Picky Eaters

“My kids won’t eat that”! “I gave up on force feeding vegetables a long time ago”, “My kids have texture issues”.

These are classic lines used to describe the ongoing  food challenges we face as parents.DSC08628

Trying to get our kids to actually enjoy their healthy food choices and ultimately selecting vegetables when we aren’t there to hold their hand, is the ultimate goal in my books.

Helping our kids make conscious, mindful, choices while developing their healthy palate is the greatest gift we can give them. Setting them up for life long success as they age, and long after we are gone to help with their junk food induced sore tummy.

Lately, my 3-year-old has been pushing back a bit. He has always been my amazing vegetable eater. We told him the truth from a young age. Eating vegetables is what makes you strong. After he hurt his hand, we also taught him that eating his vegetables will help him heal up fast. My son has always been keen on eating vegetables and plant based sources of protein because that is what he has always known.

I learned from watching Korean kids munch back fish and fermented cabbage, that “picky eaters” develop from cultural norms and what they are permitted to be picky about.

At our our house, if the dinner offered is not palatable to my toddlers, they get to choose to not eat it. However, they will have to wait until the next meal time to see if the meal offered is more favourable. May sound harsh to some, but this idea wasn’t mine either. I got it from a great book called In Love and Logic, that has been very helpful for teaching responsible decision making and consequences.

I do think the biggest influence on your child’s picky eating habits is what you eat. If your kids see you eating vegetables and enjoying them, chances are they will know this is the norm. For some this may be a challenge because our own childhood experiences  have moulded our palate. Remember, what we thought as kids about processed food was completely wrong. Food choices we grew up on are not the same as the chemical concoctions offered today in grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, community picnics and block BBQs.

Here is a great video from one of my favourite docs, ‘Tricks, to Get Kids to Eat Healthier  At School”:

School seems to be our biggest challenge. We seem to eat dramatically different from the kids my son interacts with at lunch time. His main resistance started once he looked at other kids lunches and his own. Sometimes his lunch comes home untouched, with a hungry little man snatching snacks before dinner. But if this is the case, my son needs to eat his lunch before he can enjoy what is offered for dinner. This has only happened a few times, go figure.

The way I see it, more and more parents will start to pay  attention to what fuel they are pouring into their most precious little people. It takes time, you have to offer the same foods over and over. Don’t give up. My one-year-old finally decided she liked guacamole today, after at least 25 introductions!

Eventually if we, who understand the vital connection between our food and how we feel/live, patiently leads by example, all kids will start to see processed foods for what they are and real foods for what they need.

Here are a few links to previous posts I have done on kids and eating real nutrition.

 

1.Superfoods I feed my kids

2.Tricks for feeding your kids

3. Vegan snack ideas

I am happy to announce the first GBC newsletter went out today. Finally! There are 30 members and we are excited for you to join us. Your info is safe, and I won’t send more emails than you can use. I promise.

Thanks for reading!

Great to be back and I look forward to sharing what this next chapter of my life in the “Deep South” will bring about for the learning adventures of the GBC.

 

 

 

Going off The Grid

Hello!

Thanks so much for coming to see the latest and greatest from GBC. Time-Is-Like-A-River-You-Ccant-Touch

This note is to inform you that I am on vacation until June 8th. That’s right I am going offline for almost two weeks. I am so excited!

In our day of distraction, it is so fulfilling to take a break from the multi-media bombardment. When I go camping with my family in the woods I don’t even have a cell phone and I love it! This time I will have basically no internet access and so posts are on hold until I return.

What a wonderful way to connect with nature and with my loved ones. I can’t wait. When was the last time you took a break from social media and your online lifestyle?

Look forward to seeing you soon. Sign yourself up for my monthly newsletter above and you will know as soon as my first post is up when I return.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Happy Meatless Monday

How was your weekend?

I made it through 5 days as a single mom. It wasn’t too bad. But as I have said before I commend all single parents out there. It’s quite the responsibility.

The three recipes I tried from last week were as follows:

  1. Cauliflower Rice:  Not bad. Not my favourite way to prepare cauliflower. Roasted in the oven is by far less work and much more enjoyable. I can see for people that love rice that this could possibly be  a substitution to soothe the loss. But my kids did not dig the texture (and my son loves rice) and it wasn’t much of a hit around here.
  2. Salmon crab cakes: I actually substituted the diakon for red radish and I skipped the coconut butter and just used coconut oil. I actually used lobster straight from main because that was a treat I had here at the house but the flavour of these was fantastic. Simple to make and I think with salmon it would be nice also.
  3. Carrot beet soup: this recipe was I think my favourite. I used vegetable broth instead of bone and I added coconut almond milk and some coconut oil. It was absolutely amazing in flavour, a bit thin but I think that was my fault for not accurately measuring the liquid. Otherwise this recipe was quick, flavourful, nutritious, and simple. All thumbs up.

I’d love to hear if anyone else tried any of these recipes.

Recipes I will be trying this week are:

  1. Garlicky Lemon Kale
  2. A nut and dairy free pesto.
  3. NoMato Sauce.

 

I have to say that this is not easy for me. I love change but changing what I eat this profoundly is really hard. I know that after this I will have learned so much and will be a much better tool for others. I only pray that my belief system can connect with this lifestyle so I can heal my heart with my intestines. Everything I have ever read and continue to read tells me that eating only plants is the way to live. I enjoy the flavours that meat brings to my life but I feel so conflicted.

I encourage you today to go meatless. At least on Meatless Monday.

Taking Back Our Time For What Really Matters

I am happy to share another article for a local magazine. Maybe there is something in here that resonates for you:)

We have often heard the expression “all we got is time”. This can be true and not so true. Right?

The truth is the average life span of an American is 78 years (OECD Heath Statistics 2013), which has only gone up about 8 years since 1970 in spite of all our fancy technology, and advanced life saving procedures. Really when you think of it…. that isn’t that much time at all.  I seriously hope to get more than 8 decades out of my opportunity to live life to the fullest.

What are going to be my goals to get there? Stay positive, help others, be active and feed my body the right food.

I have no interest in feeling 80 years old at age 55. I pray to live a life full of adventure, service, laughter and lots and lots of vegetables.

Eating plant based foods most of the time, every day is they major key to keeping your body vital, healthy, strong and healing itself over and over and over.

Simple, fresh, organic, whole food vegetables take very little time to cook. They also take very little time to clean up after. Eating them raw takes even less time.IMG_5136

Most vegetables take 3-5 minutes to steam or healthy sauté over rolling boiling water. Any more time and they will be over cooked and loose most of their vitamins and minerals. Once the water is boiling, place the veg in steamer and set a timer. Al dante vegetables have excellent texture and deliver more for your crunch. The pot and stainless steel colander I steam my veggies in takes me about 2.5 minutes to clean. Here is a secret, cooking meats in a little bit of water steams them while bringing out about the same flavor as pan frying.  However, this method creates far less hydrocarbons (Heterocyclic amines HCAs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  These are cancer-causing chemicals that are formed in meats cooked at high temperatures and over open flames (sorry BBQ fans).  On top of saving your self from extra carcinogens today you are saving time.  Less sticky oily mess to cleanup, means more time for you to relax after dinner.

Personally, I find hunting through recipes, and shopping specifically for the right ingredients too time consuming. I prefer to have my vegetables chosen for me based upon what is fresh and in season. This means I am always part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or farm share program.  One swing by the farm, grabbing my to go bag has saved me tons of time. Time not spent selecting vegetables (and sometimes fruit) looking for the freshest that long distance trucking has to offer. The decisions are made for me and I am getting far more nutrients out of what I am eating, plus saving money.rainbow carrots

Here is a tip from Captain Obvious: when you have the vegetables in your fridge looking back at you, you are much more likely to eat them and enjoy the benefits then when you put off driving to the grocery store because you don’t have the time or energy.

It seems these days, everyone is cramming so much in to our schedules that we are overwhelmed. We are too tired and busy to really take it all in. Unfortunately, too busy to fit in a wholesome real food meal. In reality we can’t afford to put our nourishment last in line. Our daily diet is what sets the tone or everything else. Energy level, emotional experience, vitality, sleep and attention quality are all dependant upon our nutrient levels. It’s what we eat that helps us deal with stress (traffic jams, deadlines, marital challenges, lack of sleep, toddlers etc.) Frequently making our food the last priority, as we grab something from a take out option, leaves far too much responsibility in the hands of the profit driven supplier. Chain restaurants, fast food take-aways, sandwich shops, grocery store prepared meals, are all channeling processed food ingredients and additives catered to your taste buds and not to your longevity. Occasionally eating out is fun and acceptable. But unfortunately our society has made it the daily norm and as a result our health and our life span is paying the price.

Simple meals, based on whole plant foods, cooked at home takes less time than you think. They also require very little skill. Anyone can learn to boil water, and set a timer. Most new trendy recipes are calling for less ingredients and prep time. Teaching our kids and their taste buds, the art of feeding them selves real food based on plants, will be the greatest gift you can give them. In the era in which we are entering where parents will outlive their children, we can’t afford to let kids think that boxes, bags, shrink wrap and processed restaurant food is how to live.DSC08635

I tend to focus more of my efforts on enjoying the meal with my family, and spending time before and after sharing our day. Cooking for me is fun, and I do enjoy it as do many, but sometimes we just have to get out of the kitchen and experience more of the world outside.

Being active with my spare time not only lifts my mood, but helps me be more productive in all that I do. Connecting with my community, enjoying nature, and creating memories that I cherish with my family, is time well spent in my books.

The best outcome here is that all these behaviors add up. And the sum of all these parts equals better quality of life and more time here on earth. Precious time to enjoy the gifts and moments we have been given to share, spend and save, however we wish.

To yours and  to good health,

The Green Belly Chef

www.greenbellychef.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toxic Hot Seat

My middle sister shared this documentary with me. I finally got around to watching it and my heart broke yet again. 

I was saddened to learn of yet another extremely important issue that I knew very little about. Another situation where silly me thought the government would have protected us from such toxic substances. Especially when there are safer options.

Moms please watch this, heck everyone watch this. It’s so important, because we now have to a continue carrying the torch.  We as consumers need to read labels and ask retailers if flame retardants were used in the construction of our house hold wares. It will take the power of the public to make this new revision and mandate stick, one that is so fragile and employed only now in 2014.  Powerful chemical companies are  hoping we will continue to exist with this exposure unaware. They will feed our fears of burning in house fires. They will find a way to slip these toxic substances back into everything and make themselves a pile of money,  with no responsibility to the massive burden this plays on our health.

I feel certain that all the new  materials in my flame retardant home built in 2011 has made a huge impact on my health. My stomach flips to think of all the toxic chemicals I fed my babies through breast milk, and the amount they were exposed to in utero, how much they breath in while they sleep peacefully.

We can’t completely protect ourselves from the chemicals existing in our environment. But we can make powerful choices with our  future purchases. Choose natural fibres for all sleepwear and bedding, demand retardant free pillows and foam toppers and if you are shopping for new items (mattresses, pillows, blankets, toys, carpets) seek out flame retardant free wears. Take a look at this list and imagine the exposure on a day to day basis. This list does not include all the bags, toys, blankets and stuffies our children touch every day. Moms read more here.

I know after seeing this film, I won’t live in fear of my chemical exposure, but at least I’ll live in awareness.

Awareness is our key to making better choices for our life long health.

Happy Meatless Monday

Have you heard about this movement? What an awesome first step for someone that eats meat daily, or is just looking for cutting down on their animal consumption a little more.

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I am starting today a 6 week AIP diet.  What is that you question? Have a look at the last link. Thank goodness there is no requirement for how much meat you have to eat. Looking through all these recipes is really overwhelming because so many are animal based. Most of my meals will be animal free but did you take a look at the foods that are out for an Autoimmune protocol? I am staying focused on the fact that this is only temporary.

I am posting 3 recipes here that I am going to try this week and I hope you will too. We can compare our results and agreeableness scale on Friday.

  1. Cauliflower Rice with some kind of stir fried veggies.
  2. Diakon Salmon cakes.
  3. Carrot and Beet soup. Minus the bone broth. I can’t see that happening.

 

I found an awesome website that shares recipes on roundtable collective blog weeks. Awesome resource.

Please let me know if you are trying any of these recipes this week. I’ll do my best to photograph the finished products and like I said on Friday I’ll post which ones I liked the best with any modifications I did.

Have an awesome week. Talk to you soon.

meatlessmonday2

After This You May Not Want to Read My Blog Anymore

Maybe you noticed the GBC has been quiet for a while. There hasn’t been many new posts. But that doesn’t mean my wheels haven’t been turning and my  veggie steamer hasn’t been bubbling.

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The truth is I have been doing some major soul searching and diet modifying. I have been a pretty strong believer in the whole food plant based diet for quiet some time. I have done motivational and educational talks where I fully promoted giving up pretty much all animal products to focus on plants. I have studied from eCornell, taking the plant based nutrition program, to sum up I was a full believer that eating all plants and only plants was the way to go.

In my defence I have never tried to push this on someone so fiercely that they couldn’t find a place for their favourite steak dinner or scrambled egg dish. The truth is I have always been a lover of organic beef and turkey. I never stopped appreciating the taste, and I have been known by those who know me well to enjoy small amounts from time to time.

I always figured it was best to keep your body able to digest meat, in case there was ever a scenario where that was positively the only thing to eat.

And then, I got sick.healthy gut

Turns out that having Hashimoto disease and living on grains, beans, and starchy plants is ideal for an unhealthy gut and flora.  Anyone that has an autoimmune disease of any kind, needs to stop what they are eating and look into this. I have had to give up a lot of my favourite dishes. I have had to open my view back up to eating some animal products out of interest of healing my intestines and still being a part of society. After all I am not living in a buddhist colony on a mountain these days, and there comes a point when you can restrict yourself too much.

I am being honest about this and I wanted share how at first I was nervous. It still doesn’t really feel quite normal but I know that major changes have to happen as I can’t go on feeling unwell any more. I actually have to lean how to cook meat and fish because I honestly don’t know how. 

Big proprietors of the WFPBD would not be impressed by my flexibility. But I always wanted to formally reach more people with the vision of GBC. I knew that people would tune me out and turn me off as soon as they heard the word vegan. I know that most of us will not give up eating animals. So this appears to be a perfect time to reach out to you and see if you will now lend your ear to more of what I have to say.

I figure that if I expect you to meet me somewhere over on the plant side I should probably come closer to the SAD (Standard American Diet) side of things.  

I am still basing my diet on plants, as the whole food plant based diet would suggest. However, as my N. Irish cousin pointed out; we are indeed omnivores and scientists figure that learning to hunt, cook and eat meat is what gave us the evolutionary push to develop into the high functioning beings we are today.

Everyone needs to find the right diet for them. One that they feel satisfied about. One that nourishes their body with the nutrients that makes them feel well and balanced. A diet that they can sustain for life.

I was once told by a wise elderly toe reader that I was the first and only diet counsellor she met wise enough to actually help people, because I held this philosophy.IMG_2582

I have never been able to digest a raw vegan diet. But I have met many that feel their best this way. Paleo dieters rave the benefits they experience from eating bean and gluten free. I will continue to counsel others to listen to their body, to eat less refined and processed foods and focus on vegetables being the main course. I am simply supporting  all chosen meats to be the small complementary side dish. I am really talking small amounts, and these are animal products that come from only organic and naturally raised sources. No processed sources, or factory farmed animals are acceptable.

Dairy is still a luxury that we should all strive to wean ourselves off of. This is not only ideal for our health but the environmental impact of reducing global raised cattle is in my opinion, our first answer to global climate change.climate change cow

Most nights for dinner our family has 4 vegetables with sea salt and that is it. Other days we add one piece of fish between us all. Living mainly on plants, gluten free and dairy free, we feel the most satisfied this way, and our bodies feel clean and efficient and balanced.

This too will be a journey for us to find what works, and until then we are keeping our minds open and our hearts full of gratitude for the animals that sacrifice their lives for our consumption.

So now that I have that off my chest, I can get back to being useful to you all and digging up more info for you to use. There is much more to come and a soon released comparison of the WFPBD and the Paleo Diet.

I hope you can come back to continue this journey with me into the next chapter.

Thank you for reading and for your compassion. I’d love to hear your comments.

 

 

Living Our Quality of Life with High Quality Fuel

I was asked to write an article for a local phoenix magazine. I haven’t written much in a while so I thought I would share with you too. 

These days everyone is talking about whole foods! And so we should be.

Since the 1950’s our society in North American culture has been moving slowly away from eating real food.  We have become dependant upon eating prepackaged, convenient, yet nutritionally void, edible products. It has gotten so bad that tomato sauce on pizza is considered a vegetable serving for school lunch programs.

The truth is, this is what is making our society sick. Eating meat, dairy, animal product heavy diets with very little fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, unrefined grains and seeds, has depleted our bodies to the point that we are essentially processed people. Oh right, don’t forget we are happily spending more money on processed vitamins for the cherry on top.

No matter what nice clothes and fancy skin products we put on our bodies, our cells are craving real food. Food that is full of natural vitamins and minerals to make us glow from the inside out.

About 3 years ago I started a business called GreenBellyChef.com.  I was inspired to teach people the benefits of making living plant foods the basis of our diet. I am not alone in this movement. There are countless documentaries, books and internet advocates for living a whole foods plant based lifestyle.

The main issues people face with this type of lifestyle is “I can’t cook, I don’t have time, and it’s too expensive”.

My answers are simple.  It’s easier than you think! I promise.

You can’t afford to leave your health up to some major corporation that is profit driven.  Honestly, you spend so much less when you are not focusing on processed foods, meats and dairy.

Plants are actually cheap. You just have to find the right ones.

There are thousands of awesome recipe blogs out there. I actually don’t blog and create new recipes. There are tons of existing options. I educate and enlighten others on the preventative health benefits that are available to anyone that wants it.

I simplify and demystify the facts about what is good to eat. And I make it easy for you to make it your own.

My favorite blog of all time is www.ohsheglows.com. Angela makes recipes so easy based on excellent whole foods. Over the years I have enjoyed her creativity, and I have never been disappointed.

It has been documented that most of the population spends 70% of their medical health insurance in the last 3 years of their lives. So many people are walking around feeling about 40-60% of their possible vitality, experiencing some kind of pain, inflammation, or illness.

I propose that you spend a greater portion of your budget on the fuel you put into your body and less on what you paint, rub, dress, decorate, tattoo, and accentuate your body with.

Now I learned a long time ago that most of our culture just will not give up meat or dairy. Regardless of how good this could make them feel and the documented health benefits, these foods are simply too ingrained into our identity and culture.  I propose you simply focus on eating plants, and put less emphasis on the animal products in your diet.

Eating organic meats and dairy solely and only eating them a few times a week is a great place to start. Fish and seafood is not a better choice, don’t be fooled. We really don’t need to eat protein every meal of every day. High protein diets are actually dangerous for our heath.  We need to give up eating these foods for macronutrient value, and simply eating them because they are a treat that we enjoy.

We have been totally brainwashed to think that meat, especially lean meats are a necessity. This simply isn’t the case. Learn more at www.forksoverknives.com and start learning the truth about eating plants and the natural phytochemicals that come in them.

How about eating only your favorite animal products?  Moving towards being a weekday vegetarian, or an “occasionatarian”?  This is obtainable for everyone, and believe it or not the less animal products you eat, the less you crave, or want to eat.

When you do eat animal products, how about eating small amounts so you savor every bite, and really enjoy the food for what it is? Respecting all the energy that went into growing, raising, and delivering it from the farm to your table. Get away from foods that move from the chemistry lab, to the factory, to your pantry.

My diet counseling leads others to focus on eating from the fresh side of the fridge and relies very little on the freezer and pantry.

Fill your fridge with easy foods you can grab and eat, so you will be eating more fresh living foods that will bring life and nutrients to your body. Try something new each week. Rotate in one new fruit, nut, vegetable and move out one animal product. If you totally can’t live without yogurt, don’t start there. Instead choose to not eat cottage cheese from now on, even if it is available at a party.

When you do feel like a chocolate covered treat, eat it, and enjoy it and then get right back on the real food train.

As much as there may be issues with the organic food chain, it is so much cleaner than the conventional farming food industry. Pesticides, herbicides and sewage sludge really are as bad as you think. We should not be eating petro (oil) chemicals! No matter what anyone says.  Organic food costs more because that is how much growing food actually costs, when you do it the natural way.  Sure organics are a trendy and successful industry, but with the public demanding more and more of these foods, the prices are coming down, and the access with continue to grow. You hold the power with your purchases.

The best way to really be connected to your food and to protect yourself from thousands of chemicals is to find a farm that you can buy from. Meet your farmer and find out what he thinks about growing your food. I found the most amazing organic farm just outside Phoenix in the west valley. BlueSkyOrganicFarms.com, is the most amazing, organic, integral, family owned farm I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and enjoying.  I will always be grateful for the efforts, early mornings, research and love these farmers put into the food that has nourished my family for the last 3 years.

You will learn much more about all the free information available to you on my blog www.greenbellychef.com, and my Facebook Page: Green Belly Chef. I am also on Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin. I review documentaries, books, blogs and share recipes I try and approve. Coming soon will be downloadable diet counseling plans.

So maybe these are new ideas to you, and I am excited for what you are about to learn and live. Maybe these are already practices you hold. Maybe you think I am nuts, and are happy with the way you eat and live. All I know is that I ate the standard American Diet (SAD) for most of my life and so did my husband. It actually has been a ten year journey for me to get to a point where I know that processed food is dangerous to my health. This knowledge far out weights the brief enjoyment I would get on my taste buds. It takes my body hours to digest what takes me moments to ingest.

I figure since this is the only body I get and it’s the only thing that is sticking with me till the day that I die, I better give it the right fuel to keep going instead of bogging it down with the wrong low octane gas. Literally since most processed food ingredients actually come from oil, nasty.