Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pumping Up the Nutrition

About a month ago, April (my partner in running Power of Moms) did a wonderful podcast episode with Jonathan Bailor, author of NYTimes #1 Bestseller, The Calorie Myth (the podcast is here). April had read the book and really applied its principles to herself and her family, with great results.

At first, I wasn't sure whether I needed to invest time and energy in Jonathan's research and findings. I've done lots of my own research and have always come back to this very simple approach to healthy living: Eat real food that is close to the earth. Stay away from prepared and processed foods. Get some exercise every day. Drink pretty much only water. I've always understood that vegetables are really really important for our bodies and that protein was important. I've also known for years that all calories and fat are not created equal and that counting calories and reducing fat across the board are not smart practices. So what else did I need to know?

But April was so excited about what Jonathan had taught her that I decided to explore the free materials available at Jonathan's website (sanesolution.com - you can click "join" in the upper right corner if you want the free stuff I got - a great video, an eBook, etc.). And you know what? His stuff really made sense.

To write his book, Jonathan went through TONS of the latest research from reliable sources like the National Instutite of Health and Harvard Medical School and wrote it up in a user-friendly way in his book. Then he went on to start programs that help people really apply what's in the book and introduce a new approach to eating called SANE (you focus on foods that pack the biggest punch when it comes to Satiety, Aggression, Nutrition and Efficiency).

As I learned about the SANE approach, I realized I'd been missing some key parts to the puzzle when it comes to helping our bodies to operate at peak level. Our bodies need MORE vegetables than the 5-a-day that has been suggested (and mostly ignored) for the last few years. TEN or more servings of vegetables a day is what is best for us. And we need a lot more protein than I'd realized (in the form of lean meats, nuts and seeds plus some legumes). Plus we need quite a lot less grains than I'd assumed. I'd been thinking that as long as it was whole grain and wasn't part of processed foods, it was a good thing. But now I've learned that when we more frequently trade grains for vegetables and protein, our metabolism can function better, we can fill up on meaningful food, we can get our hormones in balance, and we can feel and look better.

So I decided to try applying some of the basic principles of SANE eating to my diet and our family's diet. And it's made a really great difference for us!

Following are photos of the simple and tasty meals we've been enjoying (and the more we eat vegetables, the more we crave them!). Most of these meals involve very simple, easy-to-find ingredients and took 10-20 minutes to make. Some involve slightly-more-expensive packages of salad or stir-fry ingredients and frozen chicken from Costco (still way cheaper than eating frozen prepared foods).

Maybe some of these meals don't look like something you or your family would love - but you never know until you try. I've learned to really really like some things I'd never really thought about much before (spinach and kale is SO good when prepared well! And it's so yummy to put just about anything on a bed of chopped romaine). And I've been pleasantly surprised to see how happily my kids have been eating all the extra veggies (helps that we've talked about how our bodies really need the good fuel of vegetables and protein and that they've helped pick out and prepare meals). And I have to say that by eating lots more veggies and less grains and sugar (other than some serious sugar around Halloween which is now out of our systems), we're all feeling better. There's less bickering. There's less sickness. What we put in our bodies really does affect us in so many ways.

Tilapia with squash and salad (Just cooked frozen fish in a pan with some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon - easy. There's some great lean protein and 4 servings of veggies on this plate - tomatoes, romaine lettuce, enough butternut squash for two servings)


Sauteed spinach with egg whites, avacado and tomatoes (tons of tasty, filling and easy protein and veggies)

Chicken salad (easy, made from canned chicken with a little mayo, some rice vinegar and mustard) on a bed of baby spinach with garden tomatoes

Caprese salad: Romaine topped with lots of tomatoes, fresh mozzerella, and basalmic glaze (love Trader Joe's basalmic glaze)

Stir fry - so easy - Costco sells this bag full of all the veggies, ready to go and it includes sauce. I just sauteed the full bag with some eggs and tofu (which my kids actually thought was chicken and I didn't bother correcting them). I made some rice to go with this but found that the kids were fine eating this without just a tiny bit of rice (rice is just non-nutritious starch - but they like it and we're not trying to cut out all starches and grains, just focus on the healthiest stuff first and foremost!)


Here's Silas enjoying another great Costco find - they have this 7-super-foods bagged salad with kale and brussel sprouts and other great veggies plus pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. My kids LOVE this salad (with just 1/2 the dressing that comes in the package - comes with way more than you need to make it tasty) topped with super-easy and fast chicken strips (I get the costco pack of frozen chicken tenders and you can cook them in like 15 minutes w/o even thawing first - just throw in a pan with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder and a spray of olive oil as well as a little basalmic vinegar and cook on medium-high until done)

Here's my favorite breakfast lately (I crave this all the time and have it pretty much every day). It's sauteed kale with egg whites, tomatoes and a little sprinkle of cheese.

Here's a breakfast the kids have been having a lot lately (they're not as in love with the kale/tomato eggs I love but they do like them!). Why haven't we always been eating veggies on the side with our eggs in the morning? And with the addition of healthy veggies and fruit, there's no need for lots of starches/grains in the form of toast. The kids still like to see a little bread on their plate with their eggs. But just a little quarter of a pita toasted seems to be just fine once they've got other things on their plate as well.


Now that April and I have seen how effective and relatively easy more SANE eating can be, we are working closely with Jonathan Bailor to develop materials to help moms and families understand and embrace better nutrition. We've seen what a big difference it has made in our own lives and in our family members when we feed everyone in a more SANE way. And we want to share that. It's scary to see the statistics on diabetes and heart disease. It's sad to see so many children becoming overweight at earlier ages as their little bodies can't handle the diet that our culture has somehow embraced as normal for kids (mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, crackers and chips, very few veggies, very little plain water to drink, very little lean protein, etc - people just assume that's sort of the "natural" way to feed kids when it's actually the opposite!).

We're working on a Power of Moms "kit" full of grocery shopping lists, menus, recipes, and pictures as well as talking points for helping kids understand more about healthy nutrition to help moms more fully embrace vegetables in their family life. Everyone - doctors, nutritionists, etc. - has agreed pretty much forever that we should all be eating more vegetables. But very few people really embrace a sizeable amount of vegetables in their diets. People have in their minds that it's expensive and hard to feed our families lots of vegetables. So we want to help debunk that myth through simple tried-and-true ideas and methods for feeding our families lots of healthy vegetables. We'd love to present a whole new approach to nutrition for families that doesn't talk about what is "good" and what is "bad," but rather what is "excellent" and should be added to our diets, even if we still want to enjoy treats and not-so-excellent foods.

Plus we're working on materials to help moms really "go SANE" and find more health and energy than they've felt in years by really embracing the SANE approach to eating.

What do you think? Would you be excited about these programs for families and for moms? Do you want to feed your family and yourself more vegetables? Is nutrition something you think about a lot, a little, or a medium amount? Your feedback in the comments will really help as we move forward with these new programs!

Here's a new podcast I just did with April offering lots more ideas and thoughts that extent on what's in this post: VEGGIES MADE SIMPLE

Here are a couple old posts with some helpful info that goes with this post:

Is it really so hard to feed our kids healthy foods? 

Favorite Snacks (kid-approved healthy snacks)

27 comments:

Our Family said...

Yes yes and yes!

jolie fleur said...

Sounds fantastic! I needed to read this today.

jesseeurestewart said...

we have been doing this too, since April's podcast, and we have really enjoyed it. I love the focus on abundance, instead of restricting what we are eating. We are so full of yummy nutritious food that we dont need sugary stuff. I would love to see what you guys come up with! I think that menu plans would be very helpful

Lala said...

I think this would be great. I always want to include more vegetables but struggle to find a variety of ways to do it short of just making everyone eat salad with every meal.

Laura said...

I love this. I've been a reader for a long time and am just now commenting. I would love some more ideas.

cheryl cardall said...

I can always use more ideas on how to eat healthier and incorporate more veggies

The Denning Family said...

Yes! I had a hard time with a complete wipe out with grains, but I'm totally on board with eating much less of them, increasing veggies and eating whole foods. I've been reading his book and I'm excited to try harder. And I love your ideas! Thanks!

Julie T said...

Great, timely post!!! I think about nutrition a LOT, but have wasted a lot of money buying things I didn't know how to prepare in a tasty way. So when you put pictures, kids' endorsements and details on how you finish it or what you serve it with it really helps! Also, it wonderful to hear specifics like that there's a great balsamic glaze to be found at Trader Joes. I'm buying that today! I don't care what anyone says, we really are what we eat. And it affects every single thing we do- or don't do. So let's invest a little more thought, time and money into this foundational concept. Thanks for going to what can be thought of by many as "not so popular" places!

kms said...

The last photo looks like the governments my plate plan. Half the plate grain and protein, half the plate fruit and vegetable. You are lucky to have such adventurous eaters.

goldenfosters said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to include pics of your meal ideas--so helpful:)! Love that you and April are embarking on this project. Your efforts are so appreciated. Love POMS:)!!

Amanda said...

Thank you for taking pictures and giving meal specific plans!!!! and ditto to everything Juli T. said in her comments!
Thank you!!!!!

LP said...

Saren, I read each of your blog posts. Thanks for taking the time to write and share. I am super excited that you and April (and your helpers) are putting the Power of Moms stamp on the SANE eating stuff. You did a great job with Getting Things Done, a book I'd read for work but couldn't figure out how to apply it as a mother. I just listened to April's podcast with Jonathon the other day while I folded the laundry and did dishes. I can't wait to have it delivered in doable bits from you guys. I thought the same way about food that you did, I'm excited to see what bits of the puzzle I'm missing. Thank you in advance for helping us be a healthier family. Lara

taggteam said...

I love his ideas. They are just what my midwife talked to me about. Lots of veggies and plenty of protein, go easy on the carbs. If a growing baby needs it, don't we need it too? I just struggle with getting my kids to eat it. They are getting better VERY SLOWLY, but I worry about their "foundation" of nutrition that they are getting or not. I have a vitamix that I absolutely love and typically will grind up veggies and chickpeas etc to put in all the sauces that I make. I am still waiting for the day when I have tons of energy though! So I would love your plan of healthy meals.

Shaun said...

So glad I read your blog today! This is fantastic! My daughter is a much better eater than my son! Hopefully this can point us in a better direction! Good luck! I look forward to what is to come!

Anon said...

I highly recommend reading The China Study.

There is so much conflicting advice out there and everybody has their research to back it up. I think the quality of the research is important, who is funding the research and are there multiple peer-reviewed studies which support the conclusions? Then I always come back to what scripture says about nutrition too. It actually says quite a lot when we pay attention.

One thing that every study, eating style, scripture does agree upon however is....eat more vegetables. No-one can go wrong doing that! :-D

Anon said...

All these different ID things are so unpredictable. I would have called myself 'shanny' not 'Anon'. Just wanted you to have a name to go with the above comment.

S said...

Adding in veggies is something I need to do more of, even if I don't imagine our family ever going carb/grain free. The plates of food do look inviting! Look forward to seeing what you put together

Nashina Jagielski said...

Wow! thank you so much for your ideas, great pictures, and excitement about kale and veggies!! I do love them, its just nice to switch it up a bit now and again!

Eyrealm said...

I'm going shopping today and filling up with veggies. Dad and I are trying to get all that cruise food out of our systems although if you have this in mind, you can do a pretty good job of adding more veggies even on a cruise!

Alyssa J. said...

I love this idea of eating more veggies! I actually ate on a paleo diet for a little while because SOME versions of it really pump up the veggies and decrease the useless starches. I stopped because we are LDS and my hubby pointed out that avoidance of all grains (as all Paleo diets do) is against the WOW. I am so interested in how you found the balance between the two lines of thinking, because somehow I have hit a block and can't seem to figure out my own balance. Any help you can offer would be amazing! Thank you for bringing this up!

tblanch said...

I just happened across this post from your sister's blog (71toes). I'm a long time fan of PoM and this would be AWESOME. Something very on my mind lately.

Tammy said...

I would LOVE a cookbook like this!! Please make it! I am always struggling with trying to get myself and my family to eat healthier and we do ok for a while, and then slip back into old bad habits because it seems easier. Help!

hayley said...

More vegetables sounds great! I have always liked the idea of filling up on the good stuff and you won't have as much room for the bad. I really value your opinion, what are your thoughts on grains being the "staff of life?"

Saren Loosli said...

hayley: Thanks for the question. I've carefully read over the Word of Wisdom, the health code that Mormons follow, and its advice about eating. It says a lot about eating fruits and vegetables, eating meat sparingly, and says that wheat is for man and that grain is the staff of life. Sometimes I sure wish our leaders would offer specific direction about what this means in our modern world when the types of foods available differ greatly from what was available in the mid 1800's when the Word of Wisdom was written. Back then, "meat" meant red meat that was quite fatty and modern research holds that fatty red meat isn't good for us. Unless you raised LOTS of chickens and has the patience and time to pluck them, the lean protein of chicken wasn't going to be much of an option. And as far as grain being the staff of life, so much of the year, you couldn't get fresh fruits and veggies and you could only bottle and save so much from your harvest, so just as we'd rely on a staff to lean on in times of need, I think church members were perhaps being urged to use grain as a "staff" during the times that produce wasn't available to them. And of course, the grains they had were wholesome non GMO whole grains with a lot more protein and nutrients in them than what passes for "grains" in today's diet.

We'll always eat grains, but we're simply trying to put more nutrient-dense foods like veggies and lean protein before grains in our diet, relying on grains as more of a back-up to fill up once the most important foods have been eaten.

Anyway, that's what I've come up with so far!

West Family said...

I am very concerned about my picky eaters in my family. I really worry that they are missing very important nutrients because they refuse to try a variety of veggies. I would love all the help I can get!

Emma J said...

I'm really looking forward to your useful kit. Thanks, Saren (and April), for allowing us space to be serious and effective (in a non-Martha Stewart way) with our work at home.

Charles and Kelly said...

I found his podcast to be most helpful as well. I am slowly working on adding more veggies. It makes sense to get eat the most nutritious foods that will give you the most nutrients. Also I can wondering why you are choosing not to eat the egg yolk?

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