Wednesday, May 27, 2020

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Prevent Cancer with Cruciferous Vegetables

"Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education." 
                         --Mark Twain

Organic cauliflower, carrots, and green onions from the local farmers market

Cancer affects millions of people every year. In 2017 cancer was the second leading cause of death in the U.S. 

There is a family of vegetables with proven anti-cancer properties.  THE CRUCIFEROUS FAMILY.  Your family should get to know them. 

So who is in the cruciferous family?  Take a look:
  • Arugula
  • Bok choi
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli rabe
  • Broccoli Romanesco
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Daikon
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
  • Wasabi
  • Watercress

Look for these vegetables at your local farmers market.  If you are not sure what to do with them, ask the farmers who grow them how they prepare them.  Add cruciferous vegetables to your weekly shopping list.  Teach your kids to make coleslaw or how to steam “little trees” (broccoli).  Research new recipes.  

Roasted cauliflower with yellow curry powder

The other day I bought organic cauliflower and roasted it at 425 degrees for 30 minutes with a little olive oil, pink Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, and curry powder.  It was so delicious and so easy.  

Healthy eating has never been so much fun!

With love,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect
Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: The Elephant in the Room

"Conditions that can be prevented by eating better diets have roots in childhood.  Rates of obesity are now so high among American children that many exhibit metabolic abnormalities formerly seen only in adults. The high blood sugar due to "adult-onset" (insulin-resistant type 2) diabetes, the high blood cholesterol, and the high blood pressure now observed in younger and younger children constitute a national scandal." 
                                    --Marian Nestle from Food Politics

Hydroponic farmer Alex Gomez talks with kids and a Rotary Club volunteer
attending a Growing Healthy Kids' workshop. 

Obesity is the elephant in the room.  We act as if it's not there.  We don’t talk about it.  We tiptoe without saying a word.  The prevalence of obesity among adults in the U.S. was 42.4% in 2017-2018. The prevalence of obesity in children ages 2-19 was 18.5% in 2015-2016, or almost 1 in 5 kids.  Obesity rates, especially severe obesity, are still on the rise.  Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. 

Every time I get into my car to drive to grocery stores to get the foods I need and want for my family and for my healthy cooking classes, I know how fortunate I am.  I have a car and can go where I want.  I am aware of the foods that promote health, not disease.  Many people live in neighborhoods that are food deserts and lack transportation of their own to travel to full-service grocery stores.  So their only choice is buying ultra-processed foods, often at inflated prices, from the neighborhood store, foods that promote disease, not health.

Buying and eating highly processed foods contributes to poor health outcomes.  Processed foods often contain little or no dietary fiber, a key element in achieving satiety, preventing overeating, and regulating blood sugars.  Check the ingredient list on any "food" that comes in a box or package.  If there are more than 5 ingredients, consider selecting something else with less ingredients.  Minimally processed foods do not contain dozens of ingredients. 

As the weather warms and farmers begin harvesting their crops, this is a great time to start planning how locally grown vegetables, together with fruits, legumes (beans and lentils), and whole grains can be central to what you eat. A plant-based way of eating is proven to get to you a healthy weight as well as to control and reverse diabetes for most people.  Think of what you can do to redecorate when the elephant is out of the room! 

With love,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect
Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020


"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." 
                                       --Robert F. Kennedy

New Albany Farmers Market, IN (photo credit: Nancy Heinrich)

Cooking together is good for families.  Preparing and enjoying good food together is at the heart of quality family time.  Eating well is a path to living well.  

This time of year people look forward to farmers markets opening up with the opportunity to buy locally grown foods from farmers within a 25 mile radius.  

Every year the Environmental Working Group updates its Dirty Dozen list.  The Dirty Dozen list contains the fruits and vegetables testing highest for pesticides.  In 2019 kale was added to the list.  Strawberries top the list, as 90% of samples tested positive for 2 or more pesticides.  Foods testing highest in pesticides:
  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Potatoes
  12. Celery

Children who are regularly exposed to a steady diet of chemicals in the form of invisible pesticides on foods face a lifetime of damage to their developing bodies and brains such as cancer.  When you go out to your local farmers market this year, please ask your farmers if they use pesticides or not. Buying organic really matters.   After all, we are Growing Healthy Kids.  

With love,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect
Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Lentils for Everyone!

"I feel that good food should be a right and not a privilege, and it needs to be without pesticides and herbicides.  And everyone deserves this food.  And that's not elitist."
                                                                                --Alice Waters

Dried lentils

You should know upfront that I love lentils.  Green lentils, black lentils, French lentils, red lentils.  All the colors are all in my food pantry and they are part of my weekly cooking plans.  I can't imagine life without lentils.  

Lentils are like your favorite cousins.  They are all related and have things in common because they are family but each cousin is different from one another. 

Here are 5 things lentils have in common:
  • Lentils are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. 
  • Lentils are one of the best sources of dietary fiber on the planet (fiber is only found in plant foods).  One serving of lentils = ¼ cup dried lentils which turns into ½ to 2/3 cup of cooked lentils. One serving of lentils contains between 5 and 10 grams of dietary fiber.  Adults need 28-45 grams of fiber every day.  Kids need around 28 grams a day (about 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed).  One serving of lentils is an easy way to get your daily dietary fiber. 
  • Because lentils are very high in dietary fiber, they fill you up, preventing overeating.
  • Lentils cost next to nothing!   A one pound bag of lentils costs between $1 and $2 and will easily make several meals for a family. 
  • Lentils, unlike beans, do not need to be soaked prior to cooking. 
  • Lentils have a short cooking time.  Twenty or thirty minutes is all it takes. 
  • Lentils are in the legume plant food group.  Other foods that are legumes are beans and peas.  

How lentils differ from each other:
  • They are different colors (green, brown, red, black). 
  • Some remain firm when cooked (French lentils), others practically melt when cooked (red lentils). 

My favorite source for great lentil recipes is  Make this your go-to resource! 

With food this good, who needs meat!  Make fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains your main food groups.  

With love,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect