On Friday morning as my 4 year old refused to go into school I did what most parents have done, I promised her something at the end of the day to distract her. You could call this a bribe, incentive, reward, encouragement or whatever you like BUT the one thing I did not do is offer her a food treat as a reward.
You may be wondering why? Surely a gingerbread biscuit or easter egg would have been a great reward for going into school eventually?
Yes my kids do often have food treats or get to choose a biscuit or chocolate from the shops BUT I do my best to not bribe or punish with food.
So am I saying ban all treats?
No, balance is absolutely imperative and I’m suggesting enjoying food for what it is meant for, to nourish us and provide nutrients. There’s always time for treats and of course chocolate, and with Easter approaching there’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate and enjoy food that’s not conditional to behaviour.
There are many other non-food incentives and rewards we can use. Real tangible objects such as a sticker for many younger children will light up their faces, and for older ones a reward chart or a trip to the park or a small gift like stationery, a book or special notebook.
Yes these are all helpful and often much needed but the real reward for us as parents is to teach our children how to manage their feelings, that crying is ok sometimes or feeling down is a part of life and growing up. To talk about how they feel rather than making it better with food or an object.
Sometimes non-food rewards can still backfire when trying to encourage children to try new foods as it undermines the child’s ability to develop a natural desire to try new food.
Children have a liking for sweet foods that is present from birth and continues to grow as they do. This gives parents a very easy bargaining tool. Parents often feel that they are giving their child enjoyment by offering them sweet treats.
Remember getting children to like new foods in the long term requires consistent exposure without the pressure to eat or try.
So you may be wondering what I used on Friday morning?
I used these colourful whiteboard markers and let her choose one when she got home from school. In this instance as well as a chat and reassurance I’m using them as an incentive for the next few days to help us get through the gate willingly with a smile.
Let me know your thoughts and what rewards you use.
Jill Castle 2019 https://jillcastle.com/childhood-nutrition/feeding-practices-rewarding-kids-for-eating/
Child Feeding Guide 2019, Loughborough Universityhttps://www.childfeedingguide.co.uk/tips/common-feeding-pitfalls/food-as-a-reward/
Jo Cormack 2018, Helping Children Develop a Positive Relationship with food
Claire Potter 2013, Getting The Little Blighters To Eat
Those who’ve ditched dairy have found their skin has cleared up, especially with regards to eczema as well as improving hayfever.
According to Research studies done over half of the adult population actually struggle to digest the sugars (lactose) in dairy correctly. This can cause many symptoms like bloating, digestive pain and stomach problems.
Yes dairy is a source of calcium which helps strengthen our bones but did you know you can find high levels of calcium in leafy greens such as kale, spinach and collard greens, nuts and some fruits?
When buying dairy substitutes like: unsweetened rice, oat, hemp, almond, sunflower, cashew, hazelnut, and coconut milk; unsweetened coconut yogurt or kefir; read labels to ensure the substitute is lactose/casein-free and that the boxed variety of almond, hemp, oat, or rice milk don’t contain sweeteners such as brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice. Look for brands that have clean ingredients such as filtered water, sea salt and whichever nut variety you're buying.
Cashew nut milk is the most similar in taste to cows milk and great in baking, hot drinks or added to a smoothie for a creamy texture.
Pure olive oil or coconut oil butters are best and are soya free but do contain palm oil so always check if it’s sustainable or not and for any other additives and ingredients.
Cheese is a big one with regards to giving up dairy and there are many dairy free cheeses
on the market. Depending on the brands used some vegan cheeses can be highly processed, However some brands are made using a few ingredients like nut milks, enzymes, and salt. Better still is to make your own alternatives as then you have exact control over what’s inside.
The most common go to when replacing diary is soy, here are some reasons why soy may
not always be the best replacement:
So the final question is to moo or not to moo?
You’ve probably heard that 70-80% of your immunity comes from your gut which means if there’s an imbalance in your gut microflora chances are your overall immunity will suffer.
I recently attended a training day with Biocare on Gut adaptation with Alessandro Ferretti.
What did I learn?
How to put these learnings into practise!
Think about how you eat next time you sit down, are you fully present and focussed on the flavours and textures of your food? Are you distracted by the TV, your phone or are you paying attention to chewing slowly? This is especially important with children who love to eat as quickly as they can as their minds are already planning their next adventure. You are what you eat is true but should also read you are HOW you eat which will give you many clues as to what could be going on inside your gut.
STOP, CHEW and ENJOY
I've set up a FREE facebook group called Creative health tips for families - with LJ Nutrition
to help share ideas around family meals and health.
Dr Marilyn Grenville refers to Magnesium as 'natures tranquilliser'. It is important for many symptoms that relate to anxiety, stress and emotional wellbeing. It is also an important mineral to help with PMS
in women, who have been found to have generally lower levels.
According to Dr Michael Molsely recent studies have shown magnesium to help with insomnia, depression, migraine, PMS as well as constipation. He described magnesium as "the helper molecule that is involved in over 600 reactions in the body" Including: Helping convert food into energy, helping
to create new proteins from amino acids, helping to create and repair DNA and RNA, helping muscle move by contracting and relaxing them and helping to send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.
The following foods are good to excellent sources of magnesium as listed by Spritzler (2017) :
Failing getting your magnesium from food there are very good high quality supplements available
in the form of magnesium citrate which is easily absorbable.
Pretty amazing for one mineral don't you think? As always check interactions before taking
any supplements to avoid any interactions!
Image Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_baibakova'>baibakova / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
It smells, it sometimes tastes a bit funny so why are these jars of bacteria good for us?
First of all let’s discuss what fermentation is:
Fermentation is the breakdown of sugar into an acid or alcohol.
With vegetables this process is known as lacto (healthy bacteria lactobacillus) fermentation and when vegetables are sliced and soaked in a salt-water liquid or their own brine it allows the growth of bacteria lactobacillus which breaks down and eats the sugars present in vegetables and converts them into lactic acid. This is why fermented veggies have that tart or even sour flavour.
Imagine having no fridge, what would you do? Ferment your food like they did in the ancient days as form of preservation. Clever right? Fermenting our food transforms it and creates good bacteria and fungi, making it more digestible and nutrient dense.
We all house trillions of different types of bacteria and microbes inside our bodies! Beneficial bacteria (the good guys – think of pacman) play an essential role as our first line of defence when it comes to immunity. Did you know that 70% of your immunity comes from within your gut?
With this is mind several things can disrupt the good guys inside and throw this balance out such as stress, poor diet, travel, antibiotic use or infection. In order to rebalance the gut microflora fermentation comes in to consume foods containing live microorganisms.
Several studies have shown that kefir (fermented dairy) possesses antimicrobial, anti tumor anticarcinogenic and immunomodulating effects. Fermented milk is easier to digest and a good option for people who are lactose intolerant.
So to answer the question why are fermented foods good for us?
The short answer is they are high in fibre, minerals, nutrients and amino acids and contain up to a thousand times more lactobacillus than yogurt.
And to answer Danielle’s question - the key to success with fermenting is to ensure the vegetables are fully submerged in their brine or salt water at all times. If need be keep topping up the ferment with filtered water to prevent mould forming on the top!
What you need to get started:
CHOOSE YOUR FOOD:
Vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy
Found on the food surfaces, or from previous ferments, pre-bought starter microbes
Enhances the flavour, pulls moisture out, inhibits undesirable microbes
Glass jars with airtight lids avoiding metal and plastic
TIME AND PATIENCE:
Dairy 12-24 hours
Vegetables 7 days up to 2 or 3 months
Recipe for sauerkraut:
1kg Red or white cabbage
22g coarse salt (4 tsp)
1kg glass jar sterilise with hot water/soap
This is as common question I get asked all the time does eating foods high in fat make me put on weight? With summer around the corner it's time to know your facts on fat.
Cholesterol is mostly made by the body in the liver. It's carried in the blood as low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). The type of fats we get from our diet affect these levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Eating too much saturated fat in your diet can raise LDL cholesterol in the blood which can lead to fatty deposits around the arteries which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Eating too much fat and sugar can increase the level of triglycerides (fatty substance made mostly by the liver) and raised levels in the blood have been linked with narrowing arteries.
A small amount of fat is essential to living a healthy balanced diet. Fat is a source of omega 3 fatty acids which the body can’t make itself. Fat helps the body absorb vitamins that are fat soluble like Vitamin A, D and E.
So, what’s the conclusion? Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Eating good quality fats can help keep you healthy. Don’t cut out the fat; enjoy it! Eat good fats like:
Lindi Jaff -