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!”

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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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Synthetic Food Dyes–the Toxic Truth!

How can something so pretty and colorful be so bad for you?  Synthetic dyes, also known as artificial colors, are made from coal tar and petrochemical residues.  Thousands of foods and drinks contain added colors.  These toxic chemicals can also be recognized by their numbers, like FD&C #5.

Food dyes are proven carcinogens, and some people are more sensitive to their effects, especially children.  The following conditions could possibly be triggered by artificial colors:

attention deficit disorder (ADD)

learning/behavior problems

migraine headaches

colds/flu (the body’s way of detoxifying)

sinus and respiratory problems

joint problems

joint pain

irritability

fatigue

depression

seizures

Those with asthma seem to be particularly sensitive to food dyes, with many fatal and near fatal reactions reported.  Yellow Dye #5 (also known as tartrazine) seems to be the main culprit.  It is a coal tar derivative that belongs to the aspirin family, proving especially dangerous for those with aspirin sensitivity.

The accumulation of these dyes over time can lead to chronic disease, including cancer.  Eating a whole-foods, unprocessed diet can help detoxify and protect the body against damage from toxic chemicals.  Including six or more daily servings of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is a good natural defense against disease.

Eat a rainbow of colors found in nature–green spinach, yellow squash, oranges, purple eggplant, red beets, blueberries, and white onions.  These colors contain God’s pharmacy of nutrients to detoxify, repair, and build our health.

Read the ingredients on all packaged foods and drinks!  You’ll find artificial colors in an enormous number of products:

pickles/relish

ice cream/frozen treats

chips/crackers

candies/cookies/snack bars

frozen and canned foods

cereals (especially those marketed to children)

salad dressings/sauces

cake mixes/frostings

sports/energy drinks/sodas/fruit punch

supplements/medications

chewing gum/mints

puddings/yogurt/gelatin

some butter and cheese products

breads/biscuits

pie fillings/canned fruit/maraschino cherries

For more information:  List of food dyes to avoid

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!”

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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.

 

Anti-Cancer Nutrition

When you cut an apple, oxygen turns it brown, but if you cover it with lemon juice, it will retain its natural color.  The antioxidants in lemon juice protect the apple from damage.  Antioxidants help protect our bodies from damage by cancer-causing agents.

Lemons contain vitamin C, the antioxidant that keeps the apple from turning brown.  Simply adding fresh lemon to your water can give you an antioxidant boost.

Nutrient-dense plant foods, like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, are rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, selenium, lutein, alpha-lipoid acid, lycopene, and glutathione.

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that the body can manufacture on its own, but it needs the mineral selenium for its construction.  Eating just one or two Brazil nuts a day will provide more than the daily recommended amount of selenium.  Cruciferous vegetables also stimulate the production of glutathione.  These include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and watercress.

Eating more potassium-rich foods can help regulate the ability of cells to receive nutrients and eliminate toxins.  Packaged and processed foods are usually high in sodium and low in potassium.  Fresh produce, beans, nuts, and seeds naturally contain more potassium than sodium.

Cancer feeds on glucose in the blood, and high levels of blood glucose can also compromise the immune system.  Eliminating refined sugar and refined grains in the diet can help balance blood sugar and strengthen the immune system.  A strong immune system helps to fight cancer.

Toxic fats, like hydrogenated oils, shortening, margarine, and refined vegetable oils, can cause cell membranes to become rigid, making it difficult for them to absorb nutrients and release toxins.  Eating healthy fats, like avocados, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, seeds, nuts, coconut, wild-caught fish, and olives, helps restore fluidity to cells.  This reduces inflammation.

Reducing toxic chemicals in food is important to help combat cancer.  Nitrites and nitrates are known carcinogens used to cure hot dogs, bacon, sausage, jerky, and deli meats.  Antioxidants are helpful for neutralizing these damaging chemicals in the stomach, so add some antioxidant-rich foods to your meal if you consume these foods.

Garlic and onion both act as chelators, which means that they latch onto toxins to carry them away from the body before they can do damage.  Garlic has also been shown to stimulate the white blood cells that attack cancer.

Bottom line:

Eat twice as many colorful fruits and vegetables as you do other foods.

Add fresh garlic and onion often to your diet.

Add one or two handfuls of raw nuts and seeds to your daily diet.

Replace refined, toxic fats with healthy ones.

Reduce cancer’s food source by eliminating refined sugar and refined grains to help keep blood sugar balanced.   You may also need to reduce your intake of whole grains, starches, and high-glycemic fruits.

An antioxidant-rich recipe:  Avocado and Bean Wrap

I am now affiliated with Meal Garden as an Expert to help you find healthy recipes and plan healthy meals.  You can check it out here:  www.mealgarden.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.”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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.

Eat lutein for healthy eyes!

Lutein helps protect the eyes from damage which can lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is found in high concentrations in the macula of the human eye, known as the “macula lutea”.  Dark green and yellow orange foods are good sources of lutein.

Studies confirm that as lutein levels increase in the eyes, there is a decrease in the amount of harmful light rays that reach the retina, where vision is produced.

Based on studies, the recommended daily amount of lutein to benefit vision is 12 mg.

One cup of cooked kale or spinach will give you more than 20 mg. of lutein.  You can get an average of 12 mg. from one cup of cooked Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, or turnip greens, and a large orange bell pepper contains about 9 mg.  The amount of lutein will vary based upon the nutrient content of the soil in which the food was grown, whether or not it is organic, and how it is prepared.

Other foods that contain varying amounts of lutein include romaine lettuce, leafy greens, asparagus, carrots, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green peas, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, sweet corn, egg yolk, and green lentils.

Increase lutein in your daily diet by adding herbs and spices like basil, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, parsley, cilantro, marjoram, oregano, sage, cumin, chili powder, mustard seed, and cinnamon.

Nature’s Sunshine makes Lutein, a supplement that contains 10 mg. of lutein per capsule. You can order it at www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com.

Lutein-Rich Soup

Rinse one pound of organic green lentils, and place in a large stainless steel cooking pot with 10 cups of filtered water.

Add:

1 chopped yellow onion

2 stalks chopped, organic celery

1 peeled and diced sweet potato

2 peeled and diced organic yellow potatoes

4 large chopped, organic carrots

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about an hour, until lentils are tender.

Stir in:

1 tablespoon mineral-rich salt

2 teaspoons chopped fresh, organic thyme or 4 teaspoons dried

2 teaspoons organic cumin

1/2 teaspoon organic black pepper or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon organic cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lemon or 1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar

4 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed

Continue to simmer for about half an hour or so.

When done, stir in 1 cup organic cilantro or parsley and 1 cup organic spinach or kale.  Cover and let greens soften in hot soup.

Alternatively, instead of adding cilantro or parsley to soup pot, top each bowl of soup with a handful of the fresh herbs.

Serving idea:  Cut off tops and scoop out seeds of organic orange bell peppers.  Ladle some soup inside.

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

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

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.