Raising Strong, Healthy Kids

Raising Strong, Healthy Kids

Healthy Body:

Get your kids involved in food early. Teach them how food grows and where it comes from. This is a good exercise for parents too (Mom, where does spinach grow?).

Eating clean and organic food takes extra planning and preparation but it’s always worth the effort. Preservatives and dyes have been linked to a variety of health issues including hyperactivity, allergies and even cancer. Processed foods aren’t worth the risk to their young, developing bodies.

Healthy Space:

If you can make one change to reduce the toxic burden on our kids, do it in the bedroom. Kids sleep 12 plus hours per day and the air quality in their bedroom will have an impact on their overall health. Consider organic bedding and mattress, cotton PJ’s to protect them from flame retardants and a high quality air filter.

Healthy Mind:

We usually relate toxins to chemicals found in products but a toxic mind can be just as damaging. Kids need love, play and a stress free environment. Think of ways you’ve learned to cope with stress and frustration in your adult life and give them those same tools.

Resources:

http://healthychild.org/easy-steps/avoid-risky-food-additives-preservatives/

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-28/news/ct-met-flames-test-mattress-20121228_1_tdcpp-heather-stapleton-chlorinated-tris

What’s all the fuss about BPA?

Three Cans of Vegetables

What is it?

Bisphenol-A or BPA is a chemical used to make polycarbonate and epoxy resins. It is found in numerous products including canned food, plastic beverage containers and kids toys.

Why is it so dangerous?

According to the Environmental Working Group, “BPA is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the endocrine system, even in small amounts. It has been linked to a wide variety of ills, including infertility, breast and reproductive system cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, behavioral changes in children and resistance to chemotherapy treatments.”

BPA mimics estrogen. Can you imagine the impact this has on a young child’s developing body? Researchers have linked BPA and other endocrine disruptors like phthalates to the new puberty age of 10. According to a study in Pediatrics, 15% of American girls experience puberty at age 7. Do any of you remember what you were doing at age 7? I can remember playing outside on the playground and learning simple math in the classroom but I was definitely not worried about puberty.

How much exposure is too much?

This was my personal wake up call. A Harvard study found that when only one serving of canned soup was consumed every day for 5 days the amount of BPA concentration increased by 1,000%, compared to those who consumed fresh soup. Even one serving has a significant impact on our health.

How can I avoid it?

-The biggest offender is canned food. Buy fresh or frozen instead.

-Never microwave your food in plastic. Heating up these chemicals leaches them into your food.

-Avoid plastics marked #7 or PC

-BPA is also found in thermal paper, like store receipts. Avoid handling them if possible and never give them to kids.

-Dental sealants can contain BPA, ask your dentist before you get one.

-Buy wooden toys for kids or look for safer plastics

My final thought:

Canned food has been a major part of our culture for over 60 years and it is very convenient to reach into the pantry and pull out a canned food product when preparing dinner. We are used to this lifestyle of convenience, and that’s ok…it’s the culture we live in. But challenge yourself to look for safer options, read labels, and care about whats in your food, because I guarantee no one else is doing it for you.

Is organic really necessary?

We have many options when deciding what to buy at the grocery store and many times cost is a major factor in that decision. So is it really worth it to buy organic? Lets take a look at the cold hard facts: research proves that organic diets lower exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides. 

Researchers looked at a group of elementary school children and had them replace their conventional diets with organic foods for 5 days. They concluded that the “organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 114 (2006)

photo.PNG

This graph shows that when the children switched to an organic diet, their daily concentrations of pesticides were dramatically lowered.

If you are still on the fence about organic just remember that our kids are at the highest risk  because they are still developing and their tiny bodies are exposed the same toxins as a full grown adult.

Tips:

1. Always refer to the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” when buying fruits and vegetables. Did you know apples are the dirtiest of all fruits and vegetables?

2. Always wash your fruits and vegetables, even the organic ones to get rid of residue. We use “Veggie Wash” but there are many versions of this at your local stores.

3. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, the food will be fresher and have traveled less to get to you.

4. When buying packaged organic foods, look closely at the label to make sure it is certified organic, not just made with “all natural” or “organic ingredients”…what does that mean anyways?

5. GMO’s are not allowed in organic food! We’ll dive deeper into that one on a different post.

The green smoothie both you and your kids will love!

E smoothie

Fact: Greens, berries and amino acids contain essential nutritive compounds that enable us and our kids to eliminate harmful toxins. Compounds such as I3C, polyphenols, selenium, chlorophyll and amino acids such as cysteine, glycine and glutamine are required in the diet for toxin protection.

Reality: Most of us know vegetables are important but you don’t need to know what all these nutritive compounds do in the body. You just need to feed them to your kids. It can be challenging to get my kids to eat all their vegetables. I rely on our daily smoothie to incorporate some of the greens I may have missed at mealtime (i.e. spinach, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, etc). The trick is to make it taste great and change up the recipe often. This is one of our favorites:

Chocolate Green Smoothie

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 frozen banana

Handful of frozen berries (we usually use strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)

1 cup greens (kale, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, or whatever you have in the fridge).

1 scoop almond butter

Ice

1 cup water

Mix and enjoy!

Tips:

  1. Sometimes I make extra and turn them into popsicles.
  2. Also, if you have a picky eater, start with spinach, it has the most mild flavor of all the greens and mixes easily.
  3. An easy way to always have a mix of greens in your fridge is to buy an organic premade salad mix. I usually go for the “Super Greens” at Whole Foods.