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The Ultimate Green Smoothie (paleo, dairy-free)

Like probably millions of other Americans, our schedule is pretty hectic. Between the business, two small children, and all of the day-to-day things that come up, I need quick and easy when it comes to cooking. That’s not to say I skimp on taste, quality, or health though. No matter how hectic things get, I will move everything aside if I’m working on perfecting a recipe or experimenting with new ways to introduce delicious foods into our diet! Thankfully this one didn’t take too long to perfect. Once I finally invested in a Vitamix (life changer, and every bit worth the price!), making smoothies became a piece of cake. In fact, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t hopped on the bandwagon before! Life before the Vitamix didn’t have a lot of greens in it. I mean, we’d eat greens on a regular basis, but the majority of our veggie intake came from root veggies, because they’re faster and easier to eat relative to leafy greens. One serving of a sweet potato equates about 4-6 cups of leafy greens, and when you’re always on the go there’s no time for eating that many greens for every meal, much less for eating mindfully! But then, smoothies came into my life, and I no longer lack leafy greens in my diet. We (kids included) drink a green smoothie each morning to start our day, and I usually have one or two throughout the day as well, along with the other veggies I eat.

Why Leafy Greens are Important

We probably all know by now that leafy greens are good for us. Everyone tells us to eat more leafy greens, the darker the better. But why? Here’s a refresher of some reasons that leafy greens aren’t just important, they are necessary. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, mustard greens, etc. contain vital nutrients that our bodies need to function and live optimally. They are a good source of:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Potassium
  3. Calcium
  4. Folate
  5. Betaine
  6. Manganese
  7. Carotenoids
  8. Vitamin C
  9. Phytochemicals such as beta-carotine
  10. Antioxidants

The Ultimate Green Smoothie

I call this The Ultimate Green Smoothie because not only does it contain a generous helping of dark leafy greens, but also other powerful foods such as nutrient-dense herbs, health-boosting gelatin, and digestion enhancing probiotics. And even with all of this healthy stuff it still tastes so good we all ask for more! **Make sure to use local organic ingredients as much as possible in order to access the nutrients fully, and to avoid ingesting chemicals.


  • water or water kefir, enough to fill blender 1/3-1/2 full
  • 2 probiotic capsules
  • dark leafy greens, enough to fill blender about 2/3 full (about 1 bunch of kale or 6c spinach)
  • 1 generous handful fresh herbs (we use cilantro, basil, or parsley)
  • 1c pitted dates
  • 2c frozen fruit (we like mangoes and strawberries the best)
  • 2tsp grass-fed collagen hydrolysate


Fill blender 1/3-1/2 full of water. If you like thick smoothies use 1/3 water; if you like runnier smoothies, use 1/2 pitcher of water. Open probiotic caps and pour powder into water. Wash greens and herbs thoroughly and pack them down into pitcher until it gets to about 3/4 full. Add dates. Next add fruit, and top with gelatin. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this Ultimate Green Smoothie as much as we do! How do you like to eat your leafy greens?


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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.


Collagen and Gelatin: How the Health Benefits Outweigh the “Ew” Factor

You may have heard about collagen by now, and how important it is for your health. But what about the “ew” factor? Collagen and gelatin have a stigma that seems to scare people off, and here were going to talk about how the benefits of collagen and gelatin far outweigh the “ew” factor.

What is Collagen and Gelatin?

Collagen is an important – and one of the most common – protein in the body’s connective tissues, skin, and bones. It holds the body together, so to speak, helping to provide structure. As we age, and due to toxic environmental factors, our collagen levels decrease. Additionally, our modern diets don’t typically contain collagen or the amino acids that it provides, as we have gotten out of the practice of eating animals parts like our ancestors did.

Collagen and gelatin are derived from animal parts such as skins, bones, and tissues (the “ew” factor), and contain important amino acids, glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Gelatin is created when collagen is cooked. Hydrolyzed collagen has the same amino acids as gelatin, but is a more processed form of collagen, which breaks up proteins into smaller pieces. While the health benefits of hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin are thought to be roughly the same, some people find it a little easier to digest hydrolyzed collagen. I prefer hydrolyzed collagen in things like smoothies or yogurt because it doesn’t gel like gelatin does. On the other hand, gelatin is what’s used in making gummies or marshmallows, or in thickening soups, due to it’s gelatinous nature.

Health Benefits of Collagen and Gelatin

If you’re new to the idea of consuming animal parts that do not include meat only, eating collagen or gelatin may not sound so appealing to you. The good news is that if you can get past that initial “ew” you’ll find that there are numerous health benefits that you can get, simply by adding a little collagen or gelatin powder to your foods, or by including delicious bone broth into your diet. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at some of the tremendous health benefits of collagen and gelatin:

  • Promotes joint health and reduces joint pain
  • Improves health and digestion
  • Improves mood, reduces anxiety
  • Improves skin and hair health
  • Maintains strong bones, relieves osteoporosis
  • Can aid in weight loss (it’s a healthy protein)
  • May help balance hormones

What Kind of Collagen or Gelatin?

We use this kind because it’s grass-fed and from humanely-raised animals. The Beef Gelatin will gel, so I use that more for things like gummies and marshmallows, or thickening soups. The Collagen Peptides is water-soluble, so I use this one for my smoothies and shakes (instead of protein powders), or mixed in any other hot or cold liquid. We also like Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate and beef gelatin.

Hope fully this will convince you that the health benefits of collagen and gelatin far outweigh the “ew” factor, and that you’ll give it a try! What ways do you like to get collagen into your diet?


Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.



Everyday Kids Yoga: Spring Theme

Everyday Kids Yoga: Spring Theme

Spring is just around the corner and with the inconsistency of this year’s winter weather here in Philly, some of the flowers are confused. Daffodils and crocuses have bloomed in our yard, and last year’s chives are already making a reappearance. I can’t help but start to feel a little spring in my step (pun intended) too! So for my kids yoga classes I am beginning to add in some spring-themed poses, activities and discussion. Spring is such an inspiring season for kids yoga, as there are ample opportunities to talk about nature! Gratitude toward the sun and rain, new life beginning, budding flowers, animals reappearing after hiding away all winter. I encourage you to get creative, have fun, and try a little spring yoga with your kids. Learn more about the benefits of yoga for kids here. Here are some of my favorite spring-themed yoga poses and activities that are easy for parents and teachers to try, and hopefully they will inspire you to get creative too!

Spring Theme Ideas

Standing Poses:

  1. Warrior 1 – From Mountain Pose, step the left foot back about 2 feet. Bend front knee. Opening arms up toward the sun, breathe in the fresh air and warmth of the sun’s rays! Switch sides.

    Quinn doing Tree Pose

  2. Tree Pose – From Mountain Pose, bring the left foot onto the lower part of the right leg, with knee bent, out to side. Balance on one foot and use your arms to “make branches”. Imagine that you have roots growing from your feet down into the earth. What kind of tree are you? Repeat other side.
  3. Sun Salutation – For older children you can talk about why we’re thankful for the sun, and why we need the sun. Begin in Mountain Pose, standing tall with hands by your sides. Inhale, Reach up to the sky to say hi to the sun. Reach down to the ground to pat the earth. Deep breath in, step back to snake or cobra pose as you breathe out. Hsssssss. Deep breath in, and exhale to downward dog. Bark like a dog and wag your tail. Few breaths here. I gale jump feet back to hands. Next inhale rise back up to say hi to the sun again. Exhale back to mountain. Here is a great video demonstrating a kids sun salutation by Quinn:


Seed to Tree Activity

Quinn doing Child’s Pose, or “Seed”

Begin with a short discussion about seeds ad what they need to grow.

We’re going to be little seeds now who grow into beautiful trees or flowers. Have child(ren) come to Child’s Pose (seeds). Alternately announce the warm sun shining down, then rain (pat their backs with your fingers), then, as they grow, the wind (they can sway in the wind). Each round they grow a little more until they are all the way up to standing, swaying in the breeze and enjoying the warm sun rays. Ask them what flower or tree they are, what color, what smell!

Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

My kids love this book. No matter how many times we read it, it never gets old. I love using it in my Kids Yoga classes too, especially in the spring. Depending on the age of children you’re working with, a little discussion about new life and how things grow is a great way to introduce this story. When reading, have the children act out the different poses (i.e. Child’s Pose for the seed, inch on bellies for caterpillar) and have the young ones help you count the food. Kids love being a hungry caterpillar, finding “food” all over the room as they wiggle about, and then turning into beautiful flapping butterflies!

Seated/Supine Poses

  1. Quinn and Xavier doing Flower Pose

    Butterfly – Sit up tall, bend knees and bring soles of the feet together. Hold ankles and flap “wings”. Wear “antennae” (using hands for antennae) and fly around smelling the flowers (your feet). What do they smell like? What color are they?

  2. Flower (partner or group) – Sit up tall and press feet into your partner’s feet, or sides of the feet into your neighbor’s. Holding hands, lift legs, keeping them spread wide. Take a few breaths.
  3. Snake – Lie on tummy. Slither and lift head and chest.  Can you move without using your arms and legs?

Dandelion Breath

My kids love finding dandelions, and of course making wishes on them. For this technique all you need is imagination! Have children hold their imaginary dandelions in their hand, make a wish on the inhale and blow the dandelion seeds on the exhale. You can have them practice blowing softly and blowing in short hard bursts. Watch the seeds fly in the wind!

I hope you enjoy doing some of these Kids Yoga Spring-themed ideas, and that it inspires you to create your own as well. Have fun with it, and let me know how you and your kids get creative! Contact us to learn more about our Kids programs and offerings.

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Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Everyday Kids Yoga: Winter Theme

Everyday Kids Yoga: Winter Theme

In my previous post I discussed how children are natural yogis and the many benefits of yoga for children. Here I’ve outlined some ideas for a winter themed class to enjoy with your child or classroom. One thing to note when teaching kids yoga: you have to roll with it. You may approach the class with a yoga lesson plan and soon find that you have to completely scrap that and do something different, depending on how the children respond and how they’re feeling any given moment. And that’s ok! There are no rules to yoga, except to enjoy it and to be present. So while these ideas will get you started, I definitely encourage you to be creative, have fun, and let the kids get creative and explore too! These winter theme ideas can be adjusted depending on the age of the children. I typically use this for toddlers, preschoolers, and even elementary aged children. For toddlers you’ll be doing lots of songs and activities, for preschoolers a few more poses and talking about nature or the seasons, and for elementary age you can have a little more discussion and add in more poses.

Winter Theme Ideas

Xavier Ice Skating!

Standing Poses. Following warm-ups I like to delve into a few standing poses, emphasizing deep breaths during each pose, making transitions fun, and asking the children if they have ideas as well. Here are a few poses that I like to use for winter classes:

1. Skier (Chair Pose): pretend like you’re skiing down a mountain! Swoop left, swoop right, go low, go high!
2. Ice skater (Warrior 3): skate on the right foot, then switch to the left, and switch back and forth a few times, holding each side for 2-5 breaths, depending on the age of children. What else does an ice skater do? Let the children get creative with their ice skating!
3. Making a snowman (Squat): Holding a squat, pretend that you’re making a snowman! Gather the snow, for a ball, pat the ball.

Snow-themed Book. I try to incorporate a children’s book into every kids yoga class that I teach. All children love books and you can easily find books that will be fun to act out through yoga poses, or through making up yoga poses! One book that I like for my winter classes is Snow Happy by Patricia Hubbell. There are lots of other books that will work too at your nearest library! 

Breathing Activity: Blowing Snowballs. A favorite activity for any age class is my Blowing Snowballs activity. You’ll need 1 straw and 1 cotton ball (snowball) for each child. The idea is to have the children use their breath to blow through the straw and move the cotton ball. You can talk about how to use their belly breath, how blowing softly may move the snowball differently than when blowing harder. Older children like to make it a race to see who can blow their snowball across the room the fastest!

Seated/Supine Poses. I like to move toward the quieting/calming time of class by beginning with seated and supine yoga poses. Somewinter-themed poses are:

Xavier Making Snow Angels!

1. You’re a Snowman. Sit in Stick Pose, seated tall with legs together and stretched straight out in front of you. Pretend to gather snow from around you by twisting to the right and gathering, and twisting to the left and gathering. Then pretend to pat the snow on your legs, arms, belly, head, like you’re patting the snow down. Make sure you get your feet too (Forward Fold)!
2. Sledding. From Stick Pose hold onto the side edges of your mat (or pretend like you’re holding on if you don’t have a mat) and pretend to sled. You may lean to the right, lean to the left, watch out for that tree!, have fun with it!
3. Roll in the Snow. From Happy Baby Pose hold the sides of your feet or legs and roll from side to side like you’re rolling in the snow.
Snow Angels. Lie on your back and pretend to make snow angels!

Guided Meditation. I love short guided meditations for children. My 5 year old asks me often to do one for her, and she likes the way it calms her body. Here is a script that I sometimes use for my winter classes:

Winter Guided Meditation for Kids. Lie on your back in the snow. Notice how the snow feels. Is it soft or hard? Wet or dry? Cold or warm? Allow yourself to relax on this blanket of snow and relax your body. Now feel the cool wind blowing and brushing against your skin. Is it windy or just a calm breeze? Can you hear the wind? Can you hear any other noises like the rustling of the trees or the crunch of snow beneath someone’s feet? Now feel the snowflakes gently falling on your skin. Do they feel cool? Wet? Soft? Maybe stick your tongue out and see if you can catch them on your tongue. What do they taste like?…Now slowly begin your journey back to this room, where it is warm and cozy and dry. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch your arms over your head, and slowly roll up to seated.

These are just a few ideas to get you started with kids yoga this Winter. I hope you try some of them, and have fun with it! Let me know how it goes, and what ideas you have to add to this! And of course, contact us at Water and Rock Studio if you’d like to try a Kids Yoga class or private session!

Everyday Kids Yoga: Benefits of Yoga for Children

Teaching yoga to children is a fun, joyful, and very rewarding experience. Everyone can teach yoga to children on some level, and I strongly encourage parents, caregivers, and school teachers to incorporate yoga lessons into their everyday experiences with children. Children are natural yogis, and you will most likely find that they pick up on the concepts very quickly and easily, especially since so much of what yoga is about is simply innate and natural to children. It’s actually much more natural to children than it is to adults!

5 Ways Kids are Natural Yogis

1. Love of Animals and Nature. As anyone who has worked with kids has probably noticed, kids have a natural respect for and interest in nature and animals. They are inherently curious about their environment and the different creatures that they encounter. They have a natural ability to really feel what it may be like to be a lion, a dog, or a tree, and they tend to get fully engrossed in making these postures their own.
2. Fearlessness. Unlike adults, kids approach life with an enviable freedom and fearlessness. They are happy to experiment with new things, new challenges, and new adventures, and manage to have a lot of fun doing it!
3. Work Ethic. When it comes to a kid’s job (play), they have a very strong work ethic. Yoga is a great way to play and explore. Children love to imagine that they are warriors, bears, ice skaters…and pretend that they are walking through a jungle, sledding down a hill, or playing on a farm!
4. Born Yogis. Did you know that children are born yogis? Babies and small children naturally exhibit many asanas at different stages of development. At some point we’ve probably all seen a baby doing Happy Baby Pose, a toddler in Triangle or Downward Dog, or a young child in Childs Pose. Babies also naturally breathe in a yogic way. As they inhale their belly rises, expanding, and as they exhale the belly draws in. Many adults no longer breathe this way naturally, and have to be re-taught how to breathe.
5. They Are Present. Children are naturally present, and they want you to be too! They enjoy each moment, no matter how simple, and in this way they have a full appreciation and gratitude for life. Whether it’s noticing a stick that looks a little different, tasting a particular flavor or texture in food, or observing expressions of adults, children show us how to be in the here and now, and how to be okay with it.

As children are natural yogis, teaching yoga to them is easy, fun, and beneficial to both kids and adults! Many parents bring their children to my yoga classes because they love the poses or they want their children to learn calming strategies. However, yoga for children actually incorporates and teaches much much more! After even 1-2 classes parents often notice subtle changes in the way children handle situations or explore their environment. As a previous school psychologist I encouraged teachers and parents to utilize many tools from yoga when helping a child who was feeling anxious, overwhelmed, out of control, dysregulated, or angry. Here are 5 of the many benefits of yoga for children, in case anyone needs convincing:

1. Physical Benefits. Yoga can increase:
– body awareness
– flexibility
– strength
– coordination
– body control
– strength

2. Mental and Emotional Benefits. Yoga helps to build:
– self-confidence
– concentration
– positive self-image
– social skills
– social awareness

3. Educational. Yoga teaches about nature and animals, but also about life events, body parts, and other basic academic concepts (i.e. Numbers, letters, seasons).

4. Encouraging Positive Social Awareness and Interactions. Yoga teaches kindness and respect towards yourself and other living things through both movement and conversation.

5. Calming and Regulating. Yoga teaches breathing techniques and poses that encourage calm and relaxation. I have had many parents tell me that their child practicing some of the breathing exercises that they learned in yoga when they need to calm their body. Others say their child set up a “calm space” in their home to breathe, do yoga, or even read a book. Yoga helps children connect with their bodies which in turn helps them self-regulate.

The benefits of yoga for children are endless! I encourage anyone reading this to try it with your children today, and to get you started, here is a Kids Yoga Winter Theme to get you started. Let me know how it goes, and how you like to incorporate yoga in your child’s everyday life!  Contact us at Water and Rock Studio if interested in kids classes or private sessions!