Feeding the Family
When It’s Too Hot to Cook
|by Jen Allbritton, CN June 2010 http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/feeding-the-family-when-its-too-hot-to-cook|
|June 28 2010|
| Cool Summertime, Enzyme-Rich Meals
Eating foods in sync with the season, especially foods grown locally, maximizes nutrient intake and minimizes one’s environmental footprint. As John Douillard, author and Ayurvedic practitioner in Boulder, Colorado, so gracefully states, “The idea behind adjusting our diets to the seasons is to stay in the present moment, to understand what the seasons are doing to the body, and treat it accordingly with the foods that nature provides.”1
The bounty of summer blesses us with nutrient-rich, vitality-giving foods, especially vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables, many of which can be enjoyed raw. And during those stifling summer days I am grateful this is so, because when the temperature in my kitchen creeps up into the high eighties, you can’t pay me enough to turn on any heat-emitting appliance! Make the most of the foods this glorious season provides, while optimally nourishing your family.
RAW FOODS: THE FACTS
Raw, enzyme-packed foods are a little slice of heaven for your pancreas. Let me explain. There are two main categories of enzymes involved in breaking down food: those inherent in plants and raw animal products, and those produced by the body. Naturally present plant, or food, enzymes include protease (digests protein), amylase (digests carbohydrates), lipase (digests fat), disaccharidase (digests the sugars maltose, sucrose, and lactose), and cellulase (digests fiber). The make-up of each whole food is no accident. Nature provides the necessary enzymes for that particular food, so avocados have a higher proportion of lipase to break down fat, while pears contain more amylase to work on their higher carbohydrate concentration.
Digestive enzymes are produced by the body to further assist in the breakdown of food. The first digestive enzyme food comes in contact with is amylase in saliva, which begins to break down carbohydrates through chewing (a key reason to chew food slowly and thoroughly). The remaining digestive, or pancreatic, enzymes (ptyalin, pepsin, trypsin, lipase, and protease) are produced in the pancreas and secreted into the gastrointestinal tract to continue the job of digestion. The last group of enzymes to work on our meal is produced by the small intestine itself, which mostly concentrates on carbohydrates.
Although our body makes digestive enzymes, their production diminishes with age. More important, those digestive enzymes need not be the sole source of enzymes. Lita Lee, PhD, in her book The Enzyme Cure, explains that “food enzymes—and only food enzymes— spare the pancreas from having to compensate for inadequate predigesting.” In other words, consuming a predominately “enzymeless” diet of over-cooked foods taxes the pancreas and, eventually, it will become less efficient at enzyme production.
Sally Fallon Morell reminds us in Nourishing Traditions that, “Almost all traditional societies incorporate raw, enzyme-rich foods into their cuisines—not only vegetable foods but also raw animal proteins and fats in the form of raw dairy foods, raw fish and raw muscle and organ meats. These diets also traditionally include a certain amount of cultured or fermented foods, which have an enzyme content that is actually enhanced by the fermenting and culturing process.”2 In fact, in native cultures that cooked much or even most of their food, a majority of their enzymes came from moderate amounts of fermented condiments or beverages, which traditionally accompanied cooked meals.3 Examples include sauerkraut, beet kvass, kombucha, fermented fish, or chutneys.
Mary Enig, Ph.D, tells us in Eat Fat Lose Fat, “We like to think of fermented foods as ‘super-raw,’ because they contain very high levels of enzymes (formed during the lacto-fermentation process) that more than compensate for the enzymes destroyed by cooking.”4 Fermentation also has the added benefit of pre-digesting the food and making for easier overall digestion.
Milk is one food that has been consumed raw throughout the ages, and often fermented or made into raw cheese for preservation. For example, tangy, effervescent kefir from Russia made from raw goat or sheep milk; dahi, a sour yogurt-like creation, made in the Middle East and eaten with every meal; or the delectable cultured crème fraîche found in European cultures. And still today, dairy, acquired responsibly, remains one of the foods best served in its raw form.
RAW FOODS AND GASTRIC DISTRESS
Even though we have established that raw foods are healthful, three factors must be considered when including them in the diet. First, when examining traditional practices, we see that a good portion, and in some cases, most foods were cooked—particularly grains, legumes and vegetables—even in the tropical climates where fire wasn’t necessary for warmth.5 Second, certain foods are just best cooked, fermented or germinated to maximize nutrient availability and absorption. And third, an individual’s digestive system must be up to the task of breaking down raw foods, which is often not the case. Even with their naturally present enzymes to aid in digestion, those persons with weaker digestive function often have trouble assimilating raw foods—particularly those highest in fiber—and can suffer from gas, bloating and intestinal discomfort. This is especially the case for those with digestive conditions such as colitis, irritable bowel and gastric reflux.
In an e-newsletter, Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet, reminds us that, “The ancients were well aware that raw vegetables were difficult to digest; in Chinese Medicine, for example, it is well known that raw foods are best eaten by someone with strong ‘digestive fire.’ A major cause of poor ‘digestive fire’ is that our adrenals and thyroid are both poorly nourished and taxed by toxins and daily stress.”6
Grains, beans, nuts and seeds are foods that should not be consumed raw. They house enzyme-inhibitors that are best deactivated by germinating or sprouting, which wakes up the enzymes, ultimately making the food’s nutrients more readily available.7 This is accomplished by soaking these foods in room temperature water for seven to 24 hours before either cooking grains or beans or drying nuts and seeds in a low-temperature oven or dehydrator to make them crispy.
As far as raw plant foods are concerned, the most troublesome are those in the cruciferous family—broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabagas and turnips. These highly nutritious foods contain goitrogenic compounds that increase one’s need for iodine and, if consumed in large enough amounts, can inhibit thyroid function. These foods are always best consumed cooked or fermented. See the side bar “Careful with the Crucifers.”
Cellulose in fibrous foods also makes digestion more challenging, especially when consumed raw. Cellulose is an insoluble, indigestible fiber (long-chain carbohydrate) that makes up a good portion of the cell wall within plant foods, giving them rigidity and structure. Cooking and fermentation soften and pre-digest cellulose, making it easier for the digestive system to handle. Human anatomy is simply not designed to digest too much cellulose, the way plant-focused animals are, animals such as ruminants (cows, goats, etc.) and gorillas.
Still, healthy people can handle a certain amount of cellulose in their diets. Although the pancreas does not produce enzymes to digest cellulose, the healthy bacteria in our guts do! Our internal ecosystem produces the enzyme cellulase, which helps break cellulose down into simple sugars. Here’s the catch, our digestive system must house plenty of friendly bacteria to produce this digestive aid.
VEGETABLES: TO COOK, OR NOT TO COOK?
It is a common misbelief that, in general, foods are more nutritious when consumed raw. In fact, cooking can actually render some nutrients more available, which is especially true with vegetables. Research from Cornell University found that although some nutrients may be destroyed (particularly vitamin C), cooking increases the availability of other cancer-preventing phytochemicals, ultimately increasing the overall antioxidant effect of a food.8 For example, cooking tomatoes for thirty minutes decreases the vitamin C level about one-third; however, it increases the available lycopene from 2 mg per gram to over 5 mg per gram and boosts the antioxidant activity of the food by 50 percent.9 More research with carrots found that antioxidant levels increased almost 35 percent immediately after cooking. It is believed that heating the carrots softened their tissues, allowing the release of more antioxidant compounds.10
Cooking and fermenting also reduce naturally occurring mineral-blocking substances in plant foods, such as phytates, oxalates and mycotoxins. 11 Oxalates, for instance, are naturally found in high concentrations in such nourishing foods as spinach, beet greens and parsley, yet they inhibit calcium absorption.
In general, gently steaming, stir-frying, sautéing, slow cooking, stewing, and baking most vegetables liberates the minerals within, making them more available. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean all vegetables need to be cooked before consumption, but again, an individual’s digestive constitution and the food of choice are important factors. For example, a raw spinach salad with chopped apples, a handful of blueberries, sliced red pepper, crumbled raw goat feta, chopped crispy walnuts, drizzled with an olive oil-balsamic vinegar blend is a lovely, quick summer salad that can be enjoyed by most people with well-functioning digestive systems and plenty of calcium coming in through bone broths or raw dairy products. On the other hand, eating this for dinner every night for a week might not be the best choice. Use your intuition and listen to your own body system. Take a good look at the bigger picture of your nutritional intake and serve a balance of cooked and raw foods that fits with your family’s tastes and level of digestive flame.
As for fresh-from-the-vine raw veggies, the low-fiber, higher water-containing choices are typically well tolerated by most digestive systems. These foods often fall under the category of fruit or flowering vegetables because they bear the plant’s matured seeds for future generations, similar to tree fruits. Lighter lettuce leaves are also good to eat raw; however, avoid partaking in the raw form of their more fibrous cousins mustard greens and beet tops.
Absorption of minerals is enhanced with the addition of fats, such as butter, avocado, healthy oils or cream.12 Be sure to include these ingredients liberally in all meals. The enzyme guru Dr. Howell also observed that salt is a powerful enzyme activator,13 so don’t be shy with the salt shaker, just be sure it is from a clean, natural source and still contains all its original minerals, such as the properly harvested Celtic, Himalayan, Real Salt and Lima salts.
While cooking some or a good portion of our vegetables, and virtually all beans and grains, is ideal nutritionally, one should be aware of the concerns with over-cooking. Back in the 1930s, it was discovered that upon eating processed and over-cooked foods, there was an immediate production of leukocytes, or white blood cells—the immune system’s response when under attack, such as happens with a virus or when consuming an allergenic food. Initially, this response was thought to be a normal function of eating, until it was later revealed by another researcher, Dr. Paul Kouchakoff, that eating raw food or food heated at low temperatures failed to produce this same physiological response.
In fact, Kouchakoff found that the more heat and processing a food endures, the greater the white blood cell response will be, such as with foods that have been refined, deep-fried, homogenized and pasteurized. Interestingly, Kouchakoff found that chewing food thoroughly lessens the elevation in white blood cells. Teaming up a plate of cooked food with the same amount of raw food also minimizes the blood cell response. Not surprisingly, these results affirm the traditional practice of including a fermented, super-charged enzyme food along with cooked ingredients.
Summer is my favorite time of year: birds singing outside my window in the mornings, splashing in the creek with my boys, and breathing in sweet mountain fresh air on a hike. One place I would rather not spend more time than necessary is the kitchen. Simplify your summer menu by taking advantage of the riches of the season; all while keeping cool and still fully nourishing your family.
RAW FRUITS: Avocados, bananas, dates, figs, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, mangos, papayas
SWEETENERS: Raw honey
DAIRY: Raw milk, raw cream
CULTURED DAIRY: Cultured butter, raw cheese, cultured cream, yogurt, kefir
SOY FOODS (In strict moderation!): Miso (in dressings and dips), natto
MEAT AND FISH: Rare and raw well-aged meat; lacto-fermented fish, such as gravlax
LACTO-FERMENTED CONDIMENTS: Sauerkraut, pickles, chutneys
LACTO-FERMENTED BEVERAGES: Old-fashioned ginger ale and root beer, kombucha, kvass, water kefir Sprouted grains , nuts , and seeds : See chapter on Sprouted Grains, Nuts & Seeds in Nourishing Traditions for details.
TEN TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR KITCHEN COOL
1. Emphasize foods that require little to no cooking: summer sausage, fresh fruits, certain vegetables, olives, salads, crispy nuts and cheeses. This is the time to perfect two or three recipes for dipping veggies and dressing salads that make your taste buds tipsy (see my Creamy Cashew Macadamia Dressing on page 69). Bear in mind, not all foods are best eaten raw nor is everyone capable of eating a lot of raw foods; see the section titled Raw Foods and Gastric Distress on how to maximize your digestion and assimilation of raw foods.
2. Capture inspiration from raw foodists, many of whom advocate traditional food ingredients, including the meat of young coconuts, coconut butter and oil, raw and soaked nuts, and sprouts. Check out The Raw 50 by Carol Alt. While most other raw food resources are vegan, Carol’s book wisely advocates raw milk, cheese, eggs, and even fish. Similarly, Becky Mauldin has an especially wise bent toward traditional foods in her cookbook titled Recipes for Life (http://www.pure-health-and-wellness.com), where she features raw meat recipes with an ethnic flare, along with cobblers and pizza. A 100 percent raw foodie I am not, but summer is the perfect season to be more of one! This is a part of eating seasonally. Allow the flow of the seasons to direct your menu plans.
3. Take advantage of the portability of your slow cooker and dehydrator by setting them up in the garage (see The Slow Cooker Rules piece at http://www.westonaprice.org). One of my favorite, simple and entertaining dehydrator books is Dry It – You’ll Like It by Gen MacManiman. Many raw food resources have inventive dehydrator recipes; a real winner is the Onion Bread recipe from RAWvolution by Matt Amsden. This bread makes the most wonderful crunchy, croutonlike addition to summer salads. When keeping foods raw, bear in mind that enzymes are extremely heat-sensitive: food temperatures over 120 degrees F (different from air temperature, which is around 20 degrees warmer than food temperature) for a period of time will destroy the resident enzymes (see the exhaustive explanation on this subject at Excalibur Dehydrator’s website, a leading resource in preserving enzymes http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com).
4. Invest in fun summer kitchen gadgets. My favorite is a vegetable slicer made by Paderno World Cuisine. This gadget’s strategically placed tiny blades make “zucpasta,” pasta-like spirals made from zucchini or yellow squash. They are very tasty, crunchy, and simple to make. Top a bowl-full of these “noodles” with your favorite tomato sauce, pesto, or cream sauce.
5. Cook foods indoors at the coolest part of the day: night or early morning. And if you must cook during the hotter like eggs on the stovetop or veggies that can be quickly steamed. If I am going to cook, I like to cook big—a large batch of pancakes or waffles—and freeze the leftovers so I get out of the chore for a while.
6. Grill or smoke your food outdoors. Besides allowing the usual grilling or smoking techniques, these units can act as an outside oven; simply use your cast iron cookware as you would indoors.
7. Invest in a toaster oven: their smaller size generates less heat.
8. Get super friendly with your blender. Smoothies, blender drinks, popsicles and raw soups are mainstays in my home during the hottest parts of the year. Invest in a stellar blender; it’s the pits when your “smoothie” has little chunks throughout because your blender doesn’t have the needed gusto. Two companies, Vita Mix and Blendtec, make professional quality, high-speed blenders that work great for any job.
9. Ferment your socks off! Salsas, chutneys, coleslaw mixes, apple butter, fish, garlic, you name it.
10. Instead of heated homemade yogurt (using an electric yogurt maker), consider switching to a non-heat option for the summer months, such as Matsoni Yogurt (aka Caspian Sea Yogurt) or Viili yogurt, which ferment beautifully at room temperature (check out http://www.culturesforhealth.com for more details and reviews). Kefir also needs no heat, but doesn’t have the yogurt-like consistency of these other options. Nevertheless, kefir is a perfect base for a probiotic-endowed smoothie, popsicle and ice cream.
WHAT’S THE STORY WITH RAW EGGS?
There are three concerns when it comes to eating raw eggs: salmonella, avidin (a biotin inhibitor), and trypsin or enzyme inhibitors. Salmonella is only an issue if the egg comes from an unhealthy, battery-raised chicken. And even then, the risk of salmonella contamination is one in every 30,000 eggs. On the other hand, the risk is almost non-existent in eggs from hens living on pasture, soaking up sunshine and feeding on nourishing foods, such as insects, flax, alfalfa and algae.16
The second concern is avidin, found in egg whites, which binds to the B vitamin biotin, preventing its absorption. Egg yolks are actually a concentrated source of biotin and moreover, one would need to consume an unappetizing number of raw eggs to actually induce a deficiency. Cooking the egg white at least reduces avidin, thus sparing a portion of the residing biotin.17 Ultimately, salmonella and avidin hold little weight when evaluating the pros and cons of raw egg consumption.
Of most concern are the enzyme inhibitors found within the egg white, similar to those in nuts and beans. Cooking neutralizes these inhibitors, which if left intact interfere with protein digestion and could potentially lead to digestive woes. One study performed at University Hospital Leuven in Belgium found that consuming cooked egg compared to raw improved protein digestion by 40 percent.18 This is not to say a fresh, whole raw egg (with the white) obtained from a pastured hen on occasion is taboo, but it is best to be more liberal with the raw yolks in smoothies and popsicles, or stirred into porridge and salad dressing.19 Of course, cooked whole egg is a nourishing option as well.
Careful With the Crucifers
Chris Masterjohn, in his extensive research regarding cruciferous vegetables, says, “Steaming crucifers until they are fully cooked reduces the goitrogens to one-third the original value on average. Since release of the goitrogens from steamed crucifers depends on intestinal bacteria, however, the amount released varies from person to person. Boiling crucifers for thirty minutes reliably destroys 90 percent of the goitrogens. Fermentation does not neutralize the goitrogens in crucifers. When foods like sauerkraut are consumed as condiments, however, the small amount of goitrogens within them is not harmful if one’s diet is adequate in iodine.” On the plus side, Masterjohn notes that these goitrogens give cruciferous veggies their cancer-protective attributes.
The simple answer is to eat these foods cooked and fermented in amounts right for you. Those with a thyroid condition or pregnant and nursing ought to be more cautious. Fermented crucifers used as condiments along with a few servings of gently cooked cruciferous vegetables each week is reasonable. And be sure to incorporate iodine into your diet regularly through seafood, seaweed, butter, and eggs laid by pastured hens.20
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF RAW FOODS
How can you improve your digestive fire and encourage better digestion of raw foods? Follow these nine steps to give yourself and family the advantage:
1. First order of business is to create a stellar inner ecosystem by consuming plenty of fermented foods and beverages abundant in beneficial microflora. If you and your family haven’t hopped on the lacto-fermentation bandwagon yet, consider a high quality probiotic supplement until you can work these foods in on a regular basis.
2. Accompany all cooked meals with fermented condiments and/or beverages, such as live-culture yogurt, kefir (dairy, water or coconut water), kombucha, live sauerkraut, or other fermented veggie mixes, salsa and chutneys. Remember, fermenting foods begins the pre-digesting process and boosts enzyme content, making these foods easier to assimilate. When you eat them with cooked food, they support good digestion of the entire meal. Thus, you have the best of both worlds—the nutritional advantage of consuming gently cooked foods and the stellar enzymes provided by accompanying super-charged raw fermented foods, which more than make up for the loss of enzymes through cooking.
3. Fit in some raw animal protein and fats (from high quality sources), preferably daily, such as raw dairy foods (milk, cream, kefir, unheated yogurts, ice cream), raw fish (ideally fermented), and raw muscle or organ meats (such as steak tartare, freezing meat for at least two weeks before consumption to eliminate parasite risk), and egg yolks (see side bar What’s the Story with Raw Eggs?). Contrary to today’s practices, in native diets animal products are typically consumed raw or fermented more often than vegetable foods.
4. Chewing is often overlooked as an important aspect of digestion. The process of chewing and thoroughly tasting our food sends signals to the digestive tract about what to expect in terms of nutrients and which enzymes will be needed to assimilate them. (This is one good reason to avoid gum chewing.)14 Taking your time, chewing each mouthful of food at least twenty times per bite, is ideal for breaking down food and allowing saliva to do its work.
5. Emphasize high-enzyme foods—dates, figs, tropical fruit, raw dairy products, sprouts, etc.
6. A good rule of thumb is to serve your family a variety of raw as well as gently cooked fruits and vegetable—not all cooked, not all raw. Make adjustments necessary to accommodate the state of your family’s digestive health, and if digestive fires are running low, cook more often to soften the cellulose. Gently steaming, stir-frying, sautéing, slow cooking, stewing and baking are all good methods.
7. Soak all beans and legumes and soak, germinate, and dry all nuts and seeds at low temperatures. Ideally, avoid further cooking of nuts and seeds to protect the oils residing within.
8. Choose organic or biodynamically grown vegetables, especially if you are going to consume them raw. Pesticides not only block a plant’s absorption of nutrients needed for enzyme production, but inhibit the body’s enzyme systems as well.15
9. Blending breaks the cellulose cell wall apart, making digestion of the fiber less challenging. Blender drinks, smoothies and blended soups are fun, fast foods that can be quite refreshing and nourishing. In fact, you can include a number of superfoods that frequently go undetected, making them a fantastic mix for more suspicious family members (see the Creamy Dreamy Smoothie recipe, page 69). Just be sure to try to “chew” these blended meals and don’t gulp them down, allowing time for saliva enzymes to do their work.
Creamy Dreamy Smoothie
(or sweet swamp smoothie if you have young boys )
2 cups water, kefir, raw milk or coconut milk 1/4 organic lemon, including peel
Ice cubes if you desire a more icey smoothie (kefir frozen into cubes works great too)
Pour your choice of liquid, coconut oil, and lemon in the blender and whirl around until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients until well-blended. Enjoy. Other possible additions: goji berries, spirulina, vanilla extract, carob powder, acerola or camu powder (or other high vitamin-C berry powder).
CASHEW MACADAMIA DRESSING
1 tablespoon olive oil
Whip oil and vinegar together with whisk and then add the remaining ingredients until thick and creamy.
1. Douillard, John. The 3-Season Diet. Three Rivers Press. 2000. p 84
2. Fallon, Sally. Enig, Mary, PhD. Nourishing Traditions. NewTrends Publishing. 1999. p 47
4. Enig, Mary Ph.D., Fallon, Sally. Eat Fat Lose Fat. Hudson Street Press. 2005. p 92
5. Enig, Mary Ph.D., Fallon, Sally. Eat Fat Lose Fat. Hudson Street Press. 2005. p 91
6. Body Ecology Newsletter. How to Eat Your Vegetables Raw (With NO Gas or Bloating!). Found at http://www.bodyecology.com/06/12/14/raw_vegetables_ gas_bloating.php
7. Fallon, Sally. Enig, Mary, PhD. Nourishing Traditions. NewTrends Publishing. 1999. p 47
8. Dewanto V, Wu X, Liu RH. Processed sweet corn has higher antioxidant activity. J Agric Food Chem 2002 Aug 14;501;50(17):4959-64
9. Dewanto V, Wu X, Adom KK, Liu RH, Thermal processing enhances the nutritional value of tomatoes by increasing total antioxidant activity. J Agric Food Chem 2002 May 8;50(10);3010-4
10. Talcott ST, Howard LR, Brenes CH. Antioxidant changes and sensory properties of carrot puree processed with and without periderm tissue. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Apr;48(4):1315-21
11. Fallon, Sally. Enig, Mary, PhD. Nourishing Traditions. NewTrends Publishing. 1999
12. Fallon, Sally. The Right Price. Interpreting the Work of Dr. Weston A. Price. Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, Fall 2005
13. Howell, Edward Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept. Avery publishing group. 1985. Nancy Appleton, Ph.D. The Dangers of Over-Cooking Your Food. Found at http:// articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/05/29/over-cooking.aspx
14. Enig, Mary Ph.D., Fallon, Sally. Eat Fat Lose Fat. Hudson Street Press. 2005. Page 72
15. Cichoke, Anthony. The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy. Avery Publishing Group. 1999. Page 21
16. Mercola, Joseph. The No-Grain Diet. Conquer Carbohydrate Addiction and Stay Slim for Life. Dutton. 2003. p. 251
17. T. D. Durance. Residual Avid in Activity in Cooked Egg White Assayed with Improved Sensitivity. Journal of Food Science. Volume 56 Issue 3, pp.707–09. Published Online: 25 Aug 2006. Found at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/ journal/119344834/abstract??CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
18. Evenepoel, Pieter. Digestibility of Cooked and Raw Egg Protein in Humans as Assessed by Stable Isotope Techniques. Journal of Nutrition Vol. 128 No. 10 October 1998, pp. 1716-1722. Found at http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/short/128/10/1716
19. Fallon, Sally. Book review of The No-Grain Diet by Joseph Mercola. Found at http://www.westonaprice.org/The-No-Grain-Diet-by-Joseph-Mercola.html
20. Masterjohn, Chris. Bearers of the Cross: Crucifers in the Context of Traditional Diets and Modern Science. Wise Traditions, Summer 2007
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2010.
About the Reviewer
Jen Allbritton, is a wife, mother and Certified Nutritionist who enjoys researching, writing, and experimenting in the kitchen with WAPF-friendly dishes. Her column Growing Wise Kids is a regular addition to the Foundation’s quarterly magazine, Wise Traditions. Jen has a degree in Kinesiology from the College of William and Mary and has been passionately learning and teaching others about food’s affect on health for over 14 years. Contact her with column ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org.