Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: 3 Tips for Mindful Health

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."  --White Elk

For the past month, I have been providing support and education to a group of women who have made the decision to get to a healthier weight.  All of these women are mothers and one just became a grandmother for the first time.  The new grandmother is extremely motivated because she doesn't want her life shortened by obesity.  

Kids at a Growing Healthy Kids program using vegetables grown within a ten mile radius.

I take my role as a parent very seriously because not only am I a role model for my son, Edward, but also for all of his friends.  Choosing to be healthy is exactly that:  a choice.  We choose whether to eat a cereal loaded with lots of different sugars (see Fifty Shades of Sugar articles on February 18 and 25’s issues of ONCE WE HAVE BECOME LITERATE.  Just like learning about all the added sugars (and salt and fats) in processed food is a big part of health literacy, so is the concept of mindful health. 

What is mindful health?  It is the concept of awareness of the balance we all need and crave for our body, mind and spirit, of listening to ourselves, of recognizing that we are all different so there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the “right” thing to do.  Let's face it:  we all have inherited predispositions from our parents and grandparents. As we become parents and grandparents, we inherit a responsibility to become mindful of our own health so we can lead by example.  

Here are 3 of my tips for mindful health:

1.  Focus on getting the right amount of sleep every night and the right KIND of sleep
2.  Make water your primary drink.
3.  Include foods from local farmers in your weekly food planning and preparation.
4.  Stop and take 2 minutes for yourself before you eat.  Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax.  Enjoy the meal you are about to eat. Your food will be better digested and better absorbed.  

If you live in Florida's Treasure Coast, then join me this Saturday at the Gifford Youth Activity Center in Vero Beach when I will be speaking at Healthy Start Coalition’s “You are Worth More than Gold” symposium for women and teen girls.  The best way to ensure “Growing Healthy Kids” is to begin before a woman becomes pregnant.  I will be sharing tips for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child. I hope to see you there!  

I am so psyched about having met a very talented chef who is creating phenomenal dishes and flavors (isn't that what great food is all about?).  To listen to my radio interview about Growing Healthy Kids with Chef Michael Glatz from La Patisierre, just click here.

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Fifty Shades of Sugar Part 2 (and Tiny Desk Concerts)

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”  
                                              -Dalai Lama

We did it.  We stirred the pot last week with Fifty Shades of Sugar.  People are talking.  Adults are reading food labels.  Children are eating less sugar and are having better moods.  They are happier.

As discussed in my upcoming radio interview* with Chef Michael Glatz of La Patissiere (a fabulous artisian bakery and boutique foodie destination in Vero Beach, Florida), the reason why there are more than fifty names for sugar is so that you, the consumer, will be tricked by food manufacturers into thinking there is only a little bit of sugar  - instead of the gazillion teaspoons  -  in the processed food item about to go into your grocery cart and then home to be consumed by you and your children. 

Curious?  You can find fifty-nine (59) names for sugar in my book, Nourish and Flourish:  Kid-Tested and Approved Tips and Recipes to Prevent Diabetes (available at or click on the link on the right side of this page).

Engage your children in improving your family’s health literacy.  Ask the kids to look for these 50+ names for sugar when shopping for cereals, snacks, crackers, pies, cakes, cookies, breads and more.  Especially the foods that have been placed at your children's eye level.  Start becoming aware of all the added sugars in your family’s foods.  

Image result for picture of healthy kids


1.  Look for ingredients that end in “–ose”.  These are sugars.   Pure, white, and deadly.**

2.  Read food labels and look for “high fructose corn syrup”.  One of the most highly processed sugars, high fructose corn syrup is used because it is sweet, addictive, and most of all, cheap.  If your kids (or you) drink any beverages with added sugars (think sodas), look for high fructose corn syrup on the ingredients portion of the Nutrition Facts label.  In all our Growing Healthy Kids’ classes, we teach kids and adults to avoid all foods and drinks containing this evil ingredient.

3.  Avoid (or limit) drinks and foods with added sugars, fats, and salt.  

Speaking of love, the original Growing Healthy Kid, my son, Edward, a trombonist and poet-extraordinaire, turned me on to some very cool music recently.  “Tiny Desk Concerts” are performed by really famous musicians (and not-so-famous but really good musicians) in the office of National Public Radio's music department.  To listen to very cool music while you are cooking dinner with your kids and significant other, click here.

Surround yourself with people and ideas that support the best you.  And, of course, support the mission of Growing Healthy Kids to reduce, halt, and prevent childhood obesity and obesity-related diseases.  All children deserve access to healthy food and lots of outdoor playtime.   One of the best ways for growing healthy kids is to be the best YOU!

With love and gratitude,

Nancy Heinrich
Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project

*My interview with Chef Michael Glatz airs Tuesday, March 3rd at 3:30 PM on WAXE 107.9 FM/1370 AM and will be rebroadcast on Sunday, March 8th at 3:30 PM (you can listen to the interview from anywhere in the world by going to, then search for WAXE).

**Pure, White, and Deadly by Dr. John Yudkin, originally published in 1972.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Fifty Shades of Sugar

“No child deserves to be obese.”                                                                        
                 -- Dr. Robert Lustig, from Sugar: The Bitter Truth (YouTube)

If you haven’t seen Sugar:  The Bitter Truth, the 90 minute video by University of California pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig, then watch it today.  For a link to Dr. Lustig's video on YouTube, look no further.   In yesterday's issue of The Telegraph, there was a fascinating article about Dr. John Yudkin (now deceased) and his profound warnings about the health consequences of processed sugar.  To read the article  about Dr. Yudkin and to watch Dr. Lustig's video, click here.

Several weeks ago, I gave an update on Growing Healthy Kids' Farm to Fork nutrition education program to about 80 members of Rotary Club of Vero Beach Sunrise (yes it was a very early morning meeting).  I shared the key points children learn in the program, one of which is to eat more of the good foods (veggies) and less of the bad foods (foods and drinks containing added sugars).  Afterwards, an elegant, beautifully dressed woman came up to me.  She agreed with everything I said in my talk and then quietly told me, “I have just lost 30 pounds by cutting out sugars.  I have never felt better in my life.”  

While writing my book, Nourish and Flourish (available at, I made the decision to include a list of the many names of sugar (over 50), hence the title of this week’s WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS article (and you thought this might be about sex, didn’t you?)  Many parents find it hard to believe that sugar can be disguised so many ways.  Yet, when kids eat a lot sugar by whatever name, especially if they are eating and drinking high fructose corn syrup daily, their bodies – and minds – are being overwhelmed and damaged.  Sugar is a trigger to a cascade of dangerous diseases.  A little sugar is OK.  Consuming 19 teaspoons at a time (the amount in one strawberry melon Brisk drink made by Lipton) is not OK.  The food industry has blindfolded us and tricked us in submission.

The fact is that sugar is highly addictive.  For children under the age of 18 who are consuming copious amounts of it, sugar is a poison to their bodies and minds.  

As parents, we owe it to our children to be the best role models we can be for them.   Start looking out for the added sugars in your own foods and drinks.   Become a nutrition detective.  Take the first step and do not buy anything containing high fructose corn syrup.  And don’t forget to watch Sugar:  The Bitter Truth. 

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project

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