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Easy and Quick Instant Pot Purple Sweet Potato Soup

19 Nov

My good friend Barni, the Sexy Chef, recently posted her recipe for Purple Yam Soup and I fell in love with the deep purple color. I knew I wanted to make some ASAP.

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I went to my local Asian shop and found only the frozen purple yams. I bought it and returned home to discover that it contained Blue and Red dyes. Needless to say, I didn’t want to cook it for my family.

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This week, I found purple sweet potato at my local health food store. It was organic too!

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I adapted Barni’s recipe to fit my lifestyle: I wanted to do yoga while dinner was cooking. So, I just put everything in the Instant Pot and used the immersion blender when it was done. Voilà! Comfort food at its greatest!

Easy and Quick Instant Pot Purple Yam Soup (adapted from Barni’s recipe, serves 8)

Place all of the following in the instant pot (Really! There’s no need to “sauté” the onions, ginger, and celery before adding the rest of the ingredients. All the veggies turn to mush while cooking for this long in the pressure cooker anyway.):

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 T ginger, sliced
  • 1/2 c celery, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds purple yam or sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 c coconut flakes (or substitute with 2 c of coconut/cashew/other vegan milk: simply lessen the amount of water by 2 c and add in the milk after the cooking is done. Just heat the soup for 5 minutes until desired temperature is reached before serving. I have people over right now who have different sensitivities to different vegan milks, therefore opted to using raw coconut flakes to minimize any allergies for anyone. The soup was still delicious.)
  • 8 tsp vegetable bouillon paste, optional (I used Better Than Bouillon’s Vegan No Chicken Base)
  • 8 c water

Set to manual for 15 minutes. Do your yoga and come back when you are done. Purée the soup using an immersion blender. Garnish with:

  • lots of cilantro (this is a MUST! Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it adds so much to the flavors)

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Nourishing for my eyes and body: this is a very easy and simple soup to brighten your early evenings and warm up your cold winter nights.  This soup reminds me of being with my mother: beautiful and comforting. I am so lucky she’s here today to share this soup with me.

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Psst, Pass the Pignoli-Free Vegan Pesto Pasta Please!

17 Sep

No pine nuts here. My son says he doesn’t feel well after eating them. So, why not substitute with our go-to sub for anything nutty: sunflower seeds? Also, no olive oil here. I’m using avocados instead.

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Pignoli-Free Pesto

Put all the ingredients in a food processor:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds, soaked a couple of hours to soften
  • 2 c mix of basil and spinach leaves, packed in
  • 2 medium small avocados

Blend well until smooth. Add the following to taste:

  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast

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The Pasta

Cook 16oz of your choice of pasta. Save some pasta water before draining. Add the pesto to the pasta and mix well. Add pasta water to thin the sauce, only if needed.

Note: Raw Vegans, you can use zucchini or kelp noodles instead.

To Serve

At the table, serve with extra:

  • nutritional yeast or your choice of cheese
  • coarse sea salt

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My husband happily eats this Pesto Pasta as is. My son needs more of a cheesy taste. I prefer to sprinkle some coarse sea salt over my pasta and mix it in. The extra salt deepens and enriches the flavors of the Pesto. Enjoy!

Easy Baked Vegan Lumpia Triangles with Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 Sep

I love Filipino Lumpia, but I always found the chopping, rolling, and frying too tedious. How can I make it even easier for me: how about grating the veggies in the food processor, sealing them as triangles, and then baking them instead? Sounds too good to be true? Guess what, my family LOVES them this way. In fact, they don’t like baked Lumpia Rolls because they are too doughy and chewy. Lumpia Triangles, on the other hand, without the excess layers of wrappers are oh-so-crispy, not to mention so much healthier!

Vegan Lumpia

Easy Baked Vegan Lumpia Triangles

Use a food processor to grate any veggies you have in the kitchen: cabbage, carrots, green beans, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, etc. I had the following:

  • 1 potato, peeled
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 celery stalk
  • optional additions if you want to chop them or mince them in the food processor: scallions/onion, garlic, ginger

Place in a bowl and mix with:

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2T arrowroot powder

Fill:

  • each sheet in a package of wonton wrappers with about a tablespoon of filling

Wet edges with water, fold over to make triangles, and seal edges. Place on prepared baking sheet (with parchment paper or Silpat mat) in a single layer without overlapping. Spray with oil, if desired. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, turn and bake for another 10 minutes.

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Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

While the Lumpia are baking, make the Dipping Sauce.

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1/4 c ketchup
  • 1/4 c coconut vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have)
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 – 1/3 c Sucanat or your choice of sweetener, to taste
  • 1 T arrowroot powder

Heat sauce ingredients until the sauce thickens. Set aside to cool before serving.

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Told ya these would be easy! Enjoy!

Around the World in Mama’s Vegan Kitchen: Ethiopian Tonight

28 Aug

My fourth grader is adventurous when it comes to food. Outside our home, he is interested in trying foods I don’t cook here and/or what friends and family offer him: clams, hamburgers, lobster, steak, junk food, you name it. At home, I sometimes get a frown when he sees “too many vegetables” at the dinner table. However, I have found a new trick: by serving foods in a different way, Vegan meals somehow become a new, exciting, and enticing dining experience for him. We live in Small Town, U.S.A., so as a food-loving homeschool Mama, one way to open up my son’s world view is through his meals. Dinner served in a thali or tagine or Asian bowl suddenly makes my little guy more inclined to indulge in a whole-food plant-based meal. “What are we eating for dinner?” is a question he asks with sincere curiosity these days. I love that my husband heartily eats up what I serve too. Their willingness allows my family to go on an adventure all around the world while we sit happily in my Vegan Kitchen.

Ethiopian Vegan

Tonight I cooked Ethiopian food and my son’s approval and willingness to dig in was no exception. This is not to say he will enjoy every mouthful. He may not. He may like some foods more than others. In my view, this is all OK. The introduction to different flavors, spices and textures are all part of his education at my Vegan table.

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Tips for Cooking Ethiopian at Home

  • the food processor is your best friend: use it to chop onions, garlic, ginger, and carrots quickly
  • measure and chop everything you need before you turn on the heat
  • be ready for lots of washing up: I used 4 pots and 1 pan for this meal (I wish I had 2 Instant Pots!)
  • these were the recipes that I used for:
  • NOTES:
    • no need for oil, just use water to sauté
    • Watch the spices for the Mesir Wat. I have my own Berbere Spice Mix and used only 1 Tbsp, which was spicy enough for my son.
    • I soaked the split peas for a few hours and used the Instant Pot for the Kik Alicha. I reduced the liquid to 2 1/2 c but that was even too much (look at photo, it is too soupy). If you do use the I.P., I would reduce the liquid to 2 c and cook for 13 minutes.
    • Start with Kik Alicha and Mesir Wat as these take the longest, then Atklit Wat, then Gomen, and finally make the Injera.
    • You will have enough food for 8 people or dinner for 3 with enough leftovers for at least one more meal.

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Success

They ate a lot of it! My family finished off their Atklit Wat and Gomen. My son, who proclaims to not like lentils, ate all of his Mesir Wat. He didn’t care for the Kik Alicha, which my husband liked best of all. They both don’t like the foamy feel of Injera, which is not surprising: it was the same response they had to the bread at an Ethiopian restaurant. I really liked it especially for its distinct authentic sour flavors (YAY!). For me, I enjoyed it all, as well as the experience of eating delicious food with my hands.

I love traveling around the world in my Vegan Kitchen. Not only am I actively advocating for a healthy family, but I am educating my son on the variety of cultural and gastronomical whole-food plant-based cuisines around the world.

My Family Loves Eating Vegan at Home Again!

19 Aug

Trying to bring up Vegan kids is tough when family and friends are not. My adventurous and curious son loves to try different foods and I allow him to do this outside our home.  I certainly don’t want him to rebel by forcing him to eat ONLY VEGAN foods when we are with loved ones who don’t follow a Whole-Food Plant-Based diet. Likewise, I prefer that he question my diet choice and come to his own conclusion about what is best for him. That said, I want to make sure that our Vegan food at home is as enticing and delicious as other foods he has explored. Ditto for my husband.

Over this past Summer, I made a conscious decision to transition from RAW (I was high RAW for  over seven years!) to COOKED Vegan. My family had grown tired of RAW Vegan a few years ago, which led to their seeking out a more Omnivore diet outside our home. Maybe I had pushed the RAW agenda too far? Nevertheless, I have discovered that my own switch to COOKED food has had positive impacts on my family’s diet.

  1. My passion for cooking in my kitchen has been reignited. Researching what I’m going to cook next is entertaining, exciting and part of my weekly meal planning. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and this is rewarding because my family loves my food again.
  2. My family is asking to eat out LESS.
  3. They are asking to eat DAIRY, EGGS, and MEAT LESS. So, we are back to mostly Vegan meals at home.
  4. Our meals seem more gratifying and satiating in that they are snacking in between meals LESS, which means less processed foods.
  5. They are eating more vegetables now than when they were prepared RAW.
  6. They are even REQUESTING certain VEGAN meals MORE!
  7. By cooking wonderful Vegan foods at home, I am less a food police but more a creator of a Vegan movement in my own home. The conscious action to feed my family healthy whole-food plant-based meals creates educational and gastronomical opportunities for my family.

Some of the foods I recently made for my family are pictured here: vegan hot dogs, balsamic strawberries with aquafaba whipped cream, okonomiyaki, loaded nachos, potato cauliflower curry, chickpea broccoli burrito, lentil meatball sub, sweet potato chickpea tagine, cinnamon sugar doughnut, enchiladas, pan de sal, Chinese green beans, black bean burgers, vegan croissants, vegan creamsicles, aquafaba meringues, freshly picked raspberries.

My Recent Successes

  • My son wanted my Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs on Homemade Whole Wheat Buns with Easy Coleslaw and Baked Fries THREE times in a row! And this was a few days after he took one bite of a mainstream meat hot dog served at a party and didn’t like it. So, this was an amazing response from him.
  • A recent acquired bad habit, he now shuns any vegetables served for dinner and cries, “NOOOOOoooooo” but he happily devoured his full share of my Eat-Your-Beans Bibimbap. YES!
  • After seeing a thali for the first time, my son was excited to eat Potato Cauliflower Curry and exclaimed that this is his fave curry ever!
  • Tonight, I made a Sweet Potato Chickpea Tagine and served it in a traditional tagine. This Moroccan fare was new for my son and he loved it. He finished a huge bowl of tagine with couscous. After dinner, he confided in me that couscous, chickpea and olives together make a perfect combination.
  • Of course, like most kids, my son loves the Vegan treats I make on the weekends. Last week at bedtime, he said, “Mama. I’m so excited for tomorrow!” “Why?” I asked. “I can’t wait to eat the doughnuts tomorrow!” He’s so much like me: we are already planning and looking forward to our next meal.

I love it when these little successes happen because I know my son is learning that Vegan foods can be both healthy and delicious too.

As for my husband, he admitted to me that our meals are much better these days. He also says he’s happy if I’m happy doing all this extra work in the kitchen. I think the biggest plus for him is our grocery bills: they have gone down since I chose to eat cooked food again.

Vegan Eat-Your -Beans Bibimbap

16 Aug

When I eat Korean food, I think of my maternal grandmother who treated our family to Korean food several times each month. She lived for food and feeding her loved ones. I’m a lot like her that way. She has been in a coma-like state for two years now and thinking of her makes me both sad and happy at the same time.

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I’ve been cooking different versions of Bibimbap over the years but recently I’ve been adding Korean flavored beans. My family loves Bibimbap this way. In fact, my son could care less for most of the veggies and fills his plate with the beans instead. I would say that without the beans, this dish would be a little boring.

Eat Your Beans Bibimbap (Serves 4 with some leftovers)

Rice

Cook as usual:

  • 2 c sushi rice or other medium grained rice

Beans

While the rice is cooking, bring the following to boil and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes:

  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 3 T your choice of sweetener, I use Sucanat
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 c cooked kidney beans, drained (you can use other beans if you would like)
  • pepper, to taste

Vegetables

I don’t saute my vegetables because we are cutting down on oils in our house. I also don’t salt them as we are minimizing our salt intake too. So, how do I cook these? I put 2 to 4 Tbs water in the bottom of a big non-stick ceramic pan, bring the heat up and sweat (cover the pan) the veggies until they are tender or wilted and the water has evaporated. If there is leftover liquid, simply drain the veggies. Easy. I use the same pot for all of the veggies but cook them one at a time. I just rinse it out in the sink with a little water in between each vegetable or wipe with a paper towel.

If you want to do it the traditional way, please go ahead and sauté the cucumber, carrots and mushrooms in sesame oil and season with salt. Blanch the mung bean sprouts and cucumber/zucchini and season them to taste.

  • 8 oz mung bean sprouts
  • 1 English cucumber or zuchinni, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 7 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced (I add tamari or soy sauce to taste after they are cooked)

Bibimbap Sauce

Mix together:

  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T your choice of sweetener, I use Sucanat
  • 4 T Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)

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Now to Serve

Place the rice in the middle of the plate. Now place the beans, vegetables and sauce around the rice.

Garnishes

  • sesame seeds, optional
  • kelp, optional

Enjoy!

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And tomorrow, you can make fried rice with all the leftovers too. If there is anymore.

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This Vegan Eat-Your-Beans Bibimbap is a gratifying Vegan powerhouse that definitely hits the spot.

Artistic Handmade Soaps for Women

16 Jan

Amber

Amber Crystal

The amber scent is my favourite scent of all my soaps. An amber crystal has been added as part of the design of the soap. Although hard when you first use the soap, the crystal will soften and melt afterwards.

Saponified olive oil, fragrance, turmeric.

$5.50 per approx. 2 1/2 oz.

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Amber Rose

The amber-rose scent is very mild on this soap.

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oil, activated charcoal.

$4.50 per approx. 2 1/4 oz.

 

Indian Salandwood this

Indian Marble

Mild, marbled soap with a touch of sandalwood. This is my personal favourite: luxurious and rich.

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oil, clay, activated charcoal.

$6.75 per approx. 3 1/4 oz.

 

Lavender

Lavender

Lavender Fields

This soap relaxes and calms. One of the most requested soaps!

Saponified olive oil, lavender buds, essential oils.

$5 per approx. 2 1/2 oz.

 

$9.50 per approx. 5 oz.

 

this one

Salt and Charcoal Facial Soap

This facial bar helps exfoliate, as well as cleanse and soothe the skin. Use 1 to 3 times a week depending on your skin.

Saponified olive oil, saponified coconut oil, salt, bentonite, activated charcoal.

$6 approx 2 1/2 oz.

Ylang Ylang Castile Soap

Tropical Flower

If you want a gentle soap with a scent of the tropics, this is for you.

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-fragrance oil.

$5 per approx. 2 1/2 oz.

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Vanilla Honey & Oats

 Honey moisturizes and oat exfoliates. The vanilla honey scent is light and mild on the small bars. This is another popular one.

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oils, oats, honey.

$5 per approx. 2 1/2 oz.

Shop Now big

 

Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bar

23 Aug

Last week, I made a list of the types of SOAP BARS I wanted to create:

  1. Castile Soap (100% olive oil)
  2. Bastille Soap (at least 70% olive oil)
  3. Low-Cost Basic Soap (at least 50% of the butters or oils at only $0.10/oz)
  4. Moisturizing Shampoo Soap (that didn’t dry out my hair)
  5. Grease-Cutting Kitchen Soap (so I wouldn’t have to buy dishwashing detergent again)

A few days ago, I blogged about #1, 2, and 3.

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Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bars

Today, I unmolded these luscious soaps: my own Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bars. They smell great and feel velvety too.

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My criteria for my soap:

  1. I wanted coconut to be the main ingredient in my bar. Growing up in the Philippines, fresh coconut milk was often applied to my hair as a “hot oil” treatment to moisturize my scalp and hair, and encourage my fine hair to grow thicker. When it was washed off, my hair would shine and smell of the tropics. Naturally, I chose coconut milk and coconut oil for my shampoo soap.
  2. I wanted an extra moisturizing and conditioning bar.
    1. That meant keeping coconut oil to a minimum because saponified coconut oil can be drying over 30%. I limited this to 25%.
    2. I added castor oil, which provides a fluffy lather while conditioning and moisturizing.
    3. I added hemp seed oil for extra conditioning.
    4. I added jojoba oil, an oil similar to our skin sebum, at trace as an extra moisturizer for my scalp.
    5. I added raw honey at trace for extra conditioning.
    6. My other soaps are superfatted at 8%, but this one is at 11%. Superfatting allows some oils LEFTOVER on the soap bar AFTER saponification takes place.
  3. I wanted a softer bar for ease of use on the hair. I don’t mind lathering up a hard soap for my body, but I want a softer soap for a shampoo bar.
    1. Castor oil creates a softer soap.
    2. Hemp seed oil creates a silky bar.
  4. Fragrance and more:
    1. Raw honey not only conditions hair, as stated above, but also smells heavenly.
    2. Optional: add your choice of essential oils or fragrances as the coconut milk smell will disappear.

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I ran my soap recipe through the SoapCalc and was happy with the results:

  • hardness 29 (range is 29-54)
  • cleansing 17 (range 12-22)
  • conditioning 68 (range 44-69)
  • bubbly 35 (range 14-46)
  • creamy 30 (range 16-48)

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Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bar Recipe

  • 5% hemp seed oil
  • 20% castor oil
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 50% olive oil
  • coconut milk, fresh or canned, frozen before you start
  • lye
  • superfat 11%

Use the Room Temperature Method. At trace, add lemongrass essential oils. Refrigerate in mold overnight. Then, take out and place under towels. Unmold after 24-48 hours. Slice and cure for 4 – 6 weeks.

*Shampoo bar results to come in 2 months!

UPDATE: I think this works great as a soap… I’m not gung-ho on its benefits as a shampoo though.

Nori Wraps

29 Jul

A meal that takes less than 5 minutes!

Simply mix a huge bowl of salad. Use whatever ingredients you want! Easy minute salad is all I had time for last night.

Place some on a nori sheet.

Wrap.

Eat.

Happy Healthy  Tummy!

Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts

12 Jan

Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts

So I told you I started cooking vegetables to death, right? And, I discovered that my family is consuming a wider variety and a higher quantity of vegetables than before. While my boys learned slowly to shun all raw veggies, cooked ones have a different effect at our dinner table.  The other night, after drinking a huge amount of fresh coconut milk, my son asked for seconds and thirds of both Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts.  I had to touch his forehead just to make sure he was feeling all right.

Some of my readers wanted me to share these kid-popular recipes… well here they are: quick, easy and addictive.

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

2 cauliflower heads, florets chopped into bite size pieces

1 tbspn fresh ginger, minced

1 tbspn ground coriander

sea salt, to taste (I usually use 1 tsp or less per 1 pound of veggies)

extra virgin olive oil, just enough to coat all the vegetables

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix well to evenly distribute spices and oil.
  3. Roast at 400F until brown at the edges but not burned black.  The brown crispy bits actually create a chips-like quality to this vegetable that make them addictive.

 

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Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and halved

1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced

sea salt, to taste

extra virgin olive oil, just enough to coat all the vegetables

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix well to evenly distribute spices and oil.
  3. Roast at 400F until browned at edges, but not burned black.  Like the cauliflower, the browned crispy bits here make these addictive.

Animal Protein versus Plant Protein

29 May

Raw Avocado Corn Salad over Cooked Beans: 1 cup of cooked white beans contains 16g of protein, 1 cup of raw corn has 5g, 1 cup of avocado 5g and 1 cup of tomatoes 1g.  I only need 33g of protein a day, so just this meal alone would be 6g shy of my goal.

In my community of Holistic Mamas, there are, nutritionally speaking, basically 2 groups of families:

1. Those that believe in and eat organic animal based foods and

2. Those that eat organic plant based foods.

The former tend to follow the WAP Diet (Weston Price Diet:http://www.westonaprice.org/). The latter are those who are eating, or lean towards, an all organic vegetarian or vegan diet – especially after watching Forks Over Knives. Now within this latter group, there two further subsets:

a. those who eat a lot of processed and refined foods and

b. those who make most (if not all) their food from scratch.

Among Mamas, there are many discussions as to why their own diets are best. In my view, as you all know, an unprocessed, whole organic plant based diet is best.  Why?

FIRSTLY, BECAUSE ANIMAL BASED DIETS CAUSE DISEASE:

There have been so many studies done to raise awareness as to why (even organic) animal based foods are not health foods. Although animal products have the most similar nutrient composition to our bodies, consuming them promotes disease. I am currently taking Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Course and have learned (or rather relearned from his work in the China Study) that cancer can be turned on and off (from 20% to 5% of total calories) just be increasing and decreasing animal protein in the diet of rats. The same amounts of plant based protein (such as wheat and soy protein) had no such effect. Animal –based foods also contain saturated fats, which cause cholesterol and heart disease. Moreover, animal products cause an acid environment in our bodies, which causes calcium to leak from our bones in an effort for our bodies to neutralize the acids, causing osteoporosis.

SECONDLY, ONLY PLANT BASED FOODS CONTAIN ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS THAT PREVENT DISEASE:

Plant based foods, on the other hand, contain essential nutrients not present in animal foods that we need in order to live healthily. Two of these are antioxidants and dietary fiber: antioxidants, like vitamin C, E and carotenoids, bind free radicals that promote cancer and speed up our body’s aging process, and dietary fiber binds to chemical carcinogens and helps the body excrete these potentially harmful products. They help maintain our health and prevent disease.

THIRDLY, NOT ALL PLANT BASED DIETS ARE EQUAL. ORGANIC WHOLE FOODS ARE DIFFERENT FROM PROCESSED VEGAN FOODS:

As I have said before, I understand why people are attracted to refined and processed vegan foods: they do not require much work or energy. We want to be healthy but we don’t want to put that much effort into actually preparing our meals directly from whole foods. We want things EASY. Consider this though: When a fruit or vegetable is 5 days old, it will contain only 40% of it’s original nutrients. How about refined plant foods?

Refined plant foods have been so drastically altered from their natural state and are not consumed, in Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s words, “in their totality” and therefore in decreased natural plant material quanitites. Other refined foods are processed foods. They include simple carbohydrates (like, white flours and sugars), hydrogenated oils, genetically modified organisms, anything with fillers, artificial food grade chemicals and additives. Most are ready to eat (like junk food or white bread) or require little cooking (like frozen dinners). They are also anything canned, boxed, bottled and packaged. There is a whole niche market dedicated to serving ready made foods to vegans and vegetarians.

THEREFORE, A PLANT-BASED WHOLE FOODS DIET IS BEST.

The thing is though, like most things, it requires work on our part to get something really worth anything. Nutrition is no exception. Plant-based whole-foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. They are in their natural state and are not overly processed or altered. Most of the time, you can eat them fresh or they may require some time and attention (like, cleaning, prepping, dressing/marinating, cooking). Dr. T. Colin Campbell states that when we consume foods that have decreased natural plant material, this poses problems for our bodies.

BUT, HOW MUCH PROTEIN IS ENOUGH?

For the average person, 8 – 10% of your total calorie intake is enough.  Surprisingly, professional athletes only need slightly more protein than that.  You can calculate what you need here.

HOW TO MEASURE HOW MUCH PROTEIN WE CONSUME?

According to my instructor at eCornell University, “As long as we’re eating whole, plant foods – no oils and minimal nuts/seeds.  On average, plant foods are 5-10% fat and about 10% protein.  And, if we’re eating whole foods, rather than processed, we’re getting plenty of complex carbohydrates [and enough protein].”

School Lunches versus Packing a Lunch: How to Keep Both Healthy

23 May

We homeschool, but we are out and about a lot.  Here’s an example of our packed lunch.

How do we keep our children’s lunches healthy?  According to the World Health Organization“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”   So, we can rephrase our question as: how can we ensure our children’s lunches contribute to their physical, mental and social well-being and, by consuming them, they will not be afflicted by disease or sickness?

I recently watched a short documentary called Lunch, a film based on interviews about ‘Green School’ lunch programs, instilling healthy habits in kids and organic gardening in a school setting.  It seems to me that most people talk about kid’s lunches from a single viewpoint: the food. They say: let’s improve food quality, organic is better, no more GMOs, add more fruits and vegetables, no more fried foods, add healthier options, grow a school garden, add nutrition to the curriculum…  While I think these are all wonderful and much needed, the most important thing we can do is to empower children themselves to make the right food choices.  

At the end of the day, the children are the only ones who can control what they eat, therefore it is not enough to simply create a healthy nutrition environment for them. Children need to be taught that any kind of food can keep us alive, but it is the nutritious food that helps maintain our body, mind and social capacities well. We need to teach children about a whole lifestyle that emphasizes not only nutritional choices, but also how the choices they make affect their own physical, mental and social well-being.   When children are educated, when they understand, when they are given proper role models and when they are given tools to help them choose health, then the responsibility for parents and guardians to create a healthy nutrition environment for them becomes easier – simply because children will WANT it for themselves.  

Proper Nutrition is integral to maintaining our physical, mental and social health and well-being.

We can teach children the value of eating to live, not living to eat. We can teach them the value of maintaining physical, mental and social well-being (these are a few examples):

    • show them what happens to their bodies when they consume junk versus nutritious foods, for example:
      • what happens to teeth when they eat processed sugar (place a tooth in Coca Cola and see what happens)
      • what happens to bones when people eat too much animal protein and cow’s milk (show rates of osteoporosis in different communities)
      • teach them to look at their own poop and explain what healthy poop should look like
      • teach them how different foods create different energy levels (discuss athletes and their diet)
      • watch Wall-E and discuss why the humans are obese (foods they eat, exercise)
      • show videos like Supersize Me and Forks over Knives to older children
    • show them what happens to their minds depending on the food consumed, for example:
      • discuss how mental performance suffers/improves due to diet (i.e. Food For the Brain study)
      • show them that learning challenges and problem behaviors may decrease/increase according to diet
      • discuss how exercising the brain is just as important as sports is for the body
      • discuss how quality foods help the nerves in the brain function properly (memory, problem solving, etc)
    • show them that their nutritional choices have social implications, for example
      • discuss what “social well-being” means vis-à-vis proper nutrition within the community, the nation and the world (according to the United States Institute of Peace: “Social well-being is an end state in which basic human needs are met and people are able to coexist peacefully in communities with opportunities for advancement. This end state is characterized by equal access to and delivery of basic needs services (water, food, shelter, and health services), the provision of primary and secondary education, the return or resettlement of those displaced by violent conflict, and the restoration of social fabric and community life.)
      • discuss composting, recycling, reusing and reducing in the community and at home
      • discuss pollution and toxicity
      • discuss what stress does to us
      • discuss how the quality of food we eat affects our emotions and therefore our social well-being.
As we teach them to grow their own food and to prepare their own meals from scratch… we can sit back and see what happens.

Other ideas here too: Top 10 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop! Click on the image for more links to Gifted/2E Health and Wellness Issues!

Hospital Feeds Cancer Patient Animal Based Meals and Processed Foods

19 Sep

Free Drinks for family or friends at the Hospital in the Surgical Waiting Room

What’s Wrong with Animal Based Foods and Processed Foods?

If you’ve watched the recent documentary Forks Over Knives, which is now available in DVD or on Amazon Instant Video or on Netflix, the message from highly respected and reputed doctors (Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Pam Popper, Dr. Dough Lisle, Dr. Terry Mason, Dr. Neal Barnard and Drs. Matthew Lederman and Alona Pulde) is clear and simple:

  • the quantity of animal based foods and processed foods consumption is directly correlated to degenerative diseases, especially heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and even erectile disfunction.
  • animal protein has shown that its addition into the diet alone can turn on and off cancer.
  • a whole foods plant based diet has the power to cure many diseases.
  • a whole foods plant based diet has the power to prevent many diseases.

Hospital Serves Cancer Patient Animal Based Meals and Processed Foods

Would you give an alcoholic a bottle of wine?  Would you temp someone who just quit smoking with a cigarette?  Then why do hospitals serve Cancer patients, and other patients who are struggling with health and possibly life itself, processed foods and animal products – the very foods that cause disease in the first place?

Last week, someone very close to my heart had a lung operation to remove cancer cells.  While I was undoubtedly saddened by the news, I was appalled at what kind of food was served to her at the hospital.  And this was in a very well known and respected hospital!

Her very first and subsequent drink offers at the hospital:

  • ginger ale with high fructose corn syrup with loads of ice
  • cranberry juice from a plastic tub (the kind that makes the juice taste like plastic)
  • apple juice concentrate from Argentina and China.

She also noted that she had quite a difficult time getting the nurses to give her just plain water without ice.

Her very first meal was breakfast:

  • oatmeal (the healthiest choice on the tray)
  • French toast
  • 2 pieces of greasy bacon (after surgery? really?) and 
  • canned fruit.

Lunch:

  • turkey and gravy
  • mashed potatoes (with butter?),
  • green beans and grapes (at least!).

Dinner:

  • beef stew and
  • broccoli (another at least!).

Snacks: Family and friends were offered ice cream, which was full of  artificial ingredients except for the first ingredient, milk.

The total ignorance in choices offered by the hospital’s food service is appalling but not really surprising.  I remind myself, this is probably how many people eat.  This is considered normal food.  But it is wrong on so many levels.

What To Do To Change What Hospitals Feed Patients?

While many of us are unable to make drastic changes to hospital food services, we can make our choices known!

For family and friends of patients, bring better options for your loved ones:

  • filtered water
  • raw healthy juices
  • fruits and
  • easily digested vegetables (i.e. pureed soups).

For patients: ask the hospital staff if they have Vegan options.

FREE APP Gets Kids Excited About Eating Fruits and Veggies

26 Jul

Munch 5 Home Page

Got a tech-loving kid?  Want him or her to get excited about eating fruits and veggies? 

Munch-5-A-Day does just that.  And it is deliciously FREE!

I discovered it last week and it has been very popular at our house because it engages kids with its game-like feel.  Thought all you Mamas out there would love it too.

What I Love

  • you can set your own goals, so it doesn’t have to be just 5-a-day.  Right now, ours is set for 8 a day which is the average fruit and veggie consumption for my preschooler.  The highest goal is 12 a day.
  • it engages and empowers my son to eat his fruits and veggies, without me having to nag him.  Very IMPORTANT!

 

Munch 5 Badges

What My Son Loves

  • the sounds it makes when he taps the fruit and vegetable icons to record his daily consumption
  • the badges that he ‘wins’ – or rather, the app keeps him looking forward for the badges after recording his daily consumption because a badge isn’t given everyday.
  • the self-motivation of trying to reach his goal. My son keeps wanting to tap the fruit or vegetable icon, but I keep reminding him he has to eat it first in order to record his progress.  An empowering tool!
  • looking at his own fruit and veggie progress report.  By turning your device horizontally, you can view your progress for the past 7 or 30 days.  Last night, when he saw his progress report for the first time, he smiled saying “I ate all that?”

 

Munch 5 Progress

 

An Added Bonus

  • you can ‘share’ your successes with friends over Twitter and Facebook

When A Green Salad Just Won’t Do! Top 6 Ways To Get Kids To Love Plant-Based Food Again!

21 Jun

Look familiar? This is the "I don't think I can eat this!" look.

My fabulous niece Lia loves raw Kale Salad and Green Smoothies, but a piece of plain lettuce may be asking her for too much!  How many kids have you seen do this exact same thing? Many! And there are even more who won’t even touch any kind of vegetable.

A few months ago, when Karen Ranzi came to speak at our local university, she was so excited to see my 4 year old son eat a Banana Lettuce Wrap (below) and exclaimed “Wow! We need to take a picture of that!”  Unfortunately, as he grows up and gets more exposed to the Standard American Diet, his preference for unhealthy ‘normal American’ foods has escalated.  Recently, he has exclaimed: “No more Green Salads for me!  Only Green Smoothies!”

Banana Date Lettuce Wrap: a very simple meal

What’s a Mama to do? 

I knew this wouldn’t be easy.  So I have armed myself with new ways to get my little one to love eating unprocessed plant-based whole foods again. Here’s what I make sure we have:

1. A variety of fresh fruit in the house, for breakfast, snacks and/or pre-dinner munchies.

2. Lots of GREEN Smoothies in the house.

3. My niece Lia just discovered GREEN Smoothie Popsicles and loves them.  We have loved them in the summer time too!  Simply place leftover Green Smoothie into your popsicle molds and voila! another treat with nutritional benefits! By the way, we love our BPA free popsicle molds!

My son loves his popsicle from a Blueberry Green Smoothie!

3. Get the JUICER out for GREEN Juices.  If they won’t eat the salad, they can definitely drink them (as long as they are yummy!).  For most kids, this means a mixture of fruit and vegetable juices.  Although it is hard work, it is worth any Mama’s time: fresh green juices go directly into our cells and work their wonders.

4. Mix raw and cooked together for Half & Half! Yes, definitely the easier way to get the family to eat more fresh raw veggies.

Asparagus and Tomato Salad: cooked asparagus and raw tomatoes with Balsamic Vinaigrette (this is great with Broccoli and Tomatoes too!)

Zucchini Pasta topped with Cooked Lentils... you can always try!

Vegetable Sushi: my family loves Avocado, we use raw untoasted Nori... and yes that's white rice, they prefer it that way... maybe because they feel it's more authentic?

5. Prepare more COOKED PLANT-BASED options at each meal so that the family doesn’t crave other SAD (Standard American Diet) Foods.  This is important and something I often forget because I am so involved in making something Raw Vegan at each meal.  As I add more home-cooked vegan options at every meal, my family craves less for the unhealthier cooked fare.  Some of their Vegan faves: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes, Buckwheat Soba Noodles, Vegetable Sushi, Steamed Sweet Potato, Steamed Artichokes, Baked Potato Chips, Peanut (or Raw Almond) Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Pasta Alfredo, Pasta with a very simple Tomato Sauce, Chinese Dumplings, Sloppy Joes, Fajitas, Zucchini Bread… They don’t seem to like beans all that much.

6. Remind them that there are Raw Vegan Cookies and other Sweets too.  While I prefer fresh foods, I do make some treats for my family occasionally as well.

Other Resources:

How To Transition The Family Into More Raw Vegan Foods

Top 10 Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat Fruits and Veggies

Top 12 Kid-Friendly Year-Round Raw Superfoods

Top 10 Questions on the Raw Vegan Diet

17 Jun

From a Restaurant Menu

UN-PROCESSED foods is what is important to me and my family. In getting rid of all the processed foods in our pantry, it made sense to increase foods that were at the other end of the spectrum: raw, fresh, organic, in-season fruits and vegetables.  For the past 2 years, my husband and son opted to eat at least 50% Raw Vegan Foods, with the other 50% cooked whole foods made from scratch.  I am on my 3rd year as a Raw Vegan (about 100%) and although I feel great, I am now contemplating adding more cooked whole Vegan foods into my diet.  Like I state below a few times, in my opinion, it would be a better choice to eat a plain steamed sweet potato than a big piece of raw cheese cake loaded with cashews and sweetener.  Also, some foods just taste better when they are slightly cooked (artichokes for example).  And some foods are not toxic when cooked (raw green beans were horrible for me for example).  However, on the whole, it is important for people to consider adding more RAW fruits and vegetables into their family’s diets because of the added nutritional and health benefits To help you understand what we have learned about adding more Raw Vegan Foods into our diets, here are the top 10 questions we get asked regularly.

1. Will my skin glow on a Raw Vegan Diet?

YES.  No doubt about it!

Although I have always looked young, I don’t think I’ve aged much either.  And since switching to a Raw Vegan Diet, I’ve had my share of compliments on my glowing facial skin.  Not only that, but my overall skin is clearer.   I grew up with constant whiteheads all over my arms and blackheads all over my legs. My dermatologists would charge me for different creams, shampoos and other quick-fixes which never worked.  Just 1 month after I turned Raw Vegan, all of these skin inflammations were gone and I had not one white or black head on my body.  I have since discovered that it is after I eat some foods sautéed in oil that I usually break out with a bump or two.

My son, who has had terrible eczema, now is at least 50% Raw also has beautiful flawless skin.  Hubby’s skin looks the same.

2.  Will I have a lot of energy on the Raw Vegan Diet?

YES.  On a balanced Raw Vegan Diet, I have more energy ‘to go the extra mile’ in situations where I did not before.  My husband has noted that I do much more and complain much less, especially when I need to clean up…  😉

3. Will I sleep less on the Raw Vegan Diet?

DEPENDS.  A lot of Raw Foodies really believe that they don’t need much sleep.  I used to get by with 5 hours of sleep a night on my first year of raw.  Now, on my third, I prefer about 7 hours.  If I don’t get enough sleep, I am more inclined to get sick.  So, I think this depends on the person.  Also, having a lot of energy while awake doesn’t equate to needing less sleep.

4.  Can I eat whatever I want on a Raw Vegan Diet?

NO.  I met a Raw Vegan once and she said on a Raw Vegan diet there isn’t a pyramid or plate chart to follow, “just eat whatever you feel like.”  Well… some famous Raw Vegans have become sick from an unbalanced diet of too many sweets and heavy foods (such as fruit, sweeteners, nuts), and too little greens (where the bulk of raw vegan nutrition is). Many long-time Raw Vegans have added raw dairy, raw egg and raw fish back into their diets because they felt something was missing.  Like any diet, a Raw Vegan must pay attention to daily balanced nutrition.  In my opinion, it would be a better choice to eat a plain steamed sweet potato than a big piece of raw cheese cake loaded with cashews and sweetener, for example.

What I have discovered on a Raw Vegan Diet is that I can easily pinpoint what my body needs by being sensitive to little changes.  I have found that I need to supplement with iodine, zinc and B12, for example.

(Resource: Raw Vegan Ingredients and Foods Raw Vegans Avoid)

5. Can I gain weight on a Raw Vegan Diet?

YES. You actually can gain weight and some people have!  If you eat a lot of nuts, avocados and oils, you can gain weight on a Raw Vegan Diet.  That said, it is easy to maintain your weight on a Raw Vegan Diet if you have a tendency to gain weight.  But you can also lose a lot of weight and have difficulty putting on some.

One thing that I have discovered is that I crave a lot of GREENS.  When I do crave other foods, I don’t eat a whole lot of it to feel satisfied.  When I get hungry, I don’t get “I-need-to-eat-now!!!” mad like I used to.

6. Will I get sick on a Raw Vegan Diet?

People have cured themselves off many diseases on the Raw Vegan Diet, which is testament to its efficacy. But, YES.  It’s not that we never get sick by adding more raw produce into our diets, but we get sick much less.

On 100% Cooked Foods, my husband and son were sick at least once a month.  I was sick less, but perhaps more than a few times a year.  After adding more Raw Vegan foods into our diet, we are all sick much less and our immune systems are much stronger.  By combining more Raw foods with exercise, sleep, time outdoors for sun and fresh air and more time to relax, we are creating a much healthier lifestyle for our family.

Note: The one thing that Raw Vegans must watch out for is food poisoning.  We have to be vigilant in washing our produce before we feed our family.  Animal foods are not the only foods that carry E. coli these days!  Also look at question #4.

7. 100% Raw Vegan is the only way to go!

NO.  Some people add only 25% Raw – and still feel the added benefits.  Many prefer to eat 50% Raw, but the term Raw Vegan describes people who are at least 75% Raw.  Although your family may prefer cooked foods, by adding live foods to your diet a little at a time, you and your family may be surprised how much Raw foods you are actually eating and enjoying in the process: a fresh fruit for breakfast, big salads for lunch and dinner, green smoothies and fresh juices at mealtimes or snack times, and raw desserts.

8. Is All Cooked Food poison?

NO.  Although a lot of Raw Vegans believe all cooked food is poison, I cannot make such a blanket statement.  What I like to say instead is that processed foods are poison!  What is most important is to UN-PROCESS the foods our families eat to improve their health.  We need to focus on foods prepared from raw, fresh, organic, local and seasonal whole foods – whether Raw or Lightly Cooked.  Like I said before, in my opinion, eating a plain steamed sweet potato is better than eating a big piece of raw cheesecake loaded with cashews and sweetener, for example.

9. Is it more expensive to add Raw Vegan foods to my family’s diet?

YES and NO.    It is true that buying organic produce is expensive, but I buy them on sale.  In our favourite health food store, produce is 30% off on certain days.  That’s when I buy!  A savings of 30% is tremendous.   And, if I cooked all the produce I already buy, I’d have to buy even more.  My family would want to eat double the amount of servings of  cooked foods as they would the same food served fresh, which is more filling.

Most restaurants serve salads these days! I ask them to make a big bowl of any fresh and raw veggies they have.

10. I won’t be able to eat out on a Raw Vegan Diet and I’ll have to learn to be satisfied with boring food!

NO.  Most restaurants have fruit and vegetables on the menu.  I order salads or slightly cooked vegetables for my family when we eat out.  There are also so many options available today for eating more Raw Vegan Fare.  In my own city, for example, we have our local Good Life Café.  In DC, we love going to Java Green where they serve Raw and Cooked Vegan fare.  In NYC, we have loved Pure Foods and Wine.  In London, we visit SAF Kensington on top of Whole Foods.  All their menus are interesting and their food delicious!  Just look at my Food Photos and you can see that Raw Vegan Food is far from boring.  There is an abundance of fruits, vegetables and dishes to eat and enjoy!

I Like Vegetables Video for your Kids!

9 Jun

Always on a lookout for more marketing strategies on getting kids to eat healthier, I was thrilled when a friend sent this to me.  I can add this to my #7  tip out of my top 10 tips to get my son to eat more fruits and veggies.

A… a… a.. I LIKE MY VEGETABLES!

Thank you Kathy!

Artichokes? Spring must be here!

16 Mar

 

Artichokes: Cooked or Raw?

OK, we tried artichokes raw… but well, for the boys it’s just not the same.  So, I lightly steam the artichokes for an hour (first cut off stems, chop of an inch from the top and cut off the sharp tops off the leaves) and the boys enjoy it with their sauce of raw cow’s butter (place container with butter in hot water to melt), add some lemon and a few pinches of sea salt.  My son can eat 3 artichokes at a time.

When I eat raw uncooked artichokes, I find that I prefer the heart to the leaves  (yes, you can eat them raw as you would a cooked one) and eat them by marinating slices in the lemon vinaigrette (below).  Whether I have them raw or succumb to a cooked one, I enjoy my artichokes with a very simple lemon vinaigrette:

1 tsp sea salt, or less to taste

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tbspns extra-virgin olive oil

One large artichoke contains only 25 calories, no fat, 5% of daily potassium requirement, 8% manganese, 8% chromium,10% vitamin C,  10%  folate, 10% magnesium and12%  dietary fiber.

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #6

20 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #6:

Grow Your Own

Organic Fruit & Vegetable Garden

 

Reliable Seed Companies: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

The premise behind this tip is that by planting their favorite fruits or vegetables, children will be motivated to learn

– how plants grow
– to appreciate organic farmers and their practices
– the value of produce
– how much better fresh fruits and vegetables taste right off child’s own plants
– to enjoy spending time together in nature.

We have had a few different varieties of tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers,  onions, basil, rosemary,  thyme, lavender, mint and sage the past few years, but then my green thumb relaxed too much and I found our garden full of grubs one day, all plants failed and my ONE  ripe beefsteak tomato taken by an animal last year.   My attempt at composting was also a disaster and I killed about 200 worms while trying to vermi-compost.

Sigh.

Not giving up too easily, we have  started our broccoli, cauliflower, pak choi, snap beans and salad seeds indoors this week.  Wish us luck!

My back up plan if Tip #6 fails: visit a friend’s garden, as well as farms nearby and farmers markets.

Tip #7: Build Entertainment Value Through Raw Food

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #3

17 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children. What are parents to do? Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process Librarymarket fruits and veggies to kids. We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #3:

PROMOTE FRUITS AND VEGGIES

USING FAVOURITE CHARACTERS or PEOPLE

Yoda, Aunt Beru, Luke Skywalker, Michael Jackson

The premise behind this tip is that children will be inspired to eat what their favorite characters or personalities eat.


Our son loves:

1. Star Wars

2. Michael Jackson’s music

3. Winnie the Pooh.

 

How do we incorporate these three favorites with food?

1. Star Wars:

– We talk about Aunt Beru’s Kitchen being full of vegetables and that she uses her blender to serve Luke and Uncle Owen yummy Green Smoothies.

– We research the foods Yoda eats on Dagobah: berries, mushrooms, seeds…

– We create stories about other characters, for example the Jawas must eat carrots because they have amazing night vision.

2. Michael Jackson:

This was easy because Michael Jackson was a vegetarian. We found a story on Huffington Post about Michael Jackson being a regular at a vegetarian restaurant called The Golden Temple. He met a couple there and was very interested in the woman’s vegetarian pregnancy and her baby.

3. Winnie the Pooh:

Pooh Bear loves honey!!! Our fave breakfasts and snacks include raw honey (banana with honey, raw yoghurt with honey, raw oatmeal with honey…). And we discovered a Green Smoothie our son loves because It Takes Like Honey… thus we have renamed it Pooh Bear’s Smoothie.

 

Tip #4: USE POSITIVE IMAGERY ASSOCIATED WITH EATING HEALTHY FOOD

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #2

17 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #2:

PLACE HEALTHY FOODS

at

CHILD’S EYE LEVEL

and

WITHIN CHILD’S REACH

Fruits on the Counter

The premise behind this tip is that children will gravitate towards the food that are at their eye level and within their grasp.

Son's Dedicated Fridge Level: raw almond butter, green smoothie, raw yoghurt, dehydrated buckwheat cereal, flax seed crackers and kale chips, raw salted eggs, nuts and dried fruits

1. dedicate one level of the fridge to your child’s fave healthy foods (cut fruit or veggies, raw almond butter, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, dips, snack items)

2. dedicate one level of the pantry to your child’s fave healthy foods (honey, raw chips, raw cookies, dehydrated snacks)

3. make cut fresh fruit, cut vegetables, green smoothies and raw milk available at all times (we use our stainless steel lunch box and thermos with a straw)

4. keep fresh produce on the counter at all times

Tip #3: PROMOTE FRUITS AND VEGGIES USING FAVOURITE CHARACTERS or PEOPLE

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #1

17 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

TIP #1:

MODEL HEALTHY NUTRITION

Recently in Florida, our son helped Daddy choose exotic fruits to try

 

The premise behind this tip is that if children are accustomed to watching their own parents eating and truly enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, they will be more open to eating the same foods.

Being pretty much a raw vegan, I had thought that I was a great model on eating fruits and veggies.  But while my son loves all kinds of fruit and his ‘Tastes Just Like Honey’ Pooh Bear Green Smoothie, eating salads has not been popular for the past 6 months.  What I discovered the other day changed all that: my son ‘caught’ me truly enjoying my salad (read about how I unintentionally got my son to love Kale Salad).  And now Kale Salad is one of his fave foods.

Tip #2: PLACE HEALTHY FOODS at CHILD’S EYE LEVEL and WITHIN CHILD’S REACH

Marketing Fruits and Veggies to Kids

12 Jan

Everyday, our children are bombarded with marketing directed at them through various media that costs companies over $15 billion annually according to New American Dream.  The effect is disastrous with research showing direct links to childhood obesity, harm to children’s emotional well-being, self-image and sexual behavior, and to their financial self-control.

As parents, we need help in bringing up healthy children. We need to be supported. We do not want our role to be diminished.  We do not want our voices taken away by companies that directly market unhealthy products to our children.  So what can we do?

Having recently conducted my own unintended marketing ploy and seeing it work, I am ready to examine what works for big food corporations and how parents can use these tools to market healthy foods to their children.  So, I took a look at what The Center of Science for Public Interest wrote up in the Guidelines for Responsible Food Marketing to Children.  These were the biggest influential factors in marketing to children:

– advertise during TV, videos, cartoon shows
– product and brand placements in movies, shows, games, websites, books
– giving out premiums and incentives for consuming certain foods
– promote foods using cartoon or fictional characters or celebrities and the same placed on children’s merchandise and games
– build entertainment value through food: food shapes like a character, or use of colors to surprise the eater…
– create education incentive programs using food
– place a banner or wall paper of product on computer
– eye level shelves of grocery stores
– showing emotional, social or health benefits of food (i.e. someone loves you more by buying a food/ someone is very popular for eating a food/ someone is more physically fit for eating a food)

After looking at this list, I have decided to start using the same tactics at home… but to market raw fruits and vegetables to my son.   Although I have successfully transitioned my family from 100% cooked to about 50% raw in a year (read How To Transition The Family Into More Raw Foods), I would like to do more.  I want to make a long-term impact on my son’s health through nutrition.  So, I’ve come up with my own Marketing Fruits and Veggies to Kids list.

Let’s start with Tip #1: Model Healthy Nutrition