On Family Meditation with Headspace

This post is sponsored by Headspace. Start a daily meditation practice by scrolling to the bottom of the post for a discount code. 

Summer is a powerful time. Magic happens within waves amongst salt water’s healing powers.

As a parent, summer can also sometimes feel like a strange dichotomy of being present in the readily-available peace found in the ocean – while fighting frustration on the days when sibling bickering sets in. According to a recent parenting survey by Momtrends Media, 40% of parents find the summer months to be the most stressful, followed by back-to-school season and the holidays.

gopro-water-photography

I always welcome opportunities to better myself and when a partnership with the meditation app Headspace came my way it truly felt serendipitous. I tried other meditation programs in the past but eventually couldn’t stick to their many commitments. Headspace was different; within just a few minutes a day, I found myself calmer, more alive, and well aware of the fact that I’m in charge of my responses to the world around me. Headspace never made me feel judged – often reminding me that there is “no good or bad way to meditate”. This app has given me a tool to introduce meditation to my kids (they especially love the animations) with a specific section just for them. We now have a family meditation practice that is beautifully simple to stick with.

silhouettes-beach

Thanks to Momtrends Media, I had the chance to meet the Headspace team at a lovely lunch event that they hosted in NYC. When I was introduced to co-founder Andy Puddicombe, and voice-of-all-things Headspace, I found myself gushing “but I feel like you’re my friend!” while restraining my arms behind my back before they could unfurl around him in an awkwardly tight hug. If you’re familiar with the app, Andy’s soothing British-accented voice, along with a collection of animations, quotes, and secular, simple meditations – make meditation a part my day that I look forward to and crave.

Headspace-meditation-app-Andy-PuddicombeHeadspace-meditation-event-NYC

Before leading us all in a guided meditation, Andy spoke of his decade of training as a Buddhist Monk. Along with his business partner, Rich Pierson, the duo sought out to improve the health and happiness around the world with the creation of Headspace – the first meditation app on the Market in 2012. Headspace now reaches over 30 million people every year!

Andy-Puddicombe-Headspace-meditation

A few things that Andy said really stuck with me:

I love how Andy spoke of mediation as a vehicle to increase compassion, gratitude, and empathy for the world around us. Pulling from his time in the monastery, he spoke of meditation as a means to not just better yourself, but also make a difference in your families and communities while putting something valuable back into the world.

Andy spoke of focusing on the breath to destress. Headspace makes this so simple even for children – with prompts to invite their favorite stuffed animal or toy to join them and rest on their bellies while breathing.

He also asked us to keep a gratitude journal specifically about family. I adore this idea. While we already have a gratitude practice in place in our home – focusing on what I’m grateful for within my children is a beautiful thing.

ocean-wave-Rockaway-Beach-NYC

As a mother, a person who lives with migraine, and as someone who comes from a public health background – it’s hard to adequately capture how grateful I am to be introduced to something so helpful.  Headspace is wonderful to gift to a friend or family member suffering an acute loss or trauma (there is a grief pack within the brave section) and even coping with cancer and pain management packs within the health session. There are single meditations for things like losing my temper and panicking – along with falling back to sleep, creative writing, difficult conversations, fear of flying and so much more.

I hope you’ll join me in this meditation journey because I want everyone to have headspace! Get 40% of your Headspace subscription for the year (which you’ll need to have full access to the app) with this code:

https://www.headspace.com/buy/checkout/summary?voucherCode=MARINOBAMBINOS

Register and enter the promo code here by July 4th:

Once you log into the app on your phone, it will automatically connect to the subscription you just activated.

Event photos 4-6 via Momtrends. 

Share

Not One Type: A Closer Look At Breast Cancer

Soho-street-NYC

Thank you to Genentech for sponsoring this post.

 According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 236,968 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States in 2014, and (not counting some types of skin cancer) breast cancer in the U.S. is the most common cause of cancer in women – across all races and ethnicities. It is also the leading cause of death from cancer, among Latina women. Like so many others I know, breast cancer has impacted my family profoundly and the trajectory of my loved ones. That’s why it’s important for me to join in sharing the Not One Type campaign, merging messages from a trifecta of champions – Genentech, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and ThirdLove.

Not-One-Type-Breast-Cancer-Event-ThridLove

I recently joined New Yorkers in exploring the Not One Type Studio – a SoHo pop-up experience, encouraging women and their loved ones to take a closer look at breast cancer. Upon stepping into the ThirdLove Studio, women curious about bra shopping were visually halted by ThirdLove’s bra installation – challenging prevalent breast cancer misconceptions – with uniformed rows of suspended bras that were only one size, and only one color. Just like ThirdLove creates uniquely tailored bras to a women’s specific size, shape and color preference – Not One Type is sharing information about the ways in which breast cancer is a very complex and not-one-size-fits-all disease.

ThirdLove-Genentech-Not-One-Type-Breast-Cancer

The Not One Type website explains how breast cancer is classified into different types – determined by the unique characteristics of each tumor, including subtype, lymph node status and stage, among other criteria. Understanding the uniqueness of each diagnosis helps to empower women and their loved ones to engage in helpful conversations and make more informed treatment decisions with their providers.

I know first-hand that family and friends often step in as patient advocates – and according to Not One Type, women facing the early stages of breast cancer rely on three or more people to help them process treatment options. An incredibly valuable tool on the Not One Type website is a checklist of questions to help women facing this diagnosis and their supporters be as well-informed as possible in conversations with doctors.

Giuliana-Rancic-Not-One-Type-Event-NYC

In addition to all of the visual messaging, a lovely tribute wall, “boobie pins” in all shapes and sizes, and ThirdLove discount cards – the campaign’s spokeswomen Giuliana Rancic was on hand leading the discussion with women currently living with breast cancer as well as drawing from her personal experience.  According to Giuliana “understanding your unique diagnosis is critical to receiving the right treatment for you. And it’s not just important for those diagnosed to know about the different types, but for those who love them.”

Armed with new-to-me facts and insight, I’m grateful that I can now help better support a loved one. Have a look around notonetype.org, I’m sure you’ll learn something too.

Share

A Healthy Green Smoothie for Saint Patrick’s Day

best-healthy-green-smoothie-recipe

Check out our yummy healthy green smoothie recipe to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with the kids! Thanks to our partner Maple Hill – America’s original 100% grass-fed dairy producers for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Over the years, my kids have shown me that it’s the little things commemorating the special dates and holidays that mean the most to them. Their excitement over a simple banner on the mantle, handmade decorations or a themed recipe will always make me incredibly happy. That said, I was in great need of upping my game for Saint Patrick’s Day this year – ever since my son came home from school last March wanting to know why he’d been deprived of setting “leprechaun traps” in our home. While I may not ever be the leprechaun-trap-making kind of mom, I can make a mean kiddo-approved green smoothie. And if I can get kale, spinach, Maple Hill Organic Grass-Fed Yogurt and more into my kiddos before they’re out the door for school in the morning – than that’s a win for us all!

the-best-green-smoothie-yogurt-recipe

Smoothies are a breeze, especially when you’re looking for something easy and healthy. And our Saint Patrick’s Day smoothie recipe is catered to please the kiddos:

the-best-green-smoothie-recipehealthy-green-smoothie-kids-recipe

A Healthy Green Smoothie for Saint Patrick’s Day

A Healthy Green Smoothie for Saint Patrick’s Day

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup Maple Hill organic plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 banana (peeled)
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • a few pieces of ice

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to blender.
  2. Blend until all chucks are gone to a smooth and creamy consistency.
  3. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.
http://www.marinobambinos.com/2018/03/a-healthy-green-smoothie-for-saint-patricks-day/

healthy-green-smoothie-recipe

One of the best things about adding greens to smoothies is that they don’t add a lot of flavor. The combination of banana, frozen mango and pineapple help to add just enough sweetness to make my kids gulp away. Although we also make this smoothie with Maple Hill’s Organic Milk – the Maple Hill’s Organic Whole Milk Yogurt gives this specific recipe a deliciously creamy texture and taste. Not only are Maple Hill’s products grass-fed, but they’re certified USDA and PCO organic, and GMO-free.  You’ll taste the difference as soon as you try Maple Hill.

Along with all the vitamins and nutrients from the organic greens and fruits – I’m happy that my kids are getting solid protein and more from Maple Hill Yogurt. Maple Hill’s products are 100% grass-fed – and milk from grass-fed cows (versus those that consume a grain-based diet) is higher in essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat – with a whole host of great health benefits known to reduce inflammation in the body and more. Their grass-fed milk has double the omega-3 fat content as conventional milk. It’s always the right choice for my family.

healthy-St-Patrick's-Day-kids-green-smoothie-recipe

If your kiddos happen to be resistant to drinking their greens in any way, make sure to give this smoothie a fun name.

st-patrick's-day-kids-green-smoothie-recipe

I’m pretty sure that Leprechaun anything will do!

Share

A New Alternative For an Opioid-Free Painkiller

This post is sponsored by Pacira via SheKnows Media.

I recently had the honor of joining SheKnows media at the BlogHer 18 Health Conference in New York City’s beautiful Tribeca.  I’ve made a conscious effort to tuck away and pull from the powerful words spoken by the organizers of The Women’s March, Chelsea Clinton, the journalists from The New York Times who exposed Harvey Weinstein and more inspirational women. I heard from women who are fighting and overcoming various health battles, breaking down stigmas and creating greater awareness of often misunderstood health conditions. We also had the chance to connect with companies creating cutting-edge responses to some of the most complex and pressing problems of our time.

Tribecca-rooftop-city-landscape-nyc

According to the CDC, on average, 115 Americans die every single day from opioid overdose – and in 2016, an estimated 3 million surgery patients became long-term opioid users.  Did you know that women are prescribed twice as many opioid prescriptions as men? Surgery has become an inadvertent gateway to opioid addiction with nearly 1 in 15 patients becoming drug dependent following a surgery. Bottles of unused opioid prescriptions are sitting idle in medicine cabinets. A recent report found that 13 percent of middle-aged women use opioids three to six months post-operation, placing them at significant risk for dependence and misuse.  In addition, middle-aged women are most at risk of death from opioid overdose, with women ages 40-59 getting opioid prescriptions more than any other group.

As a former public health researcher with a background in addiction research and harm-reduction, having an intimate look into Pacira’s surgeon-lead panel at BlogHer 18 Health was promising – because there are safe and effective non-opioid options available.  Pacira hopes to encourage patients and patient advocates to be empowered and proactive with providers when facing surgery.

women-beach

EXPAREL®, a drug developed by Pacira is a long-acting (non-opioid) numbing medication injected during surgery to control pain while limiting the need for opioids following surgery. One of the Pacira panel speakers, Dr. Gregory Greco, a board-certified plastic surgeon, explained how administering EXPAREL during surgery eliminates the need for starting opioid pain relief in the recovery room – because pain management via EXPAREL can last for days. This often eliminates or completely reduces prescriptions of opioids for post-surgical pain management.

Pacira-Exparel-non-opioid

All of the speakers, including a plastic surgeon, oral surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, along with the team running Pacira’s information booth at BlogHer18 Health, spoke of the need to be proactive and informed patients or patient-advocates in surgery consults. With the volume of opioids being prescribed post-surgery, it’s crucial to ask important questions about non-opioid options and post-surgical pain management.

According to the CDC, the number of prescription opioids sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010. And so many of us have seen the resulting devastating effects of this epidemic.  We can only hope that others will follow in Pacira’s footsteps with a commitment to reduce prescriptions, exposure, dependence, and deaths due to opioids.

Share

On Wellness Goals with the Help of Smart Scale Technology

Themommyelf@gmail.com www.themommyelf.com

Thank you, Nokia for sponsoring this post. Visit the Nokia Body+ site for more info and start the new year off right!

Sometimes, I’m team get-on-that-scale-every-single-day, and sometimes I’m more inclined to opt for a weekly weigh-in. You know what I’m never gung-ho for? That session with a gym trainer gripping those fat pincers (and my bare flesh. Gasp!) – just to have a closer look at my body composition analysis. Luckily for me, (and others who prefer to forgo fat pincers in public places) – there’s a way to keep tabs on your health and have detailed insight into accurate body composition readings in the comfort of your own home.

Hello, Nokia Body+.  

My husband and I have been committed to wellness, together, in this new year.  And testing out the Nokia Body+ is already helping us to achieve our own personal wellness goals.  It’s pretty cool that this new-to-us technology gives us a daily picture of our health, and a reminder to make solid decisions. Intrigued by the scales family-friendly design and overall intuitive technology – we’ve both felt empowered and motivated by the ability to have intimate looks into exactly what that number on the scale, at each weigh-in, is comprised of.

 

Nokia-Body+-Body-Composition-Wi-Fi-Scale

 

With a quick sync to iOS (or Android), we’re able to individually customize how we’d like to see our weight broken down. This works for large families too – by recording and tracking up to eight different users. The family-friendly design also offers a baby mode and pregnancy mode with obstetrician-reviewed advice, tips and personalized weight tracking. The Nokia Body+ measures weight trends, fat mass, water, bone muscle and body mass index (BMI). It can even tell you the local weather and track your steps if you’d like.  And the Body+ syncs automatically with the Health Mate smartphone app which displays complete and comprehensive health data, including weight, activity, and more – while offering encouragement and tips to help achieve your set goals. Already using Runkeeper, MyFitness Pal or Nike + to track your goals? Body+ syncs with those too, merging fitness tracking into one spot.

Nokia-Body+-scale-review

After being a regular-scale user for my entire life, I definitely prefer stepping on the Body+ every day. It shows me that my gym efforts aren’t in vain – and reminds me that water-weight really is a part of the picture. Armed with new insight, I’m more committed than ever to prioritize my health and wellness, and show my two incredible kids just how strong their mom can be.

Get 10% off at the Nokia Health store through December 1, 2018 here with this code: NEWYOU-1MG-WFE

Nokia-Body+-Wi-Fi-Composition-scale

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Share

Breast Cancer Risk Reduction for Mothers and Daughters

beautiful-pink-peony

This is a sponsored post. 

I can’t tell you how many women I know that have been affected by breast cancer. I’m sure that many of you can say the same.  Breast cancer has hit my own family and that of my friends and community members.  So when I had the opportunity to work with the Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program (BCERP) this year for a research study – I knew it was an important project to be a small part of – and a crucial message to share.

The BCERP is currently examining the ways in which exposure to certain chemicals and food may influence and change how girl’s bodies mature and impact breast cancer risk.

Scientists, physicians, and community partners in the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), which is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), study the effects of environmental exposures on breast cancer risk later in life. They created a mother-daughter toolkit mothers can use to talk to daughters about steps to take together to reduce risk.

 

Over the years, we’ve already implemented so many of these steps – but we can always use a reminder.  And I encourage you to share this information with your family, friends and your children’s caregivers. Although I’ve been met with resistance when discussing the harm in the use of plastics with extended family since my children were born – it’s essential to create awareness in simple steps to risk reduction that can make a difference right now. With a nine-year-old daughter (and a son too) – I must do everything in my power to make the best choices for my family.  We all want our children to thrive and be healthy – but the environment around a young girl may change the way her body develops.  Simple lifestyle choices that are supported by sound research can help protect our girls risk of breast cancer, and it’s never too early to begin taking steps.

Please join me in taking a few minutes to complete this survey to help contribute to the important work that the BCERP team is doing. 

Share