Wednesday, March 20, 2013



"In cooking, as in all arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection."
                                                             -- Curnosky

Another Wellness Wednesday, waiting for the local tomato crop to start showing up at the Saturday Green Markets.  Do you know your local farmer?  I do.  His name is Kevin O’Dare.  Kevin is the owner of Osceola Organic Farm in Vero Beach, Florida and is a huge supporter of the Growing Healthy Kids movement to reverse childhood obesity.  He has been supplying the greens, squash, tomatoes, and other locally grown veggies we have been featuring this school year in an educational family fun project at Vero Beach Elementary School.  

Local farmer Kevin O'Dare's Osceola Organic Farm

Kevin also has been a part of the fabulous “Hummus at Humiston” parties I orchestrate, with the gracious help of volunteers, for children enrolled in the Youth Guidance Mentoring and Activities Program who are on a waiting list for mentors.  At these parties, we introduce kids to the farmers who grow vegetables, oranges, and grapefruits for local and international markets.  We introduce kids to vegetables they have never "met" before. 

I do a lot of research on foods in order to create educational programs that engage people in having fun in the kitchen.  I always enjoy reading the Dash insert in my newspaper.  Chef Jon Ashton is on a national Dash Around the Table Tour and today he is in our piece of paradise.  The fun starts at 7:00 PM at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.  When I read his bio, I came across something that captured my attention.  The chef who likes to be called “Our Jon” wrote this about himself:

“After Granny passed away when I was thirteen, no one was around to tell me to stop eating in between meals.  My mother was always at work or out with her friends at the pub and my dad lived in a flat across town.  Between the ages of 13-16 I became 60 pounds overweight.  Being overweight in England at this time was not common, let alone obese.  I was the prime target for the bullies; the teasing was relentless and I could not wait to leave school.”

His words remind me of so many kids I work with these days  in south Florida and the southeast U.S.  Kids need adults around them to teach them how to make good choices about food and fitness.  It really does take a village to raise a child.  We are the village. The more parents know about accessing locally grown foods and tips for preparing simple, delicious family meals, the healthier we will be, as families, as communities, and as a nation. 

The fact is that more than 80% of all cases of type 2 diabetes are related to weight.  The fact is that obesity-related diseases are now costing this nation more than smoking-related diseases.  

Parents: to be good role models for your children, look at your weight first.  Here are 5 tips to help you lose weight:
  1. Eat smaller meals, more often
  2. Spend at least 30 minutes on a meal
  3. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, especially berries
  4. Sleep at least 7 hours a night
  5. Drink water.

Speaking of vegetables, here’s a picture of one of my favorites, purple cauliflower, purchased last Saturday at the Fort Pierce Green Market.  I used it to make mashed cotatoes and served it with wild salmon and local swiss chard for a fabulous dinner this week.  
Fresh picked purple cauliflower

The recipe for mashed cotatoes is in my book, NOURISH AND FLOURISH:  Kid-Tested Tips and Recipes to Prevent Diabetes (available at 

To read more about Jon Ashton,  go to:

While we wait for the local tomatoes to show up at the market, remember:
  • Support your local farmers. 
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.
  • Get inspired with Chef Jon Ashton tonight at Vero Beach High School!  See you there!

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.