Wednesday, December 28, 2011
- Wendell Berry
Monday, December 19, 2011
Want a quick, healthy and delicious holiday gift for friends and neighbors?
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I recently hand fed my four-year-old, Jack, meatballs. He only eats meat in that form. I really wanted him to get the nutritional value of the meal which I had bolstered with flax and a nice parmesan.
In between his chatting and chewing, I would fork in a hefty bite. He chewed and chatted some more. I kept giving him more until, at one point, he put his hand out in front of him and said, "Mom, I think we need to spend some time alone."
My father happened to be at the other end of the table and laughed with an uproar.
I really didn't need to feed him, but I wanted him to get some iron, protein, etc. I felt a little nutty doing it at the time, but felt like it outweighed any inappropriateness.
"We need to spend some time alone."
Read it loud and clear, Buddy.
I put the fork down and moved on.
I came across this article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition about how we actually feed our kids. Not the what of how we feed them, but the how - the logistics of how you eat. Is there a set routine for meals? Do you eat together? Do you barter or coerce them into eating?
They don't mention spoon feeding kids like this wackadoodle did, but it's an interesting snapshot of how ritual and patterning affects kids' eating.
Here's the top 10 take aways republished on the Huff Post:
1. Pressuring kids to eat fruits and vegetables and markedly limiting their access to sweets and fatty snacks, along with using food as a reward are all strongly linked with disinhibited children's eating patterns.
2. The more inconsistent parents are with either eating schedules or serving healthy vs. unhealthy foods, the greater the negative impact of the parenting styles listed in the first point above.
3. Having at least one parent at the family meal is associated with better consumption of fruit and vegetables, and a lower risk of skipping breakfast.
4. Adopting a knee-jerk pattern of dietary restriction with an overweight child may drive that child to be more, not less, likely to overeat.
5. The availability and exposure to foods at home most certainly affects children's long-term food selections and preferences.
6. The earlier and more broadly a child is exposed to different foods, the healthier that child's eventual adult diet.
7. The more fruits and vegetables available at home the more fruits and vegetables your kids will consume.
8. The more fruit juice and breakfast bars available at home the less actual fruits and vegetables your kids will consume
9. The greater the frequency of meals in front of the television and/or the lesser the frequency of family meals, and/or the greater the use of food as a reward, the higher your kids' intake of sugar sweetened beverages.
10. "Children like what they know and eat what they like."
So to make sure your children know healthy, here are some straightforward prescriptions for healthy at-home eating:
Encourage a wide and varied healthy diet introducing new foods frequently and early.
Don't pressure your children to eat (one-bite rules are fine), or withhold dessert unless they eat their veggies.
Don't reward them with food.
Disband the "clean your plate" club.
Keep plenty of fruits and vegetables handy, accessible, visible, washed and prepared and literally smile at your kids when they eat them.
Sit at the table and eat with your kids.
Don't skip meals.
Dramatically minimize meals out and takeout.
Ensure that as many meals as possible a week involve the transformation of raw ingredients (not mixing boxes).
Involve your kids in cooking.
Don't jam a fork in their mouths even if it contains organic, grass-fed beef with flax and imported parm.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Snow White fell prey to a poison apple thanks to the Wicked Queen, but our kids are falling prey to poisoned apple juice thanks to the federal government.
As of today, there's absolutely no federal limit for the amounts of arsenic or lead found in fruit juices. The apple juice and arsenic issue came to light this school year when Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show," commissioned tests of three dozen apple-juice samples and found that 10 of the products had total arsenic levels exceeding 10 parts per billion (ppb), which is the national limit for bottled and public water.
The FDA tried to reassure the public about the safety of apple juice and insisted that the arsenic found in apple juice and other foods is the "organic" type and "essentially harmless." Consumer Reports (CR) conducted their own study based on a scientific analysis of federal health data, consumer polling, as well as interviews with docs and experts.
Check out the Consumer Report PDF on their complete test results.
Arsenic is an organic, naturally-occurring element that can contaminate ground and drinking waters where it is most abundant. But CR points out that those numbers are compounded by additional amounts used by agricultural and industrial business - about 1.6 million tons of arsenic since 1910 and half of that used only since 1960. Lead-arsenate insecticides were used in cotton fields, orchards and vineyards until they were banned in the '80s, but residual levels still affect current crops.
CR summarized their findings:
* Roughly 10 percent of our juice samples, from five brands, had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards. Most of that arsenic was inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen.
* One in four samples had lead levels higher than the FDA’s bottled-water limit of 5 ppb. As with arsenic, no federal limit exists for lead in juice.
* Apple and grape juice constitute a significant source of dietary exposure to arsenic, according to our analysis of federal health data from 2003 through 2008.
* Children drink a lot of juice. Thirty-five percent of children 5 and younger drink juice in quantities exceeding pediatricians’ recommendations, our poll of parents shows.
* Mounting scientific evidence suggests that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead even at levels below water standards can result in serious health problems.
* Inorganic arsenic has been detected at disturbing levels in other foods, too, which suggests that more must be done to reduce overall dietary exposure.
The information is scary because kids drink a lot of juice. CR reports, "One in four toddlers 2 and younger and 45 percent of children ages 3 to 5 drink 7 or more ounces of juice a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that to help prevent obesity and tooth decay, children younger than 6 should drink no more than 6 ounces a day, about the size of a juice box."
Check out the brands you buy for the levels and seriously consider reducing juice consumption. Stick to milk and water.
Here's a quick summary of what CR suggest you do to reduce your family's risk. Check out their site for more detailed information:
* Test your home drinking water
* Limit kids' juice consumption
* Consider your food - even organic juice may still contain arsenic
* Get yourself and your kids tested - simple urine tests can measure arsenic levels
Like Snow White, I don't think you'll drink apple juice the same way again.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I wrote a post three years ago about Aidan buying food at his school cafeteria on the sneak. His school had a contract with food giant Aramark which offers highly-processed food with little or no nutritional value and high amounts of sugar and sodium. So, instead of having the option to buy a healthy lunch of fresh foods or even eating the healthy lunch I packed, he chose to feast on chips and cookies. A kid thing to do ... maybe. But the option to buy junk on credit no less was just too easy.
Monday, December 5, 2011
- 2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in 8 serving pieces
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 360 degrees F on a thermometer.
Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don't crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees F before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.
The Rocky Mountain Region Forest Service had a really useful mixture for keeping your Christmas tree moist to minimize fire risk:
Tips for Helping Your Tree Stay Moist Longer
When you get home, re-cut the end of the tree by 1 inch and let it stand in a bucket of the "Christmas Tree Life Extending Formula" (recipe below) until you’re ready to bring it indoors. Fill the tree stand reservoir twice a day (morning and evening) with the remaining mixture.
Fire Minimizing Mixture
2 gallons of hot water
2 cups of corn syrup
2 ounces of liquid bleach
2 pinches of epsom salts
1/2 teaspoon borax
1 teaspoon chelated iron (available at garden shops)
Find out exactly why this mixture works.