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The Sneaky Snack That’s Harming Your Kids

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetFruit

If you have children, you already know about the endless array of packaged snacks available these days.  And while most parents know that “cheesy fish” crackers and electric blue drinks are unhealthy options, there’s one snack that touts itself as a way to get more servings of fruits and vegetables…

Fruit leathers.

With their healthy halo and claims of providing “half a serving of fruit” in each leather, many parents buy into the healthy appeal of these snacks.

But the truth is, fruit leathers are not much better than candy bars when it comes to nutrition.  

In fact, a single serving contains up to 14 grams of sugar (often in the form of corn syrup) and provides no protein or healthy fat. The result is a snack that will neither satisfy your child’s hunger, nor fulfill their need for nutrition. Rather, it is a food that encourages cravings for sweets, promotes blood sugar imbalances and could even set the stage for childhood diabetes and obesity.

Tasty Snack… Or Toxic Treat?

Just as concerning as the sugar content is the fact that fruit leathers are typically made from fruits that are the most contaminated with pesticides – including apples, grapes, raspberries, cherries and strawberries.

Because children are still growing - and consume more pesticide residue than adults relative to their body weight – they are especially prone to the health risks of these chemicals.  

In my previous article in this newsletter, you learned that pesticides have been linked to some of the most prevalent and serious health issues affecting our children, including:

ADHD: Children with higher levels of organophosphate pesticide metabolites in their blood were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Allergies: People exposed to high levels of dichlorophenol (a breakdown product of an herbicide) and chlorine (found in tap water) were more likely to have allergies to milk, eggs, seafood, and peanuts.

Autism: A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that children were six times more likely to be diagnosed with autism if their mothers had spent their early pregnancy in homes within 500 meters of fields with the highest levels of organophosphate application, compared to those not living near agricultural fields.

More concerning is that 94% of children tested in a recent study had detectable levels of pesticides in their urine.

"Exposure is practically ubiquitous. We're all exposed," said Maryse Bouchard of the University of Montreal, lead author of a study on pesticides and ADHD.

But here’s the good news…  

According to an Emory University study, when kids switched to organically-grown fruits and vegetables, their urine levels of pesticide compounds dropped to zero or close to zero.

Today, I’m going to share a simple recipe that will allow your kids to enjoy fruit snacks that are low in sugar, high in antioxidant nutrients and free from pesticides and artificial ingredients.

Another benefit? These fruit snacks are far less expensive than the subpar store-bought varieties!

Lemon-Raspberry Gummy Fruit Snacks (Pesticide-Free and Protein-Packed)

Using organic frozen berries and pure gelatin from grass-fed cows, these simple and delicious fruit treats are quick to whip up. Experiment with a variety of berries and citrus juices to suit your little one’s (and your own!) taste.

Ingredients
•    2/3 cup organic lemon juice (fresh or bottled from Santa Cruz or Lakewood)
•    1 ½ cups organic frozen raspberries (try Cascadian Farm)
•    5 Tbsp. grass-fed gelatin (try Great Lakes)
•    10-15 drops organic liquid stevia (to taste)

Instructions:

1.    Add lemon juice and raspberries to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat.
2.    Cook, stirring until simmering. Let cool slightly.
3.    Pour the mixture into a blender (preferably a VitaMix or Blendtec) and blend until smooth. (NOTE: Raspberry seeds contain powerful phytonutrients that are liberated with high speed blending)
4.    Add the gelatin and blend to combine fully. Adjust sweetness with stevia.
5.    Pour gelatin-berry mixture into a 9x9 glass dish or candy molds. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.
6.    Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
When it comes to keeping your family healthy, making small changes like this one will pay big dividends in your child’s long term health and your peace of mind.

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ED NOTE:  Kelley Herring is the Founder and Editor of Healing Gourmet  - the leading provider of organic, sustainable recipes and meal plans for health and weight loss. Be sure to grab Healing Gourmet's free books - Eating Clean & Saving Green: Your Guide to Organic Foods on a Budget (includes 100+ foods at the best prices) and Eat Your Way Into Shape: Flip Your Body's Fat Blasting Switch and Melt 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks (includes a delicious 7 day meal plan!). Claim your free copies here...
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REFERENCES

1.    Chensheng Lu, Kathryn Toepel, Rene Irish, Richard A. Fenske, Dana B. Barr, and Roberto Bravo. Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 February; 114(2): 260–263.
2.    Soldin OP, Nsouly-Maktabi H, Genkinger JM, Loffredo CA, Ortega-Garcia JA, Colantino D, Barr DB, Luban NL, Shad AT, Nelson D. Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and exposure to pesticides. Ther Drug Monit. 2009;31:495-501.
3.    Maryse F. Bouchard, David C. Bellinger, Robert O. Wright, and Marc G. Weisskopf. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides. Pediatrics, 2010.
4.    Eder W, Ege MJ, von Mutius E. The asthma epidemic. N Engl J Med. 2006;355:2226–2235
5.    Elina Jerschow, MD, Aileen P. McGinn, PhD, Gabriele de Vos, MD, MSc, Natalia Vernon, MD, Sunit Jariwala, MD, Golda Hudes, MD, PhD, David Rosenstreich, MD. Dichlorophenol-containing pesticides and allergies: results from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Volume 109, Issue 6 , Pages 420-425 , December 2012
6.    Roberts, EM et al. 2007. Maternal residence near agricultural pesticide applications and autism spectrum disorders among children in the California Central Valley. Environmental Health Perspectives. 115(10):1482-1489
7.    The National Research Council (NRC) report: Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children
8.    Curl CL, Fenske RA, Elgethun K. Organophosphorus pesticide exposure of urban and suburban pre-school children with organic and conventional diets. Environ Health Perspect. 2003;111:377–382.
9.    Fenske RA, Kedan G, Lu C, Fisker-Andersen JA, Curl CL. Assessment of organophosphorus pesticide exposures in the diets of preschool children in Washington State. J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 2002;12:21–28.
10.    Flower KB, Hoppin JA, Lynch CF, Blair A, Knott C, Shore DL, et al. Cancer risk and parental pesticide application in children of Agricultural Health Study participants. Environ Health Perspect. 2004;112:631–635.



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The Ultimate Snack Giveaway!

It’s never too early to start your children on a healthy diet. It's important that we teach our kids how to make smart food choices. At US Wellness Meats, we are proud to offer a wide variety of healthy snack options for children of all ages. Some of our favorite healthy snacks include beef snack sticks, beef jerky, pemmican, turkey jerky, trail mix, and GoodOnYa bars. Looking for a healthy meal option to pack in your child's lunchbox? You've come to the right place. We offer many nutrient-dense organ meats for you to incorporate into any diet. Try our popular liverwurst and braunschweiger. They are a hit at every WAP Conference we attend. More kid favorites include beef franks, bologna, salami, and more.

lumchbotsgiveaway2Good food is essential, as well as packing it in the proper container. Looking for an alternative to a plastic lunchbox? LunchBots to the rescue. These handy stainless steel containers are perfect for the whole family. The individual compartments will allow for a variety of healthy meal options. Not only are they super stylish and practical; they can also conveniently fit inside a backpack.

Would you like to win a LunchBots Trio like the one pictured? We’re pairing that with a $75 US Wellness Meats gift certificate so that you can stock up on all of your favorites to pack in your new LunchBots. One lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, April 4th.

Use the widget below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Program Your Genes for Health with “The Forgotten B Vitamin"

By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet

FoodThere is a critical nutrient that can help your body detoxify. It can help you absorb more nutrients from your diet. It can prevent fat from accumulating in your liver. It helps your cells to communicate. It can reduce stress levels. Perhaps most importantly, it can even change your genetic expression to promote health and protect against disease.

But here’s the thing… you’re probably not getting enough of it. And if you happen to be a vegetarian, you’re almost certainly deficient in this vital compound.

In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine only 10% of Americans consume an “adequate” amount of this nutrient.

The compound I’m talking about is choline. It has also been called…

The Forgotten B Vitamin

Choline was first discovered in the 1930’s. It was originally studied for its ability to prevent fat and cholesterol from building up in the liver. But that’s not all choline does. Not by a long shot.
It also gives our cell membranes the ability to transfer both water-soluble and fat-soluble molecules. Without choline, lipid-soluble nutrients could not get into our cells. Likewise, waste products could not pass out. This causes nutrient depletion and toxic buildup at the cellular level.

Another unique aspect of choline is that it contains chemical structures called methyl groups. These components help cells to communicate with each other. They are also used by the body to turn genes on and off. They help produce neurotransmitters. And they have been shown to reduce inflammation and boost detoxification.

It’s no wonder that adequate “methylation” within your body reduces the risk of almost every chronic illness including cancer, heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s and more.

And that’s why a deficiency of choline is bad news for your health. It is a vital component of every human cell. Not surprisingly, it is also critical during pregnancy and fetal development. It has been shown to prevent birth defects (like spina bifida) and to promote healthy brain development.

But that’s not the only way it helps mom and baby…

New research, published in The FASEB Journal, found that choline can lower levels of stress. The researchers found that pregnant women who ate 930 mg of choline per day had 33% lower levels of cortisol compared to women who ate only 430 mg daily.

Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone.” And research shows that babies who are exposed to high levels in the womb have an increased risk of type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and stress-related illness later in life.

Is it Possible to Program Your Children’s (and Their Children’s) Health?

What’s even more interesting is that the dietary effects of choline don’t just affect the health of unborn babies. It has the potential to affect future generations as well.

The researchers found that women who consumed more choline switched on genes that beneficially affect hormone production in the fetus. The genes that were switched on were those that affect the HPA axis. To put it simply, this is the “motherboard” of hormone production.

The field of epigenetics studies how the foods (and chemicals) you ingest today can impact not only your own health, but also the health of your progeny. And it’s not because genetic mutations are passed down (although that can happen). Instead, it refers to how genes express themselves to promote health… or disease.

Better Diet Today, Healthier Genes Tomorrow

The great news is that you can influence how those genes are expressed. This is true even if you have inherited genes that would otherwise increase your risk of disease. And the best way to promote healthy genetic expression is to avoid chemicals and other contaminants and give your body the nutrients it needs.

And one nutrient that is critical is choline…

So, how much do you need and how do you get more of it in your diet?

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that women consume at least 425 mg daily. They recommend that men and breastfeeding women consume 550 mg daily. However, it’s important to note that adequate intake levels are only minimums. They do not represent the therapeutic amounts seen in studies. For example, the women in the FASEB study were receiving nearly twice the IOM’s recommendation for choline.

The richest sources of this vital nutrient include liver, beef, eggs, poultry and seafood. Here is the average choline content in some of these foods:

•    Beef liver (3 oz/355 mg)
•    Sardines (3 oz/188 mg)
•    Eggs (1 large/172 mg)
•    Beef, cooked (4 oz/124mg)
•    Chicken & Turkey (4 oz/97 mg)
•    Scallops & Scallops (4 oz/92 mg)

Unfortunately, most plant foods contain very little choline, so vegetarians may be at risk for deficiency. The richest plant sources are collards, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, crimini mushrooms, asparagus and cauliflower. These foods provide anywhere from 17-60 mg per cup.

Enjoy a wide variety of choline-rich foods to optimize your genes and help prevent chronic disease. Because choline is stable at high temperatures, you can enjoy your favorite foods cooked without reducing its concentration or action.


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ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the Founder and Editor of Healing Gourmet – the leading provider of organic, sustainable recipes and meal plans for health and weight loss. Be sure to grab Eating Clean & Saving Green: Your Guide to Organic Foods on a Budget and Eat Your Way Into Shape: Flip Your Body’s Fat Blasting Switch and Melt 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks (includes a delicious 7 day meal plan!). Claim your free copies here...

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REFERENCES

1.    Jiang X, Yan J, West AA, Perry CA, Malysheva OV, Devapatla S, Pressman E, Vermeylen F, Caudill MA. Maternal choline intake alters the epigenetic state of fetal cortisol-regulating genes in humans. FASEB J. 2012 Aug;26(8):3563-74. Epub 2012 May 1.
2.    Detopoulou P, Panagiotakos DB, Antonopoulou S, Pitsavos C, Stefanadis C. Dietary choline and betaine intakes in relation to concentrations of inflammatory markers in healthy adults: the ATTICA study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):424-30. 2008. PMID:18258634.
3.    Zeisel SH. Choline and phosphatidylcholine. In Shils M et al. (Eds). Nutrition in Health and Disease. Ninth Edition. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 1999;513-523. 1999.
4.    Zeisel SH, Blusztajn. Choline and human nutrition. Ann Rev Nutr 1994;14:269-271. 1994.
5.    Zeisel SH. Is there a new component of the Mediterranean diet that reduces inflammation?. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):277-8. 2008. PMID:18258614.
6.    Zeisel SH, Mar MH, Howe JC, Holden JM. Concentrations of choline-containing compounds and betaine in common foods. J Nutr 2003;133(5):1302-1307.
7.    Li Q, Guo-Ross S, Lewis DV, Turner D, White AM, Wilson WA, Swartzwelder HS. Dietary prenatal choline supplementation alters postnatal hippocampal structure and function. J Neurophysiol. 2004 Apr;91(4):1545-55. Epub 2003 Nov 26.
8.    Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute, Choline

Why Order Minimums?

 

ShippingIn a recent blog post we asked for your feedback, and want to thank everyone who participated!  As many of you  know, we recently celebrated 12 years in business, and over that time many things have changed and updated, but many are still the same.  Each anniversary causes us to take a look back and see what needs to be improved on in the upcoming year.  We thank you for all of your responses!

We received many questions and comments about our order requirements.  We currently have a seven pound and $75.00 order minimum.  Shipping is always free and there is a $7.50 handling fee on every order, regardless of size.

Why?

First - we want to make sure every order is still frozen solid upon delivery.  Nobody wants to receive a box of thawed meat; therefore, we had to have some sort of weight minimum in place.  We have found that very light orders are the most prone to thawing, regardless of the amount of gel or dry ice in the cooler.  Seven pounds seems to be the magic number - anything less than that seriously increases the risk of thawing during transit, so that is why we have a weight minimum.  The more weight in the box, the better everything stays frozen. 

Second - we like free shipping.  When we order online from various sites, one of the most depressing feelings is thinking we have found a great deal, then we get to the final screen and find ourselves hit with an astronomical shipping charge.  We didn't want to do that to our customers.  So, our shipping costs are built into the price of our products.  We don't charge anything extra for shipping, even to Alaska and Hawaii.

Third - since we have built the price of shipping into our products, we have to make sure we are not losing money along the way.  We have a great relationship with FedEx, and the more weight in the box, the more economical it is for us to ship.  Not only are light orders more prone to thawing, they are also much more expensive for us to ship - especially since many of our shipments arrive via overnight service. 

But why a handling fee?

Every order incurs a one-time per an order handling fee of $7.50. This amount helps offset the handling fee charged by our packing crew to prepare each box for shipping, the cost of the shipping cooler and all packing materials.  Our company does not make a penny on the handling fee (it actually costs us more than what we charge you).  Even if your order is large and requires multiple boxes, you still will only be charged the $7.50 handling fee one time per an entire order.

Hopefully this helps explain why we do things the way we do!  We realize that many of our customers have small freezers or limited storage space and seven pounds seems like way too much to store so we want to share a few minimum order suggestions:

For the Kids:Snack Sticks

Snack Sticks - 2 packs

Beef Franks - 2 packs

Salami - 1 pack

Summer Sausage - 1 pack

Burger Patties - 3 packs

Polish Sausage Breakfast Sliders - 1 pack

This equals out to seven pounds exactly - the snack sticks will probably be gone in a day, and the rest will easily fit in any size freezer.  The Salami and Summer Sausage can go right in the refrigerator for easy snacking!

Holiday Planning:BBQ Beef Sandwich

BBQ Shredded Beef - 2 packs

Raw Mozzarella Cheese - 1 pack

Wild-Caught Shrimp - 1 bag

Braunschweiger - 2 rolls

Perfect for family that comes and goes during the holidays - our BBQ Beef makes for a great sandwich.  Shrimp cocktail is a favorite during any holiday season and Braunschweiger appetizers will help your health as well!  Shrimp bags store easily in any nook or cranny in your freezer, cheese can stay in the refrigerator and our Braunschweiger is usually gone within a few hours.

Everyday Necessities:Cheeseburgers

Sugar-Free Pork Bacon - 1 pack

Ground Beef - 2 packs

Ground Turkey - 2 packs

Butter - 2 packs

Pet Burger - 1 pack

Bacon - enough said.  Our chopped meat varieties are versatile enough for breakfast, lunch and dinner and pet burger will please any pooch on a daily basis.

Lunch Essentials:Chicken Drums

Beef Bologna - 1 pack

Beef Jerky - 2 packs

Chicken Drumsticks - 2 packs

Shredded Beef - 1 pack

Boneless Pork Chops - 1 pack

Seven pounds total here with several different easy lunch options!  Pre-cooked shredded beef can be served plain or with your favorite sauce and you'll have some leftover for dinner.

Superfoods:Marrow Bones

Marrow Bones - 2 packs

Bone Broth - 1 pail

Liverwurst - 1 pack

Beef Liver - 1 pack

Pork Lard - 1 pail

This winning combination will keep any cold or flu at bay.  These nutrient dense foods are favorites of the Weston A. Price followers and favorites of ours as well!

As you can see, there are endless ways to create a minimum order!  You can also check out our Best Sellers list for more easy shopping ideas.  What may seem challenging at first can actually become a fun experience as items are added to your cart.  We hope this helps make your shopping experience easier.

We welcome you to help share how to meet our order minimums and are offering a $75 gift certificate to one lucky winner.

Here are the rules:

  • - The order must meet our minimum order requirements- at least 7 pounds of perishable weight and $75 worth of products.
  • - Pick a theme for your order and list the items as a comment below
  • - Winner will be drawn at random from all comments on October 17, 2012.

Thank you for participating!

Healthy Snacks for Kids!

describe the imageChildren are never too young to start eating right! Food is believed to have a powerful influence on how we think and specifically on children's academic performances. We want to do more than fill the bellies of students; we want to fuel their bodies and minds! 

We are proud to offer a wide variety of healthy snack options! Peruse our website and get everything shipped right to your door- let us help simplify your busy lifestyle! 

Here are some of our favorite kid-friendly snacks:

-Beef Snack Sticks (a favorite at the WAPF Conference)

-Beef Pemmican Bars (a healthy power bar)

-Beef Jerky

-Trail Mix

-Love Bites

-GoodOnYa Breakfast Bars

-Cashew Cream Ice Cream

Along with our kid-approved snacks, we also offer many nutrient-dense organ meats for you to incorporate into your child's diet. Try our popular Liverwurst and Braunschweiger. Looking for a way to sneak these into your diet? Check out our featured chefs recipe page for some mouth-watering, tasty recipes sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. 

Want to change what's on your school's menu? Sign up for our US Wellness Meats in your school program by clicking HERE. The average school lunch relies on low-quality meat that is often high in fat and low in nutritional value. For the past 11 years, we have been committed to making our products available in schools across the country to help kids eat better, be healthier, and reap the physical and mental rewards of a high quality diet.

PlanetBox Contest for Better Lunches!

school boyFor a parent, nothing is more important than their children.  We love, nurture, and nourish them.  Today we want to take a look at the nourishing part!  We hear all the food buzz words like "real food" and "traditional".  But what does that mean for our kiddos when we send them to school to eat lunch?  Unfortunately, not many schools are willing and/or able to provide quality meals.  So now, more than ever, we need to take control of what our kids eat.  Healthy eating habits can be molded at a young age, so offering them healthy treats now can be beneficial later.  We suggest some of our tasty, healthy, and nourishing treats, of course, such as: beef snack sticks, beef jerky, salami, summer sausage, cheese, nuts and berries, trail mixes, hot dogs, and GoodOnYa Bars, among others!

Since it can be hard at times to get kids to eat what they should and bypass the rest, we're asking for your input!  How do you get kids to pick the good stuff?  What do you fix for your kids' lunches?  What are your best tips and tricks about kids and eating right?

Leave us a comment with your tips and you could be rewarded!  First place for the best/most creative tip will receive a $50 US Wellness Meats gift certificate AND a PlanetBox Complete ($109.95 total value), second and third place will be chosen randomly and will each receive a $25 US Wellness Meats gift certificate AND a PlanetBox Complete ($84.95 value each).

PlanetBox, stainless steel lunch box

Haven't heard of PlanetBox?  They make awesomely fun eco-friendly stainless steel lunch boxes!

planetbox, stainless steel lunchboxThis contest will end at midnight CST on Tuesday, April 19, 2011.  The winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

If you're interested in your school being contacted in an effort to improve their lunches, please fill out this form.

Show us your creative side!  Good luck!

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