May Blog Post

May at Shine Pediatrics

There's a lot going on at Shine this Spring. We celebrated our 9th birthday on April 4th! Crazy to think that we started with just one exam room in a birthing center, and now we have offices in Richardson & Fort Worth. Not to mention we're busting at the seams in both locations! Lots of growth here at Shine from onboarding new employees to expanding our presence in Fort Worth (coming mid summer!).  
Keep reading for advice from Nutritionist Laura Kopec, gardening tips from Dr. Afroza, how to create good sleep hygiene, & more! 

Spring Gardening with Dr. Afroza

Shortly after completing her Pediatric Residency, Dr. Afroza’s eldest son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). After the diagnosis, she realized it was all on her, as a mom, to navigate his care: therapy, supplements, environmental toxins, alternative options, etc. This journey changed the way she wanted to practice medicine. So, when she met Dr. Naidoo back in 2014, she told him directly, “I don’t want to practice medicine traditionally anymore.” Little did she know she was in very good company at Shine. She’s also an avid gardener, so I sat down with her to talk about all things gardening! Dr. A has quite the green thumb.


Q: Let’s talk about gardening. What sparked your interest and love of it?

Dr. Afroza: Growing up in Bangladesh, we always had a kitchen garden and sourced our veggies from there. And, when my son was diagnosed with Autism, I realized we needed to clean up our diet and eat organically. When I thought about the cost of buying organic produce, I was like I’ll just make my own garden. So, I did! And, it’s thriving. 

Q: I love how resourceful you are. How do you maintain an organic garden while fighting off the bugs? 

Dr. Afroza: I make my own fertilizer with cow manure, composted scraps, epsom salt, and neem oil (a natural bug repellent!). 

Q: What does a typical harvest look like from your garden? Do you kids join in?

Dr. Afroza: Yes! My kids love to help with the harvest. Picking vegetables is so rewarding for them. They watch them grow from seedlings to bundles of spinach or massive squash. One year we had a cucumber that was 2 feet long! They also love to water the plants with me. It’s easy and fun for them to participate. A typical harvest includes: Malabar spinach, okra, cucumber, eggplant, peppers of all kinds, Kefir lime, swiss chard, and herbs! Hands down my favorite is okra. Pro tip: malabar spinach and okra are great for those struggling with constipation. 

Q: Do you have any tips for people who are struggling to find their green thumb or want to get started?  

Dr. Afroza: Start small and grow hearty veggies like okra, peppers, or eggplants. Or, figure what your family eats regularly & start there! We eat a lot of spinach in our house, so I grow Malabar and Water spinach. Plant Marigolds in your beds. They’ll keep some of those bothersome bugs away. I took a class at Texas Master Gardener in Collin County and highly recommend. 

Thank you for sitting down with me & taking the time to share about your passion. We appreciate you, Dr. A! Here’s a link to the organization where Dr. A took her class: For those of you who live in an apartment or don’t have space for a raised bed, NP Tiffany Hamilton recommends a Tower Garden: She loves hers!

NP Christine Callander's Top 3 Sleep Tips

#1 Pay attention to your child’s “wake cycles.”

Children, especially young children, have fairly well-defined 90-minute wake cycles. This sounds kind of crazy since children stay awake for more than 90-minutes at a time as they age, but they still ebb and flow through one or more 90-minute waves of wakefulness. Start timing your child’s wakeful periods, and you should see this pattern emerge. Start the timer when your child wakes up and, at about the 80-minute mark, you will likely see that your child is exhibiting signs of lower energy. For infants, this is the time to rock and soothe your child and assist them in calming down to facilitate sleep. Older children will push past this first low-energy period and typically won’t want/need a nap until they have been awake for 3 hours or 4.5 hours (notice the 90-minute cycles).

#2 Create or follow an “Eat, Play, Sleep” style schedule.

Create an eat-play-sleep schedule. There are many groups/experts that recommend this schedule outline as it facilitates an appropriate amount of playtime which for young children is their time to “work” and learn. Without appropriate playtime, a child’s ability to learn and develop is hindered. For families with numerous children, this can be difficult as they are frequently on the go but ensuring that some of the awake periods are designated playtimes is vital to achieving those much-awaited age-appropriate developmental milestones. Appropriate play will help facilitate quality sleep.

#3 Don’t feed to sleep

Finally, other than the first few weeks of life, don’t feed to sleep. When an infant is fed to sleep over and over and over again, they basically become conditioned or “programmed” to need to feed in order to fall asleep. Even in the middle of the night, feed your baby and then at least change a diaper, and then gently rock or soothe your infant to assist them in falling back to sleep, but do your best to avoid feeding to sleep.

We hope these tips help you and your child sleep longer and deeper and get the much-needed rest you both need and deserve.

– NP Christine Callander 


Conversation with Laura Kopec

Sometimes we don’t have all of the answers. And, when we don’t, Shine trusts our robust community and network of medical professionals to guide your family. Today, we want to introduce you to one of our most referred to Functional Nutritionists & Educators, Laura Kopec NDT, MHNE, MA, CNC.

I sat down with Laura to discuss all things food sensitivities, boundaries with your picky eater, and why someone might need her services. We tackled topics like over-supplementing, why gluten free isn’t always healthier, and the misconceptions surrounding kid-friendly food.

Before Shine started, Laura and Dr. Naidoo crossed professional paths while they practiced functional medicine with Dr. Bain in Frisco. Laura has been a friend to Shine over the years and our families have found healing and breakthrough at her practice, Laura Kopec Wellness.

Most Shine patients are referred to Laura when they need more time and help to build strategies to tackle food sensitivities & allergies, nutritional deficiencies, picky eating habits, and more. She also loves to work with breastfeeding mamas whose babies are struggling with colic, skin issues, projectile vomiting, etc. If you’re a breastfeeding mom who has eliminated certain foods from your diet, and you’re still not finding success, then Laura is here to guide you. She’ll aid nursing moms to deconstruct their diet and investigate gut issues such as methane overproduction and SIBO that could be causing their child discomfort or skin issues. Oftentimes there’s an underlying issue in Mom, and Laura will help to discover the root cause.

Laura’s search for the root cause overflows into her views of supplements. Ever wondered why your child is struggling to sleep even though you’re giving them a supplement for sleep? Some supplements are packed full of sugar, and if you give it to your child before bed…forget it! There’s a sugar high that will cause disrupted sleep. Laura emphasized the importance of reading labels and warned against over-supplementing. “Oftentimes parents think, ‘If I do 12 supplements, then I don’t need to address the issue’…Parents feel like they’re totally okay because it’s not medication, but you’re still trying to change some things within them. Oftentimes they’re undermining their own progress with supplements by not doing enough [elsewhere in their lifestyle].” If your child is a patient at Shine, then you know that’s where we stand. We avoid “bandaid-ing” with supplements, and only want you to be on what’s minimally necessary.

Now, let’s talk about our picky eaters. If you’re having trouble with a picky eater, Laura has no problem with creating boundaries and rules around food. You can read about strategies for overcoming your picky eater in her book, My Kid’s a Picky Eater. “We’re such a society of immediate gratification. Parents are mistakenly believing that their child has to like what they eat. And, if a child understands…that’s the decision-making boundary, then there actually is no personal responsibility, and there are no boundaries with food. So, the purpose of the book was to help parents think about nutrition the same way that they think about religion and politics. You have to come up with a value system surrounding nutrition so you can create strategies that help develop a fully functioning adult that understands how to have boundaries with the things that they put in their body.” Laura emphasized the importance of adopting a value system surrounding food with the intention that this will teach our children to value what they put into their bodies and empower them to say no to things that could cause harm in the future such as excessive alcohol, drugs, and bad eating habits.

Speaking of boundaries surrounding food…Have you ever been in your Shine appointment, and your provider suggests cutting out certain foods like gluten or dairy? You’re probably thinking to yourself, “How in the world am I going to get my 7 year old to stop eating gluten and dairy?” It’s overwhelming. And, you might gravitate towards the easy GF options, which, frankly, aren’t always healthier. Oftentimes gluten free alternatives are highly processed and packed full of sugar. This is where Laura can step in to create an easy plan for tackling dietary restrictions and empower your family to adopt the change. Laura has seen food sensitivities reversed in her practice which is the light at the end of the tunnel for many families tasked with implementing dietary restrictions.

If any of this sparks your interest or encourages you, visit Laura’s website to learn more & book an appointment!

EWG's Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 Produce Lists

For the last 18 years, Environmental Working Group (EWG) annually releases a shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce. Below are their two quick consumer reference lists about the most and least contaminated produce. Read more about their research and process for developing the lists here

Dirty Dozen (High levels of pesticides, so buy these Organic!)
  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard & mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell & hot Peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

Clean 15 (Lower levels of pesticides, you can buy Conventional!)

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn*
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya*
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet Potatoes

(*A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.) To learn more about the Environmental Working Group, visit their site

Supplement of the Month!

We’re featuring TerraShield this month. With Summer coming in hot, we can’t help but think of the pesky mosquito bites awaiting us. Before you spray your kids with mosquito repellent, read those labels! Oftentimes, Deet is an active ingredient, and we want to avoid it. That’s why we recommend TerraShield. It’s made from Citronella, Lemongrass, Thyme, Cedarwood, Geranium, and Peppermint essential oils in a base of Sesame Seed Oil. Stop by Shine Richardson and grab your TerraShield for all your camping trips, backyard hangs, and sports events. 

We have both the essential oil bottle & spray in stock. And, we’re offering 10% off while supplies last. Discount ends 5/31/22. 

- Your Shine Team