Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dancing and Exercise

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Whenever I give a talk about preventing diabetes and reversing childhood obesity, EXERCISE is always at the top of the list I give to my audience. Regular physical exercise is soooooo important.

This is what you need to put into practice: 60 minutes a day for kids and 30 minutes (or more) a day for adults.

What counts as exercise?? ANYTHING THAT GETS YOU MOVING! So before I head off to the beach for a walk, here's a video from some of my son's classmates at Vero Beach High School to help you get your exercise groove on today:

Growing Healthy Kids is a movement to reverse and prevent childhood obesity, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One Child's Future: Diabetes and Colorectal Cancer

Last week a woman I worked with for the day told me she was “on a diet.” If you’ve read my book, Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time (, then you know I hate the word “diets” because a short-term diet doesn't teach you what you need to know about how to eat healthy for the long-term ("for the rest of your life").

This woman is clearly obese and in her early 30’s. Getting to a healthier weight will not only add quality (less stress on her joints, decrease her chance of getting high blood pressure and cholesterol, sleep apnea and obesity-related cancers such as cancer of the breast) but also quantity to her life. Her comment that she is on a diet opened a window of opportunity for me.

Within 5 minutes of our conversation, I learned that her 12 year old son has only one bowel movement a week. My teaching immediately zoomed in on teaching her about what dietary fiber is (the undigestible part of plants that give them structure), what foods have it (only foods that are grown from the Earth like beans, lentils, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains), and how much of it we need to eat every day (14 grams of dietary fiber per 1,000 calories we eat, or around 28 grams a day if you eat around 2,000 calories a day). She started writing down everything I said to her, as I quickly sensed her worry and quiet desperation for her son.

Let's talk about something most people don't talk about. It is normal to have at least one bowel movement every day. It is not normal to have one just once or twice a week. Not getting enough dietary fiber is common in children, particularly those who are on the free and reduced lunch program in public schools and get 2 of their 3 daily meals at school. Fiber in foods is what gives us the sense of fullness so we stop eating. Lack of dietary fiber leads to overeating, obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers like colorectal cancer. This woman and her 12 year old son are part of the majority of Americans who eat far less than half the dietary fiber needed.

There is no to little fiber in fruit juices, fruit drinks, Capri sun drinks, white breads, “honey wheat” breads, McDonald’s or Burger King items, sodas, and energy drinks.

Become a fiber detective. Read food labels. Aim for at least 28 grams a day (the current recommendation for American men is 35 grams a day according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, see

I am 100% confident that the homework assignment I gave last week to the woman was completed in one day. She learned a key piece of knowledge and the skills to get herself on the path to a healthier weight and help prevent a future diagnosis of diabetes and/or cancer in her son.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's kids, one child and one garden at a time. Growing Healthy Kids is a movement to reverse childhood obesity. Because failure is not an option.

In kindness,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

PS -- "The Nancy Rule" says choose breads and pastas with 4 or more grams of dietary fiber per slice or per serving and the first ingredient includes the word "WHOLE".

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Danish Company-Novo Nordisk-One of World's Best 9 Stocks Thanks to Global Obesity

I just read an article in the February 2011 issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance called The World's Best Stocks by Andrew Tanzer ( The first stock to be highlighted by Tanzer, in case you are capital-flush, is Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical company which provides OVER HALF the global market for insulin.

According to Mr. Tanzer, "As people gain weight and consume more sugar in their diets, the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to break down that sugar. By the end of this decade, UnitedHealth recently estimated, half of all adult Americans will be diabetic or pre-diabetic unless we suddenly change our diets and lose weight. The incidence of dietabetes is also exploding in countries such as India and China, where diets and lifestyles are shifting abruptly as people see their incomes rise."

I love Novo Nordisk. They are an extremely focused company. They produce very well written patient education materials which I have used in working with adults with diabetes. They are highly skilled and professional at what they do. Because 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes and require insulin, we need companies like Novo Nordisk. However, for the 90-95% of people with diabetes type 2 (the one you get when you eat too many calories and get too little exercise), Novo Nordisk should be Plan B, not Plan A. Even American Diabetes Association says that in their Standards of Medical Care. The fact is that diabetes is preventable and reversible. Most doctors don't spend much, if any, time telling patients how to do that because it is simply easier for them to hand you a prescription.

Americans - and now countries like India and China - are killing themselves - and their children - with too much sugar. Where do you find sugar? Just look on the food labels under "total carbohydrates". There is sugar in cereals. Sugar in sodas. Sugar in energy drinks. Sugar in the processed foods served in school cafeterias. Sugar in fruit juices. Sugar in energy bars. Sugar in the snack foods served at the Boys and Girls Clubs.

It's OK if you want to eat too much sugar. There are drugs just waiting for you. Like insulin. Your doctor will be happy to give you drugs because then you have to keep coming back for more. Instead of becoming drug addicts, it would be so much easier to get back to the basics of wholesome, whole, good foods in the right portion sizes. Call me old-fashioned but I'll take a dinner of wild salmon and spinach anytime over a big Mac (540 calories, 10 teaspoons sugar, 7 teaspoons saturated fat, and 1,040 mg sodium) and large fries (500 calories, 14 teaspoons sugar,6 teaspoons saturated fat, and 350 mg sodium).

My focus is to prevent diabetes and to raise awareness about how to do it. When you know what to do, it's easy. Healthy eating means a commitment to learn how to get to - and stay at - a healthy weight. Focusing on solutions to childhood obesity is what the Growing Healthy Kids movement is all about.

Improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time. Because failure is not an option.

In kindness,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

NOTE: My book "Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time" is available at the Vero Beach Book Center, the Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store (3300 43rd Avenue in Vero Beach) and