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Entries in food (15)

Monday
Oct182010

Hide the spinach with a Vitamix

My eldest son will not eat green foods, except for M&Ms, and there are only so many battles a mom can have with her son.  He's in good shape and very healthy, so I stopped fighting this problem. And that's when a solution popped up. 

As we traversed Costco last weekend, he stopped me by a demonstration of a Vitamix blender. I was skeptical - we have a blender and it didn't cost half of what this blender costs. The first sample was a strawberry-banana smoothie similar to Jamba Juice (in fact, Jamba Juice apparently uses Vitamixes). Then the demonstrator pulled out all the stops and made a drink that had oranges, pineapple, carrots and...spinach. 

My son watched him put every ingredient in the blender. Vitamix is known for liquifying foods - so every food, including the spinach, was in full view. The mix was made and the green sludge was poured into Dixie Cups for the tasting. His green aversion was mounting but so was his curiosity. And then I had a stroke of brilliance... 

It's ZOMBIE JUICE.

For a boy who loves playing plants vs. zombies whenever I'll let him have access to my iphone, this was the most incredible possibility. He had to taste it.  He wanted to like it.  And like it he did. A lot.  And that's how I wound up with a Vitamix 5200 in my kitchen.

At the farmer's market the next day, my son trotted to the farmer with bags of fresh, organic spinach and briskly purchased two bags. And after a few tries, I am now a highly successful smoothie barrista making bright green zombie juice virtually every day.  Sometimes we make pink smoothies (strawberries, pomegranite, orange).  Or green smoothies (yellow fruits plus spinach).  Even made fresh butternut squash soup (pretty good). Nothing quite as fabulous as zombie juice, but hey, he's drinking his vegetables.

Wednesday
Aug182010

Healthy lunches

The more I exercise, the more I care about what I put in my body. And the more I care about what I put in my children's bodies so that they are strong and healthy, but not neurotic.  I remember thinking my friends had crazy parents when they wouldn't eat certain foods or only ate organic.  Low and behold, I'm becoming one of them.

One of the most challenging meals to make healthy for my kids is lunch. It's challenging because sometimes they're eating at school and I don't control the menu. It's challenging because it's always time constrained. I'm trying to steer them towards eating raw fruits and veggies - albeit the sweeter veggies like carrots and peas. We eliminated high fructose corn syrup years ago and I minimize soy because it's fed to the animals that become the meat we eat. I'm also trying to limit the amount of bread.  Which makes sandwiches a real issue.

Over a recent vacation, my husband and I tried to eat lunch without eating bread or pasta for an entire week. Our favorite trick was to take a slice of cold cuts (turkey, roast beef) and put sliced avocado and tomato (for hubby) on it and roll it up. Then we brought small amounts of mustard, olive oil mayo or other healthy fat aioli to dip our cold cut rolls in.  The result - delicious and satisfying.

We're going to try this lunch with the kids. I also want to try cold grilled chicken with honey or aioli in which to dip. Hard boiled eggs are a hit too! And good news - our local grocer, Piazza's Fine Foods, is offering kosher cold cuts -

  • Turkey sliced salami
  • Turkey bologna sliced
  • Oven prepared Turkey slices
  • Chicken bologna slices
  • Turkey pastrami slices
  • Smoked Turkey breast slices

And that's enough for some real variety in our lunch options. I'm trying to give them protein, simple carbs in veggies and fruit, and nuts (as long as no one is allergic).  Same things we're trying to eat.

What are you putting in your child's lunch box for back to school?

And if you haven't already - order your kosher grass fed beef before August 24, 2010 to have it for the High Holidays!

Monday
Aug092010

Slowing down puberty in little girls

I'm in no rush for my kids to enter puberty - and neither are they - but the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC and countless other news outlets are sharing the news that more and more children, specifically girls, are entering puberty really early - at age 7 - based on three new studies of over 1200 girls. Early puberty correlates to high probability of breast cancer, potentially stunting growth and possibly lowering self-esteem. Plus, who wants to deal with those mood swings any sooner than needed.

 

Boy Running with Soccer Ball on Beach

The University of Michigan Health System offers a wealth of information about "precocious puberty" including its signs and treatment, if desired. The studies and UM both show that the vast majority of precocious puberty cases have no medical origin meaning that the girl's endocrine system is functioning normally. And precocious puberty impacts minorities worse than white (I really dislike these words) girls -

 

Among 7-year-olds, about 10% of whites, 15% of Hispanics and 23% of blacks have some breast tissue. Among 8-year-olds, the numbers grew to 18% of whites, almost a third of Hispanics and half of blacks. - Shirley S. Wang, Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2010

18% of white girls, 33% Hispanic girls and 50% of black girls and NO ONE KNOWS WHY.

Nutrition and Obesity

There is no study proving any causality. The scientists theorize that it could be better nutrition as in the 1700s, puberty onset, on average, around 17 years of age - mostly due to malnutrition.  Another theory is that obesity contributes to precocious puberty.

Fat cells produce hormones, and once a critical mass of fat tissue is reached, the hormone leptin is released to trigger puberty, according to JoAnn Manson, an endocrinologist and chief of preventive medication at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who wasn't involved in the study. - Shirley S. Wang, IBID

Environmental Factors

Other theories are that we've introduced more toxins into our environment - some of which have been tested initially to show correlation to precocious puberty. There haven't been wide-scale, scientifically reviewed long-term studies to prove or disprove this theory, but many are trying. And the FDA is reconsidering regulating BPA. Our Stolen Future, a book and advocacy group, has been advocating the environmental toxins for some time and has a list of the studies to date.

The problem with food

Obesity, nutrition and environmental factors all come together in the food supply. It's daunting to consider that you are what your food eats. It's hard enough to be what YOU eat. Now I need to know what my food is fed because it impacts what we're putting in our body. And encourage (and model) a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise because there is no question that obesity is linked to precocious puberty as well as a host of other issues. I've been on an 18 month journey questioning a lot of my assumptions about what's good for me. 

Soy - in particular unfermented soy - mimics estrogen. Estrogen is the key ingredient for puberty and foods can impact it.  And soy is in EVERYTHING. So much so that my family has minimized eating soy (even getting rid of soy sauce in favor of the almost identical tasting amino acid sauce) because I want to limit the amount in our system.  Soy is fed to chickens, cows and used in many processed foods (check labels for fun and see how much soybean oil you find - its scary).  I'm not saying soy is bad.  I'm saying too much, of anything, is bad and we have so much soy in our diet that we don't need to add any.

My approach, started a year ago when my son was only 7, was to eliminate soy products, stop using soybean oil and pay attention to what our food is fed. Recently, I've extended to organic kosher chicken (would prefer pastured, but it's hard to find) and grass fed beef. 

I hope I can keep my kids safe from precocious puberty. There are treatments if your daughter is showing signs of puberty and she's 7-8-9 years old. As part of a breast cancer family, I know that I would act to intervene because my family doesn't need more risk for breast cancer. Hopefully studies that prove correlation and causality will be published in the near future and lead to changes that can reverse this trend. 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Aug022010

Order your 100% grass-fed, kosher beef

For the last month, I've been exploring, researching and talking with people in the Bay Area (and beyond) about sourcing 100% grass-fed, kosher beef for our community.  And I'm pleased to let you know about two options to have this delicious meat on your table for the holidays and beyond.

First - a community grocery, Piazza's Fine Foods, is taking orders for both 100% grass-fed kosher beef AND empire kosher chicken.  The prices are INCREDIBLE for people who order through me (by using the form below) or through the Wornick Jewish Day School.  

Thank you Piazzas. Download the Piazzas order form, complete and fax to the store of your choice. You schedule your own pick up date and time too.

Piazzas is making a concerted effort to meet the needs of our community with healthy, kosher foods and I am so please to promote their offer.

Second - KOLFoods, in Washington DC, has offered to create a San Mateo county buying group where we save on shipping costs by having them delivered together to a single site. The site will be the Wornick Jewish Day School and the school will earn contribution from KOL Foods for products ordered.  The catch is that the delivery date is once a quarter on the date KOL establishes. Just include a note in your order that you are in San Mateo and if she has 15+ orders, they'll ship to San MAteo in addition to San Francisco.

Visit frequently as I expect to have a third option from Los Angeles shortly.

I'm still exploring the possibilities of locally sources, 100% grass-fed kosher beef, but there is no kosher slaughterhouse west of Colorado. There are a number of ranchers happy to work with us. The more we demonstrate the demand for these healthy kosher products, the more likely a local source will be available.

Friday
Jul232010

What's your appetite for 100% grass fed beef?

I've been researching the health benefits and logistics of buying 100% grass fed, kosher beef.  It's been a fun project, but now I'm at a decision point about whether to make this something I make happen (and invest) or just wait for someone else to do it.  And that is dependent upon you - and our community's interest in 100% grass fed beef, kosher or not.

Please take the following short and anonymous survey and let me know your thoughts.