Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Healthy is the New Beauty-4 Tips

Image result for pictures of flowers in vases“I think both food and flowers really nourish your body and soul.  To have something beautiful around you, or to create something beautiful and delicious to eat, is one of the great joys of our lives.” 

                      --Barrett Prendergast, creator, Valleybrink Road

Sometimes beauty gets covered up by wearing too much make-up or synthetic clothes.  People live fast lives and eat processed foods, thinking it is a timesaver.  The costs of taking short cuts with the food we eat or thinking we are saving money by buying cheap products made from artificial chemicals and putting them on our faces and on our bodies are higher than one can imagine. 
Obesity-related diseases such as diabetes are very costly.  Some costs are direct costs (medicines, doctors visits, hospitalizations, lost wages) but many are indirect costs (increased insurance costs, dependency on others during times of illness, disability insurance, workers compensation).  These are all costs that people don’t associate with what they are going to feed their kids for breakfast or serve for dinner.  When parents routinely buy fruit juice and cookies containing high fructose corn syrup for afterschool snacks for their kids, they are not thinking, “I wonder how these choices will affect my child’s health and health-related expenses in 20 or 30 years?”  Drinking "cheap" sodas and fruit drinks and eating breads, snacks, and cookies made from refined white flour can result in very expensive diseases that shorten lives.  If a youth develops type 2 diabetes before age 21, it reduces lifespan by about 17 years. 
Preventing and even reversing chronic diseases such as diabetes is not difficult when one makes conscious choices. Those conscious choices include what we eat, what we drink, how much we sleep, how we respond to stress, and what we think.  It includes choices about eating plant-based foods and foods high in anti-inflammatory properties. 

If parents make the commitment to stop buying any food or drink that contains high fructose corn syrup, it will go a long way towards improving the health of children.  Avoiding highly processed sugars is a huge first step for anyone who wants to stop poisoning their bodies and start feeling AND looking better. 
Image result for pictures of vegetables

Here are 4 tips to ensure that "Healthy is the New Beauty" at your house:

  1. Have flowers on the dinner table every evening.  It can be as simple as one small flower in a cup.  Let your children be in charge of this task.  This little touch of nature serves as a daily reminder that beauty is all around us.
  2. Make water the primary drink in your house.  Most people (especially kids) don’t drink enough of it.  Water is the best ingredient for healthy skin (our largest organ) and healthy digestion (and gut health).  Too many kids have issues with constipation because they don’t drink enough water and don’t get enough dietary fiber (only found in plant foods grown in the earth). 
  3. Choose foods and drinks that contain no high fructose corn syrup.  This highly processed sugar is one of the most harmful substances we can put into our bodies. 
  4. Eat locally grown, organic vegetables and fruits that are the colors of the rainbow.  Support your local farmers and buy foods that are in season where you live.  The seasonal foods I am enjoying most right now are peaches and zucchini squash. What are YOUR favorite end-of-summer favorite foods?
In gratitude,

Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids
PS-For some delicious seasonal vegetable recipes, check out or click here.