Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Paradise Greetings,

As 2010 comes to a close and everyone readies themselves for the celebrations of ringing in 2011, I want to wish each and every one of you the best for the New Year!

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the Growing Healthy Kids adventures in Indian River County, Florida and beyond. We have accomplished so much this year and the best is yet to come!

Be well, stay safe, and enjoy your loved ones. We'll connect again in 2011 and continue our adventure of Growing Healthy Kids, one child and one garden at a time!!

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Family TIme

Paradise Greetings from the Chilly North,

I am writing from my mother's home, where our family has gathered in celebration. We will be leaving soon for a day of walking in the forest between Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky. Last night while enjoying a family dinner of shrimp and steak fajitas, guacamole, and homemade salsa with the jalapenos and tomatoes I brought up from the garden in Vero Beach picked before this week's freeze, we cooked up our family outing for today.

The snow that fell on Christmas Eve melted a little bit yesterday while we took a walk at Mount St. Francis. At the end of our walk, my sister-in-law, Inger, spotted a bluebird, then two, then three and finally four. We all stopped in amazement as we admired their brilliant colors against the nakedness of the tree limbs and the white snow. Treasured moments!

When I awoke this morning, I felt the muscles I had exercised yesterday while enjoying an extended workout with my son, my brother and his family visiting from Denmark, and my 15 year old nephew from Bloomingon at the beautiful YMCA facility in New Albany, Indiana. While we have enjoyed indulging in cookies my mother baked in preparation for this family gathering, our family knows the importance of regular physical exercise, even at holiday times. Whether it is a family exercise morning at the Y or a walk in the forest, physical activity can be incorporated into family reunions and celebrations.

2010 has been an exciting year for Growing Healthy Kids. This is a contemplative week of transition for me and for our work to halt and reverse childhood obesity. Make regular physical activity a part of your family's resolutions for the New Year.

To your perfect health!

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Monday, December 20, 2010

School Lunches

Paradise Greetings,

A couple of days ago, MSNBC had a story about a woman who is eating a school lunch every day to make a point. A very good point. She is on a mission to raise awareness about what America is feeding its future leaders. Right away the story had my attention. Now I invite you to give her your attention. Presenting Mrs. Q, my new best friend.

From time to time, I invite my readers to have lunch at an elementary school. Every time I visit an elementary school at mealtime, I stop by the cafeteria to take a look at what the kids' choices are and then I am reminded why almost every day for the past 10 years I have made my son's lunch.

Our health is determined in large part by what we eat: "You are what you eat." "Let food be your medicine." If you eat more food (input) than you need (output), you will gain weight. If you eat more salt than your body can handle, you greatly increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, which can easily kill you if undetected and/or uncontrolled. You know where I'm going with this.

The more you know, the better choices you can make. Check out Mrs. Q's observations about what America's schools are feeding our most valuable resource: http://www.fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com/. Then call the school principal at your neighborhood school and make a lunch date. Be part of the solution.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health and lives of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Gratitude


Paradise Greetings,

Thanksgiving 2010 is coming to a beautiful close. While watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (wasn't Arlo Guthrie's performance of "This Land is Your Land" just great?!) the weather was warm enough to turn on the air conditioner. By yesterday a cold front moved through Vero Beach, bringing a light rain and grey clouds. Today there is a pleasant breeze blowing the living room curtains as I write. I had a great morning walk/run this morning and a great sunrise visit with one of my neighbors and his expanding bromeliad garden which I helped start several years ago. The dog is happy to be sitting looking out the window, having enjoyed some leftover cheese grits. My Sunday vegetable omelet was one of the best ever! I can't decide if it was because of Linda Hart's fresh eggs from her Crazy Hart Ranch or the sweet red pepper I harvested this morning from my back yard.

The Growing Healthy Kids movement, its programs, its supporters, and its volunteers, is all about making a difference in the lives - and health - of America's children. It is about having a voice that kids can hear. It is about having courage to stand up for the truth about what we need to do and say to prevent obesity-related diseases in children. It is about being grateful for the fact that so many people recognize the work involved in starting Growing Healthy Kids. It is gratitude for every person who has said to me, "Thank you for speaking clearly and teaching me what to do."

The health of America's children is being compromised by for-profit food and drug companies and by public agencies that should be protecting our health and preventing disease but sell out their integrity and your best interests.

Growing Healthy Kids is about getting the truth out into the open, about getting back to the basics of good food, regular physical fitness, and about restoring balance to kids' lives. Growing Healthy Kids is grateful for your support and we look forward to being able to speak with a louder voice.

I am grateful for this Thanksgiving with the chance to pause, reflect, and give thanks to everyone who is part of the Growing Healthy Kids' movement.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health and lives of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Go to www.GrowingHealthyKidsClub.com and join our conversation!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Magic in the Morning AKA "Hummus at Humiston"


Paradise Greetings,


Don't you just love those mornings when you know something special happened? Last weekend's educational program was magic in the morning.
A group of kids in need of mentors meet monthly with me and a team of volunteers for a unique event combining exercise and healthy eating. Many of the kids who come to these events are overweight and obese. These kids don't get high fiber foods at school so we are teaching them how to make high fiber snacks and meals at home.


Last Saturday was our second annual Growing Healthy Kids "Hummus at Humiston" Party, where I teach a group of kids (and adults) how to make hummus, a traditional middle-eastern dish which is really good for you and is extremely versatile. This "party" was held at Humiston Park in Vero Beach, on the ocean and across the street from the new Saturday Green Market. After a rigorous Zumba workout, thanks to Kim from The Jungle Club, the kids and their mentors bounded over to the market to go shopping for fresh veggies. They came back with treasures. One boy ate the starfruit he had picked. Mind you, he'd never had a starfruit before. He loved it!


The kids and volunteers (including the wonderful kids from the Indian River Charter and Vero Beach High Schools Kiwanis Key Clubs) chopped up veggies such as fresh-picked peppers from Osceola Organics while the 3 Growing Healthy Kids' chefs (see picture) helped me make artichoke-lemon hummus. We put the hummus in whole grain pitas and added the veggies just purchased from local farmers. What flavor!!! All the kids loved it!!! They now have the recipe they can make at home. They know how easy it is to make. The beauty of hummus as a healthy snack idea is you can put some into several small containers and freeze it for up to a month. The kids can take out one container a week to use as part of their after-school snacks!


Learning how to eat healthy is simple when you know what to do. Last weekend, a great group of kids learned several lessons about how to eat healthy. Hummus at Humiston, to me, is pure Magic in the Morning!


Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.


To your perfect health!

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids
PS -- if your organization would to host a Growing Healthy Kids Hummus at Humiston Party, let me know!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lessons from a Kids Cooking Class


Paradise Greetings,


Have you ever taught middle school boys how to read a food label? I did this week. In between teaching the boys how to make one of the recipes from my recipe collection (http://www.healthydiabetescoach.com/), I showed them how to choose foods to help them stay healthy, fit, and smart as we cooked together in their after-school program. My intention was to teach a lesson about dietary fiber because every boy in the class has a close family member with diabetes or prediabetes. The more they know, the better choices they can make now and for the rest of their lives. The more they know, the healthier they will be. The more they know, the better their chances are of not developing diabetes.

Growing Healthy Kids is more than a community healthy education project. It is more than a nonprofit organization focused on halting and reversing childhood obesity. Growing Healthy Kids is a movement to make sure kids and families have the tools for healthy eating and getting the daily physical activity that our bodies crave and need. We are shifting the energy so that eating healthy is the ONLY choice, not just the best choice. We are interrupting the impact that diabetes is having among certain families and communities to shake out the complacency that I hear too often: “There’s nothing I can do about it. I'm going to get diabetes just like my parents.”
Not so fast...Six African-American and Hispanic boys now know that foods that are higher in dietary fiber can help fill them up so they won't overeat. These six boys now know that choosing a bread with 4 or more grams of dietary fiber per slice will help control their mother or father’s blood sugar better than a bread with zero or one gram of dietary fiber per slice. Six boys who are not students anymore, they are the teachers.


Can you afford to eat healthy? Of course! Did you know there is no - zero - zilch - dietary fiber in a loaf of Walmart's generic white bread? When I hear parents say their kids can go through a loaf of bread in an afternoon, it's no wonder to me. You may spend a dollar more to get a loaf of bread with 5 grams of fiber per slice instead of a bread with zero dietary fiber per slice, but that loaf of bread will last you days instead of hours. Heck, what if it turns out it costs LESS to eat healthy??


This is American Diabetes Month (www.diabetes.org). Let’s prevent diabetes. It’s easy when you know what to do. Do you know what to do??


Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.


To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Growing Healthy Kids is about Preventing Diabetes


Paradise Greetings,


I'm writing from the chilly tropics. At least it's warmer than last weekend. On Saturday, I participated in The Great Visit Florida Beachwalk, where someone was on each of the 825 miles of Florida's beaches to take a picture. We each uploaded our pictures of our assigned beaches to http://www.sharealittlesunshine.org/. I was mile 593 (go on, check it out, that's me enjoying a very chilly sunrise on my favorite beach).


Whether you like to walk on the beach at sunrise, like I do, or you like to enjoy an evening walk in your neighborhood after dinner, walking is the perfect exercise. It is one of the easiest ways to prevent diabetes. Walking, or another other kind of physical exercise, helps you to lose weight and stay at a healthy weight. So get moving, be an example for the children in your life and have fun!!


Visit http://www.sharealittlesunshine.org/ and vote for Mile 593. If we win, the prize will be donated to Growing Healthy Kids! To take a diabetes risk test, go to http://www.diabetes.org/.


Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health and lives of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.


To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Garden Adventures: Two Boys and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Paradise Greetings,

Here's my report from one day's work in one of our teaching gardens this week. Keep in mind that all of the youth in this particular project have an immediate family member with diabetes.

We taught a group of middle school boys how to make sun-dried tomato hummus. As part of our Cooks in the Kitchen class, we teach kids how to read food labels. I tossed each boy a can of garbanzo beans and asked them to find some things on the label. The lesson was about about dietary fiber. One boy could not figure out what the serving size was (1/2 cup). He kept saying it was one and a half cups. One thing led to another and it was apparent that he does not yet have basic math skills. At the end of this lesson, the boys were clear about the following things:
  • what a serving size of cooked beans is
  • what half a cup looks like
  • beans have about 5-6 grams of dietary per serving
  • most people need 28 or more grams of fiber a day and
  • foods like hummus make a great snack

While making the sun-dried tomato hummus, then sampling it with whole wheat pita slices and celery sticks, another boy remarked to me, "Can I take home the recipe for this? I want to make it for my family. I think they will like it." I gave him the recipe and also gave him a container of the extra hummus plus a box of whole grain crackers. Can't wait to talk with him next week!

Several boys proudly said to the volunteers helping in the kitchen, "We've been watering our garden every day." It is apparent they are taking care of it now, because the seeds are growing, the cucumbers and squash plants are thriving, and it's starting to happen. It's starting. Yes. The seeds we've been planting are starting to grow.

Planting seeds is a very good thing. Some will take and some won't. Seeds need sunlight, water, and love to grow. Kids also need the right combination to grow and thrive.

Are your kids getting the nutrients they need to grow and to thrive? If not, go buy a package of seeds and plant them in a pot (the seeds, not your kids!).

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

PS - Stay tuned and I'll share the recipe with you for the sun-dried tomato hummus!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You're Invited to The Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store Grand Opening Tomorrow in Vero Beach




Paradise Greetings,

If we are going to halt and reverse childhood obesity, we have work to do. This country has huge educational unmet needs for clear and concise information about the "why" getting to a healthier weight is a big deal for kids - and families - who are not at healthy weight and the "how" to do it in simple steps. Growing Healthy Kids is creating real solutions to meet these needs, especially for families that say they can't afford to eat healthy.

So, we are ramping up our work. We have taken a leap of faith to raise money for our various educational projects. We have opened our first "store within a store". Tomorrow is the Grand Opening of The Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store - educational products, gifts, and more.

The Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store has just opened in partnership with the beautiful Born Again Consignments store in its new location at 3400 43rd Avenue, Suites 7 and 8, Vero Beach, Florida (about a mile north of SR 60, at the west end of the Vero Beach Airport). The Grand Opening is 4-7 PM tomorrow, Thursday, October 28.

The store hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 AM-5 PM. The Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store is accepting tax-deductible donations of new and gently used furniture, garden and wall art. Mondays and Thursday are our preferred drop-off days.

A special thank you to Kim George of http://www.irculture.com/ for your sponsorship and support of our new variety store!!

I look forward to meeting you. Please stop by tomorrow if you're in the neighborhood!

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids
PS - check out the beautiful glass by Etched Heart artist Kryse Manson!! She and I are "toasting" with a pair of her beautiful champagne flutes.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fighting Childhood Obesity-It's Planting Time in the Tropics


Paradise Greetings,


The gardens are getting planted! Little greens are popping through the earth! We've got some great garden projects going all over the county!


Lettuce, squash, cukes, swiss chard, tomatoes, basil, and more!


HOLD IT!!! We have a question for the gardeners of the world who are reading this right now. What is your success-based tip for keeping zucchini plants bug-free in the Florida climate? PLEASE SEND TIPS QUICKLY! Help keep the bugs at bay! Help protect our zucchinis!!

On a serious note, this morning I visited with Bonnie Swanson, principal at Vero Beach Elementary School (http://www.indianriverschools.org/). Mrs. Swanson gave me a tour of the new gardens the children are preparing and planting in preparation for their new green school to be built on the same school property. Rain barrels were installed yesterday in the biggest garden. Vero Beach Elementary is one of the schools that lost its "Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program" last year. In the midst of one of our nation's greatest failures, the obesity in children, this school's nutrition program took a major step backwards when it lost this program. Why is it that we are taking away children's access to fresh fruits and vegetables when what we need to do is to INCREASE ACCESS TO FRESH FRUITS AND VEGGIES???
Growing Healthy Kids is working to prevent type 2 diabetes (http://www.healthydiabetescoach.com/) and other obesity-related diseases in children. The school nutrition program plays a very important role in providing nutritious choices. Yet it is not working. This particular school has 88% of the kids eligible for the free and reduced meal program as a result of what Mrs. Swanson calls "situational poverty" as families struggle in a community with no job creation.
What I saw this morning at the school's cafeteria breakfast line was far from nutritious and not what kids need to be fit, smart, and ready to learn. There is much work to be done to improve the nutritional quality of the school food programs in America. That's why we're having a party at the school next Monday - stay tuned!!

Remember, send in your tips for keeping our zucchini plants bug-free!

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's kids, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Death by Pop Tarts

Paradise Greetings,

When I arrived to teach the "Making Healthy Snacks" class today, I noticed the board in the kitchen had the official after-school snack menu supplied by the school district: "pop tarts and chocolate milk". As I set up the blenders to make my famous Fabulous Florida Fruit Shakes I spied industrial packages of pop tarts at the end of the counter.

The kids tapped to participate in our class due to their good behavior also spied the Pop Tarts on the counter and their little hands and arms started indiscriminately grabbing for them.

We snatched the Pop Tarts from the counter and put them up out of sight of the children, all of whom had previously indicated they had a mother, father, brother or sister on medication for high blood pressure and/or diabetes.

The "Making Health Snacks" class began. One child was asked to read the recipe. Another was asked to measure out the ingredients. The children had no idea how to tell a "teaspoon" from a "tablespoon" so it was clear that basic literacy was a problem. Once we got past the literacy issue and engaged the kids in a discussion about the frozen blueberries, peaches, and mangos and the benefits of ground flax seed and fat-free Greek yogurt, the blenders started whirring happily as more and more kids came around to see what was happening in the kitchen and what the excitement was all about.

After the first chef spoon held by the girl wearing the Growing Healthy Kids apron (with superpowers) elicited a "Wow, this is great!" reaction, sample cups of our Fabulous Florida Fruit Shakes were passed around to the 40 or so kids and staff in attendance. As parents came in to pick up their little ones, the kids eagerly asked for samples to share with them and we were happy to oblige.

Not once did we hear kids asking for a pop tart for their mom. Funny thing...when you give kids a choice, they always choose health!

Thinking about what happened today, I know that if our school district provided kids with the same options that Growing Healthy Kids is teaching kids, then the job of reversing childhood obesity in Indian River County and the rest of the nation would be soooooo much easier. Pop tarts and chocolate milk or Fabulous Florida Fruit Shakes. Which do you want YOUR kids to have?

Next time you go to the store, pick up a box of Pop Tarts, count the number of ingredients, then read the list out loud. If you want the recipe for Fabulous Florida Fruit Shakes, post a comment.
Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's kids, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

PS--Thanks to The Community Church of Vero Beach and Vero-Treasure Coast Kiwanis Club for supporting this project!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Preventing Diabetes with Local Vegetable Gardens


Paradise Greetings,

Is it any wonder we have 11 and 12 year olds children being diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea? For a long time I have been writing about the fact that obesity leads to diabetes and diabetes may in fact lead to Alzheimer's disease. I also write about the urgent need to prevent the wave of diabetes that is coming among American children if we don't figure out pronto how to change the numbers: the 1 in 3 kids who are overweight or obese.


Through the hands-on garden-based education programs of Growing Healthy Kids and its focus on solutions to the childhood obesity crisis in America, we are teaching kids and adults how to eat smarter and move more.

Look around. Children in elementary school get a half-hour of physical education a week. They are allowed to go days without eating a fresh apple, orange, or tomato. Indian River County, Florida schools just lost its Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program. What's wrong with this picture – shouldn’t fresh fruits and vegetables be the centerpiece of our school lunch program instead of an afterthought???

Look what our children are being fed. Walk into any public school where kids are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program and see for yourself. I see highly processed foods. I see hormone-infested meat, chicken, and milk kids because “it’s complete nutrition according to the USDA.” Poverty and obesity go together. School food service managers will tell you, “The kids are getting complete nutrition, we’re following all the guidelines of the USDA.” I wonder if all the good people who work for USDA eat what they make our kids eat? We need new rules! Please visit http://www.usda.gov.

Mark Hyman, MD, has just written a great column called “The Link between Poverty, Obesity, and Diabetes” (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/not-having-enough-food-ca_b_721344.html). Give it a read.

Everyone, including First Lady Michelle Obama, is talking these days about "improving access to healthy foods." Healthy foods will soon be available at the large garden I’m planting this week with a group of children. These kids are living proof of the connection between poverty, obesity, and diabetes. Most of them have a close family member with diabetes. I’m working to teach them the connection between access to real food and health. So they won't develop diabetes.

America could use a national day of prayer on the truth about the connection between food and health vs food and disease. They say you are what you eat. What are you eating---health or disease? Are you preventing diabetes by eating lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains? Or are you feeding an undiagnosed cancer with daily doses of Arizona Sweet Tea, McNuggests, and Coca-Cola aka sugar, fat, and salt?

It's Sunday. Time to get moving and practice what I preach. Has anyone seen my garden gloves??

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

3 Tips to Prevent Diabetes in Kids

Paradise Greetings,

Since kids don't come with an owners' manual, there are some things you have to take into your own hands. Take snacks, for example. Getting healthy or semi-healthy snacks into your house to replace the really unhealthy snacks should be part of your strategy. Kids are kids and some parents are stricter than others.

Here are 3 tips to prevent diabetes in kids (and getting to a healthier weight for adults):
1. On your next trip to the grocery store without children, plan 10 extra minutes to check the food labels of foods that come in a box. Scan the list of ingredients for these 2 words: "partially hydrogenated". PUT THAT BOX BACK ON THE SHELF. Now look for a similar product and buy one without partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats).
2. On your next trip to the grocery store with children, plan 5 extra minutes to show your kids what to look for on the food label. Send them down the aisle to research and find a cracker or cookie without trans fats.
3. Take a look at the loaf of bread you have at home right now. How many grams of fiber per slice? 1? 3? 6? less than 1? 4? If it is less than 4 grams of dietary fiber per slice, then buy a different bread next time with 4 or more grams of dietary fiber per slice. This is known as "The Nancy Rule".

Let me know which tip YOU like the best for Growing Healthy Kids (one child and one garden at a time). For tips about preventing diabetes in adults, please go to http://www.healthydiabetescoach.com/.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich,
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Kiwanis Club helps Growing Healthy Kids

Paradise Greetings,

Yesterday, Growing Healthy Kids started building a very large garden at an afterschool program in northern Indian River County, Florida. What is special about this garden is the population of kids served is very high risk for type 2 diabetes. As you know, preventing diabetes in kids is central to the mission and work of Growing Healthy Kids.

Another reason this garden is special is because it is being built with the support of the Vero-Treasure Coast Kiwanis Club. Kiwanis Club is all about service to children, which is why this is, as the saying goes, "a match made in heaven". If you are a Kiwanian and want to implement the Growing Healthy Kids garden-based education project where you live to help halt and reverse childhood obesity, please contact me. Together, we can serve children.

Thank you, Vero-Treasure Coast Kiwanis Club, for supporting Growing Healthy Kids in its mission to improve the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Friday, September 10, 2010

3 Tips for Parents

Paradise Greetings,

It's been a busy week planning several new gardens throughout Indian River County. My back yard planting and potting table is covered with pots of seeds sprouting seeds, ready to go in the ground soon. The next couple of weeks will be nonstop working in the gardens with the kids!

This is in stark contrast to another report just released that shows most Americans are eating a lot less vegetables and fruits than needed.

Here are 3 tips for parents:
1. Give your kids a choice of what I call a fruit appetizer: "Would you like a banana or a plum?" Works every time. Another great question to ask kids when you're planning a grocery trip is this, "What 3 fruits would you like to have this week?"
2. If you have picky eaters (isn't that most kids??), then finely shred carrots, zucchini, and squash to sneak into spaghetti sauce, pancakes, and muffins. We need to eat more veggies than fruits is the general rule.
3. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep contributes to obesity.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Recovery is Now Tour


Paradise Greetings,

When someone asks you how you are, what do you answer? "OK"? "Not bad"? "Could be better?"

I'd like you to meet someone who was so injured in a bad mountain bike accident that he died and had to be revived. I'd like you to meet a friend of mine who is showing people how to live. I'd like you to meet the man who taught me how to answer the question, "How are you?" His name is Jerry Christensen.

If you know someone who has had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), please tell them about Jerry and what he is doing. Jerry started a nonprofit organization called Brain Shift Foundation after developing a process called The Recovery Method. Jerry is now biking across America to show people how to live on purpose, with purpose, especially people with TBIs and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. His story is remarkable and inspiring. He is changing lives. Maybe he will change yours!

Last summer Jerry was here in Vero Beach and he stopped by the Sebastian Boys and Girls Club with me before we planted the first teaching gardens there last fall. You can see by looking at his hat why Jerry is known as "The Brain Guy"!

Next time you see me and ask me, "How are you?", guess what my answer will be? "I'm perfect!"

Here's the link to Jerry's site and his The Recovery is Now bike tour across America (coming soon to a city and state near you):
http://www.2010rint.org/

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids



PS - Thank you to Donna Anselmo, author of the brand new book, Marketing Demystified, for your brilliant ideas tonight to launch the next Growing Healthy Kids project!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Morning Lesson: "Practice What I Preach"



Paradise Greetings,

It's raining now (I live in the tropics). A couple of hours ago, however, was the perfect time for my Sunday Morning Practice What I Preach Lesson: my early morning walk/run!

Even though the air was so thick with humidity you could slice it with a butter knife, I laced up my walking shoes, put on my UAB alumni t-shirt, stretched for a few minutes and took off for my morning exercise.

When I am working with a group of parents who are overweight or who have children at unhealthy weights, I always talk about setting goals. Do you have an exercise goal of your own?? The general rule of thumb for the minimum amount of daily exercise we need is this: 30 minutes most if not every day for adults and 60 minutes or more every day for kids.

To get to a healthier weight, use my proven strategy: "Eat Smarter and Move More". If your goal is to lose 5 pounds over the next 4 weeks, then use the "Move More" component and increase your exercise time. If you usually walk 25-30 minutes 3 days a week, then start walking 30-35 minutes 4 days a week in the next week. That's what I did this morning on my Sunday Morning Practice What I Preach walk. And you know what? I feel great! Adding 5 minutes was painless. The additional 5 minutes of sweating felt great! My heart is happy and yours will be, too, when you set a fitness goal and JUST DO IT! Be a positive role model in the life of a child --teach them my Sunday Morning Practice What I Preach lesson.

My Sunday morning lesson to you ends with this reminder...The epidemic of childhood obesity in America requires that we each act deliberately to be part of the solution.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.



To your perfect health.


Nancy Heinrich


Founder, Growing Healthy Kids


PS - This is one of my favorite family vacation photos when the younger cousins walked their way through, up, down, and around Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

We Need a Tractor!

Paradise Greetings,

If you are reading this and you live near Indian River County, Florida and you own a tractor you are no longer using, call me! Parcels of land are being donated to Growing Healthy Kids for us to use to grow food and give it away through our childhood obesity work. We now need a tractor to be able to get the land ready to plant in the next 2 months.

We have volunteers, we have land, we have plants and seeds, and we are preparing for the upcoming planting season. We need a tractor!

My cell number is 772 453 3413.

Growing Healthy Kids is improving the health - and lives - of America's kids, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Are All Sugars the Same?

Paradise Greetings,

Last week on the Regis and Kelly show, Anderson Cooper filled in for Regis. He and Kelly were talking about his recent decision to cut out sugar. Kelly asked him what he eats for breakfast and he proudly said he eats Special K cereal.

The fact is that Special K contains high fructose corn syrup, the highly processed sugar. When I mentioned this during a guest appearance on WPSL, the show's producer said it might well have been a product placement subliminally advertising Special K.

Call me naive. What about the truth? The truth is that high fructose corn syrup is one of the fuels for America's obesity epidemic. High fructose corn syrup is not the same as fructose, the sugar in plain ole fruit.

High fructose corn syrup may contribute to cancers (see my article at http://www.healthydiabetescoach.com/). It contributes to weight gain. It is often stored around your waist. It is one of the hidden ingredients fueling America's childhood obesity crisis.

ALL SUGARS ARE NOT THE SAME. High fructose corn syrup, an ingredient found in Special K cereal, should be eliminated from what we eat. Let's get it right and tell the truth about what is really in Special K. Anderson, I have a simple question: were you advertising a product or just uninformed?

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's kids, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health!

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Summer Saturday Night

Paradise Greetings,

It rained this afternoon. A lot. My parched yard is looking happier now.

It's a wonderful slow, hot, steamy Saturday night in Vero Beach, where the tropics begin. The cardinals are flying in and out of the back yard.

I'm taking the rest of the evening off to simply enjoy a summer Saturday night!

To your perfect health!

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Healthy Snack Attack a Hit at Back to School Bash

Paradise Greetings,

Yesterday morning the Back to School Bash at the Sheriff's Office was a blast. Over 800 backpacks, including school supplies, were given out to kids. In record time! After I had the Growing Healthy Kids Healthy Snack station set up and ready for action, I walked across the street to where kids, parents, and grandparents were congregating under the shady oak trees. I introduced myself to a couple of families and invited the kids to come by and learn how to make healthy snacks. I saw a number of kids who saw me first and remembered me from the monthly events I've done the past year for kids served by Youth Guidance waiting to be paired with mentors.

Several boys tugged at my heart when I saw them, gave them a hug, and asked if they had been paired up with a mentor since the last time I'd seen them. Both boys hung their heads down and each had the same reaction as they quietly said, "No."

People say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe that. When you meet some of these kids who have a tough go of it at home, in their life's circumstances to date through no fault of their own, you want to connect them with what they need so they wake up with a smile every day.

This is why I approached Youth Guidance last year and suggested that we partner to create monthly events where the kids learn something fun and adults get to meet some of the kids looking for mentors willing to commit an hour or two a week in the life of a child. I'm sharing this with you ("the world") because I am now planning 2010-2011's programs. Some of you reading this will commit to be a mentor or find the person you know who is waiting for you to ask them to be a mentor.

It IS all about the kids. Some kids need more help than others. Like the boys I saw again yesterday. They need good, strong role models. We need a couple of good men to step forward. Are YOU the one the boys are waiting for?

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's kids, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Growing Healthy Kids' Recipe for Success


Paradise Greetings,


Is it hot where you are? It's hot where I am, but last week it was hotter where I was: 115 degrees with 15% humidity.
Tomorrow, I get to teach 800 kids the Recipe for Success. Success SNACKS, that is. Growing Healthy Kids was invited by my friend, Officer Roberta with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, to participate in the Back to School Bash. I can't wait!! We will be showing kids and their parents about simple ways to change what kids are eating so they get more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff. We will be giving out our Success Snack recipe (with samples!) from the Growing Healthy Kids Recipe Collection and teaching the Growing Healthy Kids pledge to make healthy eating and regular physical activity not just the best choice but the ONLY CHOICE!

Right now, go get your sunscreen, a water bottle and your smile, set your alarm, and join me at the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, 4055 41st Street in Vero Beach. The Back to School Bash begins at 9:45 AM. See you there!!

Here's your tip: Drink a glass of water about a half hour before you eat a meal. The water will help fill you up so you don't overeat.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids
PS-Thanks to Kiwanis Club for introducing me to Officer Roberta!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Health Information for Kids and Teens

Paradise Greetings,
"Diabetes Self-Management" magazine just arrived in my mail and one of the columns I like to read first is called "Diabetes Resources". The July/August 2010 issue is about resources for kids. The good part is that there are lots of resources. The bad part is that there are too many resources targeting KIDS WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES.

What is wrong with this is that type 2 diabetes has always been a disease of older adults. With America's obsession of live to eat instead of eat to live, and restaurants, food companies, and drug companies using this to their advantage, type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed in children at alarming rates. We must act deliberately together.

Getting to and staying at a healthy weight through access to healthier foods and accountability for getting regular physical activity is key to preventing diabetes. This is why I started the Growing Healthy Kids organization last year. To halt and reverse childhood obesity. To prevent type 2 diabetes. To prevent cancer. To prevent bone and joint problems related to excess weight. To educate parents and other adults who surround children. To motivate schools to be part of our Salad Party Revolution. To make a difference.

Here is today's tip in how you can make a difference: Begin reading food labels and stop buying foods that contain HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.

Please contact me at www.HealthyDiabetesCoach.com if you or your business wants to make a difference by sponsoring a Salad Party at one of our elementary schools (or heck, how about the entire school district). Together, we can make a difference! And remember, just say no to high fructose corn syrup!

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't Get the Sugar Blues

Paradise Greetings.

Most Americans are simply eating too much sugar. Sugar is one of the culprits in our national obesity crisis.

If you are ready make one change, start by reading food labels to look for sugar. The problem is there are many names for sugar. When a doctor tells a patient newly diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes to cut down on sugar, people take that advice litereally and cut back on foods that contain the granulated white stuff known as sugar.

Here's a few other names for sugar to "Be on the lookout" for:
High fructose corn syrup
Maltose
Fructose (the sugar in fruit)
Fruit juice concentrates
Lactose (the sugar you find in milk)
Brown Sugar
Honey

Read of label of your children's favorite breakfast cereal and see how many different sugars there are. Then look at the label of Cheerios (not Honey Nut Cheerios) or Shredded Wheat (not Frosted Shredded Wheat).

Come on, America. It's time to learn how to eat healthier. And smarter.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fitness Fiesta and Summer Salsa

Paradise Greetings,

This evening we're having a party in downtown Vero Beach and YOU are invited! Growing Healthy Kids is having its 1st annual Fitness Fiesta and Summer Salsa event from 4-7 PM today at Eco-Colour Design Studio, located at 1865 14th Avenue (just renamed "Main Street"). Learn to make Summer Salsa and how to make simple changes to improve the value of what your kids are eating.

We will be unveiling the new emblem for Growing Healthy Kids' sponsors, designed by the staff at Eco-Colour Design Studio.

Let's make healthy eating the right choice for children and families! Kids, bring your parents, and let's teach them together!

See you at the Fitness Fiesta and Summer Salsa party later today!

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sugar, Fat, and Salt

Paradise greetings,

I am writing today from my mother's home in the Louisville area. We played in the Bardstown Road area yesterday (no, I didn't get to Lynn's Paradise Cafe). The weather is about as tropical as south Florida's weather only here you have the Ohio River valley effect, where the exhaust from combustion engines becomes trapped by sunlight, forcing those with respiratory illnesses to stay inside. Yuck. I don't have any respiratory illnesses but I don't want to be breathing in all that stuff either.

We stopped by the Floyd County, Indiana library so I could give them an autographed copy of my book, Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time (http://www.ourlittlebooks.com/). While there, I checked out The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler, MD. I have always admired Dr. Kessler, a pediatrician and former head of the FDA, and now I have one more reason to do so. In his book, published last year, he talks about the sugar, fat, and salt triad which the food industry uses to get us addicted to foods so we consume more calories than we need and they make more money than they need. Chapter 3 of The End of Overeating is titled "Sugar, Fat, and Salt Make Us Eat More Sugar, Fat, and Salt." This is exactly what I talk about with parents and employers who are feeding these (often hidden) ingredients to their families and their employees every day.

In Chapter 4, Dr. Kessler writes:
"Higher sugar, sat, and salt make you want to eat more," a high level food industry executive told me. I had alrady read this in the scientific literature and heard it in conversations with neuroscientists and psychologists. Now an insider was saying the same thing. My source was a leading food consultant, a Henry Ford of mass-produced food who had agreed to part the curtain for me, at least a bit, to reveal how his industry operates. To protect his business, he did not want to be identified. But he was remarkably candid, explaining that the food industry creates dishes to hit what he called the "three points of the compass." Sugar, fat, and salt make a food compelling, said the consultant. They make it indulgent. They make it high in hedonic value, which gives us pleasure.
"Do you design food specifically to be highly hedonic?" I asked.
"Oh, absolutely," he replied without a moment's hesitation. "We try to bring as much of that into the equation as possible."

Thank you, Dr. Kessler, for your courage to identify the root causes of America's obsession with overeating. If you are a parent and your family eats in restaurants regularly, such as Chilis or McDonald's, read Dr. Kessler's book. Before your next visit to a national chain restaurant, go to their website and look up the nutritional content (if they dare to let you see it) of what you and your kids usually eat there. Just remember that higher sugar, salt, and fat makes you want to eat more sugar, salt, and fat. We owe it to our children and to all of America's children to make informed choices about what we eat. Today, read a food label and choose to eat less sugar. And less salt. And less fat. Help reduce and halt childhood obesity.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Seventy Awesome Kids in 2 Days Help Teach the World




Paradise Greetings,

Tonight's Chicks with Checks Party for Dr. Pierone's Haiti medical work had to proceed without Growing Healthy Kids being represented. I'm exhausted and need to recharge my batteries.

Here's the story of 70 awesome kids...This morning I did a summer camp program for 30 children ages 5-17 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Fellsmere, Florida. The kids learned to make "F3 shakes" (Fabulous Fellsmere Fruit Shakes) and whole grain grilled pepper quesadillas. We had a snack station and all the kids made their own Smart Snack mix and had a healthy snack to take home, where they are often left by themselves because their parents are working in the citrus fields. We went out into today's blazing heat (it felt like 200 degrees, for real) and ran laps around the Catholic church's parking lot. We jumped rope together (100 was the record!!). We laughed together. We cooked together. We learned together. What a wonderful morning!

Last night the wonderful Anne Devanney from Community Church, our wonderful Growing Healthy Kids volunteers, and I made dinner for the children plus a dozen house parents at Hibiscus Children's Center to celebrate the completion of 8 weeks of the Growing Healthy Kids' healthy eating classes. The rave reviews for Anne's grilled veggie whole grain paninis matched the reviews of the children's garden pesto mixed with whole grain pasta and sundried tomatoes. The children's garden basil is at its flavor peak and dozens of people got to taste it (and yes, the recipe will be in our first Growing Healthy Kids' book). Anne taught the kids how to dry basil so they can learn the process of how to cycle and recycle food without waste.

An amazing two days touching the lives of 70 amazing kids. More successes will be coming from all the seeds that were planted last night and this morning. What we need is coming. What we need to transform the health - and lives - of children is coming.

We are creating food security with partners like the Treasure Coast-Vero Beach Kiwanis Club and the Community Church who are now seeing for themselves the urgency for solutions to the crisis unfolding before our eyes. Children who are overweight pile into the emergency rooms of America's hospitals with adult conditions never before seen in kids.

Let me know what you will bring to the table for Growing Healthy Kids.
Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New WINTER BEACH CARROT CAKE recipe honors Joel Bray







Paradise Greetings,

Yesterday was the first birthday party that Growing Healthy Kids conducted with Youth Guidance Mentoring & Activities Program. Youth Guidance throws a birthday party every 3 months for the kids they serve who have had a birthday during that quarter. It was also the first (mostly indoor) program I've done since our monthly programs began in September 2009. To make the day special, I created a gluten-free mini-carrot cake recipe using some very special carrots. Here's the carrot story...

The carrots were grown by Joel Bray, a man on a mission to create food security in Indian River County, Florida. Joel farms 2-1/2 acres of land by himself and gives away the food. I first heard about Joel last year from my friend, Angi, who is on the Growing Healthy Kids board of directors. Angi talked with Joel and he donated the dirt used in the very first teaching gardens built at the Boys and Girls Club. About 2 months ago I helped prepare food from Joel's garden for a lunch at his place so we could show a handful of community leaders what one man is doing to grow food and feed people. That day, Joel told us, "Find me land and I will clear it and grow food to give away. I will teach others how to grow food." This week, someone donated 10 acres to Joel and he has already begun clearing it. Last week I had a dinner for more community leaders so we can get more land into food production. On Wednesday I received the news that we have received a small grant for a large teaching garden at the Dasie Hope Center in Wabasso. Joel will be helping us there so we can feed many and teach many. This week we eliminated the barrier for moving forward with a one acre garden at the elementary school (where we launched the Salad Party Revolution) with the county's second highest rate of kids receiving free and reduced lunches (87.73% of all the school's kids) through the generosity of one man who is now part of our vision to grow food security. That is how we will be able to get kids out of the McDonald's cycle of obesity.

Joel is amazing. This one man is growing all this food and giving it away. While so many people are focused on "food insecurities", this man is creating food security. Be the change you want to see. We will grow healthy foods so people can eat healthy foods. Carrots grown by Joel Bray in Winter Beach, a small community between Vero Beach and Sebastian, were the inspiration for the recipe I created to honor children who had a birthday. Joel's carrots - and all the other veggies he grows so well - are Growing Healthy Kids - and families. Thank you, Joel.

A copy of the "WINTER BEACH CARROT CAKE" recipe will be included with each Growing Healthy Kids chef apron (includes superpowers). Go to www.HealthyDiabetesCoach.com/kids before July 31.
Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health,

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids






Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bridal Boot Camp Premier Helps Growing Healthy Kids



Paradise Greetings,

What a great, fun evening! Last night was the debut of the VH1 reality series, Bridal Boot Camp starring Vero Beach's own Steve Pfiester! Party and gala to recognize his great work in the show and to hear some of the inside scoop about the making of the series. Party at Coste d'Este, Gloria Estefan's glorious beach hotel, then off to the beautiful Majestic Theater to watch the premiere on the big screen.

Transforming overweight and obese women who are about to marry to healthier weights. Such an important message, not just for a reality TV show, but for all girls and women because of what we know about obese women developing gestational diabetes and having larger than normal babies at higher risk for birth defects. Educating girls and women about the importance of getting to healthier weights - and staying there - so that if and when they decide to have children, those children will enter this world healthy, not sick.

The best part, for me, was the surprise that the proceeds from the event will benefit Growing Healthy Kids so we can continue to educate children and the adults who surround them about how to eat healthier and moving more with our garden-based education programs. Thank you, Steve (and Bonnie) Pfiester of Longevity Fitness Club (www.longevityclubs.com) for recognizing the work of Growing Healthy Kids to improve the health - and lives - of children, one garden and one child at a time. Let's "give the boot" to childhood obesity!!

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Annual Growing Healthy Kids Recipe Contest




Paradise Greetings,

What is YOUR favorite vegetable?? In honor of vegetables and the #1 favorite kid food, macaroni and cheese, Growing Healthy Kids is having its first annual Recipe Contest. In partnership with Annie's Homegrown Foods, kids in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County and all kids in Indian River County have been invited to create a recipe using Annie's mac and cheese and at least one vegetable. Creativity is highly encouraged because to enjoy great food requires creativity. We are showing kids how to find the flavors they enjoy and then get them hooked on health! Two recipe contest winners will be selected - one boy and one girl. Both winners will one of the highly prized Growing Healthy Kids chef aprons (because they contain magical powers) plus movie passes and more.

Did I tell you that there is so much excitement with this project that kids actually have been storming the door when they see my car pull up into the parking lot? They are having so much fun and are just so excited about our weekly Growing Healthy Kids program. Why can't schools do the same thing instead of saying, "We're meeting the USDA standards". Blah, blah, blah.

Let's take kids' infectious energy and create transformational change so BIG that everyone will be storming down the doors to learn how to make delicious foods that make you strong, smart, and healthy. What a great visual image -- can you see it?? Kids all over America running to be early to their healthy cooking classes! YES, YES! The pictures I am sharing today are from two of my recent programs, one in Vero Beach where the kids were invited to help one of our local farmers sell vegetables to his regular customers and the other in Sebastian at the Boys and Girls Club.

Who do you know who could use magical powers for Growing Healthy Kids? Get them their own hooked-on-healthy Chef Apron (and support our work to halt and reverse childhood obesity). Go to www.HealthyDiabetesCoach.com/kids to put the magic into YOUR kids' kitchen!

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Salad Party Revolution Begins at Vero Beach Elementary School!




Paradise Greetings,

Last Wednesday was a great day. It was the day of the First Giant Salad Party for the hundred 3rd grade students at Vero Beach Elementary School. It was a beautiful thing seeing 100 kids eating their vegetables and begging for seconds!! Featuring locally grown vegetables from Kevin O'Dare (Osceola Organics) and Joel Bray (who farms 2 acres of land and gives away the vegetables to those in need), Dr. Ken, from Jupiter, FL., talked with the kids about making healthy food choices. He selected 3 kids to be the chefs of the day. After donning chefs hats and Growing Healthy Kids chef aprons, the trio learned how to make a sharp vinaigrette dressing for their Salad Party. All the kids took home the recipe!

Salad Party Sharp Vinaigrette:
Mix together in a bowl:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2-3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
Beat in gradually with a whisk or fork:
1/2 cup extra virgin oil oil
You can also whip all the ingredients in a blender at high speed for several minutes.

Here's what you need to know: We need fats -- the GOOD fats (called "unsaturated"), like olive oil. Other good fats are fish (especially wild salmon), avocados, nuts (especially walnuts), olives, and flax seeds. Most of our fat calories should be from these foods. If getting to a healthier weight is on your "to do" list, then cut back on the fat calories you are eating. Use less butter. Use less ranch dressing, use more vinaegrette dressings ("Just Say No to Ranch Dressing" -- can you see it on a bumper sticker??). Switch from 2% milk to 1% milk. Or switch from 1% milk to almond milk. Use less cheese. Eat less meat and eat more fish. You can get frozen wild salmon filets at Walmart now.

Thank you to Andrea Tabor and Erin Mullen from EAT, the Happy, Healthy Lunch Box, for partnering with me for this event. Thank you to Dr. Ken. It was loads of fun! Thank you to our volunteers, Cindy McCall and Barbara Petrillo, the teachers, the principal, Mrs. Swanson, and most of all the KIDS!!! You're all awesome!

What you can do: call your local elementary school and find out how many kids are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. At Vero Beach Elementary, 87.73% of the kids are on the program (the second highest rate in Indian River County), with a whopping 80% on the FREE LUNCH PROGRAM. Families are hurting with job losses and feeding our children healthy foods is our priority. Call your school and tell them you want Growing Healthy Kids to hold a Giant Salad Party. Call your elected officials and tell them we need better food choices for the school lunch programs for kids on free and reduced meals. For some of these kids, this is all they eat in a day.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Growing Healthy Kids chef apron has superpowers!




Paradise greetings,

Kids learn from adults, but how are they supposed to learn to eat healthy foods when we're lining up at McDonalds for our empty calories with added fat, sugar, and salt?

Learn how to choose healthy foods, cook healthy foods, and eat healthy foods. We make it simple, as simple as drinking a glass of water. As soon as you put on the new Growing Healthy Kids chef apron, you will be receive superpowers for Growing Healthy Kids. Be amazing, be powerful, be healthy. Be part of our commitment to halt and reverse childhood obesity.

Because our children's health and lives depend on it.

Chef apron now available at www.HealthyDiabetesCoach.com/kids. Includes recipe for Growing Healthy Kids.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Peanut Butter: Added Fat Equals Extra Pounds




Paradise Greetings,

Busy week. The White House released its report on Childhood Obesity. Check it out and decide where you can make a difference: http://www.letsmove.gov/taskforce_childhoodobesityrpt.html. There will be a pop quiz next blog - with prizes - so pay attention!! We're talking about our children's health and lives here...

How much do YOU love peanut butter? I love peanut butter. Always have, always will. Nut butters in general are great. I love almond butter and cashew butter. The only ingredient in the best ones is the nut. Nuts contain the "good" fat called unsaturated fats. We need fats. Fats, protein, and carbohydrates keep us going. If you eat too much fat, even the good fats, you will gain weight.

Fat contains 9 calories a gram, vs 4 calories a gram for protein and carbs. For the big kids reading this, alcohol contains 7 calories a gram. So, when your goal is to get to a healthier weight (America, are you listening???), cutting back on the fat calories is the first step.

This week one of the Growing Healthy Kids classes I did in conjunction with the Treasure Coast-Vero Beach Kiwanis Club was a lesson on making healthy snacks for teenagers. I brought in the ingredients for making PB&B sandwiches (peanut butter and banana) using whole grain bread.

I brought in 3 kinds of peanut butter and taught the kids how to read the food labels. The one peanut butter that the kids gravitated to first (those advertising and placement dollars at work) is the one that has ADDED TRANS FAT, as identified by those two key words, "partially hydrogenated". The only peanut butter I allowed them to open and use was the one that only had 2 ingredients, compared to the other 2 which had 5 and 6 ingredients each, including added fats and added sugar.

So, your lesson today is to count the ingredients on the peanut butter in YOUR food pantry. Less is more. Less ingredients is more health. By the way, the peanut butter the kids used to make their peanut butter and banana sandwiches was Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter. Not the Jif. Not the Peter Pan.

This week was special for another reason: the launch of the Growing Healthy Kids chef apron. Net proceeds support the garden-based education program and healthy kids cooking classes. Go to www.HealthyDiabetesCoach.com/kids.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bring on the Veggies! Kid Power!



Paradise greetings,

What a busy week this has been for Growing Healthy Kids. So many veggies to chop. So many salads to make. So many flatbreads to roll. So many kids to get healthy!!!
The pictures you see are from our latest project, in partnership with Kiwanis Club, at Hibiscus Children's Center in Vero Beach. Last week's classes were great and the gardens are growing. The kids were not shy about stepping up to be the master chefs. They learned about reading food labels and how easy it is to make really healthy sandwiches that taste great. We used the "Flatout" breads with 90 calories per flatbread and a whopping 9 grams of dietary fiber! These makes EXCELLENT pizza crusts!!

One girl, watching the other kids chop yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and English cucumbers, asked if I'd brought any "lunch meats" for the sandwiches. I told her I didn't, but she could make the rollups with her favorite meats. When she decided to make a rollup with the ingredients provided for the class, she had a bite, smiled and said the best thing ever, "This is GOOD!"

Focus on making one small change a week. Make this week's change to eat one more fruit or veggie each day.

Growing Healthy Kids is about improving the health - and lives - of children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Four More Gardens for Healthy Kids



Paradise Greetings,

Thank you Growing Healthy Kids and Kiwanis Club volunteers: Katherine, Joe, Lou, Katy and husband. Thank you to Amy and staff at Hibiscus Children's Center. Thank you to all the kids at Hibiscus. You are now the proud owners of four new gardens! What an awesome morning of energy, enthusiasm and sweat equity! We built the gardens, filled them, and planted them. Now, with water, sun, and love the butterflies and vegetables will come!

It is an honor to be able to create some new spaces for the kids at Hibiscus. I'm excited about the butterfly gardens. Within an hour of getting the first butterfly garden installed for the kids, one of the boys came running over to me and exclaimed that he'd just seen his first butterfly!

When I was there yesterday for our first healthy cooking class, most of the seeds had germinated and were already a couple of inches high. Our first lesson was that fruit is a healthy snack, not fruit juice. Now to teach the adults who serve those children...

It is fun to play in the dirt! The adventure continues! What is YOUR favorite butterfly?

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives of children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Growing Healthy Kids Promotes Recycling, Garden Art, and Healthy Snacks




Paradise Greetings,
Whirlwind trip to New York City over the Easter weekend to witness our amazing Vero Beach High School band kids play on stage at Carnegie Hall! WOW!! I'm so glad I was there! The sound quality at the Performing Arts Center will never be the same compared to the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. Our music program is such a gift to these children. We must protect all children's access to music programs such as the one at Vero Beach High School and its feeder schools. Thank you, Mr.Sammons and Mr. Howell, from a very grateful parent.

Another gift we, as a community, can give children is the knowledge, ability, and skills to eat healthy for a lifetime. One of today's pictures is from a recent "indoor picnic" Growing Healthy Kids had with one of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County: the menu was fresh fruit slices dipped in vanilla yogurt mixed with cinnamon. Did you know that up to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can help reduce blood sugar and bad (LDL) cholesterol according to USDA study?

The kids LOVED the "Fresh Fruit Dippers". I, however, did NOT love the concrete picnic floor!

Other picture: 2 very large palm containers saved from county landfill and brought to art volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club with request to have kids decorate for use as outdoor vegetable containers. The results BLEW ME AWAY! Way cool! What do YOU think---- let's recycle lots of these and start THE SALAD REVOLUTION.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health and lives of America's children - one garden and one child at a time. Let's start a revolution. A health revolution. THE SALAD REVOLUTION.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Monday, March 29, 2010

Improving Children's Health with Fabulous Florida Fruit Shakes


Paradise greetings,
This is spring break week for kids in Indian River County. My son leaves tomorrow for New York City to make his Carnegie Hall debut with the Vero Beach High School band. How AWESOME is that? I am very proud of all the kids in the band.

Last week Growing Healthy Kids taught kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County how to make Fabulous Florida Fruit Shakes and another Seal of Approval was received for this tasty recipe. The kids joyfully passed out samples to staff members in between running to the teaching garden to check on our mustard greens, carrots, peas, beans, and tomatoes. Everything is growing!

Eating fruit every day is important for great health. Blueberries and strawberries are two of the world's healthiest fruits. They are very nutritious and taste great. Blueberries are low in calories (40 per 1/2 cup) and are powerful disease fighters (which is one reason why I eat a cup of blueberries every day). Strawberries are the most popular berry in the U.S. They are very low in calories (20 per 1/2 cup) and are rich in antioxidants, heart-healthy nutrients, and vitamin C.

Flaxseeds are the most concentrated plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and contain anti-inflammatory properties. Flaxseeds are a very good source of dietary fiber (the lack of fiber is a big reason why kids and adults eat too much!) and contain both insoluble and soluable fiber. The fiber in flaxseeds has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Only use GROUND flax seeds - 2 tablespoons a day - use on yogurt, cereal, salads.

Ready for the recipe that received the Growing Healthy Kids' Seal of Approval last week? Put in a blender: 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 frozen banana, 5 Florida strawberries, and 1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds. This is enough to feed several kids and have them asking for more! Thank you, Publix Supermarkets, for providing the ingredients for this recipe.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of kids, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Friday, March 26, 2010

An Apple a Day...

Paradise Greetings,

Last week I gave a guest lecture for future nurses at Indian River State College. I had been asked to inspire them to be powerful patient educators. My goal was to inspire them to be transformational leaders of health instead of disease.
I taught them how to read a food label. I taught them how to choose foods without added fats, sugars, and salt. I taught them how to choose foods with fiber instead of foods and drinks with no fiber. What surprised me what how many of these nursing students were overweight and obese. I asked each student to calculate their own Body Mass Index, write it down, and hand it in. Yikes!
What's your body mass index (BMI)? Two out of three adults is overweight or obese. No wonder one in three kids in America are overweight or obese. Go to www.cdc.gov for a BMI calculator.
Make one simple change a week to improve your health so you can be a transformational leader. Eat an apple instead of having apple juice. The apple has dietary fiber, juice has none. Fiber is what fills us up. Fiber doesn't raise our blood sugar. After all, you know the saying, "An apple a day..."
Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.
To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Friday, March 19, 2010

Planting Seeds for Growing Healthy Kids


Paradise Greetings,

Notice anything unusual about this photo? The kids are 100% engaged in planting seeds in the teaching gardens at the Boys and Girls Club - and getting some extra physical fitness added into their day without ANY protest! I just love teaching the kids how easy it is to eat smarter and move more!! This photo was taken yesterday during my regular weekly Growing Healthy Kids program. Some of the seeds we planted a month ago didn't make it because of the unusually cold weather we're having (coldest winter since 1958) so it was time to plant again. After all, according to our friend, Spencer Porteous, plants need sun, water, and love to grow!

Radishes, lettuce and green peppers are coming up now. We have another head of cauliflower about ready for harvest, so more "mashed cotatoes" next week! Despite our extreme weather the past couple of months, the green peppers we planted on October 13 are still alive and producing new peppers. The boys were absolutely intrigued using my camera to get close up pictures of the tiny peppers. I loved it when one of the kids said to me, "We need to plant more marigolds." And so we will...

All the kids went home with a packet of seeds compliments of the cancer prevention program at Florida Department of Health with instructions to sow them this weekend. Each child also received their own garden tool to use at home. You would have thought it was Christmas!
Growing Healthy Kids-improving the health of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teach a Child to Grow


Paradise Greetings,

What do YOU think about all the added sugars, fats, and salt in the lunches our children eat at school? I think it's time to improve the quality of food served to our most important resource - the next generation. Improving the nutritional quality - and access to locally grown foods - are 2 of the 4 points in The First Lady's new childhood obesity campaign.

I think it's time for a food revolution. Let's have a Salad Party and get the greens and the good stuff from our local farmers. Let me know if you want to help. When you eat more of the good stuff, you eat less of the bad stuff. Keeping it simple.

It's like last Friday at one of my weekly Growing Healthy Kids program for kids served by the Boys and Girls Club, something magical happened. A couple of parents were picking up their children and said to me, "Is that my son eating VEGETABLES???" When you give kids a healthy choice, they choose health!!

Today's picture is from last Friday at one of the teaching gardens. Peas. Green beans. YES, YES!

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jumping Jacks & Green Beans


Paradise greetings,

What, you may ask, do jumping jacks and green beans have in common? Ecofest, that's what! Today's Growing Healthy Kids' adventure was being part of Ecofest this afternoon at a very special place in northern Indian River County, the Environmental Learning Center. Five volunteers and I greeted hundreds of children and their families who wanted to take home a plant (green beans & radishes). To "qualify" to make a seed pot, the kids were asked to do 10 jumping jacks.

We got the place hopping alright. Kids were jumping, then they played in the dirt. While the kids were busy, I talked with lots of parents and grandparents about Growing Healthy Kids' tips for making small changes for improved health. One of the simple tips I shared was to replace fruit juice with fruit. Parents, remember the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"? Know why? Fruit contains fiber, which is what fills us up. It takes a lot of apples to make 8 ounces of apple juice. Did you know 1 cup of apple juice contains 7 teaspoons of sugar and NO FIBER (CLUE: fiber=good stuff we need and we don't get from drive-through dinners (you know, places like the one with yellow arches and a clown with red hair) or the "enriched" wheat breads most people eat. The high amounts of sugar in sweet tea, sodas, fruit juices, and white breads are the problem. Diet sodas aren't the answer. I saw a lot of moms this afternoon drinking diet sodas. When I told them that new studies indicate that people OVEREAT when they drink diet sodas because their brains don't get the signal that food is on its way and they're full, they were like, "REALLY?" I'm optimistic that there are a couple more families looking at the nutrition facts label on the bread they have at home tonight looking to see how many grams of dietary fiber it has. (CLUE: We need 14 grams/1000 calories we eat.)

Here's my suggestion for healthy snacks with apples: apple slices with Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter, apple slices with a couple of walnut halves, or apple slices with a couple of slices of cheddar cheese.
Try it! Choose health. Stay tuned and remember: fruit, not fruit juice. Got it? Good.

Growing Healthy Kids, one garden and one child at a time. What fun!!

To your perfect health!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sugar Will Kill You, Rainbows Will Heal You

Paradise greetings,

Tonight at 6 PM is our first Growing Healthy Kids...and Families Workshop at The Majestic Theater in Vero Beach. You know by now that Growing Healthy Kids is all about changing the landscape so that we no longer turn a blind eye to the children all around us who are not at healthy weights and teaching new skills to kids and parents. Our teaching gardens are using the power of fresh, colorful foods to empower kids to make healthy food choices economically.

If parents leave The Majestic Theater tonight learning just one thing, it is that sugar is hidden in many foods by many names. Sugar is a trigger for inflammation in the body. Inflammation causes diseases. The excess calories we are consuming with all this sugar is causing us to eat too much. Eliminating foods high in sugar, a highly processed ingredient with no nutritional value, and replacing them with fresh, unprocessed foods that contain nutrients and dietary fiber that fill us up is one of the most important steps a parent can take to improve their own health and the health of their children.

In order for our children to eat healthier, we must choose to eat healthier. To be healthy is to be whole. To be whole is holy (Deepak Chopra). I believe that together, we can and will find the solutions to the food crisis and the obesity crisis we are facing.

Start reading your food labels and look for "high fructose corn syrup". Look for "fruit juice concentrates" and "sugar" and "corn syrup" and "dextrose" and "molasses" and "malt sugar" and "fructose" and "honey" and "brown sugar" and "sucrose" and "lactose" and "maltose" and "invert sugar." These are some of the names for sugar in our foods.

I'm looking forward to the discussion Dr. William Elman and I will have with you tonight. We're making progress as evidenced by one 9 year old girl last Wednesday night. She has been a part of the Growing Healthy Kids project for the past 2 months at the Boys and Girls Club. She helped me represent Growing Healthy Kids to Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County donors at its annual Angels fundraising dinner held at Sun Aviation. For 2 hours, this little girl taught grown men and women all dressed up how to read a food label, what to look for, and how to eat healthy. The kids become the teachers. Yes, yes.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich,
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Free Parent Workshop "Growing Healthy Kids...and Families"

Paradise Greetings,

One week from tonight, please join Dr. William Elman, board certified pediatrician and family practice physician, and me for a conversation about where we go from here in getting our children - and us - back into shape. This is an awesome opportunity to come together for 90 minutes at the beautiful Majestic Theater in Vero Beach and discuss why and how we must solve the health challenge of children - and parents - who are overweight and obese. Learn simple ways to get on track towards better health and healthier weights. You will walk away knowing how to make one small change a week for 10 weeks that can have huge results.

Last week at one of our Boys and Girls Club weekly program, I was teaching kids how to read food labels and looking for trans fats (anything that includes the words, "partially hydrogenated" on the ingredients label, even if the Nutrition Facts label says "0 trans fat"). One of the boys quietly said to his mom, "I'm going to start dieting." Mind you, I NEVER say the word diet in these classes. It's ALL about making healthy choices through informed decision making. We had talked about how one kind of peanut butter - the Peter Pan brand - had added sugars and added saturated and trans fats (both "bad" fats)and compared it to the Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter, which did not have added sugars and fats. I was reminded that many adults talk about "starting a diet" when what really matters is eating healthy every day. Food is life, after all. Learning how to recognize saturated and trans fats on food labels. Learning to watch for (and avoid) "High Fructose Corn Syrup" and other names for added sugars in foods. Learning to season foods with herbs instead of added salt. Learning how to choose foods that are high in dietary fiber, instead of choosing foods which contain no fiber. This is what healthy eating is all about. This is what I communicated to this boy's mother because kids hear adults talking about "dieting" and we need to banish that word from our vocabularly.

Children, when given the choice, choose healthy foods and snacks. Please call Youth Guidance Mentoring & Activities Program at 772 770 5040 to register for next Tuesday's FREE PARENT WORKSHOP, called "Growing Healthy Kids...and Families." The workshop is from 6:00-7:30 PM. Bring your children and they will get to watch a free movie while you, Dr. Elman, and I discuss protecting our most precious children's lives and health.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of children, one garden and one child at a time.
See you next Tuesday.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids