Wednesday, February 24, 2021


"So, if I'm cooking, I'll be steaming vegetables, making some nice salad, that kind of stuff."

                                                                                             --Paul McCartney

The lessons for kids, when you teach them how to make a simple spring salad, are endless.  Possible ingredients to use.  How to select a fruit to add the perfect burst of natural sugar with each bite.  The joy of a simple vinaigrette dressing. Best meal for having a salad. Which of your favorite bowls to use?  How to display the salad?  Will it be a chopped salad, a salad nicoise-type salad, a salad bowl, or a salad bar?   Which pair of salad tongs will you use? So many choices!

Recently I bought a head of organic green leaf lettuce for a dinner salad.  Once home and in the kitchen, I thinly sliced English cucumbers, avocado slices, and cut organic seedless red grapes in half.  I topped the salad with a freshly whisked EVOO, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper vinaigrette. Simple and easy.

So, how did my salad taste, you ask?  It was awesome!!! The first bite of salad, and every consecutive bite, was like biting into Spring, all fresh and crunchy.  There is nothing like it. A spring salad with just 3 or 4 ingredients in perfect proportions.  Gently toss ingredients and place into a beautiful bowl with your favorite salad tongs. Serve with some fresh Italian or French bread and you have a beautiful meal.  

Won’t you join me in celebrating this wonderful season and all the delicious fruits and vegetables being grown by our local farmers?  The joys of spring salads await you!

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Exploring Farmers Markets

"We have food deserts in our cities. We know the distance you live from a supplier of fresh produce is one of the predictors of your health.  And in the inner city, people don't have grocery stores.  So we have to figure out a way of getting supermarkets and farmers markets into the inner cities."

                                                                                              ---Michael Pollan

Spring is around the corner.  It has been a long, cold winter here in Indiana and I am ready to spend my days outside working in the flower gardens instead of working inside with the heat turned on, dressed in layers of fleece vests and jackets.  When spring is here, the farmers markets are near. Pictured above are kids and volunteers with our Growing Healthy Kids workshops where we take kids to the Vero Beach Farmers Market.  From my experience working with kids who live in food deserts, our Growing Healthy Kids' trips represent the first time these kids ever visited their local farmers market.  

Taking children to the local farmers market is a game changer for kids. If you were not raised on a farm to see how food is grown, the farmers market is the next best thing.  Meeting the farmers who grow the food is a great way to learn about how important it is to eat real food.  Learning how much work it takes to grow food makes one think about what we are eating and drinking.  Are we eating nutrient dense food so every bite contributes to our health? Are we treating our food with respect?  Do we respect the people who grow our food? 

Since Growing Healthy Kids began in 2009, we have taken lots of kids to local farmers markets.  The kids meet farmers, talk with them, buy organically grown vegetables for our cooking workshops, and taste what they have bought and prepared.  These are life lessons that kids don’t forget.  This spring, find out where your local farmers market is and take your kids shopping there.  Support your local farmers.  Teach your kids what real food is.  Be kind. 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect


Wednesday, February 10, 2021


“So, by the time Gregory came to speak on our campus in 1986, he had been a vegetarian for nearly 20 years. In his speech, he traced the path of a hamburger from a cow on a factory farm to the slaughterhouse to a hamburger to a clogged artery to a heart attack, and it completely rocked my world.

                                                       --Tracye McQuirter

This quote about comedian and human rights activist Dick Gregory (1932-2017), pictured above, caught my eye. As more and more Americans embrace veganism and plant-based eating, it is important to remember history. 

February is Black History Month and an occasion to celebrate black farmers and others who have contributed to our collective health.  One such person was George Washington Carver (1864-1943), scientist, botanist and inventor.  Invited to head up the Tuskegee Institute’s Agricultural Department, Mr. Carver researched new uses for peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and pecans.  He urged farmers to rotate crops (a practice my grandfather used on his 160 acre farm in Indiana) and to use organic fertilizers.  He knew the value of soil that was cared for to grow food rich in nutritional value and his research benefited farmers.   He also became a nutritional advisor to Matahma Gandhi.

People like Dick Gregory and George Washington Carver helped raise awareness about the connection between what we eat and our health. Nourishing our soil by not destroying it with chemicals is key to growing good foods.  We need access to healthy foods.  Celebrate Black History Month and those whose contributions add value to our health and the health of America's children.  

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


"Exercise is beneficial and I highly recommend it.  But a lack of exercise is not the primary reason for weight problems and exercise can never take the place of a healthful diet."

--Neal Barnard, M.D., founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 

How much of the food you eat is considered to be nutrient dense?  The term “nutrient dense” indicates how much bang for the buck you get with what you eat and drink. 

Think about my favorite food groups: fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Nutrient density is a given with these groups, with some foods falling heavier on the scale than others.  Take cauliflower, in the cruciferous vegetable family (i.e., cauliflower, broccoli or "little trees", collards, cabbage, and arugula).  It is a nutritional powerhouse, high in Vitamin C and K, high in dietary fiber (about 12 grams of fiber per head), high in potassium, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. We should all enjoy a little cauliflower (or other cruciferous vegetables) every day. 

When I go grocery shopping, I sometimes peak into others’ grocery carts, especially when kids are tagging along.  I spy cereal boxes filled with added sugars, food dyes, and empty calories. I spy packages of meat and chicken (no dietary fiber in anything from an animal but full of saturated fat, the kind of fat that contributes to heart disease).  I spy highly processed foods such as Pop Tarts with a gazillion ingredients and no nutritional value.  Those “foods” are not nutrient dense and contribute to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Foods that are highly processed and loaded with added sugars, salt, and fat should be avoided or rarely consumed.  The other day my lunch was Mediterranean pasta salad with Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and yellow bell peppers, with a simple red wine-olive oil vinaigrette. So good and good for you!

What you eat can kill you or heal you.  Make every bite count.  Turn up your relationship with real food and make most of what you eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.  Leave processed foods in the store and enjoy real food and healthy meals with your children!

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect