Inspirational Mom Story: How Nikki Lindgren Launched a 7-Digit Business as a Busy Mom to Three

As a working mom, compromise isn’t just a skill to be honed – it’s a way of life. Balancing being present for our kids with professional growth is a constant need. But just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it has to come at a high personal cost.

Mompreneurs like Nikki Lindgren, Founder & Managing Partner of Pennock, are showing us the way. Here’s how this mom of three went from being a business leader in corporate America to thriving as a business mom with her six-digit digital marketing agency.

Nikki Lindgren’s Beginning as a Mompreneur

Lindgren started her career in e-commerce, first at Pottery Barn and then at World Market, where she founded the e-commerce team. Its successful launch ignited a fire in her for digital, which she deepened through mastery of paid and search channels via agency partnerships.

“From World Market, I went to the agency that helped us with the launch,” said Lindgren. “I built out a team behind me that managed paid and SEO for 45 clients, including the New York Nicks, the Saints, Ben Sherman, etc. It was an exciting time! Then, I had my first kid, and the company merged with a subsidiary of LiveNation, so we decided to relocate for my husband’s work. KiwiCo (the STEM kit company for kids) was just a block away, so I joined their team. I had my second kid, moved to a tech company in the wearables space, and decided to set out independently.” 

Becoming a Mompreneur: Executing the Vision

After becoming pregnant with her third child, Lindgren was ready to put her expertise to work for herself. After years of successfully building out search and paid channels in-house, she had all the skills she needed to offer her services to beauty and lifestyle brands.

“My husband is a data person like me, so we created a forecast together and realized we could scale quickly. At first, it was just us, but soon enough, we built a team to put an account manager on every account. It wasn’t easy, as we had a lot to learn about hiring and building out the company culture along the way. But it’s now where I’m not on client calls and day-to-day work; I’m focused on strategy and growth. This is a big shift from the first two years!”

Today, Lindgren’s boutique agency has eight full-time employees and one open role. Pennock makes over six figures a year, and Lindgren can unplug on the weekends to be present with her kids (ages nine, eight, and six) — all while working 35/40 hours per week.

7 Questions on Making Life Work as a Business Mom

1. Tell me about your background and how you became a business mom.

Nikki: There are four primary skills that women need if they want to be business moms. First is maintaining motivation. Working in a business and running a home can feel daunting, so if you don’t have that inner drive, you won’t succeed. Some other skills I’ve honed and gotten good at that entrepreneurs need to understand are how to scale revenue, hire quality candidates for their business, and quickly navigate home responsibilities.

2. Did you ever want to quit?

Nikki: I never actively looked, but I did scan other options. For me, if I’m not loving my work in six months, I’m going to call it. For example, I recently joined a network with other agency owners, confirming this is what I want to do.

3. How did you build and maintain growth?

Nikki: Here are my main takeaways. Your balance needs to carry over a few months. You need to hustle hard running your own business and gaining accounts because it’s not something easily outsourced. Focus on building personal relationships; they’re a huge driver of growth. For example, 80% of our business is referrals. Last but not least, find clients you’re aligned with and who set realistic goals.

4. What are some cultural must-haves for running a good business?

Nikki: For us, it’s been essential to be de-centralized and support remote workers across the country, especially since many of our all-women staff are working moms. We offer competitive benefits, including healthcare, 401(k) plans with matching contributions, 20 paid holidays, and untracked time off. From there, it’s about tailoring your culture to meet your people’s needs. For example, we respect local time zones. Our people work their 9-5, and we also have days where we’re not glued to our desks. These little things are simple but impactful.

[Picture of the Pennock team]

5. Where’s an excellent place to start for moms new to marketing and beauty?

Nikki: My advice is to throw your ego aside to build experience at any level to acquire the skills. You must be okay with constantly learning and being a newbie at any age. Dive into paid versus organic versus email. Find the people in the space you want to be in and ask them to coffee. Offer your help. Start small and scale up. People are more open now to people who do not have the perfect background, and they’re hiring people new to the industry. It’s all about the relationships and showing up well to calls. Ops managers are so good at training. Last but not least, avoid clients that want gotcha moments. If they question your price too soon, they’re not right.

6. How do you approach work/life balance?

Nikki: Decide if it’s a fire drill or not. For the first few years, I would not unplug. Now, I work 35-40 hours/week. Some of my supports include leaning on after-school programs, having a flexible partner, and splitting home responsibilities. My husband helps with camp schedules and picks up slack in other areas. Having a house next to in-laws also makes a huge difference!

7. What advice would you give moms looking to take risks and start something new?

Nikki: As a service provider, you must pick a lane to build a business. Last year, we started to niche harder. Don’t be everything to everyone. It is much easier to be a leader in a smaller space. Be a big fish in a small pond—so many mom entrepreneurs cast too wide a net. Find what you like and stick with it.

Final Thoughts: Being a Business Mom Is Good For Everyone

Research shows being a working mom has many benefits for our children: Sons of working moms spend 50 minutes more per week caring for family members than their counterparts. At the same time, daughters of employed women are 1.21 times more likely to have a job themselves.

So, if you’ve got a great idea bubbling under the surface, give it space to bloom. Yes, do the groundwork of learning your skills inside and out, but don’t be afraid to fail. With the right mindset and preparation, your valuable knowledge can help your business thrive!


5 Ways to Co-Develop Good Family Habits from Expert Jenna Hermans

Healthy habits are usually broken down into two buckets: mental and physical. Mental habits include screen time and how you interact with devices for well-being—for example, putting phones away during dinnertime or before bed so as not to disrupt sleep, which can also increase your presence with your kids and have other benefits. Physical health includes eating habits, physical movement, and drinking more water. 

Developing good family habits allows parents to prioritize self-care to be a better version of themselves and show up for the people they love. 

But making habits stick can be tricky. I turned to expert and  Chaos to Calm author Jenna Hermans for help. Her book just won a Pubwest 2023 Design Award in the category of Health and Wellness and is also up for an award on Audible. I loved listening to it on a recent road trip with my kids! 

Jenna also runs a fantastic organization with her husband called Be Courageous, which provides transformation and leadership consulting to companies worldwide. Some of the incredible habits she preaches in their program and her book are health and meal planning efficiencies, getting more physical activity and building that within your day, and finding more time to meditate.

I had her in the studio for a special episode of the MomShine podcast on remastering family habits for the new year. Here are her answers to my top questions on integrating healthier habits to be the best version of yourself!

How to develop a healthy family lifestyle and some examples to lean on

1) Make family habits pleasurable

Jenna: Some habits are more challenging to form than others. It would be straightforward to get into the habit of eating chocolate cake for breakfast every morning. That would take only a day or two; I call that a habit. I wouldn't have to force myself to do that. It would become instinctual. 

“Challenging habits take longer to form because they aren’t instantly pleasurable.”

But starting a new workout routine, putting my phone away before bed, and reading during the day, whether first thing in the morning or at night, are habits that take longer to form because they're more challenging. They're less instantly pleasurable. So, the more enjoyable the habit you're trying to create, the less time it takes to become a habit.

2) Use habit stacking to help family routines stay in place

Jenna: When wanting to create a new habit, you can use the foundations of a habit you already have in place. This process is called habit stacking. With habit stacking, you combine multiple habits back to back, stimulating each other. When you’re already in your cycle of that routine, it is easier to flow into the next habit. Like the idea that every time you have your coffee, you put collagen in it. When you have your French press or drip coffee, you also make sure to put your collagen peptides next to your coffee device. You are stacking those two things together or even adding another thing. What can you add to a routine where you're already in flow?

“Where can you add to a routine where you’re already in flow?”

One habit stacking I started around two years ago was going to the grocery store after my daily workout at the gym. I made my grocery list the night before; then, after I was done at the gym, I’d go immediately to the grocery store and get what I needed. It sounds so simple, but it wasn’t a part of my usual routine, and I wasn’t in the habit of going to the grocery store regularly. 

3) Breakdown big tasks into manageable chunks

Jenna: With laundry, I have found that depending on what we have going on that week, sometimes I'll stack all the laundry into one day. But typically, I'll parse it out throughout the week. I put a load in at night and do a delayed start setting so that it begins in the morning while we're all asleep. Then, before I leave the house in the morning to take the kids to school, I move that load into the dryer. So when I get home, there's a dry load ready to be folded and put away. 

4) Be a role model for your kids 

Jenna: There are a couple of things that I recommend when developing healthy family lifestyle habits. One is to be a role model. By doing the task or activity in a healthy or efficient way, you're setting an example for your children to relate to their tasks and lifestyle habits. Whatever they see you doing is what they are going to think is the norm of how they should be doing it when they're older, whether that's conscious or not. 

“By doing it, you’re setting the example that this is a healthy relationship with the self.”

Generally, it's unconscious, but our behaviors sink in and take root in our kids as they absorb it all. We must make the lifestyle choices we want our children to emulate as they get older. We have to walk or talk.

5) Let kids co-create habits and take the lead

Jenna: I've noticed that whenever the activity or task is child-led, they are much more involved and have ownership over whatever it is. When it came to chores with four children and two adults in the household, we noticed that there were always dirty dishes, rooms to tidy, garbage to take out, and more. As every parent knows, the cooking and cleaning is nonstop. So we sat down with the kids and said, ‘we are spending too much time on these things every day. We all have jobs: we work, and you go to school. But let’s work as a team to help each other more.’ 

“Let’s work as a team to help each other more.”

It led our family to create a chore wheel that alternates every week. The kids decided on the chore cadence, the list of chores, and the grouping of chores per person per week. They also decided that every Sunday, we would turn the wheel so that no one was stuck doing the “worst” chores. One of my kids was super excited to make the chore wheel, and another decided they would be the ones to turn it in every Sunday. 

If a kid was on trash duty that week, they were also responsible for feeding the cat. They could do the chore when it worked for them, or we would say, ‘Hey, trash is full. We need you to take it out.’ Or, ‘it's trash day on Wednesday. Make sure you take it out Tuesday night.’ That same week, someone else would be responsible for cleaning the dishes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and so on. 

Final Thoughts on Creating Healthier Family Habits 

I’ve tried all sorts of things to encourage my kids to do their part and help build their autonomy and responsibility in our house, especially when a once-in-a-lifetime trip came up recently, which involved taking a week away. Consulting other moms on how they feel calmer and more structured in the home has helped me do the same. 

The critical thing to remember is always to keep it fun and give them some control. Include them in conversations on how to divide and conquer. When things have stacked up at my home, or we plan on having people over, I create a chore bingo chart to see who can complete chore bingo for a special prize. When we shop, I encourage them to earn their own money through their family responsibilities and enjoy spending it now and again.

I also loved our episode featuring Jenna Hermans. Her advice on this comes around minute 15 when she discusses developing the best habits for the New Year. She’s a certified high-performance coach, entrepreneur, author of Chaos to Calm, wife, mama of 4, and co-founder of Be Courageous. You can learn more about her at jennahermans.com.


Everything You Need to Know About How Food Can Impact Kids’ Mood

Kids are driven by a keen sense of curiosity and wonderment, which power their continuous stream of relentless activity. It's no wonder that sometimes we can hardly muster the energy to keep up with it all. But did you know that if your kid is predominantly restless, anxious, or inattentive, these could be signs of something more serious?

The analysis of the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey finds that half (50%) of adults ages 18-24 reported anxiety and depression symptoms in 2023, compared to about a third of adults overall. This study showed that young people are more likely than adults to be experiencing anxiety or depression symptoms. So what is going on? Why have behavioral problems skyrocketed in the last few years?

It could be a pandemic and the lack of social interaction that these kids needed, or is it all the devices that are constantly on their faces? As a sidebar, we discussed social media's impact on kids' psyche in this podcast episode — if you want further advice. However, according to a 2022 study published by Neuroscience News, food allergies may be linked to behavioral disorders. The research says that food allergens can affect your brain by causing inflammation involving the nervous system and manifest as behavioral disorders — even if you don't show the typical food allergy symptoms. 

I interviewed Dr. Kumi Nakamoto Combs, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, about this incredible information to see what parents can look for regarding foods causing silent inflammation. I noted seven things to look out for.

1) Physical symptoms that suggest the body is fighting an allergy

Well-known conditions caused by allergies are asthma, hay fever, stuffy nose, eczema or atopic dermatitis, and various intestinal issues. These allergies happen when your immune system works a little too hard to fight against something that's not supposed to be harmful. 

When invaders like bacteria and viruses come into your body, your immune cells respond to them, and they try to get rid of them from your body. So you may have a fever or vomit or have diarrhea, but these are your body's efforts to kill or remove these invaders and are part of the natural defense against inflammation. 

Unfortunately, some individuals have these inflammatory responses to things that they inhale, touch, or eat, and that's a more blatant sign of an allergy. However, these inflammations can sometimes be more challenging to detect when inflammation repeats or lasts for a long time and could cause many more problems.

2) The trends based on age and gender for allergy reactions

Kumi has done studies showing that some prolonged inflammation can affect brain mood and behavior due to hypersensitivities. The survey studies have found when specific allergies appear in mood changes and how long they last. Allergies to milk, eggs, and peanuts are often reported in children. Many children outgrow milk and egg allergies, but unfortunately, peanut allergy lasts much longer. Also, some people, especially females, develop new allergies, particularly seafood, when they age. Food allergies are more common in boys than girls at younger ages and more women than men in adult populations.

3) Foods that are classified to cause significant food allergies

The US Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, recognizes nine foods as significant food allergens we should watch for. Milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, and sesame. So, commercial food products that use these items must be labeled on their packages.

4) Try eliminating certain foods to see if your mood improves

Kumi noticed something interesting when she was reading a few clinical reports. Doctors described that their patients' moods and behaviors improved when they removed certain foods from their diets. Within these particular patients, they didn’t experience the signs one would look for when eating foods in suspicion. Still, to Kumi, this was a group to look into further since reactions wouldn’t happen immediately. 

So, she developed a mouse model of milk allergy without severe symptoms. This model was a group of individuals who did not react severely. So, just mild symptoms and even no symptoms at all. She chose a milk allergy because it's common in children, but many become tolerant as they age. Some studies have also shown an association between milk allergy and behavioral changes. Interestingly, allergic mice eating food containing milk allergens did not exhibit any visible reactions but had increased immune cell activities, showing inflammatory mediators such as histamine, and other molecules called cytokines in their blood. They also have increased antibodies against milk, proteins that can attack the milk proteins that get into your system, and they have signs of inflammation and damage in the brain.

5) Understand what settle inflammations can cause in the body

Cytokines are biological molecules or proteins released by immune cells and immune cells when they come into contact with a specific environment, such as an encounter with invaders or foreign invaders like pathogens, bacteria, parasites, and viruses. They can become activated, and it starts to release proteins. These proteins act as signaling molecules and can float around in a nearby environment or travel through the body in blood circulation. It can be a contributor to neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease especially.

Chronic inflammation is thought to be the common denominator in these neurodegenerative diseases due to decreased myelin in the brain. Myelin is the coating of neuronal fibers that can maximize their signaling ability, and it's reduced in neurological diseases and was seen to decrease in mice experiencing silent reactions impacting the brain. The best example of such a disease is multiple sclerosis. Still, at this point, they don't know the exact connection between what was seen in the allergic mice regarding their milk allergy and multiple sclerosis in human patients.

6) Consider a food journal if you notice signs of behavioral issues in you or your kid

These findings are correlations, and it's hard to say that food can cause behavioral manifestations. Still, for parents who see their children struggling with their emotions or acting up after eating certain foods, these findings could be an excellent reason to avoid certain foods to see if their mood and behavior improve. The only way to do that is through a food journal and to see if specific issues you notice slowly disappear.

The findings Kumi found was that when the mildly allergic mice were given foods with mild reactions, they instead experienced anxiety and depression-like behavior. There was also a decline in cognitive function, like short-term memory loss. If your child or even you experience unexplained anxiousness, depressive mood, or so-called brain fog — you may want to review what you've been eating. It could be as simple as making an alternate food choice.

7) Trust your observations

Like our kids and activities episodes, parents are responsible for being general contractors and at the helm of their kids' health. Part of this is trusting your observations. You've watched your kid longer than anyone and know what your child's normal looks like. You can ask your child's doctor about any suspicion you notice. Still, unfortunately, not everyone will be receptive to the idea since the research on these inflammations in the body is still very early. Trust your observation instinct as a parent. It’s a constant juggle of benefits to your child versus risk. If you choose to eliminate some foods, ensure they are receiving those particular nutrients in another safe way. But with the uptick in anxiety and depression in kids, it could be another angle worth exploring before jumping to other means.

Final Learnings on What to Watch Out for Regarding Kids’ Mood and Food

Testing for a week and consulting a doctor on your learnings to any hypersensitivities is a great place to start. Keep a food diary and be aware of any changes to overall health. It’s also great to get a dietician involved. I’m constantly looking for ways to change it up, not lean too heavily on processed foods, and ensure our family gets healthy foods to maintain energy and activity levels.

Check out the full episode 102 on Food Is Mood, or share your learnings with Kumi at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She’s received so many supportive emails from people who suspected or even identified a food that could be a culprit in their child’s mood. So, if you pay closer attention to what your child eats, you may also be able to find the solution you are looking for. And, of course, not all mood and behavior problems are caused by the diet, but at least it's worth keeping in mind.


Breaking Down My Favorite Family Mantra and When to Use It

In a new University of Michigan survey of 2,044 parents who have kids under 18, 47% want to be more consistent with discipline and put solid boundaries and limits in place — giving children a roadmap for their behavior and our expectations. But what is the right approach in developing firm boundaries that will stick? How do we know we're saying the right things? I found an expert with a mantra to help in Polly Ely, a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Parent School

Let’s break down her simple mantra that can transform chaos to calm and end sibling rivalry in your house.

You can be mad, but you can’t be mean.

Where does the mantra “You Can Be Mad, But You Can’t Be Mean” come from?

The phrase originally came from Ellen Dodge, social-emotional education pioneer and founder of Kimochis (the toy line with feelings inside). This mantra helps to establish boundaries and hold them. It’s all about teaching kids that you can feel anything you want without letting anyone become a target of those feelings. Meanness can’t be the next step, and lashing out is never the next step when you're mad. It is the beginning of understanding boundaries when big emotions show up.

5 Reasons Why This Family Mantra Works So Well

1. This family mantra is bidirectional

It works in two directions to help de-escalate conflict by showing kids that we are all playing by similar rules (parents and kids alike). This starkly contrasts homes like many of us were raised in, where rules are one-directional, e.g., parents set rules, and kids are expected to get in line.

2. A family mantra can provide a framework to teach sibling revelry instead of rivalry.

Instead of playing judge and jury, it helps everyone back up and understand their part in the mess. As a parent, you can help each kid figure out their piece in the action individually. Then, with their sibling, help them try and figure out what their part of the mess was and how they can work on that together. It’s an excellent place to help kids understand when they are getting mean to take that time out. To breathe, set a boundary with their sibling, and own their part in whatever happened. This helps to teach accountability, which can benefit every child in practicing again and again and again.

A straightforward question when they make a mistake is to say — what would you do differently next time? Suppose you can create a culture where they're constantly repairing with each other. In that case, they're continually rewriting, and then they ultimately get into a place of expressing their feelings to each other; it can make a big difference.

3. This family mantra helps kids identify their triggers

Usually, when there is a big reaction, something is happening underneath. Assisting kids in acknowledging that and seeing their feelings for what they are can allow them to dissipate. Remind yourself there's nothing to do here except to get your kid to move that feeling through their body so they can heal themselves.

4. A family mantra helps to process and deal with your resentments

There is a tremendous amount of unconscious grief that goes on inside of every parent, whether they've just left the workplace and are now working at home or they just lost the freedom they had to do their days as they wish. So many parents need to process how much grief is underneath the anger that they feel —grief around the loss of their freedom. And that is taboo for a lot of people to talk about. But it lives inside of every one of us. 

The mantra reminds us to make space to feel and process that grief, whether with friends, our partners, or in therapy. Honoring that parenthood is an entirely different way of being is an important thing to do. Otherwise, the resentment builds and leads to anger. And nobody wants to walk around feeling compressed, irritable, and sharp all the time! Parents deserve self-compassion when these feelings arise.  

5. Being kind and calm can be contagious

Humans are absorbent beings. Once somebody gets within five to 10 feet of our energy field, they're absorbing it, breathing our air, and being affected by and changed by us. So know yourself. Is it a day you are on edge and feeling more connected to the clock than the people in front of you? Unless you pick a different approach, connection can and will get missed. Pick one thing to get done in a day instead of 50. And if it is one thing like going to a hardware or grocery store, try to make it fun for your kids, too.

Conclusion: This Family Mantra Can Be the Segway to Healthy Boundary Work

Boundary work comes full circle. Getting to the root of the issue and creating a framework of social justice where everyone is accountable for their feelings can go a long way. This mantra stood out to me at Polly’s Parent School, which is now all online, including virtual sessions and Q&A that you can participate in. Check out my other post about what to do when your kids try to flip the hierarchy in your house for more tools that can help.


Parenting lessons with Dr. Becky

5 Takeaways From a Dr. Becky Parenting Event

I scrambled to get a ticket when I discovered Dr. Becky was coming to the Bay Area to host an intimate night at the Sweetwater. There was a waitlist of over 100 parents trying to get in, so as we approached the days before, I had lost hope a bit. But sure enough — the day before an event, an extra ticket popped up, and I couldn’t wait to see her live in her interview with Brit Morin, the Founder of Brit & Co. and co-founder and managing partner of Offline Ventures.

It was the perfect Monday night treat to get a nice dose of good examples to lean on for my parenting toolbox, and I had to share with others, knowing how hard it was to attend. 

Dr. Becky Parenting Tips From Her Special Workshop 

1) Dr. Becky teaches the importance of prioritizing teaching resilience.

One overarching takeaway may seem obvious, but her examples stuck with me in teaching kids to be more resilient. She used a bench analogy to explain this. We want kids to feel their feelings and trust them to make good decisions, so here’s how it works. 

When a kid comes to you with a feeling, you validate what they are feeling and say:

  1. “I’m so glad you came to me.” In the bench analogy, you are now sitting on the bench next to them and their feelings.
  2. “I believe you.” This helps kids have more self-trust that their feelings are valid.
  3. “Tell me more.” In the analogy, you are next to them, but their bench warmer, helping them feel less alone.

Often, kids cannot be resilient because they feel alone and their feelings are disjointed from their belief to repress them or feel something different. The above statements place you firmly with them to guide them to believe what they are feeling and be better able to handle anything that comes their way through the ability to process big feelings as they come.

As a side note, there is such a thing as deeply feeling kids that will reject you on the bench with them. They need time to process, and hand signals can often be effective to try a “side door approach” at a later time.

2) Dr. Becky suggests exposing kids to things that aren’t always comfortable.

We often try to protect our kids from the uncomfortable, but it’s our job to help them handle their frustration and expose them more to uncomfortable situations. This can be the most challenging but most impactful thing we teach them. As you coach kids through their frustrations, you are helping them practice their skills for every situation that might come up. So, if you aren’t exposing them to enough obstacles, you are doing them a disservice. 

The #1 thing Dr. Becky said that parents come to her for is not wanting an “entitled kid.” But she says that she believes these kids who end up seeming in this bucket can’t process frustration correctly. An example she talked through was one 16-year-old’s explosion around a kid not getting to travel in first class. A quick backtrack with his family showed that the child wasn’t exposed to enough frustration because the parents worked hard to ensure they bought more accessible paths for him instead. Not winding up too entitled could be seen as a measure of how well your kid can tolerate frustration. Kids are a product of their environment, so ensure their frustration is built in with pleasurable moments. Those moments and how they handle them matter far more.

3) Dr. Becky reminds us that sibling dynamics boil down to inherent threats.

Kids need attachment to us to survive. That’s inherent from the moment they are born. This is why even a compliment to one sibling can threaten another child. It inhibits their connection or attachment and can be seen as a threat. The best parenting technique to resolve this is one-on-one time without the phone and ensuring each sibling is secure in their connection with you. Normalizing jealousy and frustration is also a great strategy.

4) Dr. Becky empowers you to lead your home around screen time.

The more I cover and hear about screen time, the more I yearn for simpler days when we didn’t have them. Dr. Becky affirmed that no one feels good about screen time either. We need more guides around them. Her analogy here was around parents feeling like the leader of their home and modeling screen time or, better yet, acting as the plane's pilot. If a pilot looked at the data and found that changing their course would lead to a safer landing, would you question it? If the pilot took in your input as a passenger when they had already looked at the data separately, they wouldn’t entirely be a fearless leader of the plane, would they? 

Our job is to make good decisions and prioritize our kids’ safety, even if they protest. The US Surgeon General has issued warnings that kids are experiencing a mental health crisis and that social media is to blame. Period. Show your kids how much you love them by setting guidelines to protect them. Don’t allow them to charge their device in their room, and get a contract in place to keep everyone on the same page. I recently learned of this great company, Aro, that can help. They believe “if you change the relationship with your phone, you change the relationship with everyone around you.”

The MomShine Family-friendly Device Agreement can help, too; it is customizable and FREE for download.

5) Dr. Becky's last parenting tip is to have weekly check-ins with your children.

She closed the event, reminding all parents that she’s never met one that is perfect. It doesn’t exist, and remind yourself of that. Repair has the most relational impact on kids and helps them feel less alone after traumatic events.

It’s not the trauma itself that is the issue. It’s the aloneness they feel if it’s not repaired well after. Adam Grant has a great saying around this: “I’m going to crush my second score.” He noted that in psychology, they often talk about this as being the best way to take in any criticism so you don’t feel discouraged or unmotivated.

And when in doubt, host a check-in with your kid. Ask them one thing you could do differently to be a better parent. Come curious and willing to take in their feedback as well. 

If you want more advice on being a more conscious parent, check out the latest episode with Katherine Sellery, Founder of the Conscious Parenting Revolution.


Parenting Advice: 5 Questions to Discuss Before Setting Up Your Estate Plan

One thing is sure: the real fun in accounting and time management begins after having kids. That’s why having your ducks in a row is essential before growing your family. Unforeseen things can happen to them if not, and as parents — these challenging conversations help ensure your peace of mind and their safety in every potential scenario.

According to a survey in April 2022, only 33% of Americans have put these estate plans in place, meaning as much as 67% still need to. By thinking through all the awful scenarios that could happen and pragmatically making the best decisions for your children, you’re ensuring the very best for them so you can sleep easier at night.  

This post helps cover some basic concepts and definitions as you get started.

Definitions You Need to Understand When Setting up an Estate Plan  

What is a trustee?

A person or member of a board given control or powers of property administration in trust with a legal obligation to administer it solely for the specified purposes.

What are beneficiaries?

A person who derives advantage from something, especially a trust, will, or life insurance policy.

What are the different types of trusts?

Revocable trusts

These are the most common types of trusts because provisions can be altered or canceled depending on the wishes of the grantor or the originator of the trust. In other words, you can change this living trust while alive. Only after death does property transfer to the trust's beneficiaries.

Irrevocable Trusts

Any trust where the grantor cannot change or end the trust after its creation. These have the most protections in terms of taxes and any lawsuits if they were applicable.

Testamentary Trusts

A specific type of trust that's created as part of a last will. A grantor (the trust's creator) leaves instructions in their will for a named executor detailing how their assets are managed by a trustee and distributed to beneficiaries.

What is the benefit of setting up a trust for my family?

The most significant benefit to setting up a trust is that finances and the distribution of your estate can flow seamlessly without going through the probate process. The probate process is long, costly, intrusive, and governed by statutes that may not mirror your desires or intentions. The most important thing is to ensure you’ve thought through all the tough decisions so that this doesn’t happen and your kids deal with a drawn-out process. 

Here are some questions to discuss with your spouse for the most productive meeting with an estate attorney.

5 Questions to Answer Before Setting Up Your Estate Plan

1. Who would take the kids if something happened to you both, and multiple scenarios after that? In other words, do you have a first choice, and if a member of that family were to pass, a second choice?

It’s good to have a first choice of who kids would go to if something happened to you, but also a secondary option if the dynamic of that situation changed. For instance, if you choose a parent, what would it look like if one of them were to pass? Would you want the same option or move to another one if you strongly feel two figures are necessary? If it’s someone on your spouse’s side, is there a counterparty on your side that you want included? Again, this is to spread the responsibility and choices during tough times and ensure both voices are around and present to make those sound decisions in your absence. 

These are complex discussions, but ensure the people taking on the responsibility don’t have to make these choices or get put in a tricky spot if something changes. The estate plan sets forth all your wishes for your children in advance.

2. Who will be responsible for the finances if something happens to you both? Is it one person or multiple people?

This can be the same person(s) that become guardians, your kids, or someone separate. They can also be split between parties, so you have sounding boards and a checks and balance system if that’s important to you.

3. At what age will your kids have access to funds, and who is responsible for making decisions until then?

Everyone has different financial situations; some may see firsthand the result if funds are given to kids too early. Ensure you have a plan for how your finances are distributed to your children and when they receive access. You can parse through this and again take the work out of it for whoever becomes responsible for making these decisions for your children.

4. If something happened to your spouse, who’s responsible for making decisions about your life? 

Some examples could be picking a sibling or parent or another trusted party that can make decisions on your life if your spouse isn’t able to for some reason. You can also spell out if you’d like your organs to be donated or not and note in your doctor’s file your estate plan so they know what to reference if needed in the future.

5. How many opinions, if any, do you want them to have before making decisions on your life?

Some unique clauses to draw out might be how many doctors you want them to consult or for what duration of time they have to decide to help again; it is more pragmatic during any tough time or situation that were to occur.

Final Thoughts on Setting Up an Estate Plan for Your Family

These are all things that you can have in place so that even if something were to happen, your kids are well cared for and not dealing with financial or emotional nightmares. After drawing all this up with a trust attorney and signing, it is essential to ensure the appropriate people have access to the information or know where to find it. There are also services now to file online. These estate plans are living and breathing documents you can change and amend over time. We hope this helps you with the tools getting started.

For something more light-hearted after reading this, check out our latest episode on the Digital Wellness Revolution that just dropped on MomShine.


Getting Involved in the Digital Health and Wellness Revolution

If there was one thing I wanted after doing my last show (The Social Media Fairytale), it was to create a healthier relationship with my device and better enable my kids to do the same. However, I needed a framework and a coach to help me maneuver how to do that. The great news is that I found a digital guru who has harnessed the power of social media for the greater good. 

Her name is Larissa May, or as she goes by, Larz, and in 2020, she was named a Business Insider rising star in her brand marketing for your role in launching multiple million-dollar ventures in the products Otherland and Kin Euphorics. She also founded #HalftheStory, an organization that empowers teens to have healthier relationships with how they engage and use social media.

What Is Digital Health and Wellness?

Citrix describes digital wellness as “the pursuit of an intentional and healthy relationship with technology, both in the workplace and personal life.” But as moms, it can feel hard to disconnect when so many parenting-related items are connected to our phones, like playdate and sports coordination, calendars, school newsletters, etc. I was excited to pick Larz’s brain on what parents could do to get more involved in the Digital Wellness Revolution. Here are five simple ways to get involved after interviewing her in episode 207 of the MomShine podcast

5 Ways to Develop and Join the Digital Wellness Revolution 

1) Put an end to passive scrolling for improved digital well-being 

Changing your approach from passive to intentional is a significant difference in using social media.  Recognize the importance of transparency and visibility into personal lives and how to leverage it as a business tool. A new approach to posting could be sharing valuable information about how to use AI to support wellbeing or better ways to free up more of your time to do what you love as a mom. Posting purposefully can help shift why we are all drawn to these apps. 

We can also liken the screentime conversation to a similar conversation about climate change. According to Larz, there are many parallels between the two. One is how we measure and quantify our wellness on digital to our carbon footprints. Similar to how the climate crisis came about with capital means as an end cause, devices are no different, and not all screen time can be treated the same. The difference in the outcome of your digital and emotional experience is rooted in whether or not you have an intention while doing it. 

Questions to ask yourself: How much time are you online versus offline? How does your device play a part in your quality of life? We can start teaching mindful consumption by asking ourselves these questions. We set these bars for physical and sexual wellness and can always make modifications as we go. Instead of being victims to the system, teach kids to be players in the game instead. 

2) Educate yourself on how to take back your digital well-being and online agency

Our kids are the products right now, and there’s a lot of room to grow and improve. Educating yourself and including curriculum around technology in school systems can help, and this is why Larz started #HalftheStory, a non-profit dedicated to empowering the next generation's relationship with social media. #HalfTheStory has become a leading youth 501(c)3, receiving over 30,000 stories from 99 countries worldwide.  

When CBS reported that tech companies made $11B from kids on social media in 2022 alone, it’s important to ask kids how they’re using it and for them to understand the capitalist game they’re a part of. More policies can help protect our kids. Last year, in California, Larz worked with Gavin Newsom on the California AB1394 bill to get that passed. This bill is to get tech companies to put more defense mechanisms around sex trafficking and very harmful content deemed as sexual abuse on the internet, which is a low stake. It’s just an example of how far we are behind and actually protecting young people in the digital world, so Larz is spending a lot of time thinking about this approach with big tech. 

Do we need to take more of a climate approach to build more bills and incentivize tech companies to invest in mental health instead of just having them be on defense and paying fees to the government? Could there be bills around algorithmic monitoring?  This is difficult, especially in a state like California that depends on multi-billions in debt and relies on tax dollars from these tech companies. The state is a business, too. Understanding both sides and bringing together minds in psychiatry, technology, and the economy could be the best approach to seeing all sides of the coin. At least with this newest bill, the state can hold tech accountable if a photo or content is submitted to respond within 36-48 hours to remove it if it directly harms someone.

Lastly, AI is coming fast and swiftly with more technology to disrupt the industry. On the side, I write in cybersecurity, and the speed at which things move is fascinating. Deepfakes are videos kids can make to impersonate others in minutes. Just one was done to impersonate Joe Biden, and brand impacts can be devastating. Taylor Swift herself was a recent victim as well. There was even an instance when Larz heard of a dad who said his son worked in security, and someone made a deepfake of him saying something that he didn't say. The video was luckily intercepted before it was received in his college applications. Parents need to know how to help kids protect against these issues in the future.

3) Be a positive tech influence — show your kids what digital health is

Unfortunately, the onus will remain on parents to have the most substantial positive and negative influence on our kids regarding tech. We can’t wait for some person in a marble tower to pass a bill that might save our kids. It requires us to build that support ecosystem within our schools and find parents with like-minded screen time goals so that when you send your kids to a friend's house, you know there’s a mindful approach to screen time and app usage. There’s also solace in knowing that you’ll be responsible, and only then can you work to be as much of an expert and support within your school and community as possible to cultivate positive outcomes.

4) Digital health resources: Join the waitlist for Social Media U

The #HalftheStory program started in 2020, working with researchers and curriculum writers to build a scaffold of a journey from 6th grade through high school. Three initial pilots were launched in the public school areas in San Rafael and Terra Linda, and some positive outcomes have resulted from those initial pilots. 

For instance, 90% of middle and high school students would refer the program to their friends, and Larz is even exploring some potential statewide rollouts. The great thing about the program is it also offers night sessions for caregivers and educators to get up to speed regardless of their current knowledge in tech. 

Their goal is to be able to serve a million students by 2028. It also doesn’t need to be only in school environments. It could also involve after-school programming like Girl Scouts, which they’re also piloting in the Bay Area to develop their next phase to scale. The goal is to create more positive experiences in the plight of more digital well-being.

5) Digital wellness activities: Participate in the Global Day of Unplugging

Mark your calendars cause Larz also helped to elevate the Global Day to Unplug on the 1st Friday in March. The goal is to stay off any application for 24 hours. This is just another way to start making digital changes. Kim Cavallo, Co-founder and Executive Director of Unplug Collaborative said the goal of this day is to take the shame out of this day to disconnect or reconnect with life. “It’s about making active choices and not being on your phone for 24 hours,” says Larz. Take the pledge online and note that there are workplaces and school toolkits to make this a phenomenal opportunity for us all.

Final Thoughts on Digital Health and Wellness

While writing in HR Tech for over a decade, I hope every organization takes note and makes this a massive opportunity in the coming year to reset some boundaries related to our devices and encourage parents and employees to re-engage in things they love.  I can’t help but wonder if the rising epidemic in mental health could be related to phones and devices. When I sit at lunch at times, it’s hard to find people not buried in them these days, and I’m trying to make more active choices to stop doing that.

Opening up the dialogue about digital wellbeing can go a long way in helping kids form healthier relationships with devices from the get-go. Teach them that real connections and experiences can’t be replaced but that their device does serve a purpose. Guide them to use it effectively and not passively. This movement is not meant to minimize how many of us make a living. It’s how I’m getting this message to you and how a lot of us receive our news, so make it count when you are on it! 

Scroll with purpose, and when in doubt or if you’re wondering where to start, we have an excellent Family-friendly Tech Agreement to help get that conversation going without shame or negating how your kids feel throughout the process. Listen to my complete and delightful interview with Larz on Apple or Spotify. 

Let’s all work together to make this mental health crisis trend in a better direction. We can all do our part today!


3 Women's Advice to Putting an End to Mom Guilt

A few things came to mind when a mom friend and former colleague asked if I could cover how to cope with mom guilt. A feeling I knew all too well, and I learned many others do, too. Seventy-eight percent of mothers feel guilty for not spending enough time with their kids. And it’s not uniquely related to working. A study in the UK found that more than half of moms feel guilty partaking in self-care activities, like soaking in a bath or going to work out.

In my exercise of trying to feel better as I dove into more mom life, I found that the more women I talked to, the less alone I felt. I learned how to take the time to prioritize what I needed in any downtime I had and in the stuff that I never had time to do while immersed in building startups, like attending a school around parenthood and two seminars on how to take care of my health as I aged. 

I began to feel better as I took the time to be present and reprioritize what was important to me. As Yvette Wu, cofounder and CEO of Yield Exchange, an investment marketplace for wholesale GICs, shares: “It’s time we recognize how expansive the role of a mother is and be more supportive of the value it brings both in and outside of the workplace.”

Though there is no right or wrong in your approach, I loved hearing what other women had to share to help their journey to prevent and reframe their guilt.

1) Reframe your thoughts.

Tackling mom guilt is tough. It’s often built on beliefs we have been telling ourselves from a young age as we observe parents, friends, and media. Layered on top are the pressures of modern motherhood, that society has unrealistic expectations of women with children. We are meant to be perfect moms, partners, and businesswomen.  So, is it any wonder we are feeling conflicted?  If we lean into one role, we are led to believe we neglect the other. Many systemic issues need addressing, and I always recommend following Moms First and Chamber of Mothers for advocacy tools. 

To help mothers who are struggling now, I suggest modifying those feelings of guilt into something more productive through a reframe. Instead of saying, ‘I feel guilty because I’m [fill in the blank],’ say, ‘I made this choice because [fill in the blank.]’ By owning your choices, you will begin to recognize that while systemically operating amongst competing priorities through no fault of your own, you are doing your best to give each of those priorities attention when needed. 

-Jessica M. Hill, Founder, The Parent Collective

2) Own and accept your choices while lowering expectations.

It took me a long time to find my stride as a mom with a career, and I struggled with guilt for a long time. I don't anymore. I've stopped feeling guilty about everything I can't do because I work and started to feel proud of everything I can do personally, professionally, and financially. I learned that "showing up" can happen in many different ways. And finally, I've just let go of a lot. 

Everyone is at a different place in their journey. Below are the three things I've learned along mine that may help you along yours:

1) Embrace your ambition: Doing what you need to do to be fulfilled and to support your family is nothing to feel guilty about. It's something to feel great about. What changed it for me was a conversation with my oldest son when he was in Junior High. I asked him if he ever felt bad that I wasn't a mom who was always home, and he said, "No, because then you wouldn't be my mom." 

2) Be flexible and creative: Accept that there is an inherent tension between work and home. You can't do both at the same time. That doesn't mean you have to miss out on the moments that are important to you. When my middle son was in junior high, he loved Fortnight. He downloaded it onto my computer, and when I traveled, we'd find an hour that worked for us to play together each day. Today, if I can't make a game or event, I try to have someone record it, and then I can watch it with them later and have them tell me all about it. When they were younger, I'd download some of their favorite books on my Kindle and read bedtime stories over Facetime.

3) Give yourself some grace: You can't create more time. You can't do more. But you can lower your expectations to make more space for grace toward yourself, your kids/family, and your dreams.

-Kirsten Davidson, Managing Partner at Employera

3) Prioritize your values and core beliefs.

Own your weekdays from 9 to 5 and make them uniquely yours. Seize the opportunity to do work that resonates with your core beliefs and values. Embrace this time as a canvas for personal growth, prioritizing yourself as a human first and your other roles within the house separately.

A great way to prioritize YOU is by taking a few hours away from your usual routine and escaping to your happy place alone. I prefer immersing myself in nature. Once you arrive at your comfortable home, sit down with a notebook and craft a vivid professional vision of what you want your role to look like 3 or 5 years from now. Envision your job title, income, and daily contributions. Picture the colleagues beside you, your daily routine, and the fulfilling emotions tied to your work. Having this clear vision is crucial—it serves as your roadmap. To navigate your current role, align your daily decisions with your future vision. Opt for opportunities that propel you closer and disregard those that divert you. Keep your future vision close and stay unwaveringly focused on it. Only by doing so can you feel fulfilled and show up both at work AND for the other people you love.

-Nikki Lindgren, Managing Partner at Pennock Digital Agency

Doing Our Part to Put an End to Mom Guilt

Systemic issues will need to change before women can put away the guilt that our society is designed to create. A few important things to note are more support in childcare and leave policies, equal division of household work, and flexible work options, which will all help. But I’m hopeful when I see that more women than before are showing up in political leadership positions based on recent research, and women are holding 35% of leadership positions.

Women need to have these positions as it allows for various perspectives. The more we do the work to change how we accept our roles, own them, and envision clear paths for our fulfillment in the future that we don’t negotiate, the more we can show society, and more importantly, our children, that we own our choices and that the guilt doesn’t serve anyone.

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7 Great Podcasts for Parents

As I started my podcast, I became a consumer of the many podcasts out there, trying to see what inspired me and what I thought could help me and other moms through the daily problems we are constantly trying to tackle. From packing the right gear to keeping organized to even taking care of ourselves daily, I found many inspiring shows and interviews to listen to. I gravitated to categories around health, sports, relationships, work, and even some comedy. I even created my first Podroll on Buzzsprout, highlighting my favorites that inspired me to go on and make the show MomShine. Below, I mention each of those shows and a particular episode from each that has stuck with me.

The Best Health, Fitness & Sports Podcasts for Parents:

  • Move with Heart: Melissa Wood-Tepperberg is lovely to listen to. As a meditation teacher, certified yoga and pilates instructor, health coach, and beloved by the diverse community she’s cultivated over the years through her approach to mindfulness and fitness, I loved listening to her show as I was thinking about my own. One that stands out is S3 E50 on Unlocking Your Authentic Self Through Human Design with Jenna Zoe. The two together have great chemistry, and thinking about the energy we bring daily made me feel my energy, think about my partners, and better understand how I’m wired.
  • Way of Champions: John O’Sullivan appeared in episode 103 on MomShine on Finding the Right Sports for Kids. John is a leading youth coach and international best-selling author of "Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High-Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids." John told us how to pick the right mix of activities for our kids, bring back the "fun" in sports, and prevent them (and us) from burnout. An episode I love on his show to check out is #327, The Winning Ways of Women Coaches, with Cecile Renaud and Vanessa Fuchs. I gleaned so much about the latest trends from that episode, and it made me think about what I could do to get more involved with my kids’ sports and coaching. It was fascinating to learn how those stats and trends have changed since the 70’s.
  • Hello Menopause: I came across this show while researching episode 104, which is all about perimenopause and menopause-related symptoms, which will drop soon. Donna Klassen, co-founder of Let’s Talk Menopause, is featured on that show and taught me so much. I learned that so many things impact our symptoms around menopause and practitioners' abilities to help us through that process. One of which I enjoyed learning about was the episode S1 E12 on “BRCA1 Positive” with Monica Molenaar. This guest co-founded Alloy, another great telehealth platform seeking to help treat menopause that is worth checking out if you are on a journey to understanding your hormone levels and options.

The Best Comedy Podcast for Parents:

  • Family Trips: Are you gearing up for long holiday road trips this year? The Meyers Brothers do not disappoint with this new podcast all about celebrity family trips. I loved the episode with Nia Vardalos, the star of 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding.' I giggled through her childhood memories and learned more about Greek family dynamics. Thank you to the show Sibling Revelry by Kate and Oliver Hudson for pointing out this great show to me. I also love their show and have listened to every single episode.

The Best Relationship Podcast for Parents:

The Best Career Podcasts for Moms: 

  • Rising Tide: I got put in touch with Margaret Weniger through a mutual friend and colleague, and she’s been an inspiration in leading SDR teams for many startups. She started the podcast to help other women in the career world. This episode with Frawn Morgan inspired me to learn about the latest trends in women’s health and how that can have an impact on your kids. Be sure to stay on until the end to hear her latest research, which is incredible. Can women have it all? Or do we need to re-prioritize to having the right pieces in place to fulfill us — which in turn lifts our whole family? 
  • 9-5-ish: This was my go-to listen for years to and from work. I loved the advice from co-founders, CEOs, and other female leaders — with hosts Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg to help me think about my career with the most intelligent women. And shows consistently drop on Wednesdays! I loved this episode with the Foster sisters; it’s a great episode to help you start and think about how to take career risks.

Link to my PodRoll again with all my favorite suggestions and a few others, like The goop Podcast and The Skinny Confidential, which are absolute musts in your feed. Check out our latest drop just in time for the holidays (SP106 Kids’ Favorite Holiday Traditions - Remastering Family Habits for the New Year). Happy listening!


7 Self-care Tips for Moms to Maintain a Healthy Gut

As moms, we need quick ways to help ourselves to care for the many others around us. According to research conducted by Birchbox (a beauty and wellness company) and referenced in Psychology Today, two in three people in America do not practice self-care, and only 32 percent of women say they consistently make time for it. But one small thing to hone in on that can make a huge difference in your overall health is focusing on your gut. The gut microbiota has been found to interfere with hormone secretion, estrogen levels, metabolism, immune function, and more — which impact so many perimenopause and menopause-related symptoms that result from a lack of estrogen. 

I was grateful to attend the October cohort of women called Inner Piece Wellness, which focused on improving gut health. I joined to learn more in four 90-minute sessions led by my favorite Family Therapist and Founder of The Lab Method, Poly Ely, MFT, and an incredible Family Nurse Practitioner and Wellness Coach, Jill Baker

Here are some takeaways I learned about to maintain a healthy, happy gut.

  1. Get a gut diagnostic panel: A great way to start your gut health journey is to get a baseline diagnostic panel done. Genova Diagnostics has excellent options, as does Voime, to see biomarkers with valuable insight into digestive function, intestinal inflammation, and the intestinal microbiome. The health of the entire body is dependent on a healthy gut and microbiome, so if you are struggling in this area it’s a great place to look into to get a baseline for what could be going on.
  2. Put your feet up 10 minutes a day. Sounds great, right? But this can help support your microbiome and adrenals. According to the National Library of Medicine, the microbiome is a system crucial for the successful physiological adaptation of the organism to stress. If you want to take that even a step further, MindBodyGreen says that 10 minutes with your legs up the wall (yoga style, if you will) can stimulate digestion, help you de-bloat, ease headache and anxiousness, and aid in a better night's sleep.
  3. Keep a high polyphenol diet: eat as many seeds, nuts, and purple potatoes as possible. Studies have shown that individuals with Leaky Gut Syndrome are more likely to experience hormonal imbalances, including low estrogen levels. The National Library of Medicine offers that getting enough polyphenols can help you get in front of this problem, as estrogen starts to decrease with age. Polyphenols — the highest in good olive oil — are a great place to start! Amphora Nueva was recommended as a great vendor for olive oil that meets these standards. 
  4. Follow what they do in the blue zones: They move, have a sense of purpose, only eat to 80% of feeling full, have a plant-based diet, have low stress, moderate alcohol intake, connect with the community, put family first, and choose social circles with healthy behaviors. Watch Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones on Netflix for further inspiration. Dan Buettner (an American National Geographic Fellow, New Times best-selling author, and three-time Guinness record holder for endurance cycling) narrates and highlights these fantastic communities in this series. 
  5. Eat six palms full of greens daily, equaling 50g of fiber. Firmicutes (which aid in carbohydrate metabolism) and bacteroids (which assist in functions like energy production and conversion as well as amino acid transport and metabolism in addition to carbohydrate metabolism) help to maintain the gut lining. According to Atlas Biomed, obesity is associated with higher amounts of firmicutes and fewer bacteroidetes, so both are highly important as you hone in on gut health.
  6. Focus on the quality of your gut lining: speaking of gut lining, if too much passes through, it can lead to inflammation. L-glutamine can help seal the lining of the gut and reduce inflammation, but it’s essential to discuss this option with a medical professional before taking it. Also, BitterX by Quicksilver Scientific or good old apple cider vinegar can be a game-changer before you eat and a safer hack to try first.
  7. Take pre- and pro-biotics: Prebiotics are the fuel that supports good bacteria in the gut. These are high-fiber, starchy, and non-starchy vegetables. Probiotics are living cultures that help support the diversity and health of the gut microbiome overall. Probiotics also only work with a high-fiber diet (i.e., 50g of fiber daily) and are found in living cultures. Remember, since these are living bacteria, they must be in the refrigerated section to have the desired effect. And when in doubt, here are lists of healthy foods in each category below. 
Prebiotic Foods:

  • Olive oil, Sweet potatoes, Garlic
  • Arugula, Cabbage
  • Spinach, Kale, Red leaf lettuce
  • Broccoli, Pea sprouts
  • Red bell peppers, Cucumbers
  • Jicama, Celery, Carrots
  • Onions, Scallions, Flax Seeds
Probiotic Foods:

  • Pickles
  • Pickled beets
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sheep’s milk yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha

Deepak Chopra recently said inflammation is ‘the number one pandemic of our time.’ Getting in front of it through a healthy gut and a plant-based diet with whole foods can help lower inflammation across the entire body. These simple tips can help you reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and even depression. For more reference on how food can even play into the behavioral health of our kids, check out episode 102 of Food is Mood on the MomShine podcast. I interviewed scientist Kumi Nagamoto at the University of North Dakota, and we dive into silent food allergies, what to look out for when these inflammatory effects don’t show typical allergy symptoms, and how to ensure our kids eat a well-rounded, healthy diet.