5 Foods To Avoid Introducing to Children

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There are many foods out there that are marketed to parents and children. Companies produce fancy packaging, loud commercials with happy kids, and buzz words for parents like:

“part of this nutritious breakfast”

“part of a balanced meal”

“18 vitamins and minerals included”

“healthy whole grains”

We are HUGE consumers here in the U.S. and we fall for much of this marketing. Foods are even packaged to appear healthier, by using colors that consumers view as a healthy color…like earthy greens and browns.

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It’s all marketing.

Here is a piece I wrote all about the marketing of food in our culture.

Many of these processed convenience foods have added vitamins and minerals. However, these vitamins are synthetic forms and therefore are not assimilated and utilized well in the body. Real vitamins and minerals come in real food (meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats) and do not need to be synthesized or added to food.

Synthetic Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

List taken from: The Global Healing Center

 

Most processed foods in general will keep your child’s blood sugar spiking and plummeting. Your child craves more sweets and sugary foods, and never feels satiated. In the primal community this is known as being “sugar adapted”. Yes, children do need carbohydrates for energy. I’m not suggesting a low-carbohydrate diet for children. There is a huge misconception that people who follow the primal lifestyle eat low-carb. That just isn’t the case. Most children consume massive amounts of processed carbohydrates on a daily basis, and this is considered the cultural norm. Therefore anything less than that is automatically viewed as low carb. It starts with parents being told by medical authorities that they should start their baby on nutrient void rice cereal to fill them up. Next it leads to drinkable sugar laden yogurts marketed to babies, then cute little plastic toddler cups filled with finger sized crackers and cookies, then it leads to big bowls of sugary cereals. Removing these processed foods from a child’s diet and offering real food to children does not make you a bad, rigid, or depriving parent. You may feel like a fish out of water at times, but you are making the right decision for the health of your children, both now and in the future. Children can get adequate nutrients from a real food diet of meats, vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of refined sugar-free treats made with natural sweeteners. Yes it might not be as convenient as we are use to in a rush rush culture, however, the future health of our children depends upon us making changes in the right direction.

 Pictured:  Burgers On A Stick with dipping sauce!

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What are MY top 5 suggestions of foods to avoid giving to children?


1. Cereal

Any and all cereal. Rice cereal for babies, cold cereals, quick oats, etc… Here is a blog post I wrote about cereal. In a nutshell: Cereal is made with grains (usually with added sugar and food dyes), and grains are broken down into the body as sugar. Yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet, but there are more nutrient rich sources that will not leave your child’s blood sugar to spike and plummet. Eating a bowl of cereal makes the child’s pancreas work extra hard in order to process it all. It also fills them up with little nutrients or healthy fats. I also wrote a Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers which explains why rice cereal is not a good first choice of foods for infants.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*anti-nutrients that can affect digestion

*high sugar

*low in quality fat and protein

 

 2. Kid marketed crackers and cookies like those little golden fish crackers, and little bear cracker cookies, etc.

Just like the cereal above, these small toddler marketed crackers and cookies might look exciting and fun, as well as easy and quick. Kids may love the taste of them. However… for all the same reasons mentioned above regarding cereal, these crackers are full of artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins, food dyes, high amounts of sugar, and are very low in quality nutrient-dense fats and proteins that children need to feel satiated, happy, and stable. Again, this gets children sugar adapted and reaching for processed carbs vs real food. Did I say avoid all carbohydrates for children? Absolutely not. Here is a post I wrote all about healthy snack ideas for children.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*low in quality fat and protein

*high sugar

 

3. Most commercial yogurts:

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Commercial yogurts contain as much sugar as a bowl of ice cream or other sugary desserts. One 8-ounce serving of low-fat or fat free sweetened yogurt can contain as much as 47 grams of sugars. This amount of sugar is equivalent to almost 12 teaspoons of sugar. People think because it’s yogurt, it must be healthy. Most yogurts should really be treated as a dessert rather than a nourishing snack or meal. It is difficult to find yogurt that does not have some or all of the fat removed from it. Fats are nutrient dense sources of energy for growing brains. However, yogurt manufacturers are still removing fat from yogurt, and adding sugar and food dye. If you are going to give your child yogurt, the best option is raw (unpasteurized), unsweetened, full fat yogurt. Plain yogurt does not contain any added sugar, but still contains naturally occurring milk sugars called lactose. An 8-ounce serving of plain yogurt still contains approximately 12 grams of sugar. This amount of sugar is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of sugar. Homemade plain yogurt that has fermented for 24 hours, does not contain sugar. The lactose is digested by beneficial bacteria, bringing the amount of sugar down to nothing. Raw yogurt has beneficial enzymes and probiotics to help with digestion, and can help colonize the gut with good bacteria. It can be sweetened with a little fruit or drizzle of raw honey.

*very high sugar

*food dye

*low in quality fat unless full fat

 

4. Kid Marketed “Energy” bars:

 

These “power” or “energy” bars marketed at kids contain a long list of ingredients that can be harmful on the gut, and contain a high amount of refined sugar. many contain as much sugar as candy bars, even organic ones. Please note… not everything that is labeled “organic” is necessarily good for your body. An organic pop tart is still a pop tart. It still contains high carb, low healthy fat, low protein. We want our kids to power up with nutrient rich healthy fats and proteins!

Here is an example of ingredients from a popular brand of energy bars targeted at kids:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Oat Blend (Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Oat Fiber), Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Fruit Paste Blend (Organic Date Paste, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Raisin Paste), Organic Cocoa, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Baking Soda. VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Folic Acid (Vit. B9), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12). ALLERGEN STATEMENT: CONTAINS SOY AND TRACES OF DAIRY. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS, WHEAT, AND TREE NUTS.

As you can see the bar contains mainly grains and sugar (both cane syrup and fruit sugar), soy, processed oils and synthetic vitamins and minerals.

If your child is participating in sports and needs extra boosts of carbohydrates, try making homemade energy bites or balls. You simply process nuts with dates, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. Here is my recipe for Blood Orange Coconut Balls.

 5. “Whole Grain” breads:

 

The breads today are not the breads of our ancestors. Our earliest ancestors did not eat bread. Approximately 10-12 thousand years ago (note that we’ve been around for over 200,000 years in our human form) grains were introduced into our diet. Many traditional cultures did not have bread as such a huge portion of every meal. They did not eat sandwiches daily. They also knew how to properly prepare breads (soak, sprout, and ferment) so that the body can digest and assimilate nutrients from it. The issue related to bread consumption is not only just the buzz word “gluten” that we hear. Yes, gluten is a huge offender to many people. Probably more than we can begin to realize. However, there are many other components to bread that can also have an affect on our health. Breads that are not properly prepared contain phytates and lectins, also known as anti-nutrients that can bind to minerals and render them unavailable to our bodies. These anti-nutrients also contribute to inflammation and leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to allergies and autoimmune conditions. There are proteins found in bread other than gluten that may also have a profound affect on many people. Just like cereal, cookies, and crackers, eating bread as a staple keeps children sugar adapted, and not feeling satiated.

So what can I give my child in place of bread?

Some suggestions: Applegate Farms (GF, dairy free, soy free, and humanely raised) deli meat roll-ups, bun-less Applegate Farms grassfed hotdogs usually cut up with toothpicks and dipping sauces, bunless burgers or lettuce for the bun. Almond or sun butter used as a dip for apples or carrots rather than on bread. On the occasions my children do have bread, I make sure it is the Sprouted grain kind. However, sprouted or not it is still digested in the body and broken down to sugar. Therefore, eating several slices a day would still have a profound affect on the sugar handling of a child.

*anti-nutrients

*low in quality fats and proteins

*high in sugar

*pro-inflammatory

In a nutshell… carbohydrate rich processed foods tend to be high in sugar and low in nutrients. It might not be easy to cut these foods out and replace them with real nourishing foods, but try in steps.

What are some tips to getting your children to enjoy real food?

 

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*Involve them in the process of cooking. If your child helped prepare the meal, they are more likely to enjoy eating it.

*Children love to eat things on platters with toothpicks.

*Children love to forage for food! Take them apple picking and berry picking. We also love to collect fiddlehead ferns in the Spring.

*Explain to them the reasons behind your decisions.

*Lead by example. If those processed foods are not an option, they will start to enjoy real food more.

 

About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions. 

 

 

I am speaking at Paleo FX! Get your tickets here to see my talk!

 

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* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

To The Bully Mom Who Belittled Me

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I was going to just let it go. I tried so hard to let it go. I repeated to myself over and over that she is not worth the tears. I actually hate drama and usually do everything I can to avoid it. What happened hurt me. I still tried to let it go. Then I thought about all the other parents who have to deal with bully moms like this. Parent’s who just want to feed their children real food, but are constantly undermined by insecure people who can’t handle other people’s decisions. I decided that writing about this traumatizing experience will not only help me to heal from it, but will help other parents to know that they are not alone, and to stay strong in their convictions. I remember another dear blogger friend writing about his experience being bullied by another adult because he would not eat cake at an adult gathering. It’s sad to think that some adults really do sink this low. I have experienced this to a lesser degree on several occasions, but never to this extent. I remember being told by another mom that my son would go off to college and binge on junk food if I didn’t buy him a muffin at 2 years old (a muffin that he wasn’t even asking for or interested in). I remember being told by another parent that my children were at risk for rickets because I was not giving them cows milk.

 

 

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The situation:

 

I met this new mom who I will call “Bully Mom” whose son is friends with my son at school. Bully Mom invited me over her house for dinner. I thought that was thoughtful as I am going through some major transitions in my life, and was having a very rough day. She had gone to my recent talk on ancestral health, and knew that I followed this lifestyle with both myself and my children. After the talk Bully Mom made sure to come up and tell me that she eats grains. Which is fine. Believe it or not, I don’t judge people for eating grains! Really, I don’t. People are welcome to take what they want from my talks, my blog, my FB posts etc, and leave the rest. I appreciated that she came, and thanked her for coming. Most of my friends do not follow this lifestyle, and are still very good friends. We laugh together, and love each other. That is really what matters.

 

Back to the situation. I too my 5 year old along with me to Bully Mom’s house for dinner, and to play with her children. Before coming over we stopped to get sushi for my son who was very hungry. He loves sushi, and I thought that would take the edge off of his hunger.

 

It started with several comments from Bully Mom while Jonah was eating his sushi about how “her children eat processed foods” and “how children can handle processed foods.” I didn’t comment. I simply nodded and changed the subject. I am use to being questioned by people for my choices and I usually just change the subject. Her son was asking about the sushi and she hushed him and said to him “no, you don’t like that.”

 

Then Bully Mom gave my son 2 slices of pizza and a plate of pasta. She did not ask me first. She asked him. Of course he said yes. I did not say anything. She was making separate meals of pizza and pasta for all the kids, and a different healthy meal for the adults. Usually in these situations I let go, and allow my children to have whatever it is. They do not have food allergies. I even let loose with them at home. I am not militant in my lifestyle, I do the best I can in the context of our culture. Even though I knew it may upset his stomach, I knew he would still be okay. I understand that he will have to learn to make these decisions and how different foods affect how he feels. I can’t control everything. I understand that. I was thankful that she was cooking a nice meal for me, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about dinner.

 

After finishing his meal some other friends arrived with Doritos, and my child started eating them. Again, I didn’t feel great about it, but I let him have some. However, as it became closer to his bedtime, I didn’t want him to wake at night with a bellyache. So I told him that was enough Doritos. He was fine with it.

 

Bully Mom disagreed. She took my son by the hand and led him to her pantry. She came out with him holding a bag of cheetos. He opened it and started eating them. I felt a pit in my stomach for being undermined, but still did not speak up. I let him have a few. Then I said to him “that is enough for tonight, we can finish these later” and closed up the bag.

 

Bully Mom disagreed. She yelled (yes, she spoke loudly in front of my other girlfriends and my son) “LET HIM HAVE THOSE! It’s not like he gets them all the time!”  I replied “It is my child, and my choice. He has had enough.” I had enough too. I packed up and left. As I got in the car I felt the pit in my stomach that rose up and my eyes welled with hot tears. I sobbed. I was treated like less than a person simply because of my lifestyle. I will never let someone treat me this way again.

 

 

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The next day I found out that Bully Mom had unfriended and blocked me on facebook. Why? Well simply because she is insecure with her parenting choices, and needed someone to take it out on. I was her scapegoat. I feel for her, and after getting all of this out of my system, I will forgive her. I am letting it go.

 

However, I’m tired of pretending that it is okay to treat people this way. It’s not okay. If you disagree with someone’s lifestyle choices that much, then don’t invite them over to dinner! Do not undermine other parents by feeding their children things you know they are not comfortable with. If you are a parent trying to feed your child real food, you are not depriving neglecting, or hurting them. I’m sorry that we have to live in such an eff’d up culture that people truly believe this. Believe it or not kids can enjoy real food. You are also not alone.

 

 

 

 

A Week of School Lunches!

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Here is a week of Joshua’s school lunches!

The lunchbox I use is called a Planetbox. I love this lunchbox! It is durable stainless steel and last for years and years. It makes it easy to pack real food vs processed snacks. It helps get children use to eating healthy nourishing lunches. People complain about the cost, however, you are using this same lunchbox through their entire school education!  Otherwise would be buying different plastic bags, plastic containers and lunchboxes each year, and probably spend much more in the long run!

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Day 1: Leftover Paleo Shepherds Pie, avocado, pomegranate, peppers, carrots, and a Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient Honey Mint (dark choc liquor, honey, and peppermint oil).

I carmelized a sliced onion in OMGhee ghee until golden brown. I added 3 cloves of finely minced garlic and 1 package of chopped portobello mushrooms (chopped by the kids). Saute until the garlic is fragrant and mushrooms are tender. I added chopped rainbow swiss chard and 2 chopped brown tomatoes. Simmer while browning the meat in a separate pan with sea salt and pepper. Add meat to veggie mixture and place in a casserole dish. Cover with steamed and mashed butternut squash (I mashed it with OMGhee ghee, salt and pepper). Sprinkle with smoked paprika and bake in the oven for 30 minutes! Easy and delish! Thanks Kelly Ross for the awesome dinner suggestion!

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Day 2: Grass-fed Burger Sliders with spicy mustard, sweet potato, pomegranate, cucumbers, peppers, and a Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient Honey Mint (dark chocolate liquor, honey, and peppermint oil).

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Day 3: Left over Teeny Tiny Meatballs with marinara, peppers, berries, cucumbers, and a Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient Honey Mint (dark chocolate liquor, honey, and peppermint oil).

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Day 4: Local Pasteured Pork Sausage with sauteed mushrooms and spicy mustard for dipping, cucumbers, berries, and a Hail Merry brand chocolate macaroon (GF, DF, soy free, refined sugar free).

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Day 5: Crispy Pork Tenderloin, pounded thin and crisped in coconut oil with Trader Joe’s 21 Spice Mix, avocado with pink salt, berries, fermented ginger carrot, and a date roll with shredded coconut.

Sweet Potato Jack O’ Lantern Crisps!

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These cute little pumpkins are not difficult to make, and you can play around with your favorite spices on them!

Oven 350 degrees

Ingredients:

1 Large sweet potato sliced on the thinnest setting with a mandolin slicer, or thinly sliced by hand

3 TBS of melted ghee or melted coconut oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cinnamon *or for a more smoky taste, skip the cinnamon and use smoked paprika*

Directions:

1. Slice the sweet potato:

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2. With a small sharp knife, carve the face into each pumpkin (this is not as difficult as it looks, I actually did it fairly quickly. Poke the faces out. I saved the pieces I cut out for another recipe (can be sauteed with other veggies, mixed with eggs, etc)

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3. place on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and pour melted ghee over coconut oil over the pumpkins:

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4. Roast in the oven for approx 25 minutes or until crispy (flipping them once halfway)

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Transfer to a plate and serve! My kids devoured these as an afternoon snack. They make a great side to dinner as well 🙂

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A Sweet Find!

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What is in that ripped open bag of goodness you ask?  ^^^

When sticking to the paleo/primal lifestyle, it is important to avoid as many processed foods as possible in order to feel our best! It is also important to cut down on sugary treats and desserts. One of the biggest mistakes people can make when converting to this lifestyle is to buy all these “gluten free” processed treats and desserts. They are usually loaded with sugar and keeps people on that blood sugar roller coaster.

However, every so often it is nice to have a little something sweet, that isn’t going to take away from the nutrient dense variety of foods we are eating, and isn’t going to leave us feeling drained. I see nothing wrong with this. I found these Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient mints and wanted to share them with you. There is literally only 3 ingredients in them! However, they taste exactly like a peppermint patty or junior mints…it’s that melt in your mouth chocolate/minty taste sure to satiate that sweet urge. I store them in the freezer and at times when that need for sweetness comes along, one of these suckers does the trick!

These mints do have 17grams of sugar per 3 mints. However, the sugar comes from pure honey which is a more natural source of sugar. I limit my sugar intake, and try to stick with eating 1 (and that really does do the trick for me). I also pop one in my son’s lunchbox as an after lunch minty treat. He really enjoys them, and it is something I feel okay about giving him.

So what are the 3 ingredients?

Honey, Chocolate Liquor, and Oil of Peppermint

I like that there is no soy lecithin, no other crazy ingredients. These can probably even be recreated at home with cacao and raw honey (maybe my next endeavor?).

 

Here is what these shiny little nuggets look like on the outside:

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Here is what they look like on the inside:

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and they come in this adorable shimmery green wrap 🙂

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Where can I find these?

These are Trader Joe’s brand and can be found at Trader Joe’s. I did check on amazon and wasn’t able to find them on there. So for those of you who do not live near a Trader Joe’s, ask a friend that does to ship you some!

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Lunch Contest and Planetbox Giveaway!

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Hey everyone! I am so excited to announce this contest I am running with my dear friend Eric over at www.erichulse.com.

 

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Eric is a holistic health and lifestyle coach, Author, and teacher. Eric sees first hand the affect that eating processed foods has on today’s children.  We are both passionate about nurturing today’s children with real, nutrient dense, whole foods. Eating real food nourishes your child’s body so they can not only function throughout the day but also feel good. Eating real food helps to develop their eyesight, memory, concentration, focus, and gives them energy while they go about their day.  Many children muddle through the day and get by. They get use to feeling tired, sick, or even a little off. It is our job as adults to change this, and take care of their little bodies. We want our children to feel their best. They learn through what we teach. By feeding them real foods you are NOT….I repeat you are NOT depriving them. They will learn the difference in how they feel, and will learn to enjoy a variety of healthy, real foods. I guarantee they will surprise you!

 

It is challenging because culturally we are so far removed from real food, that we truly believe packaged food is real food. We blame all these sicknesses, diseases and ailments on “aging” and “getting old” It may be convenient and less expensive to buy this stuff, but it is hurting our children and setting them up for lifelong struggles that could easily be avoided. I was saddened by the “healthy snack” list at our school, which included go-gurts and graham crackers. This might come across as bold, but I am tired of playing nice and turning the blind cheek when it comes to this. Eating foods like these just makes children feel more hungry, because they are not getting the nutrient absorption their bodies need. The blood sugar spikes and plummets leaves them feeling drained. Not to mention the toll these foods have on their gut, setting them up for future autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, celiacs, asthma, diabetes, lupus and the list goes on and on. Just because something is marketed as “whole grain” or “healthy” doesn’t mean that it is. “whole grain” is a loaded term that means nothing. Grains are digested as sugar, and also block nutrient absorption. We have been brainwashed by the media, and it’s time we stop this nonsense and nourish our children with real food. It may cost more and take more time, but overall you are avoiding years of unnecessary struggling.

 

Now that I have that off my chest, I’m going to announce our awesome school lunch contest and giveaway! We are so excited to have our readers involved with this…we hope to start a real food school lunch revolution! We can do this. YOU can do this! This is our first giveaway and we are just thrilled about it!

 

 

Eric and I will be giving away a planetbox lunchbox!

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Planetbox is stainless steel, durable, and lasts for many years. You no longer need separate containers that get lost or thrown in the trash. It comes with separate “dip” containers that are great for paleo dips and sauces to dip the meat in. Planetbox makes it easy to pack real food. Often times my son Joshua gets leftovers from dinner the night before. HERE is a link to a month of Joshua’s school lunches in the planetbox!

Eric and I will be giving away one of these amazing lunchboxes!

Here is how to enter:

1. E-mail Either Eric or I a picture and description of one of your home packed school lunches between Wed and Fri (the 11th through 13th) of this week. The deadline for entries is Friday the 13th 9pm EST.

Eric’s e-mail: erichulse.wellness@gmail.com

Primal Bliss e-mail: primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

2. Eric and I will narrow it down to our favorite 5 lunches. We will be looking for nutrient dense foods, variety, and of course fun!

3. We will then post our 5 favorite lunches on our blogs and let you vote on your favorite one in the comment section of our blogs throughout the weekend.

4. On Monday September 16th we will announce the winner that you chose, and send that individual their very own planetbox!

We also ask those that enter to “like” us on Facebook and Subscribe to our blogs!

Eric on Facebook: www.facebook.com/erichulsewellness

Primal Bliss on Facebook: www.facebook.com/primalblissnutrition

Good luck!!!

 

 

The Clean Eating Teen Discusses “Back to School”

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First of all, I just want to give a HUGE thank you to Kathryn for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write for her blog. You rock!!

My name is Natalie Wester! I am a high school student from Texas, and run a health blog, Clean Eating Teen.

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Everyone who knows me, knows I am a HUGE health and fitness nut. I am known around family, friends, and school as the “hippie” chick. And they’re right! I have BIG plans to obtain a certification in holistic nutrition, as well as to become a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer. I’m so passionate about this field, that I’m usually seen carrying nutrition books around school campus.

I help my family and peers in any way I can, trying to help people obtain a healthy and active lifestyle. I make meal plans (with any donations I earn going towards yoga teaching tuition) and workout with those interested, and love to share anything I know about health and nutrition to those wanting to learn more.

It get’s chaotic sometimes, managing school work with a healthy diet and fitness regimen. But I don’t let my busy schedule become an excuse to neglect my body. That (along with grades, no doubt) is one thing I will NEVER let myself slack up on.

Before I started taking care of myself and nourishing myself properly, I was sluggish. I was not in shape, I did not eat well, and overall my performance was no where near as it is today. Don’t get me wrong, I always did my best and never fell behind… but since converting into a healthier, “clean diet” form of living, boy… are the differences HUGE! I feel better, have more energy… not to mention my skin cleared up, eyes whitened, and hair got shinier. I even lost some (healthy) weight!

Sometimes it gets difficult, but with proper preparation, it is more than possible to stay on track after it is time for the lazy summer time days to go away! This post is about how I keep up with my lifestyle during the school year… and how you, weather you are still in school or working, can too!

Exercise:   

 

My high school starts at 7:30 AM. I used to do my workouts after school, and that worked for a while. But eventually, I piled on after school activities, and before I knew it, I was lacking energy to work out after I got home from a long day.

My solution? Workout before school.

I am not saying that people can’t exercise towards the end of the day… actually, many prefer this! However, I have always been an early bird, and this was really the only time I found I had enough energy to get my body up and moving! Plus, it energizes me for the rest of my day.

I like having a pattern that I can rely on everyday, and I know for sure that my mornings will go un-interrupted for a workout. I could never say that about after school, because I never know when I need to stay for a project, tutorials, or another after school event.

            During school months, I wake up at 5AM. I workout for about an hour, until 6AM. Then I eat breakfast and am dressed and ready to leave by 7AM. I do this every day.

            In order to ensure efficiency, I prepare things the day before so I don’t have to waste time in the morning! I lay out my workout clothes. If I know I am doing yoga, I get my mat ready. If I am doing strength training or a DVD, I get out the equipment and have the DVD in the player. These simple tricks shave off precious minutes that you can use getting work done!

            This also includes knowing what you will be doing, routine wise, the day before. Are you going to be going on a run? Is it leg day, arm day? What DVD or routine are you doing? By knowing this, you take the guessing out of things and can mentally get yourself ready to tackle your workout.

            It is definitely a challenge to start this, but if you are passionate about staying active, you will make the adjustments needed. It only takes a few weeks before the habit sets in, trust me!

            Of course, because I wake so early, I usually go to bed by 9ish. I never have been able to stay up past 10PM easily anyway, so this wasn’t hard for me, especially after a LONG day of school, theatre, homework, ext…

            Now, I know that not everyone can get to bed this early. People have meetings, children, a spouse and family to tend to. I am just telling what works easiest for me, as an example to help you set your own goals with something of a path to fallow! J

           

            Here is a round up of tips for this category:

-Workout in the morning, or whenever time is easiest and most likely to be available and not interrupted.

 

-Go to bed earlier, regardless of when you workout, to ensure you have enough energy the next day.

 

-Lay out workout clothes and get needed workout equipment ready the night before.

 

-Have in mind what routine or workout you will be doing the day before you do it.

 

-Stick to your routine. Try to work out the same time each day to form habit, and stay committed! It get’s easier the more you do it. J

 

 

Food:

Everyone knows that school cafeteria food is… well, not food. It is actually a joke between my friends and I that everything the cafeteria serves is actually different shapes of ground horse hooves…

            Unless you are blessed to attend one of the few schools in the nation (or otherwise) which serves organic, homemade lunches… I HIGHLY recommend you make and bring your own. Actually, I don’t recommend it… I require it. I can’t tell you how many times my friends (who don’t even strive for a healthy diet to begin with) complain about the school’s slimy pizza or mock fish sticks.  If THEY have a hard time consuming it, I really don’t think it is wise for a health conscious student to put it anywhere near their lips!

            I also am astounded by how many people either A) Go without eating lunch (and not for monetary reasons) or B) Buy five cookies and a chocolate milk and call it a meal. This is also a big no no, and is another reason why bringing your own lunch is such a good idea. When you prepare your own food, you not only know what is in it, but you are guaranteed a meal that you like and that is nourishing. 

            This also goes for breakfast… some people do eat theirs at school, but most catch a bite to eat at the house before jumping on the bus or driving. Breakfast might even be trickier than lunch, because it is all too easy to forget about it until you pop out of bed late, and only remember it by the sound of your stomach growling while you frantically brush your teeth! Plus, most conventional breakfast items are no more than empty calorie sugar bombs: donuts, waffles, pop tarts and most cereals will not energize you for the long day ahead!

 

            I understand that making your own lunch may be time consuming, but this is where weekly food preparation comes in handy. If you don’t want to be making your lunch each night before, prepare a few containers of a basic, non spoiling lunch on a Sunday evening.

            Try making large batches of staples-it is a good idea to grill/bake/pan sear some ground turkey, chicken breast, pork chops, ext so that you can also have that on hand.

            I know many people, and many bloggers who post weekly about how they and their readers “food prep” for the week. A preparation can be as easy or as complicated as you would like. Heck, even if you just chop up some vegetables to have at hand for the week… that is better than nothing! Here are two examples of what you could do on a free weeknight to get ready for the rest of the week:

Ex 1. Say you are having grilled chicken for dinner, with a side of steamed broccoli. Instead of one chicken breast, go ahead and grill as many as you can… 6 or 7. While you are chopping the broccoli to steam, chop extra to toss into a salad for one of your lunches. Portion everything in separate containers, and then toss your broccoli with some greens and a chicken breast for a salad lunch. Easy peasy!

Ex 2. You are having breakfast on Sunday morning, hard boiled eggs with homemade (healthy-grain-free) pancakes. Boil as many eggs as you can (a whole dozen would be nice, for lunches and breakfasts!), as well as double, or triple your pancake batter. Peel all the eggs, and store them properly for easy morning protein, or chop them up in a lunch salad later. Use all the pancake mix, and (just like you would buy at the store), put them in portioned baggies and freeze them. You can heat them up in the toaster in the mornings easy enough, and if you are running out the door, eat them sandwich style with some almond butter between!

            Of course, these are just examples in which you make some extra of the food you already were preparing. You can also just make your week food separately! Don’t limit yourself to basic things either, even though they ARE easiest. Try making protein bars, meat patties, soups, stews, chiles… anything you can think of and have the availability to do!

            While prepping food is a great idea, it is also handy to buy a few items that don’t require much hassle to simple throw in a brown bag. I find that many companies carry “to-go” sizes of their products… I have also seen small individual bags of baby carrots, and of course pre-chopped fruit cups.

            Some ideas of ready-made, healthy choices would be:

-Unsweetened fruit cups

-Unsweetened apple sauce

-Pre sliced vegetables or fresh fruit

-Sliced, high quality deli meat or cheese (not pre packaged, sliced right in front of you by the butcher!)

-Organic cheese sticks or rounds

-No sugar added dry fruit

-Fresh fruit with a natural “to-go” method, like apples, bananas, and oranges

-Healthy chips (baked chips, sweet potato chips, kale chips)

 

Here is a quick round up for this category:

 

-Do NOT fall victim to the school cafeteria food line! Your taste buds AND your body deserve better than whatever they are serving. The extra time you put into making your breakfasts or lunches is well worth it.

 

-Prepare your food before hand! Be simple and simply chop vegetables up or make extra of staples you already need, or make actual things (protein bars, meat patties, soups) for future meals.

 

-Pick up some to-go sized items of your favorite healthy products,  as well as other things you do not have to prepare before hand and can just throw into your lunch bag.

 

Just for reference, here are a few ideas for meals at breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast:

         Pre made hard boiled eggs with an apple and nut butter

         Pre made grain free pancakes or waffles with nut butter or honey and fresh fruit

 EASY, Paleo, Sugar Free Gluten Free and Flourless pancakes (two main ingredients… a banana and two eggs! Recipe is on my blog)

         Banana with nut butter or sunbutter

One of my lunches since starting school this year! Lettuce wraps with leftover turkey meat, and some baby carrots with homemade hummus!

Lunches:

-Salad with pre-chopped veggies, balsamic vinegar and pre grilled chicken breast or hard boiled egg

-Lettuce wraps with large romaine leafs, left over meat, or veggies 

-Pre made soups or chile

-Half an avocado with a can of tuna or salmon and fresh tomato and cilantro on top

-Left-overs from last night’s dinner… the best! 😉

I KNOW it is easy to make excuses when school and work gets tough. Who has the time-or the energy, for that matter- to eat right and work out?

            The answer is simple… if you REALLY want something, you will do anything to make sure it happens. So in other words… do you want a wholesome, fit and active life? If your answer is yes… then you DO have the time!

How do you stay healthy during school?

What are some of your favorite go-to workouts or meals?

Natalie

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A Month of Real Food School Lunches!

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I’ve been sharing my 6 year old son Joshua’s lunches on my facebook page. I’ve received a very positive response and it has been requested that I put all the lunches together.

Here are 4 weeks (20) of his real food school lunches. Most of the time I give him leftovers from the night before. The lunchbox that I use is called a planetbox. Another option is the lunchbots. Both are stainless steel. The planetbox is great! I plan to use it for years to come and it saves on packaging in the long run. Many people have asked how I heat his food up. All of his lunches (including the leftover meats) are packaged with an icepack and served cold. He is use to eating this way and it doesn’t bother him (at least he hasn’t complained at all). If you think about it, we eat deli meats cold. I try to give him a cold dipping sauce as well, when he has leftover meats. Another question I always get asked is why I give him baby carrots (because they are rumored to be soaked in chlorine bleach). First of all, the brand that I give him are literally tumbled carrots (cut from big carrots). They are organic and never soaked in any bleach or ammonia…I even called the company to verify. Here is the snopes report on baby carrots. I am a Mom who wants to feed her kids real food in a culture where real food is not easy to seek out. My hope is that this will help you find your way a bit!

 

 

Enjoy!

Applegate Farms Ham Rolls, Avocado, Mango, Berries, Enjoy life choc chips

Roasted chile lime chicken thighs, berries and mango, avocado, roasted butternut squash, enjoy life choc chips

Grass-fed taco seasoned beef, nectarine, strawberries, cucumber, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes

Chicken leg and roasted potatoes, roasted cauliflower, berries, mango, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Seasoned ground grass-fed beef with asparagus, cucumbers and sugar snap peas, avocadoes, berries, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Leftover roasted chicken leg, almonds, carrots, apricots, berries, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Leftover roasted chicken with dipping sauce, cauliflower, avocado, berries and mango, apricots

Leftover pork roast, leftover roasted sweet potatoes, avocadoes, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, dried apricots

Leftover pot roast, leftover roasted potatoes, asparagus, berries and mango, apricots

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Hard boiled eggs and bacon, avocado, sugar snap peas, strawberries and mange, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Leftover crock pot roast, fresh coconut meat, blueberries and strawberries, butternut squash, medjool date

Pastured sausage, avacado, broccoli roasted with bacon fat, raspberries and fresh coconut meat, hail merry chocolate macaroon

Leftover asian ground turkey, raspberries, sugar snap peas, carrots and guacamole, hail merry choc. Macaroon

Applegate Farms Ham Rolls, cashews, fresh coconut meat, carrots, blueberries, raspberries, medjool date

Chicken leg, hericots verts, avocado, black berries and strawberries, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Wild shrimp with dipping sauce, sugar snap peas and carrots, blueberry goat cheese, strawberries

Leftover crock pot roast with dipping sauce, leftover roasted potatoes, mango, sugar snap peas and carrots, enjoy life choc. Chips

Leftover grass-fed beef with taco seasoning, mango, carrots, raspberries and blackberries, enjoy life choc. Chips

Leftover grass-fed burger with spicy mustard for dipping, sugar snap peas and carrots, sweet potato fries, blackberries and raspberries, trader joes dark chocolate covered almonds

Looking for more school lunch and snack ideas?

Check out my e-book

“Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox!”  which contains over 50 real food school lunch and snack ideas, plus my perspectives on feeding children with love.

Get a free consultation

About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. Kathryn is a nutrition blogger over atwww.primalblissnutrition.com, where she shares whole food recipes and articles pertaining to health and wellness. Kathryn wrote an e-book entitled “Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox” sharing over 50 of his real food school lunches, as well as a Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children.

“My own health struggles occurred through years of following mainstream western nutritional advice led me down this path. I was eating what I thought was a very healthy diet (following conventional medical advice). However, I was struggling with feeling good inside and out. I ended up being diagnosed with several Autoimmune Conditions. I was having horrible gall bladder attacks and living on antacids. My thyroid was enlarged, and I struggled with anxiety and insomnia. My endocrinologist wanted to wait until my thyroid stopped functioning, and put me on a medication. That was the only solution offered. Doctors wanted to put me on medications. My philosophy is to find and heal the root cause of the problem, rather than fix the symptoms by taking a medication or removing an organ.Through my own intense research, I began my real food journey. My health changed drastically and my autoimmune markers went way down. I started to feelamazing and wanted to share my experience on a big level. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!  I am dedicated to helping you realize what your bio-individual nutrition needs are, and giving you the tools to make positive changes in your life!”

-Kathryn Kos, NTP

Kathryn sees clients worldwide through skype and google hangouts!

Contact Kathryn to schedule a free phone consultation:

(518) 260-9749

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com