Artwork Created by Anais Ginzburg-Maly, Age 8
HOLISTIC NUTRITION – IS THIS OUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE?Reviewed by Lorrie Holmes
As we all begin to make sense of what we call our new normal, we start to look at where and how to find some stability in a time of so much uncertainty. And so we have called upon the advice of someone who we believe can provide us with the tools to armour ourselves both physically and emotionally. We hope you get as much out of this interview as we did with holistic nutritionst, Juliana Avella, from Made Simple Nutrition. She offers her expertise and teaches us about the importance of coming up with a plan for the whole family that starts with our diet as our first line of defense.
Q & A WITH JULIANA AVELLA OF @MADESIMPLENUTRITION
KiDS NEWS & REVIEWS: We’re so happy to be talking to you today about holistic nutrition but as a mother first, what do you feel you would like to share with our followers about what’s going on in our world with Covid?
JULIANA: I think it’s very tricky. When all of this first started, our kids were really excited to be at home and so close to us parents. For this reason, we could find a good side to all of this. I do feel that as time has passed and this pandemic continues on, the lack of socialization is becoming very harmful – especially for our kids. It’s getting more challenging each day to maintain the harmony at home as we all remain in such close proximity to each other, waiting to see what’s next.
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: Life has changed so much in such a short period of time. Families social distancing at home are not functioning the way they did before all of this started. Parents have a lot more to think about then they did just a few months ago. What are your thoughts about this – how has all of this affected the roles in your home?
JULIANA: There is a lot of juggling taking place. Parents are trying to figure out how to keep their jobs or find an income from home while taking on the additional role of teacher. With this new responsibility, we have to keep on track of the delivery of this learning daily. I have an eight year old and a ten year old boy, and like most boys their age, they both have really high energy. Luckily here in Winnipeg, we are currently in Stage Two so we can still go outside a little bit more than in some other areas. We’re starting to get back to the new normal and we’re all looking forward to this after two months of social distancing. Spending so much time inside the home and only being able to go outside in our own backyard has been really tough. The weather took so long this year to get nice enough for us to enjoy a bike ride or some fresh air. So throughout all of this, it has been very tricky for my boys to manage their energy.
As parents, we’re always dealing with setting boundaries and telling our kids it’s time to do this and it’s time to do that while trying to also offer a new level of moral support that our kids have never needed. And all the while, we still have had to deal with all of our adult stuff and that load certainly hasn’t lessened! And when our kids are not cooperating, it’s so easy for us to say things like, “Hey, you knew the spelling word last week so why don’t you know it now?” This new challenge takes away from the little bit of harmony that we had with our kids before this all started – when our kids would come home from school and we could look forward to that quality time together. That is lost right now with our freedom.They don’t get to go out and spend some time away from home, so they also don’t have anything new to share with us and we with them. It’s hard for us too, but it’s a lot harder for our kids.
I think this will be a part of our kids’ lives that will always be remembered, but not in a good way. And for these reasons, we need to regroup so we can fully support the needs they have for us parents to get them through this. And the first line of defence we can offer to our children is their diet.– JULIANA
I feel like if you have a child with lots of energy, anything that goes out from the balanced diet throws them off. And with this, they will be more easily upset. As they are already struggling with this situation, we need to nourish their whole bodies to reintroduce balance.Everything that goes inside our bodies will bring us – and our children – a sense of wellness with its nutritious factors or discomfort due to its overwhelming effects. Juliana explains.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: What tips do you have for parents as they start to regroup?
JULIANA: I was really concerned the first time that I went to the grocers after this all started. We had lots of fruits and vegetables available for us to choose from, but nobody was buying them. Everyone’s food carts were full of processed foods to the point where the shelves carrying the cookies and pasta were now completely empty while all the fresh, healthy foods remained untouched and waiting to be spoiled. So what I found was a pattern of an alarming number of people who were staying at home buying mostly processed and junk foods instead of investing in their health. That’s why I was directing people to the healthy choices on my social media. I spent hours creating messages like, If you go to the store, you will find organic – or you will find your seasonal veggies and fruits – or you will find all the colours that you need on your plate. I wanted to share my background with the world to help families make better choices. Unfortunately, because of all the stress, and the quick convenience of all the processed foods, parents continued to go for the quick fix, including frozen products. Understandably so. We all had so many worries and began cooking last minute and not putting a lot of thought into this. And of course, we were also emotionally eating, and I do feel that this was very harmful too. Along with ourselves, we were also filling up our children’s bodies with sugar, processed foods, and trans fats, and all the while, these things were triggering all sorts of reactions. Our kids were becoming more easily upset as they also struggled with the additional stress of having an unbalanced amount of sugar and other toxins in their blood. We didn’t know any better at the time as we were just trying to cope with the situation at hand. Looking back, if we balanced our diets instead with fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, our children would have started off in this pandemic better equipped to deal with the whole situation – and more importantly, so would we as their parents. I know that this was new for everybody. The worst part is that we didn’t have any fact checks available to follow as this happened so quickly, so we all kind of winged it.
We had no idea how long this would go on for. We thought maybe a week, then after a week passed, maybe a month. We were all coping by the hour, but that’s not good enough for sustaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s dangerous.-JULIANA
We cannot continue to shop with our eyes closed, saying to ourselves, okay, let’s have some of this and some of that, without a plan to cover even the basics of good nutrition which results in good health. We did the best we could in this situation, but now it’s time to regroup and do better – to make a plan and stop winging it.
If we continue eating frozen and fast foods for two weeks straight, it’s not ideal but not as damaging to our bodies as it would be if we continued doing this for over a few months. This can become a huge problem for our bodies and our brains. It effects our emotions too as all the toxins begin to accumulate. More importantly, it is much harder on young kids and their developing organs than it is on ours, as they work hard to filter out all these toxins that they never knew before. From the point of view of a holistic nutritionist, I think this was the worst part.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: As adults, we are the leaders of our families but many of us are also eating all of this junk food. Does this mean we are sabotaging our abilities to lead our families properly if we too are being more reactive and not as level headed as usual? What are your thoughts about this?
JULIANA – This is why we need to educate the family as a whole. Julia explains. It’s like a domino effect. I think for the first time in our lives, we can see our family as a unit. When I see a mom and a dad in my office and they express their concerns about their baby or child not being as healthy as they would like, and not knowing where to begin, I always gently urge them to begin with themselves. Even if we’re not joining them at the table, our children will be watching what we eat so even if you put veggies and fruits on their plates, they will be taking note of your choices that you are modelling to them. Sometimes parents want to separate what they eat and they think it’s okay. They rationalize, I can have my chocolate muffin and gourmet coffee topped with whipped cream and syrup, but my kids will need a whole grain breakfast. But this is not good enough. We need to educate the family as a whole. I feel this may be the first time that parents can see and observe the consequences of their choices in their children. Sometimes we cannot see this. Sometimes we need a third party to give you a new perspective. That’s where I come in. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about what to do next, a holistic nutritionist like myself can help you turn this around – and very quickly actually. Within a week you’ll start to see some positive results, and you’ll all feel much better and start to function as a healthy family unit. The key is to reach out for that help if you need it. And it doesn’t have to be major changes right away. Just a few simple changes can really get you back on the right track, but you need to know what those changes are. That’s where a holistic nutritionist can really help. I really feel that it’s the first line of defence to start to regroup, and you can do that from the comfort of your own home.
Nurturing our children is about love, care, boundaries and education. As we learn what is best for them, we learn how to seed a healthy future for all of us.-JULIANA
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: We certainly agree with you that it’s time to regroup and turns things around. How do you propose we get started?
JULIANA: There is a new virus out there so we need to use nutrition to help us build up our strength. Using things like Zinc and Vitamin C is a good place to start but as a holistic nutritionist, I take a look at the entire family and come up with a plan tailored for your exact lifestyle.
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: Do you have some tips for us to start regrouping?
JULIANA: Of course. Let’s start with families making choices as a whole unit and get away from that mindset of everyone being separate. Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister – we are all in this together, so let’s start by taking a look at our needs as a unit – as one. Families are spending more time together so let’s make this quality time. Let’s not focus on the things that don’t matter as much. If you know that something is going to be tense, just take a deep breath before approaching it. It’s not a time to push through with our kids. Give it a break. Go for a walk. Don’t go deep into discussions and start fighting because it’s not good for anybody. Keep things positive and pick your battles. Remember that each member of the family unit is having their own challenges, so support each other as a whole and hold space for each other. None of us are perfect and now is certainly not the time to try to be.
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: With respect to bringing everyone closer, do you feel it’s important to sit down and have your meals together as a family?
JULIANA: Yes! This is the first time we have all had this opportunity to spend this amount of time together in a very long time. One of my first go-to tips when I am guiding a family is encouraging family meal time. Family meal time is something we must invest in, without any electronics. It’s time to turn off the TV, and put away the iPads and cell phones so we can talk about life, and about food, and even the things that are bothering us.
We just need to come up with ways to make our meal time less automatic and more enjoyable – more social.-JULIANA
I always encourage parents to talk about the foods they are eating. Sometimes we go on the automatic. So we’re having pasta and we add some broccoli or some protein. Why not discuss what we liked better? This way, we can start to enjoy learning more about each other’s thoughts and opinions.This is much better than just putting our heads down and eating the pasta and five mintues later, you are done. Maybe this is something one of your family members would even like more with a squeeze of lemon – you won’t know if you don’t ask, or listen. Why not invest the time in learning more about each other?
You can even take it a step further and make it a game. What did you learn this week about yummy foods that taste good? Why not talk about something that you read that is really good. “You know what, I read that these can make kids even more focused.” Your kids may even surprise you and be very interested in this. You might even get a response like, “Oh really Mom. Where did you read that?” Then you can respond with, ”I found it somewhere and I can send it to you.” Wouldn’t that be great to have this sort of exchange with your kids?!
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: This all sounds great in theory, but how do we get our kids to actually lift their heads and participate in communicating with us?
JULIANA: By slowing down. Let’s take the impatience out of our family meals. Meal time was never intended to be rushed through. And the conversation can even start during meal prep. It’s also a great time for bonding and a wonderful way to re-establish routine in your family which is also very important at this time – and it’s a good starting point for regrouping. Make everything about your family meal time intentional – from meal prep to eating and even clean up. Then you can try to extend that even further to gardening and planting and harvesting food for your meals. “Who would like to be the next one to pick the lettuce?”
I understand, when this all started, that it was very hard and nobody knew what to do and we still don’t have a vaccine or medicine to treat this, so it’s even more important than ever to choose our food carefully to keep us strong and healthy. And when we make these proactive choices, the results come really fast. You can see the patterns in a child that are well nurtured and with a balance diet change within weeks.-JULIANA
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: Can you tell us a bit about the services you offer?
JULIANA: I’m a holistic nutritionist. I offer support of the whole person and the family unit as a whole. I listen to your story so I can understand your family’s lifestyle. I offer lots of strategies for parents. I don’t believe we need to have a patterned diet and I love to reassure my clients that a good diet does not have to be confusing or hard work. Quite the opposite can take place, and I believe in simple strategies and making this all doable for the whole family. In taking smaller steps, you can achieve and maintain your goals instead of moving too fast and achieve but not maintaining.
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: You specialize in working with kids and moms. Can you explain what this means.
JULIANA: Yes. As a post partum doula, I specialize in working with moms from pregnancy to part partum. I also specilaize in working with children from birth until 14 years of age.
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: What would be a holistic approach to all of this look like for kids for example?
JULIANA: As a holistic nutritionist, a general breakdown of my strategies for kids – depending on age – might include learning about the child’s personality and lifestyle; their likes and dislikes, and then tailoring a diet for them. There are different types of persoanalities of kids, and their diet can be have a positve or negative effect dependng on their personality. For example, there are a lot of foods that are better for kids who are active, and lots of choices for kids who are more prone to being observers. When you take all of this into consideration, you are taking the holistic approach to nutrition. After all, this is all very personal, or so it should be!
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: We understand you’ve written a book about all of this. Can you tell us a little bit about your book and when and where it will be available?
JULIANA: ‘Fearless Feeding’ is a book that I wrote which was originally published in Brazil a number of years back. This book shares my holistic experiences while raising my two boys. It talks about food to support digestion, to develop taste memory, and also includes many recipes for introducing solids, breastfeeding techniques, and developing healthy sleep patterns. I have had this book translated to English in the hopes of finding a publisher that will trust in my message to share with Canadians in the near future.
Thank you Juliana, for taking the time to share all of this with us today. We are looking forward to feedback from our followers about their shared experienced around the table as a family and we’re going to finish off your interview with quotes from your two boys, about how they are feeling through all of this. We also look forward to interviewing you again soon to break down the new Canada Food Guide for us from a holistic approach and to keeping updated on the hopeful release of your book in Canada!
I Don’t feel fear during the pandemic, I believe that someday someone will call us and say it’s all over and we will celebrate. I try to concentrate on doing things I wouldn’t do in the normal times, as having my breaks playing with my puppy, riding my bike all day, etc.– Enzo – 8 years old
I feel safe because I know eating healthy food can bring you vitamins and metals (ops I meant, minerals) that can fight the vírus if it comes, I love eating salad, avoiding too much sugar and some fruity ice cream, of course!”– Cauã- 10 years old
FOOD RECOMMENDATION – THE SPOTTED PRAWNS!
To finish off this story, we thought it would be fun recommending one healthy food ingredient that we can add to our diet and asked Juliana what the nutritional value would be. We chose the spotted prawn and so we picked up 2 pounds from Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston, British Columbia, compliments of Prawns On The Spot – you can follow them at @prawnsonthespot. Visit them on the wharf dock in Steveston but make sure you go first thing in the morning as they sell out fast – they are also taking pre-orders. We were so happy we did as they were absolutely delicious! In fact, they were so sweet and succulent that they almost tasted like mini lobsters! Juliana approved of our food choice as well, and here was her comment about it’s nutritional value, and her favourite prawn recipe to follow.
Prawns are a rich source of selenium, one of the most effective antioxidants at maintaining healthy cells. They also contain high levels of Zinc, which is important to develop a healthy immune system. Eating prawns helps build strong bones because they contain phosphorous, copper and magnesium.”-JULIANA
Recipe Recommendation by Juliana Avella
1 cup – Arborio rice
2 cups water
1 cup vegan broth or bone broth
300g peeled shrimp
1 squeezed lemon
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp pink salt
DIRECTIONS: In a ceramic pan melt the butter and add the prawns. Add the lemon and Cook until they turn white and orange. Add the rice, the vegan broth and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add the water, the salt and cook until tender. Around 20 minutes. Add the parsley, and Parmesan cheese and let it rest for 5 minutes before serve. Serve right after.
TAKE- OUT REVIEW
And last but not least, as our communities are opening up and we are venturing out, we thought it would be fun to start offering some Take-Out Reviews! We will start off with the Beach Grove Cafe which is a little family owned and operated cafe in sunny Tsawwassen, British Columbia. This cafe is a neighbourhood favourite and offers all the eats and treats you would expect to find at a neighbourhood cafe. They also offer something a little bit different – their beachy home decor nook which is full of home decor and other boutique offerings, such as clothes and jewellery. All in all, this place is a very unique find and treasure to the community and we are so glad they are open for business. You can order your take out and poke your head in and do some browsing and shopping for a new summer accent for your home. Or just come in and say hi and pick up a treat while out for a walk.
On our visit to this little gem, we placed an order for our take-out brunch which included the chicken pesto panini, ham & cheese quiche, and an oatmeal with berries for our meals. To drink we ordered a macchiato iced coffee, traditional late, and a mango-passionfruit Italian Soda! For afternoon treats later, we also ordered the banana chocolate load and a lemon tarte. Firstly, everything was very fresh and tasty. There was a perfect amount of pesto and chicken in the panini and it was grilled to perfection. The ham & cheese quiche was the perfect comfort food and had a lot of flavours that blended nicely in my mouth. And the oatmeal with berries I was told was not too tart and not too sweet, so every item was well received and appreciated. The drinks were perfect as well, and of course, the afternoon treats did not last. We give the Beach Grove Cafe a perfect review and highly recommend stopping to take a peek at what they have in store in their little home decor shop. We’ll send with a quote from the friendly owners.
What we saw from the beginning of the health crisis was that the community stood by us, said Shawn Corke owner of The Beach Grove Cafe. We have come to realize how much people rely upon us for good food, beverage and comfort and we strive to give our best to our customers everyday.Shawn Corke, Owner
Beach Grove Cafe, Tsawwassen, BC