MyFoodMyHealth Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 9

In this issue:

  • Featured Recipe: Asian Greens with Mango and Cilantro
  • Myra's Kitchen Corner: Steer Your Kids to a Lifetime of Healthy Eating Habits, Part 2 
  • Results from Our Opinion Poll
  • A Note from Our Chief Nutrition Advisor: Digestive Wisdom from Kathie Swift
  • Buy Fresh and Local: Stop by Your Farmers Market

Featured Recipe: Asian Greens with Mango and Cilantro

This delightful blend of sautéed greens, red peppers and seasonal delights like mango and snow peas make this a festive and colorful treat.  Download the Recipe



Myra's Kitchen Corner: Steer Your Kids to a Lifetime of Healthy Eating Habits, Part 2

The last newsletter issue offered you a few pointers to help you steer your kids to a lifetime of good eating habits. Here are some additional tips to get your kids off to the right start:

Get your kids in the kitchen cooking with you.
You'll be teaching your children a valuable skill that they'll need when they leave home. Moreover, kids are more likely to eat what they have had a hand in preparing. When they feel they "own" the dish, they feel safer exploring new flavors. I've watched children try and like foods and dishes they would never have dreamed of eating because they have been involved in making the dish. Even when kids are tiny, they can press the buttons on a food processor, or take a spoon and stir something. Any effort on your part can foster more adventuresome eaters down the road.

Don't force your kids to eat.
Forcing children to eat is a good way to make them rebel. It also sets up distorted thinking about food. I have a vivid childhood memory of when my mother tried to force my older brother to eat a soft-boiled egg. He retaliated by vomiting, sending my other brother and me bolting from the table. I don't recall my mother ever forcing us to eat again. Set the schedule and decide on the food; then let the kids decide what and how much they'll eat.

Do enforce a one-bite rule.
One-bite nudging seems to work well, especially if the kids have cooked with you. When I cook with kids, I tell them that they have to take one bite of anything we have cooked. Since they feel safe in our cooking environment, they are always compliant. My thirteen-year-old niece told me that she would not eat the glaze that we were making for our roasted Brussels sprouts because she didn’t like mustard. I put a dab on the back of her hand and said she had to taste it. She did, and was surprised that she liked it so much.

Sometimes kids need to be introduced to something new multiple--even as many as ten--times until they finally take to it. Don't give up just because they don't like something at first.

Make cooking and eating together fun.
When I first started cooking with my five-year-old nephew--knowing he was mad about dinosaurs--I announced that we were going to make stegosaurus fries (my name for roasted sweet potato fries). He ran through the house announcing this in glee before we started. I showed him how to use a t-shaped peeler, which is easy for little hands to use. He grabbed onto that peeler for dear life as he peeled every last sweet potato. We then moved on to allosaurus fingers (roasted green beans). He snapped off the ends, tossed them in oil and salt, and was delighted with the results. He rolled chicken legs in coconut, made guacamole and pesto, broccoli and black bean burgers. I got him involved in some aspect of every dish we made, and he ate everything. When his mom made those dishes again, he continued to eat them because he had a joyful association with them.

To get kids used to eating real food, keep the food on the simpler side.
Kids get overwhelmed if the flavors are too complex. Avoid textures and tastes that take a sophisticated palette to appreciate, such as highly spiced food (unless you come from a culture of highly spiced foods, such as Indian). Bitter tastes are tough for most kids. Slimy textures, such as okra, are difficult as well.

Most kids love roasted vegetables, because--lets face it--kids are attracted to sweetness. I cook weekly for a girl with multiple allergies who is 11. I make her a wide variety of roasted vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower (roasted to deep golden) sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, beets, parsnips and kale. Roasting caramelizes the sugars inherent in vegetables and makes the vegetables taste sweet, making it possible to have a sweet flavor without adding sugar.

Relatively simple food served along with sauces and dips usually go over well. Kids like the fresh flavors of garlic, ginger and fresh herbs. They like the textures to be crunchy and creamy. I've found that kids generally like sautéed greens, including spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard, collards and kale as long as they are fresh. Kids love to interact with their food, so a vegetable such as an artichoke, which is mild tasting and a real experience to eat, goes over well.

Make homemade desserts.
Most young people love to bake. If you bake with your kids, you can give them an occasional sweet treat while you control the quality of the ingredients and they won't feel deprived.

Get your children the highest quality food that you can.
Don't underestimate the ineffable life force in food. When food is fresh and vibrant, it just tastes better. Kids viscerally respond to that. Let them know that by eating good food they become healthy and strong. You'll be on the way to setting your kids up with good habits for life.

Results from Our Opinion Poll

The results are in from our recent poll, which asked our readers and subscribers if they would be interested in a kid-friendly electronic cookbook from MyFoodMyHealth. It was close, but you told us you would like an electronic cookbook with gluten and dairy free recipes that are delicious to kids. Stay tuned in future issues for news on our progress with our first electronic cookbook. 

Thank you so much for your responses and for helping us make MyFoodMyHealth even better!


A Note from Our Chief Nutrition Advisor: Digestive Wisdom

By Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN


(Part 1 of a three-part series extracted from the upcoming book: The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health, Gerard Mullin MD & Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD, Rodale July 2011)

For centuries, ancient wisdom has recognized the digestive tract's role in health and vitality. The Sushruta Samhita, a comprehensive guide to Ayurveda (translated "the wisdom and science of life") defines health as:

  • A person whose basic emotional and physical tendencies are in balance,
  • Whose digestive power is balanced,
  • Whose bodily tissues, elimination functions and activities are in balance,
  • And whose mind, senses and souls are filled with vitality,
  • That person is said to be healthy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine appreciates that the unimpeded flow of energy or “chi” is the essence of health and well-being. A blockage in the flow of chi through energy channels called meridians is the root cause of illness. The major source of chi in the human body is thought to be centered around the digestive tract in a ball of energy called the "don tien." This vital force of energy circulating our digestive tract is essential to health.

Today, the raging epidemics of digestive disorders, autoimmune conditions, mental health problems and other chronic diseases have origins in the gut. Allergies, arthritis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, migraines and neurological disorders are often related to digestive discord. Why? Because your digestive tract is home to: 1. your second brain or enteric nervous system, 2. your microflora or resident bacteria and 3. most of your immune system. This gut trifecta is multi-tasking to keep you healthy. It truly is our "highway to health or pathway to pathology."

Here’s three tips to boost your gut function:

1. Eat in rhythm. Eat three meals or five to six mini meals scheduled at regular intervals throughout the day.

2. Eat in a relaxed state. Capitalize on chewing as saliva provides important digestive factors that help break down food molecules. Breathe. Chew. Chew. Chew...

3. Eat until you are no more than two-thirds full. Think of your stomach like a blender and to maximize its function, don't overfill it.

Next month, we'll continue our digestive healing journey. In the meantime, practice those gut-friendly tips and enjoy this delicious My Foundation Diet recipe for Open Faced Cucumber-Gazpacho Sandwich with Salmon.

Download Recipe


My Foundation Diet Expanded Second Edition

Now with flexitarian and vegetarian recipes & meal plans
The My Foundation Diet created by Kathie in conjunction with MyFoodMyHealth is a seasonal, delicious, whole foods approach to optimizing your health and genetic potential.

Learn more about the My Foundation Diet

Learn more about Kathie

Buy Fresh and Local: Stop by Your Farmers Market

Now that spring is here again, we thought we would remind you to visit your local farmers market. When it comes to getting fresh food grown locally, your local farmers market is a fantastic place to shop. Direct from local farms, the food is more flavorful, fresh and nutritious than you will find in the super market. Plus, the money stays in the local economy, helping support strong farming traditions and sustainable communities.

For a list of famers markets in your area go to the listings from the US Department of Agriculture or Local Harvest.

US Department of Agriculture List of Farmers Markets 

Local Harvest  


The UltraSimple Diet Challenge

By Dr. Mark Hyman

Are your weight loss attempts failing? Your challenges may not be all your fault. There may be two underlying biological problems you have not addressed including hidden toxins and a hidden fire of inflammation. With UltraSimple Diet Challenge, Dr. Mark Hyman has developed a home-coaching program designed to help you address the true underlying causes of being sick and fat. Inside this 7-day program, you'll learn the new science that can help you revitalize your health, boost your energy, and lose weight.

Learn more about Dr. Mark Hyman

Order The UltraSimple Diet Challenge

Food as Medicine Conference

If you are a health professional interested in learning the latest, most comprehensive, science-based information on nutrition, then we'd like to recommend the Food As Medicine Conference (FAM).  The conference offers practical training on how to integrate nutrition into clinical practice, medical education and community health from some of the leading experts in the field. It's the nation's leading clinical nutrition training program for healthcare professionals.

June 9 - 12, 2011
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
Washington, DC area

Conference information

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