Tidewater Kitchen - Healthy Foods


Healthy Foods for a Healthy Life
Pamela Meredith-Doyle


When it comes to your health, it’s really your decision because ultimately you choose how you are going to live your life.  You will decide for the rest of your life how you are going to fuel your body.  Food is fuel and the plant kingdom is the only type of food that gives you the energy you need to sustain a long, healthy life.  The sun, soil and water give plants their energy.  When we eat plants, we get the energy we need to run, swim, play ball and think.  Empty calories like chips, sodas, hamburgers, cookies, etc, may fill you up, but they won’t give you the protection you need to fight off disease and give you the energy you need to live a long, healthy life.  Plant foods give your body the ability to fight off disease. 

Some scientists and doctors will say that upwards of 70% of disease is directly related to what we eat and drink.  I believe that now more than ever.  We are seeing an epidemic of disease in children and teens.  We are seeing diseases that we used to see in only adults.  Diseases like pediatric cancer, pediatric diabetes, pediatric arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. We are also seeing more and more children being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD.  Western Medicine’s solution to this problem is drugs.


Leading causes of death in the United States:

The US Surgeon General now ranks being overweight and obesity as the #1 public health concern. The disease consequences of obesity are greater than those of any infectious disease epidemic.

Read your Labels and Avoid the Immune Suppressors

…Many packaged foods contain harmful Ingredients.
•Sugar - 4 Grams = 1 Tsp.
•Hydrogenated Fats (Trans Fats)
Sucrose, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Brown Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Honey, Molasses, Fructose, Dextrose
•Refined, Enriched and Fortified
•Nitrates and nitrites
•Aspartame - (NutraSweet, Equal, Splenda, etc.)
•Foods with dyes or #’s
•Monosodium Glutamate - (MSG)

How Sugar Harms

(Excerpts taken from The Family Nutrition Book. William Sears, M.D.)
The complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains, and fruits are good for you; the simple sugars found in sodas, candies, frostings, and packaged treats can do harm.  It’s as simple as that.  Here’s why:

• Sugar depresses immunity.  Studies have shown that downing 75 to 100 grams of simple sugar solution (about 20 teaspoons of sugar, or the amount that is contained in two average 12-ounce sodas) can suppress the body’s immune responses. The immune suppression is most noticeable two hours after ingestion, but the effect was still evident five hours after ingestion.

• Sugar sours behavior, attention, and learning.  Studies of the effects of sugar on children’s behavior are wildly contradictory, but the general consensus is that some children and adults are sugar sensitive, meaning their behavior, attention span, and learning ability deteriorate in proportion to the amount of junk sugar they consume.

• Sugar promotes sugar highs.  Some persons are more sugar sensitive than others, and children may be more sensitive to sugar than adults are. A study comparing the sugar response in children and adults showed that the adrenaline levels in children remained ten times higher than normal for up to five hours after a test dose of sugar.  Studies have also shown that some children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.) react to glucose-tolerance tests with a dip to low blood-sugar levels producing abnormal behavior.  High adrenaline levels or low blood-sugar levels produce abnormal behavior.

• Sugar promotes cravings.  The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you want! A high-sugar meal raises the blood-glucose level, which triggers the outpouring of insulin.  This excess insulin lingers in the system, triggering a craving for more sugar, thus adding another hill to the roller coaster ride.

• Sugar promotes heart disease.  When you eat excess carbohydrates, your body turns these sugars into fat.  The body stores excesses of most nutrients as a safeguard against starvation.  If you eat more carbohydrates than you can burn off, the excess is stored as fat.  People who eat too much sugar tend to have higher blood triglycerides, and this increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

• Soft Drinks. Many soft drinks provide a double-whammy of sugar and caffeine, a combination that sends most bodies (and minds) on an uncomfortable biochemical roller-coaster ride.  The junk sugars in soft drinks also take good things out of the body.  High doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners increase the urinary excretion of calcium, leading to weaker bones, or osteoporosis, and to deposits of calcium in the kidneys (i.e., kidney stones.).  The phosphoric acid present in many soft drinks further robs the body of calcium by increasing the loss of magnesium and calcium in the urine.

• Packaged bakery goods. The combination of white sugar, white flour, and hydrogenated shortening makes packaged bakery goods a nutritionally empty package (i.e., crackers, chips, cookies, etc). Most sweet snacks, such as cupcakes and doughnuts, contain all three of these factory-made foods.  Look for baked goods that are made with whole grains, contain no hydrogenated oils, and are sweetened with fruit concentrates. 

* Note the importance of fiber in combination with carbohydrates.  A good rule of thumb is about 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving.   The higher the ratio of fiber the better.

Why fiber is so important:

Fiber curbs overeating
Fiber reduces cancer risk
Fiber steadies your blood-sugar level
Fiber increases peristalsis
Fiber slows fat absorption
Fiber binds carcinogens
Fiber reduces cholesterol
Fiber promotes healthy intestinal bacteria
Fiber promotes regularity

Hydrogenated Fats/trans fats

Despite unsaturated oil’s origin, once you’ve zapped it with high-pressure hydrogen, heated it or treated it with chemical solvents it turns into a saturated fat and behaves that way in the body.  This hydrogenation process is how vegetable oil is turned into margarine. Hydrogenated fats contain another kind of fat that falls outside the saturated and unsaturated categories.  It’s called “trans fatty acid.”  It’s basically a molecule that has its head on backwards.  For your arteries, trans fats are as bad as (or worse) than saturated fats. Many studies have shown that trans fats raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Even if a label says it’s low in heart damaging saturated fat, it may still contain a large amount of trans fats. Trans fats raise the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol, while reducing the level of HDL (good) cholesterol. Trans fats have been shown to decrease the body’s ability to produce natural substances that regulate many of the body’s functions. Trans fats and hydrogenated fats may interfere with the ability of the cells of the body to metabolize the fats that are good for you. This may damage cell membranes of vital structures, such as the brain and nerve cells.

Hydrogenated fats are also widely used in restaurants for deep-fat frying, so the French fries so popular with children may be full of cholesterol-raising trans fats even if the establishment claims it uses “100% vegetable oil” for cooking.

Current label laws in the US do not require food manufacturers to include information about trans fats in nutrition labeling.

Nitrates/nitrites (Taken from The Family Nutrition Book by Dr. William Sears)

Nitrates and nitrites, which are preservatives added to food, especially processed meats, form carcinogenic compounds in the intestines.  It’s best to stay away from the deli meats and the prepackaged meats as almost all of them have some sort of nitrate as a preservative. Fortunately, many of the phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables can fight against these carcinogens.

Enriched, Refined or Fortified (Taken from The Family Nutrition Book by Dr. William Sears)

Enriched is often a tip-off that something good was taken out of the food, requiring another process to put some of the good stuff back in. Enriched flour and anything that is made with it are not nourishing as their whole-wheat counterparts.

Good Fats:  Avocadoes, Raw nuts, Wild Salmon, Olive Oil, Flax Seeds and Nut butters.

Good Carbohydrates: Fruits, Vegetables, Whole grain cereals/breads, Sprouted cereals/breads, Brown rice, Oatmeal/Cream of Wheat, Whole Wheat Pasta, Sweet potatoes & Whole Grain Crackers.

Good Protein:  Wild Salmon, Cold Water Fish, Buffalo, Organic Chicken, Organic eggs,

Organic Tofu/soy, Lentils/legumes, Plain yogurt and White Cheese.

Immune Builders:  How to encourage your kids to eat more Fruits and vegetables:

(Sometimes a child needs to be exposed to a new food 14 times before they’ll eat it.)

Why are raw fruits and vegetables so important?  Here are just a few reasons:

Phytochemicals found in raw fruits and vegetables fight disease and reduce the risk of many diseases.

The Importance of Nutrition for School-Aged Children

            Food is fuel.  We don't want our children “running on empty.” Our children require “good fuel” (nutrients) for their growing bodies and they are harmed by “bad fuel” (highly processed empty calories). 

            As parents and teachers, we want our children to have a successful school experience. Research shows children who have a healthy diet have better attention spans, academic success, athletic success and self-esteem than children who don't.  They miss less school, see the doctor less, and take fewer over the counter and prescription drugs.

We want our children well.

            If our children are sick, they either miss school, or come unable to give their best effort, infecting other children along the way.  Food can boost immunity or depress it.  For example, phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables enhance immune function (as measured by T-cells, cytokines, B cells and NK cells), while sugar actually depresses immune function. 

            Health risks for children who are undernourished (yet overfed) include more colds, flus, and higher risk for obesity, Type II Diabetes and juvenile cancer. 

            New scientific studies are also linking poor nutrition to Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.).   In his book, Family Nutrition, Dr. William Sears highlights numerous studies linking deficiency of omega 3 fats and DHA (key dietary fats that build and protect brains), deficiency in key nutrients and excess of dietary sugar to A.D.D. Family Nutrition, "A.D.D. - A Nutritional Deficiency", pp. 300-301.  


Sandwich Ideas
Refried beans with red bell pepper slices & salsa in a tortilla wrap
Nut butters (organic peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter)
Nut butters and 100% fruit jam or jelly or honey
Nut butter and strawberry, apple or banana slices
Nut butter and grated carrots
Nut butter sandwiches on small crackers
Nut butter 100% fruit jam or jelly on a whole grain bagel
Nut butter with sliced bananas rolled up inside a tortilla    
Hummus on whole wheat bread
Hummus, shredded carrots and celery inside a tortilla
Hummus or baba ghanouj instead of mayo
Hummus with tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce
Hummus with sliced grapes
Hummus with grated carrot
Hummus with sliced & sautéed mushrooms
Leftover pasta or grain dishes in a wrap
Tofu mayo mixed with nut butters, celery and peppers
Tofu egg salad in a pita pocket with lettuce or alfalfa sprouts
Egg salad on whole wheat bread or pita pocket

Snacks and Sides Ideas

Fresh fruit with dip
Fruit salad
Fruit cups
Dried fruit
Fruit Leather (read ingredients)
100% Applesauce
Apple, carrots, celery slices w/ nut butter to dip
Broccoli dip
Baked chips
Raw nuts
Dry cereal
Plain yogurt with fruit, nuts, granola, raisins, dried cranberrie
Carrots, celery & pita bread triangles w/Hummus for dipping
Granola bars (watch ingredients)
Baba ghanouj (roasted eggplant puree) for dipping veggies
Nut butter spread on whole wheat crackers
Hard boiled eggs.

Healthy Substitutes

Instead of Sugar                  Instead of Coffee                                Instead of Mayo                 Instead of Soda

Stevia                                     Teeccino                                          plain yogurt                          herbal iced tea

Sucana                                   Cafix                                                                                     ½ 100% juice/ ½ carbonated water

honey                                      herbal teas

apple Sauce                           warm water and lemon


Dirty Dozen: 12 Most Contaminated (these are the foods that I always buy organically, I always keep this list in my wallet)