Families that Eat blog

Families That Eat

Families that Eat blog

The Secret to Longterm Health? Go Outside

by Robin Nixon on 04/14/15

In addition to the obvious benefits of exercise and fresh air, getting outside may be health protective in other ways, too. Lack of sunlight and lack of exposure to symbiotic microbes (or, as scientists say, our "Old Friends") are considered top theories for the rise in so-called "modern diseases," including allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders and some types of cancer. Happily these theories point in one direction, the one most parents love to give their kids: GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!

Fish Oil Supplements Worthless, Maybe Harmful

by Robin Nixon on 04/08/15

The NYT reported last week that taking fish oil supplements does not help stave off cardiovascular concerns and in some cases can even be harmful (i.e. taking fish pills and aspirin or blood thinners simultaneously.) Fish oil pills were reported to be third most popular food supplement, after only vitamins and minerals! This popularity is based largely on some early studies that have not since been backed up. 

The studies showing that eating fish, real fish, are still compelling, so ditch the pill and have some lox.

This is usually the landing point, several years after there is some craze about some nutrient. Suddenly, instead of eating the food (or going outside in the case of Vitamin D), we are taking a pill. (The antioxidant craze also jumps to mind.) 

Pills are concentrated forms of one exact substance and likely don't provide the whole beneficial effect of eating a whole food. 

The best part of the NYT article:

"Like many cardiologists, Dr. Stein encourages his patients to avoid fish oil supplements and focus instead on eating fatty fish at least twice a week, in line with federal guidelines on safe fish intake, because fish contains a variety of healthful nutrients other than just EPA and DHA."

I think I'll go make Grant his favorite: "Fish Crackers."
(Salmon skin pan-fried to a crisp.)

"Weight control" brain circuits affected by mother's diet

by Robin Nixon on 04/01/15

What a mom eats during pregnancy and while breastfeeding may prime her children for weight gain and obesity later in life, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. The study, released this week in the Journal of Physiology, looked at "rats whose mothers consumed a high-fat diet and found that the offspring's feeding controls and feelings of fullness did not function normally."


A new reason to eat peanuts

by Robin Nixon on 03/31/15

In the Journal of Experimental Biology, a small study released yesterday added to growing evidence that peanuts protect the eater from coronary disease, perhaps by helping keep arteries healthy. In this particular study, when peanuts were included as part of a high fat meal, researchers saw an improvement in "the post-meal triglyceride response and preserved endothelial function."

Hiding Eggs in Pancakes

by Robin Nixon on 03/30/15

No, this wasn't an early Easter Egg hunt, but yet another attempt to get Clara to eat her daily egg without begging or bullying. 

In addition to a few other tweaks, I quadrupled the amount of egg in a standard pancake recipe, so that each pancake had at least half an egg in it. I was afraid they would taste "eggy" but it was hardly noticeable. And Clara devoured three! 

We'll definitely be making them again. After all, if you were 4, would you prefer your eggs poached or pancaked?