What the health?

 

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The hot documentary on everybody’s lips at the moment is “What the Health” (it’s on Netflix) it’s got online chat groups divided, and many people questioning everything they know about food after an already wave of confusion about whats the best diet for us all in the last few years.

I go into every documentary I watch with an open mind, I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, low fat, carnivore, low carb, high carb, paleo, wholefood, you name it I’ve been it and had quite a negative relationship with food for many many years in my teens and early 20’s despite coming from a family that didn’t do processed foods, and ate a very varied home-cooked Mediterranean diet, a far cry from the SAD (Standard Australia/American diet) most of Western society grows up on.

I agreed with many points WTH raised, the way conventionally grown animal products have basically no nutritional value, that the farming practices used to raise them hugely impact our already struggling environment, all causes I am strongly passionate about educating people on how to reduce our footprint on the world by the choices we make daily.

I did however see a lot of holes in the research presented, some bias in having predominately vegan based Dr’s being interviewed (with the exception of some) and also not going into the background of the SAD (Standard American diet) the majority of the test subjects consumed prior to going “vegan” which the majority of us know if we all know if you eat from the dollar menu, your health isn’t going to be great to start with.

The first 10 mins or so is dedicated to the overconsumption of processed meats. I will repeat “processed meats” this is things like smoked deli meats, bacon (I’m going to have many people hate me for typing bacon!), sausages and man made products that come from places – some of those with big golden arches that some people consume daily, sometimes more than once a day.

It’s not rocket science to assume that a processed foods diet high in sodium, nitrates, preservative and more numbers than real food ingredients aren’t going to be a healthy option for any of us.

The demonization of saturated fats seems to also be a big focus of the documentary despite leading cardiologists & MD’s with studies around the world (also peer reviewed, I wouldn’t’ place too much emphasis on studies that have not been peer reviewed when doing your own research) dispelling the cholesterol & saturated fat data that has predominately been at the forefront of the information available to us and our GP’s for the last 40-50 years. Claims that cholesterol levels drop on a plant based diet, if you were eating Big Mac’s and had high cholesterol levels to begin with of course your cholesterol levels would drop on any healthier option diet.

There is no doubt in my mind plants are medicine, 3/4 of our plates at every meal should be plant based. The more the better! This is what we aim for in our house at every meal.

Does the average person in the Western world consume 3/4’s of their plate as vegetables/fruits? From my research and day to day workings with families, hardly. Unless you consciously follow a wholefoods diet focused on eating in season, the average family is eating masses of processed, nutrient deficient food which are causing a host of lifestyle diseases which are in epidemic proportions in the Western world, we are also starting to see this come into underdeveloped countries with food aid programs, the introduction of high calorie packaged foods, drastically changing the ancient diets eaten by these cultures.

The term “low fat vegan” comes up quite a lot too in the movie, given our brains (especially that of growing children) need fats to develop properly and have our hormones functioning at optimum levels low fat is not a world that should be associated with anything we eat. The 80’s and early 90’s saw the low fat craze take over our supermarkets, healthy fats where demonised and low fat everything filled with carbs & sugar (to make them taste semi decent) where the trade off for the fats that were taken away.

Now I’m a Mum, i’m not a Dr and I don’t advocate anything other than a wholefood diet – food in it’s closest to natural form, unprocessed & organic where possible. Eating in season, something our society has moved so far away from and supporting local farmers who raise ethical meats and trying to reduce their impact on the environment as best they can.

We personally choose to avoid dairy and pork & it’s by products including bacon and we don’t eat processed smoked meats by choice, not because of a documentary, or a study, it’s what works best for us and makes us our most vibrant selves. listen to your body, if it’s screaming at you, then it’s time to have a look at what you are putting in and not forgetting onto it. Our personal care products and toxins also play a large part in our overall health.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments if you have seen the film.

Has it changed your views on what you feed your family? Did it shock you? Scare you, make you even more confused?

I have to say it doesn’t have to be confusing, as Michael Pollan says ‘Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. I personally don’t think this means going strict vegan but increasing our intake of plant based foods is a huge priority for the greater good of society as we cannot sustain this health epidemic we are currently facing.

 

x

Kat

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Change – it really is much easier than you think!

Everyday of our lives we are surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of toxins and chemicals that affect us in so many ways.

What if I told you it was possible to reduce your intake of these chemicals by just making some simple changes?

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  • Eat organic – You are what you eat, eats.

But let’s face it eating all organic is not feasible for everyone (nor can you buy everything all organic to begin with) but if you use the EWG Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen listing as a guide this can help you prioritise your spending.

Whilst this is a US based group this list is recognised around the world. One item to add to the Dirty dozen which is listed on the clean 15 for me would be corn also as the majority of corn these days is GMO (yes even in Australia we are no longer safe from Monsanto).

There is also lots of pesticide free produce available at growers markets where the Farmers do not have the funds or want to do the paperwork to become certified organic as it is a very expensive process. This also helps you save some money as it tends to be cheaper than certified organic.

Grass fed meats and free range or pastured poultry are a far healthier animal eating what these animals should be eating   – grass, insects etc not the disease causing grains some livestock is fed. Yes it’s slightly more expensive and a little harder to source but well worth the extra cost. This is where learning to use the cheaper cuts and organ meats in slow cooker style meals with lots and lots of veggies makes using grass fed meats more affordable.

Let meat be the side dish and veggies be the star of all your meals.

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  • Eat REAL food. E numbers, preservatives and additives are not real food; they are man made chemicals and have been linked to behavioural issues, allergies and many health conditions . If you turn over a packet and see a bunch of numbers and names you can’t pronounce your body isn’t going to know what these things are either.  To make things worse most of these additives are made using GMO’s especially in the case where the additive is of corn or soy derivative. More info here.

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  • Clean your house with natural cleaners such as bicarb soda, vinegar, eucalyptus & tea tree oils etc. Not only is it cheaper than buying the super expensive cleaning products that are full of carcinogenic chemicals it’s better for your family and the environment too! See here  to start you off with some chemical free cleaning solutions. Your health and pockets will thank you!

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  • Adopt a no shoes inside rule. Take your shoes off and leave them outside/in the garage etc when you get home. This alone can eliminate up to 50% of outside pollutants/dust.

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  • Use glass or stainless steel for food storage – even BPA free plastics have been found to leach toxic chemicals into our foods.  See our post here for more info.

Also consider BPA in canned foods, use fresh wherever possible to avoid leaching BPA’s or find companies that use BPA free cans.

Ditch the plastic wrap and use food covers such as these from 4myearth and you will also reduce the amount of plastic that’s put into our tips which takes hundreds of years to decompose. 

Swap children’s melamine plastic plates, cutlery and straws and opt for proper plates, glass or stainless cups and real cutlery. To avoid breakages make the meal time rule – you must sit down to eat. We have used glass and proper plates for quite some time and are yet to have anything dropped or broken.  I think we do children a disservice by just assuming they are not old enough to sit still and eat a meal with proper dinnerware!

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  • Do a stocktake on your personal hygiene products and beauty products. Ask yourself do you really need that many? The average woman applies 500 chemicals to her face/body everyday find out more here . Scary isn’t it?

Actually read the ingredients of your products and analyse them.  Also don’t fall for the just because its organic skin care/body products it must be safe for you marketing. Really get to know the decent products out there and not the companies out to cash in on the organic market. Use the EWG’s skin deep cosmetic database to make some informed decisions on your products. Use natural products like coconut oil which itself has hundreds of uses both for beauty and medicinal purposes.

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  • Filter your water – there are quite a few different options available on the market it’s just finding one that suits your needs and living arrangements (owning/renting a home) and your budget as they can vary in price.
  • Use safe cookware – Teflon /non stick pans might be handy but are full of toxic chemicals. Instead use cast iron and stainless steel which can be picked up at reasonable prices online and homeware shops during the sales.   Ditch the microwave. Reheating food in a saucepan or oven might take a little longer but much safer. Read more here on microwave hazards.

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  • Wear natural fibre clothing (100% cotton, silk, wool, bamboo or linen).  ALWAYS wash clothing after purchase as fabrics (especially man made synthetic fabrics)  have been treated with chemicals such as formaldehyde which cannot be washed out of clothing. Read more here.
  • Seek out natural remedies before taking antibiotics as they kill all the good gut bacteria. Of course modern medicine has its place in society, but many things such as colds and flu’s can be treated with things such as olive leaf extract (we use this daily as a preventative), probiotics, essential oils, rest and nourishing foods. If you do require antibiotics take a course of probiotics and eat some fermented foods to recolonise your gut with all the good bacteria it needs.
  • Invest in a decent HEPA vacuum cleaner. According to Nicole Bijlsma (from Building Biology and the author of “Healthy Home Healthy Family” who I recently had the pleasure of hearing speak at the Mindd Foundation seminar I attended) a HEPA fitted vacuum cleaner is the most  important household appliance you will ever own.  Floorboards/tiles are a more allergy friendly option to carpet especially for eczema and asthma sufferers so something to consider if you own your own home.

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Now I could keep on writing for hours but it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with information especially when starting out so I will stop here.

Apply this rule to life, less is more especially when it comes to harmful chemicals given the increase in cancers and disease in society today. Our lifestyles and the products we consume all play a part in our overall health and wellbeing.

Start with one or two from this list and work towards making your family home environment as safe as possible.

To get you started making some changes Jane of Organics On a Budget  is offering all Feeding Two Growing Boys readers an exclusive $5 off at her online store (for orders over $30  – expires Tuesday the 10th September) when you use the code “CHANGES”. The online store stocks everything from fresh, chilled and pantry food items to cleaning and beauty/body products and much more!

It is literally  a one stop organic shop which is very handy for us Mums wanting to shop online at some of the best prices I have seen and very reasonable shipping costs for those of you in remote places where organic products or a variety is hard to find.

Would love to hear what you would add to the list?

In health,

Kat

Safe non toxic school lunchbox solutions

 

School lunchboxes. Love them or loathe them, they are a necessary part of our day to day lives as Mums and Dads.

Not only is the nutrient dense food that goes into them an essential part to raising happy healthy kids it is what they are made of that also needs to be looked into.

A recent study found that most plastic products leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals even if they’re labelled “BPA-free”.

Scary isn’t it. We have all been lead to believe BPA free plastics where safe for so long only to be now told by scientists  that 70 percent of common plastic products tested positive for estrogenic activity, and that number rose to 95 percent when the products were subject to real-world conditions such as dishwashing or microwaving.

Time Magazine reports:

BPA is particularly worrisome simply because it is so common. Nearly every American has some amount of BPA in his or her body, in part because plastics are so ubiquitous.”

You can read Dr Mercola’s full article here for more details and also read the full scientific documented report this article is based on.

 

Given the rise in autoimmune disease, cancers and other immune related allergies in todays society, these toxic chemicals are the reason to search for safe alternative materials for storing our foods in.

Glass is a great option but as Mums & Dads we all know kids can be a little rough with their school bags and safety at school can be a concern with glass smashing. Up until now Master 5 has been taking glass Pyrex to preschool without incident but with Kindy on the horizon next year I know the structured environment of sit down lunch breaks currently had at Preschool will be a thing of the past so a safe non toxic alternative needed to be found.

One excellent choice I kept coming across in my search was food containers made of stainless steel, an alloy composed of natural elements. Stainless steel poses no health risks, is widely used in the food industry, and will not impart peculiar tastes or smells to your food.

Knowing my love of  all things non toxic Shelley & her team from Lime Tree Kids generously sent me some Lunchbots to try and to post a review on my thoughts and how they fared with the boys and our busy on the go lifestyle.

Lunchbots is a family owned business which started in 2008 out of necessity when the founder Jacqueline Linder couldn’t find a product that suited her needs. Big ideas start in small places (her home garage in California!) and they have grown to be a worldwide success as people move to eliminate toxic plastics and chemicals from their lives.

We were sent the Lunchbots Trio (in Turquoise), the Quad in Stainless as well as the Insulated Thermal in Green to road test.

The Lunchbots collection comes in a range of sections from one to four depending on the use you require it for. This is also handy for children who don’t like their foods touching /combined with other items –  something I know many of my blog and facebook followers face especially those with children on the spectrum.

Master 5 has been taking his Trio sectioned Lunchbots container for his morning tea which as part of preschools requirements is fresh fruit (or veg).

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A typical morning tea for preschool

The container is compact (much smaller than the container we were previously using yet still holds the same amount of food so it’s a win for us space wise in his lunch bag (especially only being 5  years old –  school bags can get pretty heavy!!) It is easy to open and close and the bonus is when I pack it the night before and put it in the fridge being stainless it keeps cool till morning tea time perfect for our climate in Australia.

(On really hot days especially and if you’re going to put food that spoils like dairy/cheeses or meats etc I would still put a small icepack/brick to ensure it stays cool – we don’t want any food poisoning now!)

Master 3 is not yet at preschool but I find his Quad sectioned Lunch bots container just the perfect size to throw into my handbag for “just in case” snacks whilst we are out and about running errands during the day.

For a child with so many allergies and intolerances finding safe store bought snacks (other than fruit) are not worth the risk, plus I prefer my children eat home cooked foods. I haven’t had any leaks and it is once again compact for his little hands to be able to hold and lay in his lap whilst we are on the go.

They are also great for early Saturday morning growers market starts where I can prepare the night before pop the boys in the car and they can have smorgasbord breakfast on the way.

If you follow my Facebook page you will know my boys are big fans of hot lunches (leftovers mainly). The Insulated Thermal Lunchbots container is the only child friendly thermos I have found with a wide enough mouth to make eating out of it easy. We have owned other cheaper tall cylinder style thermos before and the boys found it very difficult to eat out of (especially Master 3) but he has had no issues with the Lunchbots bowl like version.

Its 450ml capacity also means it’s a decent size meal as well for my sometimes bottomless pit boys. We love that its leak proof meaning taking nourishing soups (which we eat a lot of) isn’t a problem anymore when we are out and about and it keeps them warm for up to 5 hours.

Insulated thermal perfect for hot or cold meals

Insulated thermal perfect for hot or cold meals

The trick to keep food warm is to boil the kettle and fill the thermos with boiling water whilst you heat up the leftovers (I tend to heat them up a little longer than you would if youweree serving them straight away) in a saucepan on the stovetop if a soup, casserole etc or in the oven in a Pyrex dish at 180 deg for about 5-10 mins depending what it is) and then empty out the water and place the piping hot food into the thermal container.

They are perfect for pastas, risottos, and slow cooker style meals.

They also double in that you can use them to keep food cold (like yoghurts, fruit salads, or our popular chicken patties which are nice snacks cold). Pack the night before put it in the fridge and they will keep cool until morning tea/lunch time once again great in our climate.

All products are made of the highest quality 18/18 stainless steel, are super easy to clean (hand washing is recommended) and virtually unbreakable (which is important when dealing with kids!)

Now kids aside for just a minute, these products are great for us adults too. I recently “borrowed” these from the boys and took them to an all day seminar and had my snacks and lunch for the whole day. I loved how compact they where (I travelled part of my trip on public transport so didn’t want to be carrying bulky glass containers around all day) and loved how my food stayed intact the way I packed it the night before.

Not only is the Lunchbots range practical you have to admit it is visually appealing too!  There are lots of funky colours to choose from and also available in the full stainless colour as well.

It is something that is going to last you a very long time and when the time comes you no longer need it you can pass it down or simply recycle it, as stainless steel is one of the most recycled materials on earth.

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The possibilities are endless!

Cost wise, yes they are slightly more expensive than your average lunch box but the many years of use you will get from them and the fact your food isn’t coming into contact with hormone disrupting chemicals is priceless in my opinion.

Now for the exciting part!

Lime Tree Kids has generously supplied us with a Lunchbots pack to giveaway to one lucky winner!

All you need to do is LIKE Feeding Two Growing Boys and Lime Tree Kids on Facebook and go to the Lime Tree Kids website and check out their awesome range and on this blog post leave a comment below telling us which product YOU like the best!

This competition closes Monday the 2nd September at 7.30pm when a winner will be drawn at random and notified on this blog post. Once you have made contact with us your details will then be forwarded to Lime Tree Kids in which you will have 48 hours to respond to their email as part of their contest policy.

A huge thank you to Shelley and the super helpful team at Lime Tree Kids (one of my favourite online Kids stores) for choosing Feeding Two Growing Boys to receive and review the Lunchbots range and being able to educate everyone on finding safe non toxic food storage solutions. The online store also has lots of other non toxic food storage solutions including my new love Mason Jars which have been recently added as well as everything you could possibly need for life with kids! So put the kids to bed, grab a cuppa and browse the website it won’t disappoint!

 

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED AND THE WINNER IS KYLIE HANSON. CONGRATULATIONS KYLIE 🙂

 

Travelling and staying on track food wise

Due to the nature of our business we tend to do more weekends away than long family holidays.

This also makes keeping Master 3 on track with his special dietary needs a little easier as eating the way we do and with his allergy restrictions, cross contamination is not something we risk.

My number one rule is BE PREPARED!!

We mainly stay in apartments, houses or cabins so that we have access to kitchen facilities so we can do our own catering.

For a weekend away where I know I will not have kitchen facilities I prep all the boys’ meals (and take my Thermomix along if we have a small kitchenette).

Over the long weekend just past we stayed at a holiday park and I prepared the following so that cooking was minimal when we got to our holiday cabin.

Big batch of pumpkin soup (which could be heated on the stove top for breakfast, lunch or dinner)

Turkey patties (with lots of veggies included), which we served with cut up cucumber, carrots and a whole avocado for the boys at our night out at the football (the boys are fine to eat the patties cold)

Recipe here you can use any mince you like in this recipe to keep things interesting.

Boys with their packed dinner at the football

Boys with their packed dinner at the football

I roasted 2 whole free range chickens and used the meat for quick lunches and snacks

Packed a few cans of tuna/salmon for just in case meals (make sure you read the allergy advise as many tunas contain milk or soy).

I also took lots of fresh organic fruit & veggies and picked up a few other organic produce items locally from various shops.

Breakfasts included CADA which is a great filling breakfast that you can make according to your own tastes, add or subtract whatever you like!

I also took some stewed fruit (which I premade and bought with us), and hubby also cooked up some things like bacon, mushrooms, eggs etc. on the BBQ (for those of us who can eat them).

We stayed two nights so the second night we had a simple BBQ with some organic beef and free range chicken with salad and sweet potatoes.

Food doesn’t need to be made complicated; we are on holidays to relax!

If we do need to eat out whilst we are away we do take Master 3’s food with us purely for cross contamination issues. For us it isn’t worth the risk. He knows and understands why he has “different” food to us if we do eat out and is quite proud of his “special” meals. (I think he secretly loves the fact he gets to eat first too without waiting for it to be cooked! LOL)

Everything I pack that is cooked is in Pyrex glass dishes and stored in an Esky filled with ice bricks till we get to our destination and it’s all put in the fridge.I have also done plane travel with the boys domestically and packed their lunches once again in Pyrex and kept in a small cooler lunch bag for them to eat on-board the plane with lots of fruit & veggies on hand too.

Eating a restricted diet or having food allergies (or even just wanting to eat REAL food) does not mean you need to stop travelling. With some planning and it can be a nice stress free time away to recharge.

How do you prepare for trips away?

~
Kat

Seeing red over Green, Amber & Red light labelling

I don’t have school age children (yet) so I am yet to come across this Green, Amber, Red light program for school canteens but given all the media attention Kellogg’s has been receiving thanks to it’s new Coco Pop liquid breakfast (and them being given “Green” light approval) I had to check out what this labelling system was all about and all I can say it seems completely flawed to me!

Here is the link to the “Guidelines for Healthy foods & drinks to be supplied in school canteens” as produced by the Australian Department of Health and Aging for those of you who like myself are not familiar with it.

Now these “guidelines” find it completely ok to provide the “Green” light to this sugar ladened drink all 24.5g of it (and this is without me even touching on the “reduced fat milk” portion of this product)

Seeing red over Green, Amber & Red light labelling Ingredients

Ingredients: Reduced fat milk (90%), sugar, skim milk powder, vegetable fibre (inulin), cocoa, flavours, stabilisers (460, 466, 407), minerals (calcium carbonate, iron), acidity regulators (339, 332), vitamins (niacin, vitamin D, folate, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin)

but provide an Amber rating a 100% natural organic RAW superfoods bar such as this one from Superfoods for Kidz?

Berry Choc Chunk

Ingredients:
Organic Rice Malt, Dark Chocolate Cacao, Pea Protein Isolate, Whole Cranberries, Organic Coconut, Sultanas, Water Hulled Tahini, Organic Cocoa, Flaxmeal, Sunflower Seeds, Certified Organic Cacao, Organic Cacao butter, Organic Vanilla Beans, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Certified Organic Acai Berries, Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Cranberry, Gojiberry, Mango, Beetroot, Calcium Citrate, Fruit Trim, Chia Seeds, Fructoolgosaccharides (Prebiotic).
NUTRITIONAL  INFORMATION
Servings per pack: 1
Serving Size: 30g
Per Serving 30 g 100 g
Energy 482.4 KJ 1608 KJ
115 Cal 385.6 Cal
Protein 3.9 g 13 g
Fat Total 4.9 g 16.3 g
Saturated 2.6 g 8.6 g
Omega 3 150.78 mg 502.6 mg
Omega 6 519.61 mg 1732.03 mg
Omega 9 258.82 mg 862.73 mg
Carbohydrates 14 g 46.6 g
Natural Sugar 9 g 30 g
Dietary Fibre 2.2 g 7.3 g
Sodium 2.1 mg 7 mg
Calcium 27 mg 90 mg

Can anyone see the logic?

The reasoning behind this was that the superfood bar contains chia seeds which have a higher fat content… Now the Chia seed is the richest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fibre , protein and antioxidants.

It contains

  • 37% Dietary Fibre
  • 20% Omega 3 ALA
  • 20% Protein
  • High in antioxidants (ORAC value of 10,000 vitamin E equivalents)
  • High in Vitamins and Minerals (Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium)

(Source: The Chia Co)

With these benefits and (including the fact they a higher level of calcium per serve than a glass of milk) their fat content seems null and void to me.

This Amber rating puts products like this raw food bar in the same class as a chicken nuggets which some can contain as little as 18% chicken in their ingredients listing but are full of all the bad fats we should all be avoiding. This rating system just seems completely crazy to me!

I know there is a lot of conflicting information out there for parents and carers regarding what kids should and shouldn’t be eating but seriously it really is a simple as going back to basics.

If you recognise WHOLE, REAL foods in the ingredients listing and they haven’t been modified to be low fat or a bunch of numbers, the whole real food option is your best bet regardless of the fat content of a seed that provides so many other nutritional benefits.

I certainly will not allow the Department of Health and Aging “guidelines”  to dictate what I know my children should & shouldn’t be eating and I think the above is a prime example of how wrong they got it with these “healthy” guidelines.

Food for thought!

~
Kat