(800) 786-1730 [email protected]
Healthy Halloween Hints!

Healthy Halloween Hints!

Halloween is fast approaching and let’s face it … this day can be a nightmare for any family trying to make healthy choices! The good news is, a little planning and foresight can take the fright out of the night. So try on these Halloween hints for size!

Here are a few Halloween hints to make your day safe and healthy!

  • Decide in advance what to do with the loot! A piece of candy isn’t a bad thing but a sugar coma from eating half a bag of candy is! How will you divvy up the goods? The danger isn’t just for the kids; it’s really easy for us adults to help ourselves to those treats as well.
  • Go Trick or Treating. Sure, you’re filling your bag with candy but you’re also out walking the neighborhood. Map out your streets and take the whole family out for an hour or so. Challenge yourselves to walk a certain number of miles while you’re out!
  • Make sure you wear reflective clothing or have flashlights on your family. Kids are excited and drivers are distracted, so do you best to make yourself visible.
  • Remember it’s a school night! Start early enough that your kids still get a good night’s sleep and limit their sugar intake. Your child’s teacher will thank you!
  • Lead by example. Find fun and healthy treats to give away at your house. We got some great ideas via facebook; from small bags of microwave popcorn, small boxes of whole grain cereal, fruit snacks, stickers and more! You’ll be glad when you don’t have left over candy lying around to tempt you too!

If you have any other Halloween hints, we’d love to hear them! Feel free to share on our facebook page!

An Apple Taste Test for National Apple Month!

An Apple Taste Test for National Apple Month!

Let’s do an Apple Taste Test for National Apple Month! Apples are also an OrganWise Guys Foods of the Month for October, and the perfect food for the fall season. Apples are such a versatile food that can be used in anything from salads to desserts and they come in so many delicious varieties!

Chew on this interesting apple trivia:

  • Americans eat approximately 120 apples apiece each year!
  • Apples are nutritious because they contain lots of fiber, vitamins C, B6, and A, and potassium, as well as antioxidants.
  • 2500 known varieties are grown in the United States.
  • 36 states grow them with Washington, New York, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia being the top production states.
  • Apples are available all year round and are a perfect take-along snack anytime!
  • Apples don’t require peeling so eat the skin because it contains healthy nutrients.

A taste test is a really fun way to encourage kids to try a small sample of a new food where they may typically be more close-minded about trying new things. This interactive apple taste testing worksheet will help you introduce several different apple varieties and let’s them provide feedback.

We would love to hear about your at-home taste tests! Share with us how it went and include any pictures of the finished worksheets on our Facebook page!

 

 

Baking with Whole Wheat Flour

Baking with Whole Wheat Flour

Did you know that you can substitute whole wheat flour for white flour when baking? What better time that September, when whole grains are a Foods of the Month, to try this out?!

ICYMI, whole wheat is a subset of whole grain that strictly applies to wheat products. So when a product is labeled whole grain, it means that it includes the entire kernel of the grain – including the outer bran layer, the germ (the part that can sprout into a new plant), and the inner, starchy endosperm. Refined grains, on the other hand, only include the endosperm; that’s why whole grains generally take longer to cook.

One of our favorite ways to get more whole grains (organic is best) is by swapping out white flour for whole wheat flour in pizza dough. The great thing about making your own pizza dough is that you can make a big batch and store it in the fridge, to create various healthy dinners throughout the week. To make whole wheat pizza dough, we recommend using half whole wheat flour and half white flour in your favorite pizza dough recipe. By leaving some white flour, the dough is not too dense, but you still get the fiber benefits of whole wheat flour. Combine your flour with yeast, hot water, a little salt and sugar, some extra virgin olive oil and mix thoroughly.

Now, what to do with your healthy homemade pizza dough? Get a little more creative than a regular pizza and try making a calzone or Stromboli! To make these traditionally fatty dishes healthier, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the dough, add organic cheese, and then top with tons of veggies like tomatoes, peppers, onions and spinach. Carefully roll it up, and put in the oven at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

Corn Side Dishes

Corn Side Dishes

Corn side dishes make any meal more delicious!

Corn is a July Foods of the Month! Health benefits of corn include fiber and antioxidants, which our OrganWise Guys love. Also, corn is tastiest in the summer because it is fresh. Be sure to pick up some fresh (non-GMO) corn, which is the best value, from your local grocery store this summer to make these tasty corn side dishes for your next get together: (more…)

Milk Options for Your Child

Milk Options for Your Child

It used to be that getting your child to drink milk every day was a “no brainer” in terms of what we believed were the long-term health benefits. Conventional wisdom maintained that every growing child needed calcium to build strong bones and teeth, and so parents worked hard to include multiple glasses of milk in their child’s daily diet.   Those children were served primarily whole cow’s milk, of course, because that was what was available. 

In the last few years, our milk choices have expanded exponentially. We now want more overall choices in our diets and are more concerned and knowledgeable about what is good for us. Many parents are also aware that dairy allergies are on the rise in America, and the conventional wisdom regarding the positive attributes of milk products is being challenged by major studies. In fact, researchers who once maintained that dairy milk was the healthiest food in the world are even exploring the possible association between dairy milk and several types of cancer.

The days when “milk was milk” appear to be over. Now there is a bewildering array of choices that confront parents in the grocery store. Let’s just start with the recent variations in cow’s milk available to any shopper.  A parent can now buy skim (1% or 2%), full fat, homogenized, organic, calcium-enriched and even lactose free milk from dairy cows. Regardless of your choice, remember that cow’s milk isn’t digested well by babies under 12 months, and it lacks essential nutrients supplied by breast milk and formula.  So hold off on introducing it until your baby’s at least a year old.

Milk Choices

But there are also many other milk choices now. One can buy milk from goats or sheep or drink milk made from almonds, rice, coconut, soy, hemp or flax. There is milk made from oats, cashews and even peas. And, if you add various flavorings or fortified elements to the mix, there are even more choices. It is confusing, to say the least. Here’s a summary of some of the most common ones available and some of the pros and cons of each to help you make sense of all the choices to be made in order to give your child the calcium and Vitamin D he or she needs.

Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk (our dietary standby) is routinely pasteurized to kill potentially harmful bacteria. That milk will likely then be homogenized, a process in which the fat particles are mechanically broken down so they don’t separate, or it may be available non-homogenized, which results in an old-fashioned layer of rich cream on top. 

If cow’s milk remains your dairy drink of choice, it is now generally recommended that you choose whole milk rather than reduced fat options as the research is mixed as to the perceived benefits of low-fat milk unless children are overweight. Natural fats have been proven to be healthy and actually help to curb appetite so whole milk is a healthy option. Try to buy organic milk that comes from grass-fed cows who have not been fed synthetic hormones to increase their milk production or antibiotics to fight the diseases that come from being fed corn while standing around in feed lots. There is a direct connection between what a cow is fed and the quality of the milk produced.

Other Sources of Dairy-Based Milk

Some parents may choose to have their child drink sheep or goat’s milk as an alternative form of dairy. Because of the different protein and fat structures in goat or sheep’s milk, some people can tolerate them better than milk from cows. One drawback, however, may be the taste – these alternatives are stronger flavored than cow’s milk so your child may not like the taste. These milks are also generally more expensive and less easily found, especially when eating out, so those are also considerations.

If your child experiences symptoms such as loose stools, stomach cramping and gas, especially after eating foods containing dairy products, he or she may have problems digesting lactose, the main sugar in milk and milk products. If a doctor has found your child to be lactose intolerant, then you need to find a dairy milk alternative. Since lactose is present in ALL animal-sourced milks, sheep or goat’s milk is not an option. 

Plant-Based Milk

One healthy alternative is to serve your child soy milk, a highly-nutritional beverage made from an extraction of soybeans, water, sweetener (usually), oil, thickeners and some added vitamins and minerals. One controversy associated with soy, however, is that it contains phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that mimic the female sex hormone estrogen. Research has been mixed as to the potential risks or benefits of soymilk due to the presence of these estrogens. Soymilk is also relatively low in protein and most of its nutrients come by way of fortifying additives. So, if you go soy, look for non-GMO varieties and add additional protein elsewhere in your child’s diet.

Serving your child milk that comes from almond or rice can also provide a nutritional option. Almond milk – or other “nut” milks like those made with macadamias or cashews – has a light nutty flavor as a result of mixing roasted blended nuts with water so children usually like it. Rice milk is the blandest in flavor of all the milks, which is to some people’s preference. Using it in a smoothie makes it an instant favorite.

Rice milk, made from one of the world’s most common and frequently cultivated grains, is typically found at a cheaper price point than other dairy-free milks. Naturally low in protein, however, both almond and rice milk typically must have other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D added. Coconut milk presents the same dilemma. In general, these plant-based milks are low in protein and calcium and have to be fortified in order for your child to get the nutrients he/she needs. And, as when you rely on soymilk, it is a good idea to add additional protein elsewhere in your child’s diet.

Hemp milk is a lesser-known option. Its rich Omega-3 and 6 essential fatty acids, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, its low allergen risk, and its taste and texture make it an appealing alternative to dairy. Hemp milk is made by grinding and soaking hemp seeds in water. It has less protein than cow’s milk and can be hard to find as well as expensive.  There is none of the active ingredient found in marijuana leaves, by the way. 

Flax milk is rich in a group of Omega-3 fatty acids which have been consistently shown in studies to help offset the effects of inflammation on the body. Flax milk has just as much calcium in it as regular milk, making it a sensible option for people who wish to maintain healthy, adequate levels of calcium.  And best of all, it is actually quite creamy and delicious and blends well with smoothies.

Milk is Essential, No Matter Its Form

Whatever your choices for your child, milk is still essential. Even though recent research has produced mixed results, there is still widespread agreement about the importance of some form of milk in every child’s diet. Strong bones are the results of genetics, physical activity and calcium. Since milk is the number one source of calcium, it is essential for your child. And almost all types of milk – whether dairy-based or plant-based-  are fortified with other essential nutrients, making milk a mainstay of a healthy diet for your child.

Healthy Eating Tips: Which Foods Can Benefit Your Mental Health—and How

Healthy Eating Tips: Which Foods Can Benefit Your Mental Health—and How

You might have heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.”

Eating healthy food is not only beneficial for your body, but also essential for your mental and emotional well-being. Several studies have demonstrated the relationship between “food” and “mood.” Many healthy foods have also proved to be beneficial to mental and emotional health.

Sadly, the role of nutrition in mental health has been under-recognized by the health industry for many years. Thanks to the latest research, the connection between nutrition and emotional health is finally pushing its way into the mainstream.

How do certain foods work to improve your mood?

Dr. Mercola clarifies this relationship:

In a very real sense, you have TWO brains—one in your head, and one in your gut—both of which are created from the same tissue during fetal development.

These two systems are connected via your vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain.

Maintaining optimal gut health is therefore paramount when trying to address your mental state.

Understanding the role of nutrition in mental and emotional health is important because one in five people suffers from depression, anger, and anxiety. Those mental problems can be minimized by ingesting certain minerals—like iron, Vitamin B12, and calcium.

A few changes in your diet may be effective at alleviating the symptoms of mental illness, mood swings, and other disorders.

However, you cannot just eat anything, whether it be a big, juicy hamburger or a slice of spicy pizza. Consume only healthy foods, rich in nutrients that benefit your mental health. Those foods are listed below:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

It is interesting to note that New Zealand reports having a 60 times more depressive population than does Japan; the Japanese diet is rich in cold water fish, rich in Omega 3 fatty acid.

Several studies have proved that Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for controlling psychiatric disorders, like bipolar disorder and depression. Sadly, our standard American diet lacks these essential nutrients, and depression has become a common mental illness in the US.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that include EPA and DHA. Studies have found that EPA affects the blood flow, hormones, and the immune system, influencing brain functions. Moreover, DHA facilitates the processes of shaping and transmitting electrical signals to the brain.

Great sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids are salmon, cod liver oil, walnuts, tuna, white fish, egg yolks, hemp seeds, and sardines.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are counted among the best brain foods for many reasons. Enriched with glucose, they deliver glucose to the brain. Plus, they are helpful in reducing mood disorders by regulating spikes in blood sugar. Therefore, add brown rice and whole grain cereals and pastas, and granary bread to your diet to reap these rewards for your brain.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy veggies are rich in vitamin E and folate, which are believed to be good for improving memory. The folate level in green veggies like kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli in turn lowers the level of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is the amino acid that, in excess, can damage nerve cells in the brain.

Fermented Foods

Several fermented foods—like yogurt, olives or pickles—contain probiotics, which are healthy bacteria; probiotics have been found helpful in combatting cases of stress and anxiety. They also affect the GABA neurotransmitter.

Adding these foods to your diet is essential to your mental health. However, they don’t serve as alternatives to medications and other treatments for mental disorders. In addition to improving your diet, you must consult your doctor if you are suffering from any mental disorder.

It is important – and tasty! – to begin to integrate these healthy foods into your meals for your physical health and, just as importantly, your vibrant mental health.