Wednesday, March 27, 2013



Have you ever read a book you connected with?   I have.  For the past month I have been reading and rereading a book from my library (and have even renewed it several times).  The book is called NOURISHING BODY AND SOUL by Deepak Chopra, MD, David Simon, MD, and Leanne Backer.  I haven't yet met Deepak Chopra or Leanne Backer, but I did have the fortune of meeting the late David Simon several years ago when I was working in Los Angeles.  He was the Medical Director and cofounder of The Chopra Center.  

The reason this book speaks to me so loudly is because it answers a question I hear every day, whether it is from a parent who has been referred to me by a school principal for help with a child who is being bullied by classmates because she is overweight or from someone struggling with a new diagnosis of diabetes:  “Can you just tell me what to eat?” 

Fresh hydroponic tomatoes from last Saturday's Green Market with limes -
ingredients for  my favorite PICO DE GALLO recipe*!

In NOURISHING BODY AND SOUL, the authors address
fundamental questions about the intersection of food and health.   Consider this quote from the book, “Next to breathing, eating is the most natural process in the world, and we believe that it should be easy and enjoyable to follow a healthy diet.  Nevertheless, we see people every day who are confused about what to eat.”  I see the same thing in my work in the southeast U.S.  

We Americans, in our quest for freedom of choice, now have so many choices about what to eat that people are just plain confused.  Yet, when we learn to listen to ourselves and follow our natural instincts, we will make good choices and eat real food instead of all the foods full of sugar, salt and fat that is killing us and robbing our children of their health.  When we become literate about how to make good choices, finding the intersection between food and health becomes easy.  This is the common topic in all the workshops I teach and in this weekly column for parents.

Seven simple precepts in NOURISHING BODY AND SOUL  make perfect sense to me and can serve as a guide for everyone seeking to simplify their approach to eat better:
  1. Eat a wide variety of foods during the day.
  2. Listen to your body’s signals of hunger and satiety.
  3. Use food to fill the emptiness in your stomach, not your heart.
  4. If the meal isn’t delicious, it isn’t nourishing you.
  5. Favor foods that are natural and vital.
  6. Use herbs and spices liberally as both flavor and health enhancers.
  7. Eat with awareness.

As March is National Nutrition Month, these precepts are extremely appropriate.  Use food to nourish your body and soul.  Enjoy sharing meals with family and friends. 

Here are several resources you may enjoy exploring relevant to the intersection of food and health:

And of course, here is a great resource for cool, simple, delicious recipes:

Several of my notes for this week for you to share with those you love:   
  • Good food is the basis for a healthy life and the prevention of obesity-related diseases. 
  • Plan family dinners every week. 
  • Let your children help in the kitchen. 
  • Take walks together. 
  • Support your local farmers and local farmer markets.

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

*You can find my kid-tested and approved PICO DE GALLO recipe in the first book, NOURISH AND FLOURISH, from the Growing Healthy Kids project to reverse childhood obesity at