county commissioner, state representative or senator, or U.S. congressperson (or their aide, which is almost as good). The impact individuals can have if they take the time get to know their elected officials can be amazing. Tell them whatever you need to tell them.

You could tell them that you want:

  • GMO foods banned or at least labeled so that consumers can make an informed choice,
  • Healthier lunches served at schools and junk food taken out of schools
  • Government subsidies for GMO food eliminated
  • Greater government subsidies for organically, ethically raised food
  • Greater government support for local farmers markets that don’t sell GMOs
  • Or whatever else you want – it doesn’t have to be completely about food

What I am trying to get across is that if each adult took 15 minutes to meet with their local, state and federal elected officials, America would be a vastly freer and healthier country. If you met with an elected official at each level of government, that is 45 minutes total to stop:

  • Monsanto from poisoning you

  • The manufactured food industry feeding you like a drug addict

  • The pharmaceutical industry from coming up with new and unhealthy concoctions to treat the illnesses that are caused by your food addictions

I make this look simple, and believe me, it is simple. I have been doing it for 20 years both professionally and personally. There is no right way, just your way. You will be doing your best and your best will make a difference.

Take along a friend on this journey if that gives you confidence, and your effort will be doubled.

All you have to do is pick up the phone, make the appointment, and share your story about why you are concerned enough to come and speak with your official. If you do this, you will be doing just what the Founders of America wanted: speaking out and demanding that you be represented and protected.

America is supposed to be a government of the people, not the corporations, and you can help bring us back to the America that our Founders created.

When was the last time you contacted your local officials?

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