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March is National Nutrition Month; Your #GoodGut thrives on Whole Foods All Year Long!

It’s National Nutrition Month! We want to help you “Fuel for the Future,” so we’re highlighting the importance of fueling your #GoodGut and your environment. The things around your gut can affect what is living in it and how it’s functioning. We want to help you nourish your #GoodGut in a way that is well-tolerated, delicious, and sustainable so you and future generations have the opportunity to thrive!


How Do We Fuel For The Future?

Key messages to keep in mind this year as you create sustainable healthy habits:


Eat With the Environment in Mind.

The highly regarded EAT Lancet Journal noted that Plant Based Diets rank at the top when it comes to eating for the environment. They produced The Planetary Health Diet, which highlights predominantly or exclusively plant based diets as being best for the planet. What can you do if you are already fully or predominantly plant based? Making a grocery list before a grocery shopping trip can reduce food waste. Shopping at the farmer’s market or fresh section in the grocery store to purchase fruits and vegetables free of plastics and other wraps reduces the amount of trash that would otherwise end up in landfills. In addition, shopping locally and supporting growers in your community will reduce the carbon footprint by also changing supply and demand chains already in place that tend not to favor sustainability like food desserts and unfavorable growing climates.


Stay Nourished and Save Money.

Save money and the planet by planning meals. An important tool in preventing hunger-influenced grocery store buys and reducing food wasted at home can be meal planning. When each ingredient has a plan, it is less likely to move from the grocery store to your compost bin. Want to reduce your food print (carbon footprint from food purchases) even further? Consider growing some produce in your own home, outdoor space, or available community garden. Containers or raised garden beds are a great way to grow your own food in your home. Community gardens eliminate the need for transportation of many seasonal foods that consumers can have access to within arm’s reach. Simultaneously, participating in gardening activities significantly improves health outcomes such as life satisfaction, happiness, general health, mental health, and social cohesion.


Eat a Variety of Foods From All Food Groups.

Enjoy plant-based foods at home by creating tasty meals with new flavors and foods. Including a variety of plants like fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, legumes, herbs, and spices is both nutritious and delicious. Fueling foods are those that, aside from their macronutrient composition, also provide many other health beneficial components such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Rotating the types of foods you eat to include as many different foods as you possibly can, results in a lower risk for metabolic syndrome, obesity, and nutritional deficiencies. In addition, there is a lower risk for mortality–you will live longer! The more colors you try the more your gut will help you thrive!


See a Registered Dietitian.

Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). RDNs specialize in nutrition and can provide guidance to develop an eating plan that’s both safe and creative. An RDN is trained to incorporate plans based on an individual’s unique medical needs, tolerance, accessibility, and preference. RDNs provide personalized nutrition information to meet health goals and information to meet nutrient needs throughout individuals’ lifespan. M2H Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are evidence-based practitioners providing patient-centered care through Integrative Medical Nutrition Therapy. We welcome you to meet the team and ask a question through our website: www.marriedtohealth.com


How Do Children Thrive Plant-based and Fuel for Their Future?

Health benefits of adding more plants to your diet are undeniable when we look at the research. Properly planned plant based diets are also supported by major nutrition associations world-wide, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. What would the benefits of children eating a more plant-based diet be?

What you eat has an effect on every single cell of your body–from the glow of the skin to the flow of the gut. Nutrition is as important from day one of life as it is in every stage of a child’s growth and development, which is why gut health is so important. The gut is essentially the organ system that breaks down the foods we eat into nutrients our body needs to support all the functions that keep us thriving. Mother’s milk is nature’s fuel that supplies human babies with gut-protecting immunoglobulins which can help prevent food intolerances, food allergies, histamine intolerance, celiac disease and other gestational diseases. Once able to eat solids, children can obtain nutrition through plant-based foods that can continue supporting gut health. Plant-based diets are gut beneficial as they are rich in fiber, which helps feed the #GoodGut bacteria that assists in digesting some foods that our gut cannot! Gut health is important because it can affect sleep, mood, and digestion. To ensure a child can obtain the best nutrition for growth and health, we at Married to Health encourage predominantly plant-based nutrition in any stage of life.


Plant-based diets can be healthy and complete for children when intake of Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and Vitamins B12 and D are optimized. Iron can be found in chickpeas, lentils, beans, whole grains, kale, and iron fortified cereals. Calcium can be found in kale, broccoli, dried beans, and calcium fortified plant-based milks. Zinc can be found in potatoes, dried beans, pumpkin seeds, hummus and fortified cereals. Vitamin B12 can be found in soymilk, nutritional yeast, breads, and vitamin fortified cereals. Vitamin D can be found in mushrooms, fortified cereals, and fortified plant-based milks. If in doubt, consulting an RDN can help you answer any questions or concerns about your child’s nutrient needs.


Connecting the dots is simple: children who consume predominantly plant-based diets will have less health problems and will contribute less to climate change (which in itself also affects children’s physical and mental health). By comparison, production of meats and dairy products requires more water and land, contributing to higher levels of greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere. Climate change is an undeniable concern for the future of the planet and the children of the future. Greenhouse emissions also have an effect on air quality. Poor air quality exacerbates asthma, worsens seasonal allergies, and impacts pulmonary health.


We invite you to Fuel For the Future by getting creative with plant-based recipes. Try new foods and check out our recipes below!


Beet Burger

This is a recipe you can’t beet! These patties not only look delicious but they are a nutritious and gut microbiome feeding powerhouse. Most burgers have absolutely no fiber, these are packed with soluble and insoluble fiber so you are getting one of the most important nutrients for you and your #GoodGut!




Ingredients:

  • Vegetable Broth (As Needed)

  • 1 Cup Finely Grated Raw Beet

  • 1-15 oz Canned or Homemade Black Beans

  • ¾ Cup Cooked Quinoa

  • ½ Large Red Onion (Finely Diced)

  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Mushrooms

  • ½ Cup Raw Walnuts (Finely Crushed or Ground into a Loose Meal)

  • 1 tsp Cumin

  • ½ tsp Chili Powder (or Sub Extra Cumin)

  • ¼ tsp Smoked Paprika

  • ½ tsp Dried Parsley

  • Pink Himalayan Salt (As Needed)

  • Black Pepper (As Needed)

  • Coconut Aminos (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp Sauerkraut (For a Topping)

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add some vegetable broth to prevent sticking. Once hot add the onion and sauté, seasoning with a pinch each salt and pepper.

  2. When the onions are soft – about 3 Minutes – add the mushrooms. Season with another pinch of salt and add garlic powder, dried parsley, paprika, cumin, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms and onions are slightly browned and fragrant- about 3 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and add black beans and mash. You are looking for a rough mash, so you can leave a bit of texture if you want.

  4. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the cooked quinoa, raw shredded beets, spices, and stir. For even more flavor, add a shake of coconut aminos (optional). Now is the time to taste and make adjustments as needed.

  5. Lastly, add the walnut meal a little at a time until the mixture is able enough to form into patties. Set in the fridge to chill while you are preheating the oven to 375°F Degrees (190°C) (You Can Also Cook Quickly In The Air Fryer.)

  6. Coat a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form mixture into roughly 8 to 9 patties (Or As Many Patties As You Like). Fyi, The Thicker You Make Them, The Longer They’ll Take To Cook Through. Thinner Patties Will Cook Faster.

  7. Arrange Burgers On A Baking Sheet And Bake At 375°F (190°C) For A Total Of 30-45 Minutes, Gently Flipping At The Halfway Mark. Cook Longer To Dry Them Out Even More And Achieve More Crisp, But It’s Not Necessary.

  8. Serve On Small Buns (Bread Srsly) And Top With Sauerkraut.


Vegan Caesar Salad

This Seasonal Caesar Salad is 100% whole food, plant-based, gluten free, dairy free, & flavor-full! Check out the ingredients and directions below.









Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 1 Pound Kale

  • 1 cup Romaine

  • 1 cup Arugula

  • 1 cup Spinach

  • 1 cup Red leaf lettuce

  • ½ cup Broccoli, chopped

  • 1 Medium/ Large Carrot

  • cup/ 1 12 oz. can Hearts of palm

For the Dressing:

  • 1 Medium Avocado

  • ¾ cup Soaked Cashews (if you do not have any pre-soaked, can boil them for 30 minutes on low heat)

  • 1 ¼ cup Filtered Water

  • 2 Tbsp Kelp Flakes

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

  • ¼ cup Nutritional Yeast

  • 1 ½ Tbsp Vegan Worcestershire sauce

  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder

  • 1 Small Clove Garlic

  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

  • 1 Tbsp Ground Olives or Capers

  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt (add more to taste)

For the Garnish:

  • ¾ cup The Good Bean Roasted Chickpeas

  • ¼ cup Almond parmesan (Parma Zaan Brand or homemade blend of ½ cup raw almonds, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ tsp himalayan salt, & 1 tsp garlic powder)

  • 3 Tbsp Hemp seeds

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, massage washed kale with avocado for 2 minutes, or until softened.

  2. Add in spinach, romaine, red leaf lettuce, & arugula.

  3. Chop broccoli and hearts of palm.

  4. With a peeler or grater, make carrot ribbons or shreds.

  5. Blend dressing ingredients in a blender.

  6. Add all ingredients to the greens bowl & add dressing.

  7. Garnish with roasted chickpeas, hemp seeds, & almond parmesan and enjoy!


Spaghetti and “Meatballs”

No more mystery meat meatballs, instead we are using one of our favorite grains Millet. Millet is a gluten-free whole grain that is filled with soluble fiber that helps your gut hydrate, detox, and provides nutrients to the gut lining. Way better than your average meatball!




Ingredients:

  • 2+ Cups Vegetables Stock

  • 1 Cup Millet

  • 1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste

  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, peeled and diced small

  • 6 Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced

  • 1/2 Cup Tomato Puree

  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch

  • 1 pound Gluten-Free Spaghetti, cook according to package directions

  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º degrees F

  2. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the millet and salt and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the millet is tender. Leave the lid off and stir the millet to evaporate any excess water.

  3. Place the onion in a large saucepan and saute over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Add vegetable stock 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the onion from sticking to the pan. Add the garlic, basil, pinch of salt, and pepper and cook for another minute. Add the tomato puree and ¼ cup of water and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated about 3 minutes.

  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  5. Add the cooked millet, a pinch of salt, and the arrowroot powder to the onion mixture and mix well. Using an ice-cream scoop, shape the millet mixture into 2-inch balls and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

  6. To service, divide the spaghetti among 4 individual plates. Top with some on the “meatballs” and pour some of the tomato sauce over the prepared plates.


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References

Willer, et Al. 2019.Healthy Diets From Sustainable Food Systems Food Planet Health. EAT lancet. https://eatforum.org/content/uploads/2019/07/EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf


Bole, A., & McCarthy, C. (2022, April 19). How Climate Change Affects Children's Health. HealthyChildren.org. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/all-around/Pages/Climate-Change-Policy-Explained.aspx


Godman, H. (2021, October 1). Healthy Gut, healthier aging. Harvard Health. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/healthy-gut-healthier-aging


Lampert T, Costa J, Santos O, Sousa J, Ribeiro T, Freire E. Evidence on the contribution of community gardens to promote physical and mental health and well-being of non-institutionalized individuals: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2021 Aug 6;16(8):e0255621. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0255621. PMID: 34358279; PMCID: PMC8345884


Marin, D. (n.d.). Blogs. Married to Health. Retrieved March 8, 2023, from https://www.marriedtohealth.com/blog


Marin, J. and D. (2021, August 6). Why this registered dietitian recommends breastfeeding for a #goodgut. Married to Health. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.marriedtohealth.com/post/why-this-registered-dietitian-recommends-breastfeeding-for-a-goodgut


Patel, L., & Millstein, A. (2020, June 2). Plant-based Diets: Are They Good for Kids? HealthyChildren.org. Retrieved March 12, 2023, from https://healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Plant-Based-Diets.aspx


Pieniak Z, Żakowska-Biemans S, Kostyra E, Raats M. Sustainable healthy eating behaviour of young adults: towards a novel methodological approach. BMC Public Health. 2016 Jul 15;16:577. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3260-1. PMID: 27421759; PMCID: PMC4947369.


Team, W. (2022, July 5). 4 Exciting Reasons to Rotate Your Foods. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/eating-the-same-thing-every-day-4-reasons-to-increase-variety/#:~:text=Here%20are%20four%20reasons%20to%20rotate%20your%20foods%3A,...%204%204.%20You%20may%20start%20losing%20inches


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