Monday, November 27, 2017

Together We Box! My new Kool-Aid, Box Union.

By Cheryl Petran, CEO of The Pump Station & Nurtury®

Despite the craziness of the past weekend, I was fortunate enough to squeeze in 3 workouts at BoxUnion with instructors Sydney Rose, Deja and Kyle. What can I say, each special, each inspirational, each helped me find my “Intention.” On Sunday, however, Kyle helped me connect the dots, guiding me on how to try and approach my week which would be filled with work, Jury Duty and finally Inventory in both stores.

As we boxed he reminded us “No Stress. Nothing but gratitude. Find the Gratitude in everything you do,  not just because its Thanksgiving but because it’s going to motivate you, help you, drive out. It’s all about finding what’s special around you.” Kyle was spot on.

For 10 years while I’ve been part of The Pump Station & Nurtury®, I have found my village with the women I’ve met here. With that said, I’ve found it’s so important to have time where I get to be with me, time where I get to push thru it all. I encourage every new parent to find this space. Find your parenting village and then make sure to find your personal village, a place where you get to focus on you! BoxUnion is my new village… It’s my new happy place. Here are some of the reasons why…
  •  #Best45MinuteSweatInLA (my new favorite hashtag) Time for new parents is a commodity. This is by far the best 45-minute workout you can get! They provide a towel. I suggest you bring a 2nd - you’ll need it.
  • The BoxUnion Team – from the moment you walk in until the moment you leave you are surrounded by the positive energy of everyone that works there. They are pleasant, thoughtful, and welcoming to all. Make sure to thank them when you leave – they’ve earned that!
  • #SupportLocal –The founder of BoxUnion is a local mom who’s looking to create a welcoming space where people can support each other in reaching their fitness goals.
  • It’s dark! No makeup. Hair in pony-tail. Dress comfy and prepare to sweat. No one cares!  Heaven! Through the corner of your eyes, you feel the energy of the others around you. We Box Together! We Sweat Together!
  • The music - I love music. I love being surrounded by music. Even the genres of music I don’t love, I love when I’m there. Try the different instructors. They hand pick their music for 12 rounds of “Butt Kicking Wow!”
  • It’s dark! Did I mention that already? Just you, but no, you’re part of a pack. Jab-Uppercut-Hook-Jab, over and over. The music dulls. You hear your village all hitting the bags as one. They’ve got your back. You’ve got theirs. You are part of the community, a group of people all heading in one direction together, and it’s a positive one.
  •  It gets easier, really. Well, the boxing does – 1-6-3-2. The core exercises are brutal but they will help get you your pre-baby belly back. Wish this existed 10 years ago!
  • You set your bar. It’s not a competition. The instructors will tell you, listen to your body. They are not telling you what you have to do, they are just guiding you. Do what you are comfortable with. Don’t do anything more.
  • Me-time – 45 minutes of time for me and me alone. Yes, while I’m there I’m thinking about my daughter, my family, my life, my work but I’m doing it while I’m doing something amazingly good for me!
  • Endorphins - According to Dr. Jill Campbell, Curriculum Director for our Mommy & Me Program, exercise will boost the release of endorphins, a mood elevator that provides you with a sense of well-being. In addition, when you are doing something good for your body, you feel more in control and connected to your body. This helps you to be kinder and less critical of yourself. When you are doing something healthy for your body, you can’t help but feel better about it.
  • Set Your Intentions - Every day, we need to reset ourselves to what we want, what we need, what will make us happy. Gratitude for being here. Try to be mindful of every moment we live. It’s hard.
  • Community – We work so hard to build this at The Pump Station & Nurtury®. It’s embraced in this safe space at BoxUnion. Move at your own pace. Everyone in this room has your back. They are here to help and support. When you are feeling like you’re exhausted, tired, and spent, look to those around you to carry you…support you…empower you…1-6-3-2…

BoxUnion™ would love to offer The Pump Station & Nurtury® community 
a chance to try one of their classes. BoxUnion™ is a modern fitness experience that builds a fit body and a strong mind. It is designed for all levels with a total body workout that incorporates boxing drills with cardio and weights to the beat of the music! To sign up for one of their offered time slots this week, CLICK HERE! Space is limited so RSVP to grab your bag!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Baby's First Foods: Getting it Right From The Start

By Agatha Achindu, Mom, Wife, Founder, Entrepreneur, Washington Post Contributor, Expert Panelist at LA Baby Show 2017

The moment has arrived. Baby is securely fastened into that spanking new highchair, the chair that cost way too much. Baby is decked out in his cutest outfit, with a freshly laundered matching bib embroidered with "Mama's Boy" in bold lettering. The cameras are ready. Grandma and Grandpa have the still camera on a tripod, while Daddy controls the video. Mama is ready with the shiny new spoon. 

Daddy roars, "Camera - rolling!" 

Mama gently lifts the spoon to baby's mouth. Baby opens his mouth, and in goes a bit of lovely pureed green beans. The room is silent as the camera rolls. Baby, who has thus far only dealt with warm flowing milk from a comforting nipple, suddenly becomes aware that there's something alien on his palate. His eyes grow wide, his face registers a split second of rage. And…SPLAT! Out comes the mush, all over the cute new outfit, the sassy bib and the high chair. Baby screams with anger and betrayal, and knocks the spoon to the floor. 

Daddy yells, "Cut!" Grandpa and Grandma look at each other in dismay. Mom, flustered, runs for a towel. Now what? 

Welcome to one of baby's most exciting milestones - the introduction of solid foods! Parents naturally experience a sense of satisfaction when a new challenge is met. 
The introduction of solid foods presents an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train baby's palate, and set up a lifetime habit of healthy eating. That is why we want to choose first foods so carefully. First foods should always be pure - free from anything that might have the slightest potential to harm, such as chemical additives, preservatives, synthetic colors and artificial flavors. 

We also want to make sure that the food is bursting with nutrients which is needed for optimal growth and development - it needs to be delicious, because babies are just like adults, they too have good taste, I hear so many parents talk about not being able to eat their baby's food because it tastes so awful but yet feed it to their babies anyway, rule of thumb should be if it tastes that bad to you don't give it to your baby. Whole food, fresh, 
living food is the best -- unlike shelf stable foods, that are overly processed and stripped of beneficial enzymes, other nutritional components and flavor due to super-high heat treatments, cooking the life out of veggies, and allowing even certified organic food to sit for years in warehouses and store shelves. 

I recommend you skip rice cereal even though it is the #1 recommended baby's first food by pediatricians around the country, due to the fact that babies don't have the ability to digest starch and commercial rice cereal is overly processed, if you take out the fortified iron all that is left is starch. Instead of rice cereal try single ingredient Gluten free foods such as pureed organic carrots, avocado, potatoes, squash, pumpkin, peas, parsnips, apples, spinach, sweet potatoes and papaya are all excellent first food choices. with no added flavors, to easily identify allergic reaction. 

I always advise introducing veggies first, and occasionally add in a fruit as a snack, to help your child develop a fondness for both veggies and fruits. At this pivotal point in baby's life, parents can instill good eating habits by allowing baby to taste pure vegetables. Once baby accepts the taste of vegetables, it won't be necessary to sneak in the veggies when your child is older - the flavor will be familiar, and it will be something he or she loves. 

My youngest son, who is now 12 years old, easily accepts everything fresh - raw broccoli and cauliflower, okra, parsley, lettuce and more -- and has done so from the youngest age. I personally believe that when we allow our kids to fall in love with the fresh clean taste of vegetables, they develop a deep appreciation for those flavors, and will crave them throughout life. So, it is very important to let baby's palate acclimate, and not to mask the pure tastes of your child's first foods. Don't give up - offer a veggie over and over, until your child accepts, because they will accept it if you're patient and persistent. 

A word about setting the example: parents must realize that we pass on our eating habits to our children, so take a look at what you're eating. Baby might not like the taste of a certain vegetable if mom or dad shows distaste for it. If you are not a big vegetable lover, make it a point to venture out and try new things. Also, try preparing vegetables in different ways until you find a way that you like it. For example, you may hate Brussels sprouts, because you've only ever tried them steamed; but roasting gives them a completely different flavor and texture that you love. 

I believe with all my heart homemade food is the best food for baby, when you make food at home you use only real ingredients and immediately freeze it to lock-in nutrients, texture, flavor and taste. As a full time working parent I understand just how hectic life gets and sometimes as much as we want to make wholesome food for our precious babies there is not enough time or patience to make it happen. 

I am proud to say that Yummy Spoonfuls® is there for you. We take pride ourselves on making fresh delicious meals that both you and your baby will love, made just the way you would if you had time to make everything from scratch at home - nothing added, not even citric acid - then flash frozen for optimum flavor, nutrition and convenience. Even parents love the taste so much they end up using Yummy Spoonfuls' first foods in smoothies, and other recipes for the whole family. We have won a series of National taste test awards to validate this, as mothers we are also very concerned about harmful toxins, that is the reason why we make our meals with nothing else added to it. We weren't surprised at all when Yummy Spoonfuls® was recently awarded the highest score of any baby food sold in pouches by Clean Label Project- If you have not read the findings of this study where they tested over 500 different baby foods please click link 

Please know, we all can train our little ones to have a positive attitude towards wholesome nourishing food, and it's worth taking the time to do it right. After all, they're only babies once. 

Regardless if you are making your own food or buying here's a list of some foods that you may want to avoid for the very first year, especially if your family has a history of allergies; AND a list of foods that work great as first foods. 

Avoid these foods:
Add these GREAT first foods:
Cow’s milk
Citrus fruits and juices
Egg Whites
Added salt

Add these GREAT first foods:
Butternut squash 
Sweet potato 
Broccoli, Zucchini , Cauliflower (9ms- this can be very gassy for some babies) 

Come see Agatha at the LA Baby Show this weekend! Go to and use code PumpStation50 to get 50% off your tickets!