Broccoli Blitz Smoothie

Do you ever get in a green smoothie rut?  Smoothies are the main way I get my kiddos to eat green vegetables, especially leafy greens, but sometimes it gets a little monotonous to use the same ingredients every time. I looked up some recipes from Green Smoothie Girl and wanted to try one new smoothie a week.  The first one I tried is called Broccoli Blitz.  It’s from her book, “Green Smoothies Diet” book found here.  I was a little hesitant because you know broccoli’s reputation with the digestive system…haha.  BUT it actually turned out to be pretty tasty.  Tornado sees me drinking these and then begs for mine (mostly because I think he likes the cup I have with a straw and it’s fun to drink out of).  But he DRAINS it every time.  This time was no different.  It makes a huge batch, and I just kept the remainder in the fridge until the next day and we all divided it among ourselves.  Even cool Aunt Zoe got in on the action.  Everyone liked it – you can’t even really taste the broccoli.  Without further adieu  here is the recipe:

Broccoli Blitz Smoothie

  • 2 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw agave
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cups pineapple
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups berries

Combine water, agave and broccoli and blend until smooth.  I did not have agave, but you can use sugar, or a little bit of sugar.  Next add spinach until it reaches the 6 cup line (about 2 cups of spinach), and blend.  Then add oranges, pineapple, bananas, and berries.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Noodles – Get Your Kiddos to Eat More Veggies!

I don’t know any mom who can get her child to eat any vegetable any time.  Some are better at it than others, and mine do alright, but they still revolt when things look weird (or just because they want to).  Not too long ago, I tried a recipe that had julienned zucchini in it.  After peeling the zucchini I honestly couldn’t see it amongst all the spaghetti noodles.  I wanted to try it with the kids and see what happened.

Have you ever seen one of these before?

It’s called a Julienne Peeler.  I borrowed it from my neighbor and let me just say, it saves A TON of time in julienne-ing veggies.  It is just like a regular peeler, except it has these little teeth in it that slices things into thin strips. 

 

Piece of cake!

So I took about 4 zucchini and peeled and sliced them (I only peeled them because I wanted to disguise them from the kids).

Here’s what it looks like all sliced up.

 

 

I just cooked pasta like normal and threw the zucchini in for the last 3 minutes or so.  It softens up pretty fast.

The sad news is that I thought I had spaghetti in the pantry and I didn’t!  I had to use different pasta so it didn’t end up being as disguised as I would have liked, but the kids still ate it!  Woop Woop!!

 

Here’s another pic with spaghetti noodles so you can get the idea (from The World According to Egg Face).

It’s pretty tasty, and you really can’t tell you are eating zucchini. 🙂

Happy Disguising!

 

Cookie vs. Apple

 

I heard about this study about a month ago, but finally looked it up and read it tonight.  Basically, some researchers studied school kids for a few days and monitored their choice of eating a cookie or an apple.  After putting an Elmo sticker on the apple, more kids took it!  Pretty cool stuff.  The power of branding!!  Read more about it here and here.  Somebody send me some Elmo stickers stat!  The question is:  how can I put an Elmo sticker in my boys’ salads?  We need some help in that department. 🙂

Book Summary: Disease Proof Your Child, Part 2

Part 1 of this book summary can be found here.

Chapter 4 – Feeding Your Family for Superior Health

  • A mother’s diet 12 months before conception can influence the future child’s health (!).
  • The following are risky for pregnant/nursing mothers:
  1. Caffeine
  2. Nicotine
  3. Alcohol
  4. Medications
  5. Herbs & high-dose supplements, Large doses of Vitamin A
  6. Fish, mollusks, shellfish, sushi
  7. Hot tubs/saunas
  8. Radiation
  9. Artificial Colors/Nitrates
  10. Household Cleaners, Paint Thinners
  11. Cat Litter
  12. Raw Milk/Cheese, soft cheeses, blue cheese
  13. Deli Meats, Hot dogs
  • Take a multivitamin daily plus a DHA supplement
  • Dr. Fuhrman includes a plan of how to introduce a baby to solid goods, stressing not to introduce it earlier than 6 months.
  • Concerning Picky Eaters: 25% of children eat fast food french fries daily.
  • Only permit healthy food in your home.
  • Food preferences are formed by one’s food environment
  • Don’t coerce children to eat.  They will eat when they are hungry.
  • Many clients come to Dr. Fuhrman with concerns that their child is too thin.  His answer: they aren’t.  Children are born with innate instincts on how much to eat.  Some children take a while to fill in to themselves.  If they are growing and thriving, they are not too thin.
  • This is his recommended Food Guide Pyramid.  I LOVE this.

 

5 Healthy Treats
1.  Date nut poppers – dates, ground nuts, cinnamon, carob powder

2.  Soaked Dried Fruit – dried apricots, apples, mangos, soaked overnight in nut milk

3.  Frozen Banana Whip – frozen bananas w/ soy or nut milk

4.  Baked Apples – cored apples filled with applesauce, cinnamon, raisins.  Bake 20 minutes

5.  Fruit Smoothies

The rest of the book is filled with healthy recipes, and I am seriously considering buying it just for those alone.  Loved the book, highly recommend it, and I’m definitely reading his other book, “Eat to Live”as soon as I get my hands on it!  If you have young children, are planning on children soon, or are pregnant, this is an awesome read.

Book Summary: Disease Proof Your Child, by Dr.Joel Fuhrman (part 1)

Folks:  I read this book in one day.  Mostly because the library told me it was due the next day, but STILL!  It was a good book, and I’m so glad I checked it out.  I’ve been hearing all kinds of great things about Dr. Fuhrman, and when we were in New York I set out to read this.  Unfortunately there was a 50 year wait at all 44 branches of the libraries in Manhattan.  I guess that proves this guy is legit.  So I was lucky enough to get it back here in Utah pretty quickly.  A great read.  He’s also got a book that I am going to read next called “Eat to Live.”  So glad I found this stuff when I still have young kids (and maybe more to come) when I can give them the best shot at staying disease free.

Lots of this book was review, but I’ll share some of my notes on the things I found interesting/new.

Disease Proof Your Child (found here)

Intro

  • Problem: children are chronically sick with ear infections, colds, allergies, etc.  These lead to chronic adult problems like Lupus, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.
  • The modern diet most children eat causes a fertile environment to house cancer in the future.
  • Most parents do not know what to feed their children (YES!  This was me a few years ago!)
  • Kids love healthy food, and healthy food loves them back.  We have to give it to them!

Chapter 1: Understanding Superior Nutrition

  • Low consumption of fruits and vegetables before and during childhood causes many childhood cancers (!!).  pg. 8, “Junk food isn’t cheap.  We pay a steep price for it years after consuming it.”
  • Instead of eating better, many parents turn to supplements.
  • Allergies to nuts comes from early exposure/misuse of antibiotics, brief/lack of breastfeeding, introducing solid foods too early, and roasting nuts.
  • Intelligence is greatly influenced by nutritious eating (he spent a lot of time on this.  Interesting stuff).
  • You can enhance a child’s health in the kitchen by:
  1. Stocking the home with a variety of fresh fruit, raw vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds
  2. Replacing animal foods with plant foods: bean burgers, vegetable/bean soups, fruit centered desserts.
  3. Using only white meat poultry, eggs a few times weekly, and other animal sources infrequently.
  4. Limiting sweets.  Remove white sugar, salt, and white flour.
  5. Reducing dairy, and using nut milks.  Cheese should not be kept in the home.
  6. Serving cooked vegetable main dishes every night.

Chapter 2: Preventing and Treating Childhood Illness Nutritionally

  • In medical school, Fuhrman learned that all drugs have toxicity.  Patients should first be treated with lifestyle and dietary modifications.  It seems very few of his colleagues follow this advice (That has been my experience too).
  • Symptoms of illness are a body’s natural response to deal with causes of disease: A fever promotes interferon production in the brian, which activates white blood cells to fight the virus; Coughing aids in expelling mucus and ridding the body of it;  Don’t be so quick to treat symptoms.  Rather let your body ride it out for a few days.
  • When you or your child has a virus, rest, drink water, avoid cooked food, eat produce when hungry.
  • ADHD can be greatly treated with diet.  One cause is excessive TV watching early in life.  He has seen up to a 90% success in his ADHD patients which he treats with diet modifications.  He goes into great detail about this, including an anti-ADHD plan.
  • Antibiotics are bad!
  • Childhood ear infections are a multibillion dollar industry.  Most are viral, and should not be treated.  In the US, patients are almost always given antibiotics.  This makes the next infection more likely to be bacterial.  It is a cycle.  We are given antibiotics, which decreases the good bacteria in our bodies, which causes another bacterial ear infection.
  • Milk, cheese and wheat are frequent partners in crime (for ear infections).  I’ll insert my own commentary here – This is infuriating to me!  How many of our pediatricians are almost violently adamant that we are giving our children several servings of dairy a day, and then raise an eyebrow and give you a lecture if you try to push back a bit?  It’s making our kids sick!  Ok done. 🙂
  • Dairy is the leading cause of food allergies in children.
  • Childhood diabetes is linked to cow milk consumptions.  Babies given formula are 52% more likely to develop diabetes.
  • The following disorders are strongly linked to milk consumption:  Allergies, Anal Fissures, Type 1 Diabetes, Chronic Constipation, Chron’s Disease, Ear Infections, Heart Attacks, Multiple Sclerosis, Prostate Cancer

Chapter 3: Understanding Causes of Cancer/Illness

  • We need to stop treating symptoms and start treating causes of illness.
  • Saturated fat, refined sugar, white flour all contribute to cancer.
  • Root vegetables and whole grains provide minimal protection.
  • Unrefined plant foods prevent cancer.
  • p. 81 “Childhood exposure has the largest impact on adult health.”
  • It takes 10 lbs.  of milk to make 1 lb. of cheese.  Cows are given bovine growth hormones.  Their milk contains: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, prolactine, and other natural cow hormones.
  • Pesticides: Are they a serious health hazard?  Yes, especially around the home, lawn, and plants. There are links between farm workers who are exposed to large amounts of pesticides, who have higher levels of brain cancer, Parkinson’s, leukemia, lymphoma, cancer of the stomach, prostate, and testes.
  • What about pesticides on food?  It is unclear how hazardous they are, but eating produce with pesticides is better than avoiding produce all together.
  • Basically the younger you are, the more your cells are susceptible to damage from toxins.  It seems wise to try to feed young children organic whenever possible.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!

 

Book Summary – The China Study, Part 1 Continued

Chapter 4:  Lessons from China

  • In the early 1970’s a survey was conducted in the entire country of China, which revealed that cancer was geographically localized.  In some areas, cancer rates were 100 times the rates of the lower areas (in the U.S. we see at most 2 to 3 times, so 100 times is enormous).
  • Why?  This was the beginning of “The China Study.”
  • In the USA, 15-16% of total calories comes from protein (80% of that protein is animal protein), and in rural China, only 9-10% total calories come from protein (only 10% of that is from animal sources).
  • The Chinese are consuming an average of 2641 calories, with 14.5% fat, and Americans are consuming 1989 calories with 38% fat.   The Chinese eat higher calories, less fat, less protein, less animal protein, more fiber, and more iron.
  • Diseases of Affluence (Nutritional Extravagance): Cancer, Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diseases of Poverty (Nutritional Inadequacy and Poor Sanitation):Pneumonia, Ulcers, Digestive Diseases, Tuberculosis, Parasitic Diseases, Rheumatic Heart Disease.  Notice no cancer!
  • One of the strongest predictors of Western Diseases (diseases of affluence) is blood cholesterol.
  • Lower blood cholesterol levels are linked to lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and other western diseases.
  • Many prominent heart doctors have never seen a heart disease fatality among their patients with a blood cholesterol level below 150.
  • Nutrients from plant-based foods are associated with decreasing levels of blood cholesterol.
  • There is a lot of confusion among scientists regarding questions with dietary fat – how much, what kind, Omega-6 or 3, what kinds of oils are okay, etc.  When details are studied in isolation, results can be misleading.  We need to look at how networks of chemicals behave instead.
  • Only 2-3% of all cancers are attributed to genes.  The rest are strongly influenced by diet.
  • There is an interesting relationship with dietary fat and breast cancer.  Higher fat can influence early menstruation, high cholesterol, late menopause, and higher exposure to female hormones.  This can extend the reproductive life from beginning to end by 9-10 years.  This extra decade of exposure to hormones can greatly influence a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
  • A large survey in China revealed that the average age of a woman’s first period was 15-19 years old.  In America, the average age is 11.
  • The more colorful your produce, the higher antioxidant levels, which shield you from free-radicals (cancer-causing agents).
  • Again, the benefits do not lie in an individual nutrient or mineral, but in the whole food.
  • Don’t reach for a vitamin.  Eat it in a fruit or vegetable instead.
  • The Atkins diet reaks havoc on your system.  Don’t do it.
  • The low-carb diet craze is unfortunate.  Carbs are our friends.  Just make sure they are from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.    Many people think they are eating a healthy vegetarian diet by eating lots of pastas, highly processed crackers and chips, white flour, etc.  This is the reason carbs have gotten a bad rap.  That is the stuff that puts on weight and doesn’t add nutritional value.
  • Chinese are more physically active than Americans.  Their calorie intake is 30% higher, yet their body weight is 20% lower.
  • They are eating the right foods (plant-based protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and riding their bikes!

Cooking with Kids

The Wild One circa 2011

I usually cook or bake something about once a day, and The Wild One always asks if he can help out.  This always makes me happy – I hope he continues to enjoy it as he gets older, and it’s a good skill for any MAN to have…am I right ladies?  Anyway, I must have a serious case of dementia, because this is usually the way that it turns out, and I seem to have forgotten by the next time.  Here’s exactly what happened this afternoon.  Please tell me I am not alone in having moments like this:

The Wild One (let’s just refer to him as T.W.O.):  “Mom, can I help you make some muffins?”

PGM: “Sure Buddy!”

He climbs up on the counter with his favorite stuffed animal, “silky.”  I just kind of scoot it out of the way, because I know he’ll melt down if I take it away.  I get out the ingredients – milk, flour, honey, sugar, eggs, salt, etc.  All the while he is saying “what are you doing?”  “mom, what are you doing?”  “what is that?” on repeat.  I help him start measuring out the wet ingredients first.  I usually pour it in a measuring cup myself and then hand it to him to dump in.  We start with the milk.  He dumps it as I am handing him the cup, so it gets all over both of our hands.

T.W.O.:  “What did I do?” hysterical laughter.

Before I can clean up the milk everywhere, he is shaking his hands and milk is spattering on walls, couches, countertops, and clothes.  I wipe it all off.

We continue on – eggs, honey, vanilla, butter.  We get to the brown sugar, and I put it in a cup.  I turn my back for one second, and see T.W.O.  up to his ears in brown sugar.  He’s pushing his fingers deep inside the cup and swirling them around, and then up to his mouth with dramatic sucks and “mmmmmmms.”

PGM: “Hey!  Don’t do that.  Wait til the end and then I will let you taste it okay?  Just pour it in.”

He looks at me, ignores it and sticks his hands inside again.  I’m about to spout off some sort of threat or time-out warning when he sees the look on my face, jerks his hands out, picks up the cup, lifts it above his head, and drops the entire thing into the bowl.  This recipe had about 2 cups of milk in it and I hadn’t put in any dry ingredients so it was very runny.  It rises like a geyser and explodes on every surface within a 2 block radius.  There is milk on the couch, on me, on T.W.O., all over the counter, floor, and yes, even the beloved “silky.”  I stay cool.  (pretty proud of myself at this point).  I take T.W.O. off the counter and over to the sink to wash him off.  He starts jumping around begging for a soggy silky.  I tell him to wait a few minutes until I can get it cleaned off.  Enter theatrics.  He starts wailing and sobbing that he wants silky.  I turn around to rinse out the dishrag in the sink, and trip over Tornado, who has been quietly playing on the floor.  I knock him to the ground and he starts bawling too.  I just throw the rag in the sink and pick him up, making sure he’s not seriously injured (I mean, I’m pretty clumsy).  He stops crying, but I notice he’s got a big fresh diaper just waiting to be changed, if you catch my drift.  I ignore it while I finish wiping everything up.  He starts whining that he is hungry so I plop him in the high chair, stinky diaper and all, and give him the leftovers from breakfast that are still on his tray.  Meanwhile I wash off Silky and give them to T.W.O.  who has calmed down.  I decide it is peaceful enough for me to finish making the muffins, which I do.  As I am reaching for the muffin tin out of the drawer, I find Tornado’s sippy cup from yesterday wedged deep inside between some pie tins.  He had a mini meltdown yesterday while I scoured the house looking for it.  Why I didn’t think to empty this drawer yesterday is beyond me.  It is filled with milk and curdling.  I throw it in the sink and  stick the muffins in the oven.  By this time Tornado has given himself a nice food massage and rubbed it all over his entire person, including his hair, and the rest of it he has thrown on the floor.  I take him out and hose him off.  I ignore the food for a second while I give hin his sippy cup.  I start cleaning up a little bit when Tornado starts pouring his drink all over the floor and then slips in it and lands flat on his back just like in the cartoons.  Bawling ensues.  (Pep talk to myself:  What is this, Amateur night?  Get it together!!)  I pick him up in one hand, wipe the floor with the other, then sweep up the rest of the food.  I take him upstairs to change his diaper which is now making all wildlife outside pass out.  I am elbow deep in poop when T.W.O. lets out a blood-curling scream and starts hysterically crying.  I immediately think he has opened the oven and burned himself and I grab the baby and start running toward him.  He can barely talk and finally lets out, “MOMMY, sob sob sob…( I am bracing myself for the worst – what??  Someone’s in the house??!!  Are you hurt??!!) … there was an ANT on the wall!”  An ant?  Not a serial killer who had broken in, or a rabid animal on the loose, or a knife stuck in a limb, but an ant.  Okay.

Two seconds later, the timer goes off and the muffins are done.  And they are not burned.  And everyone is alive.  That’s success in my book.  Cooking with kids.  Doesn’t get much better than that.