Camp Jump Start Blog - Camp Jump Start

Kids and covid-19

Kids get Covid and kids spread Covid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 90% of Covid cases were missed in children over the last year! Cases get missed because kids typically do not present the same way as adults with this infection. There is also a very short window for testing in children—likely 2 days—to detect the infection. For most kids, the illness appears mild with congestion, stuffy nose and sneezing only for a few days. Although some kids may present with a myriad of adult symptoms. The good news has been less than 1 % of kids under the age of 18 end up in the hospital. Yet, thousands of kids have died from Covid-19 and many more continue to suffer from long term complications!

Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome was discovered only a year ago when kids had a 50-50% chance of ending up in the Intensive Care Unit. Three to four weeks after a mild case of Covid, kids developed inflammation in various organ systems which in many cases was life threatening or life altering with heart, lung and brain involvement.  A curious change has occurred over the last few months. Kids coming into the hospital emergency department are now having an 80-90% chance of requiring intensive care due to septic shock related to a previous mild Covid illness. Many kids need long term care following a mild covid infection related to neurological damage from the virus.  For example, will a teenager no longer able to walk due brain inflammation be able to rehab and walk again? 

As kids are resuming physical activity we have noticed that many are having a hard time. At first, they appear de-conditioned and out-of-shape but it may be more than that. If your child has had symptoms from Covid previously then it is recommended that they have an evaluation by a cardiologist prior to resuming sports! Long haul Covid causes inflammation around vital organs such as the heart or lungs. A simple exam by a cardiologist and possibly an EKG can alert you to a potentially dangerous condition before it is an emergency situation.

SARS-CoV2 is causing illness unlike any other pediatric disease and this virus continues to evolve. Only time will give us the answers we are seeking. What we are learning from the United Kingdom is the rate may be as high as 10% of those children infected with Covid do not get better! They develop long haul covid. They may experience headaches similar to a migraine, shortness of breath, hair loss, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and low energy.

We cannot predict this virus so we must protect ourselves and our children from getting it.  This summer keep your kids close to home and your circle small until your child can be vaccinated. Vaccinations for children should be available first quarter of 2022. We all want life to be normal again but this virus is not over for anyone until it is over for everyone. 

Covid Chaos

In a split second it seems that COVID-19 changed all our lives. 

Camp was at the peak in our history—we had the most campers registered and we had just received a verbal commitment for a $500,000 gift toward building a gymnasium.  It was the best of times!

And in just that split second,  it became the worst of times.

Pandemics are stressful.  Fear of a novel or new virus can cause overwhelming anxiety along with other strong emotions.  Add to it the isolation required to stop the spread of the illness and mental health is at risk.

Concern over your own health and the health of your loved ones can become all consuming.  Eating patterns change.  Activities are curbed.  Difficulties in sleep emerge.  As the pandemic draws out disruption in concentration occurs as focus shifts to jobs and financial challenges.  Tempers flare.  The crisis amplifies all previous life problems and many people will self-medicate using food, tobacco, alcohol or drugs in an attempt to numb the pain. 

People respond differently to stress depending on prior experiences, background, financial situation, social support, community involvement and health.  We are connected to others as human beings so how each of us responds affects those around us too.

The best ways to cope with Covid stress and avoid choas is to:

  • Research the “facts”.  It has been stressful for everyone as the guidelines change but that is the problem with a novel or new virus.  We must be cautious and be willing to change as we learn more.
  • Know how to take care of yourself or your loved ones if sick.
  • Know how and where to seek help if needed. 
  • Take care of your emotional health and give yourself credit for surviving in difficult times.  No one is perfect so lower your expectations and give that grace to others. 
  • Recognize that this is one huge storm and we are all in different boats experiencing calm waters and turbulent waters.  It depends on the boat as to what the experience is at any given moment.  We find strength in reaching out to others and drawing them close stabilizing BOTH boats.
  • Turn off the news!  You need a break!  Vow to only watch or listen ONCE A DAY. 
  • Spend some time doing things that you enjoy—garden, read, listen to music, exercise, etc
  • Try yoga, meditation or simply stretch and breathe.
  • Pay attention to the food you are eating.  Avoid junk food.  In a pandemic you need to be in the best shape of your life so fuel your immune system with veggies (especially the green ones), fruits, beans and whole grains.
  • Exercise daily as your body needs to be fit to fight the virus.
  • Connect with others daily.
  • Forgive yourself in the moment.
  • Keep your faith. 

This, too, shall pass.

Boosting your mental health

We all long for life to return to normal, but that is not how life works, it moves on. We will never return to the good ‘ole days. Rather we will evolve to a new normal. Now is the time to consider what we want that to be.

Almost everyone during this unprecedented time in history is feeling a great deal of stress, fear, anxiety and even depression. We feel little control over our individual lives. Yet this is exactly where we should start—we need to take control over that which we can control. We will all be stronger for it!

When life is uncomfortable, the natural tendency is to escape. Most people will retreat and become immobilized in the world of television or computers. This will not help us manage our thoughts and feelings for long. Instead we need healthier coping strategies to survive this unsettled time in our life.

Many regions have gone into lockdown once again due to Covid-19 and we are unsure of what the future holds, but humans are creatures of habit, so you need to plan your habits. You know what to expect when you have a daily routine and it does not take much effort once the routine is established. It is just what you do.

  • Set a firm time of when you wake up and when you go to bed each day. Sleep is the key to a heathy life because it allows for rejuvenation of our mind, body and soul.
  • Follow your normal routine for daily hygiene even if you are not going to work and even if you do not feel like it.
  • Plan your schedule and eat on schedule. Do not go in the kitchen if it is not time for a planned meal or snack. No eating after dinner—The Kitchen Is Closed!
  • Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day. Any other beverage is in addition to this!
  • Exercise releases chemicals in your body that will naturally boost your mood. There is no prescription medicine that comes close to achieving the same results that exercise provides so plan your daily activity time.  Each day should be different.  
  • Aerobic activity especially during these times of Covid is needed every day for 45 minutes to an hour so try walking around the block or go to a park. Try running, biking, dancing or anything that makes you breathe deeply and sweat!
  • Strength training is needed 2-3 times per week. You do not need special equipment. Your own body weight is the best resistance.
  • Stretching and flexibility training is necessary to avoid injury and maintain good form. Just watch the animals as they naturally do this every time they get up.
  • It takes at least 66 days for a new routine to become a habit.  One good choice leads to another!
  • Be kind to yourself. These are tough times, so you need to take care of yourself, especially if you have to take care of others. Your home is your safe space and you can practice self-care by building in specific times to soothe your soul. Make a list of your favorite things that involve all your senses and commit to this daily:
  • Things to see—cards from friends or sending cards to friends, pictures of your family, books from times gone by, travel literature, magazines, video chat or Facetime
  • Things to hear—music from when you were in high school, white noise like thunderstorms or ocean waves, wind chimes, books on tape, talking on the phone
  • Things to smell—candles, aromatherapy with essential oils, other fragrances and lotions
  • Things to taste—making HEALTHY comfort foods including soups and stews to warm your home, herbal teas, holiday baking (but give most away to maintain your own health)
  • Things to touch—blankets, slippers, journaling, writing letters, facials, hot bath/shower, and do not forget hugging the people you live with and your pets!

The greatest enemy is isolation, but you can change that quickly. You can call family and friends, you can Zoom events, you can join an online group and share books or hobbies—you can try new books or hobbies by ordering online those things that you find interesting, you can social distance on a walk and initiate conversations with new people who may need you as much as you need them. Loneliness is not a permanent condition nor is this Covid chaos. Find a way to reach out in service to others. Most nonprofits are struggling terribly and could use your help. It lifts our own spirit when we can help someone else. 

It is a unique time, but there can be good that comes from this bad. Take this opportunity to improve your mental AND physical health by creating your new normal routine. Try some of the items listed and add your own ideas to the list. 

Trying any or all of these coping strategies might help you feel a little bit better. We all must “fake it ‘til we make it”.

And we WILL make it!

Goodbye and good riddance 2020 and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!!!!

Let’s start 2021 off right! Have you thought about your New Year’s Resolutions?

Are they the same ones you made last year? Lose weight. Exercise More. Eat Healthier. If you are like many of us, these three are at the top of our list and may have been for several years. The fact is, four out of five people who make these New Year’s resolutions will eventually break them before the end of January!

So, here’s an approach that has a far greater chance of success. First think about the reason you want to reach a specific health goal. Wanting to avoid diabetes, heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s are admirable goals, but let’s be honest, you do not really believe these bad things will ever happen to you. So, ask yourself, “Why am I really making this resolution? Is it because I want to wear a certain little dress, have more energy, walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding, hold my grandbabies, climb to a mountain top, swim with dolphins?  Figure out your “why”, then capture how that looks in your mind. Write it down on paper and place it on your refrigerator. Share your resolutions with your loved ones. Motivation comes from within the person, telling someone else makes it a commitment, writing it down will remind you daily and this is how you will reach your goal. 
Here are some baby steps you can take to a healthier lifestyle.

Make just ONE resolution and understand your “why”. You will have success if you concentrate and put your energy into just one resolution.  More than three resolutions and your chances of success in any of them is greatly reduced. This year set yourself up for success and focus on one resolution. At the end of this year you can celebrate without regret knowing that you have successfully improved your life circumstance.

Start your day with steel cut oatmeal topped with flaxseeds and fruit.  Focus on making this one easy healthy meal and let it become a new habit. You do not need to overhaul your entire daily menu at once! If you make one good choice to start the day, then the rest of the day it is easier to make healthier choices. This breakfast choice will keep you full until lunch and will help your body run efficiently.

Always start your lunch and dinner with a soup (watch the sodium) or salad. Americans today eat mostly “fake food” and we are suffering from malnutrition. The highly processed food industry has taken out all the good stuff needed by our bodies and replaced it with potentially harmful substances causing us distress. We need the micronutrients and phytochemicals from plants to avoid dietary deficiencies and over consumption. Food is fuel and we all must choose wisely for our bodies to run well. 

Make over one meal each week. Once oatmeal has become routine for breakfast then improve the health content of one more meal each week until you have 3 weeks of healthier options. Focusing on one meal at a time is easier than trying to overhaul all of your daily eating habits at once.  It is important to cut down on animal protein if you truly want to avoid heart disease and cancer so try to plan for a “Meatless Monday”.

Buy a monitor.  People who track their food intake and activity will be more accountable by wearing a monitor. We all play mind games. For instance, we overestimate the amount of exercise we do and we underestimate the amount of calories we eat. The math is not always easy calculating calories in and those calories we burn, but you should track this to the best of your ability if you want to reach your goals. Just wearing a monitor will remind you to make better choices in all parts of your life.

Try new things. We can get stuck with all things in life. Buy and experiment with unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. Take a new exercise class or participate in a new activity. Meet new people who are trying to do what you are doing. Challenge yourself!

Play with the kids in your life.  It means more exercise for all. Combine this with trying new things. You do not have to be an expert on all things; let these children teach you something new! Play tag, jump rope, dance, learn different sports or just go for a walk or run together.  Even physically interactive video games can be beneficial. 

Make time for rest.  Rest, relaxation and sleep are all components of a healthy lifestyle. Plan to get at least 7 hours of good sleep per night. It takes time for your body to rest and repair.

Be a role model.  Children do as we do and not as we say. Role model these baby steps so the children in your life will grow up not having to make this same resolution.  Because of you, they will be in the habit of living a healthy lifestyle.

Wishing you health, happiness and hope for a better life in 2021! We have all been looking forward to this new year!

What Health Professionals Are Doing To Avoid Severe Covid-19 Infections

During this pandemic, day in and day out, our frontline healthcare professionals are exposed to this new invader known as Covid-19. Although we call them Health Care Heroes, not one has a superpower against this virus. What are they doing to avoid infection when cases are soaring?

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is their uniform to avoid contact with the virus.  Yet, we all are likely to come into contact with this virus either on or off the job at some point in time. It is the personal habits of each individual that will likely determine the course of illness. Those embracing a healthy lifestyle are less at risk for complications.

There has never been a better time to move towards a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle consists of four areas in daily living:

  1. Eating plan—Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans will give your body the fuel needed to put up the best defense. Make sure you are well hydrated too.
  2. Exercise—Raising body temperature during intense activity helps kill off viruses. Make an effort every day to work up a sweat for an hour. 
  3. Stress Management—Learn to control what you can control and then give up the rest. Get into nature by hiking or just walking around the block so you get sunshine and this will help your mood too.
  4. Sleep—Sleeping well will allow for rest and rejuvenation. The body can put all effort into searching for the virus and destroying it.

Do these four areas in life well and you will reduce the impact of viruses, not just covid-19. It reduces infection rate and sets you up for faster recovery.

A lot of smart physicians have come up with their own “cocktail” to stay well during the pandemic. This is taken from Eastern Virginia Medical School with the disclaimer:

“Disclaimer: The information provided in this protocol is primarily to provide information to physicians on a protocol that we found to be highly effective in damping down the hyperinflammatory cytokine “storm” that is the cause of mortality and morbidity in COVID-19. Our guidance should only be used by medical professionals in formulating their approach to COVID-19. Patients should always consult with their physician before starting any medical treatment.”

To aid in prevention, they suggest taking these supplements and over-the-counter medications and again, they suggest you consult with your physician:

  • Vitamin C 500 mg twice a day
  • Quercetin 250 mg once a day
  • Zinc 75-100 mg once a day
  • Melatonin (slow release) beginning with 0.3 mg increasing to 2 mg at night
  • Vitamin D3 1000-3000 iu per day
  • Famotidine (Pepcid) 20 – 40 mg once a day (This helps prevent what they call the “cytokine storm” which is the body starting to attack itself and not the virus.)

And when this does not work and the Health Professional becomes infected what do they do? They immediately get tested and quarantine until results are known. They notify those that they have been in contact working with their local health department, so those people can take precautions as well. They focus on eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, maintaining an easier exercise routine and sleeping to the best of their ability. They learn to sleep on their belly so that their lungs can expand better. They continue their “cocktail” of supplements and over-the-counter medicine, possibly increasing some dosages and add aspirin unless contraindicated. (Always consult your physician!) Every two hours while awake they take 5 deep breaths—breathing in through their nose and blowing out through their mouth as if blowing into a straw. After 5 deep breaths then they cough hard as long as they are isolated. This helps prevent pneumonia. If they experience shortness of breath symptoms or chest pain, they call their doctor and/or go to the emergency room.

This is how many health professionals practice self-care during this pandemic.

The last topic to discuss is the importance of achieving your optimal weight. Being overweight—not even obese—increases the complications of Covid-19. Those joking about gaining the “Covid-10, 20, 30 or 50” have put themselves at higher risk during this pandemic and that is no joking matter. Fat cells have Ace2 receptors which increases your chances for a severe case of Covid-19 infection. This may explain why some populations are affected more than others with poor outcomes. We still have much to learn about this virus.

Now is the time to set up your home environment to avoid further weight gain and create habits to reduce your weight if needed. Keep all junk food and highly processed foods out of your house! Enforce kitchen rules—eat only in one place and only during mealtimes. “Only eat when you eat” meaning no television or electronics during meals. Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day. Always drink a glass of water before eating anything. End your day of eating once you have finished dinner by brushing your teeth. 

Small choices can end up with big results. Let’s stay healthy together!

News You Can Use This Flu Season With COVID-19 Present

The good news is that the COVID-19 virus today is different from the COVID-19 virus at the beginning of the year. Most of the coronavirus strains seem to have weakened but remains aggressive. And although the death rate is approaching 210,000 people in the United States, this is far less than predicted when it first originated.

The bad news is that flu season is upon us and people will begin staying inside gaining more winter weight. This is not a good combination while COVID-19 rages among us. Most people remain susceptible to this virus and one of the major risk factors involves another unspoken pandemic—obesity! 

Overweight and obesity are major risk factors with COVID-19.  We determine overweight and obesity by using weight and height to calculate the “body mass index” (BMI). Although not absolute, the BMI gives us a good starting point in determining our body make-up. For most Americans, our body fat is out-of-control. The average BMI of an American is roughly 29 which is very close to becoming obese. The most recent data is always about 2 years old so in the year 2018, 32.5 percent of American adults were overweight and 42.4 percent were considered obese. That means that at most only one out of four Americans are a normal body weight! This may explain why COVID-19 has wreaked mayhem on our population.

Simply, obesity puts you in the danger zone not just with COVID-19 but with other obesity related diseases including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. These co-morbidities complicate the course of infection from this virus and that is not expected to change.

So, what can you change TODAY to alter the course of your own destiny with COVID-19? 

First, do not wait for someone else to protect you! All the measures taken so far were to “flatten the curve”. It was never expected that people would forever avoid getting it. We simply wanted to kick the can down the road until we learned more about the virus and we developed treatments. Waiting for a vaccine will not give you the same protection that you can give yourself and it is likely that each of us may get some strain of COVID-19 eventually. So, plan for it and be ready! 
This virus is much like the flu. Even with a vaccine, flu shots are only 40 percent effective because the virus mutates. This is exactly what the COVID-19 virus is doing, so do not bank on the vaccines protecting you. 

Your secret weapon is making good lifestyle choices!
You must start today moving the scale numbers down to a healthy weight—

  • Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water and if still thirsty have coffee or tea. Eliminate all sugary drinks or diet drinks. Eat the fruit instead of drinking juice.
  • Get rid of the junk food in your house. Do not tell yourself that you can never have the junk food ever again as this will make you want it more. Instead make access to it difficult or tell yourself that you will only have it on special occasions but never allow it in your house. 
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables so your body gets the nutrients that it needs to function at peak performance. Food is fuel. We need to increase consumption of good-for-you foods while decreasing room for the bad-for-you foods.
  • Continue to move to the healthier side on the Camp Jump Start Eating Plan continuum by cutting out dairy and decreasing meat, sugar, salt and all oils. 
  • Calculate your fiber intake and aim for 35 -50 grams per day by eating the naturally high fiber foods which will fill you up but also help remove substances that make you sick.

Other tips for this flu season—

  • Continue social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks. 
  • Always think about your masking procedure—wash your hands before putting it on, do not touch the outside of the mask EVER, wash your hands before taking it off and wash them again once the mask is removed. Determine an area to keep the mask and avoid contamination by cleaning and storing as instructed.
  • Get your Vitamin D level checked with a blood test and talk to your doctor about supplementing if you are low. Low Vitamin D levels set you up for viral infections due to your decreased immune response to them.
  • Have zinc lozenges available and use every two hours while awake if a sore throat develops.
  • Continue regular outdoor activity even if it is cold. Healthy activity will cause you to work up a sweat and we need to do this every day for about an hour for maximum benefit. Bodies were meant to move so “get up, get out and move!”
  • Pay attention to your mental health. Seek joy in your life and do the things that you love. Read, listen to music, look at family picture albums, walk, dance, do yoga, meditate and try new things. Find new interests by looking for ideas on the internet. And always remember to balance physical inactivity with exercise time. The best medicine for depression is exercise but if that does not help your mood then seek help.
  • Connect with other people in new ways like Zoom and facetime but use old-fashioned phone calls too.
  • This year get a flu shot! You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. If you got sick after getting a flu shot previously, it is likely that you were exposed prior to receiving the vaccination. This year avoid exposure by practicing social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask while standing in line for the flu shot.
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid sick people.

My hope is that COVID-19 and this pandemic encourages us all to value our health. It has given us an opportunity to get fit and embrace a healthy lifestyle. The decision is yours to make and either way you are the only one that will either reap the rewards or suffer the consequences by the way you choose to live. I hope you live well.

Staying Healthy When Viruses Are In the News

This is a preview of our Spring Newsletter Feature Article.  It is news that you can use now!  We hope these tips keep you and your family healthy!

At Camp Jump Start our whole health education strengthen bodies.  When you take care of yourself by eating the right foods (and avoiding the harmful ones), getting enough exercise, dealing with stress effectively and getting enough sleep then you are able to ward off illness.  You may still get sick but you will likely get well faster and avoid complications.

Remember that we must follow the data for this new Coronavirus and avoid hysteria.  Depending on your source, the flu takes the lives of 20,000 to 69,000 people each year.  The people at risk are typically our youngest, our oldest, those with compromised immunity and underlying diseases.  The best defense is a good offense so be proactive and set up healthy habits to control what you can control.  Then stay current with information from a reliable source and ignore those trying to incite panic.

Best Ways to Stay Healthy When Viruses Are In the News

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed but this is the time of year when people are in close contact and germs spread.  In the news we hear about the Coronavirus and strains of influenza (flu) that are deadly and it scares us. Physicians treat symptoms of these viruses and most get better, but the real prevention and healing must come from you so let’s be proactive and prepare!

Here are a dozen ways that you can take control over your health destiny and avoid communicable illnesses.

  1. Wash your hands vigorously and frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Use lotion too if you are prone to chapped skin.
  2. When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue—immediately throw the tissue into a closed-container and wash your hands.
  3. Our hands touch many things throughout the day like light switches, doorknobs, gas pumps and small office items like pens.  Stop and think of where germs transfer from yourself or others then clean those areas frequently using a disinfectant wipe. Viruses can live a long time on hard surfaces but die quickly on soft surfaces.  Make it a habit not to touch your face as this is a direct path for a virus to infect you!
  4. Avoid close contact and keep a 3 to 6-foot distance between you or someone else who is sick. Turn your head away from those coughing or sneezing.
  5.  In your home try to isolate the person who is ill—sleep in a different room and do not share a bathroom when possible; use paper products when eating or drinking then dispose of all trash in a designated container.  Avoid intimate contact until everyone is healthy again!
  6. Choose whole, plant-rich foods to boost your immune system and keep hydrated by drinking plenty of plain water.  You should drink ½ of your weight in ounces of water a day so your cells work efficiently.  Then you can drink other beverages.
  7. Eat your vitamins instead of taking unnecessary supplements!  Vitamin C produces interferons that are needed to activate the immune system against viruses.  These foods may help prevent or shorten the course of illness: broccoli, spinach, leafy greens, bell peppers, watermelon, tomatoes, potatoes and tropical fruits.
  8. Make time to de-stress. Researchers report that a person’s psychological wellbeing effects the body’s resistance and resilience to infection: 
  9. Get enough sleep. Researchers have found that tired people are more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections.  Lack of adequate sleep can make your cold symptoms worse and the illness will last longer too.
  10. If you develop symptoms seek medical care early and stay home.  You will get better quicker and prevent the spread of the virus. Be fever-free for 24 hours before resuming your life.
  11. Exercise that causes you to sweat every day will also kill germs and remove toxins from your own body.  Always clean gym equipment before and after using it!
  12. When outbreaks like the Coronavirus occur, find a credible source you can trust like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website ( so you stay informed and get up-to-date news you can use.

If we keep our mind, body and spirit healthy, the viruses will be far less likely to make us sick.

Broken-hearted Kids

Heart disease remains the number one killer of Americans.  It is even more tragic when it relates to our children.  Three out of four children between the ages of 9 – 11 years old already have the beginning stages of heart disease.  We are seeing the streaky fat deposits in their young blood vessels setting them up for a lifetime of illness and early death.  All children are at-risk if they are living the typical American lifestyle. 

In previous years heart disease in children typically was associated with a congenital heart defect or some odd complication due to an infection. Heart disease was not related to lifestyle, but all of that has changed in one generation.  We are afraid that our kids will be snatched off the lawn, so we isolate them inside the house under the guise of keeping them safe.  They long for personal interaction so they turn to a virtual world to fulfill these needs.  They become sedentary for hours on end as they immerse themselves in a world of gaming competing with unknown rivals.  Young people long for deep emotional ties to peers but instead develop and maintain a certain social media persona. 

They discuss their private thoughts with strangers online and use emoji’s to communicate feelings.  They long for acceptance and believe they find it in people that they will never meet in person. 

Is it a shock then that our kids have “broken” hearts? 

A lot has changed in the world since Camp Jump Start began in 2003.  Most parents with overweight kids recognize the unhealthy path and want to change course but they lack the knowledge to do it.  Camp Jump Start has helped put families back on track to health but Camp Jump Start is no longer trying to prevent heart disease; Camp Jump Start is working to reverse heart disease in our children! 

Here are a dozen ways to help your child heal a “broken” heart- 

  1. Weigh every family member on Friday morning and track a healthy weight for each.  Reward accomplishments! 
  2. Know lab values.  Track A1c and lipid profiles-pay attention to each level for how it is trending. 
  3. Know blood pressures.  Aim for below 120/80. 
  4. Drink water until your urine is pale yellow to maintain good hydration.  Straight water is recognized and needed by your body.  It keeps blood from becoming “thick”. 
  5. Include a large variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans in the diet. 
  6. Decrease or eliminate extra sugar, salt, oil and animal products—especially dairy in the diet. 
  7. Routinely eat/prepare food from home so you know what you are really eating.  Treat yourself once every two weeks to a meal outside of the home. 
  8. A child must SWEAT every day for an hour!  Let them choose the activity-team sport, individual sport like running or dancing to name a few but remember that they must sweat.   We want them to be challenged so their heart muscle remains strong and we rid the body of harmful toxins. 
  9. Manage stress as much as possible.  Kids need help with organization and coping skills. Intervene if stress becomes unhealthy from school or activities.  Exercise can relieve stress too! 
  10. Know your kids passwords and who they communicate with online.  Disconnect from social media on a routine basis.  It is your house and you pay the bills so kids live by your rules!  
  11. Help them sleep without disturbance.  All electronics must be removed from the bedroom at night so set up a charging station somewhere in your home away from the bedrooms.  Then lead by example by keeping your cell phone there too. 
  12. You cannot be your child’s friend.  Kids can make friends, but they only get a few parents.  Be their parent and guide them.  Help your child find their “people”.   Help them fit in but always remember that we do become like the people we surround ourselves with….so choose carefully. A community like Camp Jump Start and Living Well Village can be a lifeline for many kids and families, but again to remain successful, kids and families must stay connected to us. 

May February be the month that your family decides to put an end to heart disease in your family.   

Skip the Kids’ Meal

As leaders in the industrial world we have developed the perfect recipe for cancer.  It is called a kids’ meal.  It is packed full of saturated fat, refined carbs and dairy all of which raises the hormone Insulin Growth-like factor-1.  IGF-1 increases cell growth.  It is a non-discriminatory hormone because it causes proliferation of all cells including damaged and renegade cells. 
How often you choose this food for your child matters.  It is dose dependent meaning that the more they eat, the greater the risk.  If you eat out a lot and order kids’ meals for your child, this is risky business.   Saving money on a kids’ meal does not save money in the long run.  It will cost your child their health down the line.  We are now seeing childhood cancers escalate. Causation or correlation?  Do you really want to wait to find out when your child’s health is at stake? 

It was 2015 when the International Agency for Research on Cancer, one of the arms of the World Health Organization (WHO,) came out stating that processed meat is a class 1 carcinogen.  This was determined by 22 experts from 10 countries after reviewing over 800 studies.  This puts processed meat in the same category as asbestos, arsenic and tobacco. This research is why the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends very little, if any, processed meat be consumed.   

In America though—and yes, we have exported it—our standard American diet is full of highly processed foods which includes highly processed meat.   

“Processed meat” is the term given to meat that is salted, cured, fermented, smoked or preserved in a way which enhances flavor.  Various methods used in preserving these meats have also been shown to cause cancer in laboratory studies.  Some common examples of processed meat are: 

  • Hot dogs 
  • Bacon 
  • Bologna 
  • Corned beef 
  • Pastrami
  • Deli meats
  • Lunch meats
  • Ham
  • Sausage
  • Pepperoni
  • Salami
  • Chorizo

There is strong evidence that serving even small amounts of processed meat may lead to certain cancers.   

Typically, these meats are high in calories which causes weight gain.  Being overweight and obese is a risk factor for at least 12 types of cancer. 
Cutting down on processed meats is a good idea and cutting them out completely is best of all!  In order to avoid processed meats it will take only a little thought and experimentation.   So what will you eat if you avoid processed meat?  People are creatures of habit so you must develop a plan to change your usual habits.  Look closely at your grocery list.  Scratch out the risky items then write in healthier alternatives.  When shopping, if those processed foods start “calling your name”, simply acknowledge them and state that was your old choice but now that you know better you recognize that they are poison to you and your family.  Then keep walking!   Over time, one good choice will lead to another.  Eventually you will not even be tempted. 

Skip the kids’ meals!   

  • Instead of school lunches, send your child with soup or salad, veggie wrap or bean burrito.  Encourage your child to be the leader in this food revolution by being a role model to others. 
  • Have fast food ready at home.  Batch cook for the week to save time and money.  Always have in the refrigerator salad ingredients and beans with a big bowl of rice or quinoa to make “bowls” or have leftovers in the freezer to reheat. 
  • If you do eat out then do your homework on what is the healthiest (smartest) option on the menu. Make up your own kids’ meal from the “sides” – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.
  • And always, always make your beverage of choice WATER!

Help your child develop healthy food preferences and praise them when they make healthy food choices.  It is the single most important gift you can give your child! 

Ten Things That Kids Really Need

This time of year, children are making their list for the newest gizmos and gadgets, toys and treats but what do children really need? 

Love.  Children need love.  They need to know your love is unconditional.  They need to see your face light up when they come into a room.  This builds the foundation of their own self-worth and trust in relationships.

Respect.  Children need respect.  They need to know that their emotions, abilities, qualities and achievements are recognized and admired.  They need to know they are accepted for who they are without judgement. 

Open communication.  Children need to engage in open communication with adults and peers.  This is how they develop emotional and intellectual intelligence.  Becoming a good communicator will lead to success in all areas of life.  It helps build strong, committed relationships. 

Time. Children need your undivided time.  Throw out your over-scheduled activities and spend one-on-one quality time with your child.  Have mother-child or father-child nights out to try new things together.  Bonding early with a child will likely prevent struggles later in life. 

Structure.  Children need structure.  Structure gives your child a sense of security as they learn to know what to expect.  Even for those children who complain about schedules, they tend to thrive with structure in their daily routine.  Point out your observations to your child so that they can have a clearer picture of how others see them.  When children know what to expect, they do not suffer from worry and anxiety as much. 

Boundaries.  Children need boundaries.  Boundaries teach your child self-control, social standards and provide safety lines for them.  Setting boundaries will also help them get what they need and prevent others from taking advantage of them as they grow up. 

Coping skills.  Children need to be taught coping techniques and be encouraged to use these skills.  Every day stress requires management.  Children suffer from anxiety and depression many times because they lack these learned skills.  Take the time to listen to their concerns and then help them think through the situation so they can learn to problem solve on their own.  Teach relaxation techniques so they can grow into healthy, productive adults. 

Inclusion.  Children need to be included.  They need to be a member of many groups. Seek out the groups that are important in your own life which may include family, school, sports teams, clubs and churches.  Help your child find “their people”.  They need groups where they feel like they “fit” and are celebrated for their unique qualities. 

Coaches.  Children need coaches and mentors.  They need adult role models who can help them figure out life.  They need people who they look up to and trust.  Choose wisely who you allow to help mold your child.  Surround your child with positive role models who will help guide them throughout the many stages in life. 

Purpose.  Children need to find their purpose.  Everyone needs to feel their life is valuable and the job of a child is to learn what they have to offer.  They must develop confidence in their uniqueness.  They need to know that their life matters.  We all need to be involved in something bigger than ourselves.