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  • Nikole
  • March 12, 2018 12:24:21 AM

A Little About Us

Nourished Minds is an online resource for individuals and families providing specialized family services, empowerment coaching, and self-help guides. Social worker Nikole Seals helps families manage and recover from challenging life events like a health crisis, mental health issues, addiction, and other common social issues.

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Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Video

The post Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Video appeared first on Nourished Minds.

The post Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Video appeared first on Nourished Minds.

Can Your Diet Influence Your Baby’s Genetic Traits?

The genetic traits inherited from both parents can determine the health of a baby. But did you know that diet can influence which traits are activated? The post Can Your Diet Influence Your Baby’s Genetic Traits? appeared first on Nourished...

What Effect Does Diet Have On Your Baby’s Genetic Traits?

The foundation and future of your child’s health begins before conception. We now know that healthy development is based on the DNA inherited from both parents and the mother’s diet and environment. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes to our genetic makeup that are not caused by changes in our DNA. Simply put, there is significant evidence to support that certain triggers like diet and lifestyle can cause changes in how our DNA is expressed.

For example, everyone in my family with the exception of myself, had to start wearing glasses by age 30. Say both my parents have a gene for far-sightedness. When they began to experience difficulty seeing objects close-up that gene for far-sightedness was being expressed. In my case, probability suggest that I too have the gene for far-sightedness yet I have perfect vision.

So the gene for far-sightedness is not being expressed in my case. Can this be attributed to the fact that I eat a very different diet and have a very different lifestyle compared to my family? Perhaps.

The Study of Epigenetics

What epigenetics tells us is that we can influence the expression of some of our inherited genetics. At the same time, it reinforces how vitally important diet is to our health and well-being. That’s why when it comes to preconception and pregnancy, you are literally setting the foundation for your child’s future health. We already know that lifestyle choices like drinking alcohol and smoking have detrimental impacts on fertility and fetal development. But many parents underestimate the important role food plays in a child’s development.

Look at it this way, if you are building or creating something, your creation is only going to be as good as the quality of the materials you use. Babies don’t grow by magic. For the purpose of example, let’s compare growing a baby to growing a garden. The parent’s DNA is like the blueprint used to design a garden. It tells you what you’re going to grow, where everything will go, how it will look, etc. DNA is like the instructions.

Next, you have to choose what type of materials you will use. Now if you want your garden to be bountiful and yield good quality produce, you’re going to choose quality materials. You may decide to use only organic seeds and compost so that your soil is mineral rich. You may choose to use only filtered water that’s free of chemicals because you want to grow chemical-free produce.

Or say that you’re really new to this gardening thing and you just want something basic. So you use commercial soil with synthetic compounds, regular seeds that are laden with pesticides, and water from the hose. While both of those gardens will grow fruits and vegetables; the quality of the produce will be different. They may be different in size, color, nutrient-density, and taste.

Try to use this same logic if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. What you eat is literally the materials that will be used to grow your baby. I’m not saying you can’t occasionally give in to your cravings for pickles or red velvet cake. But I am suggesting that you be more thoughtful about the foods that make up the majority of diet. Ask yourself if the food you eat is providing the nutrients (building blocks) that your baby needs. If not, then put the donut down and slowly back away.

For more parenting tips and useful information to help you make important decisions read my book Empowered Parenting.

Subscribe to my newsletter to get posts like these right in your inbox.

Join me in the conversation. Share your question or thoughts in the comment box below.

Get coaching on the Go…Subscribe to the Nourishing Bits Podcast on iTunes.

The post Can Your Diet Influence Your Baby’s Genetic Traits? appeared first on Nourished Minds.

Foods to Help You Recover from Stress

Stress is a nutrient killer. It uses up our resources of vitamins and minerals leaving us depleted. Discover which foods can help you to recover. The post Foods to Help You Recover from Stress appeared first on Nourished Minds.

We’ve all got those foods that we turn to when we’re stressed-out. My go-to foods are muffins and in those really overwhelming moments—I will destroy some buttermilk biscuits. In those moments, it’s my stress that calling the shots. That’s because stress has a profound effect on our body. Perhaps the most damaging effect is how stress depletes the nutrients needed for the body to do its many functions. What happens when we experience stress?

The body’s response to a stress is the release of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare the body for the fight-or-flight syndrome. This occurs when the body creates a surge of energy to fuel itself for a battle or quick escape (such as, moving out-of-the-way of an oncoming car).

Our heart rate increases, blood pressure increases, muscles contract and the body searches for fuel to use as an energy source. When this state of stress is prolonged, the body eventually depletes its resources and enters into a stage of exhaustion.

The body reacts the same to all types of stress; whether it’s emotional, physical, mental, or chemical. It doesn’t matter if you are in a car accident, giving a speech to a large audience, watching a scary movie, having an argument, losing your car keys, or having a baby. It all registers the same.

The Problem:

The body was not designed to be in a chronic or continuous state of stress and what eventually happens is a domino effect with our body systems. Damage occurs to our adrenal and thymus glands, the immune system gets overwhelmed, toxins and bacteria grow without regulation, food does not get digested properly and nutrients don’t get absorbed or get depleted.

The management of stress requires magnesium from our cells, calcium from our bones and depletes the body of B vitamins. Stress that goes unmanaged can cause all kinds of symptoms and disease: chest pain, cancer, constipation, eczema, high blood pressure, IBS, joint pain, neck and back pain, ulcers, PMS, psoriasis, sexual problems and weight loss/gain just to name a few.


The Solution:

One of the best ways to combat stress is with diet. When the body reacts to stress, it produces byproducts known as oxidants. The term oxidative stress describes when we have a high quantity of these oxidants in our bodies. In order to combat this condition, nature has provided us with the perfect superhero: antioxidants.

Antioxidants are amazing chemical compounds that have the unique ability to attach themselves to harmful oxidants and neutralize them. So, when the body is stressed, we can prevent cell damage (warding off illness, disease, accelerated aging) by eating foods that contain potent antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and bioflavonoids.

Below is a list of the most common and most accessible antioxidants and their food sources.


Vitamin A – is made in the body from beta-carotene which is a phytonutrient found in yellow, red, and orange fruits and vegetables; Food sources: beef liver, carrots, watercress, cabbage, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, mangos, tomatoes, broccoli, and tangerines

Vitamin C – a water-soluble nutrient that is exceptionally good at de-arming oxidants because it can give electrons to neutralize oxidants; this is why squeezing lemon juice on fruits salads and apples is effective as a way to prevent them from turning brown or oxidizing; Food sources: bell peppers, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, lemons, kiwi, oranges, grapefruits, limes and tomatoes

Vitamin E – this vitamin is fat soluble and has powerful antioxidant properties; Food sources: wheat germ oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tuna, salmon and sweet potatoes

Selenium – this mineral’s antioxidant properties help to protect against free radicals and carcinogens; Food sources: tuna, oysters, cottage cheese, cabbage, beef liver, and cod

Carotenoids – are natural pigments found in red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables

Bioflavonoids – these pigmentation come in those fruits and vegetables that are blue, purple, and deep red

Dark Chocolate – yes, this is not a typo; dark chocolate has more antioxidant power than a bowl of blueberries, thanks to the bioflavonoids in chocolate


You’ll also want to increase your intake of B vitamins which are essential in helping the body to manage stress. These water-soluble nutrients work together to help keep up a healthy nervous system and combat stress. To get your daily dose of B vitamins, try adding these foods to your diet: eggs, lentils, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, bananas, squash, broccoli, asparagus, clams, oysters, sardines, tuna, liver, lamb, cottage cheese, turkey, and chicken.

For more information on natural ways to manage stress and keep your body healthy read my book Secrets to Healthy Aging.


Subscribe to my monthly newsletter to get direct links to my new guides & videos


Join me in the conversation. Share your question or thoughts in the comment box below.


Get coaching on the Go…Subscribe to the Nourishing Bits Podcast on iTunes.



The post Foods to Help You Recover from Stress appeared first on Nourished Minds.

Natural Alternatives to Flu Vaccine

We tend to take our immune system for granted, not fully appreciating what it does to protect our health. That is until our health has been compromised. The post Natural Alternatives to Flu Vaccine appeared first on Nourished Minds.

Natural & Safe Options to Flu Vaccine

Our immune system is responsible for surveying, identifying, responding, and adjusting to foreign invasions by microorganisms. The Lymphatic system is at the core of our immune system and acts as the transportation highway for white blood cells to get to areas of infection, injury or abnormal cell growth. Every time your immune system locates microorganisms, it goes through the process of identifying it, destroying it, and then remembers how to destroy it in case of any future invasions.

We tend to take this amazing system for granted, not fully appreciating what it does to protect our health. That is until our health has been compromised. The foods we eat, the environment we live in and even the thoughts we focus on can profoundly affect our immune system’s ability to do its job. Chronic stress and chronic illness can weaken the immune system leaving you susceptible to a host of disease. Regular consumption of sugar, alcohol and an overuse of medications like antibiotics and vaccines can also suppress your immune system. The best way you can support your immune system is to strengthen it with resources found in nature. Plant extracts and minerals can be effective alternatives to pharmaceutical interventions.

Know Your Options:

The following extracts and nutrients have been used as natural immune boosters for hundreds of years across many cultures. When used as directed, they offer low risk support with no serious side effects.

Supplements How It Can Help
Garlic Garlic has antimicrobial and antiviral properties and if consumed regularly, can protect against infection. Cooking garlic helps to release its healing powers. Add it to soups for flavor and health benefits. Garlic is also available in tablet form.


Vitamin C Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has the ability to help neutralize free radicals in the body. Increasing Vitamin C intake to 1-2 grams daily during the cold and flu season can help to ward off illness.


Echinacea An herb that can be taken in tea or capsule form to help stimulate activity of immune cells (consult with an integrative healthcare provider if you have allergies or are on medications; do not use if you have an autoimmune disease)


Astragalus An herb that has antiviral properties and enhances immune cell activity. It can be taken at the onset of a cold to reduce symptoms. It is not to be used for prolong periods of time or with fever-related illnesses. It comes in capsule, tea, and tincture form.


Probiotic Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that help to promote a healthy digestive tract and limit disease causing bacteria in the gut. It’s also good practice to take a probiotic after completing a prescription of antibiotics in effort to restore levels of good bacteria in the gut



The post Natural Alternatives to Flu Vaccine appeared first on Nourished Minds.

7 Natural Remedies for Teen Acne

If you don't like having to use chemical creams and medicines to treat acne, check out these natural remedies that are safer and less expensive than what you'll find in the pharmacy section. The post 7 Natural Remedies for Teen Acne appeared first on Nourished...

Treat Acne With Safe Natural Remedies

Acne is a normal response to the increase in sex hormone production during puberty, although it can occur in adulthood as well. Skin is the largest organ in our body and is a major vessel for eliminating toxins via our pores. Excess oil or sebum can clog pores and trap bacteria. This results in inflammation in the form of a blemish. If bacteria continue to grow, whitehead and blackheads may form and spread.

Acne can be triggered by many different factors to include but not limited to: hereditary, hormonal imbalance, hormone fluctuation during menstrual cycle, diet, medications, stress, and Candidiasis (yeast overgrowth). The best method to treat acne is to prevent it. Teaching teens about the importance of eating healthy foods and practicing daily routine hygiene is very important. The following tips are ways that you can help your teen prevent and treat acne using natural interventions.


What Empowered Parents Can Do:

  1. How much water does your teen drink? Chances are…not enough. Water is critical for removing toxins from the body. Toxins will either come out in urine, sweat, or through pimples on the face. Drinking lots of water will promote the release of toxins through sweat and urine

  2. Avoid sodas, sports drinks, and all refined sugar products; this is a no brainer and perhaps the Achilles heel of every teen. They hate acne but they love sugar. Reducing the amount of sugar, caffeine, and chemicals in your teen’s diet can help to clear up acne and stabilize hormone levels. Glowing skin and no mood swings—everybody wins with this one.

  3. Take a zinc supplement (25 mg) daily – zinc is essential for the development of the reproductive system and helps the skin to heal from damage caused by the sun and acne

  4. Take a probiotic each day – Teens don’t worry about regularity but they should. A build of waste creates toxins and eating too much sugar will create an overgrowth of yeast. In fact, acne is one of the primary symptoms of Candida, a common yeast problem. A probiotic can help to eliminate toxins and replace bad bacteria (yeast) with good bacteria

  5. Be sure to get some beta-carotene from brightly colored fruits and vegetables in their daily diet or give them a vitamin A supplement of 5,000 IUs

  6. Encourage daughters to wash off all make-up before going to bed and to tie their hair back. The oils from our hair and make-up can clog pores. As a matter of fact, daily washing and grooming is essential to healthy skin.

  7. Use tea tree oil as an astringent and dab vitamin E onto pimples; both have antibacterial properties that are great for fighting pimples

Note: These remedies are not “quick fixes”. The goal is to rid the body of toxins and give it certain nutrients that promote the growth of healthy skin cells. This takes time and won’t happen overnight. More importantly, teaching your teen how to use natural remedies to treat and heal their bodies will make them less inclined to use harsh or harmful medications.


The post 7 Natural Remedies for Teen Acne appeared first on Nourished Minds.

What to Consider Before Putting Your Kid on Medication

As a parent, it's normal to use medications to end your kid's suffering. But before you decide anything, take a deep breath and explore your options. The post What to Consider Before Putting Your Kid on Medication appeared first on Nourished Minds.

Know the Risk Before Putting Kid on Medication

Our use and dependence on drugs is strongly rooted in our instinct to avoid suffering. Much in the same way that no one wants to experience pain; we will gladly pop a pill to avoid negative emotions like anxiety and sadness, or even more intensified feelings like rage and compulsion.
Drugs are powerful, fast-acting, and bring us relief. So it’s no wonder that as a parent, you would consider giving your child medication to end their suffering. You should never feel guilty about wanting to find the fastest way to help your child. Yet too often, a parent’s fear can lead to a rush in judgment.
Before you decide anything, take a deep breath and explore your options. This is especially important when considering the use of medication to help your child deal with an emotional or behavioral problem.

Common Risk of Medicating Kids

  • Age, development, nutrition, stress, and toxins are all factors that can influence brain health and how drugs are broken down in a child’s body. These factors can determine what kinds of side effects your child may experience; whether it’s a mild allergic reaction and weight gain or a more serious side effects like insomnia, liver damage, or seizures.
  • Children can also become dependent on a drug and adopt the belief that they need the drug to function. That’s why psychoactive drugs are known as gateway drugs, meaning they often lead to the use or abuse of other prescription medications or illicit drugs.
  • Perhaps the biggest risk is that there are no guarantees that the medication will work. They may offer temporarily relief but most drugs lose effectiveness over long periods of use. Not to mention that medications only address the symptoms and don’t actually cure, fix, treat, or heal the underlying cause of symptoms.

What You Can Do

  • You are the parent and that title gives you the responsibility and the right to make decisions that are in your child’s best interest. To do that, you’ll need to get access to the right information. That means finding service providers who can educate you without judgment, intimidation, pressure, or monetary motives.
  • Ultimately, you want to create a team of trusted, supportive, knowledgeable professionals who understand the importance of taking an integrative, holistic approach to health care. I know that fear and frustration can push you to make impulsive or panicky decisions, but try not to rush to action without thoughtful consideration of all your options.
  • Your initial thought may be to seek treatment from your family doctor or general practitioner. I ask you to consider this—doctors specialize for a reason. You wouldn’t go to the dentist for that suspicious mole on your back. Something as important as your child’s mental health deserves specialized care. Review your insurance coverage and try to find a therapist or child psychologist for an assessment. You don’t need to start off seeing a psychiatrist. If you decide later to try drug therapy, your therapist or psychologist will refer you.
  • Focus your research on therapists who work exclusively or mainly with children.
  • Confirm their education and experience, but more importantly, watch how they engage your child. Is there chemistry? Are they empathetic and encouraging? Does your child feel comfortable with the therapist? Are they answering your questions?
  • Be confident and direct. Remember that you are the expert on your child. Your child needs you to be their advocate. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right and they are reaching for the prescription pad ten minutes into your visit, recognize that this is not who you need. Your child’s emotional well-being deserves the highest quality of treatment.
 For more parenting tips and useful information to help you make important decisions read my book Empowered Parenting.Subscribe to my newsletter to get posts like these right in your inbox.

Join me in the conversation. Share your question or thoughts in the comment box below.

Get coaching on the Go…Subscribe to the Nourishing Bits Podcast on iTunes.

The post What to Consider Before Putting Your Kid on Medication appeared first on Nourished Minds.

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