Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Fifty Shades of Sugar Part 2 (and Tiny Desk Concerts)

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”  
                                              -Dalai Lama

We did it.  We stirred the pot last week with Fifty Shades of Sugar.  People are talking.  Adults are reading food labels.  Children are eating less sugar and are having better moods.  They are happier.

As discussed in my upcoming radio interview* with Chef Michael Glatz of La Patissiere (a fabulous artisian bakery and boutique foodie destination in Vero Beach, Florida), the reason why there are more than fifty names for sugar is so that you, the consumer, will be tricked by food manufacturers into thinking there is only a little bit of sugar  - instead of the gazillion teaspoons  -  in the processed food item about to go into your grocery cart and then home to be consumed by you and your children. 

Curious?  You can find fifty-nine (59) names for sugar in my book, Nourish and Flourish:  Kid-Tested and Approved Tips and Recipes to Prevent Diabetes (available at or click on the link on the right side of this page).

Engage your children in improving your family’s health literacy.  Ask the kids to look for these 50+ names for sugar when shopping for cereals, snacks, crackers, pies, cakes, cookies, breads and more.  Especially the foods that have been placed at your children's eye level.  Start becoming aware of all the added sugars in your family’s foods.  

Image result for picture of healthy kids


1.  Look for ingredients that end in “–ose”.  These are sugars.   Pure, white, and deadly.**

2.  Read food labels and look for “high fructose corn syrup”.  One of the most highly processed sugars, high fructose corn syrup is used because it is sweet, addictive, and most of all, cheap.  If your kids (or you) drink any beverages with added sugars (think sodas), look for high fructose corn syrup on the ingredients portion of the Nutrition Facts label.  In all our Growing Healthy Kids’ classes, we teach kids and adults to avoid all foods and drinks containing this evil ingredient.

3.  Avoid (or limit) drinks and foods with added sugars, fats, and salt.  

Speaking of love, the original Growing Healthy Kid, my son, Edward, a trombonist and poet-extraordinaire, turned me on to some very cool music recently.  “Tiny Desk Concerts” are performed by really famous musicians (and not-so-famous but really good musicians) in the office of National Public Radio's music department.  To listen to very cool music while you are cooking dinner with your kids and significant other, click here.

Surround yourself with people and ideas that support the best you.  And, of course, support the mission of Growing Healthy Kids to reduce, halt, and prevent childhood obesity and obesity-related diseases.  All children deserve access to healthy food and lots of outdoor playtime.   One of the best ways for growing healthy kids is to be the best YOU!

With love and gratitude,

Nancy Heinrich
Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project

*My interview with Chef Michael Glatz airs Tuesday, March 3rd at 3:30 PM on WAXE 107.9 FM/1370 AM and will be rebroadcast on Sunday, March 8th at 3:30 PM (you can listen to the interview from anywhere in the world by going to, then search for WAXE).

**Pure, White, and Deadly by Dr. John Yudkin, originally published in 1972.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Fifty Shades of Sugar

“No child deserves to be obese.”                                                                        
                 -- Dr. Robert Lustig, from Sugar: The Bitter Truth (YouTube)

If you haven’t seen Sugar:  The Bitter Truth, the 90 minute video by University of California pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig, then watch it today.  For a link to Dr. Lustig's video on YouTube, look no further.   In yesterday's issue of The Telegraph, there was a fascinating article about Dr. John Yudkin (now deceased) and his profound warnings about the health consequences of processed sugar.  To read the article  about Dr. Yudkin and to watch Dr. Lustig's video, click here.

Several weeks ago, I gave an update on Growing Healthy Kids' Farm to Fork nutrition education program to about 80 members of Rotary Club of Vero Beach Sunrise (yes it was a very early morning meeting).  I shared the key points children learn in the program, one of which is to eat more of the good foods (veggies) and less of the bad foods (foods and drinks containing added sugars).  Afterwards, an elegant, beautifully dressed woman came up to me.  She agreed with everything I said in my talk and then quietly told me, “I have just lost 30 pounds by cutting out sugars.  I have never felt better in my life.”  

While writing my book, Nourish and Flourish (available at, I made the decision to include a list of the many names of sugar (over 50), hence the title of this week’s WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS article (and you thought this might be about sex, didn’t you?)  Many parents find it hard to believe that sugar can be disguised so many ways.  Yet, when kids eat a lot sugar by whatever name, especially if they are eating and drinking high fructose corn syrup daily, their bodies – and minds – are being overwhelmed and damaged.  Sugar is a trigger to a cascade of dangerous diseases.  A little sugar is OK.  Consuming 19 teaspoons at a time (the amount in one strawberry melon Brisk drink made by Lipton) is not OK.  The food industry has blindfolded us and tricked us in submission.

The fact is that sugar is highly addictive.  For children under the age of 18 who are consuming copious amounts of it, sugar is a poison to their bodies and minds.  

As parents, we owe it to our children to be the best role models we can be for them.   Start looking out for the added sugars in your own foods and drinks.   Become a nutrition detective.  Take the first step and do not buy anything containing high fructose corn syrup.  And don’t forget to watch Sugar:  The Bitter Truth. 

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project

PS-Don't miss an issue of WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS!  Just enter your email address where it says "follow by email", click "submit" and every issue of WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS will automatically be delivered to your inbox!  Easy!  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


“All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” –                                                                                                                              -Charles M. Schultz, creator of "Peanuts"

February is American Heart Month.  Valentine's Day is almost here.  There is a lot of talk about love, chocolate, beautiful flowers, and healthy relationships.  Did you know that when buying chocolate, the easiest way to select a dark chocolate (which contains mainly cocoa, not sugar) is to look for “70% cocoa” or higher?  Not only is dark chocolate is good for your heart by helping lower your blood pressure, it makes you feel good-really good.  While conducting research for a recent talk at a Parent Summit (, I ran into overwhelming proof that eating dark chocolate contributes to a good mood., especiallly for kids.   GROWING HEALTHY KIDS TIP:  Replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate.   I am known to enjoy a little dark chocolate just about every day! 

A recent dinner at the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen: Scottish salmon, organic arugula and Tuscan kale, organic rainbow carrots, and black rice,  Everyone loved it!  

Another food that is really good for your heart is wild salmon.  Going to my local fish market twice a week for some fresh wild salmon is an adventure I always look forward to!  While I usually prepare salmon the Danish way (cooked with some olive oil, sea salt, and lots of dried dill), another delicious idea is to use a gremolata (lemon rind zest, fresh chopped parsley, a little olive oil, salt and pepper).  Put this mixture on top of your fresh salmon and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Serve with lemon slices.  Add cooked greens and whole grain rice and you have a delicious heart healthy meal.  GROWING HEALTHY KIDS TIP:  Let the kids make the gremolata.  If you don’t have a zester/microplane, pick one up at your local kitchen shop.

Keeping your heart healthy is about eating foods with the good fats (like salmon, olive oil, and nuts), cutting out all drinks with added sugars, AND getting some exercise every day.  My favorite choice of exercise is walking because I can do it anywhere.  If you live up north where you have winters to contend with, you can still walk inside (at work, at school, or at inside malls or big box stores).   

Learn how to take care of your heart: laugh often, enjoy some dark chocolate, and go take a walk! 

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project

Remember, February is American Heart Month.  To learn more about preventing high blood pressure from American Heart Association, click here.  For great tips about exercise from University of California's Berkeley Wellness, click here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: "All kids need this!"

"We learn by practice.  Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to live by practicing living, the principles are the same...One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God."  
                                                                                                       -- Martha Graham

Today, the parent of an 11 year old boy who attended a recent GHK 6 week "farm to fork" education program said, “My son loves making kale protein shakes for breakfast, thanks to you.  He is so excited about eating good foods every day.  He isn’t eating junk food all the time now.  All kids need to go through your education program.  He asks me every day when can he come to more classes with you.” 

Pictures from GROWING HEALTHY KIDS' Farm to Fork program

All kids deserve access to good food and locally grown foods, when and where available.  As this parent clearly knows, her son is now engaged in looking for good ingredients, using fresh locally grown vegetables like the ones we grow in the Children’s Garden, and creating healthy dishes for himself and his family.   Once kids realize how much fun it is to create good food, they will enjoy a lifetime of good food, great cooking, and improved health outcomes. 

Growing Healthy Kids, one child at a time. Who knew it could be so much fun!

With love and gratitude,

Nancy Heinrich

Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project

PS - For some wonderful, delicious recipes, check out of of my favorite websites.  Click here.