Chemicals, Kids and what we as parents butt-up against as we try to raise healthy children in a toxic world.
If you are interested in health, wellness or where your food comes from, then Michael Pollan is your author. I took the opportunity last night to spend an evening with Michael Pollan in Manhattan as he participated in a conversation about Food Rules. This is both the name of his current book, and the title of the talk. Firstly, it’s a great book and it really resonates with me – primarily because its just got some good solid (and sensible – my mother would like this) principles. And secondly, if you are a busy Mama (I don’t know many that aren’t) this is a book that you can read in a matter of hours. It’s well worth the investment for you and your family.
Listening to Michael Pollan (also author of Omnivore’s Dillema) got me thinking about our own family’s ‘Food Rules’. And this is what I’ve come up with so far (NB: I’m going to speak on behalf of my whole family here given that I do most of the thinking/purchasing/preparing/cooking for everyone in the house)
Our Food Rules -
That’s it for right now. I would be interested in hearing about other people’s Food Habits…
Here is a picture of the the fabulous Michael Pollan as he answered my question about soy protein:
There are foods here in the US that are currently in abundance and that we generally find difficult to find in Australia. Organic blueberries (and berries generally) are some of these. We are able to get pounds and pounds of blueberries at the moment…such a luxury! So inspired by these small balls of blue bliss we have been having a luxurious Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding with Hemp Milk for dessert (or breakie) all this week. And it takes just a few minutes to prepare and is just so good for our bodies. We would like to share this recipe with you. This delicious decadent can be served with peace of mind as it delivers incredible health benefits. Enjoy!
Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding with Hemp Milk and Blueberries [serves 4]
2 cups hemp milk (See below for more details)
5 tablespoons chia seeds
1 vanilla bean (or pure vanilla essence)
2 cups fresh organic blueberries (or frozen if you are in ac ountry where blueberries are hard to come by at the moment)
6 to 8 drops of your favorite sweetener, to taste (We like agave or local organic raw honey)
Combine vanilla bean and hemp milk, usually in the blender, or if you are using vanilla essence, stirring with a spoon is fine. Add the chia seeds and sweetener and stir vigorously with a fork for several minutes. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, stir occasionally until the chia seeds are well blended and separated. Let the mixture sit out for an hour, stir one more time and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight, until thickened and firm. This is a good dessert to make a day in advance in order to give it time to set. When ready to serve, mix in the blueberries and serve. Delicious.
Note: Hemp milk. We generally make our own by soaking the seeds and blending it in the vitamix with spring water, vanilla bean and a tsp of agave. This is often not possible in Australia where hemp seeds are still illegal for nutritional purposes. So Aussies will just have to use almond milk. There are also a few good Hemp Milk brands on the market here in the US. Our preference is Living Harvest.
Note: Here’s a quick note on the nutritional content of this pudding. Hemp seeds and chia seeds contain both of the essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from the omega 3 family and linoleic acid (LA) from the omega 6 family. They also contain all of the essential amino acids making them ‘complete’ proteins. Chia seeds are a great source of calcium containing 631 mg per 100 grams of seeds. And to top it off, we add blueberries with their powerful antioxidant abilities from ‘anthocyanins’ known to neutralize free radical damage that can lead to heart disease, cancer, cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins and other health issues. They are also a good source of vitamin C and manganese.
I get emails from parents asking me about easy raw and delicious recipes for kids (and the family). Sorry, I’ve been a bit slack on posting suggestions while we have been travelling…but we’re in Brooklyn for a while now, so I have a kitchen, a local farmers market, and a weekly organic box of fruit and veges. So to start with here’s our fairly standard breakfast recipe. This recipe is a good brain-booster with lots of omega 3 in the chia seeds (and hemp seeds if you can get them – easy to come by here, but not so much in Australia). Our kids just love this breakfast. And for Jase and I, we add in extra ginger, which is warming for the body, but the girls still aren’t too keen on ginger in even small quantities so add just a wee bit for them.
Here it is…
Chai sees, apple and cinnamon porridge
2 apples, grated
1/2 C chia seeds (either soaked over night or not)
1/2 C pepitas and sunflower seeds (you can sprout these overnight)
1 tsp cinnamon
A good knob of ginger, as much or as little as you like, grated really finely
2 T hemp seeds (optional) but if you can get them they are great for this recipe and so good for you (or a drizzle of hemp oil)
1 – 1 1/2 C of your favourite nut milk (fresh sprouted almong milk with a dash of vanilla is amazing)
1 T Gratitude for these beautiful ingredients
Heap it all in a big bowl and mix it up! Let it sit a while, particularly if the chia seeds are unsoaked. They will need a bit of time to soak up the liquid and swell. This will probably take about 10 minutes. This should be enough for at least 3-4 people.
We have also used nashi fruit when in season in this recipe and that’s great too. And experiment with this recipe…add goji or soaked cranberries; a squeeze of lemon…
Love and enjoy!
The Home Beautiful Magazine interviewed me for an article about detoxing the home. And here it is! It’s exciting that mainstream magazines are starting to take up the issue of chemicals in the home. The article has some practical solutions and gives people some consumer options for cleaning without chemicals.
Click the link for the Home Beautiful Article…
I did an interview for an article in GMag called The Chemical Child. The author of the article Aimee Wagenheim did a fabulous job given that I bombarded her with so much information about chemicals and their impact on the body. It’s well worth a read. And if you haven’t subscribed to G Mag (an excellent green magazine) I would I would recommend it. Grab a copy.
Jase and I have been talking alot about our vision of paradise and creating a deliberate life – what are our next steps? What feels right? This tends to happen when one travels and consciousness has the space to cultivate and expand. Part of out vision is to physically replant paradise – edible landscapes everywhere.
I am inspired by David Wolfe’s vision of paradise. I think everyone can take something from his vision.
What is your vision of paradise?
It’s an apt place to do this thinking given we (our family) are snug in a cabin in the woods of the Teton Mountain ranges in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 10,000 ft about sea level and surrounded by swirling snow, naked aspens, snow covered spruces, rolling rivers and the most incredible feast of nature.
Each morning the girls and I wake up to see what snow has brought us through the night. The irascible moose and her baby may have returned to our cabin for some relief from the snow or to eat the succulent green water grasses from the Fish Creek riverbed nearby. There is something about an irascible creature that I am drawn to. I·ras·ci·ble – unpredictable, prone to outbursts of temper; easily angered; known to charge if their calves are under threat. As a mama I appreciate some of these qualities and am known to charge too if my girls are under threat.
During the day the girls and I have taken to watching the elk on their migration routes; the mule deer forage for food anywhere they can find it; coyotes lingering on the margins of the forests; and the bald eagles flying overhead as the first field mice start to emerge from their burrows as the long winter ice starts to thaw. The girls build ice caves, make snow angels in the powder, and collect river rocks to paint. We drink lots of herbs in front of the fire to keep warm, and at nights when everything is silent – I write and watch the snow fall.
Yes… there is no doubt that this environment can also be extreme – dry cracked lips and stringy hair, muddy and cold and sometimes impractical – but its an environment that’s easy to think about nature in, because it becomes you; engulfs you. John Muir’s quote is apt here: ‘When one tugs at a single thing in nature, (s)he finds it attached to the rest of the world’.
So about kids and nature…
For years I have been speaking to groups about the importance of nutrition (raw and nutrient rich foods for kids and how to make these part of their everyday diets), adequate sleep, co-sleeping, touch, reducing (eliminating) toxic exposure to everyday consumer products. But importantly – kids also need contact with nature! The missing link (and heart) of my presentations.
There is a great book by Richard Louv called Last Child in the Woods. He writes about reducing what he calls the ‘nature-deficient disorder’ in children of the 21st century. Where more kids than ever before are disconnected from nature – have reduced amounts of leisure time; spend more time in front of the TV and computer; growing obesity rates, sedentary lifestyles and where nature activities are being criminalized. Researcher Jane Clark also calls these children ‘containerized children’ – they spend more time in car seats, high chairs, and even baby seats for watching TV. And when they do go outside they are often placed in containers – strollers.
Louv talks about the time he spends with teenagers: ‘I am reminded that while they are aware of the global threats to the environment – their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading. It seems nature is something to watch, to consume, to wear’.
His primary argument (and core of his book) is to reduce the ‘nature deficit disorder’. Why? Because it is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depends upon it. Exposure to nature reduces diseases, improves cognitive abilities and resistance to stresses.
I would also add that the health of the earth depends upon it as well. How young people relate or connect with nature, and how they raise their own children, will shape the conditions of our cities, our homes, or parks and the conditions of our animals, plants and ecosystems.
Author Bill McKibben has called this time as ‘the end of nature’. But a mama of two small girls and connected to a community of conscious parents, I am far less pessimistic. I watch how children connect with nature with such ease if we give them the space to do so. It’s like breathing to them.
Svetla Stoikova, a clinical psychologist at Alexandrovska University Hospital in Bulgaria notes in her research, ‘…If you place a bunch of flowers and a telephone in front of a 8-month-old baby, she reaches for the flowers. If you give a 4-year-old girl the choice between sand and stones, or dough with milk to cook a meal for her doll with, he will choose the former. If you offer a 14-year-old teenager a hike to a mountain peak or to let her chat on the computer, they will choose the mountain’.
Of course they will. We, as parents, have a brief opportunity to pass onto our children this earth.
* Photos of our cabin in the woods and hooked on nature adventures
So as health nuts, what do we do to maintain our health while we are travelling?
We ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS carry THREE health enhancing products when we travel. And I’m going to share them with you. You may use different ones, but these are the ones we just love! They are:
i) Probiotics – InLiven is our preference and I have written about this previously. Certified organic, fermented, and a superfood (so we don’t have to keep it in a fridge –which is very handy when travelling and fridges are not always available)
ii) Antioxidants – we try and get as many natural occurring antioxidents in our diet as we can – berries, aloe vera, raw cacao, fruits etc. but we can’t always get the full spectrum, so when we travel we bring along Berry Radical. A great cuppa in the afternoon.
But the one I want to talk about is a new product called:
iii) Alkalising superfood - ‘Deep Green’. And it’s amazing!
Now I get the opportunity to review quite a few health products, most I don’t even bother to write about. But this one is quite different…
‘Eat more leafy greens!’, was the catch cry of my grandma.
Because leafy greens (and grass juices and spirulina) are the ‘deep-greens’ of nutrition. I think about them as the pigment-rich dark green veins of the plant. It is these dark green foods that contain all the essential nutrients and precursors upon which all other life depends. Deep-green foods are concentrated sources of easily absorbed vitamins, amino acids, chlorophyll, enzymes, phyto- nutrients, and alkaline minerals. And to eat them is to optimise our health, immunity and energy levels.
The ideal balance of food intake is 80% alkaline and 20% acidic.
Alkaline-forming foods are theses deep greens (and some fruits). They are great at doing this. They neutralise toxic acids in the blood and tissues caused by eating acid foods, excess stress, excessive exercise, environmental pollutants, drugs, alcohol, coffee, and tobacco. When our bodies are acidic, bad bacteria, viruses, yeast, and other unfriendly organisms flourish. When our bodies are slightly alkaline (from eating alkaline foods like raw veggies and green food powders), bad bacteria, cancer, yeast, and viruses can’t survive. Deep-greens are good for your brain, your bones, and your heart, AND they help to prevent cancer, detoxify and alkalise your cells, boost your immune system, and give you more energy.
Acid-forming foods include just about everything else we eat – meat, poultry, milk, cheese, bread, pasta, pastries, snack food, soft drinks, and processed foods.
So this is why we should ‘Eat more leafy greens!’.
In a nut shell, Deep Greens contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll-rich greens are blood builders. They cleanse and heal, as has been heavily documented in a multitude of studies, detoxifying heavy metals from the body. Chlorophyll stimulates tissue growth and red blood cell production. (NB. Chlorophyll is almost identical to haemoglobin, the red pigment in blood – instead with magnesium at its centre instead of iron).
DeepGreen Alkalising Superfood contains ONLY certified organic blue-green algae, green grass juices and leafy green vegetables!
This is where it gets interesting. There is so much I could say here, but I am going to limit it to two main comments. Firstly, Deep Green Alkalising Superfoods are RAW, unprocessed, certified organic algae, grass juices and leafy greens which contain an abundance of natural enzymes – the body’s spark plugs – that are responsible for digestive processes, cellular energy, supporting immune function, and promoting circulation and detoxification.
Most people don’t get enough enzymes because heat destroys enzymes and most of our foods, whether cooked at home or processed, are heated and the enzymes destroyed.
But what sets it apart from any other product on the market – and this is critical – is that Deep Green is not Grass – it’s juice!
All other products I have seen on the market use pulverized dehydrated grass and leaf in their product. Pulverised grass powders are completely useless for humans! Unlike cows or horses, we cannot digest the cellulose in grasses, therefore all the nutrition remains ‘locked’ in those fibres. Deep Green uses ONLY the grass juice powders. Only grass juice powders contain easily bioavailable nutrients we can absorb.
How amazing is that!
• Extremely concentrated and dense – 1 teaspoon of powder is equivalent to over 60ml (2 fl.oz) of fresh green juices. • 100% RAW, VEGAN and CERTIFIED ORGANIC. • A concentrated source of super nutrition. • A natural source of alkalising minerals. • Formulated without fillers – no rice bran, no flax seed, no beans or legumes… just pure DeepGreens! • Great for those on low carbohydrate diets. • Perfect for convalescents or those with weak digestive systems who are unable to obtain enough green foods through their diet.
Add a teaspoon or more of DeepGreen Alkaliser to water or fresh juice. I have a heaped teaspoon every morning (sometimes more if my body wants more).It can also be added to smoothies, sprinkled over foods, and used in salad dressings. DeepGreen Alkaliser is organic food, and can be taken in larger amounts if intense cleansing and nourishment are desired.
Absolutely. If they are eating, then you can add it to their diets.
This is completely up to your child. As I have written about previously, follow their lead and never force children to eat anything they don’t feel like eating. Trust them. Eating comes as naturally to a child as breathing. Allow them to choose from a range of foods including Deep Greens. Some mornings both our chick drink a glass full of Deep Greens (about ½ tsp in water or extremely diluted fresh juice), sometimes it’s a gulp and sometimes they don’t feel like any at all. We notice when we allow them to do this, they are intune with what their bodies need. It’s beautiful to watch.
Full Ingredient list of Deep Green:
*organic spirulina (arthrospira platensis) powder, *organic wheat grass (triticum aestivum) juice powder, *organic barley grass (hordeum vulgare) juice powder, *organic alfalfa grass (medicago sativa) juice powder, *organic oat grass (avena sativa) juice powder, *organic kamut grass (triticum turanicum) juice powder, *organic spinach (spinacia oleracea) powder, *organic nettle (urtica dioica) powder, *organic collard (brassica oleracea acephala) powder, *organic kale (brassica oleracea acephala) powder, *organic parsley (petroselinum sativum) powder. *Certified Organic by USDA
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