Sugar Highs Create Health Lows!

sodaAs a dentist, I am constantly warning my young patients about the effects of sugar consumption on the teeth. The bacteria in your mouth love to feed on sugar, and after they have gorged themselves, they excrete acid all over the teeth which causes decalcification of the enamel, which in turn can lead to cavities. But oral health is not the only thing that is affected by sugar consumption. In his new book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig explains how sugar is actually toxic to the whole body.

In a nutshell, table sugar, or sucrose, is broken down by the liver into two smaller sugar molecules: fructose and glucose. Turns out, the liver metabolizes fructose the same way it processes alcohol, which is to say as something that is toxic to the body. Except instead of making us tipsy, sugar makes us fat. And the much-maligned “high fructose corn syrup”? It’s like sugar on steroids! The biochemistry is fascinating, and the implications for our personal health and public policy are far reaching. It used to be that we were constantly counseling patients to quit smoking. Now I find myself repeatedly telling patients – especially my young ones – to QUIT SODA!

DIY: Is your Child’s Face Growing Favorably?

If you’ve ever wondered whether your child’s face is growing favorably, you can find out with a very easy test.

And if caught early enough, there is a solution that can help guide your child’s facial growth so that you can help prevent later orthodontic work and optimize facial esthetics by addressing problems such as a deep overbite, an under-bite, mouth breathing and other problems that can possibly affect long term health.

1.)   Using a piece of ribbon, measure the distance between the edge of the upper front tooth and the very tip of the nose (Measuring tooth to nose furthest point forward)

IMG_7403 IMG_7402

2.)   Mark those points with a pen.

3.)   Using a millimeter ruler, measure the distance between the two ink marks. This is the Cosmetic Line.


4.)   Compare your child’s Cosmetic Line to the chart

Age Cosmetic Line – Female Cosmetic Line – Male
5 26 28
6 27 29
7 28 30
8 29 31
9 30 32
10 31 33
11 32 34
12 33 35
13 34 36
14 35 37
15 36 38
16 37 39
17 38 40
Adult female: 38-42mm Adult male: 40-44mm

If the Cosmetic Line is 5-mm or greater than the ideal measurement, this is an indication that unwanted facial growth has already occurred.  If so, Biobloc Orthotropics® can help. Find out more in this video below:

You can also contact Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian at (831) 438-4411 for a consultation.



Difficult Child, Terrific Teen!

Strong-willedPositive Parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham has good news for you if you have been blessed with a particularly strong-willed child: if parented in a sensitive, empathetic way, your “difficult” child can grow into a fabulous leader! In a recent post on her ultra-informative website, Aha!, Dr. Markham outlines Ten Tips For Positive Parenting Your Strong-Willed, Spirited Child.” She points out that rather than viewing your child as “stubborn”, you can embrace him as someone of integrity who does not easily succumb to peer pressure. What a valuable quality to have as he transitions into adolescence! However, breaking his will and forcing your child into obedience does not foster this quality and can in fact make things even more combative in your relationship. Make conflict resolutions a win-win, however, and watch your child blossom with self-discipline and responsibility.

A Cure For Autism?

If you are one of the many parents who has a child on the autism spectrum or if your child struggles with ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, or even schizophrenia, then you know all too well the feeling of helplessness and frustration that comes with trying to treat or manage these conditions. Western medicine has yet to offer a “cure” for any of these problems, but one doctor might just have the answer.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a physician with degrees in both neurology and nutrition, developed the Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) model to explain the connection between the digestive system and the brain. Her work is truly ground-breaking, offering not only a causative explanation (that these conditions are all essentially digestive disorders!), but a practical treatment protocol to detoxify the body and allow the brain to develop and function properly. And you don’t need a prescription to do it! Find out more about her work here.

Fantastic Way to Help Children Make Healthier Food Choices

If you’re like me, you’re constantly scouring the food blogosphere for new recipes to experiment with or to add to your weekly meal rotation.  Nick Coffer, a stay-at-home dad of two adorable little ones, dishes up plenty of inspiration on his blog  His recipe box may be a little liberal with the sweet ideas, but I love how Nick describes his cooking experiences with his son, Archie“The time I spend together with Archie in the kitchen is true quality time. We talk, we laugh, we make a mess, we create, we argue, we break things, we sulk. But more than anything we just have fun.”  After all, that’s really what cooking for and your family should be about, right? Having fun and nourishing those you love in the mean time.

Children are also more likely to make healthy food choices later in life when they are introduced to the kitchen early on. Interestingly enough, Nick describes how they used Baby Led Weaning  to transition Archie to solid foods.  It seems to have created a culture around food that has brought a lot of joy to the Coffer house, and a second career for Nick.  If you want to know more about how to get your child involved in the kitchen, and learn some tasty recipes in the mean time, head over to

How One Woman Has Changed School Lunches

The subject of school lunches has entered our national dialogue in a very real and urgent way over the last few years.  Childhood obesity is continually rising, with one third of our nation’s children overweight according to the American Heart Assocation, and this generation predicted to be the first ever to die before their parents.  It is obvious that we need to make a change in the way our children our fed, but it has proven to be not such an easy task when it comes to what is being served in school cafeterias.  Enter Chef Ann Cooper.  With a background that includes Chef, Nutrition Services Director, Consultant, Author, Public Speaker, and Advocate, Chef Ann has been changing the way our children eat, one school at a time.  She founded The Lunchbox, a FREE online toolkit that any parent or administrator can use to help transform your local school food into something that is healthy and delicious for children. Resources include how to bring a salad bar into your cafeteria (complete with information on equipment selection, regulations, purchasing, recipe development, training, marketing and student interface), Food Day School Curriculum with innovative lesson plans on teaching children about healthy food choices, and creating a farm-to-school model that brings local produce into schools.  You can found this wealth of information at

What does texting or heavy backpacks do to your child’s posture?

textingWith the ubiquitousness of tablets, laptops, and smart phones, it only seems logical that the school days of toting heavy backpacks full of textbooks are coming to a close.  Until then, it seems that children will continue to struggle with oversized loads that frequently affect their posture.  What I see most commonly is children adopting a forward-head posture to compensate for the weight in their backpacks.  Ironically, texting and extended computer use also leads to forward-head postureThis head position can also be related to a compromised airway.

According to orofacial myologist, Joy Moeller, RDH, “mouth breathing and a low tongue rest posture are often associated with a forward head posture.  The person brings their head forward in order to open the airway.”   This in turn negatively affects the cervical spine, the hips, the knees, the feet, and all of the supporting muscles.

An orofacial myologist can help with these issues by correcting poor oral posture.  Habits such as mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and thumb-sucking not only contribute to the forward head posture but also alter facial growth.  Correcting these problems for both adults and children alike is something we do a lot of in our practice, and patients find the therapy both fun and effective.  Visit for more information on orofacial myology.

Ever wondered what “leaky gut” is?

I was so excited to interview Rachel Abrams, MD about food allergies and gut health for “The Healthy Child Show” web series in January.  She shared the most fascinating information about how allergies create an inflammatory response within the body, and how that specifically affects the gastro-intestinal system.

Influencing the Immune Response by Improving GI BalanceAs a physician who practices Integrative Medicine, she pulls from both Western and alternative modalities in treating her patients and focuses on restoring total body health rather than just writing a prescription to treat a symptom.  Gut health is a crucial component to that.  As you can see in her slide above, inflammation created by food allergens can damage the intestinal lining and lead to a “Leaky Gut.”  This literally means that the gap junctions which are a normal part of the intestinal lining remain open and allow undigested food, toxins, parasites, harmful bacteria, yeast and fungi to cross through the intestine and into the blood stream.  You can imagine how the immune response then becomes heightened to this assault and can create chronic dysfunction and disease.

The good news, however, is that you can heal a damaged GI tract by eliminating the allergens and repopulating the gut with healthy, helpful bacteria. 

You can hear Dr. Abrams speak about more about this topic on the recorded interview from “The Healthy Child Show,” or contact her through her website at

The best sport for a child with asthma?

Michael PhelpsDid you know that if you have an asthmatic child, swimming might be the best sport for him or her?  When I interviewed Buteyko Breathing and Asthma-Free Naturally expert, Patrick McKeown, for “The Heatlhy Child Show” he spoke about the importance of reducing your breathing (both in rate and volume of air) in order to reduce and even eliminate asthma attacks.  Over-breathing decreases the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood, causing “hypocapnia,” which in turn causes constriction of the airway.  Reversing this vicious cycle by reducing the breath can also reverse all of the harmful effects of broncho-constriction, such as asthma.  Swimming naturally lends itself to this as you have to limit your breathing.  Patrick speculated that perhaps this is why Olympian Michael Phelps was so successful in the pool, despite suffering from exercise-induced asthma!  If you would like to get rid of asthma naturally, and ditch the inhalers for good, spend some time exploring Patrick’s websites, and

6 Month Old with a Chicken Leg?

Are you frustrated by trying to feed a picky eater?  Baby Led Weaning (BLW), as demonstrated in this video from BLW expert Gill Rapley, can be the answer to all of your aggravation.  It allows the child to guide the weaning process, encouraging her to discover new foods, exploring taste and texture, on her own at her own pace.  In her book Baby Led Weaning, Gill explains that when we wean children on to solid foods, we frequently do it at the behest of a pediatrician with colorful purees that bare little resemblance to the whole foods from which they came. It doesn’t allow them build trust with what they are eating nor regulate their own appetite. Spoon feeding is something that is done to a child at an appointed time, rather than allowing the child to feed himself at family mealtime. On the other hand, baby-led weaning  really is such an intuitive model of weaning – as much a socialization process as a growth and development one – and those parents who have taken Gill’s advice report family-friendly, nutritious, sometimes messy, but always enjoyable mealtimes.  To find out more information about the natural way to wean your baby, visit