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Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Are you joining Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? I hope you watched the premiere last week. I did, and it took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride. That sounds a little over-dramatic, but when one’s job is to help others become healthy, one tends to get a little worked up when a lunch lady doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with a list of chemical preservatives on the back of  a box of frozen chicken that she is cooking up for young children.  (That’s one long sentence, but I told you I was worked up.)  I felt victorious when Jamie buried one  family’s deep-fryer. I was near tears when Jamie broke down over his frustration with the town. I was shocked when a child couldn’t identify a tomato when it was held up in front of the class.  A red TOMATO.  Nor could one child correctly identify a potato, a cauliflower head, or an eggplant.  It was mind boggling to me. This is just one tiny town in West Virginia.  How many towns are like this throughout the United States?

After the show, I got to thinking about how I could do my part in the Revolution. And, drumroll please,…I made the decision to be the Snack-Making Volunteer Queen at whichever pre-school my son attends in the fall.  I may end up being the most disliked mom volunteer at the school, but oh well. I am challenging myself to come up with an arsenal of healthy snack foods that any 3 year-old will love and crave.   Can you make a similar challenge for yourself?  How can you play a part in the Revolution? If you have older kids, can you pack them lunch more often?  Can you decide to stop buying soda for your home? Can you cook one additional vegetable at dinner? Now that summer is around the corner, you’ll have access to a lot of fresh, seasonal vegetables. Small steps like these add up, and the more small steps we take, the closer we’ll get to good health and happy times.  Alone we can’t change the whole country, but we can change our little corner of it. Change enough little corners, and there’s a changed country.

The third episode of Food Revolution will be on ABC, Friday, 4/2 at 9:00 p.m. EST.  I strongly encourage you to watch it.

Oh, and Jamie has a little bit of star power behind him.  Joining  Oprah and Ryan Seacrest in the Jamie Oliver Fan Club is Gwyneth Paltrow, who interviewed Jamie for her newsletter this week: http://goop.com/newsletter/77/en/.

Lastly, here is a very passionate blog post about the Food Revolution. It’s a little harsh and some people may be put-off by the writer’s tone, but I honestly hope the post will be read with an open mind.  Sometimes it takes a [virtual] slap in the face to get a point across.

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I just wanted to write a short post about a television series you may have already heard of called “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” debuting Friday, March 26 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.  You can read all about the program on Jamie’s website: http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution/petition, but in a nutshell, it’s a show about changing our kids’ school lunches, getting back in touch with our food, and keeping our cooking skills alive.  If you can’t tell from my previous posts, those are things that are extremely important to me and I am thrilled that they are getting mainstream attention.  As I’m sure you’re aware, health-care reform was a big to-do this week.  But you know what? If we take better care of ourselves and our children now, starting with the quality of the food we eat, we may not be so concerned with health care in the future.  Why? Because we’ll have fewer illnesses and less need for health care!  Wouldn’t that be fantastic?!?   We simply have to take responsibility for ourselves and treat our bodies and our kids’ bodies with the respect they deserve.  It’s that simple.

There’s a petition on Jamie’s site that I strongly urge you to consider signing, as he is bringing it to Washington after the series airs to show the President and the First Lady just how many Americans are devoted to feeding themselves and their children better food.

So, join a revolution!  Sign Jamie’s petition and watch “Food Revolution” on Friday night, March 26 at 9:00 p.m EST on ABC.

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From our newest contributor, Amy Caputa.  Welcome, Amy!

Eating on the Run is so 2009…

I had every intention of writing an informative article on what to eat on the run, knowing that every parent lives an unbelievably busy life that doesn’t always allow time for sit-down meals. However…I just finished reading “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” by Michael Pollan (author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”), and, first of all, I’m annoyed that he wrote the book that I was planning to write(!), but more importantly, I’m glad that it has been written.  The book contains 64 straight-forward rules about what and how to eat.  The rule that threw a wrench in my original article idea is Rule #58: “Do all your eating at a table.”  Now, since I wholeheartedly support the majority of the rules in the book, including #58, I wouldn’t be true to myself–and I’d be doing a disservice to you—if I wrote an article about what to eat on the run. One certainly cannot be on the run while sitting at a table, right?  Frankly, I’m a little tired of this wired, super-connected, 24/7 race to nowhere that we’re all in and I don’t want to propagate suggestions for staying in a race that seems to put family life in second place.  Life is too short. Balance is critical.

Changing our eating habits isn’t easy and won’t happen overnight, especially when fast and convenient foods (or, “edible foodlike substances,” as Pollan calls processed food) can be found on every corner.  But, if we put in a little extra time and effort our families will be happier and healthier in the long run.  Here are a few ideas for preparing dinners (that could also be eaten as leftovers for lunch the next day):

  • Spend a few hours on Sunday cooking and freezing meals for the rest of the week.
  • If your kids are old enough to help in the kitchen, recruit them as sous chefs. Dinner will be prepared in half the time and you’ll have a blast together in the kitchen.
  • Start a casserole club and exchange meals with a few other families on a weekly basis.
  • Make the small investment in a crock pot and toss the ingredients for a hearty stew in the pot in the morning and come home to a hot, wholesome dinner in the evening.

These are just four of a multitude of ways to provide home-cooked meals for your family and then still have the time to sit down at your dining room table and eat the meal together.  The meals will take some planning for sure, but your family is worth it! Research shows that eating meals as a family is beneficial for children and parents alike.  When else between school, work, soccer, yoga, etc., can you talk one-on-one with each other?  Your kids really do want to talk with you about things–important things like homework, bullies, or boyfriends/girlfriends, or trivial things like American Idol, the Jonas Brothers, or their latest Wii victory–and I’m sure you want to hear what they have to say, regardless of what subject they’re talking about.

A frightening side-effect of our desire to eat on the run is childhood obesity. By now you’ve heard that childhood obesity is on the rise and with that diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the risk of early stroke and heart disease.  First Lady Michelle Obama has recently stated that childhood obesity “truly is a crisis” and she’s launching an initiative to fight it. Help take part in that fight in your own home by preparing your family healthy meals and then eating them together.  Show your children what healthy food is, how to prepare it, and how to enjoy eating it. None of us want to outlive our children.

Let’s take a cue from the Europeans and those in the slow food movement who make a point of enjoying leisurely meals: eat well, eat slowly, have a glass of red wine, enjoy the food and, above all, your company.

If you want to learn more about the slow food movement check out these websites:

http://www.slowfoodboston.com/

http://www.oldwayspt.org/

And if you want to check out some amazing vegetarian recipes, visit one of my favorite sites:

http://www.101cookbooks.com

Amy Caputa

Amy was born and raised on the shoreline in Branford, Connecticut. She relocated to Massachusetts in February 2004 to be with her fiancé, Peter Caputa IV.  After working for many years as a project manager at a scholarly publishing company, Amy had a desire to change careers and began looking for a way to turn her passion for health and wellness into her life’s work. Fortunately, she found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, affiliated with Columbia University, in New York City, and graduated from the Institute in June 2007 as a Holistic Heath Counselor. In September 2007, Peter Caputa V (yes, the fifth) was born–in the good old-fashioned drugless way–thanks to Jeanette and her Natural Childbirth class at MoCo! Amy left her position at the publishing company in August 2009 to become a stay-at-home mom and build her health counseling practice.  She is excited to share with people how to be healthier and happier by nourishing their bodies and minds with wholesome food and plenty of self care. She is currently accepting clients and can be reached at amy.caputa@gmail.com. She can also be found posting wellness tweets on Twitter as “purewellnessamy.”

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From The Environmental Working Group

Bottled Water: Buyer Beware

It’s just what we’ve all suspected – pure, “straight from the mountains” bottled water is not so pure after all. Yesterday, EWG released an industry-rattling report that reveals the dirty truth about bottled water.

We tested 10 brands and found an alarming array of contaminants, including cancer-causing byproducts of chlorination, fertilizer residue, industrial solvents and even caffeine.

In light of these disturbing findings, here’s what you can do:

• Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled or unfiltered tap water.
• Mix infant formula with filtered, non-fluoridated water.
• Carry water in safe, reusable containers.

Handy Guide to Safer Drinking Water

Tip: Tote your own filtered water in a stainless steel water bottle like Klean Kanteen
EWG’s Guide to Safe Drinking Water
Bottled Water: Drink filtered tap water instead.
You can read the bottle label, but you still won’t know if the water is pure and natural, or just
processed, polluted, packaged tap water. EWG found 38 contaminants in 10 popular brands.
Tap Water: Learn what’s in it.  Tap water suppliers publish all their water quality tests. Bottled water companies don’t. Read your annual tap water quality report. Look up your city’s water in EWG’s National Tap Water Atlas (www.ewg.org/sites/tapwater). (Private well? Get it tested.)
Filtered Tap Water: Drink it, cook with it.
• Carbon filters (pitcher or tap-mounted) are affordable and reduce many common water contaminants, like lead and byproducts of the disinfection process used to treat municipal tap water.
• Install a reverse osmosis filter if you can afford it, to remove contaminants that carbon filters can’t eliminate, like arsenic and perchlorate (rocket fuel).
Filters: Change them.  Change your water filters on time. Old filters aren’t safe – they harbor bacteria and let contaminants through.
On the Go: Carry water in safe containers.
Hard plastic bottles (#7 plastic) can leach a harmful plastics chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) into water. Carry stainless steel or other BPA-free bottles. Don’t reuse bottled water bottles. The plastic can harbor bacteria and break down to release plastics chemicals.
While Pregnant: Stay hydrated with safe water.  It’s especially important for women to drink plenty of water during pregnancy. Follow all the tips above, and take your doctor’s advice on how much to drink.
Infants: Use safe water for formula.
Use filtered tap water for your baby’s formula. If your water is not fluoridated, you can use a
carbon filter. If it is, use a reverse osmosis filter to remove the fluoride, because fluoridated water
can damage an infant’s developing teeth. If you choose bottled water for your infant, make sure it’s
fluoride-free. Learn more at http://www.ewg.org/babysafe.
Breathe Easy: Use a whole house water filter.
For extra protection, a whole house carbon filter will remove contaminants from steamy vapors you
and your family inhale while showering and washing dishes.

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