Mother attributes change in diet to ‘saving’ toddler posted by Ottawa Sun

Michelle Vodrazka


Mother attributes change in diet to ‘saving’ toddler posted by Ottawa Sun


As a fitness model, athlete and Canadian figure competitor, the svelte and muscled Michelle Vodrazka considered herself a healthy eater.

“I had been working in fitness since I was 18,” says the Orléans mother of four. “We ate in the way that we thought was healthy: low fat and low calories.”

She’d feed her family snack foods such as low-fat yogurt and dinners such as pasta with tomato sauce.

“Now, I think of foods like that as just so much wasted real estate,” she says.

The change came three years ago when her youngest daughter got sick.

“Shortly after her first birthday, the connection we had with Noelle started to disappear,” says Vodrazka. “She smiled less, her laughter became infrequent, her eye contact diminished and she slowly lost her newly acquired words. We became helpless bystanders as we watched the light in her eyes disappear.”

Little Noelle started dragging her right leg behind her and began losing her balance. “Then her left arm started hanging at her side almost uselessly,” Vodrazka recalls.

“It was absolutely terrifying. I knew in my gut that something had gone wrong, but I knew that she was still in there.”

While they waited frantically for a diagnosis and medical help, Vodrazka says she “went on Google for about five hours a night” looking at alternative and conventional medical advice and possible treatments.

“I found a lot of advice about changing kids’ diets. Research didn’t seem to support that, but I thought. ‘What have we got to lose?’ ”

Vodrazka cleaned out her kitchen cabinets and changed Noelle’s diet drastically, cutting out gluten, dairy and sugar. She also started packing as many as nutrients as possible into the whole family’s diet, cutting out empty calories and loading up on greens, fruits, vegetables, roast chicken, salmon and so-called “superfoods” such as avocados, raw cocoa, goji berries and camu camu powder.

“Within 10 days I swear that I caught her eye for a few seconds,” recalls Vodrazka.

After 18 months — which also included speech and occupational therapy and supplements suggested by a doctor — Noelle was back, says her mother.

“All of those symptoms disappeared. She was happy to cuddle and kiss. I think a lot of it was the food. We were feeding her brain so it could work properly. Who knows how many nutrients we don’t even know about are missing in processed foods.”

Vodrazka is quick to admit that no one knows for certain what was wrong with Noelle and that she’s not saying that what worked for her would work for anyone else.

But she is so convinced of the value of a nutrient-dense diet that she has now taken several diploma courses, counsels patients in her off hours and has just come out with a cookbook because she wants to reach more people than she can through one-on-one counseling.

“When I look back now at what I thought was a pretty healthy diet, I cringe. Noelle’s battle compelled me to start feeding my family better and to take ownership of my own health. I used to have gut issues and skin issues. I feel better now. I used to get hypoglycemic, I’d have crashes. Now I feel the same at 2 or 3 p.m. as I do at 9 a.m.”

And the woman who admits she never really enjoyed cooking now revels in her time in the kitchen.

“Cooking is meditative for me now. I love knowing that I’m making healthy things for my family. It’s not about counting calories, it’s about counting nutrients.”

Michelle Vodrazka’s top 14 health-changing habits

Choose only one change at a time, advises Vodrazka. “Pick something easy — almost too easy. Keep it up for two weeks. Be patient and don’t expect perfection.”

  1. Start your day with a healthy smoothie.
  2. Eat three servings of vegetables a day.
  3. Try a new healthy recipe every day.
  4. Eat a serving of protein at every meal.
  5. Record what you eat in a food diary.
  6. Eat a large salad for lunch.
  7. Go to bed at 10 p.m. each night.
  8. Be active for 30 minutes a day.
  9. Eat sitting down without distractions.
  10. Eat only until you are 80 per cent full.
  11. Make your dinners from scratch.
  12. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
  13. Walk for 15 minutes each day.
  14. Bring your lunch to work.

Help Yourself to Seconds

What: A new book with tips for healthy living and more than 120 recipes, by Michelle Vodrazka of Orléans.

When: Released last week.

How much:
About $30.

Where: and

Meet Michelle: Michelle Vodrazka will be signing copies of Help Yourself to Seconds at Chapters in Gloucester Centre on Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19, from noon to 4 p.m. each day.


brookline early education, childcare center, infant care, child care,
Little Corner SchoolHouse Brookline Early Education and Childcare Center

Little Corner School House Pre-School Program Brookline Ma

Little Corner School House Pre-School Program (Our Little Explorers)

little corner school house daycare

LCSH Pre-School (Our Little Explorers)

The Pre-School teachers prepare developmentally appropriate Curriculum Plans, incorporating goals and objectives that follow the Massachusetts Early Learning Guidelines. Our pre-school children are ready to conquer the world. Classrooms are overflowing with challenging toys and equipment that offer a stimulating, and colorful environment.

Little Corner SchoolHouse Pre-School provides a setting where children can be independent and exercise a variety of personal, social and emotional skills. We also encourage problem solving, cognitive as well as symbolic thinking, math concepts and logistics. Blocks and other mathematical manipulative materials promote planning, problem solving, concepts of physics and creative thinking.

Art projects promote creativity and self-expression, while music instructs our pre-schoolers in learning musical concepts through songs, games, hymns, rhythm, instrument and group ensembles. Dance and movement promote physical fitness and coordination.

Literacy, language arts, and self-expression are encouraged at this stage and age. Our goal at Little Corner SchoolHouse is to promote your child’s love of learning. Literacy begins at birth and we encourage early learning through our literacy activities in the nursery.

Our pre-school children have opportunities to help make sense of their experiences and develop an understanding of who they are while learning to care about others.


Little Corner School House Toddler Program (Brookline MA)

Little Corner School House Toddler Program

brookline daycare, brookline childcare, brookline early education childcare center

LCSH Toddlers (Our Little Puddle Jumpers)

Investigating the world around you is what it is all about when you are a toddler! Your toddler’s day will be filled with a plethora of activities, including music, movement, fitness, toys, cooking and interaction with equipment that encourage exploration and discovery. Soothing music and gentle backrubs during naptime provide just the right repose for sleeping.

Toddlers are striving for independence and have reached a child’s first real milestone. They have grown into the mobile stage and are walking and exploring their fascinating environment. Their curiosity is endless. At LCSH, a toddler’s natural inquisitiveness is encouraged and nurtured. Our staff strives to ensure a safe, secure, enjoyable, loving and learning environment.

Since toddlers learn through play and exploration, we give them the space, age appropriate materials, and stimulation they need to help quench their thirst for learning and discovery. The Toddler teachers prepare developmentally appropriate curriculum plans, incorporating goals and objectives that follow the Massachusetts Early Learning Guidelines. The plans are reviewed by the Program Director and an overview is posted for the parents in each child’s classroom.

A typical day in the Little Corner SchoolHouse toddler center abounds with stimulating, age appropriate activities and materials. Our own Little Learners™ curriculum is written for our Toddler staff by the Curriculum Department at our Corporate Headquarters and is distributed to each center monthly. Nightly reports are ready for parents at pick up time. They reflect, in detail, everything that goes on during the child’s day at Little Corner SchoolHouse. These reports, known as Toddler Times, are invaluable to busy parents.

brookline daycare, brookline childcare, daycare in brookline massachusetts

Little Corner School House (LCSH) Nursery Program Brookline MA

Little Corner School House (LCSH) Nursery Program

brookline daycare, brookline childcare, brookline early education childcare center

We foster a love of learning in all of our students from day one. We work with you, the parents, to ensure a fun, educational, and safe experience that fits the needs of your child. We respect individual needs and schedules, and we cater to each child in our care.

Our classrooms contain safe, age-appropriate, creativity-inspiring and fun toys and equipment, including a wide variety of art and building materials, costumes, water tables, and sand tables. Our nursery has calm and soothing sleep areas and a vibrant and fun play area. The Preschool and Pre-K classes have computers for supervised use of educational software.

A professional musician/singer visits every classroom each week to enhance our music curriculum. A scientist visits each week for hands-on experiments and discovery with our Pre-K children.

Our teachers are always actively involved in planning curriculum that remains fresh and current with specific interest for their classrooms and that is relevant to our community. Our monthly programs are rich in art, music, science, literature, culinary arts, and friendship lessons – all including the most important part – play!

little children school house lcsh brookline ma

Security is important to us, and we do not publish any information about our monthly schedules on the web site. Please contact us to discuss particular classroom schedules.

Our facilities are accessible by foot, car and public transportation and are within easy walking distance of several parks and playgrounds. The park used as our primary outdoor play area has spaces and equipment appropriate for the different needs of younger and older children.

Our locations in the heart of Brookline provide us with wonderful learning opportunities. We make regular trips to the library, and many of the neighboring businesses in the area are happy to host us and let the children see up close how they operate. Recent local visits include: post office, fire department, courthouse, bakery, chocolate shop, bank, and dog groomer. The children love being a part of the community!

Little Corner SchoolHouse (LCSH) Nursery (Our Little Sweet Peas)

Our nursery is designed for maximum safety, efficiency, security, and happiness for children from eight weeks to fifteen months. Our staff is nurturing, loving and skilled. Caring for infants as young as eight weeks is a tremendous honor and responsibility. We take that responsibility very seriously.

Our infant program is especially well thought out and reflects years of research, development and experience. Every detail has been meticulously planned from the design of the infant nursery, to the selection of equipment, toys, curriculum, and activities, to the screening and ongoing training of the infant caregivers. Parents can rely on our specially selected staff, with certified early childhood education, and chosen for their knowledge, dedication, warmth and affectionate personalities.

In a warm, loving, and nurturing environment, our infants are cared for, cuddled and rocked by our staff. Our staff has created a warm and stimulating environment, where our infants feel secure as they begin to explore their surroundings. Music plays a big part in our adorable nursery, and the infants enjoy sweet songs and stories, especially while snuggling on their teachers’ laps and drinking their bottles.

Toys are sterilized daily and changing tables are sterilized after each and every diaper change. Our infants’ diapers, wipes, and ointments/creams are provided by each child’s parents These supplies are all labeled with your child’s name and are never shared among children. We adhere to a strict hygienic diaper changing procedure.

We consider good hygiene for those around the infants to be essential. For the protection of each infant, we do not allow street shoes to be worn in the nursery, and every adult must sanitize hands before entering. Your baby has a personal crib with bedding that is cleaned every evening.

Nightly reports are ready for parents at pick up time. They reflect, in detail, everything that goes on during an infant’s day at Little Corner SchoolHouse, from new and exciting developments to diaper changes and feedings. These reports, known as Baby Talk, are invaluable to busy parents.

Little Corner Schoolhouse (LCSH) Early Education And Child Care Center Philosophy

Little Corner Schoolhouse (LCSH) Philosophy

brookline daycare, childcare in brookline ma, daycare in brookline ma, infant care in brookline ma

Little Corner SchoolHouse (LCSH) Premier Early Education and Child Care Center was founded in 1989 as a co-educational early childcare facility, servicing the needs of parents and their children from ages 8 weeks through 6 years. Our programs include Infant, Toddler, Preschool, and Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K).

At LCSH, we recognize the needs of each individual child and work hand-in-hand with parents to provide a safe, loving, and learning environment. Our child-centered setting promotes growth in all areas of development – social, emotional, cognitive and physical.

brookline daycare, brookline childcare, brookline early education childcare center

Our developmentally appropriate curriculum builds a child’s self-esteem, as we encourage self-help skills and natural curiosity to explore and experiment. We foster respect and teach our children to appreciate the cultural diversity in our school. We celebrate customs and rituals that link the diverse cultures of our families.

At LCSH, we understand that the most effective teachers are those who cherish children. Teachers provide the cornerstone of our LCSH community, upon which is built a caring environment for our students that reflects a sincere commitment to and respect for children above all.

We look forward to meeting your family!

Warm regards,

Ina Brother

Executive Director

best daycare in brookline, lcsh daycare, lcsh infant care, lcsh pre-school, lcsh pre-K

The link between early learning in a daycare setting and child development

At this time of year, new Brookline parents will encounter many signs and advertisements encouraging them to register their child now for kindergarten classes or early learning programs starting this fall.

Research shows that the first five years of a child’s life are critical and set a foundation for all learning that follows. These formative years shape a child’s future health, happiness, development, growth and learning achievement at school, the community, and the family.
best daycare in brookline, lcsh daycare, lcsh infant care, lcsh pre-school, lcsh pre-K
Early experiences provide a strong foundation for the development of future academic skills and have a direct impact on the ability of a child to develop socially and emotionally. In the first three years of development, parents are the main influence on the child’s learning experience and development. What Brookline parents do and expose their children to have a vast and long-lasting impact on the development of the child.

At times, parents cannot do it all alone and that is when outside organizations can help support the role of the parent in these crucial and formative years. As the child grows, different Brookline daycare is available to support parents as they assist their child through these early years of development.

Involvement with early learning programs has proven to be extremely beneficial in supporting parents in helping their child develop and prepare for the years ahead. By accessing programs at early stages of development, parents can further augment the growth of their child and provide for enhanced opportunities that may not normally be available without a good daycare.

Early childhood programs support parents and their children not only in gaining skills and a base knowledge but in the transition from home to school. Entering into an early learning program or kindergarten at a specific level of development is critical to ensure the continuity of a child’s development.

Little Corner Schoolhouse Offers a full time and part time programs. Infant care, toddler, pre-school and pre-k are available to busy Brookline Parents.

Healthy snacks bolster toddlers future school grades (Brookline Toddlers)

little corner schoolhouse, best daycare in brookline
  • Fruit and dairy-rich diet from age one bolsters future maths and writing skills
  • Researchers recommend wholegrains and fruit over processed foods and soft drinks
  • Parents need to model healthy eating behaviour for youngsters

PASS the carrot sticks and cheese mom—research suggests eating healthy food as a toddler can help kids do better in school tests 10 years later.

The study of more than 2200 WA children’s eating habits found eating fruit at age of one was linked to higher scores in mathematics, reading, writing and spelling in Years Seven and higher scores in mathematics and reading in Year Five.

Furthermore, dairy products such as yogurt or cheese sticks were strongly linked to academic success with children who ate more dairy when they were one, two or three having better results in all areas tested.

Kids’ intelligence can impact their entire lives, lead author and Telethon Kids Institute researcher Anett Nyaradi says.

“If a child has higher academic performance they will end up with higher education, higher income, better jobs and high socioeconomic positions, which could influence their health outcomes,” she says.

“In fact there are studies showing that children’s intelligence is associated with cardiovascular outcomes, some forms of cancers and mental health issues.”

The researchers says eating more wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and quality proteins such as chicken, fish and eggs form a better diet for youngsters who should also avoid processed meat, snack foods and soft drinks.

The research used data from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study and linked it to Western Australian Literacy and Numeracy Assessment results.

Parents need to lead by healthy Lifestyle example

The Nutrition Specialists dietician Margaret Hays, who was not involved in the study, says improving a toddler’s diet starts with parents modelling healthy eating behavior.

Eating more dairy might mean a milk drink, cheese and crackers or yogurt or custard combined with fresh fruit, she says.

“There’s lot of ways you can get your dairy in and get your fruit in [at the same time],” she says.

“Smoothies are really good and kids love them.”

Dr Nyaradi says it is well known that the first couple of years of life is a sensitive period for brain development.

“During this time there is rapid brain growth,” she says.

“We found a [particularly high] association between the first year diet and the academic performance.

“I think that’s because, at age one, that’s when the frontal lobe starts developing, which is kind of the centre of higher cognition.”

The study controlled for the mother’s age, education and race, family structure, breastfeeding, income and whether parents read books with their children when they were five.

Little Corner Schoolhouse Best Daycare In Brookline

brookline daycare, brookline childcare, daycare in brookline massachusetts

What Brookline Parents Should Keep In Their Cars? by LCSH Daycare Brookline Massachusetts

What Brookline Parents Should Keep In Their Cars?

Whether you’re going on a road trip or driving within the neighborhood, some things are just bound to happen when you have kids in the car. Prepare for these instances by keeping your car stashed with the essentials. Here are the seven best items to keep in the car if you have kids:

1) Umbrellas And Hats
With the weather being very unpredictable, having a handy umbrella tucked in the car can be useful. Invest in an aerodynamically-designed one that’s also storm proof. Similarly, pack a hat or visor in the car in case the sun gets too bright while you’re out. The kids can also wear a hat to block off the light coming in through the car window.

2) Hand Sanitizer
Moms are likely to have this in their purses, but keeping a bottle in the car is also handy. Some hand sanitizers contain high amounts of alcohol, so pick one that is safe for kids to use and store it properly in the car. “Due to high alcohol content in hand sanitizer, alcohol poisoning and intoxication is possible if a large amount is absorbed by drinking, using on damaged skin or using on babies who don’t have a fully developed skin barrier. Because the alcohol concentration is high – more than hard liquor – and young kids have a low body weight, prevention of accidental or purposeful ingestion is important,” said Dr. Peggy Decker of the Mayo Clinic, according to Dayton Daily News.

3) Tissues, Wet Wipes or Toilet Paper
This will be helpful in many instances: when a kid has a runny nose, when a child spills a drink in the car or to help mom fix her lipstick before stepping out of the car. A box of tissues can also double as a squishy pillow when the child takes a nap in the car, according to Puffs.

4) Water Bottle
Keep an extra bottle of water in the car in case your child gets thirsty during the ride so you don’t have to make stop. However, make sure that the water is fresh and that the reusable bottle isn’t too hot as chemicals can leach in an unsafe, warm container,  based on a Real Simple article we found.

5) Towels/Blankets
Aside from wiping up messes, these can also double as a blanket for quick naps in the car.


6) Seat Belt Cutter And Window Breaker
Keep these in your car’s toolbox in case of emergencies. They cost less than $10 at Amazon.

7) First Aid Kit
If you have kids, a first aid kit is a necessity. Fill this with medication and tools for treating wounds, scrapes and cuts.

Little Corner SchoolHouse (LCSH) Daycare Brookline MA

brookline daycare, brookline childcare, daycare in brookline massachusetts

Boston Moms Are Back To Work After Having A Baby

Boston Moms Are Back To Work After Having A Baby

There’s no such thing as loving your baby too much, however, new research finds that moms-to-be are feeling more financial pressure to return to work than parents with one child under five years old did. Let’s face it, leaving in Boston or Brookline is pretty expensive in comparison to all other towns and states. In this day and age, both parents have to be the bread winner. Although some families have are privilege enough to have one of the parent to stay home and take care of the child. Although some parents are not too keen in staying home with their child or baby and rather have a nanny childcare or daycare service for their baby or children.

new moms going back to workAlthough it is possible to take up to 12 months off on maternity leave, less than a quarter of expectant mothers plan to return to work after a year off on maternity leave (23%), while a further two in ten plan to go back after six or nine months (both 20%).

The research reveals that moms think the money they can earn is far more important than their career ambitions. Two thirds (65%) of those surveyed said their main reason for returning to work is to support family or pay the bills. Just fewer than one in five (16%) said their main reason was to maintain their careers. 


little-corner-schoolhouse-lcsh-daycare BrooklineLittle Corner SchoolHouse Childcare/Daycare In Brookline Massachusetts

What I packed my toddler for lunch at her daycare?

Made this for Immy’s lunch today. Hopefully she’ll eat them. #dadlife #bostondads #omeletterolls #parenting #newdads

A photo posted by Joey Mallari (@sartorialswagger) on

Bear shaped and heart shaped grilled cheese for Immy’s lunch. #dadslife #newdads #bostondads #parenting #daycarelunch

A video posted by Joey Mallari (@sartorialswagger) on