Wednesday, June 30, 2021


 "If you have some potatoes, green beans, and cauliflower, you have a heck of a dish that can feed an entire family."

                                                                       --Chef Jose Andres

When I am grocery shopping and see other shoppers with carts filled with packages of red meat, I am always astounded by their total bills vs mine. How do they feed families week after week when their food bills are so high?  

Years ago, when I consciously stopped eating meat because of the relationship between meat and its cardiovascular health risks to my family’s health and my desire to act to prevent heart disease, I never thought about how that decision would affect my pocket. My choice was based on looking at our family’s health issues and wanting to not develop “hardening of the arteries”, a heart attack, or Alzheimer’s. 

When I shifted away from animal foods and towards eating primarily vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains, I started noticing that my food bills were much less than meat eaters.  MUCH less.  With a bag of lentils costing about $1.20 and making several meals and soups, I spend much less than people who eat meat every day.  A $2 butternut squash, with just a few other ingredients, can make a delicious soup for 6 people.  

Lentils and beans, the common denominator of the Blue Zones studied by Dan Buettner where people live very long lives, are affordable foods as well as some of the best sources of dietary fiber. Look for ways to incorporate lentils and beans, plus fruits, veggies, and whole grains, into your daily food plans and enjoy the benefits, health and financial! 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Celebrating Farmers and Chefs

"We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist."  

                                                                                          --Wendell Berry

Most Saturdays, I am at the local farmers market. I love to see what is in season, what farmers are growing and selling, and then create beautiful, delicious, and healthy dishes using those treasures.  Those who get up hours before dawn to pack a truck filled with freshly harvested salad greens, summer squash, cabbage, and cheddar cauliflower, to drive an hour or two to the farmers market to then unload, display, and sell their agricultural treasures to waiting fans are my heroes.  When summer’s heirloom tomatoes first appear, it is always a miracle – nothing tops a Purple Cherokee tomato for summer freshness!  The first time I discovered organic wasabi arugula, I was in heaven with this new flavor and the possibilities it offered in summer salads.  Surprises always await at the farmers market. 

On those occasions when I choose to eat out, I seek restaurants whose chefs feature locally grown seasonal foods on their menus.  I will never forget dining in Asheville, NC while attending a local growers conference and having grilled maitake mushrooms served on a bed of pureed parsnips.  What a great meal!  One of my personal beliefs is to always buy the best ingredients you can afford and so eating out is always a treat when chefs do the same. 

Every day I honor the farmers who grow food and the chefs who create amazing ways for it to be enjoyed.  Good food is an essential ingredient for health.  My life is so much better because of those who grow our food and those who create masterpieces in the kitchen. Thank you!  

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Protecting Our Children’s Health

 “Children who are raised on a healthful vegan diet have a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions.”

              (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

To get your kids started on a life filled with good health, start them young.  Teaching kids about healthy eating is easy when you:

Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and locally grown, whenever possible.  Start with mashed bananas, avocados, and peaches for the littles and diced or sliced for the olders.  For veggies, start with mashing potatoes, peas, and carrots. 

Make healthy snacks readily available on colorful platters when kids are out of school for the summer (such as brown rice cakes or whole grain crackers with nut butter, organic bananas, grapes, and stone fruits, and cucumbers or carrots with hummus).

Avoid dairy foods (and avoid dairy-related allergies).  Cow’s milk is for baby cows, not baby people.    

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, June 9, 2021


"When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen..."

                                                                                     --A.A. Milne (1882-1956)

This time of the year, tomatoes are beginning to ripen on vines all over the US. One of my favorite heirloom varieties is the Purple Cherokee tomato (see picture above).  

Recently, I shared my favorite guacamole recipe in Wellness Wednesdays.  In our workshops teaching kids about healthy eating and cooking, an ideal companion recipe to guacamole is a basic salsa recipe.  When the summer flavors of fresh tomatoes and cilantro get to dance together, it can be magic.  The joy of taking every day ingredients and creating a delicious dish that kids love to devour is worth any effort.  Learning how to make salsa is a wonderful introduction to the world of great ingredients and amazing flavors for kids. 

Below is the recipe that has introduced hundreds of kids to healthy cooking and eating. 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS: Our Recipe Collection

Summer Salsa


  • 3 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced (optional) (can substitute green pepper)
  • Dash of pink Himalayan sea salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Serve with chips and guacamole.

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


"You get the health benefits of coffee up through about the first 24 ounces.  It's the biggest source of antioxidants for Americans, and we think it helps prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well."

                                                                                        --Mehmet Oz, MD

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, sponsored by The Alzheimer’s Association.  When I work with a group of kids, I often ask if they have any family members with Alzheimer’s or memory issues.  There are always a few hands in the air. It breaks my heart when children know they have a family member affected by Alzheimer’s. When I ask kids who has a family members with diabetes, more hands go up. 

Teaching kids about what real food is and what to do with it is critical to improving health literacy aimed at preventing and reversing diabetes and childhood obesity.  Because Alzheimer’s, similar to diabetes, can take decades to develop before symptoms appear, we as families and communities need to learn about healthy eating, especially plant-based eating, as a way to prevent and reverse diabetes and possibly Alzheimer’s. 

Our brains are one of the most amazing machines in the world.  Preventing diseases, however, is where the U.S. “health” care system does a really poor job. Research shows we need to include foods high in antioxidants, such as coffee and dark chocolate.  Eat green leafy vegetables like kale, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, and dark blue and red foods like blueberries and pomegranate juice, and drinking a cup or two of coffee a day, may be the type of food we need to eat more of to protect one of our most valuable resources – our brain. 

Let’s learn to nourish our brains – and those of our children - for good health now and in 30 or 50 years!

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect