As our children prepare for the upcoming school year, it is important to think about how we nourish their growing bodies. The next few newsletters will cover issues relating to raising healthy children.
One of the most important things for a growing child is healthy bones because bones have so many crucial functions: they help us stand, walk, run, and bones also provide the framework for our body, which protects our brain, heart, lungs, spinal cord and other soft organs. Finally, bones help balance the pH of the blood - we need to keep a balanced blood pH for our heart to function.
65% of our bone is made up of calcium, phosphate and salt and the remaining 35% is made up of a collagen matrix, which is protein. While calcium makes bones strong, the collage matrix is what makes bones flexible. Growing and active children need bones that are flexible as much as they need bones that are strong.
The following are vital for healthy bones:
- Good sources of protein, from grass-fed meats, free-range poultry, seafood, and legumes. Stock and edible bones are really good sources of collagen.
- Good sources of fat, such as butter, ghee, olive oil, unrefined sesame oil, coconut oil.
- Good sources of calcium, such as leafy green vegetables (cooked), broccoli, turnips, parsnips, nuts and seeds, seaweeds, as well as dairy products.
- Good sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps maintain bone growth and health. It promotes bone mineralization by helping synthesize the enzymes in the mucous membranes that are involved in the transport of calcium throughout the body and therefore helps retain calcium. Vitamin D is found in the sun, cod liver oil, shiitake mushrooms, parsley.
- Good sources of vitamin K, which helps deposit protein in the bones – vitamin K is found in dark leafy greens, cabbage, romaine lettuce, broccoli, green tea and natto (fermented soy beans), green peas, asparagus, whole wheat and oats.
- Magnesium helps put calcium in the bones and is required for proper functioning of muscles (including the heart) – good sources are whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, and green vegetables.
“But I found out that bones with flesh are more interesting than bones without.” —James MacArthur
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I am the mother of four daughters and a Certified Health Counselor, as well as a passionate advocate of organic and local food and a healthy lifestyle. I decided to become a health counselor to fulfill my passion of working with children and parents to improve their health and family life. Learn more about me at healthytiffin.net/about.html
In this issue:
Singaporean Chicken Rice (Serves 6):
Having just moved to Singapore, I wanted to share a local recipe which happens to be great for our bones!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup + 4 pieces ginger, sliced
- ½ cup shallots, sliced
- 12 cups water
- 4–5 lbs. chicken (either whole or pieces)
- ¼ cup + 2 pandan leaves, sliced
- 2 tsp. soy sauce (Tamari is preferred)
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 cups rice
- Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute garlic, shallots and ginger in olive oil until translucent but not brown. Add water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Add chicken and pandan leaves and simmer 45 minutes.
- Remove chicken to a plate, cut into small pieces, and glaze with soy sauce and sesame oil. Keep warm.
- Strain the stock and use stock to cook rice.
- Cook rice in stock with 4 pieces of ginger, pandan leaves and salt and pepper. Note: for white rice, you will need roughly 3 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice and for brown rice, you will need 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.
- Serve the chicken over the rice. Garnish with cucumbers and tomatoes.
- You can freeze any remaining stock.
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