Obese child taken from mother…

http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=he_c2#/video/us/2011/11/28/nr-intv-200lb-3rd-grader-dolgoff.cnn

Most of you probably heard about this story in the news yesterday.  Such a sad situation without any quick fix in sight.  It begs the question, “How on earth does a young child reach over 200 pounds?”  Is it the mother’s fault?  I’m not sure how she could be entirely blameless. At just eight years old, this child would rely on his mother for at least the majority of his meals.  What is he being fed?  More importantly, what is he being taught about food and nutrition, about making good choices that help to fuel his body?

Pulling the child out of his home seems extreme, but then again, so is his situation.  Traumatizing this family by separating them does not sound like the answer.  But what is the answer?  Professional intervention, educating the child and his parents about making healthy choices?

I am really bothered by this story and would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts?  How can we reach out to those families in our own communities who may be struggling with childhood obesity?

Peace and greens,

Melissa

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Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo

In an attempt to get even more veggies into our diet I tried a new recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo using cauliflower.  This was not a quick fix or quick clean up dinner but if you are trying to clean up your “internal act” and still want to indulge in some cozy comfort food this is a great alternative.  The consistency of the cauliflower sauce is smooth, creamy and full of flavor.  It is hard to believe that it wasn’t the original butter and cream recipe.  Regardless of the decreased fat, calories and glycemic load in this meal, it is another great way to get cruciferous veggies into your diet.

Ingredients

Serves 5

1 lb. cooked whole wheat spinach pasta

1/2 head cauliflower cored and chopped

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots chopped

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

Steam cauliflower until tender about 15-20 minutes.

In a medium sauce pan combine olive oil and shallots. Stir often and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Once cauliflower is tender, place in a blender and pour oil mixture on top.

Reuse the cauliflower steam pot to boil your water for pasta. ( do this if you can, it is one less pot to wash)

Blend your cauliflower, oil and shallots until creamy smooth and return the mixture to the medium sauce pan.

Once pasta is ready, drain, return to pot, pour cauliflower mixture and parmesan cheese over top, mix and serve.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

A dynamic duo to remember: SULFORAPHANE AND SELENIUM when working together, research has shown they are up to 4 times more effective than when working alone.

SULFORAPHANE – found in cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower inhibits tumor cell growth.

SELENIUM – found in nuts, fish, meat, eggs and mushrooms protects our bodies from free radicals.

Try serving your Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo dish with a side of stuffed mushrooms.  Check back later in the week for that recipe. They are delish!

KEEP IT REAL. KEEP IT SIMPLE. MAKE IT MATTER. – ANDREA

Delicious Brussels Sprouts…really!!

I have never disliked Brussels sprouts the way some people do, but I can’t say they have ever been a favorite either.  Andrea and I were at Trader Joe’s, saw these stalks of brussel sprouts and just had to bring them home to show the kids.  We decided to fix them without telling the other how we would prepare them and then let you all know what we came up with.  I did a little research and found a recipe with lots of good reviews. ( I have always sautéed Brussels sprouts in garlic and olive oil but wanted to try something different.)  It sounded ridiculously easy so I decided to give it a try.  I must say, they were better than I have ever tasted!  Mae and Charlie were a little put off by the color at first but after a few bites they were won over as well.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

1 1/2 lbs sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed (be sure to cut off the nubby end, this is the bitter part of a brussels sprout)

3 T olive oil

sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sprouts in bowl, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Carefully toss until well coated with the oil.  Spread on baking sheet.  Place in oven on middle rack for 35-45 minutes, shaking pan every 7 minutes to cook all sides evenly.  Cook until dark brown, almost black…this is the carmelization that is deliciously sweet and savory!  So good!  So easy!

The scoop on brussel sprouts…this cruciferous veggie contains certain glucosinolates that prevent cancer, also a great way to get some fiber.

Yummy Cranberry Sauce

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is this super easy cranberry sauce. If you have only ever had the stuff from the can, I urge you to give this a try. It will change your mind about cranberries!  It lasts for a couple of weeks in the fridge and it is wonderful on sandwiches, crusty bread, even green beans.

4 cups fresh cranberries (2 small bags)

1/2 c maple syrup

Juice from 1 orange, plus a big spoonful of the zest

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally. Adjust heat to keep at a low simmer for about 20 minutes or until cranberries have all popped and become jam-like.  Try a cooled spoonful and add a bit more maple syrup or agave syrup if you want it sweeter.  Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

The scoop on cranberries…they offer urinary tract support and protect the gut from dangerous bacteria. Studies show a reduced risk in heart disease and a lowering of blood pressure when adding cranberries to the diet. Cranberries help to reduce cholesterol as well.  They are also lymph movers in the winter…better lymph drainage means better health!  Eat your cranberries!

Have a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving,

Melissa

Chicken Soup – So good for the Sprouting Soul!

My favorite chicken soup recipe begins with garlic, ginger and onion and ends with mmmmm.  I make this when anyone in my family shows any sign of a sniffle or begins to feel a bit under the weather and it usually nips it right in the bud.  Onions, garlic and ginger are a holy food trinity with their cleansing, anti-inflamatory and antibacterial effects.  I lovingly coined it my magic soup and have even had neighbors request it by name when they are feeling not so great.  I always try to use an organic chicken when making this soup as it produces a much clearer broth but I have made it with non-organic chicken as well, and the flavor of the soup is the same.  Here is my chicken soup for the Sprouting Soul recipe.

1 whole chicken

a large handful of fresh ginger (slice it, chop it or leave it whole)

2 large white onions (peeled and quartered)

a large handful of peeled whole garlic cloves

1 or 2 cartons of organic low sodium chicken stock

optional items:

1 bunch of bok choy (chopped)

1 bunch of green onions (chopped)

fresh basil

1-2 cups mung bean sprouts

buckwheat noodles, green tea noodles(as seen in photo) or brown rice spaghetti (all yummy!)

Sriracha chili sauce (chili sauce with the white rooster on the bottle)

lime wedges

Rinse the chicken and place into a large stock pot, cover with water.  Add garlic, white onion, ginger and cook for at least 2 hours, I usually cook it for 3-4.  Skim the top as it cooks.  When you are ready to prepare your soup, turn the burner off and remove the whole chicken from the pot. De-bone the chicken and place the chicken meat back into the stock pot.  Add the cartons of stock, salt to taste and return the heat to low.  Add the bok choy and let it wilt.  Once the bok choy has wilted your soup is ready to serve.  If you have decided to prepare noodles, place them in the bowl first, add the chicken soup, and top with any of the optional ingredients.  My favorite way to top my soup is with mung bean sprouts, slices of fresh basil, juice from a lime wedge and a healthy dose of Sriracha chili sauce. mmmm.

Keep it Real. Keep it Simple. Make it Matter. – Andrea

Peach and Almond Butter Smoothie

The combination of peaches, almond butter and cardamom may sound strange but it makes a great smoothie that leaves a warm feeling in your mouth because of its warm spice.

2 Cups Frozen Peaches

2 Tablespoons Almond Butter

1/2 Teaspoon Cardamom

2 Cups Almond Milk

1 Teaspoon Agave Syrup

4 Ice Cubes

Here are a few of their claims to fame:

Cardamom – improves digestion, reduces gas, detoxifying properties, improves blood circulation to the lungs

Almond Butter – “good fat” including omega 3, great source of protein, heart healthy, anti-inflamatory properties

Peaches – Vitamins A, C, E and K, potassium, fiber