5 Summertime Must Have's

5 Summertime Must Have's

    ******************************* By Holly Pellham Davis   Thereʼs nothing that says “Summer” like flip flops and a snow cone, but do they have to come...

Sun vs. Sunscreen

Sun vs. Sunscreen

Enjoying The Hawaiian Sun ******************   By: Holly Pellham Davis   Who knew sunscreen could be so controversial? But, as with most products containing...

Food as Medicine- Top 15 Power Foods

  : By: Holly Pellham Davis ******* When it comes to food, my motto is, “You are what your food eats.” A healthy diet isn’t about deprivation, rather it hinges on eating...

Everyday is EARTH DAY

Everyday is EARTH DAY

    Love, Respect, Responsibility for our home, Planet Earth by Holly Pellham Davis       We see evidence of Global Warming and our...

What's in the Water?

What's in the Water?

Water... Life's Most Valuable Componet (next to the Air we breathe)     I wrote this article on water a while back, but water will always be in the forefront of any...

Dying To Be Beautiful

Dying To Be Beautiful

        By: Holly Pellham Davis   ***************************   Every day, all across America, a mom gets up and douses herself...

All About Holly Pellham Davis

Clean Fresh Cooking

 

By Holly Pellham Davis

Many of us can relate to the feeling that our gut has a mind of its own, often over-ruling the main processing unit above our shoulders. But, what would you say if I told you that our gut is often referred to as the “second brain?”

The gut is an extension of the brain connected through the enteric nervous system. The two work together to create a balance of hormones, bacteria, enzymes, and some 40 neurotransmitters. In fact, more than 90% of our bodyʼs serotonin, 50% of our bodyʼs dopamine, and 70%-90% of our immune system, is found in the gut. Simply stated, if the gutʼs not happy, our entire body is not happy (or healthy) and more prone to a variety of problems, conditions, and disease.

The root of all disease is inflammation. The immune system and gut flora have a symbiotic relationship. When our gut flora (microbiota) is imbalanced (more bad than good) we have Dysbiosis which disturbs waste removal in the GI track and leads to inflammation (increase in cytokines) and cancer.

This microbiota or gut flora is absolutely essential to our health. At birth, we are given vital bacteria through the birth canal that become the signal to activate the gut immune system. For babies delivered by C-section, they must depend on bacteria picked up from the skin and other surfaces, therefore having a completely different community of bacteria (in the body) sometimes leading to colic, increased risk of asthma, allergies and obesity. Frequently, those same children are prescribed antibiotics more often through life, compounding the root of the problem. But, they are not alone. Many of us suffer from imbalances in our gut bacteria. It is a battle of Good vs Bad.

Some Causes of Gut Microbiota Imbalance:

  • Use of antibiotics
  • Consumption of processed foods, genetically modified foods, and sugar
  • Illness
  • Stress* (See CRF below.)
  • Chlorine in water.
  • Drinking large quantities of coffee or alcohol (or both)
  • Aging
  • Taking H2 Inhibitors. These acid blockers can be devastating to the gut and can actually perpetuate the problem. Instead, talk to your doctor about treating GERD with high potency probiotics and take a digestive enzyme to restore balance. You should also cut processed foods and eat mostly dark green leafy vegetables.

 
What are the signs/gut feelings (no pun intended) that something is wrong?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Visceral pain — inflammation, bowel disease, GERD, kidney stones, endometriosis
  • Constipation
  • Cravings
  • Foggy memory, mood swings (an inflamed gut = inflamed brain)
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • Release of CRF (corticotropin releasing factor) — Often a result of chronic stress, the release of CRF can lead to changes in paracellular permeability, leaky gut / leaky brain (antigens leaking out into the bloodstream), toxic liver overload, irritable bowel syndrome, and systemic disease.

 
Now that we have a snapshot of what can go wrong when you have bad gut health, letʼs look at some things we can do to make it right.

Keys to Gut Brain Wellness:

  • Eat a diet rich in organic plants, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, some whole organic grains, and eggs. Superstars include: avocados, freshly ground flaxseeds, and omega 3 rich foods.
  • Avoid food additives, artificial colors and dyes, preservatives, refined sugars, pesticides, genetically engineered foods, and MSG. They all alter gut microbiota and can damage the intestinal wall.
  • Decrease exposure to environmental toxins — drink pure, clean water ( de-chlorinated and DBP free), breathe clean air, avoid toxic household chemicals, and remove plastics and styrofoam from your home & office.
  • Increase Omega 3  and decrease Omega 6.
  • Exercise.
  • Decreases stress to aid in the release of beneficial hormones and weight loss (bonus!).
  • Get adequate sleep, ideally at least 8 hours of per night. Your ability to sleep well will increase with good gut health.
  • Reduce Stress! This is absolutely vital for gut health and whole wellness. Volunteering, meditation, yoga,exercise, massage therapy, journaling, support groups, and gardening are all great ways to reduce stress and nurture your soul.

 
Probiotic Supplements
While not a cure-all, you can also help improve gut health by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement every day. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a supplement:

  • Look for one that is encapsulated and extended release which allows the bacteria to pass through stomach acid.
  • Choose one with multiple strains- most contain 10-12. The more strains the better.
  • Look for numbers that reference how many cells at best by date (not manufacture date).
  • Do NOT take probiotic supplements within one hour of hot drinks or heated foods. The heat will kill the cells. This includes the popular suggestion to take probiotic with hot lemon water.
  • For anyone in a “gut wrenching state,” you may want to look into prebiotics and digestive enzymes. They are a tremendous help and support for gut health.

 
Probiotic Foods
Including probiotic foods in your family’s daily diet is another way to help promote good gut health. Probiotic foods include: miso, oats, wheat bran, legumes, chicory, banana, dandelion greens,blue-green algae, kimchee, garlic, onions, pickles, tempeh, sauerkraut, beans, flax seeds, leeks, artichokes, Kefir (fermented dairy), and yogurt. I’ll dive  into a few of these foods below.

Yogurt: We’re firmly in the midst of a yogurt craze with food giants eagerly jumping on the bandwagon in the name of “health.” Any yogurt containing excessive sugar, artificial flavors, colors, toppings/mix ins should be considered a dessert or junk food, as any benefit received from the small amount of bacteria it may contain is voided by harmful additives. I prefer Stonyfield Greek Plain Yogurt for my family.

Fermented Drinks: My husband gags when he sees me take a swig of Eden Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar . I admit, it takes some getting used to, but being a long time Kombucha Tea drinker prepared me for the intense flavor. The list of health benefits of fermented drinks like vinegar is vast, including: aiding in alkalinity/ ph balance, improving digestion, encouraging skin health, possessing anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory  properties, aiding in weight loss, and helping to reduce blood sugar levels. It can even be used as a mouth wash! The Kombucha story is a bit more complicated, as each maker touts their brew to be best, but remember the integrity of fermentation (raw culture) is what creates the good bacteria. Look for lines that clearly state specific strains contained and all ingredients. Also beware of high sugar content (double check the servings per container). A brand I enjoy is High Country. I love the ginger, and my son fittingly adores Wild Root. For moms out there wanting to create their own “mothers,” there is an easy starter kit.

Fermented Foods: Fermented foods have been a staple in ancient cultures often being referenced as the root of good health and survival. Miso, sauerkraut, kimchee, tempeh are examples of some of those foods. Try them out!

At the end of the day, I think momʼs advice to “listen to your gut” has taken on a deeper meaning on our ongoing journey to wellness, donʼt you?

Stay tuned!

XOXO, Holly

 

 


By Holly Pellham Davis *******

 

They say, “you canʼt take the farm out of the girl,” and, well, I confirmed that this weekend. As soon as I stepped onto the grounds of the Chestnut Square Farmerʼs Market in McKinney, my heart soared.

 

Not to overstate something completely obvious, but we need farmers. They grow the food we eat, right? Sadly, not so much anymore. The days of family owned farms growing organic or non-genetically modified crops are almost a distant memory. Corporate giants in agriculture control our food supply by having over a 50% market share in every category, some as high as 90%, giving them the control to dictate prices on both the buying and selling side. US government subsidies and the control of Monsanto and their ever increasing power have left consumers with less choices and higher prices. Not only has it pushed our small family farmer out of business, but it also leaves us with mass-produced, highly-chemically-treated “food.”

 

On the flip side, less than 1% of the population in America claim farming as their occupation. Farm production expenses average over $100,000 per year, per farm, and less than 1 in 4 farms in the US produce gross revenues over $50,000. Yet, farmers are the backbone of America. How are we not supporting them? I believe firmly that if you buy local and support small organic farmers, you can change the world.

 

The good news is that a number of grass roots movement to support local farmers, especially organic, have recently sprouted up and, it seems, the tide is beginning to turn…the key is to keep the momentum going, as the benefits of supporting small, local farmers are as plentiful as the nutrients their precious crops yield.

 

Here are a few of the most important benefits of shopping local farmers:

 

It gives more power to the purchaser. By buying from local farmers, you are exercising your right to have a choice and “voting with your dollars.” It provides local income to an essential profession. By buying directly from the farmer, they reap the benefit of all their hard work by retaining more of the profit instead of it going to the retailer. And you can save a little money too!

 

It’s positive for the environment. Local foods are good for the environment, reducing carbon footprint & supporting farms in your communities. More dirt, less concrete = happy Earth!

 

It’s healthier. Nutrient levels are highest when crops are freshly picked and eaten / frozen immediately. Local, fresh, organic foods are the most nutritious! What is good for your health is also good for the health of the Earth.

 

Here my tips for a successful (and fun) outing to your local Farmers Market:

  •  
  • Use this map to find a Farmerʼs Market near you.(This is the market I went to last weekend, and I LOVED it!)
  • Be sure to bring a cross-body bag and lots of cash, as most vendors don’t take checks or credit cards.
  • You’ll also want to have plenty of canvas shopping bags and mesh produce bags on hand as well as one soft pack insulated cooler bag with ice for eggs, goats milk, meats, or any other item that needs refrigeration.
  • If you’re planning to purchase organic, pasture raised eggs (which I highly recommend), save and carry your own paper compostable egg cartons, as most vendors put their eggs in Styrofoam cartons. Send a message, set an example, and protect the Earth by bringing your own paper carton.
  • Make sure the produce is local. If the fruits or veggies are adorned with code stickers or the vendor has brand name opened produce boxes stacked up behind their display table, somethingʼs up, and chances are its been purchased at a wholesaler for retail sale. You’re aiming to give your business to our hardworking local farmers.
  • Don’t’ be afraid to ask questions! Ask if its organic. Ask what they use on their crops. Ask if they spray. If you’re not confident the product is truly organic, don’t be afraid to walk away.
  • Eye your pick. Know exactly the one you want before you ask about it.
  • Trust your nose. Smell your produce. A tomato should smell like dirt, a cantaloupe should smell sweet.
  • Choose brightest, deepest in color of the selection, as they often are the highest in nutrients.
  • Be open to experience different foods. Try white radishes, turnip greens, rhubarb, purple hull peas (one of my faves), different peppers and herbs. Avoid corn and conventional berries, peaches, and potatoes.

 

Remember you can freeze. Many crops can be cleaned and “put up” or frozen for later use. I love to freeze okra, green beans, berries, and peas so we can enjoy their goodness all year. 

 

So how about joining me next Saturday, at your local farmers market? Facebook or tweet (links below) me your photos, questions, or comments while your there. Iʼd love to hear from you!

 

XOXO,

Holly

 

 

:

By: Holly Pellham Davis *******

When it comes to food, my motto is, “You are what your food eats.” A healthy diet isn’t about deprivation, rather it hinges on eating the right things. After all, food is our best medicine, and food that’s been grown free of toxins and chemicals is essential. With that in mind, I wanted to share a list of my top 15 favorite foods for helping you and your family achieve optimal health.

Happy eating!

1. Avocados -  A perfect source of essential fatty acids and unsaturated fats, a great source of folate, with more potassium than bananas, avocados are a nutrient dense food, high in phytochemicals, carotenoid, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B-6, fiber, and glutathione. Studies show salads and salsa eaten with avocados increase carotenoid absorption. Served with eggs, salsa, and black beans in the morning, tossed in a fresh green salad for lunch, or chopped into quinoa for dinner with a squeeze of lemon, it’s a fruit that compliments just about anything.

2. Kale - A rock star in food circles and rightfully so. Kale is high in antioxidants and vitamins including Vitamins K (1,020%!), Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. It’s also a great source of minerals including: calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. As if that wasnʼt enough, kale also contains the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin (fights macular degeneration) and polyphenols (awesome free radical killers). Oh and it’s good for your bones, reduces cancer risk, and helps about every single bodily function. How can you top that?  It’s best prepared raw by massaging the leaves to tenderize or slightly cooked.

3. Raw Organic Cacao Nibs - Scoring a 621 on the ORAC scale of antioxidant power (blueberries have a score of 65), cacao is a key to health. As the magical bean that begets chocolate, cacao nibs (at least 70% cacao) can be added to protein shakes, baked goods, topped on organic plain non-fat yogurt, or mixed with nuts and seeds for a mid-day snack. Note: This nutritional value information does not apply to chocolate candy or candy bars. (Darn.)

4. Mushrooms - Used for thousands of years in medicines, mushrooms are a powerhouse immunity builder, cancer cell killer, and healer of cardiovascular and liver problems. Mushrooms are high in Vitamin B and naturally possess anti- inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Cooking enhances their potency in most varieties, so sauté with fresh minced garlic and dig in!

5. Salmon - Salmon is natureʼs ultimate source of omega 3 fatty acids, DHA, and astaxanthin. But only Wild Alaskan/Pacific Coho, Russian River, or Sockeye, please. And be sure to purchase from a responsible source and do your part to conserve.

6. Flaxseeds - With a shift in focus within the health community on more Omega-3 fatty acids and less Omega-6s, freshly consuming ground flax seeds is an easy way to balance the ratio. (The research is especially promising for Omega 3ʼs ability to block hormone-related cancers.) Flaxseeds are proven to reduce LDL cholesterol and lower average blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The best source is organic, freshly ground. Use within 20 minutes of grinding. Ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil with DHA are also a wonderful alternative to fish oil.

7. Seeds & Nuts - From almonds and walnuts t0 pumpkin and sesame, seeds are bursting with nutrients as they are ready to sprout new life. Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, amino acids, iron, phosphorus, vitamins, and protein, they are seriously good for you. Almonds and walnuts offer awesome health benefits with omega 3s, and the filling unsaturated fat makes them a great snack food that provides protein and antioxidant power.

8. Quinoa – A perfect seed (not grain) , quinoa is easy to cook, high in fiber, and a good source of non-animal protein (11 grams per half cup!) It’s super versatile and perfect for on the go, add kale and your set.

9. Broccoli – This green veggie is one of the best cancer blockers around, as it modifies natural estrogens into less damaging forms and increases enzymes that fight free radicals and carcinogens. It’s high in Vitamins C, K, Folate, and Choline; minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium; and powerful phytochemicals that stimulate the bodies immune system. I have heard first hand, Doc's at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston tell their patients suffering from cancer to eat organic brocolli as much a spossible! It's powerful enough to battle cancer cells! Everyone should eat at least 3-4 servings per week, and never over cook (mushy broccoli is not just less health, it’s a bummer).

10. Green Tea & Matcha- Studies have shown the antioxidant power in one cup of green tea, especially polyphenol-rich Matcha, to be superior in improving immunity, aiding digestion, and fighting the signs of aging. There’s also evidence that the high antioxidant levels of green tea are associated with reduced cancer risk. (I drink a cup every night!) Caution regarding your source. Choose only organic , Japanese green teas that have been tested for radiation and heavy metals such as lead and aluminum.

11. Garlic & Onions – High in Sulfur compounds and antioxidants, these bad breath boys will blow out your arteries (in a good way), assisting in the reduction of blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Consuming them can also help treat hair loss (allicin) and help fight cancer. Garlic is a natural anti-bacterial and antibiotic that is 100 times more effective than two commonly prescribed antibiotic drugs. Stinky garlic is also an anti-inflammatory.

12. Turmeric – An excellent anti-inflammatory, liver cleansing, anti-cancer food, turmeric has received lots of well deserved recognition of late. I eat turmeric daily, fresh in my morning protein shake. Ginger is fellow root star with common properties and digestive enzymes to boost its power pack.

13. Wheatgrass – Weighing in with twenty times more density than other veggies, and containing 103 vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, wheat grass is seriously nutrient rich. It’s especially high in Vitamins A, B Complex, C, E, and K; beta-carotene; and chlorophyll which helps to detoxify the body and build immunity. Wheatgrass is best taken as a freshly juiced shot (I add mine to my daily protein shake), but be sure to ease into it, as drinking too much too soon can hit you with a hard and fast release of toxins.

14. Lentils – A great substitute for animal protein with 9 grams of protein per half cup, plus heart healthy folate, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, lentils are a seriously healthy, easy to cook go-to food. Toss in soups and salads or eat alone as a side dish. They cook, start to finish, in about 20 minutes! This is one of my pantry staples… you canʼt go wrong.

15. Purified Water – Yes, I know it seems obvious, but you can not cook, live, or be truly well without clean, purified water. Use it in your teas, coffees, soups, to wash your vegetables and fruits, boil your pasta, steam your veggies, and soak your beans. It is the single most important ingredient in healthy food.

Food can either be your Poison or your MEDICINE!

Here's to Healing Foods,

Holly Pellham Davis

 

A is for Antibiotics?

 

Summer 2011, Beyond Pesticides published this article on the use of Antibiotics in Organic Apples & Pears for growers to combat fire blight. It is a very insightful & informative read!

 

Called to action by the Beyond Pesticides, newsletter, I posted about this back then on my Facebook account receiving a mild to zero response... Today, almost YEARS later, this news is making headlines!


So what gives? Are more people just on board with organics today? Do we expect more out of our food now? 


Whichever it is... it is progress if you ask me... But, let's not wait another two years to actually DO something about it.

 

Choose naturally blight resistant apples at the market

Question your retailer

Shop at a co-op & ask them to verify they do not use antibiotics

Contact the FDA, USDA and tell them NOT to extend the deadline of 2014... & that antibiotics have NO place in our food- especially organics
 

  •  

Read more about here:

http://www.beyondpesticides.org/infoservices/pesticidesandyou/Summer2011/antibiotics-fruit.pdf

 

 

Crusading for Clean Food,

Holly

 

 

 

Got Balance? 

 

by Holly Pellham Davis

 

 

 

So, Dunkin' Donuts has promised to change to a Sustainable Source of Palm Oil. ("yea!," Says The planet Earth, its forests and endangered species)

 

After Dunkin was called to the mat for purchasing oil from companies that clear cut thousands of acres of forests for palm oil plantations (a key ingredient they use ALOT of in their chemical creations sold as "food") -some using machetes slicing through rain forest vegetation and its inhabitants alike (baby orangoutangs) the donut giant pledged to use only sustainable sources in the future.


While I applaud and appreciate Dunkins pledge (give us a date this will take effect please. The matter is urgent), and sincerely hope many others follow suit and that Dunkin Donuts benefits from being a "leader" in making this change, I urge them to NOT stop here... Obesity is an epidemic in America, SHOW you care by labeling your "foods" fat, sugar, salt, calorie content (artificial dyes, preservatives, chemicals (glycol) HFCS, hydrogenated Oils would be nice too! 


Willingly give people the POWER of KNOWLEDGE so that they can make informative choices... Break from the food giant business as usual, plan of deception. I believe our society will reward businesses that lead with integrity and put people above profits. In the meantime, making eco-friendly decisions such as susatinable palm oil is a welcomed beginning.

 
Friends, read about Palm Oil... VOTE with YOUR CHOICES & DOLLARS everyday... God Bless

 

Photo from TakePart.com 

 



http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/03/12/dunkin-donuts-decides-dump-unsustainable-palm-oil?cmpid=foodinc-fb

 

By Holly Pellham Davis

 

With a staggering 1 in 3 children now clinically obese, it is more imperative than ever that we address healthy eating at home and in school lunchrooms across America. Food criteria has dramatically changed from clean, fresh, and nourishing to cheap, convenient, highly satiable, bio-chemically engineered foods loaded with additives. Not unlike creating demand for the latest toy or boy band, food company PR departments work overtime creating campaigns to entice our children to want certain foods. And the effects of this new food paradigm on our children’s current and long-term health is frightening.

 

In my last post, we discussed the importance of taking time to nourish your body with a healthy breakfast. Research shows dramatic drops in obesity rates (43% less likely) in people that eat a healthy breakfast each day (the key being healthy — fresh, low/no sugar, unprocessed — foods). I like to say, “Think out of the box by not eating anything that came from a box.” Remember, when we eat sugar and/or processed foods, our bodies will just crave more sugar and processed foods as the day goes on. It’s a vicious cycle.

 

Which brings us to our next stop, lunch.

 

As an example, let’s look at the eating habits of an average 4th grade boy. He wakes up 30 minutes before he is suppose to leave for school, gets dressed, grabs his backpack and a pop tart (17 grams of sugar), and rushes out the door for school. Snack time is 2 hours later when he consumes a cereal bar (11 grams of Sugar) and a package of M&M’s (31 grams of sugar). Another 2 hours pass and he heads to lunch and consumes a hot dog (nitrates, nitrites, processed meat) topped with a heap of of ketchup (8 grams of sugar in a 2 tbsp serving), a bottle of apple juice (15 grams of sugar), and chocolate cake (20 grams of sugar) for dessert. By 12:30 pm this child has consumed 102 grams of sugar (About 25 tsp’s) and not a single gram of fresh, nutritious food to support basic systems of the body or the proper growth and development of an adolescent (not to mention the fuel necessary for his brain to learn, retain, and reason in school. 

 

Not only are the short term effects detrimental — inability to sustain focus, low energy, mood swings — but over time, the toll becomes greater on the human body, often with symptoms of elimination issues, headaches, allergies, depression, inflammation, sallow skin, early puberty, endocrine system disruption, inability to sleep, lack of energy, and inability to focus. To make matters worse, if continued, these symptoms can become diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

 

We must make changes today in an effort to save the health of our children. The work is ours to do, but we must also partner with our schools.

 

The first line of defense is education (ironic since most of our children receive a large percentage of their food intake at school). The focus on education needs to change from, “eat your veggies” to one that educates on the relationship between health and wellness and fresh, healthy food. The relationship must be explored and developed. Children are fully capable of understanding the vital role food plays in good health and conversely, how bad “food” choices make your body feel bad and not function properly.

 

A typical school plate lunch contains foods that are heavily processed, full of preservatives, sodium, fillers, emulsifiers, MSG, sugar, hydrogenated oils, shortening, margarine, artificial dyes, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavorings, and colorings (not to mention meats laden with nitrates and nitrites). Foods are commonly fried and breaded in an effort to make them appealing to kids. Drinks, chips, desserts, and sugar-filled drinks are offered without controls. Children learn to dump their plate lunch food and only consume the sugar drink (or just as bad, ordering tea and spiking it with multiple packets of Splenda, which is 600 times sweeter than cane sugar and created by mixing sucrose with chlorine).

 

Schools across America also provide vending machines with sports drinks and sodas (containing BVO, HFCS, citric acid, and sodium benzoate), chips filled with chemicals, flavorings, and salt, and sugar-laden candy. And the à la carte available to kids each day typically include items like pizza and french fries (full of cancer-causing acrylamide).

 

You can continue the education process by exploring good food choices with your children. If your child eats school food, evaluate the menu with them, discuss their likes and dislikes, and help them make better choices from the offerings with a focus on avoiding vending machine purchases, desserts and processed foods and instead indulging in fresh salads, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and water. You could also send them to school with their favorite healthy protein, such as nuts and seeds. If a proper source of fresh, nutritious food can not be obtained from the school lunchroom source, plan and prepare a daily lunch at home. And enlist your kids to help. Get them involved, letting them partake in some hands-on learning while they take responsibility for their health. Last but not least, work with your school on offering fresh healthy choices in the lunchroom.

 

Here are my guidelines for the lunchroom:

 

Opt for pure water. Skip the milk offered at school, as it is not organic. Non-organic dairy is a major source of antibiotics and hormones in our food supply. Flavored milk is even worse, as it contains corn syrups and sugars that make is more like soda than milk. Similarly, skip tropical punches which contain sugar and dyes, iced teas, sports drinks in favor of pure, hydrating water. (After all, the human brain is mostly made of water.)

Implement a no dessert policy. Just because they are kids, does not mean they are “entitled” to sweets! Kids are entitled to be healthy and strong. I only offer desserts at home a couple times per week. Dessert should be an occasional treat, not a standard. I also encourage my kids to satisfy their sweet tooth with nature’s dessert- fruit!

Embrace veggies. Choose the salad bar or other fresh, raw, unprocessed (this includes no lunch meats) foods. If your school does not offer a fresh salad bar, select any fresh food option in the school line and ask for a double fresh portion, and skip the chicken fried meat, hot dog, hamburger, pizza, chicken nuggets, et al.

Review safe protein options with your children. This is the most challenging component to a healthy lunch room meal. Discuss beans (including burritos), soups, nut butters (containing no sugar or hydrogenated oils), and other alternative proteins. Be prepared to supplement from home. Almond butter packets, sprouted wheat tortillas, chicken breast leftovers from the previous night’s dinner are all great options.

Nixed packaged and vending processed foods. Much like the rule to shop the perimeter of a grocery store, teach your child to stay away from vending machines and individual-sized packaged chips, snack foods, and candy.

 

If you do prepare a homemade lunch for your kiddos, here are a few suggestions to “shake it up” a bit:

 

86 the sandwich bread. As an alternative to sandwich bread, use protein rich, sprouted wheat tortillas. Top with chopped grilled chicken, avocado, chopped organic red and yellow peppers and salsa. No grilled chicken? You can substitute black or pinto beans and throw on some broccoli sprouts, broccoli slaw, or chopped greens. Serve with hummus and carrots, celery, and red cabbage strips. Other alternatives to sandwich bread include, whole grain crackers (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers), a fresh romaine lettuce leaf to wrap food in, or a bed of organic greens with sliced protein and fresh veggies on top. Use sliced veggies and fruit to dip, push and eat with foods such as nut butters (instead of bread), hummus, and turkey breast (whole cooked, not processed). I even wrap my organic grass fed hamburger patty in romaine lettuce and top with avocado. Avoid the sandwich rut!

Double down on dinner. While making dinner the night before, double the recipe and package the leftovers (in a glass container with proper re-usable ice packs) for lunch. Add a fresh fruit medley, an organic apple, and a whole grain organic graham cracker with organic nut butter to round it out.

Serve it hot. Small meal size ceramic bowls with lids are a mom’s best friend when it comes to sending something hot to school for kids. Let your child know not to expect a pipping hot meal equivalent to what they get on the dinner table. When the food is delicious, children will be okay with this. Make some fresh whole grain pasta, toss with a dash of olive oil, some mixed veggies (such as frozen peas, carrots, and corn) added to boiling pasta water in the last 2 minutes of cooking, and a spoon full of marinara sauce. Wrap the outside of the bowl in heavy duty foil to insulate, and cover the top of bowl with parchment paper prior to placing the lid on the bowl. Serve with an organic cheddar cheese slice and organic apple slices.

Be a copy cat. Check out local lunch spots and the prepared food items at Whole Foods for ideas of what to send for your kiddos. Take notes. Do it yourself doesn’t have to be hard.

Start a special treat or theme day. Designate one day of the week a theme. It’s amazing how kids look forward to this. For example, every Friday is “Pizza Day” for my kiddos. On Thursdays, Whole Foods has their fresh 3-topping, brick oven pizzas on sale for $9.99. We purchase a grilled chicken, olive, and veggie pizza on Thursday, and on Friday morning I heat it up in the oven, slice it, and wrap the slices in parchment paper. I then place the pizza in large glass containers with lid and wrap in foil to insulate. You can serve with fresh greens, apple slices, fruit salad, or a veggie medley (sweet peppers, carrots, celery) and you’re good to go.

 

Most lunch offenders are like anytime food offenders — they often come in the name of cheap and easy.

 

These obstacles can easily be overcome with a little planning, education, and determination and will reap dividends in our precious children’s health.

 

We are Moms. Crusaders for our cause… our kids.

 

Mom Crusader,

 

Holly

 

      

 

It's almost that time again.... back to school! And with even more studies popping up with findings that skipping breakfast increases cardiovascular disease, decreases cognitive function and sets us up for future unhealthy cravings throughout the day, I thought I would re-post this article I wrote a while back to help start the day in a way that sets us on a  healthy path.  Here it is:

 

 

Almost every single day, my children come home with “you would not believe” stories about different “foods” that kids eat at school. They don’t mean it in a snobby or judgmental way, rather they are afraid for said kids health and plead with me to    “p-u-h-l-e-e-z-e come to school and talk to them!” (thereby saving the child’s life). I love them for that. They are my mini crusaders. So let’s do talk kids and food and see if we can’t save the day.

 

As expected, our first stop is breakfast. A child’s ability to properly function throughout the day rests on this meal. It is imperative for sustained energy, concentration, and focus. Breakfast also dictates what the body will crave as the day goes on. If breakfast is a toaster pastry (high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, GMOs, chemical preservatives,dyes, and synthetic vitamins), a donut (fried chemical cocktail), a white bagel, Starbucks pound cake (it clocks in at 46g sugar and 490 calories…opt for the oatmeal), a muffin, a frozen waffle, high-sugar cereal, or other processed, sugar-laden food, then the body is being set up to fail, fall, and crash.

 

Here with some of our favorite energy-imparting, super healthy breakfast options:

 

Protein smoothie made with a protein base such as 1 scoop of hemp protein combined with 1/2 c organic blueberries, 1 frozen organic banana, 1 tbs organic chia seed, and 1 cup of unsweetened organic almond milk.

1-2 tbs. freshly ground organic nut butter with organic peeled and cored apple slices, plus a handful of fresh organic blueberries (or other seasonal berries), and 1/2 organic banana sliced on top of 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt.

Steel cut organic oats or organic whole rolled oats with organic unsweetened almond milk, a dash of raw honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Top with 1/2 c fresh organic berries. Serve with 8-10 raw organic California almonds.

Two poached (or steam “fried”) organic, pasture-raised eggs served on a toasted organic whole grain English muffin, and topped with 1/2 slice rBgh free, unprocessed, Organic Valley American cheese. Serve with orange and banana slices.

Two scrambled organic, pasture-raised eggs on a sprouted wheat tortilla with fresh salsa. Serve with a side of fresh berries.

Low-sugar (under 7 grams of sugar is a must…be sure to check the serving size) granola or high-fiber cereal such as Ezekiel or Living Intentions SuperFood Cereal (or make your own granola with organic old fashioned rolled oats, groats, chopped raw almonds (soaked), shredded coconut, dried cranberries, and raw honey).

Contrary to how many of us grew up eating cereal (big full bowl with a flood of cow’s milk), use the grains as a topping for organic plain Greek yogurt and fresh organic berries, or use only 1/2 a cup granola or cereal and top with fresh organic seasonal berries and chopped organic walnuts.

For a mad dash out the door breakfast, I keep boiled organic, pasture-raised eggs on hand. A boiled egg, alongside an organic nut butter and banana slices on an English muffin make for an easy “eat in the car” breakfast. Just make sure you put in it a glass to-go container

 

Here are a few other breakfast guidelines I live by:

 

Think out of the box, and try not to serve food that comes out of one. 

Skip the fruit juice unless it’s fresh pressed and mixed with protein. I typically only serve purified water with fresh lemon wedges in the morning.

Skip the jelly. For your child with a sweet tooth, slice fresh bananas and sprinkle them with raw honey instead. You will be surprised at how quickly those sugar expectations decline.

Never serve children pork bacon, sausage, chorizo, or other processed breakfast meats, as they contain nitrates, which are a leading cause of Leukemia and pancreatic cancer.

 

If the idea of making breakfast while you’re still bleary eyed sends you over the edge, here are some strategies to make things more manageable:

 

Adhere to a morning schedule. Designate 30 minutes for breakfast to ensure enough time to fuel up for the day. Scheduling that time teaches a child that breakfast is important, and following through with truly nutritious foods is essential for their health. If a child complains of not being hungry in the morning, try feeding them dinner no later than 6 pm the night before.

Also cut sugar and processed foods from their diet and increase daily water and vegetable intake. (I also suggest a daily probiotic supplement.) I promise, in a short time, they will look forward to breakfast!

Plan and prepare for the following morning the night before by doing thing like washing and cutting fruit, soaking steel-cut oats and almonds, and boiling eggs. Mix it up! Try not to serve the same thing over and over. Little changes go a long way!

 

Lead by example. We can preach, plead, and teach all day, but friends, if we aren’t livin’ it, they are believin‘ it. Kids need our help. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes threaten our children’s lives. Childhood obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescence in the past thirty years (we are talking 1983.) It’s up to us, as their care takers, to change the tide, and that change begins at home. The belief system that kids are entitled to “be kids” and eat donuts, candy, and sugar snacks is flawed. Kids are entitled to run, play, and grow up without the threat of disease. It all hurts, it all shows up one day… the bill always comes. Make every effort to ensure the health of your child. It will be one of the most important things you will ever do.

 

   Here's to Healthy beginnings,

    Holly

 

 

 

 

 

Instinctively, I am adverse to labels. I just don’t trust them, especially when it comes to foods.

 

In today’s label frenzy we see, “gluten free”, “farm raised”, “free range”, “Grade A”, ““Grade B”, “DHA Added”, “no added ___”, “100% fruit juice”, “support cancer research”, and the most abused, “all natural”. The labels main purpose is not to inform, its to sell. The food producer knows that if the branding and label are enticing enough, we won’t read the ingredients or check the fine print before you pop it in your shopping cart. They try to deceive us by implying that a food is a healthy choice because of these labels. It’s all marketing. And we “eat it up”.

 

Let’s look at Grade A. Sounds like its best choice because its an A, right? Not in the case of Maple syrup. In fact, most Grade A maple syrup is processed with formaldehyde pellets. In this case, B is for better.

 

We see DHA added to just about everything these days. Fortified foods are and will continue to be all the craze, inferring good health with their consumption. Added Omega’s, Probiotics and Vitamins have replaced yesterday’s fiber and antioxidant mega doses. Brain and gut health claims are king. Typically, foods are fortified or injected with a synthetic form of a vitamin. Because the human body doesn’t recognize it, it can not assimilate it. Oh, we could talk labels on supplements all day! For example, the all “natural” USP labeled vitamin is as synthetic as they come. Looking at many of these vitamins under a microscope, you see pieces of plastic like substances. They can become toxic in the body, causing the liver to work overtime in an effort to get rid of this invader.

 

The use of the word “natural” should be a red flag to consumers that marketers are at work, as there is no criteria or legal definition for natural. They could call poison, natural and often do.

 

To the best rules, there are exceptions and labels are no different. Good labels are “organic”, “grass-fed”, “wild” and “NON GMO”. I look for organic, pasture raised eggs, (not organic cage free- they are still tightly confined in horrible conditions) and organic grass fed beef vs. GM corn or grain fed cows. Organic grass fed ensures that the cow did not consume pesticide laden grasses.

 

As far as fish goes, only “wild”, never farm raised make it to my dinner table. Farm raised Tilapia and other popular fish are commonly fed meal or non-fish food to quickly fatten them up while being cooped up in contained areas making the water toxic with poop and algae. Some are also treated with hormones. Farmed fish have become the pork or pig of the sea.

 

A good label would have included the GMO label proposed in California. Proposition 37 was defeated by big bucks and big corporations, but all is not lost. We still have the most effective tool in our kit. Power of purchase. Power to choose items in the marketplace we are confident are GMO free. Just as social media drove the pink slime out of school lunch and fast food, and most high fructose corn syrup out of breads, we can look for the “NON-GMO” label for verification. Purchase products with the Non-GMO seal when possible. GMO’s are prohibited from use in organic foods which is driving their popularity, but because there is no testing for the presence of GMO’s in organic processed foods, this verification label becomes very important.

 

When you see a label, ask yourself, “is it selling me something, claiming something, or truly informing me of something?” Read the fine print on processed, boxed and packaged foods.

 

If buying prepared foods, request an ingredients list from stores or restaurants. We have a right to know what is being put into our bodies. Ask your server where the fish or beef is from. Inquire about the use of MSG or other chemical additives.

 

Look for restaurants that serve local, hand made fresh food... Awh, there’s another label, “fresh!” We all think of Subway ad’s... but, the food is anything BUT fresh. Subway’s bread contains Azodicarbonamide, which is commonly used in producing foamed plastics. Mix that with their multitude of dough conditioners, chemicals in their veggies and meats and I promise you, your NOT eating “fresh.”

 

Keep your food choice’s clean and pure. Look for good labels such as organic, in the produce, dairy, fish and meat department. Choose organic produce and let their beautiful colors do the advertising for them. Carefully read the fine print on labels and skip any product with health claims. Beware of foods that are fortified such as cereals, milk, yogurt and breads. Real, whole foods do not need to be fortified.

 

At the end of the day, label yourself empowered, informed, and absolutely... fabulous! 

I am still hearing about the recent "News Reports" stemming from the Stanford Review comparing Conventional and Organic Foods on your health. All of the papers, news casts, tweets and posts have been popping up declaring that "Organic foods are no more nutritious for you than Conventionally grown foods!" It has many people wondering if they have been duped into paying more for organic foods and others disheartened believing that their efforts to provide the best for their families was all for not... Well, take heart... as suspected, there is a lot more to this study than its headlines. The Stanford review was a meta-analysis study, comparing data from some previous 223 studies. The research varied greatly, conditions were not controlled (ie: crop, soil, region, domestic, import etc) and "publication bias could have been present."

 

Perhaps the most troubling is the exclusion by the researchers of certain nutrients that are known to be higher in organic foods! Over the years, at least a dozen other research groups have conducted similar studies comparing Organic vs Conventional with 60% of them finding Organic foods to be higher in nutritional value than conventional foods. (According to analysis by Charles Benbrook, Professor, Washington St. University) Polyphenols (antioxidants) and other beneficial compounds were found to be consistently higher in Organic produce, due in part to the plants ability in a natural organic field to fend off attacking insects by increasing their natural defenses. Which leads us to the most important reason to choose organic foods, PESTICIDES. Organic produce is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides.

 

Organic meat and poultry are grown without antibiotics, (the study did site 33% reduced risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Organic meats) growth hormones, feeds containing animal byproducts , GMO's and pesticides. The Stanford Study found pesticide exposure risk to be 30% lower in Organic produce and two studies showed urinary pesticide levels "significantly" lower in children eating an organic diet. Why didn't THAT make headlines? Pesticides (especially organophosphate insecticides) are known to cause neurological and developmental problems and pose their biggest threat to children. Of course, we can not overlook the parents of those children either as you simply can not separate the effects of exposures both parents have had and passed on to their children through DNA mutations and cellular modifications which may lead to other disease and cancer.


Perhaps this breakdown below scoring pesticides in produce will give you a little more insight. Origin is also a huge issue with pesticide levels and could make these numbers increase even more. Commonly, imported produce is higher in the number of pesticides, thereby increasing exposure. Keep in mind, most pesticides are fat soluble, so they store in the fat cells of the human body and can stay there indefinitely. Take a look at a few of these comparisons and you decide, which is better for you? Organic or Conventional?

 

*Charles Benbrook’s Dietary Risk or DRI (Dietary Risk Index) compares the average pesticide levels to the maximum that the EPA deems as safe. For example, a conventional apple has a DRI score of 27 compared to the Organic Apple's score of 1.


Other Top comparisons:

Conventional Strawberries 48 vs Organic 1
Conventional Sweet Potatoes 41 vs Organic 7
(With Root veggies, Soil is crucial. My note)
Conventional Celery 23 vs Organic 0
Conventional Lettuce 16 vs Organic 0

 

by Holly Pellham Davis, Clean Fresh Living, Inc.
*DRI Adapted from analysis by Charles Benbrook, Professor WSU. Numbers can vary year to year. Residue Data from USDA Pesticide Data Program.
 

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Did Ya Know? Most people understand that Pharmaceutical Companies make drugs & Medicine (loosely used term) BUT, I wonder how many realize that those same Pharmaceutical companies also create POSION/ PESTICIDE/ HERBICIDE that Is INSIDE our FOOD SUPPLY?

 

This is at the heart of Genetically Modified Organisms, Foods, Seeds (pesticide/herbicide inside the seeds) And the cause of CANCER / TUMORS... and Weed Resistance eerily similar to ANTIBIOTIC & DRUG RESISTANCE. AGENT ORANGE in your Food anyone?

 

FIGHT Monsanto, DOW, Pfiser and others. Let your Senator know you what support for ORGANIC farmers. Our Health, Our Future, Our Children depend on it. God Bless.

 

Check out this BBC article titled "Agent Orange chemical in GM war on resistant weeds" about what's happening on US farms.

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Keep GMO's out of your Diet/Life by Avoiding these top GMO crops & the Processed Foods they are in: Rapeseed (Canola Oil), Cotton (Cotton Seeds in Cooking Oils), Soybeans (Edamame) Corn (corn chips, tortilla's, Cereal's).


Genetically Modified Organism's are not only altered from how Mother Nature made them, but contain Pesticides inside the seed to kill the "Pest" if it tries to eat it. Commonly it is death by Bug Stomach explosion... Not pretty. What does that do in the Human Body? Wanna take a Chance?? How about on your Kids? No... not me either... Choose Organic, Fresh Foods! God Bless. 

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