Wednesday, December 29, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Children and Childhood Obesity

“Children who have obesity are at greater risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which have a significant impact on health and healthcare costs.  Obesity can also increase the risk for severe symptoms of COVID-19, even among children.  Additionally, decades of data show that children of color and those growing up furthest from economic opportunity are at greatest risk for obesity.”

                                                       --Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Please consider these realities:

  • Adult obesity rates continue to increase.  Four in 10 adults in the US are obese.
  • Youth age 2-19 obesity rates continue to increase.  One in 5 children and adolescents in the US have obesity.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents can do 5 things at home to prevent childhood obesity:

1.   Eat rainbows

2.   Move more

3.   Slow down on sugar

4.   Limit screen time

5.   Sleep well

We can ALL benefit from using these suggestions to live healthier lives every day.  Growing Healthy Kids is focused on creating solutions to reverse and prevent childhood obesity and building partnerships with others committed to ensure that all children have access to healthy foods. 

There is an urgency to end this childhood obesity crisis and protect children’s health and lives.  For example, children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can expect to have a shorter life by 15-17 years.    

Together, we can do great things to improve the health – and lives – of America’s children.

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Photo above: Kids at a Growing Healthy Kids workshop getting ready to visit the Vero Beach Farmers Market

Wednesday, December 22, 2021


“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarians.”

                                                                        --Paul McCartney

What you eat either feeds disease or heals. Your choice. 

By eating a variety of plants (mainly vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains), you are healing yourself, especially when you choose organically grown foods. 

Plant-based eating is a delightful way to support local farmers, learn to create new dishes for family and friends to enjoy, and eat food because it makes you feel great and doesn’t leave knots in your stomach, as often happens from consuming meat, due to delayed digestive times. 

Take a week and think about small changes you can make to what you eat every day to shift to plant-based eating.  At the end of a week, stop eating all animal products for a month.  Avoid processed foods, especially those with ingredients you can't pronounce.  Record the changes in how you feel, sleep, think.  Give it a shot and be amazed.  Heal to be healthy.  

What you eat matters. For your health and the health of your children. For our minds, bodies, and spirit.  For the health of our planet. 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Photo above:  Kevin O'Dare sharing fresh herbs with a youth at a Growing Healthy Kids' workshop.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2021


 "When you follow a vegan diet, there is much less need for surgeons to clean out your arteries or intestinal tract."

                   --Neal Barnard, MD, Founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Planning meals begins with the local farmers.  What are they growing and harvesting each month?  Recently, to my Indiana winter delight, I have been able to buy green onions, garlic, cabbage, and salad greens from several farmers at the New Albany Farmers Market. 

Fresh green onions, also known as spring onions, add delightful crunch and flavor to my lunchtime salads and are always a favorite ingredient for my Mexican meals featuring slow cooked black beans and brown jasmine rice. Garlic (pictured above) is a must-have ingredient in every kitchen, especially the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen.  You can always tell the difference between fresh and old garlic when you slice garlic cloves.  Cabbage, a superstar cruciferous vegetable with strong anti-cancer properties, is an unsung hero in the kitchen-it is so delicious when gently steamed and served with brown rice, black beans, and egg rolls (my new winter comfort food meal). Salad greens are a staple for me, as having a salad at least 5 days a week is one of my goals that makes meal planning so easy. 

Support your local farmers.  If you see a fruit or vegetable you haven’t tried yet, ask farmers how the farmers use them.  Teach your children to be curious.  Eat from the main food groups - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (beans and lentils) – every day. Eat nuts and seeds in moderation.  Limit/eliminate foods from animals.  This way of eating is so good and good for you, your kids, and our planet!

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect