The Nanny State Will Not Solve the Sugar Crisis

Image source: Daily Telegraph

Image source: Daily Telegraph

I went to a school in England that provided milk as a morning snack every day.  Adorable, tiny glass bottles of milk.  Milk that was delivered early and sat unrefrigerated and sometimes went sour before we drank it.  Milk that you had to drink, to the last drop, whether you liked it or not.  Milk that would make your bones strong and give you energy.  Milk that made me gag and want to throw up.  I do not drink milk to this day.  (Unless it’s in a latte, and I’m pretty sure the coffee negates any goodness there.)

There is a teacher at my sons’ school who, at the beginning of the year, inspects all her students’ lunch boxes.  She does this in her classroom before the kids go down to eat lunch in the gym, even though she’s technically off duty for lunch.  She tells them what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, and she tells them that they are not allowed to bring certain foods again (sweetened yogurt and raisins and canned fruit and certain kinds of juice, in addition to the obvious chips and candy).  She means well, but she frightens them into submission, annoying a fair number of parents in the process.

Top-down, mandated menus for snacks and lunch are not the answer to the over-abundance of sugar in children’s diets or to promoting healthy eating.  The nanny state will only produce rebellious citizens, both adult and child.

Here’s what should happen:

  • Get kids to teach themselves (and their parents) good nutrition.  At the beginning of the year, a note should go home to parents from teachers saying that the kids and the school are working together to establish healthy eating habits.  The kids have learned in class how to build a balanced meal, they have a list of foods from each food group from which to choose, and they have a say in how to build the lunch.  They can grade their own lunches from poor to excellent, and the goal is to pack and eat excellent lunches in order to grow excellent learners.  Make age-appropriate lessons about the relative costs of fresh and processed food part of the curriculum.  Teach them why junk is so cheap and so plentiful.  It has to start with the kids, it has to be collaborative, and it has to have a pay-off.  It was kids who made our school’s litterless lunch policy.  I’m confident they could also lead the charge on ramping up the health value.  Who knows?  Parents may even be able to take one item off the to do list if the kids plan and pack their own lunches.  Let the kids tell their parents that the yogurt they think is healthy is actually full of sugar.  Trust them to make healthy choices and reward them with a gold star when they do.  Eventually, you won’t need the gold stars.

 

  • Add lots and lots and lots of extracurricular sports to the beginning of the school day.  Get kids to school an hour early to play soccer, run track, skip rope, dance, do yoga, run the bases or shoot hoops.  Give gym teachers the resources they need to offer those hours of exercise so that the kids can think better all day long.   Let them build up a real hunger and let them satisfy it with real food: an apple, say, and enough time at morning recess to eat it and play, too.  Study after study has shown that exercise makes for better thinking, but schools are cutting recess and gym times.  It defies logic.  When there’s no time to run around, sugar is not the only enemy.

 

  • Stop rushing kids through lunch.  My kids never finish their lunches and are often starving by the end of the day.  I don’t pack junk, but inevitably, it’s the “main course” that’s left in the lunch box at the end of the day because that’s what takes the longest to eat.  My kids will often get through the day on only the portions of fruit and veg that I pack because that’s what easiest to wolf down.  Hungry kids will make poor choices later in the day, but my kids don’t have time to eat even the healthy foods I pack because they are in such a rush to get outside to play.  They know that they feel better after having a really good run around the playground.  Honour that and give it to them without taking lunch time out of the play time allowance.

 

Fitbit Fever

fitbitI love, love, love my Fitbit.

What does my Fitbit do?  Well, I wear it on my wrist and it counts my steps (minimum 15,000 a day).  But that’s not all it does.  It gets me out and active every day.  It takes me on super-long walks several times a week (10-15k).  During those walks, I listen to podcasts of everything from NPR’s Serial (addictive!!) to The Guardian’s books podcast to A History of the World in 100 Objects from the BBC to Quirks and Quarks form the CBC.  So, my fitbit keeps me up to date and learning about books, history, science and culture.  It takes me on new routes to keep things fresh, so I’m discovering new areas of the city.  My walks have spurred a love of making photographs, and I aim to get one good shot from each good walk.  (I post them to our Instagram account or you can see the current one from the sidebar of the blog’s website.)  My Fitbit makes me stretch, because after walking 10k, you just have to stretch.  It has helped me lose 15 lbs since the end of the summer.  Not a rapid rate of weight loss, but steady and, oh so importantly, enjoyable.  There is no overcoming resistance to go out for long walks, not even in winter weather.  It has taught me that I need extrinsic motivation to succeed, and being accountable for my daily 15,000 steps has been a fun and inspiring goal.  I just love, love, love my Fitbit.

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My Fitbit was a gift from my husband from way back last spring (Mother’s Day).  I was so excited to get it because I’d been grilling a friend about hers and how it has helped her get strong and fit.  Ted heard how animated I was and surprised me with one.  Then, sadly, I let it sit in its box because I could not find the energy to figure out how to hook it up to the computer.  Oh, what wasted months!  When I finally set it up in September (my new year), it took all of 30 seconds.  Seriously.  So if you are a technophobe, fear no more.  It really could not be simpler.

The Fitbit bracelet counts steps, but the dashboard to which it connects on on your phone and/or computer can also help you track what you eat and how much you sleep.  (My fitbit thinks I sleep a lot more than I do because I read in bed for a few hours most nights.  My Fitbit probably thinks I’m a very big cat, actually.)  I have found tracking what I eat to be really helpful, mostly because it makes me realize that snacks and after-dinner nibbles really do add up.  Again, it drives home how much I rely on extrinsic motivation to succeed.  Seeing a list out there and up on my computer screen of what I put into my body helps me pay closer attention to that body.  Some people are good at just listening to their bodies; I’m not one of them.

If you are media social, your Fitbit can talk to Facebook and to friends.  My Fitbit and I keep to ourselves, pretty much, and that’s how I like it.

I think that’s the magic of this thing: it’s customizable and personal.  When we sat down in September to plan our themes for the upcoming months, we each decided to try a new fitness class or activity.  I hemmed and hawed about trying lots of new-to-me things, but I really could not get excited about any of them.  Walking fits for me; it’s what I love, and I am so grateful to have such a simple and effective tool to remind me to do what I love each and every day.

Buy a Fitbit from Indigo here.

 

Best of the Blogosphere January 2015

Baby, it’s cold out there! What better way to kill a few hours than cuddled up near the fire with the Internet? (Actually, there are many other better ways, but then that wouldn’t make for a good intro to this post.)

Here’s what has caught our attention on the blogosphere.

Nathalie

Roseanne at The Lunchbox Season also wrote a word of the year post.  Check it out.  Defining Motherhood did an interesting take and chose three words.  She has me thinking about “year”.  And Carrie, our inspiration for our week of posts on our words of the year, has chosen her word for 2015.

Children+s Fashion 1961: Toddler wearing and all-in-one playsuit and red shoes, holds a ball in both hands, while being followed by a small toy cow.OK, this is hilarious.  You’ve seen the 40 Under 40 lists, right?  Here’s the 3 Under 3 list!  Overachieving parents, listen to yourselves!!

Every year, we collect the funny things our kids say and send it out as our holiday letter.  This dad takes it one step beyond, into seriously awesome territory, by illustrating his daughter’s humorous quotations.  Check out Spaghetti Toes for some great laughs.  You can also shop his Etsy shop if you want a print of your very own.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, tea, or your special drink of choice and settle in for a great new year’s read with this blog post from Girl’s Gone Child.  It’s a lovely piece on travel, choices and taking the chance to let chance spin its magic. Thanks to Kerry Clare on twitter @kcpicklemethis for pointing me in her direction.

Also, thanks to Kerry, who should maybe add internet curator to her list of talents, I disappeared down the rabbit hole of all the great posts on The Ugly Volvo, having gotten there because of a post on all the things wrong with Goodnight Moon.  Hilarious.  So is the Knuffle Bunny post.  (I can’t link to it for some reason.  I hope you can link to it from her home page.  It’s really, really good stuff.)  She also gives really good advice written on bananas.

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Beth-Anne

Have you ever forced your kids to say “I’m sorry” and the result is a pitiful, insincere mumble?  Here’s how to teach kids the right way to apologize.  I’m loving this and have already started doing it (to the chagrin of my boys) with success.

One of the questions I am most asked by friends with 2 children is, should I go for the third?  That’s like asking me, should I tattoo my forehead?  It’s a life long commitment and it ain’t for me to say.  But I will say this . . . remember before you had your first baby and you thought that you knew everything and that life would go along swimmingly except now you’d have a baby Bjorn-ed to your body?  And then that baby came and upended your life to the point when going to the washroom alone was a massive accomplishment?  A third baby is kinda like that but times 100.  Here’s what Shannon Meyerhort from Scary Mommy has to say on the topic, and I think she nailed it.

Hear ye!  Hear ye!  A new parenting study has been released and you must read about it!

And for all of us not on a diet this month, don’t these coconut chocolate tartlets from lark & linen look sinful and oh-so-perfect while sitting on the couch, in front of the fire, surfing the Internet?

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Did You Resolve to Have More Sex? Sex Tips and Facts from Carol Anne Austin, Sex Therapist.

logoBefore the holidays, I had a chance to attend  What Mama Didn’t Tell Us, a panel presentation hosted by The Purple Fig It was a fabulously fun night of presentations and Q&A sessions about sex and pelvic health, featuring, among others, Carol Anne Austin, a sex expert and therapist at KMA Therapy.  She was a wonderfully funny and engaging speaker, and I felt that she really got the crowd: mothers, rookie and veteran, who were keen to get her tips on how to keep the spark alive with their partners.  Here is a distilled list of her best tips and facts.

1.  The research is really clear: sexual satisfaction is highly correlated to effective communication.  Talk about what’s working and what isn’t.

2.  The most common problem she sees in her clients is a drop in libido as people age or are in long-term relationships.

3.  The lower desire partner is much more likely to rush foreplay and initiate intercourse faster.   There’s a “get it over with” attitude.

4.  There is a circle of low desire: my partner wants to have sex; I don’t but I feel like I should; I’m not aroused before or during sex; I’m not that satisfied by the sex; I have a memory of having sex for someone else and not for me; sex becomes about someone else’s needs and satisfaction; I’m less likely to initiate or to feel like having sex again soon.

5.  To break that cycle, you need to find a way to bring something for you back into the sex.   Ask yourself what was going on when the sex was good?  Do that.

6.  There is no normal when it comes to the frequency of sex.  Frequency is a totally unreliable indicator of sexual satisfaction. Much more important is to emphasize quality over quantity.

7.  If you make time for yourself, you will have the energy for your partner.  Schedule time for yourself.

8.  Schedule time for your relationship.  Put it on the calendar!

9.  Shake up the script of sex before bed and sleep.  Find a time of day when you have more energy.

10.  A healthy active sexual relationship with yourself correlates directly to a healthy active sexual relationship with your partner.  (A woman asked, “What if I get addicted to my vibrator?”  Answer: she has never heard of that happening.  Using a vibrator is far more likely to improve your sex with your partner than to become an addiction.)

11.  Menopause is a challenging time for your sexual relationship.  To stay engaged in sex during a hot flash, switch up the order of kiss, foreplay, penetration and orgasm.  If it’s not a one way street then you can take a break.

12.  During menopause, intercourse can become painful because the change in hormones causes a drop in natural vaginal lubrication.  Use a lube.  BUT be careful and keep an eye out for glycerine in the list of ingredients.  Glycerine is a sugar and can affect the growth of yeast and cause a yeast infection.

Talking Physical Literacy for Kids with Jay Tredway, Athletic Director at Ridley College

As we all know, there is more to a child’s education than what they are taught in the classroom – it is also about preparing them to live a healthy, successful life. Key to that is ensuring physical fitness is a core piece of their school day.

Jay Tredway

Jay Tredway

Jay Tredway, the Athletic Director at Ridley College, takes “physical literacy” seriously. The St. Catharines, Ont.,-based independent school has developed a Sport for Life program to promote physical activity among its students.

Ridley’s physical literacy effort includes an assessment of students from Grades 3 to 11 to establish a baseline for their physical literacy, measuring fitness and movement skills, a Zero Hour Fitness program creating opportunities for students to be physically active before school, and Teaching Games for Understanding, which puts a focus on skill development for students participating in team sports.

Jay will be speaking at The Canadian Sport for Life National Summit in Gatineau, Que., at the end of January, and I had a chance to ask him some questions about educating children about physical literacy.

Jay has kindly offered to answer any questions that you might have.  Just ask away in the comments section, and he will respond.

What is “physical literacy”?

Physical and Health Education Canada defines physically literate people as “Individuals who … move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person.” The key is the development of fundamental movement skills like running, jumping, throwing, catching and striking that give kids the confidence to play and keep experimenting and trying new things.

What was your inspiration for starting the programme? 

When I became the Director of Athletics at Ridley in 2008, I took over a program that was very active. The opportunity that we saw was the ability to serve better what we termed at the time the “recreational” population of the school: the students who did not really feel like sport was their thing or were not talented enough to make any of the competitive teams. The first thing we tried to do was broaden the program and expand the offerings by adding things like sailing and golf and ultimate frisbee. Formally termed “League Sports,” the first year of this new Sport For Life initiative saw participation rates increase and many more students became significantly more active daily. In the following year, I was first introduced to a national movement serendipitously called Canadian Sport For Life. With the support of Sport Canada and other non-governmental agencies, this movement to improve the quality of sport across the country had developed an annual National Summit in Ottawa, Ontario.  I was there in 2010 to learn about Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan and witness CS4L make their first pitch for Physical Literacy. All of a sudden, I had a language to explain many of the things we held dear at Ridley but had been unable to articulate or build on. I also came to see just how dangerous our sedentary lifestyles had become, how they create a burgeoning crisis for the Canadian health care system. Now, we see it as our great privilege and opportunity to provide an example to the nation of how physical literacy and daily physical activity can be built into the elementary and secondary school system to serve the mental, physical and social development of our school-aged population.  From our point of view, the more healthy, capable and knowledgeable students we all graduate, the healthier, more capable and more productive Canada will be. We want to contribute to finding a sustainable way of meeting that goal in our 21st-century society.

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How have you put the Sport for Life programme into place at your school?

From its founding in 1889, Ridley has always believed in daily physical activity. So, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, every student in the school is engaged in a minimum of one hour of sport at either the recreational or competitive level. We have three sport seasons and over the course of the year more than 80% of the school plays on a competitive team. At any given time, however, 40% of the school is in the Sport For Life programme. Our current incarnation provides students with a core sport or game that they play three times a week that is then supplemented with other games or fitness classes on the other two days. The students rotate through these offerings each week. At the beginning of each term, the students that do not make a competitive team get to choose the rotation that they would like to be a part of and we sort them into groups of 10-12. This winter the sport offerings include, curling, badminton, futsal, dance, yoga, spin, suspension training, core fitness and Zumba.

What has the response been from students and parents?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. At the beginning of each term we have students who are forced a little out of their comfort zone in activities that they do not have any experience with. By and large, once they have had a chance to try these new activities and become accustomed to them, they really enjoy them. The parents really like the diversity of the offerings and appreciate that we are trying to expose the students to different sports that they could very well play for life.

How about the response from other teachers? 

The Faculty have been extremely supportive of this initiative. At Ridley, all of the teachers coach athletic teams, and the Sport For Life program is where a number of them get to build relationships and even participate with the students in the various activities.

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Do kids perform and behave better in the classroom after the Zero Hour?

We are going to find out. A tremendous amount of research has been done by Dr. John Ratey and his colleague on the significance of physical activity and its positive influence on learning and memory. This is why daily physical activity is so crucial in the Ridley experience, but we don’t normally do sport before school starts. We will be starting our first research project with this Zero Hour or “First Thing” fitness in January 2015. The science says that physical activity prior to learning enhances the productivity of the brain providing the students with better attention and ability to focus and stay on task. We will see if this holds true for the boys and girls at Ridley. If it does (as I suspect it will) it will encourage us to continue to consider alternative ways to maximize the physical activity effect throughout the school day.

How can parents supplement or complement what you do with their kids at home?

One of the best tools that has been developed for physical literacy in the last two years is the Passport For Life by Physical and Health Education Canada. These are assessment tools the Physical Education teachers and coaches can use to create a profile of a student’s physical literacy. The assessments are not used for marks but provide a picture of students’ physical abilities and deficiencies.  The results are totally individual. The feedback that these tools provide allows teachers to modify their instruction to address deficiencies or provide varied levels of difficulty for students as they are developing their fundamental skills. These assessments are online and students and parents have access to their child’s data. PHE Canada has also developed a great range of tools for parents to help them plan activities or make suggestions on what sports to get their children involved in to support their specific child’s physical literacy needs.

We have just completed our baseline testing with the Passport tool this October with all students from grade 3 to grade 11. The data were very interesting and really gave us some clear areas to focus on as a teaching/coaching team. The students also enjoy the feedback and no doubt it is a motivator to see if they can move up to the next level when we assess them again in the spring.

How do you create life-long physical literacy? 

The million dollar question! It comes back to confidence and competence. If we develop basic competencies in children and they build the confidence to participate in sport no matter what it is or what environment it is in, we go a long way to building individuals who are not afraid to try new things or think they are going to look silly in front of others. That resilience and those skills built early in life create the fertile ground for life-long physical literacy.

Is the motivation intrinsic or extrinsic?  Are you providing the kids with reward incentives to be active, or are you teaching them how to pay attention to the benefits of being active?

It needs to be both for maximum success. You want the intrinsic motivation to be based on the right information: an understanding of healthy calorie intake and burn, knowing what movement skills you can improve on the most and the right amount of sleep to make your body work efficiently.  All of these things contribute to your intrinsic push to improve your physical literacy. The extrinsic motivation is also very useful during those periods where even self-starters get a little haggard. Being surrounded by a community of people who are motivated to stay healthy and vibrant allows them to pick you up when you need a boost and you will be able to return the favour. This positive re-enforcement circle lifts everyone in the group to sustainable levels of wellness.

How can you help send kids out into the world who will continue to pay attention to their health and fitness after they have left the structures of home and school?

We work to do this by building a framework that they can fall back on. It has been our experience that students that have spent their formative years at Ridley use the tools they build in our relatively structured environment to help them find their path once they are truly on their own. Physical activity and a healthy, active lifestyle are a part of what we try to impart and teach everyday of their lives here. It is a facet of education, just like learning math and science. If we have done our jobs, just as their passion in language or technology pushes them to develop skill sets that will help them build a professional career, they will continue to want to learn and improve their knowledge and skills around personal wellness.

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Dining Out? Dine Healthy with Zomato

zomatoThis week, I had the pleasure of meeting Jimena Duran from Zomato, a new digital presence in the Toronto dining scene.  She walked me through some of the features of the site while I sipped a latte and tried to control my mouth-watering reactions to the restaurant reviews she highlighted.  I left our meeting buzzing with caffeine and enthusiasm for the foodie network, and eager to explore its offerings.

Zomato is an online and mobile restaurant discovery platform and social food network for foodies.   The staff for each city in which Zomato operates (currently 113 worldwide) go in person to each and every restaurant to collect menus, verify opening hours, and collect all the pertinent information for each restaurant, which gets uploaded to their database.

Then Zomato users take their turn.  You can browse the website or download the Zomato app to choose a place to dine out based on neighbourhood, cuisine or establishment.  Other users rate and review restaurants, and you can follow users whose reviews resonate with you.  Once you create a profile, you can publish reviews of the places you have dined, create a record of your food journey by tagging the places you’ve been to, and bookmark the places to like to check out next.

And one of the handy dandy collections is Healthy Eating.  So you can have your (tasty rice) cake and eat it, too.

Look us up!  4mothers1blog has a profile on Zomato and we’ll be adding our reviews too.

Potted Potter: A Great Dose of Fun

posterOur posts for January are about health, and if laughter is the best medicine, you can get yourself a great dose of fun by going along to see Potted Potter.  You will have to hurry, though; the show is in its last week for its run in Toronto.

Beth-Anne, Carol and I took our boys to see the show in December, and I have to tell you that it was one of the highlights of my lead-up to Christmas.  “Attend” is my word of the year for 2015, but of course, I had had the word in mind for a while before writing about it for the blog.  Writing this blog has brought us many wonderful things, including friendships for which I am eternally grateful, but another thing I’m grateful for is Opportunity.  We are invited to interesting events and occasions, and I will be honest and tell you that I weigh each and every invitation very carefully.  It takes a lot to get me out of my routine and my happy place (pajamas, bed, book).  When the opportunity came to see Potted Potter smack dab in the middle of the chaos that characterizes the weeks in mid-December, I thought long and hard about accepting; I think we all did.  Like you, we all had a lot on our plates, but I wanted to get an early start on my word of the year, and I chose to attend.

I’m so glad I did.  It was such a gift to witness not only my nine year old’s belly laughs, but Carol’s and Beth-Anne’s too!  We all had a hoot, and you really do not have to be a Harry Potter expert to enjoy the show.

The premise of the show is that two actors act out all seven books in the Harry Potter series in 70 minutes.  It’s a fast-paced physical comedy that brings into play humour both broad and subtle.  There’s a straight man and a funny man, there is a wild and wacky frenzy as the two attempt to act out as many of the major roles as possible.  Unexpected costumes, props and choreography add much to the fun.  There are jokes pitched high and low, and the actors appeared to improvise references to everything from Frozen to Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade and disastrous Mayor Ford.  The jokes come at you a mile a minute, and while the kids are still laughing at the ones pitched to them, the adults are laughing at the subsequent allusions pitched to them.  There is even audience participation, as members of the audience are invited to participate in a Quidditch game, while two kids get invited up onto the stage.

Before the show, you can order a butter beer from the bar (the recipe is secret, but they will alert you to possible allergens).  The lobby and the sidewalk outside the Panasonic Theatre are quite small, and it felt very crowded very quickly, so you’d be well advised to arrive and take your seats early.   It’s just steps from the subway, so getting there and home was a breeze for those of us on the TTC.  Parking was not easy to find, so, again, arrive early to give yourself wiggle room.

I had one very special night with Middlest, and we went out for dinner after the show, just the two of us, and it felt like just the right way to kick off the winter holiday.  It would also be a great way to kick off the new year.  Here’s to attending!

Potted Potter is at the Panasonic Theater, 651 Yonge Street.  It runs until January 11, 2015.

You can get tickets here.

Most Popular Post of 2014: Ladies, It’s Time to Ditch Those Granny Panties

boyshortIt’s August and even though the weather here in Toronto hasn’t exactly been summery these past few weeks, it’s definitely warmer than the wintery polar vortex that swept the northeast only a few months ago.

The month of July at 4Mothers was all about learning, but for the month of August we’re turning up the heat, and embracing steamy summer nights!

Let’s start off with an underwear refresh. It’s time to ditch those granny panties and discover some beautiful options that are made for real women by real women. I did it (you can read about it here) and you can do it too. Your partner will thank us.

Knix Wear

Joanna Griffiths is the founder and hands-on visionary behind these high-tech knickers.  Joanna learned about the realities of real women’s bodies, specifically the challenges many women face post-pregnancy, from talking with her mother, a doctor.  When Joanna became aware that one third of women will experience some bladder leakage at some point in their lifetime, she set out to revolutionize women’s underwear.  Not believing that a little bit of leakage should condemn a woman to wearing ugly panties to accommodate bulky drugstore pads, Joanna built-up a team of expert professionals to make her dream of creating seamless undergarments for women that don’t roll, have built-in leak resistance, have anti-odor and moisture wicking technology, all while still being beautiful and flattering to all bodies.  Sound like a tall order?  Well, Joanna succeeded with Knix Wear and now women can feel sexy and confident. Nude boyshort

Knix Wear is available in a variety of colours, styles (bikini, boy short, thong and high rise) and fabrics, from athletic to lacy. Sizes from XS-XXL.  Priced from $22-$38.  Sign-up for their newsletter and get $10 off your first purchase! 

Highrise

Mayana Genevière

I don’t think that I have ever met someone as passionate about women’s undergarments as Nadine, founder of Mayana Genevière.

After giving birth to her daughter, Nadine found herself disappointed with the selection of nursing bras: the one item a woman should never skimp on!  Everything she came across was either frumpy or hyper sexualized. She took it upon herself to create something not only beautiful but functional.  She designed the first of its kind, metal clasp-free nursing bra and when her friends caught a glimpse of it, they encouraged her to design a line of feminine undergarments, including shape wear, that are to be worn throughout the entire journey of womanhood. Gallery3_Empress420x420-May16-300x300

Her Canadian designs are well constructed with attention to detail such an adjustable hook & eye that allows you to choose your desired level of compression and every garment is made of the highest quality fabrics including organic cotton gussets. Nadine maintains that a woman’s undergarments should never roll or shift and it won’t happen so long as they are well made and fitted properly. “You’ll always look fabulous when you dress the body you have!” says Nadine and she’s made it her mission to celebrate women’s bodies and at the same time instill acceptance and confidence in her clients. To further her dream of developing a socially conscious brand, Nadine established Maternal Goddess, an organization dedicated to the education and awareness of postnatal maternal health.

Mayana-Geneviere-Opulence-collection1

A portion of every purchase from Mayana Genevière is contributed to this incredible platform that supports new mothers.

The brand will be available in the Fall at 7 boutiques in the Toronto area. Check the website for details in the coming weeks.

Bras are available in a variety of styles, including nursing from 32B to 42D.  Control panties available in sizes S-XXL.

Mayana-Geneviere-Opulence-Collection-Gallery-2-8001-300x300

Both Knix Wear and Mayana Genevière are both committed to using real women as models. Can we get a hallelujah? The last time I checked not every woman was a size flawless XS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Knix Wear and Mayana Genevière.

 

Nathalie’s Favourite Post of 2014: The Gift of an Extra Hour

560146_10154829745705014_3080396294445167686_nAnd you, you busy mother, what will you, did you do with the gift of an extra hour this weekend when the clocks turned back and the night closed in?

What gift will you, did you give yourself in those sixty precious extra minutes?

Sleep.  Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep.  And/or.

A full pot of hot coffee and time to drink it quietly.  And/or.

An early-morning slip out of the front door and up the hill to the damp dark park for long quiet walk.  And/or.

Bread, from scratch, to make the house rise with its smell.  And/or.

A bath alone and piping hot.  And/or.

A project from beginning to end.  And/or.

A meal, unhurried.  And/or.

Yes instead of no.  And/or.

Extra chapters at bedtime.  And/or.

Sleep.  Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep.

 

 

Nathalie’s Word for 2015: Attend

attend (v)

1. to be present at (an event, meeting or function)

2. to apply the mind or to pay close attention

Origin of attend: Middle English, from Anglo-French atendre, from Latin attendere, literally, to stretch to, from ad- + tendere to stretch

First of all, I love that the etymology for this word includes “stretch” because for weeks and weeks “stretch” was my word for this post.  I even wrote it in the sand at the beach this summer to photograph it for this post, then I changed my mind.  I like to feel I’m having it both ways now.  More than that, it felt like a gift to discover that the word I finally settled on has nestled inside it the word I had been contemplating for so long.  It made the decision feel right.

And having it both ways is kind of what this word is about because “attend” points in two very different directions for me: to venture out and to pay close attention to.

I want next year to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone and to attend many more events and functions and plays and games and gatherings outside of my home and my comfort zone.  I am a home body, and I need a lot of time alone at home, but this blog and my children’s growing older have both opened up a lot of new opportunities to loosen the tether to home and the comfortable safety it offers.  I want to say yes a lot more often to occasions to be away from home.  Often, this means that someone else will have to attend to my children, and I’ll be honest, sometimes the effort of replacing myself just doesn’t seem worth it.  Well, I want not to weigh that question of worth quite so often next year.  I want to find out for sure, and I want to begin to belong in circles, places and spaces that define a different part of me.

But I also feel strongly bound by the sense of the word that means to pay attention, to attend not only to the world and the people around me, but also to my gut.  It’s an inward-looking, close to the self kind of meaning, and I want to pull the world in at the same time that I venture out.  I have begun that in a really rewarding way already with photographs from my daily walks.  (I post them on Instagram, if you’re following us there, and they pop up on the side bar if you’re reading us on the computer.)  Somehow, giving myself the task of capturing one image from my day has made me attend to my surroundings in a whole new way.  I’m looking for opportunities to frame and capture a moment, a colour, a flash of light.  I am never the subject of the photograph, but somehow they reflect me and how I saw the world that day.  “Attend” came to me while I was on one of my walks, and it really does capture how grounded and right in myself I feel while I’m walking.

I listen to podcasts while I’m on my long exercise walks, so attending also means paying attention to another person’s story.  I often joke that education is wasted on the young and that I could happily be in school for ever.  Well, with podcasts I am attending lectures for as long as my walk lasts.  I have met so many amazing authors in interviews recorded with the CBC, BBC, The Guardian, NPR, LRB, and others, and I’ve been utterly captivated by what I’ve learned about science and history from “Quirks and Quarks” and “A History of the World in 100 Objects.”  My taking photographs and listening to podcasts began in earnest in November, but I know it’s something that I want to make a top priority for 2015 because they both feed my soul.

Finally, I want to learn to attend to my own instincts more generously and viscerally.  I second-guess myself all the time, and, usually, I think that’s a positive thing.  I think it’s good to question yourself.  I like humility and the ability to see things from multiple perspectives, and I value how second-guessing myself will give me both.  But I’m also a bit tired of how often hindsight will show me that I should have been more rooted in my own values and priorities.  I will catch myself scrambling around in ways that reward others much more than they reward me, and I want to rein that in, to attend to what feels right for me.

So, a word that stretches me in some ways and extends what is already there and working well.  I’m happy I settled on it.  I feel at home in it.

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