20 Ingredients To Avoid

 

Here is a list of 20 ingredients to memorize and avoid in food you consume or feed your kids. It certainly requires more planning, cooking, keeping a well-stocked kitchen, and packing your own food for outings. But, once you start, you’ll never go back.

It can be overwhelming at first until you get the knack of reading all labels and understanding what to avoid. Then, it actually becomes empowering!

Bringing it back to simple, fresh, wholesome ingredients is fun and delicious. It definitely takes more planning, and it helps to have a healthy-stocked kitchen. Start by cleaning out your own kitchen and purging all processed foods. Then, replace your cooking oils (especially canola), soy sauce, chocolate, coffee, tortillas, dairy products, fruits/veg, poultry with their organic alternatives – it doesn’t have to be all in one day/week/or even month. Give yourself room to breathe and digest it.

Read labels and avoid anything with soy/corn/canola in the ingredients (unless it’s organic);  those are usually genetically modified and they are in 80% or more of the food products you buy. Don’t stress out – keep it simple, and continue to learn as you go. Every day that you eat “clean” helps rid the body of the icky toxins; a mini detox. There are cost-effective ways of buying organic as well – frozen and dried. Try an organic CSA farm box. Baby steps…each one helps.

The following is an article that outlines 20 important ingredients to avoid: (more…)

A Healthy Halloween Treat

This ghostly fruit platter is a toddler favorite in our household and provides a balance to the influx of sugary treats that will surely be taking your house by storm. Use bananas with chocolate chips (minis for the eyes) and clementines as pumpkins with celery as stems. Simply adorable.

Source: www.weelicious.com

Clean Eating

By guest author and friend, Katrina Loop. Katrina is a yoga instructor, nutritionist, physiotherapist, health & wellness expert and founder of Honey Health.Nutrition.Yoga based in Sydney, Australia.

Clean Eating – What exactly is it, and why should I eat clean? 

Chances are you have heard people throwing around the words “clean eating,” but maybe you are not really sure what it is or why you should bother eating clean. If this is you, read on. If you already know the low-down on eating clean but you would like a fresh recipe idea, just skip to Honey’s recipe section to check out the featured “Clean eating chicken salad” recipe. I cooked up this little number the other night and it went down a treat!

What exactly is “clean eating”?

Clean eating is about consuming food as close to its natural state as possible. It is not a fad diet or a quick fix and it does not require calculations of any kind. It is very easy to adopt (so you can breathe a sigh of relief!). Clean eating is a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation that if adopted will help you on your journey to improved well-being through nutrition. (more…)

Superfood Snack

 

Easy superfood snack idea for tots: soak a cup of dried organic goji berries in hot water to soften, let cool for 2 minutes, and serve up as a finger food (you can cut them in half for babies). Goji berries can be purchased in bulk at Whole Foods or your local health food store or they can be ordered online. They are rich in powerful antioxidants and vitamin A. The goji berry is also called the wolfberry. It is a bright red berry that comes from a shrub native to China and has been eaten in Asia for generations for its health benefits. Also delicious to drop a handful into a mug of hot lemon water.

 

Image Credit: Mark Uliasz (123rf)

Cardamom Red Rice Pudding

 

Our kids love rice pudding for dessert (when we actually offer a sugary dessert) and we can feel good about the calcium boost and some extra calories after super active days. This is wholesome and delicious for the entire family.

Cardamom Spiced Red Rice Pudding

Please try to use all organic ingredients:

2 cups cooked Red Jasmine Rice (we used Whole Trade Alter Eco Coral Red Jasmine Rice)

2 cups milk (we used organic Vitamin D milk)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar (recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but I used less and it was still delicious)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 cup raisins (optional, but we love it with raisins)

Serves 4-6

Place cooked rice in a saucepan and add milk. Heat to boiling. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered 20-25 minutes or until milk is mostly absorbed. Increase heat to medium, add cream, sugar, vanilla, cardamom and raisins (if desired). Continue to cook until the mixture just begins to thicken again, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to individual serving dishes. Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: Whole Foods

Image Source

 

A Non-Toxic Birthday Party!

 

PARTY TIME! I promise you will never buy another store bought cake again after baking this ridiculously easy, beautiful, and delicious birthday cake. People will swoon. Not a crumb will be left.

Since many genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are found in most store-bought confectionery items, I have found that baking a cake for your child’s birthday is the perfect opportunity to try your hand at baking (or to perfect your already awesome baking skills). Here are some of the icky ingredients you will find in store-bought cakes and pastries: partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (transfats), corn syrup (GMO), corn starch (GMO), probably non-organic dairy products like milk and butter (or buttermilk), eggs, artificial coloring, and other chemical food additives. So, now you get to take control and make a “healthy” cake filled with carefully chosen ingredients (and by “healthy,” I am referring to the quality of the ingredients – organic and non-GMO – but this recipe still includes white sugar  and white flour). Not to mention, there is a lot of pride associated with baking your own cake. You can let your little one decorate it…now THAT is fun.

This yellow layer cake is divine. It’s moist, flavorful, and I’ve yet to screw it up (having made it 5+ times already this year).

 

BEST YELLOW CAKE RECIPE (please try to use all organic ingredients):

A Smitten Kitchen Recipe

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (more…)

Plastic-Free Popsicles

Ditch plastic this summer, and cool off with popsicles made in these Onyx stainless steel molds; BPA-free & phthalate-free. We made a batch of kale and strawberry smoothies today and froze them in these beauties. They are not cheap, but they are a summer investment and they should last forever. The only thing you need to continue to buy are the wooden popsicle sticks. These appear to be a better alternative to silicone, which is still a synthetic polymer. Give this kale smoothie recipe a try!

*Update: We found a CHEAPER version with a far better design.

Eat A Rainbow!

 

 

A fun way to encourage your toddler to eat a variety of foods (different colors, especially green!) is to talk about “eating a rainbow” everyday. I ask my daughter what colors of the rainbow she has eaten, and what colors we need to add to complete our rainbow. Do we need to add blueberries to make sure we get blue? An avocado for green? An apple for red? Beets for purple? It makes it fun and she can take ownership of eating many healthy colors throughout the day. Draw or paint a picture of a rainbow and tape it up in your kitchen for reference. Have fun with it!

On The Fence About GMOs?

 

Are you on the fence or indifferent about feeding genetically modified food (GMOs) to your children? Have you taken action to switch out your canola oil, corn products, flax products, soy products, etc. to organic non-GMO alternatives? If you want more data points, here is an absolutely fascinating article written by a former pro-GMO research scientist whose job it was to convince public groups that genetically modified foods were safe for people and the environment. He has since then REVERSED his position and is now vehemently opposed to genetically modified food, given all of the long term health studies conducted in countries outside of the US that he was privy to. “We should all take these studies seriously and demand that government agencies replicate them rather than rely on studies paid for by the biotech companies.” Folks, we have a broken system here and it’s up to us to fix it. The same people who are telling you these are safe, are the same people funding the studies.

Here is the article: http://www.foodrevolution.org/blog/former-pro-gmo-scientist/

Image credit: stevanovicigor / 123RF Stock Photo

A Sweet Tooth {Truth}

 

I have a sweet tooth, just like the next person. I reach in the goodie bag from the latest 3-year old’s birthday party we attended and pull out a Tootsie Roll. Ooooh, that will hit the spot. Then, I look at the label. What is in a tasty Tootsie Roll anyway? Boy, they sure pack a lot in one small punch…and by a lot, I mean a lot of CRAP. Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup (GMO), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (transfats & GMO: a lucky 2-for-1 special), Soybean Oil (GMO), Condensed Skim Milk (non-organic dairy product), Cocoa, Whey, Soya Lecithin (GMO), Artificial Flavors (chemical additives that have adverse health effects in small children). Icky. I surreptitiously replaced “the goodies” with some organic gummy bears and stickers we had in the pantry and my daughter will never know the difference or miss the heinous ingredients found in a Tootsie Roll. Would one Tootsie Roll harm my daughter? No, but with all of the other chemical inputs coming at us, why waste an easy opportunity to avoid one?

Image Source: Google Images