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The Benefits of Family Meals & Five Tips to Make Them Happen

digestion kids Aug 29, 2018

By Erin Erickson, DNP, MPH, MA

Erin is a nurse practitioner dual certified in family practice and women’s health and currently sees patients at Minnesota Personalized Medicine. She is also Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Mom Enough®, an evidence-based parenting blog. 

Dear busy families with kids:

  1. Do you ever wonder if it’s really worth the effort to have a regular family meal?
  2. After your hard work in the kitchen, are your children done eating within 5 minutes of the food hitting the table and begging to leave?

If you can relate, know that you're not alone. Also know that in spite of what might feel like a futile effort, the time spent on meals is well worth it.

Before I dive into the strategies of making family meals happen, I’d like to invite you to join my family for dinner. The five of us sit on little stools, squished around a too-small table in a too-small kitchen not made for “eating in.”

My oldest son stands over his food, adding...

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Healthy Gut Basics for Mental Health (Spoiler: You Don't Need a Daily Probiotic)

calm digestion joy Jul 17, 2018

By Tim Culbert, MD

Restoring and maintaining optimal mental health requires a multi-pronged approach that supports your mind, body, and heart. A key part of that holistic approach involves caring for your gut. So, what (or who?!) lives in your gut and how can you care for it?

Your gut (AKA gastrointestinal tract) primarily includes the stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas. A collection of micro-organisms call your gut home- a housing situation often called the "gut microbiome." I call these helpful micro-organisms "good bugs" and they include a zoo of bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and fungi. Good bugs communicate with your brain constantly via chemical messengers and nerves. Some help manufacture neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA and also help make vitamins needed for optimal brain functioning. Good bugs also support your response to stress and contribute to healthy immune system activities. Given their big jobs, it's vital that...

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