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Helpful tips and advice for overall nutrition and health.
One of the comments I hear most frequently from parents who seek to improve their childrens’ diets is, “My kids simply refuse to eat vegetables!” My heart breaks as they tell me how the kids run toward chicken nuggets, fish sticks and french fries, but head for the hills whenever the dreaded broccoli or chick pea makes an appearance at the dinner table. Let’s explore some ways we can help kids learn to enjoy the flavors of healthier foods…and how we can teach them that nutritious foods can be delicious, too.
Introduce your kids to all sorts of veggies (including legumes – beans, peas, lentils, etc) when they’re young. As they become familiar with the variety of flavors, textures and aromas of vegetables, they’re far more likely to continue to eat them as they grow up. Making the transition from pureed baby veggies to steamed is not difficult, but be certain that they are fresh…not canned or frozen. Teaching the kids to appreciate the flavors of fresh foods is necessary, so just do it. As their little teeth develop and they become more confident and competent chewers, offer your kids steamed carrots, string beans, greens (like kale, collard greens and chard) and cauliflower. Start with small pieces and always have a couple of different veggies on the plate so the kids can begin to discern the differences in flavor. If they don’t enjoy a particular veggie at first, that’s OK. Try again. Don’t back down…and don’t give in. Kids will learn to appreciate the flavors of the foods they’re given, so doesn’t it make sense to help them learn to enjoy foods that will be kind to their bodies as they grow?
Discuss with your kids why you are asking them to eat an array of vegetables. Tell them how important it is for them to have a well-balanced diet. Instill in them the understanding that eating well is their best defense against illness. Kids don’t like to be sick (who does?), and they’ll eagerly eat fresh veggies when they understand that they will have more play time and less sick-in-bed time when their immune systems can support the demands of their busy lives. When we first switched to a whole-foods diet years ago, my daughter was not yet 3 years old and, trust me, she had very little familiarity with fresh vegetables or whole foods. Introducing steamed and raw vegetables to her was challenging and, at first, she was not a willing participant in my healthy-eating experiment. I explained to her that we, as a family, got sick too often and that we were going to feel better by changing the way we ate. She didn’t love the flavors of her foods at first, but she saw that Daddy and I were eating those different foods and that we, too, were learning to enjoy them. As we all tried new things, we realized that fresh foods, properly prepared, tasted good. I told her that, from that moment on, we only would eat foods that were “delicious and nutritious”…and she got a little excited about the prospect. She’s an adult now, living on her own, and – I must say – is a really good eater. She eats all vegetables eagerly and is not shy about trying them prepared in different ways. She prepares her own meals and has become particularly adept at making her dishes appealing in presentation, aroma and flavor. OK, so she’s not the biggest fan of the parsnip or the rutabaga…but she eats them and recognizes that they are providing her body with energy to do all of the fun things she wants to do each day.
When I was a little girl, I awaited with great excitement my mother’s annual ritual of Spring Cleaning. Although she was the kind of person who
generally kept a sparkling home, she took great delight in digging even more deeply into corners, closets and cabinets a few weeks after Easter, and spent days scrubbing and scouring and sprucing up surfaces that already seemed, at least to me, immaculate. My mother’s meticulous attention to her home reflected her desire to provide the most pristine environment possible for her family. Even though I was too young to understand exactly why that was so important to her, I loved the joy of her process and appreciated that she was doing something special to keep us healthy and happy.
Now, I’m the mom. Things certainly are different than they were when I was growing up and, although I like to keep my home as tidy as possible for my family, I am a bit more focused on a different type of Spring Cleaning. I think of cleansing our bodies on the inside as one of the most valuable ways to enable ourselves to enjoy our lives and, although there is no bad time to cleanse, spring seems the best time. We are more attuned to renewal in this season as the days grow longer and brighter, the flowers appear and open, and plants bloom and prosper. Let’s take a look at the value of internal cleansing as one of the ways we can prepare ourselves to be as vibrant as possible for the activities of summer.
Internal cleansing begins with the colon. Over the course of time, bits of undigested food accumulate in the colon and begin to fester as they await removal. Contrary to popular opinion, “regular” bowel movements are not those which occur “occasionally” or “every few days.” We eat three meals a day, right? Well, those unused, unabsorbed foods must be excreted 2 or 3 times per day…every day. Anything not eliminated becomes toxic in the colon and can lead to weight gain, improper digestion, sluggishness, bloating, gas, leaky gut, skin disorders, yeast infections and a variety of other issues. Bowel movements may not be the most popular topic of conversation, but the truth needs to be told because far too many of us just do not understand how essential bowel movements are to a healthy body. If you are going to the bathroom fewer that twice a day…you are constipated. Bowel movements should be painless, without strain, and fairly quick. You’ve heard the jokes about keeping reading materials in the bathroom…crossword puzzles, books, magazines, etc, are fun, but if you’re sitting on the toilet long enough to complete the Sunday Times puzzle, you’re constipated!
Conquering constipation is the route to a cleaner colon. A cleaner colon is the route to a healthier body. Although there are numerous over-the-counter products available for constipation, it’s important to stop thinking of constipation as a disease that requires a treatment; start thinking of it as something we create by denying our bodies the proper nourishment (fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds) and by supplying them, instead, with an overabundance of processed, refined, junky foods. We need the fiber of whole foods to create the movement necessary to clear the clogs in our colons…and that sort of fiber is not found in fatty, greasy, bleached, commercial, overcooked foods. Making some simple dietary changes is a quick way to clear the clog. Instead of drinking a glass of sweetened apple juice, eat an apple. Instead of eating a white bread sandwich, have 2 slices of whole grain bread spread with organic peanut butter. In a hurry for a meal? Instead of hitting the drive-through window, visit a salad bar and load your take-out container with raw veggies and some fresh chick peas, topped with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Eating well is not enough, though. Chewing those good foods thoroughly enables them to be broken down sufficiently for the digestive enzymes in your mouth and stomach to do their work. Chew each mouthful until it is nearly liquid in your mouth. Sounds funny…but try it! Drinking at least 64 ounces of pure water daily, sipping the water instead of chugging it by the glassful, will help both digestion and elimination. Adding a teaspoon or two of liquid chlorophyll will further aid digestion, as well as deodorizing your body internally.
Using a packaged colon cleanse that contains herbs designed to support and nourish the intestinal tract while pulling toxins from the liver, kidneys and colon for elimination can be an efficient and relatively quick way to unclog waste. Many companies specialize in providing excellent packaged cleanses that provide the nutrients necessary to stimulate the colon to work smoothly without the complications (diarrhea, bloating, etc) frequently associated with over-the-counter laxatives. Two of my favorites are Nature’s Sunshine’s CleanStart and Nature’s Sunshine’s Tiao He Cleanse.
In order to make effective changes in your body, sometimes you simply have to make changes in your mind. The Bible says, in Rom. 12:2: “…do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Renew your thoughts…make a decision to eat, drink, chew and eliminate wisely and thoroughly so that you can be a stronger and healthier person. That’s a decision you never will regret.
Several of you have contacted me recently to ask for some tips on losing weight. I’m hearing from you that you think that skipping meals is an efficient way to lose weight but, actually, the opposite is true! When you skip meals and don’t eat, your metabolism slows, making weight loss more difficult. I know that it’s hard to get started on any weight-loss program, but you must re-set your mind so that you can understand that eating well is the best way to lose weight.
Here are 3 tips to help you improve your attitude about eating:
1. Eat 3 HEALTHY meals a day…breakfast, lunch and dinner;
2. Eat HEALTHY snacks between meals…foods such as raw veggies, fresh fruit, raw nuts and seeds;
3. Drink at least 8 glasses of pure water every day.Applying these 3 tips daily will enable you to keep your body burning fat and calories…and you will lose weight! If you are uncertain about which foods are “healthy” and which foods are best for you, you might like to consider scheduling an appointment for a nutritional consultation. I’d be happy to work with you on a one-to-one basis to help you understand which foods are best for your body’s needs. If you’d like more information about the consultations, please don’t hesitate to call me at 800-261-9740 or to e-mail me at Linda@His-n-Herbs.com.
So, please remember…Eat to lose weight…Eat to be healthy…Eat to have fun. Hey, you don’t have to be Italian like me to love food!