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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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.$File/Guidelines%20for%20healthy%20foods%20and%20drinks%20supplied%20in%20school%20canteens.pdf 

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) 

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?

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).
Servings per pack: 1                                                 
Serving Size: 30g                                          
Per Serving30 g100 g
Energy482.4 KJ 1608 KJ
115 Cal385.6 Cal
Protein3.9 g13 g
Fat Total4.9 g16.3 g
Saturated2.6 g8.6 g
Omega 3150.78 mg502.6 mg
Omega 6519.61 mg1732.03 mg
Omega 9258.82 mg862.73 mg
Carbohydrates14 g46.6 g
Natural Sugar9 g30 g
Dietary Fibre2.2 g7.3 g
Sodium2.1 mg7 mg
Calcium27 mg90 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!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The right diet... Is there such a thing?

Does anyone else feel like the more they read and research the more everything begins to contradict itself??? (Especially when you are looking at gut healing).

One book says include this, the other books or blogs claims it’s the worst thing for you, so what do you believe without going crazy thinking about it all??

(A typical week's reading/research for me!) 

To be honest there is no one size fits all diet or lifestyle that works. Some people’s bodies need meat, others do well without it. It’s the same with dairy and grains and everything in between!

The key is listening to your body and finding what works for you. The ultimate goal is living life without underlying health issues and knowing how good it feels to have a body that functions well.

So much of society these days are so used to feeling run down, lethargic, constipated or to the other extreme, bloated, having migraines, headaches, cramps and don't do anything about it because they are not connecting these symptoms with the foods they are putting into their bodies when in reality everything you put in your body determines how you are going to function and feel.

We need to go back to remembering food is fuel for us, the same way petrol is to a car. You put the wrong fuel in and well the car isn't going to run very well, if it runs at all? Eat crap and you will feel crap, eat food that nourishes your body and your body will perform at its peak.

I've been everything, a meat eater (although I haven't eaten red meat since a teenager by choice), vegan, vegetarian and am now a very happy poultry & fish eating, sometimes organic dairy eating whole foodie who dabbles in a bit of paleo but still includes a little spelt as it’s tolerated.. Confusing much!!???

The point is I have found what works for my body - I've never tolerated dairy well but can stomach some biodynamic organic dairy and a little feta cheese every so often and recently tried sheep’s yoghurt which was quite easy on the stomach. My eldest Riley is much the same with dairy and my youngest; Lachlan is anaphylactic so total avoidance of all dairy products for him.

 I don't like labels so choose not to label the way we eat (other than it being REAL food) but sometimes have to for others to understand what we are doing with the whole gut healing journey we are on for Lachlan (Master 3). For him grains and legumes are highly irritating to his gut and as soon as we removed these from his diet it was like a miracle overnight cure to his eczema after battling it for so long. It was truly amazing the effect things like rice, rice milk etc were having on his stomach.

                                           A visual of the Real food movement philosophy 

We are always taught (especially as new mums) that rice is one of the least allergenic foods out there but believe me rice allergies/intolerances are actually really common these days and many believe it’s due to these hard to digest foods being given to babies as “first foods” when really in my opinion (and many others) now I have done extensive research into leaky gut/digestive diseases and autoimmune conditions, we should be holding off on grains for as long as we can in babies, their immature guts are just not cut out for it at 4-6 months old (the general accepted guidelines for introducing solids  (although in my opinion 6 months is better for a better formed gut).  There are so many great first food choices for babies, Sally Fallon author of “Nourishing Traditions” goes into great details in her books as to why & what a baby should be eating, I highly recommend checking out her books. She is highly regarded in the Real food movement.

So you're all probably thinking -  how do you go about finding out what’s right for you and what’s possibly giving you grief?

It’s really about listening to your body and how you feel after you eat something. The best way to find these things out is through short elimination trials. One to two weeks is plenty (if you do not have underlying health issues such as leaky gut etc otherwise it is at least a 3- 6 month elimination required here once you know what you are dealing with) and then you reintroduce the eliminated food slowly and look for your body’s response to it. And remember it’s only doing one food at a time otherwise you won't know what was possibly affecting you. 
Keeping a food diary is a must when doing this as well as noting any symptoms you have no matter how small.

The most common foods that cause issues in many people are dairy, wheat, gluten but there are many many more.

I  personally believe no person should include preservatives, colours, additives, sulphites (there are some naturally occurring sulphites in foods which are ok but some people do react to them also) and manmade sugars (aspartame etc) in their diets; they do nothing for your body and have been linked to so many health issues and diseases.  

This is where a REAL food diet comes into play. Think about how our grandparents ate it was very different to what the modern standard Australian diet (SAD) is today, so over processed and holds little nutritional value.

So if you aren’t feeling well, constantly tired, bloated, having bowel issues etc, challenge yourself to a elimination. Keep foods simple during the trial (caffeine and soft drinks, alcohol, chocolate etc are best avoided too for that time frame) and see how you feel without the offending food.

Days 2 – 4 are the hardest (withdrawal happens and I won’t lie to you!) but if you plan your meals, and have the right mind set behind it you may just discover how your body is supposed to feel everyday and that is awesome!

I also highly recommend working with a naturopath who specialises in food allergies/intolerances etc. There are some great aids they can give you supplement wise that have made a huge difference to Lachlan’s gut healing journey.

Here is to living a healthy happy life symptom free!

Would love to hear how you go!

The information shared on Feeding Two Growing Boys is based soley on my own personal experiences and research.
 The information offered here is not intended to replace medical/trained holistic advice. 
Before beginning or making any changes please always consult your chosen health care provider.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sniffly season is upon us...

With the sniffly season upon us, I wanted to share our home remedies that we use to quickly get over colds/flu’s which let’s face it is going to happen when having a preschooler (no matter how healthy and well fed he is) he is going to bring home preschool germs and with us having a toddler who is on a immune /gut healing journey we can't afford to be sick for long so quick action is needed but without the nasty potions you pick up at the chemist which we avoid at all costs.

  • Firstly diet is super important – eating food rich in good essential fats, antioxidants and that are immune boosting is essential. Your body needs the nutrients and vitamins to heal itself. The modern day diet (SAD in many cases (standard Australian diet) leaves much to be desired. 

  • Olive Leaf Extract – it’s horrible to drink (although my children are slightly strange and enjoy the taste!) but my goodness it is like liquid gold! It is 100% natural and is gluten, sugar, preservative, alcohol and yeast free (check labels of different brands to confirm). Not only is it great for cardiovascular support it is also a great immune support and has 400% more antioxidant power than the equivalent amount of Vitamin C. I give it to the boys almost daily in winter and any other time of the year at the first sign of a sniffle.  2.5mls for a child over 2 years of age twice a day and 5mls for an adult twice a day is usually the recommended dosage on the bottle but please do ask at your health food store /naturopath ( or your chemist if they do stock it).

  • Another super easy trick is to get a face washer and put some 100% eucalyptus oil on it (make sure it’s 100% you don't want the ethanol blends) and put it on the shower floor whilst you shower and the water/steam act as though you are doing a vapour inhaler (which let’s face it is hard to get little kids to do using the old bowl and towel method sitting down). I also put the same face washer in a bowl and re splash with the oil and cover with boiling water and put it in the boy’s rooms overnight (I found using a traditional vaporiser created too much dampness which leads to mould on windows etc which I do not want in a newly built house!!) (Please do not put this where children can access of course as its boiling water and it will burn them! Top of a cupboard etc out of little peoples reach is best)

  • One of our favourite products is Little Innocents Vapour rub which unlike Vicks & Vicks baby balm is a non toxic way to help your child breathe easier when they are sniffly  We rub it on the boy’s chests/backs, behind their ears and on the soles of their feet (then covered with socks).

  • Garlic is nature’s own natural antibiotic so put it wherever you can, load up dishes like soups, casseroles, bone broths etc with garlic or if you have fussy eaters even make up some homemade garlic bread with some yummy organic butter (or olive oil if dairy free) and smoother on the crushed garlic (spelt sourdough and put some oregano sprinkled on top with the olive oil/garlic mix is lovely too) Just a word of warning on raw garlic though, it can cause issues to those with sensitive digestive tracks so if this is the case cooked garlic in soup etc is your best option.

  • Drinking plenty of fluids, lots of filtered water (not chilled), tea (with no dairy, avoid dairy for the duration you are unwell), bone broth are all great as well as clear soups to rehydrate your system.

  • Dairy free Probiotics, (we use a practitioner only brand everyday) and when sick we use a double dose to help up the good bacteria levels in the gut.

  • Raw honey is also another great natural bacteria fighter. The boys like a spoonful of raw honey off a spoon if they have a sore throat.  It is very soothing. (Not for children under 12 months)
  • A good nasal aspirator – or “the snot sucker” as it’s called in our house. These are brilliant for clearing a blocked nose.

  • Plenty of rest and if possible get out in the sunshine for a daily dose of Vitamin D! It does wonders for healing and your general mood which tends to be a little off when sick! 

So here you have our remedies, I'd love to hear some of your own.


Disclaimer - I am not a Doctor or Naturopath etc these are my own personal remedies that I have chosen to use based on my research over the years and from various holistic sources. The above remedies are suitable for children over 2 years of age. For young children as their conditions can deteriorate quite quickly please seek medical advice if you have any concerns regarding their symptoms. 

Slow cooker chicken stock/broth

I've had a few requests for how I make my chicken stock//broth so here it is below. 

There is no one way to make stock some people add more things than what I have listed others less but this works well for us! 

It's also a great way to get the most out of your chicken as free range and organic chickens are expensive you might as well get everything you can out of them and reap the health benefits too!

Slow cooker chicken broth/stock

You will need: 

1 x roasted chicken carcass (free range or organic preferably)
A couple of bay leaves
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 onion quartered
1 carrot roughly chopped
A tablespoon or so of Braggs Apple Cider vinegar with “Mother”
Salt & Pepper to season
Enough filtered water to cover all of the above in your slow cooker/crock pot.

Throw everything in and simmer on low for 12 – 24 hours (the longer the better).

Cool stock quickly and skim off the top layer of “fat” and then store in glass jars in the fridge if using in the next couple of days or freeze in jars or zip lock bags if space is an issue.

Thaw in fridge overnight or a bowl of cold water if you need it in a hurry and add to risottos, soups instead of water and stock concentrate or stock cubes (which are full of nasties) or drink warmed up as a healing bone broth perfect when you're feeling under the weather.

We use ours mostly in pumpkin soup and Quirky Cooking’s Coconut Lemon Chicken soup which the boys love. (link here )

Kat x