Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Things have been extremely hectic lately, so I haven’t had an abundance of time to write. My husband is downsizing his office to half of our garage, which is creating headaches for all kinds of reasons. So as I contemplate how to co-exist with my significant other 24/7 (I’m kidding, I’m kidding), here is an excellent article by Joe Wilkes on nine foods not to give kids. While I don’t agree 100 percent with all of them (for instance, there are some quality organic chicken nuggets and lunch meats now available), Mr. Wilkes is right on the money with most of these. If you can find organic or all-natural alternatives, you will probably be OK. If not, try to severely limit or remove these from your kids’ diets altogether: oficiální webChicken nuggets/tenders
These popular kids-menu items are little nuggets of compressed fat, sodium, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and in some form, chicken. Depending on the restaurant, chicken might not even be the first ingredient. Oftentimes, the nuggets or tenders are made of ground pieces of chicken meat and skin, pressed into a shape, flavored with HFCS and salt, and batter-fried in hydrogenated oil (the bad, trans-fatty stuff). Then, as if that isn't unhealthy enough, you dunk it in a HFCS- or mayonnaise-based sauce. With all the fat, salt, and sugar, it's easy to understand why they're tasty, but the nutritive value weighed against the huge amount of calories and fat consumed is incredibly lacking. Even healthier-sounding menu items like McDonald's Premium Breast Strips (5 pieces) pack 630 calories and 33 grams of fat, more than a Big Mac, and that's before you factor in the dipping sauce.
I can remember as a child feeling horribly deprived when I would go to friends' houses for overnight visits and be treated in the morning to cereals with marshmallows that turned the milk fluorescent pink or blue. But now I can appreciate my mom and her unpopular brans and granolas. True, they didn't have any toy surprises in the box or any cartoon characters on the box, but they also didn't have the cups of sugar, grams of fat, and hundreds of empty calories that these Saturday morning staples are loaded with.
Lunch meat and hot dogs
Kids love hot dogs, bologna, and other processed meats, but they are full of potentially carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites, sodium, saturated fat, and artificial colors and fillers. A study in Los Angeles found that kids who ate 12 hot dogs a month had nine times the risk of developing leukemia.1 And more health risks are being discovered all the time. Leaf through any research about kids' nutrition, and you're bound to read about the bane of the cafeteria—Oscar Mayer's Lunchables. These and similar prepackaged lunches are loaded with processed meats and crackers made with hydrogenated oils. These innocent-looking meals can boast fat counts of up to 38 grams. That's as much fat as a Burger King Whopper and over half the recommended daily allowance of fat for an adult.
Juice and juice-flavored drinks
Juice, what could be wrong with juice? While 100% juice is a good source of vitamin C, it doesn't have the fiber of whole fruit, and provides calories mostly from sugar and carbohydrates. Too much juice can lead to obesity and tooth decay, among other problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day for kids under 6, and 8 to 12 ounces for older kids. Juice drinks that aren't 100% juice are usually laced with artificial colors and that old standby, HFCS, and should be avoided. Your best bet is to make your own juice from fresh, seasonal fruit. You won't have to worry about all the additives, and it's another way you can involve your kids in the cooking process. Let them design their own juice "cocktail." And if you were even considering soda, perhaps a refresher course from Steve Edwards' Nutrition 911 series is in order (see "Nutrition 911, Part VI: The Worst Food on the Planet" in "Related Articles" below).
High in calories, high in fat, and high in sodium—and unsurprisingly, the most popular "vegetable" among kids. They offer virtually none of the nutrients found in broccoli, carrots, spinach, or other veggies not found in a deep fryer. And the fat they're fried in is usually trans fat, the unhealthiest kind for the heart. To top it all off, studies are beginning to show cancer-causing properties from acrylamide, a toxic substance that is created when starchy foods like potatoes are heated to extreme temperatures. In some tests, the amount of acrylamide in French fries was 300 to 600 times higher than the amount that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows in a glass of water.2
Chips (Potato Chips, Cheetos, Doritos, etc.)
These are full of fat, oftentimes saturated, and way more sodium than any child or adult should eat. Some chips also have the acrylamide problem discussed under French fries. Also, watch out for innocent-seeming baked and low-fat chips that contain olestra or other fake fats and chemicals that could present health issues for kids.
Many of these gelatinous snacks like roll-ups or fruit bites contain a trace amount of fruit but lots of sugar or HFCS and bright artificial colors. Don't be misled by all the products that include the word "fruit" on their box. Real fruit is in the produce section, not the candy aisle.
These little deep-fried gobs of joy are favorites for kids and adults alike, but they are full of fat and trans-fatty acids, and of course, sugar. Toaster pastries, muffins, and cinnamon buns aren't much better. The worst thing about doughnuts and these other pastries, aside from their nutritional content or lack thereof, is that they're often presented to children as acceptable breakfast choices. These delicious deadlies need to be categorized properly—as desserts, to be eaten very sparingly. And you can't have dessert for breakfast.
In moderation, pizza can be a fairly decent choice. If you order the right toppings, you can get in most of your food groups. The problem comes with the processed meats like pepperoni and sausage, which add fat and nitrates/nitrites (see lunch meat and hot dogs above); and the overabundance of cheese will also provide more calories and fat than a child needs.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I thought I would share an e-mail I received about a partnership between WomenHeart and Metamucil® that is encouraging women to get cholesterol screenings and learn healthy heart habits. As a part of the Beautify Your Heart program, Metamucil is encouraging 100,000 women to get cholesterol screenings and donating $100,000 to WomenHeart for heart disease education and patient advocacy programs. You can go to the Beautify Your Heart website to: oficiální web· Pledge to get a cholesterol screening
· Find a cholesterol screening location in your area
· Learn heart healthy lifestyle tips and recipes
· Enter the "Beautify Your Heart" sweepstakes for a chance to win a heart makeover getaway for you and your friends
February is Heart Health Month, and this is a great way to get tips for prevention and leading a healthier lifestyle.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I’m very excited to announce that The Healthy Mom is having its first every giveaway. The good folks at Kiss My Face have provided a complete Facial Care System for me to give away to one lucky winner. I will be doing a complete review of these products in an upcoming post, but let me assure you that this a wonderful set of fully organic facial care items. Kiss My Face was founded 25 years ago by two vegetarians on a mission to make healthy body care products, and they now offer a complete line of all-natural and organic products that really work.
Clean for a Day Creamy Face Cleanser
Start Up Exfoliating Face Wash
Shea Soy Facial Cleansing Bar
Balancing Toner Antioxidant Toner
C the Change Ester C Serum
Under Age Ultra Hydrating Moisturizer
Cell Mate SPF 10 Facial Crème and Sunscreen
SPF 4 Brightening Day Crème
Intensive Repair Night Crème
Eyewitness Eye Repair Crème
So Refined Jojoba & Mint Facial Scrub
Pore Shrink Deep Cleansing Mask
Break Out Botanical Acne Gel
Whew – that’s quite a set! If you would like to enter, just e-mail your name and mailing address to email@example.com. I will announce the winner on January 30th. Good luck!