Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kids and Veggies 101

[originally posted on www.befitnola.com]
Some of my friends are blessed with children who love to eat fruits and vegetables. I always watch in astonishment while we are at City Park or the Zoo and the children gladly eat an orange or some broccoli. They pull out their little bag of apple slices and munch away. Not my children…no, they are on a constant search for the “man in the wagon with the sticky candy” – yes, Roman candy/taffy is their snack of choice.

Sure, when they were toddlers it was no problem. They didn’t know any other way of eating, but then reality kicked in – pizza at birthday parties! Chicken nuggets with Grandma! Meanwhile, I’m buying organic fruits at the local farmer’s market, serving vegetables with every dinner – and watching the look of horror on my 5-year-old twins’ faces as they realize the cauliflower is actually TOUCHING the wheat pasta on their plate!

I finally bought the book Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.

I struggled with deceiving the children just to get nutritious food in their bellies. The premise of the cookbook is to use purees that are added to regular meals…thereby hiding the beets, prunes, carrots, zucchini, etc. in the French Toast, spaghetti or muffins.

We have tried several recipes – and finally hit a home run! We enjoyed shopping at the German Coast Farmers Market in Destrehan this past weekend, and decided to put our vegetables to good use. Unbelievably, this recipe was a favorite for the entire family – I hope it is for your family, too.

Meatball Soup
3 oz. bow tie whole wheat pasta (or more, if pasta is a favorite)
Cooking spray
1 T. Olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (28oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
1 1/2 t. salt
3 c. reduced-fat, low sodium chicken broth

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside. Coat a large pot with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When pot is hot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened but not browned. Puree tomatoes and their juice with the carrot puree in a food processor. Add tomatoes to the pot along with the purees and broth. Simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.

3 slices whole-wheat bread, cubed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ c. sweet potato puree
¼ c. skim milk
2 T. grated Parmesan
¼ t. pepper
¼ t. paprika
½ pound lean ground turkey

Put the bread in a large bowl – add the egg, sweet potato puree, milk, parmesan, 1 t. salt, pepper and paprika. Let soak until the bread is very soft. Stir to break up the bread, add the turkey, mix until smooth. Form into mini-meatballs ½ inch in diameter.

Add the meatballs to the pot. Simmer, covered, until the meatballs are no longer pink (12-15 minutes). Stir in the pasta…sprinkle with parmesan – and finally! A dinner the whole family can enjoy.

This recipe is one of many delicious recipes in the Deceptively Delicious Cookbook – as you can see the recipes are not complicated. You can find it on Amazon,.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

To Detox or Not to Detox?

[orignally posted on www.befitnola.com]
Have you ever done a Detox before? Have you been thinking about doing a Detox? The other question to ask yourself is: what’s driving you to detox – quick weight loss? Kick-starting a new diet? Are you feeling sluggish? Do you get sick all the time? Have you finally had one too many Po-Boys, fried food and Daiquiris so you want to try and reset your body?

Our body’s main detoxification organs and systems are liver, colon, kidneys, gallbladder, lungs, skin, lymph, and blood. They help rid your body of wastes and toxins. However, our bodily functions were designed when the world were less polluted. Our detoxification organs get overloaded & we need to help ourselves push the “reset” button. In our lifetime, our bodies will process 100 tons of food… that’s 20 elephants! A detox can help you “reset.”

We also live in a world with much more toxins and pollution, our body organs and systems have to work a lot harder to rid the exponentially increased waste and toxins.

Detoxification is a “cleansing” of the body – to release toxins – and depending on the method behind the detox, results vary. Methodologies vary widely – from juice fasts to supplements to only raw foods or fruits. Some encourage chewing; some do not (to “rest” the gastrointestinal tract”).

What Is a Toxin?
Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that are capable of causing disease on contact with or absorption by body tissues interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes or cellular receptors.

A toxin can create an irritating or harmful effect on your body; it becomes toxic when your body cannot effectively eliminate this toxin.

You may be surprised at the toxins we are in contact with every day – pollutants, smoke, pesticides, fertilizer, plastics, petrochemicals, and even pool water. We also are not fully informed of the toxins that exist in the process (chemically altered) food we eat. These affect all of us!

We all experience external and internal toxins through the air we breathe, the water we drink, the things we touch, the food we eat – not to mention the stress we experience. Over time, toxins can build up and overwhelm the body, weakening the immune system and leading to:

Poor Digestion
Skin Breakouts
Weight Gain
Premature Aging
Note: Children, pregnant or nursing mothers and the elderly should not participate in detoxification programs. There are many detoxing systems and programs out there – it’s always recommended to consult with a physician before doing a detox.

Cons of Detoxing:
Some extreme detoxes cause people to lose weight too quickly, and once the detox is over, the weight returns immediately.

Others lack essential nutrients, and can cause the loss of electrolytes and poor nutrition. Some side effects may include fatigue, headaches, vomiting, or nausea.

Death, possibly from detoxification triggering a heart attack, has been reported for some undergoing intensive detoxification programs. Those fatalities were linked to previous health conditions such as drug abuse and undetected heart problems so it is important to understand that these types of programs should not be taken lightly.

Pros of Detoxing:
Detoxification supports the body’s natural ability to cleanse and restore itself

Improve your immune functions

Scavenge free radicals and eliminate toxins

Strengthen body’s fight against cancer cells and generate healthy cells in your body

Increase energy and Focus

Cleanse mucous, congestion, fermentation, inflammation in our digestive tract

Improving circulation and purification of your blood

Reform your lifestyle addictions for sugar, salt, high glycemic carbohydrates, alcohol, junk foods, nicotine, etc

Doing a Detox once a year or every other year – can enhance the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and create a better relationship between you and your body – raising your awareness of what you put into your body and what you come into contact with everyday.

Choosing to Detox
When and if you choose to detox, strive to find a plan that will increase elimination from the body, cleanse the colon, enhance circulation to clear toxic substances, yet still provide nutrients to support and protect the liver, the main organ involved in detoxification.

Do your research and pick a program that you know you will be able to follow and that has provided positive results for other people.

Don’t choose a detox created for weight loss. Weight loss is NOT the point of a detox. Resetting your body and removing toxins from your body is the point of a detox.