Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What motivates me to cook healthy meals?

 That has been the question that a lot of people have been asking me lately...where do I get my inspiration from? Why do I cook the way I do? To answer that, I have to dive a little into the past 12 years of my life. 
In my freshman year in college, I started experiencing intense stomach/intestinal pain, and it got so bad that I had to quit school and fly back to my parents house in Germany. They took me to an Gastroenterologist, and through many different tests it was determined that I have Crohn's disease (see my section below on what Crohn's is). For many years (7 to be exact) I did extensive research to try to find a diet that worked well with my illness and try to control it through food. I tried a vegan diet, vegetarian diet, macro-biotic, protein rich diet, etc.
It was really hard to pinpoint exactly what foods would trigger the flare-ups, but I knew if I ate a fairly "healthy" balance of organic foods, I would have less pain. To make a really long story short, I went on a new medication in 2005 called Remicade that returned my intestines to their healthy state, and I have been pain free, inflammation free ever since!  
Through my experience though, I have learned a lot about different kinds of foods and have really enjoyed cooking ever since. 
Also, having kids has really motivated me to find healthy recipes and foods to serve my family. My goal is for them to have a healthy appreciation of food and also educate them on how food is made and why it's important to use fresh ingredients in their natural state.  Have a hard time getting your kids to eat healthy? Check out my tips section below.
What is Crohn's Disease? 

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestines. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease, with symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. Unfortunately, there is not a lot they know about the disease. My affected area is the small intestine in the ileum, but it can be anywhere in your small or large intestine.  If you want to know more about it, check this website out:

Information about Crohn's Disease 

How can I get my kid to eat healthier?
 Check Here are some tips and tricks that I have used in the past, and am still using to get my kids to eat well. This may or may not work for your kids, but its worth giving it a try. Those of you that have children, do you have any extra stuff to add to this list? 

1. If I eat healthy foods in front of them, they are more likely to at least try it. The rule in our house is you have to at least try one bite.
2. Keep offering the foods they don't like. Our daughter at first didn't like bell peppers or tomatoes. She literally would gag when she tried a bite of tomato. I kept trying though, and kept offering it to her, because we eat those vegetables a lot. Now she likes them...but usually only if I serve them with some kind of dip...which brings me to the next tip.
3. Try different dips and vinaigrette. My kids love dipping their veggies and meats into something. Some of their favorites include: Hummus, Paul Newman's Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette, and ketchup.
4. If they don't like a certain type of food, try serving it a different way. Like with veggies...stir fry them, grate them into different meals, try them raw, etc.

Hope these tips help!  

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