A Message to My Followers

Hi Everyone. I’m sorry that I’ve been out of touch for a while.  This summer, I was accepted into the Post-Baccalaureate certificate program for Health and Wellness Coaching at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. I’ve completed one class with three in-progress. The school is very warm with many great resources.

Things are starting to get more intense now, but I am doing very well.  I have an “A” average currently.  In addition, I’m working full time and taking care of my family.  Since I have been out of school for a while, I wanted to start with a certificate. I should be finished by August of next year.  If I decide to pursue another Master’s degree, I would finish in 2020.  I have a Master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry, so I’m not sure if I need another one.

The science field has given a a solid foundation to move into Health and Wellness Coaching. I am very passionate about health and wellness, as you may see from some of my posts.  With proper diet and exercise, I am back to a size 6; I have not wore that size in 12 years.  I want to help others reach their goals.  My goal is to have my own practice.

My son is doing very well.  He will be 8 years old in December. I’ve talked about the challenges we’ve faced with his autism. He has made so much progress. He’s reading,   making friends, and has not had any behavioral issues at his new school. I want to help those parents as well.  Diet and environment are so important for their physical and emotional well-being.

I want to continue to blog. I am learning so much that I would like to share with you. Thank you to those that still follow me.

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5 Reasons Why I Blog

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There are many types of blogs out there. Some discuss Kim Kardashian’s backside or Pitbull’s latest video. Others talk about sports or give financial advice. I’ve been blogging for about a year and half now. Here are my reasons:

  1. My family. At the end of 2012, my contract position ended. At that time, I was a Scientist at a large medical devices company. Also, when my son turned 2, he began to have behavioral issues; he would have “meltdowns” if his routine changed. He had been receiving occupational and physical therapy since he was 6 months old.   His pediatrician recommended it since he was a preemie. I decided to return to being a stay-at-home mom until my son’s issues were resolved. Last summer, doctors diagnosed my son with autism spectrum disorder. I wasn’t familiar with it, and quite frankly, it was hard for me to accept. In between my son’s at-home therapy sessions and visits to specialists, I needed something else to relax my mind. I enjoyed writing, and I’d heard about blogging, so I decided to research it further. It was easy to set up a website on WordPress, and friends were always asking me for advice; I decided to launch Have Faith and Live Well.
  2. To inform. I  discuss various health topics in my blog. Since my son’s diagnosis, I began researching the types of foods that he should eat and those to avoid. Fortunately, my son is a very picky eater. As a family, we don’t eat fast food or drink soda among other things. It costs more to eat healthy, but it’s worth it. I know that at least one person is reading my blog daily. I hope that they are taking the initiative to do their own research and make the necessary changes. I believe that by helping one person, that person can help others and so forth.
  3. For exposure. It takes time to build a strong following. (Of course, there are those exceptional bloggers that have millions of followers). It will be that one blog post, one connection, or that one application that will make all the difference. Guest blogging is also helpful for exposure. I’ve posted on other blogs as well as having guest bloggers on my own blog.
  4. To network with other bloggers. There are many blogs that I follow. Some of them I read for entertainment, and others give great blogging tips. I learn a wealth of information from other bloggers. It’s an ongoing process. People come into our lives for different reasons. I don’t believe in coincidences.
  5. For income. The goal is to generate income from my blog, which is a work in progress.

I would like to thank all of you that take the time to read my blog posts. You are the reason that I continue to write.


The Benefits of Vitamin D

After having my annual physical exam, my doctor advised me to take a vitamin D supplement since my levels were slightly low. He was not too concerned about this since my overall health is great. I know now that I must continue to take it along with vitamin C daily for optimal health. I was surprised since I’ve spent so much time outside this summer. I thought that I had been getting enough sunlight since that is the main source of vitamin D. However, having dark skin plays a role in low vitamin D levels. Melanin (a pigment) reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D once exposed to sunlight. I researched more about it and found some benefits of this vitamin.

 

  1. Maintaining strong bones and muscles. Both vitamin D and calcium are necessary for strong bones and teeth.
  1. Reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and infections. Vitamin D reduces the risk of diabetes, some cancers, multiple sclerosis, allergies, and asthma.
  1. Helps mood. Many people are happy when they spend time in the sun. (I know that I tend to feel lazy when it’s raining outside). Our skin manufactures vitamin D as a result of sun exposure, as previously stated. It is believed to regulate brain chemicals that are responsible for mood (National Geographic).
  1. Plays a role in brain development. Low levels of vitamin D can be linked to disorders such as ADD, schizophrenia, and autism. My son takes 400 IU of vitamin D per day. A neurodevelopmental specialist at Children’s Medical Center recommended that dosage.

Since few foods contain vitamin D, (i.e. fatty fish, fortified milk or juice, egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver), it is best to take a supplement not to exceed 2000 IU per day. Also, enjoy 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight each day. Vitamin D levels should return to normal.

 

Continue reading “The Benefits of Vitamin D”

Education About Autism Through Movies

Autism Speaks is the nation’s largest autism advocacy and autism science organization. I follow them on Facebook and Google+. It’s a great resource. They recommended 5 movies about autism that are currently on Netflix. I’ve watched all five, which were all excellent.

1. Sounding the Alarm
2. The Story of Luke
3. Fly Away
4. A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism
5. Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon

Ironically, my husband had already watched The Story of Luke, and said that it was excellent. I watched it, and I agreed. It was the story of an 18-year old, autistic young man that had to move on with his life after his grandmother’s passing. Sounding the Alarm is a documentary that gave alarming figures of the increasing rates of autism diagnoses. In 1975, 1 in 5000 children were diagnosed with autism. Currently, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism each year. It also profiled lives of children in different age groups on various ranges of the spectrum. Fly Away is the only fictional movie in this group. It tells the story of a single mother and the challenges that she faced raising her severely autistic-16-year-old daughter.

A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism profiles a mother with a severely autistic, 10-year-old son on a quest to gain more information about the disorder. They live in Iceland, and they travel to the United States and Europe to meet with autism experts and advocates. She also meets other families with autistic children. Finally, Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon begins with the examination of an autistic man’s family beginning in the 1920s. His family is interviewed, and he gives his commentary growing up with his family and his life now as an artist.

The reason that I watch these movies is so that I can learn more about autism. There was a time that you rarely heard about it. Now, it’s very prevalent. As discussed in A Mother’s Courage, autism affects boys more…4 boys for every girl have autism! When my son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder last summer, I didn’t want to accept it. Since he was born so premature, I figured he just needed to catch up. As soon as my son turned 2, he started having temper tantrums. I assumed that was normal. His pediatrician had mentioned that it would happen. Then, as time passed, I began to piece together everything that we were being told about his behavior. The repetitive tapping on walls, crying as an only form of communication, and a limited interest in play were signs that something was wrong.

My son began receiving ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy in our home 2 hours per day, five days a week. He also had speech therapy once weekly and occupational therapy twice monthly. Over time, the temper tantrums stopped, and my son enjoyed playing with toys. He was also able to communicate in other ways besides crying and screaming.

Now at 3 1/2, my son still has a speech delay. When he starts back in preschool this a fall, he will continue with speech therapy. He will have a 5-hour day, 5 days weekly. For the summer, he had a 3-hour day, 5 days per week. He has about 20 words in his vocabulary. When he does say words, they are very clear. We are in the process of potty training, which is challenging on some days. Besides limited speech and communication, my son doesn’t have any other major issues. His health is fine. He loves to sing, collect leaves, and is interested in bugs and books. He enjoys playing outside. Today, you don’t find many children that enjoy playing outside. When I was a kid, we stayed outside until dusk.

I’ve heard of some people “beating autism” and going on to be college graduates. I want my son the be one of those people. As a mom, I will make sure that he is equipped with everything that he needs to succeed.