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Coach Mom Newsletter - Mar 2011

Family 40-Day Clean Diet Challenge

As I turned the calendar to 2011, I did it with some guilt. The holidays were over, and we had all eaten our fair share of toffee, chocolate, peppermint, cookies, and cakes.  The combination between the sweets and flu season can make for a very bad thing. I knew sugar had many downsides, one of which is that it suppresses the immune system. After spending some time doing nutrition information research on the internet and reading Lisa Greene’s book Processed Kids: The Real Mom's Guide to Raising Natural Kids in a Processed World, I focused my January Coach Mom Newsletter on nutrition. Then I wondered how we could implement some changes in our own family. I decided to give my family the clean diet challenge.

Not wanting to overwhelm or send my children into a panic that they would never see another cookie in our house, I set a doable goal for us. When I presented my 40-day clean diet challenge I was surprised that I didn’t get any naysayers, even from the biggest snacker in the group. All five kids and my husband seemed to have a genuine interest in eating for better health. We took measurements, weighed, I encouraged everyone to pay attention to how they felt over the next 40 days, then we took the plunge.

Some of our dietary plans:

·         Try to cut refined sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup. That meant cutting most commercial breads, soft drinks, candy, and many cereals (it’s even in most jams!).

·         Avoid pre-packaged foods, usually high in MSG, sugar and transfats.

·         Eat 6-9 servings of veggies and fruit each day. To avoid pesticides, buy organic for the “dirty dozen”: apples, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, strawberries, lettuce, bell peppers, kale, celery and carrots. (The Environmental Working Group says a family’s pesticide exposure can be reduced 80 percent by buying these organic.)

·         Try to buy foods with 5 ingredients or less to avoid chemical additives (i.e. Triscuits)

·         Avoid foods with MSG such as packet mixes, and frozen foods.

·         Cut out artificial sweeteners, which include dangerous chemicals. Instead, use the herb Stevia as a substitute for sugar and use pure maple syrup or local honey as a sweetener.

·         Keep an extra eye out for transfats.  If the ingredient list includes the words "shortening," "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" or "hydrogenated vegetable oil," the food contains trans fat."

·         Take a whole food supplement and Omega 3 supplement daily (i.e. Juice Plus, fish oil).

·         Add more alkaline-rich foods and reduce the number of acidic foods. This helps balance pH levels, to keep the body from building cholesterol plaques, storing fat, and leaching calcium from the bones and magnesium from the heart muscles to act as buffers.

·         Buy sodium nitrite/nitrate-free lunch meats at natural grocers.

·         Use olive oil over vegetable oil whenever possible.

This all sounds good, but what does a day really look like? This is a typical day…


Old-fashioned oats (we are working up to the recommended Thick Old Fashioned Rolled Oats) in the morning for breakfast, with 2 T. ground flaxseed. Sweetened with maple syrup. Sometimes a whole grain wheat toast and/or eggs. Limit coffee, which is acidic and can contribute to an unhealthy pH level.


School lunches:  Make sandwiches with fresh deli meats (purchased from natural grocers) and Nature’s Own Wheat bread, organic carrots, sliced organic apples, boiled organic egg, almonds, Triscuits.

Adults: spinach salad with feta cheese, craisins, toasted pecans and MSG-free salad dressing. Whole grain baguette on the side. I made homemade croutons using my least fresh bread to avoid chemical additives and save money.  Fruit for dessert. Dark chocolate square!


Bananas, snow peas, almonds, organic baby carrots, boiled eggs, pickles, stovetop popcorn, kettlecorn (not the lowest in sugar, but it could be worse).


Simple  things like grilled chicken and all kinds of vegetables and fruits. I worked hard to display the items in an appealing way. And I wasn’t a stickler about eating them raw. If I have to use some olive oil and salt to sautee’ a vegetable in order to make it appealing to my family, I do.

For dessert, a cup each of Silk’s dark chocolate Almond Milk. This has all the health benefits of almonds and is especially a great option for the lactose intolerant. (Again, the sugar content is a bit lower if you get the regular milk, but this is a “treat”.)

We are trying to stick as much as we can to whole, unprocessed foods, then cook them as little as possible. I’m not an expert, but everything I’m reading seems to indicate that children’s little bodies are more susceptible to the chemical additives than adults.

Even though we have not always been the healthiest eaters, I am encouraged. Making these changes (even when not completely true to them when Mom left town for four days) impacted us in positive ways. God designed the body to have an amazing ability to bounce back and heal when given the right nutrients.

The 40-day results:

·         Everyone said they felt more energetic and focused, and slept well.

·         No one got sick (though most were surrounded daily by people fighting the flu and other sicknesses)

·         I observed an overall state of contentment and demonstration of good attitudes (for the most part!) with the children.

·         Veggies and fruits tasted better than ever.

·         We all agreed that the nitrate/nitrite-free meat and organic eggs taste better.

·         Everyone commented on how energetic they felt.

·       Our two family members interested in trimming down a bit also saw some changes in their weight and waist measurements. One lost 12 pounds and two inches in his waist, and another lost three pounds and three inches in his waist.

Though I know it takes a little more time and is costing our bank account a little more now, I believe in the long run we will save money by investing in foods that have the right nutrients for our bodies.  The 40-day challenge is over, but I don’t think we’ll ever get over it. It’s a journey we’ve just begun, and I know we are moving in the right direction.

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Transfat Surprises

The more research I have done the more it seems unfortunately that our country has put the mighty dollar ahead of the value of our people’s health.  We cannot trust our American food companies to provide us with foods in our child’s best interest – that can only be done by us as parents.  For example, it is common knowledge that transfats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contribute toward stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and more. Yet, the information below reveals that many of the foods being marketed and sold for children contain transfats.

Transfat food surprises

(Source: http://www.acaloriecounter.com/trans-fat-foods.php)

·         Cereals – Many. But, to name a few: Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles (Post), Froot loops, Corn Pops, Mini-Swirlz Cinnamon Buns (Kellogg’s), and Basic 4 (General Mills)

·         Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bars (Read the fine print.)

·         Nabisco’s Premium Crackers (saltines)

·         Special K’s entire line of health/weight-loss food

·         Pop-Secret microwave popcorn

·         Nabisco and Stauffer’s  animal crackers

·         Ritz crackers

And then there is the fast food issue. I can’t help but wonder when did our country embrace the idea that a balanced meal is a hamburger, fries, soda pop, and fried apple pie? Following are more disturbing facts, this time about transfats in fast food. (By the way, if my calculations are right, 1 gram = about ¼ tsp.)

Transfat Fast Foods

A few foods off the list of “Top 88 worst fast foods”

DQ chicken strip basket (6 pcs.) – 12 grams (about 3 tsp of fat)

McDonald’s large French fries – 8 grams (about 2 tsp of fat)

Domino’s garlic dipping sauce – 7 grams

Boston Market Pastry Top Chicken Pot Pie – 7 grams

Arby’s apple turnover - 6.5 grams

DQ Large chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard – 6 grams

McDonald’s chicken selects premium breast strips (5 pcs.) – 4.5 grams

Times a Restaurants appeared on list of top 88 worst foods:

Jack in the Box - 24

Burger King – 16

White Castle – 16

A & W – 10

DQ – 8

McDonald’s – 5

Arby’s – 3

KFC - 2

(Source: http://www.acaloriecounter.com/fast-food-trans-fat.php)

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Processed Meats Cause Cancer

Excerpts From: NewsTarget.com
Source: www.newstarget.com/007024.html

Nearly all processed meats are made with sodium nitrite: breakfast sausage, hot dogs, jerkies, bacon, lunch meat, and even meats in canned soup products. Yet this ingredient is a precursor to highly carcinogenic nitrosamines -- potent cancer-causing chemicals that accelerate the formation and growth of cancer cells throughout the body. When consumers eat sodium nitrite in popular meat products, nitrosamines are formed in the body where they promote the growth of various cancers, including colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer, says Mike Adams.

"Sodium nitrite is a dangerous, cancer-causing ingredient that has no place in the human food supply," he explains. The USDA actually tried to ban sodium nitrite in the 1970's, but was preempted by the meat processing industry, which relies on the ingredient as a color fixer to make foods look more visually appealing. "The meat industry uses sodium nitrite to sell more meat products at the expense of public health," says Adams. "And this new research clearly demonstrates the link between the consumption of processed meats and cancer."

Pancreatic cancer isn't the only negative side effect of consuming processed meats such as hot dogs. Leukemia also skyrockets by 700% following the consumption of hot dogs. (Preston-Martin, S. et al. "N-nitroso compounds and childhood brain tumors: A case-control study." Cancer Res. 1982; 42:5240-5.) Other links between processed meats and disease are covered in detail in the Grocery Warning manual.

The new research on processed meats points to a chemical toxin as the cause of the increased cancer risk. A heightened cancer risk of 67% is "gigantic," warns Adams. "This is clearly not due to macronutrient differences. This is the kind of risk increase you only see with ingredient toxicity. Something in these processed meats is poisoning people, and the evidence points straight to sodium nitrite."

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