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The Vegetarian Warrior | The Seafood Gladiator | The Grain Crusader | The Fruitarian Fighter

 

 

Nutrition

Your child's nutrition is important to her/his overall health. Proper nutrition can also prevent many medical problems, including becoming overweight and developing weak bones. Proper nutrition will also ensure that your child physically grows into her/his full potential.

The best nutritional advise to keep your adolescent healthy includes encouraging her/him to:

Eat a variety of foods
Balance the food you eat with physical activity
Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, grains and seaweed
Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
Choose a diet with natural sweets and sea salt
Choose a diet that provides enough calcium and iron to meet their growing body's requirements.

Healthy Eating Habits

Parents can help promote good nutrition by setting a good example. Healthy eating habits and regular exercise should be a regular part of your family's life. It is much easier if everyone in the house follow these guidelines, than if your child has to do it alone. Avoid buying high calorie desserts or snacks, such as snack chips, regular soft drinks or regular ice cream.

The Food Guide Pyramid was designed by the US Dept. of Agriculture to promote healthy nutrition in children over two years of age. It is meant to be a general guide to daily food choices. The main emphasis of the Food Guide Pyramid is on the five major food groups, all of which are required for good health. It also emphasizes that foods that include a lot of fats, oils and sweets should be used very sparingly.

The Food Pyramid shows a range of servings for each food group. How much you actually eat depends on your age and activity level. Teenage boys who are active require about 2800 calories and should eat the highest range of servings. Teenage girls who are active require about 2200 calories and should eat servings in the middle of the range of servings. Children who are overweight and dieting should at least eat the lowest range of servings.

When determining how many servings to eat, it is important to look at the serving size. Larger portions should count as more than one serving, and smaller portions will count as only a part of a serving.

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Vegetarian WarriorThe Vegetarian Warrior is a member of The Health Guardians. He represents the various edible plants and vegetables, which come in various shapes, colors, sizes, and tastes. Vegetables provide us with the energy and nutritional elements that they obtain from the sun, soil and water.

What are vegetables?

Vegetables are edible plants that are grown in the wild or cultivated.  They exist wherever land, water or sunshine is available. 

The vegetables that grow in the wild are usually referred to as weeds. While we tend to pull them from the soil, there are many that are quite good for us to eat.  However, do not eat any weeds unless you are with a properly trained and authorized tour guide.  The wild plants are so full of life and energy, they can grow in many areas cultivated plants cannot! They are in forests, meadows, even in buckets and boxes. 

Many vegetables strengthen our immune system and help protect us from sickness. They are best for us in their whole, uncooked form. When cooked, their enzymes are depleted or destroyed. Our bodies need enzymes to break down our food.

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has long documented the importance of including green leafy vegetables to our diets. In fact, over the years, they have increased their recommended portions per serving.

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What is the origin of Vegetables?

People have been consuming vegetables for thousands of years. Over time, experiments have been made in developing new kinds of vegetables, derived from the original, wild ones. Explorers and traders throughout the globe transported vegetables to foreign lands.  For example, it is reported that Christopher Columbus brought pineapples from South America to Spain during the late 1400s. Other examples of vegetables that have been transported are:

Cauliflower, which came from China, where they were the size of a baseball.
Carrots, whichwere purple up until the 1600s. The orange carrot was developed in Holland and sold to other countries in the 1600s and 1700s.
Green beans were grown in North and South America.
Onions, as well as garlic and radishes, were grown in the Middle East nearly 4000 years ago by slaves building the pyramids in ancient Egypt
Parsnips were grown by the Romans about 2,300 years ago.
Potatoes originated in South America and were taken to England and Europe by Francis Drake in the 1500s. At first people in England and Europe didn't eat potatoes, they just grew the plant because they thought it looked pretty!
Spinach was grown in Persia (now Iran), some 2,000 years ago.
Sweet corn was given to Christopher Columbus by the people of Cuba in 1492. He later took it back to Spain.
Tomatoes were originally from South America, and Spanish explorers took them to Europe in the 1500s.

Despite who we are, our bodies need vegetables to maintain good health and vitality.

What are the benefits of Vegetables?

Vegetables are rich in:
Minerals
Vitamins
Enzymes ;
Proteins
Essential fatty acids
Fiber
Chlorophyll, the green substance in plants has structural similarity to hemoglobin,
Water
Oil
Folic Acid

We should try to obtain organically grown vegetables (free of pesticides, germicides and chemicals). Here are some vegetables and the specific nutrients:

Dandelion Greens - vitamin A, Calcium.
Watercress - vitamins B, C, E, K, Folic Acid, Minerals
Spinach - vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium
Kale - vitamins A and C, Calcium, Folic acid, Potassium
Arugula - vitamins A and C, Calcium.
Swiss Chard - vitamins K and C, Calcium.
Chicory - vitamins K and C, Calcium.
Collard Greens - vitamin A, Calcium.
Mustard Greens - vitamins A and C, calcium.
Broccoli - vitamins B, C, E, K, minerals
Asparagus - vitamins B and C, minerals
String beans - vitamin C, Selenium, Silicon
Garlic - vitamin A, selenium, silica
Parsley - vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, Folic acid
Brussel Sprouts
- vitamins B, C and K, minerals
Alfalfa - vitamins B, C, D, E and U, minerals
Bokchoi - vitamin B5, C and E, Folic Acid
Cabbage - vitamins C and K and minerals
Avocado - EFA omega (good fat), minerals

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Seafood GladiatorThe Seafood Gladiator is a member of the Health Guardians. He represents one of the ocean?s natural resources - seaweeds. Seaweed is very nutritious and we should eat it as much as possible. The Ocean?s water is very similar in chemical composition to human blood.


What are seaweeds?

Seaweeds are marine algae organisms considered by many to be plants, though some disagree with that.  Some are simple organisms composed of one cell, while others exist as multi-cell organisms, sometimes grouped together as simple tissues. Algae, a single-cell organism, is found just about everywhere on earth, in the sea, in rivers, lakes, man made ponds, on soils, walls and even land plants; anywhere where light exists. 

Most seaweeds grow naturally in the ocean. The majority of them are red, with about 6,000 species in existence, brown, with about 2,000 or green, with about 1,200 species in existence. Their color depends on how deep in the water the seaweed is grown.  As a rule, the greater the depth of the seaweed, the darker it is. Common species of seaweed are dulse, nori, wakame, hiziki, kelp and Irish Moss.

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What is the origin of seaweeds?

Algae, which is a type of seaweed is believed to have been in existence for almost three and a half billion years!  Seaweeds have been used throughout the world as food, being considered safe and nutritious to eat. It is believed that seaweed has been used since 2700 BC in China. Kelp was used in the 5th century for food.

For hundreds of years, seaweeds have also been used as fertilizer in Ireland and Scotland. The ancient Hawaiians grew kelp gardens, and also used 60-70 species of seaweed for food and medicine.

The Japanese are the largest users of seaweed as food. For over 2000 years, seaweedshave been used as a supportive food in their diet, with six types of seaweed being used in 800 A.D. In 794 A.D., the Japanese started using seaweed to make the dried sheets of seaweed we know today as nori.

What are the benefits of seaweeds?

Seaweeds are used as a food, a condiment, or an additive to ice-cream or pastries. If you look at the ingredient list on the back of some pastry, pudding and gelatin packages, you might see, ?carageenan? or ?agar-agar?. Both of these are seaweeds. However, rather than eating those sugar-filled, unhealthy deserts, you can learn to make your own pudding and gelatin dishes with seaweeds.  Depending on the type, seaweeds can contain any assortment of the existing 92 nutritional elements, some of which are calcium, magnesium, iodine and bromine.  They also contain protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, enzymes and essential fatty acids.

Some studies show seaweeds contain more minerals than farmed land plants. Their medicinal value is now being sought out for treating high blood pressure, strokes, goiter, thyroid deficiency and some forms of cancer.

Seaweedsarealso used in cosmetics, industrial and scientific chemicals, plant fertilizers, nutritional supplements and livestock feed.

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Grain CrusaderThe Grain Crusader is a member of The Health Guardians. He represents whole grains which provide us with energy, nutrition and fiber and protects us against disease.


What are whole grains?

Whole grains are the entire edible parts of grain kernel. There are various species of grains, which come in various colors, shapes and tastes.

Many of you already know about wheat, rye, oats, rice and barley, but how about spelt, kamut, teff, quinoa and amaranth?  These grains are just as good for you,  tasty as well and gluten free.

 


A grain consists of three key parts:

the bran, the endosperm, and the germ.

 

The Bran is the outer shell of the grain, which contains several nutrients:

  • Minerals like iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins B and E
  • Protein
  • Phytochemicals.

The Endosperm is the middle layer, and makes up 85% of the entire grain. It provides energy for the plant. It contains for the most part, proteins and carbohydrates and small amounts of Vitamin B.

The Germ is the smallest part of the grain and provides nourishment for the entire seed. It contains trace minerals, unsaturated fats, Vitamin B, and E and phytochemicals.

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What is the origin of grains?

For thousands of years grains have been a staple of many cultures around the world.  Some ancient people believed that grains were a ?gift from the Gods.? At that time, grains came from wild grasses.  Wheat and barley are two examples of species that were cultivated from wild grasses. The origin of wheat dates back to 3500 B.C. in Thailand. With agricultural progress came the development of brown rice, millet, corn and others that eventually were transported throughout the world. Rice and millet also have an origin in China from 3500 to 5500 B.C.

To develop and create baked goods and cereal, the grain was separated into its three components.  Removing the bran and the germ left us with the endosperm of the grain, or refined white flour. White flour became very popular because it had a longer shelf life and produced a softer baked product than the ?whole? version.  However, it became evident that refined, white flour was deficient in certain B vitamins and iron.  Because of this, the government began to mandate the enrichment of white flour with artificial B vitamins and iron, a practice that continues to this day. Ultimately, the addition of nutrients to refined flour cannot replace or duplicate the effect of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.

What are the benefits of whole grains?

Whole grains are often called the ?staff of Life?. Their benefits are widespread, as they have protein, fiber, vitamins B and E, Minerals: Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc, with some even having Omega-3 essential fatty acids ? alpha linolenic acid (ALA), and phytochemicals. Other components include oligosaccharides, flavanoids, inositol, lignins, phenolics, phytates, phytoestrogens, protease inhibitors and saponins. Overall, grains provide us with much that sustains energy and a healthful life.

To achieve the fullest benefit of any grain, it should be used in its whole, unrefined form. This is particularly important in assuring that we get the full measure of its fiber.

Dietary fiber is the indigestible, carbohydrate part of a plant. It is not broken down by enzymes or secretions of the gastrointestinal tract. However, it maybe metabolized by the bacteria in the lower intestine.

Grains contain two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. They are both healthful in their own special ways.

Soluble fiber, whichincludes the pectins and gums of the plant, dissolves in the large intestine, forming a gel that binds with substances containing fat and cholesterol. It stabilizes energy levels and blood sugar.

Insoluble fiber, which includes cellulose, hemicellulose, mucilage and lignins, cannot be broken down by the body easily and passes through the intestine unchanged. This type of fiber acts as a sponge, soaking up water and allowing the intestine to remove waste products more easily and quickly. This helps to prevent constipation, diverticular disease, hemorrhoids, obesity and other health problems.

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Fruitarian FighterThe Fruitarian Fighter is a member of The Health Guardians. He represents the colorful, vitamin-rich succulent fruits
that come from trees, shrubs or vines. Like his Vegetarian brother, the Fruitarian Fighter, helps to nourish, protect and cleanse
our bodies.

What are fruits?

Fruits are the nutritious, ?fleshy? part of a plant that is developed from a flower. They come in various colors, shapes and sizes. Most are naturally attractive to the sight, smell and taste, some being sweet, some more sour or acid tasting, and others falling in between sweet and sour. As with vegetables, there are fruits that grow wild, and those that are cultivated through crossbreeding. Natural fruits always have seeds while there are species of cultivated fruits that have none. It is best to eat fruits with seeds because they are more nutritious.  You should try to eat fruits grown in season.  They should not be eaten with vegetables or grains, but alone as a meal. Try eating a fruit meal for breakfast or dessert, instead of pancakes, eggs, pie or cake.  Fruits have both soluble and insoluble fiber and are rich in vitamins and minerals. 

What is the origin of fruits?

Fruits have grown in the wild for thousands of years. They were eaten while they were in their, whole, natural and ripened state.  As time passed people began to cross-breed fruit plants, and grew them in farms and orchards. Traders and other travelers brought seeds and young plants and replanted them in the countries they visited. As a result, we eat fruits from all over the world. When fruits are shipped throughout the world, they must unfortunately be picked unripe, so they won?t spoil by the time they reach their destinations.

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What are the benefits of fruits?

Fruit consist mainly of water, with some having as much as 80-90%.  Since the human body is about 75-80% water, fruits will help the body maintain its proper fluid levels.  This also means that fruit is good for the brain, muscles and organs, helping to provide energy and vitality.

The natural, rather than processed sugar that fruit has makes it a better snack choice for children; better than candy, cookies,
ice cream or cake. 

Fruit contains:     

Sugar for energy
Fibers for the digestion and elimination
Water for cleansing, purification and hydration
Vitamins and Minerals for nourishment
Antioxidants powerful nutrients found in certain foods, which aid in protecting, treating and maintaining health.

Fruits can be eaten raw in its whole form, cut, sliced and diced, in salads, juiced, cooked, frozen or soaked after being dehydrated.  We should try to eat fruits of the same type together in a meal.  For example, try eating blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and cherries together (all the berries together). You should not mix any of those with citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits or tangerines.  However, these citrus fruits can be eaten together.  

Start your day with these succulent, mouth watering natural beauties.

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