Wednesday, July 28, 2021



"I believe dancing is the best stress reliever."

                                                                              --Dylan Lauren 

School is starting soon.  Another school year living in the COVID-19 pandemic and life is going to get weird and possibly dangerous, especially now with the highly contagious Delta variant which targets kids. 

As you know, there is no COVID vaccine – yet – for kids under 12 years of age.  Our children are now among the most vulnerable to become infected and sick, some so sick they may be hospitalized, and some may die. 

This pandemic and its impact on children and schools is a huge deal and getting worse due to the number of unvaccinated people.  What we can do as parents, school teachers and administrators is work to ensure that kids have a delicious, healthy dinner with their family, down time in the evenings, at least an hour before bedtime without electronics, get a good night’s sleep.  Be mindful that your kiddos may be stressed and keep an eye out for changes such as:

  • unusual or new behaviors such as not engaging with family and friends,
  • being withdrawn,
  • spending more time alone,
  • taking more risk-taking behaviors,
  • talking back to a parent,
  • lack of concentration or focus,
  • avoiding sports,
  • starting smoking or drinking alcohol, or
  • talking about self-harm. 

Our children are embarking on a new school year in the midst of a once-in-a-hundred years pandemic.  They will experience stress.  Some will need professional help. School teachers and counselors can help keep an eye on your kids. If you have a concern, talk with school staff. Seek out mental health resources in your school or community. 

Stress contributes to overeating, anxiety, and sleep disturbances which can all be risk factors for childhood obesity. 

With the constant news about the pandemic that kids are likely to hear, whether or not you know it because kids are little sponges, parents need to be on guard.  We need to be hyper-vigilant for the sake of our children’s health –and their very lives.  

Everyone has stress, right?  You drive in traffic, you have stress.  Kids have a test coming up, they have stress.  What matters is our response to stress.  Take extra good care of yourself so you can take extra good care of your children in this uncharted time.

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


"Issues like diabetes do, as you well know, have a knock-on effect to diabetes. So we all are better off if we invest in prevention."

                                                                                            --Jacinda Ardern

I hate diabetes.  It can rob people of their sight, their limbs, their kidney function, their lives.  It causes people to go on kidney dialysis. It puts people at 2-4 times higher risk for having a heart attack or stroke than someone without diabetes.  It is preventable and can be reversed.  

Kids who are overweight and obese are at higher risk for developing diabetes than kids who are at healthy weights. Diabetes matters to the health of America’s children which is why pediatricians, school administrators, community leaders, and parents should be taking actions to prevent it. 

Childhood obesity is the elephant in the room.  We ignore obesity, turn a blind eye, and pretend it is not there.  But obesity is a major risk factor for children being diagnosed with diabetes. 

All children deserve access to healthy foods to help them maintain healthy weights. Are they eating animal products every day or are their families moving towards more plant-based eating and less consumption of meat, chicken, and dairy? Are they eating highly processed foods every day?  Are they consuming foods and drinks with added sugars every day?

Of course, there are other variables beside what kids eat, in the equation of when childhood obesity leads to a diabetes diagnosis, such as:

  • How much screen time do kids have?
  • Are they getting physical activity every day?
  • What are the stressors to their physical and mental health and are they being addressed?
  • Are they getting enough sleep? 

Moving to plant-based eating is one of the most important things we can do to prevent and reverse diabetes and to solve the childhood obesity epidemic. Please pass the lentils!    

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Summertime Tomatoes

"I am a farmer.  I will always be a farmer.  When I die, I'll be a farmer.  It's something I've wanted to do since I was 8 years old. I can tell you also that I see opportunity slipping away for our kids."

                                                                        --Jon Tester, US Senator from Montana

My Saturday forays to the local farmers market are the highlight of my food adventures.  Heirloom tomatoes are a beautiful, delicious food that make meal planning so easy.  Weekly meals at the house are planned around what local farmers are harvesting.  The nutritional value of foods picked a day ago is so much higher than foods picked a week or two ago and trucked across the country.  The flavor of locally grown organic foods exceeds foods grown on monoculture megafarms.

Support local farmers!  Enjoy summertime tomatoes! 

My Saturday breakfast:  beautiful Focaccio bread (from the new Leaven Bakery in New Albany, IN) with hummus and locally grown tomatoes (from the New Albany Farmers Market). 
With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: The Comfort of Coconut Milk

"I love comfort food - it's the basis of everything."

                         --Katie Lee

I only order green curry with vegetables and tofu at my favorite Thai restaurant.  There is a peaceful feeling that comes over me from the first bite to the last. I don't know if it is the flavor or the curry or the coconut milk.  I am pretty sure it is the coconut milk because of the deliciousness and comfort it puts into a dish.

There is always a can of coconut milk in my pantry.  Cooking with coconut milk is something I have wanted to learn how to do.  I don't think cooking with coconut milk is hard.  Is it because I associate coconut milk with Thai foods that I think learning how to cook with coconut milk seems exotic and foreign to me? I have finally reached a point where I want to learn how to cook with this comfort food ingredient, no matter what!  I really want it to be an easy ingredient for me to use, just like knowing how to use zucchini or mushrooms in a recipe is easy for me. 

This week I worked on a new comfort food recipe that turned out really great -  red lentil and coconut milk soup.  Part of the legume family, red lentils are very fast cooking and are a comfort food in their own right.  The combination of red lentils and coconut milk is delicious!  This recipe will be going into regular rotation at my house.  Here is my new recipe for you to enjoy! 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  our recipe collection

RED LENTIL and coconut milk SOUP


1 teaspoon olive oil 

1 large onion, chopped

·         2 garlic cloves, minced

·         ½ teaspoon coriander

·         1 teaspoon ground cumin

·         ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

·         1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

·         1 Tablespoon curry powder

·         1 Tablespoon tomato paste

·         4 cups vegetable broth or water

·         1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

·         3/4 cup dried red lentils, rinsed

·         1 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt

·         1 can full fat coconut milk


1.    In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion.  Sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, sauté another minute. 

2.    Stir in spices and tomato paste.  Sauté for 2 minutes.

3.    Add broth, diced tomatoes, and lentils. Bring to a boil, then partially cover pot and turn heat to simmer. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Add salt and coconut milk.

4.    Use an immersion blender to purée soup.  Serve with your favorite bread or over brown rice.   

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect