Pete Evans has a lot to answer for with his Bubba Yum Yum antics (Pete Evans defends Paleo baby recipes on Sunday Night). Not only is this book putting baby’s growth and health at serious risk, but he also significantly adding to public confusion. There has already been substantial coverage of the direct risks, such as vitamin A toxicity from high levels of liver intake that is potentially fatal. Less consideration has been given to the confusion created amongst parents trying to do the best thing when it comes to feeding their baby.
Evans’s high profile media position gives him a platform from which he promotes misinformation that contradicts the recommendations made in the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Infant Feeding Guidelines. These guidelines are based on over 55,000 high quality research articles, and specifically state that breastfeeding is best for mother and child. For parents who are unable to breastfeed, commercial infant formula is the only suitable and safe alternative to meeting the primary nutritional needs of infants.
Parents who are likely to heed Pete’s infant feeding advice are those who may also feel guilty for not breastfeeding and Pete is directly praying on such vulnerabilities. In response to the question; Is the Paleo Way for new mums, babies and toddlers book taking the whole paleo thing too far? The answer quiet simply is yes. Let’s commend the action taken by well-respected evidence-backed professionals such as Professor Heather Yeatman for preventing this book from going to print.
By Simone Emery from 'Play with Food'
First thing first, I want to thank Nikki for having me here today! I love Nikki’s honest approach to health and wellbeing for the entire family. Sometimes as a mum, I have my own internal battles about what to feed my children and wonder if I am I too over-protective about the foods we eat. We do enjoy a healthy array of foods but I do get a bit confused about what to do about “forbidden foods”. Firstly, I hate calling them that! So, I will just talk about all foods as “food” here – no labelling.
My master’s degree in food studies, my certificate in child’s nutrition and my additional studies in feeding therapy almost make it harder for me to trust my gut when feeding my children. This week when attending Ellyn Satter’s workshop in Sydney, I did ask for her opinion on party foods. Ellyn’s answer may surprise you.
However, before I get to that, here is some more information about Ellyn Satter. Ellyn Satter has pioneered a range of researched feeding models for families throughout her career as a dietitian. Her most recognised research is the “division of responsibility”. This is where she helps families understand their individual roles in the feeding dynamic. Parents are simply to be the provider and that the rest of the feeding process should be controlled by the child (the what, how much, how long etc). Ellyn endorses the family meal as the tool to enable the division of responsibility. By understanding and playing out their roles effectively in family meals, children are raised to be competent, healthy and joyful eaters.
Without trying to go too much further in explaining her models that span numerous books, workshops, journal articles and a comprehensive website, I will talk to you specifically about her answer to my question.
Ellyn’s response was that food is to be treated like food. So, if my daughter’s behaviour at parties or occasions where she sees food-we-don’t-have-at-home is abnormal, I need to address how she sees that food. The examples of behaviours she said were “abnormal” included; only staying by the food table and not playing with the other kids at the party; striking out at other kids that had jelly cups; trying to take jelly from other kids; hoarding or trying to sneak extra jelly cups. Ellyn said that to effectively address abnormal behaviour around food, I would have to normalise the food by having it at home. So, this left me thinking pretty hard. My daughter’s behaviour isn’t that extreme but was a touch abnormal for her. Where do I go from here? My head and heart don’t want to start introducing foods at home that we don’t usually have just for the sake of a few parties. And even if I wanted to, how would I ever manage to introduce such a huge variety of foods “just in case”?
The answer dawned on me! Easy! I would go back to basics from my other feeding therapy training and ensure we always offered a variety of sensory inputs at mealtimes. I will continue making sure my daughters are exposed to a variety of colours, textures, smells, temperatures, sounds and visual representations of their foods. In party situations, they can choose what they want to eat and I will try not to flinch. However, I will know that they are familiar with similar foods from a sensory point of view and I will just have fun with them. They are kids after all.
If your child is particularly fussy with a smell, texture, temperature, sound, colour or any other visual aspect of a food increasing their exposure to it via the family meal will help you iron out the root cause. Here are my tips for holding a successful family meal that appeals to even the fussiest of kids.
A bit about Simone:
Simone is a mother of 2 little girls and lives in Sydney. She runs Play with Food. Play with Food offer food experiences to children and their families that aim to delight the taste buds and imagination. Her aim in these classes is to help families have happy mealtimes. Get her guide “The ABC’s to happier and healthier family meals” via her website www.playwithfood.com.au
Guest post by Limeapple: http://www.limeapple.ca/
There is no other workout that burns calories, boosts metabolism, tones muscles, relieves stress and increases flexibility better than swimming.
Plus, there's no equipment or sneakers required – all you need is a swimsuit, cap and goggles! Get to the pool now and reap these benefits + more!
These are only some of the great physical and mental benefits of swimming! One of the best things about swimming being a lifelong activity, is that you can share it with your friends and family of all ages. It's a great sport that makes you younger, healthier and happier, so...just keep swimming!
Osteoporosis: not typically what you think about when talking kids nutrition and fitness, but as always prevention is better than cure – actually, in this case, prevention is the only option.
I am running a little late for Osteoporosis Awareness month, but after having our first experience with a broken bone a few weeks ago when my daughter decided to do a spot of tree climbing, I thought it was timely to bring up the issue.
What is osteoporosis
You are probably more familiar with osteoporosis as an older persons issue; as something that leads to hip fractures, which for an older person is a pretty scary prospect considering that 25% of those who suffer a hip fracture die within 6months - this isn’t a condition which affects the minority either, 1 in 2 women over 50 and 1 in 4 men will be affected.
Osteoporosis literally means ‘bones with holes’ – the bones lose minerals such as calcium which causes them to be weak and become brittle, thus increasing the risk of fracture.
We want to do all we can to prevent these fractures, because often they lead to surgery later in life. According to the American Recall Center, "Patients should be aware of medical device recalls, like the complication with the Zimmer Persona device that can cause pain and lead to revision surgery!"
Why it is important during childhood
During childhood the body is in a construction phase of bone growth; the body works hard to lay down as much bone as possible. By the end of teenage years bone growth has been completed and by about 25 to 30 years of age, ‘peak bone mass’ is achieved – this means your body is no longer able to build bone and is now working on maintaining it.
So as you can see, the window of opportunity to build nice healthy bones is actually quite limited.
On a side note, and as a bit of a proud mummy moment, when the orthopaedic surgeons reviewed the x-ray of my daughters broken arm they were very impressed with the ‘maturity’ of her bones – and what do I attribute this to? Her nutritious diet and active lifestyle =)
Top tips for healthy bones
Calcium is what we all think of when it comes to bone health, and this is a great place to start.
Dairy foods (milk, yoghurt, some cheese) are great sources of calcium, but don’t think that they are the only source. Milk alternatives, such as soy, almond and oat milks are common substitutes for dairy milk and, provided they are fortified with 100mg per 100ml, then these too are a good source of calcium and will help build healthy bones (so be sure to check the label – and look for added sugar while you are there too).
Foods such as almonds, salmon with bones, and dark leafy greens like spinach, help add calcium to your diet too.
In addition to calcium, keep your vitamin D levels in mind too. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Typically we get vitamin D from the sun but depending on where you live, how much time you spend outdoors, the season, and your skin type, you may also need to top up with dietary sources like fatty fish, liver, eggs and vitamin D fortified products (did you know you can now get vitamin D fortified mushrooms!!)
Since your heading outdoors for your daily dose of vitamin D, you might as well go for a double bone benefit and do some weight bearing exercise. Whether you are in the bone building or maintenance phase or life, weight bearing exercise is really important to promote bone density. Try running, jogging, dancing or other types of strength training (swimming and cycling are great low impact exercise but don’t have a weight bearing benefit), for strong healthy bones.
Detecting and Testing
Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease, because it is very hard to detect before a fracture actually occurs. There are no signs or symptoms. There are those that will tell you, you can test you calcium levels through blood tests, but unfortunately these people have been grossly mis-educated. Our bodies tightly control the amount of calcium in our blood and will in fact draw calcium from our bones to maintain serum levels.
This is again another reason that it is so important to promote good bone health at all stages of life.
FunFact Despite the fact that during pregnancy and breastfeeding your baby has a high need for calcium, there is no need to increase your intake as the maternal body becomes more efficient at absorbing it.
Finally we have rain! But of course I am running late for school pick up.
I quickly organise my three year old to go and collect her brother and sister from school. She races to the car barefoot and proudly displaying evidence of today’s playgroup activities and lunch over the front of her dress.
As we arrive at school and start walking towards the classrooms, I shelter myself from the rain under the covered path, but my three year old strolls carefree beside the path, in the rain, through the puddles and through the mud. Obviously by the time we get to the classroom she is a right mess; dirty, muddy and soaking.
I look around at the other younger siblings waiting to collect their brothers and sisters; they are in boots and raincoats and fairly neatly dressed. I look again back to my dishevelled three year old who is grinning at me as she squishes mud between her toes. I sigh and think what a failure of a mother I am – my daughter is filthy, running free in the rain and loving it.
The other parents look at me disapprovingly as my daughter heads for another puddle. “Don’t you go in that puddle!” another mother yells as her daughter attempts to join mine in the mud. I can see the anguish on this mothers face at the thought of her child getting dirty and the disappointment on the child’s face at not being able to join the fun in the rain.
In that moment I realise I certainly am not failing as a mother. Although not making it easy for the other parents in that moment, my daughter is doing exactly what she should be – enjoying her childhood, being enriched by the simple joys and experiences in life. After all if you can’t squish mud between your toes when you’re two then when can you?
We all want the best for our children, so let’em get muddy! I could list the many benefits of playing in the rain and mud but it’s easier to just ask - what’s the harm?
This week Nutrition Australia released the revised Healthy Living Pyramid – this has kind of been a big deal within the nutrition world since it is the first revise in 15 years. Most media and nutrition folk have had their two cents to say about the new pyramid (read the media release here), so I won’t rehash this too much but what I would like to bring attention to is a very interesting trend that I noticed on social media in response to the new Healthy Living Pyramid.
Now some of you may astutely notice that legumes are featured twice in the pyramid – No, this is not a mistake!! After reading many comments on social media and even running my own little Q&A on Facebook, it seems that many people are confused about which food group legumes and pulses actually fit into. So here it is, legumes like lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans (not so much peanuts although technically a legume) are in fact BOTH vegetables and a meat alternative.
Amazing I know but these little suckers pack such a big nutritious punch that they fit into our five food groups twice!
They are packed with fibre (half a cup of kidney beans contains almost 5g of fibre!) plus a huge range of vitamins and mineral like iron, zinc, folate, B-group vitamins, like vegetables but also contain a great big portion of protein like meat (as well as those fore-mentioned vitamins and minerals also found in meat), – plus they are relatively cheap and hugely versatile so an absolutely fabulous food all round.
Check out some of my favourite legume based recipes:
Bean and Corn Burrito
Mexican Bean Pizza
Mixed Bean Enchiladas
Little Curry Bites
Finally my new e-book is ready!!
The Nutrition for Health and Performance e-book is a key resource to help you get the most out of your workouts and training. This e-book will assist you to plan your diet to improve performance, aid recovery, promote weight loss and increase muscle mass.
It is not about gimmicks, supplements or magic tricks - just the right foods, at the right time, in the right amounts.
The Nutrition for Health and Performance e-book contains:
- 18 pages of up-to-date information on healthy eating and sports nutrition
- Thorough explanation of the role of macronutrients and food groups as they promote health, weight loss and performance
- Key information on the timing of meals and snacks
- A comprehensive, calorie controlled, nutrient balance 3 day menu plan
- 12 specifically designed recipes
I will not Quit!
That’s right, I’m boycotting the ‘quitting,’ the ‘toxic,’ the ‘poison’ food hate out there and calling for a revolution of FOOD LOVE! – The freedom to LOVE and EMBRACE all foods, regardless of fat, sugar or phytonutrients; to make well informed food choices, free of propaganda and commercial bias; to truly let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food –by nurturing the body, mind and soul through virtue of empowerment and celebration, rather than guilt or fear of fear of being shun from ‘the tribe.’
I want to see a movement; let me hear you say: ‘I embraced broccoli’; I choose the, ‘The Guilty-free way’; ‘Sweet Potato’ changed my life – I LOVE FOOD and I LOVE MY BODY!!!
With that now off our chests we can sit back and enjoy the feel good movie of the year, ‘That ‘wide variety of nutritious foods’ movie.’… Mmmm makes me feel like eating apples and other unprocessed goodness.
The choice is yours and the choice is easy – eat unprocessed foods, eat a wonderful variety of whole foods, enjoy bounties of fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, seeds, nuts, choose meat and dairy if you wish.
Free food from its stigma and take back your right to enjoy food!
If there are foods you love, find opportunity to enjoy them, to savour them and appreciate them – don’t avoid them, don’t feel guilty, don’t hide your face in the pantry and pretend you’re looking for something while you shove four tim tams into your mouth at once and pray nobody asks you anything for the next five minutes while you struggle to breath and chew – proudly break out the packet of tim tams and share them with your friends and family.
Now let’s hear a testimony from a satisfied customer: “I didn’t quit anything and I’m glowing, I’ve maintain my body weight thanks to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and regular exercise – oh and taking the time to relax, enjoy my family, my food and my sleep. The transformation has been amazing - that’s glorious food, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
*Please note ‘satisfied customer’ may or may not be fictitious - I take no accountability either way.
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Being a bit of a nerd, this comment might be a little bias but; books are awesome! There are literally books scattered all over our house - and this may be another reason that it's not a coincidence that my kids love veggies.
According to Natalie Parletta, Senior Research Fellow in nutrition, mental and physical health and children's diets at University of South Australia; "Research has shown that (even) exposing children to vegetables in story books from a young age can further strengthen the likelihood that they will eat vegetables."
So here is a list of some of our favourite 'healthy' books. This list hasn't been sponsored, nor is it exclusive, in fact if you have come across any other great books for kids please share them in the comments. I hope you like these book as much as my kids do!
Adventures of SuperYam: Harry and SuperYam
Written by Alla Novochenok-Serhan
Super Yam is a bit of a celebrity around these parts, my kids love him.
Adventures of SuperYam: Harry and SuperYam aimed at pre-schoolers; encouraging young readers to eat healthy through the galactic journey of SuperYam, a superhero who represents the world of fruits and vegetables.
I'm Having a Rainbow for dinner
This book was developed by NAQ Nutrition in 2013.
The superhero Josh needs help to recharge his powers by eating from each colour of the rainbow. The story is very interactive and asks children to count, match, identify colours and different fruits and vegetables.
Your Body is Awesome
Written by Sigrun Danielsdottir
This book teachers children about 'body respect.' I think it is just so perfectly written, explaining in simple 'kid' terms what our bodies need to be healthy, why it is important to list to your bodies and how fantastic it is that everybody is so different, 'like pink and green, or tulips and daisies... neither is better than the other, just different.'
The Playground Book
Written by Todd Rosenthal
This book is a little different to the others and is probably more suited to older children.
The author Todd is a former league baseball player in the US who works with kids in New York. After noticing all sorts of kids having the same problems in the playground he has written this book as a guide to help kids join games, be included and make friends.
Its the kind of book you would probably read with school aged children with lots of chatting and opportunity for kids to apply it to situations they have been in
Here are a few more books that although I haven't gotten around to reading yet, look really really good (so if anyone has read them let me know!)
The Healthy Harvest
By Emma Martin.
Healthy Harvest is a fun, farm-based adventure for kids about where our food comes from, the importance of each food group and the nutrients they provide, and how much they should consume every day for their growing bodies.
Over at A Might Girl there is also a list of ten books that teach kids about positive body image that are definitely worth a look.
Have I missed any? let me know which books your kids love!
In case you hadn’t noticed, nutritional debates can get pretty heated; hot tempered dietitians, nutritionists, scientists, media, celebrities, chefs and soccer mums, have all been known to sling profanities and scientific papers (or pseudoscience as the case may be) in the name of ‘knowing best’ when it comes to what we ‘should’ be eating.
Over the past week, I have seen nutritional debates on:
I’m just going to cut to the chase here and keep my post short and simple – it doesn’t matter; be the evidence positive, negative or neutral, there is a common solution that will undoubtedly render your body ‘cleansed.’
Are you ready for it?
Hold on to your hats…
Lo and behold, the empirical nutritional wisdom – eat unprocessed foods!
By eating unprocessed foods you’ll find yourself snacking on nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables instead of chips, biscuits, and pastries – do we need a scientific debate on this one?
Don’t get me wrong, science is fantastic but sometimes it makes far more sense to look at things more simply.
At The Kids Menu, Nikki is our resident Blogger. She is a mum of 3, a Nutritionist, Adult Educator and a Personal Trainer.
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