Delicious Living

Non-dairy calcium-rich foods for kids

When we're young, bones grow in size and density, fueled in part by calcium. When we stop growing in height as teenagers, our bones continue to grow more dense until about age 30, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. After that, bone mass and density can remain the same, or bone loss may begin to occur at the rate of about 1 percent a year. That's why calcium is crucial during childhood.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium is as follows:

  • Kids ages 1 to 3 need 500 mg a day
  • Ages 4 to 8 need 800 mg
  • Ages 9 to 13 need 1,200 mg

One cup of low-fat milk contains 300 mg of calcium. Not all children, however, can stomach dairy products, which are a traditional source of calcium. For those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, good nondairy sources of calcium include calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice, as well as broccoli, tahini, pinto beans, kale, sea vegetables, tofu processed with calcium, corn tortillas processed with the mineral lime, almonds and calcium supplements.

Delicious Living

Organic Restaurants: A Capitol Idea

At the chic Restaurant Nora, diners routinely extol the cuisine — as much over its fabulous flavor as the fact that it is almost 100 percent organic. It's fitting that the only certified organic eatery in the country resides in the heart of Washington, D.C., a hotbed of environmental activists and national policymakers who are surely influenced by this delicious — and healthy — food.

At Nora's, food and politics blend. Just reading the menu's manifesto on turtle-safe shrimp, Amish free-range chicken, saving the swordfish and shade-grown coffee raises your environmental IQ. Just ask regulars Janet Reno, Donna Shalala and scores of senators. Even President Clinton has dined at Restaurant Nora — twice.

On the wall hangs a framed document from organic certifier Oregon Tilth vouching for Restaurant Nora's all-natural reputation. Chef/owner Nora Pouillon is excited about the day she can add a USDA "certified organic" seal to her display.

Pouillon's commitment to organic cooking began 30 years ago because of her concerns over the environment and chemical-laden food. Today, hungry customers flock to her restaurant because of its organic certification and because the cuisine is both wholesome and elegant. "So many people are now aware of the quality of our food, including issues about hormones in meat and genetic manipulation of soybeans and corn," she says. "People come here to eat clean food that's healthy, seasonally produced and not bioengineered."

— L.K.


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The Impact Of Genetic Engineering

It's probably no coincidence that national organics regulations — 10 years in the making — are finally set to be unveiled by the federal government at just the time the public has picked up on the pratfalls of GMOs.

Ironically, food GMOs might be contributing to the current boom in organics, since buying organic food is the only way consumers in a label-less land can be assured of avoiding GMOs. On the other hand, many people see the tactics of biotech corporations as nothing short of an insidious campaign to undermine the organics foothold.

"Within a few years, all traditional food crops will be contaminated with GMOs, and there'll be no more pure food seeds to grow," says Bob Canard, an organic farmer in Sonoma, Calif. "It's a direct assault on me as an organic farmer."

Genetic pollution of organic crops has been documented: An early 1999 organic corn-chip export to Europe was tested and found to contain genetically modified corn, a result of wayward pollen. The entire shipment was returned.

Whose fault, then, does genetic pollution become? Some biotech advocates say the onus is on organic farmers to keep genetically engineered (GE) pollen out. No easy feat, no matter who's responsible. The Spanish government, meanwhile, has decided that companies producing or planting GMOs must contribute to a $100 million insurance fund intended to cover environmental accidents. Although it's a nice gesture, money can't reverse the problem.

For organic shoppers, particularly many vegetarians, soy is a favorite meat replacement — and soy is one of the more common GE crops. They can always eat organic soy, but what of pollen drift? GE crops, like other crops, are grown in the fields of this windswept world.

Perhaps worst of all is farmers' widespread use of crops engineered with a natural soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. For 40 years, organic growers have used Bt to effectively thwart acute insect infestations. When sprayed on crops, Bt dissipates in a few days, but it is not to be applied within three weeks of harvest. To fight the European corn borer, which costs U.S. farmers an estimated $1.2 billion in annual crop losses, biotech companies slip Bt into corn so that cells of the plant exude this insect toxin. Bt potatoes, commonly used to make fast-food french fries for many major food chains, are actually registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as pesticides, not foods.

Because the engineered Bt insecticide is as permanent as a corn kernel, researchers predict insects will develop immunity to Bt within five years. By then, it is surmised, biotech firms will simply unveil the next generation of genetically engineered bug spray — leaving organic farmers without one of their few safe, natural pest-management tools.


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Look For The Organic Label

Here's a preview on how to interpret future USDA organic food labels:

100 percent organic
Only foods that contain all-organically produced ingredients will bear this label.

At least 95 percent of the product's ingredients are organically produced. A food cannot be genetically modified, irradiated or have been produced using sewage sludge.

Made with organic [name of ingredient]
This label applies to products containing between 50 percent and 95 percent organic content. The organic ingredient listed must therefore be one of the product's major components.

Products with less than 50 percent organic content
Labels cannot show the word organic anywhere on the front panel but can specify on the back label that a particular ingredient is organic.


Delicious Living

Preparing An Israeli Feast

For centuries, Israeli cooks have created a compelling cuisine based on readily available fresh local produce. Abundant in the region, olives, lemons, oranges, grapes, dates and mint have been served at feasts since Biblical times. A tradition in Israel, and throughout the Middle East, is the hors d'oeuvre or antipasto course called by its Arabic name, meza. This lavish spread of as many as a dozen dishes includes hummus, vegetable salads, tabouli, Greek salad, stuffed grape leaves and peppers, plus at least three or four eggplant preparations, all scooped on pieces of fresh pita or flat bread.

Moshe Basson, the chef/owner of Eucalyptus restaurant in Jerusalem, shares his recipes for Israeli cooking, which rely on locally grown, organic produce. He includes four meza recipes to be served with pita as an appetizer course. Following the meza is the soup course and ma'aluba, a main dish comprised of chicken, rice and vegetables.


Delicious Living

Back In Business

Back in Business
by Vonalda M. Utterback, C.N.

Back pain can originate from a dramatic sports injury or the mere act of bending over to tie your shoe. Either way, when it hits, it hurts — and can leave you, literally, flat on your back.

Jennifer Korbelik, a coordinator in human services for the City of Boulder, Colo., suffered from chronic back pain and discomfort, stemming from a cracked tailbone she received as a child. "Through the years," says Korbelik, now 32, "my back would 'go out' for small reasons, seemingly at random. Often, I would be flat on the floor in pain, trying to stretch out my back so I could move again."

The bad news is that back pain like Korbelik's is a common problem. According to research conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, doctors estimate that 80 percent of Americans will eventually have trouble with their lower backs. Although back pain can occur at any point along your spine, the lower back is the most common site since it bears the most weight and stress. Cited as second only to the common cold as a reason for seeing a doctor, back pain is reputed to cost the United States $16 billion a year in medical treatment and $80 billion in lost wages and productivity.

The good news, however, is there are holistic ways to prevent back pain from returning — or even occurring in the first place — plus ways to help alleviate the pain when it does hit. Remember, this information is not intended as medical advice. Any chronic or severe back pain should be addressed immediately by your health care practitioner for analysis and diagnosis.

Stop the Pain
"It's critical to rest the injury and control pain," says Helen Healy, N.D., owner/director of Wellspring Naturopathic Clinic in St. Paul, Minn. "To not do so can lead to a chronic cycle of unremitting pain. After the pain is controlled, you can look at its root cause and deal with it more effectively."

Healy, who has spent more than 15 years treating patients holistically, advises a number of natural remedies for pain relief, often recommending a combination of anti-inflammatory herbs that include turmeric (Curcuma longa), citrus bioflavonoids and ginger (Zingiber officinale).

"Herbs have anti-inflammatory properties without the potential side effects nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can have," she says. NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen not only irritate the stomach, but, if taken for too long or in too high of a dosage, can also cause ulcers through micro-hemorrhaging of the stomach lining. According to Healy, other herbs that could help with muscle spasms — a common problem with back pain — are black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and wild yam (Dioscorea villosa).

Healy's top suggestion to her patients in need of an anti-inflammatory, however, is taking digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes — sometimes called pancreatic enzymes when they're derived from animal sources — include three classes: proteolytic enzymes needed to digest protein, lipases needed to digest fat, and amylases needed to digest carbohydrates.

"Instead of aiding in food digestion, if taken on an empty stomach — at least two hours after you have eaten — the enzymes will circulate in the system and digest proteins and other substances that are responsible for inflammation," Healy says. Proteolytic enzymes such as trypsin, chymotrypsin and bromelain, in addition to lipase and amylase enzymes, may all be helpful. Healy often recommends a combination formula. "The trick is to take them at the first sign of injury and, in the acute phase of your pain, as often as every two hours," she says.

James A. Duke, Ph.D., in his book The Green Pharmacy (Rodale), suggests red pepper (Capsicum spp.) for topical pain relief. He also recommends assorted essential oils, including peppermint (Mentha piperita), sage (Salvia officinalis), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) — all of which are rich in thymol and carvacrol, compounds that help muscles relax. Add a few drops of essential oil to several tablespoons of any vegetable oil before massaging it into the affected area, as undiluted essential oils may burn or irritate skin.

Long-Term Solutions
When back pain would strike Korbelik, she would do body stretches and seek out a massage therapist. "Both provided me with short-term pain relief," she says. But it wasn't until 1993, when she tried Rolfing, that she found permanent relief. This structural integration is a form of manual soft tissue therapy that targets fasciae, the sleeves of connective tissue surrounding the body's muscles.

"I now can cross-county ski and run marathons, both activities that were very uncomfortable for me before," she says. Her back rarely goes out these days. And, perhaps most importantly, Korbelik says, "since I've been through Rolfing, I can feel when I'm out of whack and do something about it immediately. It's increased my awareness of my body."

Korbelik also regularly does yoga for maintenance, which she says increases her strength and flexibility. Yoga and Rolfing are but two choices in more than 100 types of bodywork or movement exercises available. Other well-known options include acupuncture, Alexander Technique, chiropractic, Feldenkrais, Hellerwork, massage, Pilates, Trager and Reiki.

An Ounce of Prevention
Most experts can't stress it enough: exercise, exercise, exercise. "Back pain is a message that you've got to exercise those muscles," says Healy. Gayla and John Kirschmann, in their book Nutrition Almanac (McGraw-Hill), agree — exercise not only prevents backaches but can also cure back problems 80 percent of the time. Active people, they report, generally have less back pain.

Don't allow back pain to get you down. Although there are many underlying factors that can cause it, it's reported that nine out of 10 back-pain episodes will clear up with simple self-help measures. By taking a proactive approach you can prevent pain before it starts, and your back will support you all the way.

Vonalda Utterback is a certified nutritionist and freelance writer/editor in Erie, Colo.


Delicious Living

'S Wonderful

'S Wonderful

Girl on bike You've heard of the seven wonders of the ancient world; now meet seven Earth-friendly marvels for the 21st century. In Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet (Sierra Club Books), author John C. Ryan explains how everyday things — including the bicycle, the ceiling fan, the ladybug and your favorite Asian dish, pad thai — can help defuse critical environmental threats. "People often feel that the problems are too big or they themselves are too small to have much of an impact," says Ryan, "but all the tools we need are right under our noses. We just need to start using them more." Witty, practical and insightful, this book meets the environmentalist's greatest challenge: convincing ordinary people that they can make a difference.

— Elisa Bosley

Photography by: Jeff Padrick

Delicious Living

Breathing Lessons

When you're up close and personal, nothing can make you more self-conscious than breath that's less than fresh. Reid Winick, a holistic dentist from New York, has the solution. "Breath is my thing," he says. "We now know only a low percentage of bad breath is caused by stomach gases or intestinal disorders. It comes from VSCs."

VSCs are Volatile Sulfur Compounds derived from bacterial plaque that thrives in the mucus of your mouth. When this bacteria interacts with dead tissue cells that are constantly being exfoliated inside the mouth, the result is stale breath. This situation is exacerbated by leftover food particles and gum infection.

What's the solution? First, find a good, antimicrobial toothpaste. Next, brush or scrape your tongue daily to get rid of reactive bacteria. Then, rinse out your mouth with an herbal-based mouthwash with ingredients that include tea tree oil, eucalyptus or goldenseal.

With proper hygiene, a healthy diet and a hands-on cleansing regimen, you'll give yourself — and everyone around you — something to smile about.

Delicious Living

The Diet-Behavior Link

In the 1970s, pediatrician and allergist Ben F. Feingold, M.D., discovered a link between children's behavior and learning problems and the ingestion of natural or synthetic chemicals. Today, the Feingold Association, a national clearinghouse accessible via the Internet (, helps parents who suspect diet may play a role in their child's behavioral problems. The Feingold program eliminates foods with synthetic colors and flavors, the antioxidant preservatives BHA, BHT and TBHQ, and — at least initially — foods containing natural salicylates, such as apples, oranges and tomatoes, as well as aspirin and medication containing aspirin.

One double-blind, placebo-controlled study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who also had signs of allergy showed that 73 percent responded favorably to treatment with a multiple-item elimination diet (Annals of Allergy, 1994, vol. 72).

Delicious Living

Immune-Boosting Herbs

Help your body resist illness with these immune-boosting herbs.

This information is not intended as medical advice.




Side Effect


(Astragalus membranaceus)

Colds, viral infections

Boosts immunity, antiviral

None known

Capsules, tinctures, broths/soups

(Codonopsitis lanceolate)

Cough, congestion

Demulcent (sooths inflamed mucous membranes), expectorant

None known

Capsules, teas

(Echinacea purperea, E. angustifolia)

Colds, flu, cough, sore throat

Antiviral, antibacterial, boosts immunity, tonic

None known

Capsules, tinctures

Elder flower
(Sambucus nigra)

Colds and flu, sore throat, sinus congestion

Boosts immunity, diaphoretic (promotes perspiration), tonic

None known (root is a strong purgative; should only be prescribed by expert herbalists)

Teas, tinctures

(Eucalyptus globulus)

Bronchitis, cough, congestion

Antibacterial, antiviral, decongestant

Allergic reactions

Steam inhalation; topically applied as oil

(Allium sativum)

Colds and flu

Boosts immunity, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, tonic

None known

Capsules, powder, eating as food is best, raw or cooked

(Zingiber officinale)

Colds and flu, sore throat, sinus congestion, nausea

Boosts immunity, respiratory system tonic, diaphoretic, stomach soother

None known

Powder or root made into teas, baths

(Hydrastis canadensis)

Colds and flu, bacterial infections

Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory

Strong GI astringent; use with caution in young children; endangered species

Tinctures, teas

(Isatis tinctora)

Colds and flu

Antiviral, reduces swelling

None known

Capsules; works well with astragalus

(Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Sore throat

Reduces swelling expectorant, cough suppressant

Can cause sodium and water retention, loss of potassium

Tinctures, teas

Maitake mushroom
(Grifola frondosa)

Colds and flu

Boosts immunity

None known

Powder; eat as food

(Allium cepa)

Colds, flu

Boosts immunity, decongestant

None known

Powder; eating as food is best, raw or cooked

Osha root
(Ligusticum porteri)

Colds and flu

Boosts immunity

None known; endangered species


(Mentha piperita)

Congestion, nausea associated with flu

Pain reliever, antispasmodic, stomach soother, antiviral, antibacterial, diaphoretic

None known


(Salvia officinalis)

Colds and flu, fever

Stomach soother, reduces fever, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory

None known


Shiitake mushroom
(Lentinula edodes)

Colds and flu

Boosts immunity, antiviral, antibacterial

None known

Powder, capsules, root extract, eat as food

(Usnea barbarata)

Colds and flu

Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral

None known

Tinctures, often used with echinacea

White willow bark
(Salix alba)

Colds and flu

Pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, reduces fever

None known

Teas, works well with cinchona bark

(Achillea millefolium)

Colds and flu

Diaphoretic, expectorant, reduces fever

May cause contractions in pregnant women