Eating outside the “Box”

After Hurricane Harvey, my household grew by seven–my daughter, son-in-law, three grandkids, and two granddogs.  My husband and I are thankful that we have a dry house where they can stay as they recover from the five feet of water that destroyed their apartment.

School has resumed, and my beautiful grandchildren are up at 6:30 a.m. and out the door shortly after 7:00.  Like so many families, mornings don’t allow much time for breakfast, and convenience foods like toaster pastries and granola bars are easy to grab and eat on the go.  These foods are mostly simple sugars, with insignificant amounts of protein and healthy fat, which are needed to give strength and sustained energy for learning, playing, and growing bodies and minds.

When I quiz them about what they have for school lunches, so far it’s been cheeseburgers, pizza, potatoes, etc.  One of my grandson’s classmates felt sorry for him since he lost his home, so he gave him a Honeybun.  That was a thoughtful act of kindness, but you can see that there’s no shortage of refined carbohydrates available to our children.

My mission as grandma and nutritionist is to find creative ways (outside the “box”) to get nutrients into their bodies so they’ll have the fuel they need to meet academic, physical, and social challenges.  It starts with me being present in the kitchen and dialoguing with them about how food affects their brain and body.  We talk about eating outside the “box”.

I appealed to my 12-year-old grandson by telling him that he needs protein to build muscle.  I offered him a snack bag filled with a handful of raw cashews to put in his back pack.  I cooked some organic frozen corn in a little olive oil and organic butter, and he ate a bowlful for breakfast.  This was eating outside the “box” for him.

My other grandson and granddaughter wanted frozen waffles topped with pure maple syrup and hemp seeds (we call them sprinkles).  The hemp seeds add protein and healthy fats, which the brain needs to function at its best.  My granddaughter took raw cashews (good source of calcium) in her snack bag, and my grandson took raw sunflower seeds (good source of vitamin E).

Two of my three grandkids drank some chlorophyll water (we call it leprechaun juice because it’s green).  Chlorophyll is what makes leaves green.  It helps increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.  We use one from Nature’s Sunshine that’s made from alfalfa and contains spearmint oil, which is a natural remedy for indigestion and bloating.  I mix about one teaspoonful into eight ounces of water.

I remind them to drink water in the mornings to hydrate their brains so they’ll be ready to think.  We do a little math to explain the average amount they need to drink each day.  They divide their weight by two to get the number of ounces of water.  Since they often consume water in bottles, we decide how many they need to drink to meet their daily requirement.

I asked one of my grandsons if he would eat dragons’ tails (green beans) or broccoli for breakfast.  He said yes!  I told him that was eating outside the “box”.  Guess what I’m going to serve in the morning?

My grandchildren are helping me experiment with different “energy bar” recipes.  The first one I tried was the consistency of sticky cookie dough, which they enjoyed as an after-school snack and again this morning.  I mixed almond flour (a handful of ground almonds) with collagen powder (protein), raw honey, unsweetened applesauce, coconut flour, vanilla, unsweetened peanut butter, and dairy-free chocolate chips.  They were a hit!

I also try to use meal time to teach them to read ingredients on packaged foods and drinks.  Little by little, we must teach our children to learn to be healthy.  It’s foundational to their success!

Come on over to the Learning to be Healthy Facebook Group and share some healthy breakfast and snack tips or a favorite energy bar recipe!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

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Love Your Liver May 17 Challenge!

My grandson, Levi, was born with a diseased liver and had a transplant before he was one year old.  We remember that day, May 17, with prayers of gratitude, along with prayers for the donor family who lost their loved one.  Without a liver transplant, our precious 6 1/2-year-old Levi would not be alive today.

The liver is the largest and hardest working organ in the body.  It must filter and cleanse the bloodstream of toxins, which protects the immune system from overload.  Many people who have auto-immune conditions may have an underlying liver problem.  Reducing the liver’s workload can strengthen the immune system, helping to reduce allergic reactions and digestive problems.

The liver is also a major fat-burning organ.  It helps to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, making it important for weight loss.

Some signs that may indicate that your liver needs to be strengthened and cleansed include:

Inability to lose weight

Belly fat and/or abdominal bloating

Fatty liver

Gall bladder problems

High blood cholesterol and/or triglycerides

Hemorrhoids/constipation

Easily overheated

Skin problems like rashes or brown spots (“liver spots”)

Bad breath and/or coated tongue

Dark circles under eyes and/or red, itchy eyes

Allergies and/or other immune problems

Advanced signs include yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice)

Some factors that can influence liver health include:

A diet high in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, which can lead to a fatty liver

A diet deficient in fresh and raw fruits and vegetables

Toxic food and beverage additives

Alcohol and/or drug abuse

Side effects from prescription drugs

Viruses like hepatitis A, B, and C

Auto-immune disorders (chronic inflammation)

Negative stress and emotions

On May 17, in honor of Levi’s liver transplant, I challenge you to love your liver by choosing foods to help support and cleanse it.  The following list includes foods to help you get started:

Dandelion leaves

Spinach

Parsley

Garlic

Cruciferous vegetables:  cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, horseradish, mustard greens, radish

Apples/apple cider vinegar

Lemons

Beetroot

Carrots

Grapefruit

Artichokes

Fennel

An added bonus is that these foods can help stimulate the liver to burn fat, making them beneficial for weight loss and cases of fatty liver.

Choose at least one fruit and one vegetable from the above list to include in your diet on May 17.  Afterwards, make a plan to add something from this list to your daily diet.  Don’t get in a rut by eating the same foods every day.  Variety is key to a nutrient-dense diet.

Some supplements that may improve liver function include milk thistle, dandelion leaf and root, beetroot, artichoke, turmeric, and lecithin.  Ginger contains lecithin and is anti-inflammatory.

You can find many of these supplements in tea form.  Be sure to choose organic to keep from introducing additional toxins for your liver to filter.

Nature’s Sunshine makes a supplement called LIV-J that contains dandelion leaves, horseradish, beetroot, parsley, fennel, and other herbs to help nourish and cleanse the liver.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Citrus fruit–nature’s seasonal medicine!

Citrus fruits supply a healthy amount of vitamin C, which helps protect our bodies from cell damage, as well as improve skin, gums, mood, and memory.  Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of calcium and iron.

A deficiency of vitamin C has been linked to cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The National Cancer Institute has called oranges a complete package of every known natural anti-cancer inhibitor.

Citrus fruits contain pectin, a soluble fiber which helps control cholesterol levels and binds with toxins in the digestive tract to remove them from the body.  In animals, pectin was shown to inhibit the metastasis of prostate and melanoma cancers.

Pectin has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar by lowering glucose absorption in those with type 2 diabetes.

Limone is found in the oil of the peel of oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes, and in smaller amounts in the pulp.  Limone has been shown to cause the regression of tumors.  Studies have shown lower rates of certain cancers in those who regularly consume citrus peel.

Eat some of the pith (white part between the fruit and peel), as it contains high amounts of fiber, pectin, limonene, and other health-protecting compounds.  The peel also has beneficial amounts of these substances, but you need to wash the fruit well and buy organic.

Citrus fruits contain potassium, which helps keep bones strong and protect the cardiovascular system.

Citrus fruits contain flavonoids that help strengthen blood vessel walls and are widely used in Europe to treat diseases of the blood vessels and lymph system, including hemorrhoids, easy bruising, and nosebleeds.

Citrus flavonoids have also been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth, act as anti-inflammatories, and possess anti-viral activity.

An average orange contains about 64 mg of vitamin C, 238 mg of potassium, 61 mg of calcium, and 3 grams of fiber.

Orange pulp contains twice the amount of vitamin C as the peel and 10 times that found in the juice!

For the most health benefits, eat the whole fruit, preferably organic.  When consuming juice, squeeze it fresh.  There is much nutrient loss in packaged juices.  If you do buy juice, choose those with high pulp content to get more of the fiber and pectin.

Eat a serving or two daily during citrus season.  Choose from oranges, tangerines, kumquats, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.

Tip:  When choosing a vitamin C supplement, look for one that contains bioflavonoids.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.mealgarden.com/expert/lisahernandez

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www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

Why an apple a day might help keep the doctor away!🍎

In the early 20th century, an article in American Medicine magazine praised the apple as   “. . . therapeutically effective in all conditions of acidosis, gout, rheumatism, jaundice, all liver and gallbladder troubles, nervous and skin diseases caused by sluggish liver, hyperacidity, and states of autointoxication.”

Apples contain a soluble fiber called pectin, shown to have the following properties:

Pectin helps remove lead and other toxic metals from the digestive tract.  This is especially beneficial for those who live in high-traffic urban areas.

Pectin stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine, which can improve digestion and support the immune system.

Pectin helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL), making it useful against heart disease.

Pectin can help balance blood sugar.

Pectin can help manage both constipation and diarrhea.

In addition to pectin:

The peel of an apple contains quercetin, a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Apples contain the mineral boron, which helps increase blood levels of estrogen, acting as a mild “estrogen replacement therapy.”  Estrogen helps prevent calcium and magnesium loss from bones.  Studies showed that just 3 mg of boron a day decreased calcium loss by 40%!  An average apple contains about .5 mg of boron.

According to Psychologist James Penland, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, a lack of boron can affect mental alertness and test performance by slowing the brain’s electrical activity.  Dr. Penland found that just 3 mg of boron a day increased brain activity.

Fruits, nuts, and beans are some of the best sources of boron, as well as honey.

Bonus benefits:

Apples have compounds that are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.

When eaten before meals, apples can help suppress the appetite.

Boron may hinder the excretion of magnesium associated with taking diuretics or digitalis.

Recommendation:

Buy organic apples.  According to ewg.org, non-organic apples come in second on the list of produce that contains high amounts of toxic residues.

Try this boron-rich Stovetop Apple Dessert recipe!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.mealgarden.com/expert/lisahernandez

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

Are your eyes, skin, and immune system indicating that you might be lacking in vitamin A?

One of the first signs of a possible vitamin A deficiency is poor night vision, an inability of the eyes to adjust to darkness.  Additional signs that a lack of vitamin A may be affecting the eyes are difficulty distinguishing between blue and yellow, dry or inflamed eyes, and styes.  When eyes are exposed to long periods of watching television, computer screens, or glaring lights, more vitamin A may be required.

Skin, hair, and nails can also reflect inadequate vitamin A levels.  Some signs of possible deficiency can include weak or brittle nails and hair, skin that is dry and/or scaly, dry or dull hair, tiny bumps on the backs of the upper arms, dry mouth, roughness on elbows, dandruff, and skin pigmentation abnormalities.

Vitamin A is also crucial for a healthy immune system, adrenal glands, and thyroid, and for building strong bones and teeth.  A deficiency can lead to a loss of vitamin C, and zinc is needed to transport vitamin A from the liver to where is it needed in the body.  Breathing polluted air may increase the need for vitamin A.

There has been much research on the relationship between vitamin A and cancer risk.  Animal studies have shown that cancer-causing carcinogens remain more active when there is a vitamin A deficiency.  Vitamin A has a protective effect against cancer on the tissues of the skin, throat, and lungs.  Many studies have suggested that cancers of the bladder, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon/rectum, uterus, cervix, and prostate benefit from beta-carotene (gives plants their yellow and orange color), which is converted to vitamin A in the body.

Researchers found that vitamin A can significantly reduce the immune-depressive effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatments!

A high intake of carotenes (plant forms of vitamin A) is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

The best way to get your vitamin A is from food, and since it’s a fat-soluble vitamin, you must eat enough good fat to help absorb it.  In contrast, vitamin A is destroyed by harmful fats like hydrogenated and other refined oils, as well as deep-fried foods.  These are in most processed foods!  Animal foods like butter, milk, cheese, and eggs contain vitamin A, but when the fat is skimmed off milk, so is the vitamin A.  If you throw away the egg yolks, you won’t get the vitamin A.  When it comes to animal foods, they are only as healthy as the animals they came from.  The animals get vitamin A from eating their natural diet (grass-fed), and if they were given antibiotics and/or hormones, it can affect our health.

Eat fruits and vegetables that are yellow-orange like carrots (that’s where carotene got its name), squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, orange and yellow peppers, cantaloupe, papaya, mango, and pineapple.  The deeper the color, the greater the beta-carotene content.  Green vegetables are also rich sources of beta-carotene.  The chlorophyll that makes them green overpowers the yellow-orange pigments and is a good cleanser for the digestive tract and blood.  Spinach, kale, and beet greens actually contain more beta-carotene than carrots.

To get more carotene from vegetables, lightly cook them to rupture the cell membranes, and eat them with healthy fats and protein.  Sometimes, I eat half of a baked sweet potato for breakfast.  I pre-bake the potato the night before, and then squeeze it out of its skin into a pan the next morning.  While it’s warming on the stove, I add some organic butter or ghee, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, dried cranberries, and walnuts or pumpkin seeds.  You could use coconut oil in place of the butter.

The recommended daily amount of beta-carotene is 1,000 to 5,000 RE (retinol equivalent) in the form of beta-carotene, which is non-toxic.  Preformed vitamin A can be toxic and should only be taken under the advice of your health care provider.

Nature’s Sunshine makes an excellent supplement called Carotenoid Blend. (www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com).

An average carrot contains 1,000 RE.

Baked Carrots:

Wash, cut off tops, and peel outer layer (optional) of several whole organic carrots.  Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive, avocado, or coconut oil.  Use your hands to coat the carrots with the oil.  If desired, sprinkle with some mineral-rich salt, garlic, black pepper, fresh herbs, etc.  Bake at 350 degrees until fork tender.  The amount of time will vary, depending on the thickness of your carrots, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Carotenoid Blend by Nature’s Sunshine)

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Support your health with sulfur–nature’s detoxifier and “beauty mineral.”

Sulfur is part of the immune system and aids the liver in detoxifying chemicals and toxins from the body.  This helps protect us from illness, including chronic disease and cancer.

Sulfur is also necessary for repairing the body and promoting the health of hair, skin, nails, and joints.  It’s known as nature’s “beauty mineral.”

Sulfur is found in insulin, the hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism.

Sulfur is a component of bile, which is made by the liver to help digest fats.

Sulfur-rich foods include onions, garlic, egg yolks, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, horseradish, radish, daikon, kale, turnips, rutabaga, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, watercress, wasabi, and mustard seeds).

Boost your immune system with a serving or two of sulfur-rich foods in your daily diet.

Note:  If you have a weak thyroid, it may be beneficial for you to lightly steam cruciferous vegetables.  Cooking reduces compounds that may interfere with iodine uptake, a nutrient needed to make thyroid hormone.  Overcooking can reduce sulfur compounds.

Nature’s Sunshine sells an MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane) supplement that is a form of organic sulfur commonly used to help strengthen connective tissues and reduce inflammation, including that in the lungs, muscles, and joints.  Find it at www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

Download your free guide:  10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You! at www.learningtobehealthy.com

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www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Nature’s Sunshine)

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Focus on learning with healthy fats!

Besides water, our brains are composed of mostly fat.  They need both to properly transmit signals.  When these signals are weak, it becomes more difficult to concentrate, remember things, and to control moods.

Omega-3 fats play an important role in allowing brain cells to transmit signals.  They also help the body to release serotonin, which can improve moods and relieve depression.

Children’s brains need omega-3 fats to help them stay calm and focused in the classroom.

Wild-caught fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are excellent sources of healthy fats.  Avoid farm-raised fish.  If you choose to take a fish oil supplement, buy one that’s certified mercury free.  I buy Sunshine Heroes Omega-3 with DHA to give to my grandkids.

Avocados contain omega-3 fats.  Serve slices with eggs for breakfast, or send some guacamole in your child’s lunch.  By the way, omega-3s are in the yolks of eggs, so if you’re just eating egg whites, you are throwing away “brain food”.

Nuts and seeds are easy and convenient sources of omega-3 fats, especially walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds.  Create your own trail mixes for school lunch boxes.  I fill a shaker bottle with raw hemp seeds to sprinkle on waffles, pancakes, peanut butter toast, oatmeal, etc.  My grandkids love them and call them “sprinkles”.

Flax Pancake (one serving):

1 egg (from pasture-raised chickens)

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

1 tablespoon unsweetened full-fat yogurt (with live probiotics)

1/2 teaspoon unsweetened almond extract (or vanilla)

a dash of mineral-rich salt (optional)

Whisk ingredients together and cook in a little unsalted organic butter, ghee, or coconut oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.  Top with some pure maple syrup, hemp seeds, walnuts, berries, yogurt, applesauce, almond butter, cinnamon, etc.

Note:  You can substitute the yogurt with applesauce or plant milk (hemp, oat, almond, etc.).  It can be a little tricky to flip, so check for doneness on one side before you turn it.  Also, slide the spatula fully under the pancake and turn it quickly.

Variation:  Use 2 eggs and an additional tablespoon each of ground flax seed and yogurt.

Everyone needs omega-3 essential fatty acids, not just kids!  I often take a flax oil supplement, which is an incredibly rich source of omega-3s and has also been shown to help balance hormones.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–                                                                                                               “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com (Download your free 10-page guide:  10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!)

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.