This week we really wanted to look into the phenomenon that has been sweeping the nation. Eating Healthy! We interviewed one of our favorite mothers of four who also happens to be a health consultant know as Nutrimommy by her dedicated followers on her blog. See what Anne has to say about eating healthy!
LLD: We love how creative you are in making fruits and vegetables into tasty treats that your four children love, and are extremely healthy. Can you give our moms out there some tips on making healthy, easy-to-make snacks for the little ones? Or even, what is one of your favorite healthy snacks to make for your kids?
Anne: Focus on vegetables as snacks. One of our favorites is the peanut butter cucumber caterpillar, but even plain cut carrots, celery and pepper to dip in hummus or black bean spread is simple, easy and tasty.
LLD: More often than we like, we’re learning about new foods or ingredients that could cause health problems. We all want to keep our families healthy, but when does it stop! In your opinion, what are the most important things to avoid in a healthy diet?
Anne: Avoid anything processed. By eliminating processed foods, you will avoid all preservatives, coloring and artificial sweeteners without having to ciphon through lists of which are or are not especially hazardous. They are all bad and none stand up to completely fresh foods with a few packaged but not processed items, like puffed corn thins, rice cakes or a very plain chip.
LLD: Many parents think that it would be very hard to follow a primarily vegan diet with growing children that are already picky eaters. You say so honestly in your blog that life does get in the way sometimes, and you can’t always avoid animal products or milk or butter. Do you have some advice for parents that want to try a more vegetarian or vegan diet but aren’t sure how to bring their kids on board?
Anne: Mostly, make it delicious and involve children in the shopping and cooking processes. My children love to chop, grind and blend so they are more amenable to the end result. They are also really involved in which farms we buy food from and they have developed a general understanding of what grows when and where. And, do not forget to make the food visually appealing. After all, first impressions matter.
LLD: We were fascinated by your blog from May 1st of this year about genetically modified corn. With the recent health revolution sweeping the nation, more people are concerned about what is going into their food. For those of you that don’t know, agribusiness today is inserting a BT toxin, or synthetic bug spray, into corn so that it has its own bug repellent. But what happens once you eat this corn with the bug spray in it? No one knows! The FDA is not researching or testing the effects of these genetically modified substitutes, but there are many claims that this is harmful to the human body, and additionally to the environment. Could you comment on the suspected health problems associated with genetically modified foods, and how important it is to find natural fruits and vegetables to feed your family?
Anne: While the claims against genetically modified foods include many illnesses from cancer and superviruses to infertility, the risk of fatal food allergies is one of the most studies and flagrant examples of the downside of GMOs. Bringing cod fish genes into potatoes or brazil nut into soy has clearly caused death and a rash of odd soy allergies heretofore unseen. http://www.nutrimommy.com/search/label/GM%20foods
LLD: When shopping for organic foods, it can get overwhelming visiting a Whole Foods where there are aisles and aisles of various brands and “all-natural” claims on packaging. How do you know where to start and when is it worth paying the extra couple dollars for the organic label?
Anne: Sometimes the organic label is meaningless. At your local farm stand you can always ask about growing practices and you will find many fruits and vegetables are unsprayed, sprayed with only organic products or very lightly sprayed unlike large agribusiness produce. In the packaged food realm, it is best to lean organic whenever possible, for snacks and crackers, and be especially diligent when the product has corn or soy. There is a whole profitable and growing market of organic junk food which should be avoided based on fat, salt and sugar content regardless of the source of the food. It is preferable to aim for sprouted nuts or raw snacks like kale chips rather than oily chips and floury crackers regardless of the organic label.
Thanks for all the great advice Anne! Check our her blog at http://www.nutrimommy.com/.
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