Wednesday, June 9, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Summer Salsa

"When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen..."

                                                                                     --A.A. Milne (1882-1956)

This time of the year, tomatoes are beginning to ripen on vines all over the US. One of my favorite heirloom varieties is the Purple Cherokee tomato (see picture above).  

Recently, I shared my favorite guacamole recipe in Wellness Wednesdays.  In our workshops teaching kids about healthy eating and cooking, an ideal companion recipe to guacamole is a basic salsa recipe.  When the summer flavors of fresh tomatoes and cilantro get to dance together, it can be magic.  The joy of taking every day ingredients and creating a delicious dish that kids love to devour is worth any effort.  Learning how to make salsa is a wonderful introduction to the world of great ingredients and amazing flavors for kids. 

Below is the recipe that has introduced hundreds of kids to healthy cooking and eating. 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS: Our Recipe Collection

Summer Salsa

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced (optional) (can substitute green pepper)
  • Dash of pink Himalayan sea salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Serve with chips and guacamole.

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Love Your Brain Month

"You get the health benefits of coffee up through about the first 24 ounces.  It's the biggest source of antioxidants for Americans, and we think it helps prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well."

                                                                                        --Mehmet Oz, MD

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, sponsored by The Alzheimer’s Association.  When I work with a group of kids, I often ask if they have any family members with Alzheimer’s or memory issues.  There are always a few hands in the air. It breaks my heart when children know they have a family member affected by Alzheimer’s. When I ask kids who has a family members with diabetes, more hands go up. 

Teaching kids about what real food is and what to do with it is critical to improving health literacy aimed at preventing and reversing diabetes and childhood obesity.  Because Alzheimer’s, similar to diabetes, can take decades to develop before symptoms appear, we as families and communities need to learn about healthy eating, especially plant-based eating, as a way to prevent and reverse diabetes and possibly Alzheimer’s. 

Our brains are one of the most amazing machines in the world.  Preventing diseases, however, is where the U.S. “health” care system does a really poor job. Research shows we need to include foods high in antioxidants, such as coffee and dark chocolate.  Eat green leafy vegetables like kale, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, and dark blue and red foods like blueberries and pomegranate juice, and drinking a cup or two of coffee a day, may be the type of food we need to eat more of to protect one of our most valuable resources – our brain. 

Let’s learn to nourish our brains – and those of our children - for good health now and in 30 or 50 years!

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Summer Snacks

"A healthy diet can help prevent cancer, since up to 60% of cancer cases are diet-related."

                                                                                                    --PCRM.org 

All kids need to learn how to prepare some basic recipes.  Call it survival.  Call it introducing kids to a lifelong love affair with real food.  When kids get to play in the kitchen, they need space to play without judgment.  

One of the best ways to start your kids on a lifetime of healthy eating adventures is to teach them how to make guacamole.  At many of our workshops for kids, it is the adult volunteers who often have the most fun when they learn how to make guacamole for the first time after years of eating it. I have loved Hass avocados (see picture above) ever since I was a kid in California. I remember bringing avocados back to St. Louis from California on my flights when avocados were first introduced to California. Making guacamole involves a lot of fun: you get to mash the avocado, mince the garlic, squeeze the lime, season with cumin, and taste with your favorite chips!

Here’s my favorite guacamole recipe.  Change it up to suit you and your family.

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection

GUACAMOLE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Hot sauce - to taste
  • Fresh cilantro and/or dried cumin
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

In medium bowl, mash avocado to desired consistency.  Add garlic, lime juice, hot sauce, fresh cilantro, cumin, and sea salt.  If I have a really ripe tomato, sometimes I finely dice half of it and stir it in.  If I have a fresh jalapeno on hand, I deseed it and finely dice half of it to add for a pop of flavor. 

Avocados contain the good kind of fat, called unsaturated. They add great flavor to salads, grain bowls, toast, sandwiches, and tacos.  Enjoy!    

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect