The Pros and Cons of Gummy Multi-vitamins for Children

by Melissa Panchyshyn, MS, UW-Stout dietetic intern at the Eau Claire City County Health Department

There are a wide range of daily multi-vitamins on store shelves to choose from, including many different brands, forms, and flavors. Gummy vitamins have become quite popular for children who take a daily multi-vitamin. When choosing a vitamin supplement for your child, carefully choose a vitamin that will be safe and effective for your child’s unique needs. Also, check that it has the recommended daily allowances of the vitamins and minerals that children might need, including vitamins A, C, D, K, the B vitamins, iron, and calcium. There are several pros and cons to providing your child with a daily gummy multi-vitamin, which should be taken into consideration during your search for the vitamin that best fits your child’s needs.

• Children can be very picky eaters. Although it is best for children to get their nutrients from the food they consume, all parents and guardians know that this can be difficult at times. Gummy vitamins can be used to help make sure your child is consuming the proper amount of nutrients each day.

• Gummy vitamins can be easier for children to take. Most young children are unable to swallow pills, while the hard, chewable ones may be a difficult texture for them to chew or swallow. The gummy vitamins are softer and easier for young children to handle.

• Gummy vitamins have a comparable sweet taste and chewy texture that make them seem similar to eating candy. This often makes children excited to take them each day.

• There are a wide variety of brands, flavors, and shapes to choose from that allows you to find the best kind of gummy multi-vitamin that your child prefers, and that fits their specific needs.

Several cons to providing your children with daily multi-vitamins include the following:

• The similarity that gummy vitamins have to candy can make them tempting to a child looking for something sweet, like candy. It is important to store the gummy vitamins the same way that medicine is stored to ensure that children cannot get into them freely. Taking more than the recommended dose may give your child an overdose of vitamins.

• The gummy, sticky texture of the vitamins can be harmful to your child’s teeth, such as contributing to the formation of cavities. To avoid harm to your child’s teeth, have your child brush their teeth after consuming the gummy vitamins, rather than before. This will help remove some of the sticky residue left behind on the teeth, preventing the formation of cavities or other dental problems from occurring.

• In comparing gummy vitamins to the non-gummy forms, there are usually lower percentages of some nutrients in the gummy varieties. Reading the labels to compare the gummy vitamins to other forms will provide you with an educated decision about which form you prefer for your child.

• Vitamins should be taken along with a meal to help them be absorbed slowly and properly. If vitamins are absorbed too quickly, they may be excreted by the body and could cause an upset stomach or nausea.

• The cost of gummy vitamins is often more expensive than a pill form. It may be worth the cost if it is a way to get your children to take their vitamins daily.

Scientific reviews can be assessed about many of the popular vitamin brands. Looking at these reviews may be helpful in selecting a vitamin that you can be most comfortable with providing to your child. When looking at the scientific reviews about the various vitamin brands, focus on factors such as the ingredients, quality level, and safety of their vitamins. If you have any concerns about the nutritional well-being of your child, be sure to contact your doctor.

Yoga for Parents

by Ingrid Schaller

It was a week of unexpecteds — the death of a dear friend, a child taken sick, the family van broken down — all layered over the nonstop everyday responsibilities of being a parent in a marriage in which my husband is frequently out of town. The idea of wedging yoga sessions into the mix seemed impossible. And yet I did it — and not for the reasons you might think.

As a yoga instructor, I know that yoga struggles against the image of perfection — perfect bodies in perfect arrangement. It also struggles against the image of indulgence — that it is a treat, rather than a treatment. My schedule is no more (and in many cases much less) complicated than most parents. And yet, like many parents, I find myself pushing until I’m exhausted, short-tempered, and sometimes ill. Our sense of duty whispers against giving ourselves any opportunity for rejuvenation: A yoga class? That’s just one more commitment. Who will be with the kids? Can I even do yoga?

Last question first: Yes you can. Despite its image, yoga is not about turning yourself into a  human pretzel. If you are a true novice, seek out a beginner series provided by a credentialed instructor. Things to watch for: Is the class reasonably paced? Are the poses instructed, or merely demonstrated? Are you given options to make the pose easier or more difficult to match your ability? If possible, try more than one instructor.

But what about that time commitment? As a parent, I can tell you that the energy I recover from maintaining a regular yoga practice refuels my body and mind, but it has also helped me broaden and deepen my relationship with my children. Once you learn a few basic poses, you don’t need a ninety-minute session to make the yoga “work.” Spending as little as fifteen minutes on a few poses can be just what your body (and mind) needs. Explain to your children what you are doing. Allow them to participate, or allow them a routine activity: “While Mom does yoga, you can look quietly at books, or listen to audiobooks, or you can try the poses too.” My six-year-old has come to understand this routine; my teenager rolls her eyes at it, but she also knows a day when Mom does yoga is a better day.

I still have weeks that are too short and too full and have me running around emanating anything but some groovy “inner peace” vibe. But now I know that when life overflows with “unexpecteds,” a regular yoga practice allows me to navigate more smoothly, recover more quickly, and give even more energy to my family, my friends, and the causes I care for.

Currently working toward her 500-hour teacher certification in yoga therapy, Ingrid Schaller teaches beginning yoga classes at the Yoga Center of Eau Claire and will lead a teen girls and moms yoga class this summer in Fall Creek.

Green Pages » Jan./Feb. ‘13

New Co-op Develops in Durand

In April 2012, a group of individuals held a public meeting to gauge response and chose a steering committee to develop what would become Good Egg Food Co-op. This committee spent much time gathering information, wrote a mission statement, and decided what type of co-op model to utilize. Although the co-op is not officially open yet, that hasn’t stopped the growing excitement for the new organization.

Joe Casteberg currently serves as Secretary and Project Manager of Good Egg Food Co-op. “The Good Egg Food Co-op has numerous goals, almost entirely focused on helping out and further developing our local area,” Casteberg explained. “More importantly, the focus is to bring the best, healthiest, and most ethically-produced food possible to our community.”

Once the co-op officially opens, the committee hopes to have a free in-store library and information center, classes and workshops to assist with the mission. “We plan to do this not because it’s profitable, but because it is the right thing to do for our community,” Casteberg said.

Part of doing what is right for the community means allowing community members to become actively involved in the co-op. While people can purchase stock in the co-op, membership will also be offered to all of the co-op workers and producers. “We plan to have separate membership classes, with equivalent seats on the board, so everyone can and will have a stake and a say in our business,” Casteberg explained. Managing a co-op in this way is known as a ‘hybrid model’ or ‘multi-stakeholder model’, something the committee is proud to offer to the Durand-area community.

While it is not officially open yet, the co-op has already offered one very successful event to the community. The inaugural Farm to Table Dinner Event was held on October 6; the event was a huge success, as it was a way to sample one-of-a-kind local food produced by local farmers and businesses. The event, which raised over $4,000, will assist in the set-up of membership and stock programs in the coming months. Because of the event success in drawing attention to local food producers, organizers hope to offer another similar event in spring 2013.

Good Egg Food Co-op is interested in involving local people that want to promote buying locally, eating healthy foods, and developing a sense of community. To find out about upcoming events and ways you can become involved, please visit for more information. Click on the ‘Members’ or ‘Volunteers’ page to discover various committees and for information on how to contact volunteer coordinator Martha Gingras. Donations can also be mailed to Good Egg Food Co-op, P.O. Box 208, Durand, WI 54736.

“We encourage people to get involved now, and help our board of directors make the most important decisions they need to make before the store is opened,” Casteberg concluded.

Yoga Retreat in 2013!

Yogify in the Riviera Maya!
Shambala Petit Hotel, Tulum, Mexico
March 15-22 (6 spots available!)

Whether you’re new to yoga or have an established practice, this daily experience of yoga offers significant evolution for the body and the spirit. For 2+ hours a day we use tools of movement, breath and meditation to cultivate strength and centering. Then we take it off the mat into life! Yoga changes the way you do everything else.

Shambala Petit Hotel is a small, luxury resort that specializes in yoga retreats and offers clean, minimal decor and maximum hospitality. You’ll enjoy the warm blue waters of the Caribbean and magnificent Tulum Beach.

Cost range: $1,100 to $1,800 per person (double occupancy and depending on casita selection) for one week. Includes retreat tuition, 2+ hours of yoga each day, accommodation, three meals a day, a 45-minute Acupressure session with Dotty Bacon and an estimated $100 for ground transportation from Cancun International Airport. It does not include airfare. A $300 deposit is required to reserve your spot. If you have questions or need more information, please email

Peace, Love and Bananas

by Amy Annis, Madeline Island Yoga Retreats and Clean Spirit Yoga

I’m becoming a Gorilla.  Not the traditional dark and furry ape that roams the jungle but the yogic kind that roams the urban street of Eau Claire teaching yoga classes to support my community.

It’s not my original idea.  The Gorilla Yogis was the brainchild of Minneapolis Urban dwellers Jess Rosenberg and Nan Arundel who decided that their community would benefit from a monthly yoga class.  Not only would they create unity but they could potentially raise money for community partners.  They had no idea the beautiful ball of karma enclosed in their gorilla paws.

The first event was for the benefit of the Smile Network.  Half expecting 30 yogis to walk in, they taught to a crowd of over 200 raising enough funds to repair a cleft palate for a child.  The experience was exhilarating and they continued to use their talents to re-create fantastic monthly yoga events.  To date they have raised over 30,000 for community partners in the Twin Cities area.

When I called Jess to ask her for a bit of assistance, there wasn’t even a pause.  I had discussed the idea with a few of my favorite Eau Claire yogis, Kristin Polez from Drammen Yoga, Aveen Banich from Life By Design and Amelia Daniels and we were looking for some insight to avoid re-creating the yogic wheel.  Conducive to the true nature of most yogis, Jess didn’t hesitate when I suggested she shared her creative project with us.  “I will help you”, she said.

Thus, the Gorilla Yogis – Eau Claire chapter was established and with karmic ease  out yoga troop leaders have already met with a fantastic response.  Our first event is scheduled at The Children’s Museum in Eau Claire at 10 am on January 26th and 100% of the proceeds raised from that event will go to our community partner.

Life by Design … Come Home to Your Fabulous Self!

Life by Design is a space for many things — yoga, laughter yoga, life coaching, meditation, healing and reiki, design, and life celebrations. However, it was really envisioned as a place for community and connection for conversation and ideas, laughter and friendship, learning and exploring your soul’s purpose.

Conceived by a group of Chippewa Valley women, Life by Design is meant to be a little sanctuary of stillness and peace or a place filled with loud laughter and animated discussions. It all really depends on the day and what you are seeking.

On our sign and print materials, you will see a beautiful emerging butterfly. Richard Buckminster Fuller once said that “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it is going to be a butterfly.” Do you ever feel like there is more to you than you are currently revealing to the world or even to yourself?

As women, we often put our own dreams and self-care on the back burner in order to take care of others. What dream or vision of your life’s purpose currently masquerades as a caterpillar? Perhaps you do not even know yet but have a desire to uncover it.

Through a wide variety of offerings, our dream at Life by Design is to empower and inspire you to explore these dreams and to enhance your well-being and natural awesomeness. Yeah we said it; you are naturally awesome! We all are and at Life by Design we intend to not let you forget it.

Lily Pad Lab

The Lily Pad Lab is excited to announce it will be opening its doors in Mid-January. What is the Lily Pad Lab?

A classroom – a place for kids, alongside their parents, to learn and grow through our stimulating, entertaining and educational, age appropriate classes

A play room – have a cup of coffee or tea, relax on a comfy couch, allow your child to explore all the Lab has to offer.

A community – an opportunity to meet new families and feel connected.

At the Lily Pad Lab our goal to inspire kids to explore the world around them; to capture the curiosity of young children, encourage them to hold on to it and let it guide them as they grow, all right alongside their parent or trusted adult.  Our February/March session of parent/child classes include Tiny Scientists, Art Lab, Lily Pad Test Kitchen, Spanish and Music, The Littlest Lab, and Winter Wiggles.

We will also have Open Lab time in which we will set up stations for kids and parents to explore together including science experiments, art projects, dramatic play, sensory play, etc.  We will also provide educational toys for kids to explore on their own developing a sense of independence and giving parents a chance to relax and observe.

We will also be hosting one-day Family Events, Baby Brunches, and seasonal celebrations.

It is never too early to introduce science vocabulary and concepts.  Science starts with understanding concepts that develop as early as infancy.  One of the first scientific processes is Observation which uses all the senses.  Young children explore the world using their senses.  They look, touch, smell, hear and taste.  All kids are curious and want to know everything about their environment!  Spend this precious time with your child as they explore, discover and develop an understanding for the world they live in!

To register or to find more details on Classes, Events and Open Lab time go to  Class sizes are small and they will fill up fast, so register early.

Ayurveda is for Everyone

Ayurveda, the Science of Life, provides a bright light of guidance for parents who are in the childbearing and rearing phase of life. Unless you live in ‘granola’ towns such as Asheville, NC or Boulder, CO, it may seem like you are swimming upstream to adopt a whole foods, organic lifestyle, but it is well worth the effort! It is ideal for both parents to start an Ayurvedic program before conceiving a child, but implementing Ayurvedic principles at any point will be a blessing to the whole family. Maybe you are in a partnership where you are the only one who cares about wellness. Never give up! With loving persistence and education, you may see your beer-guzzling, barbecue-loving partner start to see the light.

To begin, consult with a professional Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. She or he will take into account your family’s specific needs. While insurance does not typically cover Ayurvedic care, many flex spending programs now reimburse people for it. Plus, just a couple of consultations with a practitioner go a long way. If you do not have one in your town, find one you like online and talk over the phone, FaceTime or Skype. Check out books from the library or purchase them online. Perfect Health for Kids by John Douillard and Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra are two nice titles to get your feet wet. Also, buy or check out Ayurvedic cookbooks.

Next, determine everybody’s doshas in your family. Ayurvedic diagnostic strategies provide tools for helping individual family members trouble shoot specific imbalances. Understanding if your child is primarily Vata (wind and air), Pitta (fire and water) or Kapha (earth and water) is very helpful. She or he will be predominantly one dosha, with another dosha in close second (this is called your subdosha).

A predominantly Vata child will have a small appetite and tend toward constipation or hard stools. They have a cold body temperature and are lightweight.

Pittas have a healthy (and in some cases ravenous) appetite and tend toward loose stools. They run hot and have a medium build.

Kaphas may eat large quantities and gravitate toward heavy, sweet and carbohydrate-filled foods. They have large quantities of stool and occasional bouts with constipation due to the clogging caused by over-consumption of heavy foods.

They run cool and clammy and have heavy builds. Once you understand your child’s dosha, you can use nutrition and lifestyle to encourage balance for each child. Vatas find balance in foods, herbs and practices that are warm, grounding and nourishing; pittas by cooling and alkalizing; kaphas by light and mobilizing.

The number one treatment method in Ayurveda is a whole foods diet. Whole-plant herbal supplementation reinforces nutritional healing. See some general ideas listed below. Contact a practitioner for Ayurvedic dosha diagnostic help as well as ideas for clinical problem solving for you and your children.

Easy Ways to Incorporate Herbs for
Children and Teens

• Add any one of the following green powders to smoothies: spirulina powder, kelp powder, barley greens, etc. This is quick and easy to have in the morning before school.
• Take spirulina tablets. This is particularly helpful for teen girls one week before and one week after menstruation.
• Boost immunity with the Ayurvedic supplement called Chywanprash. Take 1 tsp. per day. It is safe for children. The Vadik Herbs brand is nice:
• Use an alcohol-free Vitex Tincture, taking one dropper full per day, for 30 days, or two months, or even longer for persistent hormone balance problems such as PMS or menstrual headaches:
• Mix rose petal preserves in warm milk with cinnamon or nutmeg:
• Take triphala tablets, two at night before bed for one-three months, as a mild laxative, detox agent and rejuvenative.
• Eat Ayurvedic energy balls.
• Mix dosha-specific powdered herbs with raw honey and then roll into little balls. You can store these in the fridge or a glass container at room temperature and eat them once a day.
• Take oral B12 tablets under the tongue, around a teen’s menstrual cycle.
• Eat figs. They have more calcium content than whole milk. Try making fig syrup or add figs to the Ayurvedic energy balls.
• Add fresh flaxseed oil (it spoils quickly) to salad dressings or smoothies.
• Make and consume homemade yogurt.
• Try making a sarsaparilla brew with your child/teen with other herbs.
• Shred burdock root in stir fries or use in soups.
• If using herbal teas to provide medicinal support, mix with peppermint, lemon balm, lemongrass, sassafras and hibiscus to make the taste pleasant and sweet.

Patricia Wickman is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Certified Panchakarma Technician and Registered Yoga Teacher. She loves people and enjoys inspiring individuals to perceive their beauty and potential. She owns Radiant Living Yoga and Ayur-veda, LLC. For more information visit: