Category Archives: FAMILY + KIDS

Back To School Tech Stylin With Burga

September 13, 2021

You bet I pimped my cases with these goodies from Burga. I truly am obsessed with my Air Pod case and the terazzo prints. The only problem is deciding what to get. The prints are all amazing, the quality so far is great and everywhere I go, people flip out. A win, win. Fun, playful and my teen is also feeling very swag now that she is in-person learning at her new school. (And phones are allowed in class!)

The Verywell Mind Mental Health Tracker

June 26, 2021

Verywell (www.verywellmind.com) just announced the launch of The Verywell Mind Mental Health Tracker, a monthly report that measures Americans’ stress, moods, and the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first wave of results revealed that nearly twice as many young adults (Gen Z and Millennials) are stressed compared to Boomers (62% vs. 35%), particularly about jobs, finances, and re-entering the post-pandemic world. They also struggle more with feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and the potential stigma associated with seeking professional help.

As states begin loosening restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Verywell’s monthly Mental Health Tracker monitors attitudes and behaviors around the mental well-being of 4,000 Americans, representing a range of demographics including gender, race, religion, age, and political views. The Verywell Mental Health Tracker is one of the industry’s first ongoing studies measuring specific mental health indicators like self-esteem, sleep, and stress each month.

“What we’ve discovered with this first wave of results is that the pandemic has taken a serious toll on Gen Z,” said Amy Morin, Editor-in-Chief, Verywell Mind. “So while it’s important to focus on the physical health of the older generations, we also need to start paying more attention to the mental health of the younger generations.”

Key findings of the first monthly tracker include:

Younger Americans are stressed out:

  • Less than half of Gen Z said their mental health is “good”
    • Two thirds (65%) of Americans overall rated their mental health as “good” or “better” over the last 30 days, but this number dips below half for Gen Z (42%).
  • Older adults are significantly more likely to say their mental health is “good” or “better”:
    • Silent Generation: 86%
    • Boomers: 76%
    • Gen X: 65%
    • Millennials: 59%
  • Similar trends can be seen in stress, with Gen Z and Millennials (62%)  nearly twice as likely as Boomers (35%) to say they’ve been at least moderately stressed in the last 30 days.

Work and financial problems are stressing younger Americans the most:

  • COVID-19 and parenting are the most common sources of stress. Nearly half of Americans said much of their stress is related to both COVID-19 (49%) and parenting in general (48% among parents). However, when it comes to the single biggest source of stress over the last month, COVID-19 jumped to the front of the line with 27% of Americans, followed by financial problems (24%).
  • For Gen Z, financial problems (24%) and work (23%) are the top two sources of stress. While the COVID-19 pandemic ranks either first or second among all other generations as the single biggest source of stress, for Gen Z, it ranks fifth at just 16% compared with:
    • Silent Generation: 44%
    • Boomers: 37%
    • Gen X: 26%
    • Millennials: 21%

For more information on The Verywell Mind Mental Health Tracker and to read the full findings visit here.

 

Let’s Get Out There! Summer Fun For The Whole Fam

June 10, 2021

Summer 2021 is looking a lot different from last year. Who cannot wait to get out there? As a family, we’ve already shared two super fun experiences. My kids,11 and 15, had a blast doing both of these things perfect day outings.

We are huge Legoland fans. Yes, even my teen loves the nostalgic fun of it all. They replaced the Lego Friends area with a new LEGO® MOVIE™ WORLD extravaganza with new rides and attractions based on the Lego Movie.  The day was a blast. Clean as a whistle and Covid protocol all the way.

We went nuts for the Triple Decker Flying couch ride.  The Unikitty Disco Drop was hilarious and cute.

Next up we hit our favorite 60 Out Escape Room. We missed heading to our favorite summer activity to get us out of the heat, off our devices and using our brains and were thrilled when 60 Out was back up and running. We did the Jumanji room – hard as heck – with my son and a bunch of his friends and it was the best ever. We even went back last night to try Alice And Wonderland. Our goal is to do one room a week all summer! It’s truly the most wholesome and hilarious family fun. Excellent bonding time, communication skills mastery and fantastic for brain health to work immersive puzzle games like this.  60 Out Escape rooms are all over town from DTLA to Hollywood. Each has different games so be sure to study what is happening at each location!

New Pioneering Book “Sugarproof” Empowers Families to Identify Hidden Sugars, Understand the Risks of Added Sugars in Infants & Children and Right-Size Sugar Intake 

March 21, 2021

Sugarproof Guides Readers Through the Modern-Day  “Sugar Storm,” Providing Realistic Family-Based Solutions


For the recently-released book, SUGARPROOF: The Hidden Dangers of Sugar That Are Putting Your Child’s Health at Risk and What You Can Do (Avery/Penguin Random House), Dr. Michael Goran, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, co-director of the USC Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute and expert in childhood nutrition, teams up with co-author Dr. Emily Ventura, an expert in nutrition education and recipe development. Sugarproof busts myths about the various types of sugars and sweeteners, helps families identify sneaky sources of sugar in their diets, and suggests realistic, family-based solutions to reduce sugar consumption and protect kids.

“Sugarproof” isn’t about quitting sugar entirely, it’s about becoming a smart consumer, identifying and replacing hidden sugars while reducing reliance on sweet foods & drinks as daily staples by transitioning from processed foods (70% of which contain added sugars) to a more whole foods-based diet. Sugarproof encourages families to take on a life-changing 7-Day No Added Sugar Challenge or a 28 Day gradual sugar reduction. Learning how to sugar-proof your life is an empowering journey for the whole family designed to bring sugar consumption to a reasonable level.


In a groundbreaking study, Dr. Michael Goran and his team conducted a detailed analysis of the sugary products that kids love and how they impact everyday life. What they found was that these yogurts, cereals, sodas, and juices often had more sugar than advertised and contained different types of sugar than were being disclosed. The overabundance of sugar, and different types of sugar, can have a direct adverse effect on kids’ weight, chronic disease risk, behavior, and how well they do in school.

In Sugarproof, Goran and Ventura explain how babies are born with a built-in preference for sweet flavors, which is supposed to be protective so that babies like breastmilk, seek out calories and avoid contaminated foods. However, this protective mechanism backfires in today’s high sugar environment, making their developing bodies particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of too much sugar. Food companies target this innate preference for sweetness through advances in food technology, delivering new types of artificial sugars and processed sweeteners like fruit juice concentrates, and then using aggressive marketing campaigns that target children by using their favorite sports heroes and celebrities.

In Sugarproof, we also learn that children don’t need to be overweight to have a sugar problem. In fact, even if well-meaning parents purchase organic options, their children could still have dangerously high levels of blood lipids or body fat wrapped around internal organs. Sugar could be causing problems in school, disrupting sleep, concentration, mood and/or contributing to inflammatory conditions such as asthma and acne. A high sugar intake has also been associated with longer term cognitive decline, including Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as well as contributing to increased lifelong risk of cancer.

“Most of us know that sugar can wreak havoc on adult bodies, but few realize how uniquely harmful it is to the growing livers, hearts, and brains of children.” says Dr. Michael Goran. “Today’s children are not just consuming more sugar than ever, but they are consuming different types of sugars that are particularly harmful to them–and their parents may not even be aware. Our goal with Sugarproof is to help educate, motivate and empower parents and children to make informed decisions.”

Readers will learn how to identify if their child is eating too much sugar, the many disguises of sugar which can go by over 200 different names and how to become a smarter consumer by understanding labels. They will also learn tips to prevent the ill effects of added sugars, and gain ways to address and reverse those effects.

Could even a week with no added sugar change a family’s health for the better? Yes, and Sugarproof shows you how. The 7-Day No Added Sugar Challenge gives families that start with tools to reboot their diets, identify everyday sources of hidden sugars and find alternative replacements. The book also offers a 28-Day No Added Sugar Challenge for those seeking a more gradual plan. Goran and Ventura offer a reliable and straightforward theory-based approach, encouraging family-based solutions, including easy steps like engaging children in the shopping and cooking process, which will inspire kids to adopt healthier eating habits and the ability to self-regulate sugar. Sugarproof includes 39 food and beverage recipes that are easy, kid-friendly, flavorful, and flexible to account for different food preferences and needs within families.

The release of the book is particularly topical with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent changes to the Nutrition Facts label, which marks a clear shift with added sugars being listed for the first time. Sugarproof is also timely given the new USDA dietary guidelines which for the first time recommends that infants age 0-2 years of age consume zero added sugars. The COVID-19 pandemic has also added new urgency to the desire to make ourselves and our families as healthy as possible. High sugar and high processed food diets weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to viral infections and worse outcomes if infected.

You can buy the book here.

Spring Cleaning for OTC: And What That ACTUALLY Means

March 16, 2021

Spring is finally, well, springing. And top of mind for me is cleaning out the clutter – especially in the bathroom. My makeup, skincare and even OTC medications have been unruly to say the least. As part of this, I am also taking a look at all of the products I have and evaluating if a cleaner or greener option is available. While I have always been fairly conscious with beauty, I never knew that there was a better option for my medicine. After doing a little digging I came across Genexa, a company known for their clean medicine. Basically, they use the active ingredients we all need like acetaminophen, but without all of the fillers and junk we don’t. Intrigued, I actually spoke to the founders of the brand, David Johnson and Max Spielberg, to hear more about what exactly clean medicine meant, why they started the brand, and how we can tell the difference among all of the “cleanwashing” out there. 

Tell us why you started Genexa? 

We started Genexa because as two dads, we were disgusted by what we found in so many of the ingredients found in kids OTC medicines. We could not understand why so many other industries had already started getting cleaned up – beauty, skincare, food, beverage, automotive – but pharma was behind. It’s the most counterintuitive thought in the world for the medicines that are supposed to help you feel better would have the most sickening ingredients. So we decided to do something about it and after many doors getting shut in our face, found partners with deep expertise in formulation, manufacturing, and medicine to create what we call real medicine made clean.

You say that it’s the first clean medicine company – but what does that really mean? 

Our products have the same exact active ingredient as leading brands – like diphenhydramine – which is the reason you take the medicine in the first place. But we take all the unhealthy inactive ingredients – like talc, wood pulp, fake sugars, allergens, etc. – out and replace them with organic, non-GMO better for you ingredients. That means diphenhydramine with the same efficacy as Children’s Bendaryl, but instead of sodium benzoate (which can convert to a potential carcinogen), we use organic citrus acid (which is naturally found in citrus fruits). 

Why do consumers even need to care about what is in their OTC medicines? 

Consumers have only been given 1 option for far too long — synthetic, potentially harmful ingredients in their medicines. Today, more than ever, consumers can impact what products are being made and demand change with their wallets. I don’t think the big pharma companies making these OTCs are putting people first when they’re putting in ingredients like talc (which have been linked to cancer) or artificial dyes (which have been linked to ADD and ADHD) in their medicines. These are terrible ingredients that these companies put in their formulas because they’re cheap. Like sucralose, which is 4% the cost of sugar. These ingredients have been in OTC medicines for decades and they don’t care to really make a change. Consumers deserve better and it starts by them knowing what’s in their medicines. 

Max, you personally also suffered from side effects due to ingredients in OTC medicines, can you talk a little about your experience? 

When I was a kid, I had severe seasonal allergies; but, when I tried to take over-the-counter medicine for relief, I had multiple allergic reactions. I still have terrible seasonal allergies, but I can’t take drugs with synthetic ingredients because my temperature spikes and I break out in a horrible rash all over my body. My reaction is not abnormal. 35MM Americans have allergic reactions to ingredients found in food, drinks and medicines they ingest. I’ve talked to customers that went to the ER because of anaphylaxis reactions to ingredients in Benadryl. Our CMO’s grew up with a brother who would get a 104+ degree fever, which initiated seizures, anytime he had Red Dye #40 — which is found in many of the red liquid medicines on shelf. Too many people, just like me, are allergic to these ingredients and just don’t know they are the root cause. 

What’s next? 

Last year we extended our line of Kids’ medicines. We have a robust pipeline of both adult and kids’ medicines that will launch later this year and next. We are on a mission to revolutionize the entire medicine aisle — creating clean alternatives to every medicine on shelf today. And beyond just creating clean products, our ambition is to create change at the systemic level. There’s no reason that the US should allow ingredients in products we ingest that are banned in other parts of the world. We want to raise awareness about what’s really in the products we’re putting in our bodies, and be the impetus for change systemically.