Wednesday, May 26, 2021


"A healthy diet can help prevent cancer, since up to 60% of cancer cases are diet-related."


All kids need to learn how to prepare some basic recipes.  Call it survival.  Call it introducing kids to a lifelong love affair with real food.  When kids get to play in the kitchen, they need space to play without judgment.  

One of the best ways to start your kids on a lifetime of healthy eating adventures is to teach them how to make guacamole.  At many of our workshops for kids, it is the adult volunteers who often have the most fun when they learn how to make guacamole for the first time after years of eating it. I have loved Hass avocados (see picture above) ever since I was a kid in California. I remember bringing avocados back to St. Louis from California on my flights when avocados were first introduced to California. Making guacamole involves a lot of fun: you get to mash the avocado, mince the garlic, squeeze the lime, season with cumin, and taste with your favorite chips!

Here’s my favorite guacamole recipe.  Change it up to suit you and your family.

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection



  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Hot sauce - to taste
  • Fresh cilantro and/or dried cumin
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt


In medium bowl, mash avocado to desired consistency.  Add garlic, lime juice, hot sauce, fresh cilantro, cumin, and sea salt.  If I have a really ripe tomato, sometimes I finely dice half of it and stir it in.  If I have a fresh jalapeno on hand, I deseed it and finely dice half of it to add for a pop of flavor. 

Avocados contain the good kind of fat, called unsaturated. They add great flavor to salads, grain bowls, toast, sandwiches, and tacos.  Enjoy!    

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Embracing Local Foods

"The USDA is not our ally here.  We have to take matters into our own hands, not only by advocating for a better diet for everyone - and that's the hard part - but by improving our own.  And that happens to be quite easy.  Less meat, less junk, more plants."

                                                                                             --Mark Bittman

I just finished reading Mark Bittman's new book, Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food from Sustainable to Suicidal.  Published this year, the book is a must read if you care about where your food comes from and how it is grown.  It is also recommended for all those working to creating local food policies that support local farmers and a sustainable food chain.  It makes me proud of how my grandfather rotated his crops, growing clover and alfalfa as cover crops to replenish the soil on his Indiana farm.

Having survived more than a year of living through a once-in-a-century pandemic, we have become acutely conscious of how fragile our food system is and how unhealthy most of the food grown in the U.S. is.  Mr. Bittman wrote that 75% of the world eats what is considered “peasant food” while most of the food grown in the U.S. is used to create ethanol for fuel and to feed animals destined for the inhumane CAFO (confined animal feeding operations). When the U.S. shifted to monocrop farming and the use of Round-up Ready corn and soybean seeds, the incidence of diseases such as cancer and autism made a rapid rise.  Glyphosate, the cancer-causing active ingredient in Round-Up, is now in most of the U.S. drinking water supply.

In the past year, Louisville chef Edward Lee responded to the pandemic and transformed his love of good food and feeding others to create supports for restaurant workers (Restaurant Workers Relief Program), people living in food deserts (McAtee Training and Community Kitchen), local farmers, and a better farm to fork supply chain.

I choose to vote for locally grown, seasonal organic foods every weekend when I visit the local farmers market wherever I am.  Writers like Mark Bittman raise awareness that we better start caring about how our food is grown in the U.S. by supporting local farmers and rethinking our food supply. Chefs like Edward Lee provide hope that we can do it. After all, food is love.   

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: May is Mental Health Month

"When we prioritize our well-being, our creativity, decision making, productivity, and our health all go up across the board."

                                                                                                   --Arianna Huffington 

Working with students with disabilities, I am conscious of how the once-in-century COVID-19 pandemic created layers of stress often invisible to others. Depression and anxiety have increased in students isolated at home for virtual school, staring into a computer for hours, struggling to maintain attention, not getting exercise outside, without contact with friends. Teachers may go weeks without seeing students who are learning at home and keep the computer camera off, limiting teachers' ability to observe subtle changes in behavior, appearance or affect.  Some kids overeat during stressful times, especially now when parents may be working outside of the home, leaving kids alone for hours. 

May is Mental Health Month.  Mental Health America offers a list of 10 tools that can help parents and their children. Your child may not say anything to you, but their behavior, such as withdrawal, silence, lack of sleep, or bad dreams, may indicate a need for help.  When kids' mental health is suffering, it is up to us to act.  

Here are Mental Health America's Top 10 tools:

  1. Connect with others
  2. Stay positive
  3. Get physically active
  4. Help others
  5. Get enough sleep
  6. Create joy and satisfaction
  7. Eat well
  8. Take care of your spirit
  9. Deal better with hard times
  10. Get professional help if you need help

Use these tips to ensure that you and your children are as healthy as possible, in body, mind, and spirit.  We all need Growing Healthy Kids

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Building Healthy Pantries

"If [over the] age of 10, the question isn't whether or not to eat healthy to prevent heart disease, it's whether or not you want to reverse the heart disease you already have." 

                                                                                          --Michael Greger, MD

I love helping families “health up” their kitchen pantries to make it easier for them to go plant-based.  Here are 5 "must haves" to keep on hand in your food pantry so putting meals together will be a snap!

  1. Lentils (such as green, red, black, French)
  2. Beans (dried and canned, such as garbanzos, black, pinto, cannellini and more)
  3. Rice (jasmine or basmati brown, black, red, wild)
  4. Vegetable broth (unless you always have homemade stock on hand)
  5. Canned San Marzano tomatoes (for making tomato soup, chili, and pasta sauce)

Why you want these in your food pantry:

  1. LENTILS:  These are a nutritional POWERHOUSE!  Full of dietary fiber, extremely versatile, and so inexpensive you won’t look back at the meat counter again.  When you cook lentils for a dinner recipe, cook a little extra to enjoy the next day or two (such as breakfast lentil tacos).  Most lentils cook in 20 minutes.  So easy!  Some of the lentils are used in very different ways from other lentils.  Take red lentils, for example. Soak 1 cup red lentils with 2 cups water for 4 hours.  Add your favorite spices. Pour into blender and blend until smooth, like the consistency of pancake batter. Heat a fry pan to medium high.  Add a dash of olive oil.  Pour about ½ cup of batter.  Cook 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, and flip.  When cooked on both sides, serve lentil flatbread immediately with soup or salad. 
  2. BEANS:  I like to keep dried and canned beans on hand at all times. One-two daily servings of legumes (beans, lentils, and peas) is the goal.  Like lentils, beans are a huge source of dietary fiber.  Most Americans are sadly lacking in their daily fiber, a major contributor to colon cancer and diabetes. Cooking dried beans is SO EASY.  Once you do it once, you will always do it.  One of my weekly food prep tasks is to cook a batch of dried beans (Easiest method for me:  Soak beans in water overnight.  The next morning, drain water, place beans in crock pot, cover with water plus 2” over beans.  Cover and cook on low about 5-6 hours.  Season and enjoy!
  3. RICE:  Like beans and lentils, there are many varieties of rice. The key is to stock whole grain rice.  AVOID WHITE RICE - no fiber or B-vitamins!  When the outer coating is removed, it cooks faster but the rice is stripped of its dietary fiber and B-vitamins. There are so many wonderful whole grain rice varieties.  The first time I tried black ("forbidden") rice, I was overjoyed at the flavor and texture; when I first tried wild rice, served by my mother when I grew up in Sacramento, California, a well-known rice-growing region, I looked for menus to include this wonderful ingredient. 
  4. VEGETABLE BROTH:  I always keep a box of low-sodium vegetable broth in my food pantry.  I also love to make my own vegetable broth (every batch is different, depending on the inventory of vegetable scraps in my freezer) but that doesn't happen every week.  When I have a bag of vegetable peelings (potato peels, onion skins, broccoli stems, carrot tops, mushroom stems, etc.), then I make vegetable broth because it is great to use for cooking rice and soups.
  5. CANNED SAN MARZANO TOMATOES:  What can I say.  These are simply the best and worth the extra buck.  Endless uses for really good tomatoes.  Always buy the best quality you can afford!     

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect