Wednesday, October 27, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Striving for Variety

“It’s been said that no one can really motivate anyone else; all you can do is instill a positive attitude and hope it catches on.”

                                                               --Eddie Robinson

My Saturday mornings are defined by visits to the local farmers market.  When I am in Indiana, most Saturdays it is the New Albany Farmers Market where I trade 5 or 10 or sometimes 20 dollars for fresh picked vegetables and herbs at my favorite farmers. These Saturday morning choices will guide my dinner menus for the next week.  Last Saturday I got a head of Napa cabbage (from Axel of Lost Acres Farm, the same farmer who grew the bok choy I just featured in curry dishes), fresh garlic, poblano peppers (for adding to mushroom and black bean quesadillas), new potatoes (for using with poblano peppers in breakfast tacos), and Heirloom tomatoes (sadly, getting to the end of the tomato season) and spring onions (will use in the breakfast tacos). 

To get a good range of vitamins and minerals, it is very important to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits.  Not just potatoes and apples.  Not just green beans and blueberries.  We need to strive for a weekly variety of 15, 20 or more different fresh foods (from local farmers whenever possible).  Eat a cornucopia of different foods and your body will thank you.  The synergistic effect of eating a variety will help heal you and keep you healthy.

This week's goal is to make or create a new recipe with Axel’s beautiful head of Napa cabbage.  I also plan to track what vegetables and fruits I eat (I like to do this occasionally to self-monitor my weekly variety) to see what this week’s number is.  

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Photo above:  kohlrabi

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


 “Let food be thy medicine.”


Photo: Freshly dug sweet potatoes from Shining Light Garden

Some people rely on a pharmacy for their medicine to make them well.  I prefer going to the farmacy, at my local farmers market or out my back door.  Eating foods that were grown within 50 miles and were just picked have very high nutritional value.

People who know me know that early Saturday mornings are sacred time when I am at the local farmers market, shopping for the superstars of my week's meals.  It is important to eat and drink a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and not consume the same 3 or 4 items.  Here is a list of some locally grown foods I have been using in the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen this week:

  • Bok choy
  • Baby butternut squash
  • Poblano peppers
  • Garlic
  • Zucchini
  • Heirloom tomatoes

We have been eating very well with these wonderful vegetables. Adding organic brown rice, farro, and lentils (for a lentil-vegetable soup), this week’s selection of meals have been tasty, inexpensive, healthy, and full of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. 

Every child deserves access to healthy foods, including fresh vegetables and fruits.  Wouldn't it be great if every child had their own food farmacy? Start small, with a pot of herbs, such as basil or thyme, on the kitchen window sill.  Start sprouting seeds in mason jars.  In the spring plant 3 tomato plants and some radishes.  Get a Tower Garden.  Take your kids with you to the farmers market near you.

Plant seeds.  Start your own farmacy.  After all, we are Growing Healthy Kids. 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


"The diet, to be healthy, has to be mostly fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds."

                                                                          --Dr. Joel Fuhrman

There has always been a bit of a “living on the wild side” feeling when I create recipes using my favorite seeds:  pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, hemp, and flax.  Weird, I know.  Adding seeds to your favorite recipes can really kick things up a notch.  They add a fun crunch and nuttiness to foods.  When you realize the power of real food to keep us healthy, you respect every bite you eat.  The journey from the farmers who grew the food to my plate deserves to be respected, revered, and protected.

Joyful is how I always feel biting into zucchini bread made with ground flax and pumpkin seeds.  Weird, I know. Butternut squash soup topped with toasted pumpkin seeks always makes me smile.  The nutritional value of seeds is valuable to our well-being: 

  • seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, phytosterols, potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber

At least once a month, I make veggie burgers in the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen. Below is one of my favorite recipes: 3 Seed Burgers.  You can make the burger mixture, then cover and place mixing bowl in the fridge for a few hours or overnight before cooking.

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection



·        ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

·        ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds

·        ¼ cup unhulled sesame seeds (or substitute hemp seeds)

·        1 cup cooked lentils

·        2 tablespoons rolled oats

·        3 tablespoons tomato paste

·        ¼ cup diced onions

·        2 tablespoons tahini

·        1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

·        Pinch of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika


Preheat oven to 350.  In food processor, combine all 3 seeds and process until coarsely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients.  Process until mixture is blended.  Shape mixture into 4 patties. Lightly oil a baking sheet with a little olive oil.  Place patties on sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn and bake another 8 minutes. 

Serve burgers on whole grain buns.  Garnish with avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes. 

Eat.  Enjoy.  Repeat.

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Why I Love Ground Flax Seeds

 "I could talk food all day. I love good food."

                                                                   --Tom Brady

The best chefs in the world will tell you the same thing:  Use the best ingredients you can afford to buy.  One of the best ingredients for good health also happens to be very inexpensive:  ground flax seeds. Even when you buy organic seeds, these gems are a true value for all the good health benefits they contain.  

I have long known about the health benefits of flax seeds.  A bag can always be found in my fridge. The issue was I was only eating them once in a while.  When I read How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger a few years ago, I re-embraced these beauties for their many health benefits and focused on including them daily in what I eat.  

Not only are flax seeds high in dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, they help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.  They help ensure regular bowel movements.  ONLY use ground or milled flax seeds, preferably organic, as whole seeds exit the body in the same state as they entered-whole and undigested.  One to two tablespoons a day, added to shakes, salads, cereal, and muffins, can be a game changer to help improve your health status. Their nutty taste adds flavor, too. Try them for 2 weeks and feel the difference! 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect