Wednesday, April 28, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Three Tips for Going Plant-Based

 

"We help people to begin truly healthful diets, and it is absolutely wonderful to see, not only their success, but also their delight at their ability to break old habits and feel really healthy for a change."

                                                                                    --Neal Barnard, MD


The last issue of Wellness Wednesdays was about moving to plant-based eating.  Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, has this suggestion if you are one of those people who does not know where to start: start with the foods you eat from around the world. 

Here are my3 tips to start your journey:

  1. Do you like Italian?  Make spaghetti without the meatballs.  Use cashew parm (see my recipe below) instead of parmesan made from animals. 
  2. Do you like Mexican?  Make lentil tacos instead of meat tacos.  Lentils are one of my go-to foods.  Full of dietary fiber, lentils fill you up, preventing overeating.  They are also extremely cheap. Dried lentils (green, red, black, and French) all have a special place in my kitchen pantry.  Lentil and avocado tacos are one of my favorite breakfasts.
  3. Do you like Asian cuisine?  Make tofu spring rolls instead of shrimp spring rolls. 

These ideas are easy to do, very kid-friendly, and budget friendly.  Winner, winner, winner!!!

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection

CASHEW PARM

INGREDIENTS:

·        2/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews

·         ¼ cup nutritional yeast

·        1/2 teaspoon sea salt

·        1 teaspoon garlic salt

·        ½ teaspoon thyme (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.   Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until the mixture is a fine crumb.

2.   Store in jar in fridge for up to 3 weeks.

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Making the Move to Plant-Based Eating

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian."'

                                                                                       --Paul McCartney


Growing lettuce and arugula is a whole lot easier than raising a cow for slaughter.  One of the lessons from the past year’s once-in-a-century pandemic is that America's meat-centric food system is not sustainable for our planet and for humans. 

As evidence continues to mount about the health benefits of plant-based eating and the ability to reverse chronic diseases, the case against eating foods from animals worsens.  Not only is plant-based eating healthier for humans, it is so much healthier for our planet.  Cows require a lot of land.  Raising beef requires 20 times more land than the equivalent protein found in beans. Thirty percent of the Earth’s ice-free land is used as pasture for livestock, according to an article in The Washington Post.

Plant-based eating, with its focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, is a joyful way of eating.  Ten years ago the film "Forks Over Knives" was released in May 2011 and a cascade of films about food, the environment, and health flowed.  People learned about the underside of the beef and chicken industries with their inherent cruelty to animals, the damage caused by eating animal products, especially when it comes from fast food restaurants (watch "Supersize Me") and the health benefits of eating plants, not animals.  Doctors like Michael Greger and Neal Barnard have proven that plant-based eating not only controls diabetes, but can reverse it for many people. 

Make the move to plant-based eating. Next time you make spaghetti, skip the meatballs. Learn how to make vegan parmesan (recipe in next week's Wellness Wednesdays article).  It's easy! 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Childhood Obesity in America

"Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States, putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents is still too high."

                                                                                     --CDC.gov

Sugary drinks.  Sugar-filled breakfast cereals and snack bars.  White bread with no dietary fiber.  Fast food meals filled with fat, sugar, and salt.  Unrealistic portion sizes. “Empty calories” with no nutritional value. 

Yes, Virginia, you are what you eat.

Is it any wonder that we have a childhood obesity crisis in America?  According to Centers to Disease Control and Prevention, "For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years in 2017-2018 the prevalence of obesity was 19.3% and affected about 14.4 million children and adolescents."

Choosing food to buy, cook, and eat is a big part of our lives.  As parents, we have a responsibility to raise healthy kids.  All kids deserve access to healthy foods but many don’t receive it.  It may be they live in a food desert. Perhaps they are being raised by grandparents on a fixed income.  A family’s income may qualify kids for the free and reduced meal program at school, where they receive 2 of 3 daily weekday meals.  Hours spent with videogames are hours not spent outside getting exercise and fresh air.  

Educating parents about that all breakfast cereals are not equal is a step to health literacy.  Teaching parents to recognize the dozens of hidden sugars in prepared foods, especially those marketed to children, is a big step.  Learning that dietary fiber (found only in foods that grow from the earth like fruits and vegetables) is what fills us up and prevents us from overeating is a lesson to master.

Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (lentils, beans, and peas) as your primary food groups.  Buy kid-friendly cooking tools and let your kids help you prepare family meals and school lunches. Create fun themes for dinner such as "Mango Mondays" and “Tempeh Taco Tuesdays” and invite your kids to make colorful posters celebrating meals made with featured ingredients. 

Childhood obesity rates are a dangerous sign that we can - and must - do better to ensure that all kids have access to healthy foods.  

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Planting Time

 




This time of year, if you live in the Midwest, the temperatures start rising and you know spring is here. New crops of flowering trees explode in brilliant color every week.  The big box stores are stocked up on packets of vegetable and flower seeds and garden stores are crazy busy.  This is a great time to fill a couple of pots with dirt and plant a tomato or pepper seed or seedling with your kids.  Put the pots outside with at least 5-6 hours of sunshine, water when dry, and watch things grow. 

Teaching kids about what real food is starts with teaching them how food grows.  Start a small kitchen garden, or a pizza garden (tomatoes, basil, peppers) or a salad garden (greens, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, peppers, etc.).  Make it fun!  Keep a visual diary where your kids draw a picture once a week (or take a picture with your phone) of their plants.  

Embrace the joy of growing something simple with your kids.  Then see where the passion for growing your own food takes you. 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect