Monday, March 19, 2012

Mommy's Superpowers Go...right to your e-reader!

GREAT NEWS!   "Where Did Mommy's Superpowers Go?" is now available for your Nook or Kindle for $2.99! Don't have either? If you have an iPad, download the free Kindle app and you're all set!  I thought the artwork looked terrific...please let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Eight Ways to Empower Kids When Someone is Sick

When I first “met” Kelley Ward on LinkedIn, she was looking for stories pertaining to parenting and family relationships.  As a writer for HubPages, Kelley’s articles focus primarily on child development and parenting issues, so I contacted her to see if she might be interested in writing an article for families like mine coping with a serious diagnosis.  While sharing my own story with her, I learned that Kelley is a Type 1 diabetic, and manages her disease while working, volunteering, and raising three boys, ages 7, 4 and 2 years-old.  Many of her articles focus on the subject of diabetes and healthy living, and include some of her favorite recipes.  In addition to writing, Kelley also organizes a community-wide event called Hustle for Hunger, where participants can choose to run either a 5k and/or a 1 mile fun run to benefit all of the food banks in Owasso, OK.  The more Kelley and I got to know one another, the more interested I became in how she juggles this long-term health challenge as a busy working mom, avid exerciser and active volunteer, and how her young children understand and cope with her fluctuating “superpowers”. 

Like mine, many families’ lives are suddenly upended with the news of an unexpected health crisis.  We struggle with the diagnosis, come to terms with the treatment and prognosis, rearrange our routines, recruit friends and family, and deliberate with how best to explain things to young children.  The emotional and financial turmoil brought about by a critical diagnosis can profoundly affect each family member.  But some families must balance a chronic, long-term illness indefinitely, and find ways to communicate this experience with children as they grow.  These long-term health issues may have existed before children were born, or resulted from a prior illness or treatment.  Regardless, I was interested to hear how Kelley balances her disease with her responsibilities as a mom, and learn how her children have come to understand their mother’s condition.
Kelley is a registered nurse and worked for five years on a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).  In addition to patient care, she was also very interested in academic research. Kelley earned her PhD in Family Relationships and Child Development, and worked as a nursing professor.  Kelley also writes content for nursing textbooks for Elsevier Publishing.  While Kelley was putting together an article about Where Did Mommy’s Superpowers Go?, I really wanted to learn more about her and how her children cope with her having diabetes.
First, Kelley clarified the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  Type 1 is considered a long-term, auto-immune disease, while Type 2 is brought on by dietary habits and excess weight.  Type 2 is the kind of diabetes we see on The Biggest Loser; contestants have usually acquired the disease through chronic overeating, excessive sugar intake, and morbid obesity.  But when they shift to a nutritious diet, stick to an appropriate caloric limit, and lose weight through regular exercise, their blood sugar often returns to normal levels, and they no longer require insulin.  I was under the impression that all Type 1 diabetics are born with the disease, but in Kelley’s case, she had no symptoms, and was unexpectedly diagnosed at age 29.  During some routine blood tests, her blood sugar was high, and her doctor re-ran the tests, thinking there must be some mistake.  Subsequent tests showed identical results and confirmed that Kelley was diabetic.  At first her doctors mistakenly diagnosed her with Type 2 diabetes, and prescribed oral medication.  But when this initial treatment showed no improvement, genetic tests were ordered which confirmed that Kelley did in fact have the gene for Type 1 diabetes, which was thankfully caught early.  Kelley was prescribed insulin injections to keep her blood sugar from spiking to dangerously high levels for the rest of her life.

Kelley pricks her fingers to check her blood sugar 12 times a day.  In addition to regular insulin injections four times a day with meals and at bedtime, she carries snacks or glucose tablets with her everywhere she goes in case her blood sugar dips too low in the opposite direction.  But Kelley doesn’t just rely on medication; when I interviewed her, she had just had a high-intensity interval run at the gym, and was speaking to me from the stationary bike, popping a glucose tab to get her through the workout.  Exercise brings blood sugar down naturally, as the muscles use glucose and muscle glycogen as fuel, so sometimes when Kelley feels a “spike”, she’ll try jumping rope or jogging in place as a natural, drug-free remedy.
Diet is also critically important.  A careful balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein helps keep blood sugar levels stable.  Avoiding processed food, and eating at regular intervals throughout the day is also essential to avoid dangerous spikes and dips.  Even stress can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, so Kelley works out regularly and incorporates time each day to relax, decompress, and breathe—not an easy task with three active boys! 

Which led me to my next questions:  how did she explain her illness to her sons?  How old were they when she first had to discuss the disease with them?  How do they perceive the finger-pricks, the daily needles, her mood swings and snack schedule?  I thought back to when I had to sit down and talk to Jason about the “yucky stuff” in my body that was making me sick, and why I had to leave for a while to get “strong medicine” to make me better.  When I created that story, comparing myself to a weakened superhero, I had eight goals that I wanted to accomplish.  Below are my eight goals, and how they also apply to the way Kelley and her family live with diabetes.

1.)   Educate:  Kelley explained how when she was pregnant with her 2nd child, she taught her 3 year-old son how to call 911, what to say (“My mommy has diabetes and I can’t wake her up.”), and where to find her glucose tablets.  Both of her older boys understand the difference between carbs, fats and protein and why all three are important, as well as the benefits of exercise in controlling blood sugar. 
2.)  Emphasize similarities:  Who doesn’t know a child who gets cranky when he’s gone too long without a snack?  Kelley is the same way; she’ll admit she can get really irritated when it’s been a while since her last meal, and the kids recognize this.  Just as a good mom will whip out the Goldfish and juice boxes, her kids know to remind Mommy to eat to feel better!
3.)  Enroll:  I gave Jason some personal items to take care of while I was away; in the book, the little boy takes care of Mommy’s plant until she returns.  Kelley’s boys know how to call 911, and what to tell the operator.  Kids like being helpers, and giving them small jobs or manageable responsibilities allows them to reciprocate the nurturing we give our children.
4.)  Empathy:  Jason knows that the “strong medicine” I had can cause hair loss, so whenever he noticed a person with a pixie cut or shaved head, he would ask, “Did that person have chemotherapy too?”!  Five years later, he is quite empathic towards anyone dealing with illness or disability.  Kelley reiterated this observation, saying her boys are very compassionate towards other people who have to take medicine like their mom.  Sometimes after a finger-stick, one of her boys will ask, “Mommy, do you need a Band-Aid?”  Her kids understand that their mom might not be able to eat the treats they can, and are patient when she has to check her blood sugar before driving a car, or wait to pick up her prescriptions. 
5.)  Ease fears:  I asked Kelley if her boys were afraid of the finger-prick device, the needles, or her future health.  Jason wanted to know why I had to “live” at the hospital, and why I needed tubes in my chest.  Other children might be old enough to wonder if their family member might die.  These are tough questions each family has to grapple with on an individual basis.  But for Kelley’s kids, diabetes is “no big deal”…at least for now.  She admits sometimes they ask, “Does it hurt?” when she takes her insulin, but for them, her disease is just a part of life.  As she explains, “It’s all they’ve known, so it’s just part of my identity as their mom.”  Kelley's kids are checked annually to see if they've inherited the same genetic disposition for diabetes, and the only thing they're currently afraid of is having their blood drawn. 
6.)  Ensure predictability:  It was very important to me that Jason’s routine remain as unchanged as possible while I was away.  Even the social worker at Boston Medical Center emphasized that Jason schedule remain the same as usual, to provide a sense of stability and security.  In addition to her insulin regimen, Kelley makes sure to eat at regular intervals, even if this conflicts with family mealtimes together.  But her kids know the routine; when Kelley struggles to push off her snack so that she can enjoy a meal with her family, she can often get irritable and stubborn.  Her boys know it’s time for her to eat, and insist she have a little something to tide her over until dinner! 
7.)  Express Emotions:  Kelley was the first to admit that a drop in blood sugar and the mood swings that go with it are very frustrating for her kids.  When Kelley read my book to her boys to help explain how diabetes affects her, her 7 year-old said, “Yes…when your blood sugar drops the bad cells come in and make you tired and irritated. That's when you lose your superpowers."  She used the story to validate her sons’ feelings when a blood sugar dip turns her into an “annoying” Mommy, and listened to them express how glad they are when medicine or a snack restore her "superpowers".
8.)  Exterior changes:  With diabetes, Kelley may not have changes in her physical appearance, but she’s had to explain her loss of energy and subsequent inability to be active to her children.  Now that she has her own copy of Where Did Mommy’s Superpowers Go?, Kelley has a new way to teach her boys how too little sugar in her blood steals her “superpowers”, and the right food and medicine bring them back!
As Kelley and I wrapped up our interview, she unknowingly offered a ninth goal:  EMPOWERMENT.  By educating our children on a level they could understand, providing information that minimizes their fear and worry, and allowing them to participate in our care, we foster a sense of responsibility and pride.  As Kelley stated, “How empowering is that for a child?  You brought it down to his level, made him feel like an important part of the team, and showed him how he can impact you.  Even though parents empower them, children feel powerless a lot of the time, just by being a kid.”  It was wonderful to hear someone of Kelley’s expertise validate the way I handled things with Jason, but more importantly, I was amazed at the resiliency of her kids, and so impressed with how they have just accepted her disease and treatment as part of life.  While it is natural for parents to hesitate before sharing any serious diagnosis with a child, their own or that of a beloved family member, we need to know that it’s not what we tell kids, but how we tell them, that’s important. 
Check out some of Kelley’s great articles at
For more information on living a healthy, balanced life, feel free to email Kelley at; she is happy to answer any questions you may have!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet my new LinkedIn friend!

It is possible to "meet" the nicest people through social media! Kelley Ward and I connected through the Mom's Choice Awards group on LinkedIn and instantly "clicked" (too bad she lives so far away!).  She's a mom of 3 boys and well-qualified to write about parenting and child development--Kelley has experience in pediatric nursing, as well as a PhD in family relations.  She's a free-lance writer at, and sent out a post looking for stories about parent/child relationships and health issues.  I noticed that in addition to several great parenting articles (Parenting Boys, Raising Creative Kids, Teaching Children To Be Assertive, Dealing with Bullying...check out Kelley's work here), Kelley is also a Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetic, and knows first-hand what it's like to deal with a major medical challenge while raising her 7, 4, and 2 year-old boys.  As if her plate wasn't full enough, Kelley also writes nursing textbooks and study guides, so I was super flattered when she was kind enough to take an interest in my book. 
kelleyward profile image

Kelley has such a positive "attitude of gratitude", which she shares on her blog.  In "Life is Like a Blog of Chocolate", Kelley shares her personal and professional expertise on parenting, health, and relationships, but emphasizes the "sprinkles" in life--the special blessings and life lessons that add significance and meaning for her.  I just love this outlook, and was so appreciative that Kelley felt my book qualified as a "sprinkle", worthy of mentioning in her blog.
Kelley wrote a lovely article about Where Did Mommy's Superpowers Go? on HubPages, but I was particularly glad that her 7 year-old son enjoyed the story, and how it helped him understand his mom's fluctuating blood sugar levels:
"After I read the book to my now seven-year old son he said, "I liked that book. It was kind of cute and funny." I asked him if he could relate the story in the book to life with me as a diabetic Mommy and he said, "Yes when your blood sugar drops the bad cells come in and make you tired and irritated. That's when you lose your superpowers". His response demonstrates that this book can help children understand the challenges that occur when a parent or family member has a serious illness or chronic disease."
To see Kelley's photo, I can't imagine her ever being "tired and irratated", but all moms have their moments!  I hope you'll enjoy reading her work, and I look forward to seeing what parenting topics she tackles next!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Labor of Love

Once the initial shock and fear have passed after a serious diagnosis, it's time to discuss treatment. In addition to learning about the medications to be used, the side effects to expect, and the risks involved, a patient facing a critical illness wants to know how successful treatment will be. Sometimes doctors know, and sometimes they don't. We worry about our prognosis, our children, life as we know it. Information is processed, and we decide to move forward, hoping and praying for the best possible outcome.
But what if, in addition to the stress and emotional turmoil brought on by a life-threatening disease, you didn't know if you could afford the costs associated with treatment? What if there were only a handful of doctors in the world able to treat you, and you couldn't afford to see them? What if a potential cure required you to temporarily live elsewhere, and you couldn't afford housing? Unfortunately, even with adequate health insurance, a major health crisis can present a financial burden that can be a significant obstacle to getting well.

Travel, housing, and incidental expenses are just a few of the costs Secure Harbor helps take care of in an effort to allow amyloidosis patients to receive the best possible care. Secure Harbor is a non-profit organization developed and run by Connie and Tim Hornbeck of Stow, OH to help support amyloidosis patients and their families.

Tim Hornbeck is an amyloidosis patient who underwent a bone marrow transplant in 2008. Since then, Tim still struggles with the disease, and is currently undergoing further treatment with a regimen of chemotherapy and steroid medication. In the midst of his own battle with this rare, life-threatening disease, his wife Connie makes it her full-time commitment to reach out and help other amyloidosis patients navigate the costs of travel, lodging, and meals...costs not reimbursed by health insurance, no matter how necessary they are to the treatment of amyloidosis.

There are not many medical centers in the United States equipped to properly diagnose and treat amyloidosis. Patients come from all over the world to be treated at Boston Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic, just to name a few (for a complete list of centers treating amyloidosis, click here).  Through fundraising and donations, Secure Harbor makes it possible for patients to obtain the treatment they so desperately need.  In the past three years alone, Secure Harbor has helped more than 25 families travel to Boston Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic, and stay in hotels and patient housing for the duration of treatment.

According to Connie, the average cost of helping a patient and one caregiver can run anywhere between $500-$2500. When possible, they rely on Miracle Flight for air travel, which is approximately $100/round trip each for patient and one caregiver. Fortunately, every year Secure Harbor receives a grant of $5000 from the Chip Miller Amyloidosis Charitable Foundation (, and in 2011 alone, Secure Harbor was able to raise $12,000 in fundraising events. Neither Connie nor Tim take one cent in salaries, and never use donated funds for their own travel or Tim's treatment.
Here is the story of how Secure Harbor helped Joe Bateman, written by Joe's wife Mary:

Joe and I wanted to say how grateful we are for Secure Harbor and all they have done for us. Their help started back in July of 2009 when my husband was diagnosed with Primary Amyloidosis. I had lost my job a few months earlier due to the economy and without Secure Harbor's help I do not know how we would have survived financially during Joe's stem cell transplant at Boston Medical Center. Secure Harbor helped us with lodging and travel expenses when Joe was first diagnosed so we could travel to Boston Medical Center for an evaluation to see if he would be eligible for the stem cell transplant, and then again when we traveled back to Boston for the Stem Cell Transplant. Secure Harbor put us into an apartment for almost two months while Joe was going through his transplant, I don't know how we would have ever done it without Secure Harbor. Their generosity has continued through these past 2 ½ years not only during treatment did they help us but also for his follow up appointments every six months. We could never do enough for Secure Harbor for all they have done for us, so we have had raffles and we have had an annual horseshoe tournament for the last two years to try and raise money to give back to Secure Harbor so they can continue to help Amyloidosis patients. Not only have they helped us financially but Tim and Connie have helped us spiritually and have given us strength to continue this fight against this horrific disease.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all Amyloidosis patients and their families.
God Bless, Mary and Joe Bateman

Connie and Tim are doing amazing, selfless work as they continue to deal with Tim's additional ongoing treatment. So far, Secure Harbor has been able to help 55 families, but has an ambitious vision to support more. As doctors become more educated about amyloidosis, more patients are being properly diagnosed, but many of those can't afford to travel to treatment centers and pay for housing. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I will be offering a free copy of Where Did Mommy's Superpowers Go? as a thank-you gift for every donation of $50 or more between now and April 30, 2012. Already have a copy? Feel free to pass it on to a friend or family member, or donate your new copy to a school or public library, school counselor, pediatrician's office, child therapist, doctor's waiting room, hospital resource library, oncology center or stem cell clinic. For donations of $100 or more, I will personalize a message and sign the inside cover of the book. Just follow these 3 easy steps: 

2.) Complete the information and hit the button to Review Donation

3.) You will see a small blue link on the left to leave a personal note for Secure Harbor. Click on it, and a text box will open up for you to type your message.
*Type "Where Did Mommy's Superpowers Go?" in the box. For donations of $100 or more, please indicate the correct spelling of the person's name who will receive the book, and I will personalize and sign the copy.

Connie will make sure I get your mailing address and I'll send you a copy of Where Did Mommy's Superpowers Go? Remember, you can receive your free gift anytime between now and April 30, 2012.

As winter gives way to spring, big ad campaigns are underway on TV and in print for walks, runs and other active events to raise money for cancer research. The Avon 3-Day, Komen Walk for the Cure, The Pan-Mass Challenge, and Spin for Hope are just a few of the successful annual events that raise big money for a very well-recognized disease. As you support these organizations, please also consider Secure Harbor, a small but mighty non-profit struggling to enable amyloidosis patients get the best care in the best place, before the disease is too advanced to treat effectively. While many organizations funnel the majority of their donations to research, Secure Harbor uses every cent for the patient and caregiver and the expenses incurred by evaluations, treatment, and follow-up appointments. And as Tim and Connie keep Secure Harbor going strong in the midst of their own battle, their work is truly a labor of love.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Food as Medicine

Did you start a new diet this month?  Make some New Year’s resolutions to eat more healthfully and exercise regularly?  So many of us start the new year off with the best of intentions to take better care of ourselves, and if we’re lucky, we not only reach a few of those goals, but create healthy new habits that continue long term.  But many of us also know the feeling of “falling off the wagon”; a skipped workout or an occasional treat snowballing into a backwards slide right back into our old, comfortable patterns.  Change can be difficult, even when we know we’ll be better off in the end.
For a long time I started every January with a list of specific diet and exercise goals, striving to eat “perfectly” in order to be that ideal size and weight I felt compelled to achieve.  This annual tradition probably started as a young girl in ballet class, where I was a healthy, curvy girl surrounded by stick-thin aspiring dancers.  My ballet teacher was a former prima ballerina retired from the Boston Ballet, and didn’t weigh much more than 100 lbs. herself.  She constantly found subtle opportunities to “reward” the smaller, thinner girls while making the heavier ones feel their extra pounds were an obstacle to be overcome.  Shortly after she took over the ballet school, we were not only measured for recital costumes, but weighed as well.  This experience had a profound effect on my view of food and the connection between diet and appearance which lasted well into adulthood.
My preoccupation with how my body looked on the outside only intensified during the many years I worked in the fitness industry.  You only have to look at the covers of women’s health and fitness magazines to realize the pressure society places on women to look “perfect”.  As a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, I felt a responsibility to “look the part”, and strived to be a role model for my clients.  For a long time, I was obsessed with my exterior appearance and how diet and exercise benefited my body primarily on the outside.
Until my diagnosis in 2007, I took for granted how healthy I was on the inside.  Despite my body looking perfectly fine on the outside, internally was quite a different story.  Learning that I had an invisible disease which was attacking my organs quickly put things into perspective.  I joke with Steve that the day I heard I needed chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant was the last day I looked at my butt in the mirror.  My diagnosis was a serious wake-up call which quickly shifted my focus from my exterior appearance to my inner health and wellness.  I could no longer take my health for granted just by looking at the size of my jeans, how good I looked in my workout clothes, or how many lunges I could do.  A dietician I had worked with once told me, “We think more about what we put on our bodies than what we put in our bodies.”  I agreed with her, but at the time was more concerned with losing five pounds.  Her words came flying back to me, and I knew I needed to look at food in a whole new way.
Being unexpectedly diagnosed with a life-threatening disease out of the blue is a shock, to say the least.  Particularly for those people who were health- and fitness-conscious to begin with.  Learning about the aggressive treatment and the ways my life would be drastically changing in the near future led to a sinking feeling that I was completely losing control over my body and health.  I thought I had done everything “right”, but suddenly I felt helpless and powerless over my well-being.
One of the first recommendations my doctor made was to control my cholesterol and sodium.  The disease was causing my body to produce excess cholesterol, and too much sodium would only worsen the severe fluid retention I was experiencing.  In addition to the medications prescribed to help control these issues, they encouraged me to follow some dietary restrictions.  I welcomed the opportunity to take an active role in my treatment, and went one step further, setting up a consultation with a registered dietician.  I already knew a lot about nutrition , but now I food was an integral part of my treatment regimen, and I needed to consider food as important as the medicine I was taking.
Sticking to my new low-cholesterol, low-sodium plan empowered me and helped me feel more in control.  Suddenly I felt compelled to investigate other ways I could take charge of my health, optimize the success of the treatment, and make my body as strong as possible to not only withstand the chemotherapy, but to recover afterwards.  I did some research on homeopathic remedies, and with the help of the very knowledgeable staff at my local health-food store, added some natural supplements to complement the medications I was on (be sure and check with your doctor first before taking any over-the-counter or herbal vitamins or supplements to avoid adverse reactions or side effects).  I started reading everything I could about optimal nutrition, and the relationship between food, environmental toxins, and disease.  I watched TV programs and documentaries, and started integrating some new foods and healthy habits into my plan.  For the first time I learned that it’s not only what you eat that’s important, but what that animal ate, or how that food was produced that has just as much impact-if not more-on our health.  I also noticed that I was adding and incorporating more new and healthful foods into my repertoire more than I was limiting or avoiding them, as I had traditionally.  The simple act of telling myself what beneficial foods I could have rather than what “bad” foods I shouldn’t have was a dramatic shift in my old thinking.
Here are some of my favorite tips and resources from the health gurus I respect the most.  As with any program, check with your doctor first before making any changes.  If you can, start with small shifts you can incorporate as a family.  Getting everyone on the same bandwagon creates a circle of support, and also teaches kids healthy habits early on.
Go organic:  I know what you’re saying:  “But it’s so expensive!”  But so is the cost of medical care due to illnesses caused by the chemicals sprayed on our food.  Save money by shopping at local farmers’ markets (plus you’re supporting family-owned, small businesses), shopping in season and on sale.  Go to and download the Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen lists as a starting point.  Consider organic milk and dairy products, which don’t have growth hormones.
Become a “less-meat-atarian”:  I admit it, I like meat.  I can’t completely give it up.  But I do believe there are benefits to a vegetarian or vegan diet.  Instead of shunning meat, I make one vegetarian dinner a week, stock the fridge with cut veggies for snacking, and make produce the center of most meals.  Don’t want to eat all those fibrous veggies?  Kris Carr is the queen of detoxifying green juices.  After her own stage 4 diagnosis of a rare, incurable, untreatable cancer, Kris adapted a radical new diet, which she shares in her documentary and book, Crazy, Sexy Cancer.
Know what you ate…ate:  Cows are not supposed to eat corn…they are made to digest grass.  You don’t even want to know what chickens are fed to make them bigger than normal, faster than normal.  Aside from all the health reasons to eat grass-fed meat, wild fish and organic, free-range poultry, here’s my reason:  I’d rather eat an animal that was happy and cared-for, and put good karma into my body.  The documentary Food Inc. and the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan completely changed the way I look at meat.
Cut the crap:  Read labels and steer clear of high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, nitrites, nitrates, sugar in the double digits (4g = 1 tsp, so that container of yogurt might have over 4 tsp of sugar!), sodium, and any processed food that can sit on a shelf indefinitely (could that Twinkie still be floating around in me?!)-these ingredients have no positive impact on your health; in fact, they are detrimental.  I read Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels twice.  Surprisingly, it is not a weight-loss book, but rather an eye-opening look at how chemicals in our food and environment wreak havoc on our hormones and immune systems, causing metabolic problems and disease.  This is a must-read…and there’s no screaming.
Trade up:  Don’t just give up certain foods…make a healthy swap so there’s no deprivation!  JJ Virgin is the master at this; she frequently posts great alternatives on her Facebook page.  For example, whole wheat bread for white bread, quinoa for rice, hummus instead of mayo, avocado instead of cheese, sparkling mineral water with a packet of Emergen-C rather than soda, pureed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes…you get the idea.  Find better alternatives for your favorites.
Sleep:  No regimen in the world is going to benefit you if your body doesn’t get enough rest to metabolize all this healthy food and repair itself.  All the experts agree, 7-8 hours of proper sleep is essential for optimal hormone function and health.  I don’t need to be told twice to get a good night’s sleep!
Eat those “Superfoods”:  Dr. Oz sings their praises—oatmeal, berries, flax seeds, dark chocolate, Greek yogurt, green tea, nuts and legumes, wild salmon—these are just a few of the nutrient powerhouses that seem to come up again and again for many health experts.  Check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet Pyramid for a comprehensive list of superfoods to incorporate into your diet.
Want to learn more?  Check out more of my favorite resources, and start using food as medicine.  New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be all about what NOT to eat, and you don’t have to be facing a major health crisis to start making choices that nourish and energize you and your family. 
Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster by Peggy Huddleston
Food Rules and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Walter C. Willett
You: On a Diet by Dr. Mehmet Oz