Archive for April, 2011

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

May 2-8 is Demand Healthy Week. What does that mean?

Tap your inner hero for health and show your support for an active, healthy American culture by participating in ACTIVE Life’s Demand Healthy Week. Throughout Demand Healthy Week, ACTIVE Life challenges you to create, share and log “Moments, Groups and Projects for Health” . These projects can be simply preparing a healthy meal, organizing a recurring walk or bike ride with friends or coworkers, or participating in community events such as a clean-up day or working in a community garden. It’s easy and free to participate in Demand Healthy Week. The Demand Healthy Week website has all the tools you’ll need to take action. Click here for more info.

More details from the Demand Healthy Week website:

History of Demand Healthy Week

On May 5, 2010, ACTIVE Life asked people and places across the country to show their support for healthy, active lifestyles by creating and sharing Moments of physical activity (Move), healthy eating (Fuel) and personal and environmental health (Honor). We called this day-long initiative Make the Movement Day (MMD) , and the end results demonstrated the powerful effects of what can happen when an energetic and committed community works together.

By the end of the day, nearly 90,000 healthy Moments had been organized and shared in 43 states. MMD participants of all ages took part in healthy, active Moments like school-wide health marches, healthy office picnics and community-wide run/walks. And, for one incredible day we were unified in our mission to build healthier communities.

Despite the success of Make the Movement Day, unhealthy living continues to be an epidemic in America, manifested in ballooning obesity rates, soaring health care costs, and the overabundance of unhealthy people, places, products and policies.

What are other people doing to show their healthy lifestyles? For a list of other healthy demander’s and a description of their healthy Moments, Groups and Projects, click here. And for a list of supporters of Demand Healthy Week, including the American College of Sports Medicine, click here.

About ACTIVE Life

ACTIVE Life is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to organizing the national movement for healthy change in America. They envision and are committed to establishing an American culture which values, demands and supports healthy for all. They believe that it’s time to demand that healthy be the norm in our country, and  hope you’ll demonstrate your support by participating in Demand Healthy Week.

To learn more about ACTIVE Life and our programs and initiatives, click here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Are you a new parent or a parent of a young child? Do you ever wonder what is going on in your child’s mind? One book recommended by some Montessori schools can tell you more about your child’s brain development and inner world: What’s Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life by Lise Eliot.

Amazon reviewers summed the book up better than Publisher’s Weekly so I am reposting excerpts of some of the top reviews of this book.

One Amazon reviewer provides an overview of the book contents:

How the brain is developed
Prenatal risk factors
The special benefits of breast milk for brain development
What newborns can hear
Infant walkers don’t help infants walk
How to encourage a baby’s motor development
Stress, attachment, and brain development
How the brain store memories?
Language in the 1st eighteen months
The role of genes
The role of environment

The chapters in the book include:
Chapter 1 Nature or Nurture? It’s All in the Brain
Chapter 2 The Basic Biology of Brain Development
Chapter 3 Prenatal Influences on the Developing Brain
Chapter 4 How Birth Affects the Brain
Chapter 5 The Importance of Touch
Chapter 6 Why Babies Love to be Bounced: The Precocious Sense of Balance and Motion
Chapter 7 The Early World of Smell
Chapter 8 Taste, Milk, and the Origins of Food Preference
Chapter 9 Wiring Up the Visual Brain
Chapter 10 How Hearing Evolves
Chapter 11 Motor Milestones
Chapter 12 Social Emotional Growth
Chapter 13 The Emergence of Memory
Chapter 14 Language and the Developing Brain
Chapter 15 How Intelligence Grows in the Brain
Chapter 16 Nature, Nurture, and Sex Differences in Intellectual Development
Chapter 17 How to Raise a Smarter Child

Audry’s (who is an ex-reference librarian and ex-reference librarian who reads and reviews adult and children’s fiction) writes in her Amazon  review that “Subtitled ‘How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life’ and written by a neuroscientist mother of three, this book benefits as much from its organization as the material it presents. Research, supplemented with anecdotes, is divided into chapters based on sense or function and then detailed chronologically within each section…This is one of those books you should write in — underline, highlight, take notes — because if you are indeed interested in using this information to understand your child’s progressive developmental changes, you will be referring to it often. The author presents a lot of research material in accessible language and style, but the book is dense and is not a day-to-day how-to guide. You will not read about colic or how to tell a cold from the flu, but you will learn why your four-month old prefers a little salt in her mashed potatoes or why most of us can’t recall anything that happened before we were three-and-a-half years old. Because there is a lot of information, this is not one of the easiest books you will ever read, but it is eminently worthwhile. The author not only synopsizes a lot of research for us, but also defines the limits of research and/or those issues which are still under debate or not yet fully understood, and discusses the evolutionary implications of various developmental changes.”

To read more or to order the book on Amazon, click this link. Costs about $13.60 for the paperback. About $20 for the hardcover.

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Cover of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving...

Cover via Amazon

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

While I study psychology in my masters program, one thing really has become clear–the importance of early childhood experiences on our future mental health.   I am not yet a graduate and am in no position to give psychological advice beyond my coaching credentials. However, I have found a wealth of info about early childhood and the role of experiencing nature in development in the Earth Easy blog. If you have children, or even if you don’t but are interested in nature and psychology, click on any of the links tot he articles below and enjoy!

Clearing a Path to Nature

by Richard Louv
The disengagement of children from nature has begun to alarm some of America’s more thoughtful naturalists, scientists, and environmentalists. For the full article, click here.
Richard Louv is the author of several books about children and community, including, The Web of Life: Weaving the Values that Sustain Us (Conari Press), Fly-Fishing for Sharks: An American Journey (Simon & Schuster), and the national bestseller Last Child in the Woods.

The Real Cost of ‘Virtual Nature’

by Brenda Scott Royce
Can robotic replicas and digital imagery inspire children to a love of nature? For the full article, click here.

How to get your child excited about nature

By Greg Seaman
Children are born with an innate curiosity about the natural world around them. How can we help them satisfy it? For the full article, click here.

Spending time in nature, a natural remedy for ADHD

By The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reported in Scienceblog
Children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) should spend some quality time outdoors when they are not in school, according to a nationwide study.

Leave No Child Inside

By Richard Louv
… we must pass on to our children the joy and value of playing outside in nature. For the full article, click here.

Our Psychic Connections to Nature

by David Bollier
The despoliation of nature is tantamount to despoiling our mental habitat as well. To read the full article, click here.

David Bollier is the editor of OntheCommons.org, an activist and writer about the commons, and author of Silent Theft, Brand Name Bullies and Viral Spiral.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Where can you find free information about nutrition and healthy eating? Try the American Dietetic Association here. The ADA link to info for the general public is here.


What Is the American Dietetic Association (ADA)?

The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.  It’s tough to know how to make feed your family and yourself. There is a wealth of conflicting info on line about the best eating and physical activity habits. ADA can help you in your search for answers. Registered dietitians (RDs) are the food and nutrition experts and provide the information on the site. ADA articles and recommendations are based on evidence based practices backed up by research in the field.

I like the ADA site because it’s easy to navigate, has great suggestions and is backed by evidence based practices.


Fresh fruit

A sample of some of the great info on the ADA’s Eat Right site:


Nutritious Family Meals Made Easy

Breakfast Basics for Busy Families

Healthy Weight Loss Description and Guides

How to Eat Healthy When Eating Out

Food Allergies and intolerance

The Benefits of Organic Foods

Check it out and see if the ADA site has helpful info for you and your family!




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lakefront joggers

Image by reallyboring via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Recently I came across a nutritionist’s website that I really like. The nutritionist, Jennier Vimbor, has banded together with fitness experts to create a combo nutrition education and exercise club called NCS..gotta run!! This club incorporates nutrition and exercise into a weekly meeting format. Our Nutritionists, weekly speakers and guests will demonstrate how to balance your nutritional needs with your fitness needs. Each member receives individualized recommendations from Nutritionists/Dietitians, Trainers and others in order to continue to move forward to reach your goals.

Here is what you receive if you join the NSC…Gotta Run Club:

1. Every week you will keep a food & activity journal, then submit the information prior to each meeting.

2. A Registered Dietitian (RD) will evaluate your intake/output and provide personalized recommendations.

3. Each week we’ll start off or end with a different 15 – 30 minute clinic regarding nutrition information, correct shoe fit, stretching, rehydrating, Pilates & Yoga, and Massage Therapy.

4. Get out there and run or walk at your pace for 15 – 60 minutes along Chicago’s beautiful Lakefront Trail., depending on your goals. Pacers will be out there with us in order to provide consistency, advice and encouragement.

5. Safety is of great importance. No member will walk/run alone. There’s a match for everyone.

6. Return to suite to pick up your belongs.

7. Q&A with our Healthcare Professionals, if interested.

8. Enjoy complimentary snacks & beverages.


6-Week Sessions
Session A is Closed
Session B: Mon, Jun 6 – Jul 18
Session C: Mon, Aug 1 – Sep 12
Session D: October 18th – November 22nd

When: Every Monday, 6 – 8 pm
(doors open at 5:45 pm)

Where: the Fine Arts Building
410 South Michigan Avenue, Suite #306, Chicago, IL 60605

Cost: $150 ($25 per session for the whole package)

Registration: Sign up for NCS…Gotta Run!! Club  here.

NCS Founder: NCS…Gotta Run Club was created by Jennifer Vimbor, MS, RD, LDN, CDN in 2003 to promote optimal nutrition, health & wellness. Her website is the ChicagoNutritionist here.

Jennifer received her Master’s Degree (MS) from Columbia University in New York City. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD), Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist (LDN) and Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN), as well as certified in Food afety from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

NCS philosophy: nutrition plays a significant role in your life. You really are what you eat. The foods you choose influence your healthy and well-being. Foods are selected for many reasons (pleasure, emotions, traditions, and associations as well as nourishment). The challenge is to find a balanced regimen that works for your lifestyle.

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