Expand Your Fitness by Stretching With an Exercise Ball

Exercise balls can be a fun and challenging way to add variation to your workout. The great thing about exercise balls is that they can easily be incorporated into any fitness routine.

One example of this is stretching, an often-overlooked part of a routine. Lucy Knight, author of “The Exercise Ball Bible,” explains the importance of stretching and the three main types of stretches you can perform.

I find stretching the most deliciously satisfying way to release tension from my body. Add a ball into the mix and you have something firm and yet comfortable to drape yourself over in any direction, giving you more ways to stretch than ever. You can use the rolling motion of the ball to gracefully roll in and out of each position as well as easily control the intensity of your stretch.

It constantly surprises me that so many people seem to neglect this important and enjoyable component of their sport or fitness training. Not only should it be used to increase your flexibility and maintain mobility in later life, it should also form part of your warm-up routine to minimize risk of injury as well as your cooldown routine at the end of each workout to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.

Exercise balls are easy to store and pull out when you have free time

Exercise balls are easy to store and pull out when you have free time

There are three main types of stretches; you will need to choose the right type of stretch, depending on whether you are warming up, cooling down, or trying to increase your flexibility.

Static Stretchesexercise ball2

A static stretch is mostly used to maintain flexibility and is where you move into a stretch and hold for a predetermined amount of time—usually around 10–20 seconds. If you breathe deeply and relax into the stretch, you will find that after about 15 seconds your muscles relax as the body’s natural inhibitor switches off.

Developmental Stretches

This is the same as a static stretch, except the intention is to increase flexibility. Each stretch is therefore held for longer—usually 30–60 seconds—allowing the muscles time to relax and then extend.

Dynamic Stretches

This type of stretching is usually seen as part of a warm-up routine. The purpose is not to increase flexibility but to prepare the muscles for the work to come as well as to mobilize the joints. Examples of this type of stretching include arm circles, leg swings, or lunges. Dynamic stretches are performed in a steady, rhythmical motion so that the heart rate stays elevated and your muscles stay warm.

The Exercise Ball Bible is the most up-to-date, authoritative and comprehensive guide to maximizing the use of this ever-The Exercise Ball Biblepopular exercise equipment. Whether your goal is to stay trim and toned or you need to correct your posture, professional dancer and fitness trainer Lucy Knight offers over 200 exercises to help you lose weight and improve your strength and flexibility. With more than 300 full-color photographs, this book demonstrates the many different ways you can make use of your ball and offers a workout option for every stage of life. Chapters include exercises for getting toned, tight, and strong; fun cardio routines for burning fat; ball-assisted pilates and yoga; ball stretches for a healthy back and posture; and ball exercises for easier pregnancy and birthing.

Lucy Knight is a fitness consultant and a professional dancer and trainer in the U.K. She has more than a decade of experience in the fitness industry, regularly contributes to fitness periodicals, and has produced 13 fitness programs on video and DVD.





The Refreshing True History of the Moscow Mule

We all have our favorite summer cocktails. Some people like a frozen margarita. Some like a rum punch. Moscow Mule

But for our cocktail dollar, there is no more refreshing drink in hot weather than a Moscow Mule—a refreshing mix of vodka and ginger beer served in a copper cup.

According to Wikipedia, the cocktail was invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., an East Coast spirits and food distributor, and “Jack” Morgan, President of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products (which produced ginger beer) and proprietor of the Cock ‘n’ Bull restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The concoction was basically a marketing ploy to sell more Smirnoff vodka and ginger beer.

According to CocktailTimes.com, in order to promote the drink, Morgan and Martin ordered specially engraved copper mugs and Martin traveled around the country to market the product from bar to bar.

He would take a picture of the barmen holding one of the signature mugs, and then use the photos to convince other bar owners that their competition were carrying the drink and they couldn’t afford not to.

According to us here at Body Mind Beauty Health, it doesn’t matter if the drink started as a marketing ploy, it’s downright delicious.

In fact, we were just out a bar that had four varieties of the Moscow Mule on the menu, includes ones made with whiskey, rum and pineapple vodka.

Here are two different takes on the Moscow Mule from two of our in-house cocktail experts.

From “World’s Best Cocktails” by Tom Sandham

[The Moscow Mule is a] marketing gimmick that became a classic when the American owners of the Smirnoff brand mixed the ingredients at the Cock N’ Bull bar on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.


  • Highball or Mule Cup
  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • ice cubes
  • Ginger beer to top
  • Lime wedge and a sprig of mint

Cut the lime into quarters and squeeze the juice into a glass or cup, dropping the shells into the drink. Add the vodka and ice, stir and then fill with ginger beer.

Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.

From “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” by Ted Haigh

This drink is a good example of cocktail creep.

Anyone today would call the Moscow Mule a cocktail, though it is served on the rocks and traditionally, in a copper mug.

It is more correctly a vodka buck or a highball, both of which are considered cocktail forms today.


  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ginger beer or ginger ale

Squeeze the lime juice into the Moscow Mule mug.

Drop the spent lime shell into the mug.

Add ice cubes and the vodka, then fill with ginger beer.


Although there is still a Cock ‘n Bull-branded ginger beer, there are spicier ones from Jamaica.

My favorite, though, is made in exotic South Caroline by a concern named Blenheim Bottlers, owned by the same folks who run that ubiquitous East Coast theme park, South of the Border.


VintageSpiritsCocktailsVintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails

In this giftable mini booklet of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, historian, expert, and drink aficionado Dr. Cocktail includes his hand-picked collection of 52 rare-and-worth-rediscovering drink recipes, shares revelations about the latest cocktail trends, provides new resources for uncommon ingredients, and profiles of many of the cocktail world’s movers and shakers. For anyone who enjoys an icy drink and an unforgettable tale.


World’s Best Cocktails

World’s Best Cocktails is an exciting global journey, providing the secrets to successful cocktail World's Best Cocktailsmaking, their history and provenance, and where to seek out the world’s best bars and bartenders, from London to Long Island and beyond.

Cocktail and liquor connoisseur Tom Sandham provides a comprehensive appraisal of global cocktail culture, highlighting the trends and techniques that make the finest drinks popular in their native climes and across the world.

Cocktail lovers will appreciate personal tips from key bartenders such as Jim Meehan and Dale de Groff in New York and Tony Conigliaro and Salvatore Calabrese in London, while cutting-edge recent award winners point to the future with their new daring flavor combinations.

At last, discerning drinkers can learn more about what to drink and where, then bring back their coolest cocktail experiences to enjoy at home.


Can You Go A Year Without Yelling at Your Kids? The Orange Rhino Interview Part 2

Welcome to part two of our interview with Sheila McCraith, the author of the upcoming book, Yell Less and Love More. McCraith, the mother of four sons, challenged herself to go a year without yelling at her kids.

She has chronicled that challenge, and other insights about parenting, on her popular blog, the Orange Rhino.

In Part 1 of our interview earlier this week, McCraith talked about how she came up with the Orange Rhino name, the incident that led her to pledge to go a year without yelling, and more.

Here in part 2 of our interview, McCraith provides some advice for parents who are starting their own yell-free challenge, and alerts us to some possible pitfalls we may encounter along the way.

The book Yell Less, Love More will be out this fall, but you can preorder it on Amazon now.


BMBH: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on the 365-day challenge?

Orange Rhino: Here are the 12 “steps” I suggest: http://theorangerhino.com/12-steps-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kid/

And here are 5 nuggets of advice:

  1. Accept that this is a journey – it will take time but the more you practice, the easier and more natural not yelling will become. Forgive yourself immediately if you yell for dwelling upon it will make you yell more!
  2. In the beginning, practice yelling away. I started just teaching myself to turn my body away so that I learned to not yell “at” my kids. I would yell into closets, the freezer, the toilet. Any inanimate object without feelings! Soon I felt that I could indeed control myself and I started to just let out an “ahhh!!!” instead of mean words. Then not letting anything out naturally happened!
  3. Go slow. Start with a small goal that you can achieve so your confidence grows (say, not yelling at breakfast.) As you master that goal, add to it bit by bit.
  4. Find support. I know telling people you want to yell less is quite difficult, but the support is second to none. Besides, chances are high the person you tell will feel relieved because he/she secretly struggles too!
  5. Get creative and have fun! Learning to change bad habits can be so serious, boring, overwhelming and monotonous. I found that using out of the box alternatives (posting my kids pictures on their doors so I proceed as gently as I did when they were babies) made the journey feel less like a chore. You can find more alternatives at: http://theorangerhino.com/the-orange-rhinos-top-100-alternatives-to-yelling/

BMBH:Any early pitfalls to watch out for?

OR: There are definitely (unfortunately!) a few early pitfalls to watch out for:

  1. In the beginning, when you don’t yell, your children might very well challenge you even more. This is normal and not a sign that not yelling isn’t working. They are just testing the boundaries to see how far they can push you! Don’t give in. Stay strong and it will fall into place.
  2. Quitting! Oh quitting will be tempting! I wanted to quit lots of times. But it is when you most want to quit and you persevere that you will learn the most and become stronger. Plus, the benefits of not yelling are enormous – not just for your kids, but for your family, yourself and your life.
  3. Feeling overwhelmed by the strong desire to change and the perceived lack of change. Take the challenge one moment at a time. All the moments you don’t tell are a win. They will eventually add up to half days then days then weeks and months. But just focus on the moment in front of you to get there. http://theorangerhino.com/baby-steps-are-big-steps/

Yell Less Love MoreThe Rhino: A naturally calm animal that charges when provoked.

The Orange Rhino: A person that parents with warmth and determination and who doesn’t charge with words when angry, impatient, or simply in a bad mood.

Do you often find yourself losing your cool and yelling at your kids? It happens to us all, but it doesn’t have to. With Yell Less, Love More you’ll learn practical, simple solutions to keep you focused on loving more and yelling less, no matter what the circumstance. It is possible to change and enjoy a calmer life because of it!

Take the Orange Rhino 30-day challenge to yell less. In this guidebook to happier parenting, author Sheila McCraith shares daily thoughts, tips, and motivational personal stories to help you toss out the screams and welcome in the peace. Whether you have one child or twenty (or one you still yell at who is twenty), strengthen your relationships and maybe even laugh a little more–by taking the challenge today.

Can You Go A Year Without Yelling at Your Kids? An Interview with the “Orange Rhino”

Have you ever had one of those days where it seems like all you do is yell at your kids?

Parenting is a tough job that requires a lot of patience, and even the most even-tempered parents can be tempted to yell when their kids step out of line.

With four young sons all within five years of each other, Shelia McCraith found that she was giving in to the impulse to yell a little too often for her liking, so two and a half years ago she made a pledge to go for an entire year without yelling at her children.

Writing under the pen name of the Orange Rhino, McCraith chronicled her efforts on a popular blog.

This fall, she will release her first book, “Yell Less, Love More.”

We recently had a chance to interview McCraith about her yell-free challenge, why she chose the name “The Orange Rhino” and more.

Here’s part one of the interview:

Body Mind Beauty Health: What is the Orange Rhino Challenge?

OR: The Orange Rhino Challenge® started in January 2012 as a promise to my four boys, then all under the age of 5, that I would go 365 days straight without yelling at them!

A few days prior to the start, my handyman had just caught me screaming at my boys; we’re talking red in the face, body shaking, full on screaming! I was mortified.

I took one look at my sons’ faces and decided at that moment that my yelling had to stop. The next day I made my yearlong yell-free promise to my boys and soon thereafter I launched my blog “The Orange Rhino Challenge” to publicly chronicle my progress, keep me accountable and find support.

Today, two and a half years later, The Orange Rhino Challenge is an international community of parents, grandparents, teachers and caretakers who support each other to yell less through advice, encouragement, and solidarity.

Some people share my original goal of 365 days and some have a goal of 365 minutes, but we all share the same goal of yelling less and loving more, one moment at a time. http://theorangerhino.com/forget-365-days/

BMBH: Can you tell me a little bit about the Orange Rhino name? Why did you decide to start blogging under it? What does it mean to you?

OR: This is my favorite story! I wanted an inspiring symbol for my Challenge so that in times of strife, it would help me remember my promise to my boys. I struggled and struggled to find an appropriate symbol and then one day as I buckled my then 5 year old into his car seat, he screamed in my face. I calmly said to him “#1, if mommy can’t yell what does that mean for you?” He looked straight at me, finger in his nose, and calmly replied, “I can’t yell but I can still pick my nose.”

That night I Googled the origin of nose and got rhinoceros; further research showed that rhinos are naturally calm animals but charge when provoked. Aha! I was a rhino; I am a naturally calm mom but when provoked, I charge with my words!

I added the color orange, a symbol of warmth and determination, to remind me of the warmer, more patient and calm mom I want to be and to give me the determination I knew I would need to overcome the difficult habit of yelling. Choosing the color orange turned out to be a phenomenal decision. It has been the “hot” color for the last few years and as such is just about everywhere I turn!

I am surrounded with orange reminders to choose gentle words and to not quit; it is nothing short of awesome. An added benefit of the symbol “orANGERhino?” The word anger is in the middle. Unbelievable and completely unintentional, this couldn’t be more perfect as learning to manage my anger has been at the core of this challenge! http://theorangerhino.com/managing-my-anger/

BMBH: Are there ever times when it is OK to yell at your child?

OR: Yes…in a way. I believe it is okay to yell to your child in emergencies, but not at them. I feel there is a big difference. Yelling at someone is often nasty, critical, and shaming. Yelling to someone is to get his/her attention. In the case of emergencies, I need my kids to respond ASAP. Yelling at them will not achieve that; it would just achieve hurt feelings and the desire to blow me off.

Yelling to them, in a firm, loud and non-quavering voice will, and has consistently gotten their attention. I always follow up emergency yells with a calm, loving explanation of the situation. This is especially important – when I need my kids to hear a serious lesson, they will tune me out if I am yelling.

The added benefit to only yelling in emergencies is that when I do “yell,” it really breaks through. When I yelled more frequently, all my kids heard was, “blah, blah, blah, blah.” You know, like Snoopy!

So when I yelled in emergencies, the yell wasn’t deemed any more serious. Now my boys know that if I yell, it truly matters. This change has saved me (and my boys) in several situations already. Here is a post that shows the impact of yelling just in emergencies: http://theorangerhino.com/the-emergency-yell/

Now, I do use a firm voice a lot of the time. It is more loud than usual but it lacks the shame and meanness that my old yells often had.

**OK, that wraps up part 1 of our interview. Stay tuned for part 2 to find out starter tips for parents who are looking to begin their own yell-free challenge, and lots more!**

The Yell Less Love MoreRhino: A naturally calm animal that charges when provoked.

The Orange Rhino: A person that parents with warmth and determination and who doesn’t charge with words when angry, impatient, or simply in a bad mood.

Do you often find yourself losing your cool and yelling at your kids? It happens to us all, but it doesn’t have to. With “Yell Less, Love More” you’ll learn practical, simple solutions to keep you focused on loving more and yelling less, no matter what the circumstance. It is possible to change and enjoy a calmer life because of it!

Take the Orange Rhino 30-day challenge to yell less. In this guidebook to happier parenting, author Sheila McCraith shares daily thoughts, tips, and motivational personal stories to help you toss out the screams and welcome in the peace. Whether you have one child or twenty (or one you still yell at who is twenty), strengthen your relationships and maybe even laugh a little more–by taking the challenge today.


Starting an Indoor Garden? Here are Some Easy Herbs to Grow


Peppermint is easy to grow in a container, and it’s strong minty taste packs a lot of punch

A confession to make: our first year of container gardening has not been without its challenges, setbacks and one or two outright disasters.

It’s probably telling that the plants that are doing the best in our home-grown collection are the ones that we set out on the back porch and essentially forgot about for the summer.

The ones that we kept inside and tried to nurture with love  have been degrading at an alarming rate.

Our cardinal creepers started off promising but never flowered, our dill is more yellow than green, and let’s not even talk about the basil (or lack thereof).

Soon it will be time for some deep soul (and soil) searching, and perhaps starting over with a better soil mix and a more aggressive fertilizing plan.

One thing that has made us feel better has been reading Elizabeth Millard’s book “Indoor Kitchen Gardening.” In this excerpt, Millard explains what are the easiest herbs to grow indoors, what are more challenging, and what can be difficult (oh hello, basil).

“Although many herbs do beautifully in an indoor growth space, some varieties can be surprisingly fickle if you’re trying to grow them from seed. Here are some options, broken down by level of difficulty.


Peppermint and spearmint

Hearty and wide ranging, mint likes to invade the territory of other plants, so once you’ve got it, stay on top of harvesting it. It you want a strong mint taste without growing a bunch of it, opt for peppermint, since it has a more intense flavor.


You don’t even plant this one from seed; just buy a stalk of lemongrass from a grocery store or farmer’s market, trim the top, and put the stalk in a few inches of water.

The stalk will produce roots in its own, and dozens of new shoots, and you can harvest from theses.

Vietnamese Coriander

This variety is considered easier to grow than other varieties of coriander, and it has just as much flavor; also, it’s quite hearty and can last for months.



Usually fairly easy to grow, but germination can be hit and miss. Usually, you’ll begin to see growth about two weeks after planting, and it tends to grow slower than other herbs in general.


The trick with oregano is giving the plant enough light every day; it may require placing the pot under a separate bulb that’s on for a few hours more than the other herbs. Usually, about eight hours of light is best.


This herb also requires more light, so I often put oregano and thyme in the same space, or place them next to each other in a south-facing window.


I’ve found that my best indoor rosemary comes from cuttings off rosemary in my garden, but it’s also somewhat easy to grow by seed. Watch out for overwatering, since rosemary tends to prefer drier soil, and be sure to choose a variety that does well with indoor growing, like ‘Blue Spire.’



It’s so ubiquitous in cooking, you’d think basil would be a snap to grow in your kitchen garden.Bot no. Notoriously difficult to grow indoors from seed, basil tends to work best as  a plant start from a greenhouse. Also, those lush Italian basil leaves may not be as wide and pretty as you find in a garden.

instead, I lean toward varieties with smaller leaves like ‘Dark Opal’ or Thai basil.


Here’s another one that grows remarkably well outside, but requires a higher level of care indoors. First of all, it doesn’t transplant well, so it needs to be grown from seeds or starter plants. Also, it requires plenty of drainage and yet needs more nutrients, making it touch to keep the soil nourished.

It tends to do fine once it’s established, but until then, plan on giving the herb fertilizer biweekly, which will be twice as much as your other herbs.

Also, water only when the soil seems very dry.

Indoor Kitchen GardenIt takes just a few dollars and a few days for you to start enjoying fresh, healthy produce grown indoors in your own home. Imagine serving a home-cooked meal highlighted with beet, arugula, and broccoli microgreens grown right in your kitchen, accompanied by sautéed winecap mushrooms grown in a box of sawdust in your basement.

If you have never tasted microgreens, all you really need to do is envision all the flavor of an entire vegetable plant concentrated into a single tantalizing seedling. If you respond to the notion of nourishing your guests with amazing, fresh, organic produce that you’ve grown in your own house, condo, apartment, basement, or sunny downtown office, then you’ll love exploring the expansive new world of growing and eating that can be discovered with the help of Indoor Kitchen Gardening.

Inside, author and Bossy Acres CSA co-owner Elizabeth Millard teaches you how to grow microgreens, sprouts, herbs, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and more– all inside your own home, where you won’t have to worry about seasonal changes or weather conditions.

Filled with mouthwatering photography and more than 200 pages of Do-It-Yourself in-home gardening information and projects, Indoor Kitchen Gardening is your gateway to this exciting new growing method–not just for garnishes or relishes, but wholesome, nutritious, organic edibles that will satisfy your appetite as much as your palate.

Three Odd Symptoms of Pregnancy…And What You Can Do About Them

IllustratedPregnancyThere are so many questions that come up during a pregnancy, and so many sources out there when it comes to finding information.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different points of view.

We like Robin Elise Weiss’ book, The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion, because it takes a week by week approach to pregnancy and provides straightforward information about what to expect, affirmations to keep you feeling good about your pregnancy, and tips for feeling and looking good during this time of surging hormones, rapid body change, and unexpected developments.

Speaking of unexpected developments, here are a few uncommon pregnancy symptoms that you may encounter, as well as some tips for dealing with them.

When you’re reviewing the list of pregnancy symptoms, some tend to be familiar, such as morning sickness and heartburn.

But there are others that may surprise you, such as nasal stuffiness, sensitivity to smells, emotional highs and lows and food aversions.

As the hormones begin their work of supporting your pregnancy and helping your baby grow, your body will change and react differently than you may have expected. The dance of the hormones is doing its job, and your body is taking part in the process.

The following are several lesser-known pregnancy symptoms and how you can best handle them:


Nasal stuffiness and nose bleeds are fairly common in pregnancy. Keeping your nasal passages well moisturized and snorting saline solution (store bought or homemade) can help alleviate these side effects.


The gastrointestinal tract takes a huge hit during pregnancy. Not only is it dealing with the influx of hormones, but it is also taking a beating as the uterus rises and displaces your intestines.

Don’t be surprised if you frequently burp after a meal, often uncontrollably. If you are able to identify certain foods or drinks that seem to make matters worse, try avoiding them to see if the problem goes away.


The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep is a major annoyance in pregnancy. The real problem arises when you’re exhausted and still can’t get the sleep you need. Try relaxation before bed time, practice yoga, do your exercises earlier in the day, and avoid heavy meals before bed.

If you find that you’re still having trouble, ask your practitioner to help you pinpoint what the issue is—whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional. Sometimes a racing mind or problems you’re having during the day can keep your mind occupied at night.

Any other symptoms that you are experiencing may or may not be part of a healthy pregnancy. Don’t forget to ask your doctor or midwife for advice for handling them. Your practitioner has lot of experience dealing with every possible pregnancy symptom and is likely to have some tried-and-true solutions for you.


The comfort of knowing what is goingPregnancy Companion on during pregnancy combined with advice that changes each week with an expectant mother’s body will warm the heart and well as calm the nerves.

The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Guide gives an expectant mothers week-by-week information on their body and the child’s physical development; and then explains what they should do at each week of pregnancy for an optimally healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby.

A chapter is devoted to each week of pregnancy and covers everything readers need to know including, baby’s size, mother’s size, what’s normal in terms of physical symptoms and development, and what could indicate a potentially serious problem. Nutritional, exercise, and lifestyle advice, tips on treating common pregnancy discomforts like morning sickness and sciatica, and pregnancy do’s and don’ts, ensure a happy and healthy mother and baby.

Robin Elise Weiss is a childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor as well as the pregnancy/birth expert for About.com.

She is the author of seven books on pregnancy and childbirth and she and her work has been featured in Newsweek, Working Mother, and American Baby. You can find more information about Robin at: http://pregnancy.about.com, http://robineliseweiss.com, and http://birthactivist.com.

Why Flavored Water Isn’t A Good Alternative for Kids

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ashleigh920

Flickr Creative Commons photo by ashleigh290

We all want our kids to drink more water, right? We know that it is better for them than soda or other soft drinks. 

But what about flavored waters?

Flavored water sounds more healthy than soda, at least. And many flavored waters have added vitamins, right?

So does that mean it’s as healthy as water? Or does all the extra stuff that does into a bottle of flavored water outweigh any potential benefits?

Here is what Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and Dr. Deborah Kennedy have to say about flavored water in their book, “Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids.”

“Most of us know that we need to drink water every day to stay healthy.

The only problem is that some kids, especially if they have trained their taste buds to prefer sweet things, don’t like the taste of water.

It tastes bland or “yucky.”

We end up fighting with them day in and day out to drink their water. We add some juice to their water and hope the water they get from fruits and veggies will be enough.

Then we discover flavored water, and away goes the fighting and pleading. Our children can drink flavored water without coaxing and, as a bonus, the water even has vitamins added to it. How can that be unhealthy?

If it sounds too good to be true, trust us, it almost always is, especially in the world of food.

The best food and drinks for our family have been around for thousands of years, but it seems as if we keep waiting for something new: a product that will taste so good that we don’t have to fight our children to get them to eat or drink it.

Once a product requires a laboratory to drink it instead of Mother Nature, it has entered unhealthy territory.

Many of the flavored waters on the market also contain added nutrients, which give us a seemingly valid reason to let our children drink them: My child will not drink plain water, but at least he will drink this.  The B vitamins it supplies makes it like a multivitamin. My child is a picky eater, so at least she gets some nutrients from the flavored water.

We have heard these reasons, and others, time and again from parents justifying their consumption of these beverages, and we understand how confusing it all can be.

A panel of scientists, in a proposed beverage guidance system, has warned against the perceived value of flavored bottled water drinks that have been fortified with essential nutrients. Children can get all the required nutrients from a well-balanced diet, the panel argued.

Reaching for one or two vitamins in a drink does not accomplish the goal of eating a varied diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat protein, and dairy products.

Other ingredients that may be found in these waters include herbs (yerba mate), noncaloric sweeteners (stevia and erythritol) and taurine.

For convenience, you can also get your chemicals in drops to add to your own bottle or glass of water. One brand of these drops contains artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, citric or malic acid, flavors and preservatives.

An alternative? SweetLeaf has a line of flavored stevias that contain only natural flavors without chemicals.

Like flavored milk, juice and energy drinks, most flavored water contains added sugar. Most flavored water has approximately 13 grams (3 1/4 teaspoons) of added sugar per serving, and most of us think that a flavored water bottle is one serving size when in fact it is two or more.

One popular brand of flavored water has 13 grams (3 1/4 teaspoons) of sugar per serving, but the bottle has 2.5 servings, totaling 32.5 grams of added sugar (8 teaspoons), which is close to that of soda and more sugar than found in a cup of juice.

Your child needs to drink plain water, not sugar-loaded flavored water, even if it is enhanced with some vitamins. As a treat occasionally, you can reach for a flavored water that is free of artificial ingredients, but make sure you let your child drink only an 8-ounce serving, not the entire bottle.”

Beat Sugar Addiction For KIDSThe modern American child’s diet is awash in sugar—including mainstays such as juice, chocolate milk, sugary cereals, soda, energy drinks, and fast-food burgers and nuggets with added corn syrup and sweeteners, let alone candy and cookies prevalent at school parties and play dates. Beat Sugar Addiction Now! for Kids gives parents a proven 5-step plan for getting and keeping their child off sugar.

Bestselling author and noted physician Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and pediatric nutrition specialist Deborah Kennedy, Ph.D., give parents a toolkit for avoiding the common pitfalls such as guilt and temper tantrums, managing the 5-step process successfully on a day-to-day basis, and getting their child emotionally, as well as physically, unhooked from sugary drinks, breakfast foods, snacks, and desserts, as well as “hidden” sugars in foods.