Back To School for Lunch

Back To School for Lunch

  By Holly Pellham Davis   With a staggering 1 in 3 children now clinically obese, it is more imperative than ever that we address healthy eating at home and in...

What's in the Water?

What's in the Water?

Water... Life's Most Valuable Componet (next to the Air we breathe) Photo by Joslyn Taylor     I wrote this article on water a while back, but water will always be...

Sun vs. Sunscreen

Sun vs. Sunscreen

Enjoying The Hawaiian Sun ******************   By: Holly Pellham Davis   Who knew sunscreen could be so controversial? But, as with most products containing...

Is the Air You're Breathing making You Sick?

    Take a deep breath through your nose, slowly filling up your lungs. Then slowly push the air out through your mouth. Think about your nose, which acts as a filter and...

DeTox Your Home of Toxic Cleaning Products.

DeTox Your Home of Toxic Cleaning Products.

  :        Holly was recently a guest on, "Beautiful You" TV and chatted with host, LeeAnne Locken about truly having a "clean" home, free of toxic...

Holly Pellham Davis Picks Non-Toxic Polish

Holly Pellham Davis Picks Non-Toxic Polish

Photo by D Magazine for DMoms Daily-  Holly Davis' Picks for Non-Toxic Nail Polish   By Holly Pellham Davis My daughter and I love pretty nail polish colors. But,...

All About Holly Pellham Davis

 

:

By: Holly Pellham Davis *******

When it comes to food, my motto is, “You are what your food eats.” A healthy diet isn’t about deprivation, rather it hinges on eating the right things. After all, food is our best medicine, and food that’s been grown free of toxins and chemicals is essential. With that in mind, I wanted to share a list of my top 15 favorite foods for helping you and your family achieve optimal health.

Remember, choose ORGANIC.  Happy healing!!! 

1. Avocados -  A perfect source of essential fatty acids and unsaturated fats, a great source of folate, with more potassium than bananas, avocados are a nutrient dense food, high in phytochemicals, carotenoid, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B-6, fiber, and glutathione. Studies show salads and salsa eaten with avocados increase carotenoid absorption. Served with eggs, salsa, and black beans in the morning, tossed in a fresh green salad for lunch, or chopped into quinoa for dinner with a squeeze of lemon, it’s a fruit that compliments just about anything.

2. Kale - A rock star in food circles and rightfully so. Kale is high in antioxidants and vitamins including Vitamins K (1,020%!), Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. It’s also a great source of minerals including: calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. As if that wasnʼt enough, kale also contains the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin (fights macular degeneration) and polyphenols (awesome free radical killers). Oh and it’s good for your bones, reduces cancer risk, and helps about every single bodily function. How can you top that?  It’s best prepared raw by massaging the leaves to tenderize or slightly cooked.

3. Raw Organic Cacao Nibs - Scoring a 621 on the ORAC scale of antioxidant power (blueberries have a score of 65), cacao is a key to health. As the magical bean that begets chocolate, cacao nibs (at least 70% cacao) can be added to protein shakes, baked goods, topped on organic plain non-fat yogurt, or mixed with nuts and seeds for a mid-day snack. Note: This nutritional value information does not apply to chocolate candy or candy bars. (Darn.)

4. Mushrooms - Used for thousands of years in medicines, mushrooms are a powerhouse immunity builder, cancer cell killer, and healer of cardiovascular and liver problems. Mushrooms are high in Vitamin B and naturally possess anti- inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Cooking enhances their potency in most varieties, so sauté with fresh minced garlic and dig in!

5. Salmon - Salmon is natureʼs ultimate source of omega 3 fatty acids, DHA, and astaxanthin. But only Wild Alaskan/Pacific Coho, Russian River, or Sockeye, please. NEVER FARMED. And be sure to purchase from a responsible source and do your part to conserve.

6. Flaxseeds - With a shift in focus within the health community on more Omega-3 fatty acids and less Omega-6s, freshly consuming ground flax seeds is an easy way to balance the ratio. (The research is especially promising for Omega 3ʼs ability to block hormone-related cancers.) Flaxseeds are proven to reduce LDL cholesterol and lower average blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The best source is organic, freshly ground. Use within 20 minutes of grinding. Ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil with DHA are also a wonderful alternative to fish oil.

7. Seeds & Nuts - From almonds and walnuts t0 pumpkin and sesame, seeds are bursting with nutrients as they are ready to sprout new life. Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, amino acids, iron, phosphorus, vitamins, and protein, they are seriously good for you. Almonds and walnuts offer awesome health benefits with omega 3s, and the filling unsaturated fat makes them a great snack food that provides protein and antioxidant power.

8. Quinoa – A perfect seed (not grain) , quinoa is easy to cook, high in fiber, and a good source of non-animal protein (11 grams per half cup!) It’s super versatile and perfect for on the go, add kale and your set.

9. Broccoli – This green veggie is one of the best cancer blockers around, as it modifies natural estrogens into less damaging forms and increases enzymes that fight free radicals and carcinogens. It’s high in Vitamins C, K, Folate, and Choline; minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium; and powerful phytochemicals that stimulate the bodies immune system. I have heard first hand, Doc's at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston tell their patients suffering from cancer to eat organic brocolli as much a spossible! It's powerful enough to battle cancer cells! Everyone should eat at least 3-4 servings per week, and never over cook (mushy broccoli is not just less health, it’s a bummer).

10. Green Tea & Matcha- Studies have shown the antioxidant power in one cup of green tea, especially polyphenol-rich Matcha, to be superior in improving immunity, aiding digestion, and fighting the signs of aging. There’s also evidence that the high antioxidant levels of green tea are associated with reduced cancer risk. (I drink a cup every night!) Caution regarding your source. Choose only organic , Japanese green teas that have been tested for radiation and heavy metals such as lead and aluminum.

11. Garlic & Onions – High in Sulfur compounds and antioxidants, these bad breath boys will blow out your arteries (in a good way), assisting in the reduction of blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Consuming them can also help treat hair loss (allicin) and help fight cancer. Garlic is a natural anti-bacterial and antibiotic that is 100 times more effective than two commonly prescribed antibiotic drugs. Stinky garlic is also an anti-inflammatory.

12. Turmeric – An excellent anti-inflammatory, liver cleansing, anti-cancer food, turmeric has received lots of well deserved recognition of late. I eat turmeric daily, fresh in my morning protein shake. Ginger is fellow root star with common properties and digestive enzymes to boost its power pack.

13. Wheatgrass – Weighing in with twenty times more density than other veggies, and containing 103 vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, wheat grass is seriously nutrient rich. It’s especially high in Vitamins A, B Complex, C, E, and K; beta-carotene; and chlorophyll which helps to detoxify the body and build immunity. Wheatgrass is best taken as a freshly juiced shot (I add mine to my daily protein shake), but be sure to ease into it, as drinking too much too soon can hit you with a hard and fast release of toxins.

14. Lentils – A great substitute for animal protein with 9 grams of protein per half cup, plus heart healthy folate, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, lentils are a seriously healthy, easy to cook go-to food. Toss in soups and salads or eat alone as a side dish. They cook, start to finish, in about 20 minutes! This is one of my pantry staples… you canʼt go wrong.

15. Purified Water – Yes, I know it seems obvious, but you can not cook, live, or be truly well without clean, purified water. Use it in your teas, coffees, soups, to wash your vegetables and fruits, boil your pasta, steam your veggies, and soak your beans. It is the single most important ingredient in healthy food.

Food can either be your Poison or your MEDICINE.

Here's to Healing Foods,

Holly Pellham Davis

 

 

By Holly Pellham Davis

 

With a staggering 1 in 3 children now clinically obese, it is more imperative than ever that we address healthy eating at home and in school lunchrooms across America. Food criteria has dramatically changed from clean, fresh, and nourishing to cheap, convenient, highly satiable, bio-chemically engineered foods loaded with additives. Not unlike creating demand for the latest toy or boy band, food company PR departments work overtime creating campaigns to entice our children to want certain foods. And the effects of this new food paradigm on our children’s current and long-term health is frightening.

 

In my last post, we discussed the importance of taking time to nourish your body with a healthy breakfast. Research shows dramatic drops in obesity rates (43% less likely) in people that eat a healthy breakfast each day (the key being healthy — fresh, low/no sugar, unprocessed — foods). I like to say, “Think out of the box by not eating anything that came from a box.” Remember, when we eat sugar and/or processed foods, our bodies will just crave more sugar and processed foods as the day goes on. It’s a vicious cycle.

 

Which brings us to our next stop, lunch.

 

As an example, let’s look at the eating habits of an average 4th grade boy. He wakes up 30 minutes before he is suppose to leave for school, gets dressed, grabs his backpack and a pop tart (17 grams of sugar), and rushes out the door for school. Snack time is 2 hours later when he consumes a cereal bar (11 grams of Sugar) and a package of M&M’s (31 grams of sugar). Another 2 hours pass and he heads to lunch and consumes a hot dog (nitrates, nitrites, processed meat) topped with a heap of of ketchup (8 grams of sugar in a 2 tbsp serving), a bottle of apple juice (15 grams of sugar), and chocolate cake (20 grams of sugar) for dessert. By 12:30 pm this child has consumed 102 grams of sugar (About 25 tsp’s) and not a single gram of fresh, nutritious food to support basic systems of the body or the proper growth and development of an adolescent (not to mention the fuel necessary for his brain to learn, retain, and reason in school. 

 

Not only are the short term effects detrimental — inability to sustain focus, low energy, mood swings — but over time, the toll becomes greater on the human body, often with symptoms of elimination issues, headaches, allergies, depression, inflammation, sallow skin, early puberty, endocrine system disruption, inability to sleep, lack of energy, and inability to focus. To make matters worse, if continued, these symptoms can become diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

 

We must make changes today in an effort to save the health of our children. The work is ours to do, but we must also partner with our schools.

 

The first line of defense is education (ironic since most of our children receive a large percentage of their food intake at school). The focus on education needs to change from, “eat your veggies” to one that educates on the relationship between health and wellness and fresh, healthy food. The relationship must be explored and developed. Children are fully capable of understanding the vital role food plays in good health and conversely, how bad “food” choices make your body feel bad and not function properly.

 

A typical school plate lunch contains foods that are heavily processed, full of preservatives, sodium, fillers, emulsifiers, MSG, sugar, hydrogenated oils, shortening, margarine, artificial dyes, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavorings, and colorings (not to mention meats laden with nitrates and nitrites). Foods are commonly fried and breaded in an effort to make them appealing to kids. Drinks, chips, desserts, and sugar-filled drinks are offered without controls. Children learn to dump their plate lunch food and only consume the sugar drink (or just as bad, ordering tea and spiking it with multiple packets of Splenda, which is 600 times sweeter than cane sugar and created by mixing sucrose with chlorine).

 

Schools across America also provide vending machines with sports drinks and sodas (containing BVO, HFCS, citric acid, and sodium benzoate), chips filled with chemicals, flavorings, and salt, and sugar-laden candy. And the à la carte available to kids each day typically include items like pizza and french fries (full of cancer-causing acrylamide).

 

You can continue the education process by exploring good food choices with your children. If your child eats school food, evaluate the menu with them, discuss their likes and dislikes, and help them make better choices from the offerings with a focus on avoiding vending machine purchases, desserts and processed foods and instead indulging in fresh salads, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and water. You could also send them to school with their favorite healthy protein, such as nuts and seeds. If a proper source of fresh, nutritious food can not be obtained from the school lunchroom source, plan and prepare a daily lunch at home. And enlist your kids to help. Get them involved, letting them partake in some hands-on learning while they take responsibility for their health. Last but not least, work with your school on offering fresh healthy choices in the lunchroom.

 

Here are my guidelines for the lunchroom:

 

Opt for pure water. Skip the milk offered at school, as it is not organic. Non-organic dairy is a major source of antibiotics and hormones in our food supply. Flavored milk is even worse, as it contains corn syrups and sugars that make is more like soda than milk. Similarly, skip tropical punches which contain sugar and dyes, iced teas, sports drinks in favor of pure, hydrating water. (After all, the human brain is mostly made of water.)

Implement a no dessert policy. Just because they are kids, does not mean they are “entitled” to sweets! Kids are entitled to be healthy and strong. I only offer desserts at home a couple times per week. Dessert should be an occasional treat, not a standard. I also encourage my kids to satisfy their sweet tooth with nature’s dessert- fruit!

Embrace veggies. Choose the salad bar or other fresh, raw, unprocessed (this includes no lunch meats) foods. If your school does not offer a fresh salad bar, select any fresh food option in the school line and ask for a double fresh portion, and skip the chicken fried meat, hot dog, hamburger, pizza, chicken nuggets, et al.

Review safe protein options with your children. This is the most challenging component to a healthy lunch room meal. Discuss beans (including burritos), soups, nut butters (containing no sugar or hydrogenated oils), and other alternative proteins. Be prepared to supplement from home. Almond butter packets, sprouted wheat tortillas, chicken breast leftovers from the previous night’s dinner are all great options.

Nixed packaged and vending processed foods. Much like the rule to shop the perimeter of a grocery store, teach your child to stay away from vending machines and individual-sized packaged chips, snack foods, and candy.

 

If you do prepare a homemade lunch for your kiddos, here are a few suggestions to “shake it up” a bit:

 

86 the sandwich bread. As an alternative to sandwich bread, use protein rich, sprouted wheat tortillas. Top with chopped grilled chicken, avocado, chopped organic red and yellow peppers and salsa. No grilled chicken? You can substitute black or pinto beans and throw on some broccoli sprouts, broccoli slaw, or chopped greens. Serve with hummus and carrots, celery, and red cabbage strips. Other alternatives to sandwich bread include, whole grain crackers (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers), a fresh romaine lettuce leaf to wrap food in, or a bed of organic greens with sliced protein and fresh veggies on top. Use sliced veggies and fruit to dip, push and eat with foods such as nut butters (instead of bread), hummus, and turkey breast (whole cooked, not processed). I even wrap my organic grass fed hamburger patty in romaine lettuce and top with avocado. Avoid the sandwich rut!

Double down on dinner. While making dinner the night before, double the recipe and package the leftovers (in a glass container with proper re-usable ice packs) for lunch. Add a fresh fruit medley, an organic apple, and a whole grain organic graham cracker with organic nut butter to round it out.

Serve it hot. Small meal size ceramic bowls with lids are a mom’s best friend when it comes to sending something hot to school for kids. Let your child know not to expect a pipping hot meal equivalent to what they get on the dinner table. When the food is delicious, children will be okay with this. Make some fresh whole grain pasta, toss with a dash of olive oil, some mixed veggies (such as frozen peas, carrots, and corn) added to boiling pasta water in the last 2 minutes of cooking, and a spoon full of marinara sauce. Wrap the outside of the bowl in heavy duty foil to insulate, and cover the top of bowl with parchment paper prior to placing the lid on the bowl. Serve with an organic cheddar cheese slice and organic apple slices.

Be a copy cat. Check out local lunch spots and the prepared food items at Whole Foods for ideas of what to send for your kiddos. Take notes. Do it yourself doesn’t have to be hard.

Start a special treat or theme day. Designate one day of the week a theme. It’s amazing how kids look forward to this. For example, every Friday is “Pizza Day” for my kiddos. On Thursdays, Whole Foods has their fresh 3-topping, brick oven pizzas on sale for $9.99. We purchase a grilled chicken, olive, and veggie pizza on Thursday, and on Friday morning I heat it up in the oven, slice it, and wrap the slices in parchment paper. I then place the pizza in large glass containers with lid and wrap in foil to insulate. You can serve with fresh greens, apple slices, fruit salad, or a veggie medley (sweet peppers, carrots, celery) and you’re good to go.

 

Most lunch offenders are like anytime food offenders — they often come in the name of cheap and easy.

 

These obstacles can easily be overcome with a little planning, education, and determination and will reap dividends in our precious children’s health.

 

We are Moms. Crusaders for our cause… our kids.

 

Mom Crusader,

 

Holly

 


Water... Life's Most Valuable Componet (next to the Air we breathe) Photo by Joslyn Taylor

 

 

I wrote this article on water a while back, but water will always be in the forefront of any conversation about healthy living.  As I have said many times, our health directly depends on the purity of our water, air and food.  Today, while water coming out of any and every faucet across America may be deemed "permitable" to drink, it is still contaiminated with heavy metals, industrial chemicals, disinfectant by products, hormones such as estrogen and pharmaceuticul drugs. 

 

EWG just released another look at bottled water. While the point maybe that most bottled water is commonly municiple, faucet water in a toxic plastic bottle with a nice price tag for convenience, I find the true point, to be how poor our water quality is and the causes. 

 

By: Holly Pellham Davis

 

When my kids tell me they are tired, don’t feel well, or basically grumble for any reason at all, I tell them to drink water. It’s pretty much my answer to everything… But, they know it comes with lots of stipulations, and it’s really not all that simple. Here’s why.

 

All water is not created equal. The formula for which about 70% of the earth is made of, 1 oxygen to 2 hydrogen atoms, is merely the tip of the iceberg. There are pollutants, minerals, additives, chemicals, and treatments to consider.

 

Let’s talk water types:

 

Tap or Municipal Water – The water flowing form our faucets typically contains additives like fluoride, which was introduced in the 1940s by a town in Michigan after studies that showed fluoride strengthened teeth. Many people believe the push for fluoride was a double mistake along with the use of mercury in fillings, both highly toxic and poisonous. Fluoride is a neuro-toxin which has been shown in studies to cause decreased and impaired cognitive development and lower IQs. After studying the effects on developing brains, we now know it is especially critical that fluorinated water never be mixed with infant formula. (By the way, the same dangers lurk in your average toothpaste. Opt for fluoride-free). In January 2011, the CDC reduced the levels of fluoride added to municipal water supplies after a report indicating that 2 in 5 children in America showed signs of fluoride poisoning. I believe that number to be higher. In cities all over America we are mass medicating the public with uncontrolled doses of toxic, poisonous Fluoride.    

 

Tap water is also contaminated with pharmaceuticals such as Prozac, Viagra, blood thinners, cancer drugs, and statins. (Even found in waters in the Arctic.) The threat is alarming, and its effects are inconceivable when you ponder what the combination of these drugs could possibly do to a developing brain or any living thing for that matter.

 

Treatments, such as the water disinfectant Chlorine, have become a necessary evil. While its a good thing that the chlorine kills the bacteria in the water, it’s usually our bodies that are left to filter the chlorine, and its highly toxic. Chlorine, when combined with organic compounds, result in disinfection by-poducts* or DBPs, which, according to the CDC, have been linked to liver, kidney, and nervous system problems, and are carcinogenic.

 

Bottled Water – Unbeknownst to most consumers, about 40% of all bottled water is tap water. (Nestle has recently been sued with claims of misleading consumers.) So not only do you need to worry about all of the above factors from the tap, but you also need to consider the toxic plastic bottle the water has been stored in. Ugh. We have to read the fine print and look for sources. Best bets are “Spring” or “Spring Mountain Water” with the source labeled clearly on the container. If it states, “municipal source,” forget about it. You are better off getting a glass form the tap and allowing it to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. It will naturally evaporate off many of the toxic DBPs, making it safer to drink. (You still get the pharmaceuticals, fluoride, etc though.)

 

Next, look for how its been treated. You want reverse osmosis at a minimum. Reverse osmosis systems remove most chlorine, inorganic, and organic contaminants as well as about 80% of fluoride and DBPs. Carbon filtration is another good layer of protection. Only use plastic bottled water in extenuating circumstances or if you have a brand in particular you use for health reasons. I have one I consume daily with my workout, guaranteed to be free of arsenic, DBP, chlorine, fluoride, MTBE, chromium 6, and the most difficult, trace pharmaceuticals. Note that with most RO water, unless minerals are added back, the filtering process also removes vital minerals. Make sure you add some back into your diet for proper balance. Take a good manesium supplement and liquid minerals to your RO water.  

 

Also, when you do need a bottled water, its comes from a friendly source and does not cause the surrounding people hardship and ALWAYS RECYCLE.  

Beautiful places do not always beget beautiful water.

 

Distilled Water – Another item to avoid is distilled water, as it has been boiled, which takes out the beneficial minerals and can be harmful to your health if consumed repeatedly. It is also very acidic. Save it for your iron.

 

Vitamin Water — So called “Vitamin” Waters are usually accompanied by high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and synthetic vitamins. It is nothing but a deceivingly healthy sounding, high-priced chemical cocktail.

 

Coconut Water – An excellent source of potassium and excellent in treating dehydration (especially associated with a holiday party hangover), coconut water can be a healthy choice. But remember that large soda companies are behind some brands. For example, a container of Zico typically contains 22 grams of sugar (almost the same amount that’s in soda), and that’s the plain version. Added-fruit varieties only increase the calorie count. If you are a coconut water fan, reach for the raw, naturally processed brands. (There are very few.)  Know the difference between Coconut water: the water the comes from the inside of the coconut. It is clear and thin and Coconut Milk which is actually from the flesh of the coconut and high in saturated fat and calories.  If you have had a hard workout and need electrolytes, add a dash of Himalayan salt to purified water, stir and drink. 

 

Be sure and support clean water by refusing to use chemical yard services, fertilizer. Purchase or grow organic food, know what's in your water in your area and hold industrial businesses accountable (meat processing, Chemical companies, Industrial farms, mining, etc) 

 

Here's to your health,

Holly

 

 

 

 

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