New research out of the University of Colorado Denver-Anschutz suggests that protein-rich foods may help a child grow taller earlier in life. According to NDTV, study author Minghua Tang, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the college said at five-months-old, children can start growing tall with the help of protein.

“Meat, such as pork, provides important micronutrients, is an excellent source of protein and can be an important complementary food for infants who are ready for solid foods,” she said to NDTV. “Our research suggests introducing higher amounts of protein and introducing meat, such as pork, into the diet at five months could be potentially beneficial for linear growth (length gain)”.

The study was conducted by increasing the protein-intake of a small group of infants aged five to 12-months-old. Each day, the protein intake with increased to three grams per Kg per day. This was compared to two grams per Kg per day, which is what their normal intake was prior to the study. Some of the children were given pureed meats to supplement the protein while the other half were given dairy-based foods. The amount of fat and calories were the same between the two groups.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that protein-rich foods promoted length gain, while the dairy foods did not. The children eating the protein grew an inch or more during the study. If you choose to fill your child’s diet with protein, try giving them small pieces of chicken or ground beef. As they get older, you can implement protein in their diet by hiding it in dishes like tacos. Americans consume more than four billion tacos a year.

It’s essential for parents to monitor exactly what their children eat — at all times — in order to avoid trips to emergency medical centers. In 2015, urgent care centers reported seeing an average of nearly 12,000 patients. That amounts to an average of three patient care visits per hour or 32 visits each day.

Fueling children with protein isn’t the only way to help them grow strong. It may be hard to get children to eat well, but instead of forcing them to do so, WTOP says it’s all about the habit. Expose your children to a variety of foods at a young age so they’re able to grow up liking different types of meals. Get them in the habit of eating their greens, but also their fruit and fiber options.

Getting rid of junk food and sweet treats may also help your child develop strong eating patterns. There are about 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and similar desserts produced in the United States every year. While it may be tempting to give your child a bowl of chocolate ice cream for dessert, offer them frozen fruit instead.

Whether you plan to feed your child an immense amount of protein or choose to build specific eating habits, there are many ways to make sure your child is healthy. Start working with your child at a young age to help them develop a strong knowledge of food.

Photo by Peggy Greb, Public Domain

Clean eating has its origins in the 1960s, right around the time when radical movements for moral and societal change were in full swing. In terms of diet, vegetarianism and outdoor cooking to replicate what our forefathers became popular. But after the 60s, convenience and cost gave rise to the processed food industry, and advancements in technology and other lifestyle changes meant that many people fell into sedentary lifestyles. Clean eating has since resurfaced as a trend and many people are embracing as a way to complement their fit lifestyles, because they have realized that being physically healthy helps improve
their results.

Consuming foods that are minimally processed or not processed at all is the basis for clean eating. This is no small task, as so many readily available foods are processed and have been for decades. Aluminum cans were first used commercially in the 1960s, making storage and the preservation of foods easier. Sterilization innovations like irradiation to sterilize dried fruits and vegetables also came into common use. For a long time, similar considerations took priority over health. Take refined grains, which start out as whole grains with the bran, germ, and endosperm intact. They are then processed for longer shelf life and a more attractive appearance. They may also be exposed to pesticides, additives, and preservatives, and the benefits of fiber, B vitamins, etc. are lost. Sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, which have become more prevalent, are also frowned upon when you’re trying to eat clean.

On the plus side, the clean eating practitioner generally doesn’t worry about counting calories or following a fad diet like low fat or low carb. The benefits of vegetables and fruits are already recognized. Cherries, for example, are rich in nutrients, especially potassium and vitamin C. Leafy green vegetables, along with other natural foods, are good for longevity. Every meal should include some carbohydrate, protein, and fat, and unrefined foods like brown rice, amaranth, beans and legumes are good choices. And if you have a sweet tooth, you can rely on the natural sugars in fruit to reduce your cravings, plus organic honey or maple syrup are generally healthier sweetening options.

Another big issue is lunch, which is an important meal because it elevates your blood sugar level in the middle of the day after it has started to wane. It gives you the additional energy needed to allow you to focus for a few more hours, especially if you have made a meal choice that is clean. People who forgo lunch because they are busy or want to diet tend to gain weight because by dinner time, they are too ravenous to control their portions. But there are many options for lunchtime fare that can satisfy your appetite without making you feel sluggish. A clean lunch is not too heavy, so it doesn’t force your body to direct all its resources to the digestive process just to get rid of it. Here is a wonderfully light yet filling clean meal with papaya with olives and brown rice to keep you on top of your game.

Sedentary lives and modernization have made clean eating more difficult to achieve. And with convenience have come poorer health and preventable, but life-threatening diseases. Moving back to less processed food can only have the side effect of improving your longevity, quality of life and weight loss. And with determination, the negative effects of not eating clean can be turned around, especially when you think of eating this way as less of a chore and more of a gift to your health.

Food is a lot like fashion — With each year comes a host of new flavors and dishes to look out for. So far, 2017 has been no different, with many of the original trend predictions coming true. As consumers seek to combine traditional cooking methods with global cuisines while maintaining a healthy approach, restaurants and supermarkets are starting to take note. 

But how do you predict what people are going to want to eat? The answer lies in the study of changes in consumer behavior. Depending on what is affordable and accessible, along with what is fashionable for that time, it is possible to forecast what people will want to eat in the “real world”. Social media and viral marketing have a huge impact on what people want to consume as well. An example? The humble avocado. Instagram has made it an essential ingredient for almost all photo-worthy dishes.

So, what trends are we seeing so far in 2017? 

A recent study from Syracuse University found that eating dark chocolate in the morning has unexpected benefits. Apparently, eating the sweet stuff before going to work has a positive impact on cognitive function; specifically, abstract reasoning, memory, and focus. This supports research from Tel Aviv University, which also suggests that having cake or dessert for breakfast also supports weight loss. The results of these two studies have created something of a stir on the breakfast scene, with more people choosing a sweet breakfast over a traditionally savory one.

While these results might be relatively recent, the trend for eating dark chocolate with sweet churros in the mornings is a long-held tradition in Spain. Of course, you don’t have to travel all the way to a European destination to grab some traditional churros. You can find a sugary breakfast near you.

Turmeric also is on the rise. While it is already a widely accepted addition to most Indian cuisine, it is seeing something of a rise in popularity around the globe due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Food bloggers are touting turmeric as a superfood rich in antioxidants as well as its digestive and cognitive benefits. And they are right; turmeric and its derivative curcumin are clinically proven to reduce pain and symptoms associated with chronic inflammation, much like the effects of ibuprofen but without the resultant liver damage. Turmeric saw a huge upsurge in demand in 2016, and it has continued through 2017 as more coffee shops find ways to incorporate the spice into the hot beverage.

As the world became obsessed with healthy fats in 2016, coconut oil became a dietary staple in many kitchens. This trend continues through 2017, as coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut sugar,
and coconut meat all take center stage as star ingredients. Coconut products all boast majorhealth benefits as they provide essential minerals and vitamins along with easily digestible fats. 

This year has also seen an increase in the use of activated charcoal. This is a black powder that is formed from natural substances such as bamboo, coconut, wood, and coal and has a long history of being used as a potent detoxifier. Added to drinks and smoothies, activated charcoal binds to toxic particles in the body and then removes them so effectively that it has been used for centuries as a primary way to treat patients who have been poisoned. Beware, though, this is not the charcoal you find at the bottom of your barbecue! Food-grade activated charcoal is now being used to create healthy black lemonades and juices that help with bloating and constipation. 

Last but not least, another huge trend this year is the continued rise in plant-based diets. This has seen an increase in the demand for “plant butchers“. The continued demand for meatless cuisine and plant-based protein has led to the creation of vegan cheese recipes, plant-based milk, and stores that cater only to vegan and vegetarian diets. This trend is something of a cultural turning point and is expected to continue well into 2018.

Photo by Taz

For a family that is trying to live a greener lifestyle, food waste is just one of many things that you try to reduce as much as possible. If you like to be frugal too, buying in bulk can be kinder on your wallet in the long term but does risk more food being wasted. To not waste food you need to make sure that you are storing food safely and this is where your freezer comes in: It is an extremely useful and underrated tool found in every home, that can provide so many ways to cut down on both costs and food waste.

Here are a few tips for making the most of it:

Freeze fresh herbs

You can put many fresh herbs straight in the freezer, including coriander (cilantro), mint, chives and parsley. Freezing them means they won’t go dry and brittle, and you can just crumble them into dishes or cocktails whenever you need to. You can even chop them and put the bits into ice cube trays with a little water for smaller flavor hits in cooking or drinks.

Preserve your spices

Many supermarkets sell pre-chopped and frozen spices like chili, garlic, and ginger. You can do the same at home. Just finely chop into typical portions (eg. 1 tsp chili), put into bags and sprinkle during cooking as your recipes require. This saves a lot of time because you won’t have to finely chop them later, and it also prevents the dreaded pepper fingers + eye combo!

Portion your meat

Buying meat in bulk can save a lot of money. Separating it into portions before putting in the freezer makes it last much longer and also prevents trying to portion it up as a solid block when you need it. You can also make a large number of meals in advance and separate into portions to freeze and be microwaved later, which makes for a super quick dinner or lunch.

Think outside the box with ice trays

These can be used in so many ways to save time when cooking in the future. If you’ve made homemade chicken/vegetable/beef stock, trays are the perfect way to portion these into little cubes for easy portioning into recipes, and garlic butter can be made in advance to make homemade garlic bread or melted on top of steaks. You can even use them to make bite size desserts.

The idea is that freezing allows you to buy in bulk and prepare in advance, which saves you both time and money in the long run.

Written by Laura at Shiply


Many people believe that becoming vegan is not just a health choice, but an environmental one, as well. But choosing to give up entire food groups is a radical, though progressive, decision. It is also becoming more and more popular as people embrace vegetarianism and often move into veganism.  There are many reasons to turn away from meat toward plant-based protein. When we consider how much space has to be cleared to create grazing area for 99 cent cheeseburger cattle, or how much bad fats and cholesterol are in the meat we are consuming, it is not hard to imagine why it’s a good idea to make more informed food choices.

Well-known people from all walks of life have made the switch and never returned to a life of eating meat and its by-products. They often claim to feel better and have higher energy levels than ever. Here are a few of folks who have said “goodbye animals – hello plants.”

Carl Lewis


Olympic track and field star Carl Lewis is one of the most outspoken vegetarian or vegan athletes. After switching to a vegan diet, he went on to win 10 Olympic medals and 10 World Championship medals over the course of his career.  He believes that meat is unnecessary for the body and if you “nourish your body properly, it will be good to you and you will increase its longevity.”

James Cameron


Academy Award winning director James Cameron made the choice to go vegan in 2011.  Cameron directed the two highest grossing films ever produced and, after doing the research, discovered that the highest percentage of centenarians all eat primarily plant-based diets. Cameron stands by his decision that veganism will make anyone live longer and be healthier.

Steve Wynn


Casino mogul of both Las Vegas and Macau Steve Wynn was introduced to the vegan lifestyle in 2010 when fellow billionaire and good friend Gulu Lalvani introduced him to the healthier way of life on his yacht in St. Tropez.  Upon returning to Las Vegas, Wynn ordered 10,000 copies of the DVD “Eating” and gave them to all his employees.  He brought in celebrity vegan chef Tal Ronnen to add vegan menus to all of Wynn’s restaurants.  Together they hosted Viva Las Vegan, a vegan tasting and discussion forum. Wynn continues to promote veganism throughout the gambling world.

Daniel Negreanu


This is great news for Daniel Negreanu, the highest earning tournament poker player of all time. Negreanu has played and won in the World Series of Poker for more than 15 years and was one of the youngest ever to win a WSOP bracelet in 1998. Negreanu chose to go vegetarian in 2000 for health reasons and became a vegan in 2006, claiming the change made him sharper than ever.  Negreanu is a huge supporter of animal rights and believes changing to a vegan diet is not just about your health, but also the environment.

Tony Gonzalez


It may not come as a surprise that many professional athletes are also outspoken vegans.  It may be hard to believe that hard core players can perform on plant-based caloric intake alone, but some do and are definite peak performers.  Tony Gonzalez, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons before that, is vegetarian. Robert Parish, who has the longest running NBA career ever is vegetarian. Both agree that turning red meat into energy is far harder on the body and they prove that you can get enough healthy calories from non-meat sources to maintain positions at the top of their fields.


Abdul Kalam, former scientist and president of India, known for his work in missile technology and the space program, was a lifelong vegan.  Both former President Clinton and Vice President Gore have both adopted a vegan lifestyle.  The former for health reasons and the latter for his environmental concerns. 

A wide variety of scientists, physicians, religious leaders and rock stars all have left meats and processed foods behind in favor of nature-grown plant foods. They all believe this way of life will return health and longevity to people and reinvigorate the planet.

Of course, there is more to going vegan than just avoiding meat. Vegetarianism and veganism will not work for everyone or every lifestyle, but it is a choice to consider if your health and finances will allow it.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyWayToVeg #CollectiveBias

It is no secret that I am lazy in the kitchen. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, this is something I talk about regularly. I just don’t have the inclination to spend a lot of time in the kitchen creating new, fun recipes. I don’t have the time (or the desire) to make everything from scratch. So what do I do? I cook them same stuff over and over again. And I look for healthy convenience foods.


MorningStar Farms is among the brands that I regularly buy when I want something quick, convenient and delicious. Even though we’re not vegetarian, we buy their grillers and other veggie cuisine all the time because they taste great and the whole family enjoys them. Plus, I can give them to the kids without feeling guilty that I’m sacrificing their health. So when I learned that they released a new line of veggie bowls in a variety of flavors, I couldn’t wait to try them.


There are 5 different varieties of Chik’n Pot Pie, Chik’n Tikka Masala, Italian Sausage Bake, Japanese Soba Noodles and Moroccan Medley. To start, we like to buy products from japan so we bought the Japanese Soba Noodles and Moroccan Medley. All of the bowls are really easy to prepare. Simply follow the instructions on the packaging for the amount of time each item needs to be heated.



Both options smelled amazing once they started heating. So good that my daughter came into the kitchen to see what I was cooking. They are fragrant and smell delicious. Plus, they’re ready in about 5 minutes.


Preparing food in the microwave can be hit or miss. Sometimes, it comes out hard or rubbery. In this case, both recipes were perfectly heated and the meat substitutes were tender and flavorful. If I had any complaint, it is the serving size. The serving is relatively small, so it would work well as lunch, a small dinner or the perfect size for a child. I’m just thrilled that I can have a quick, flavorful, healthy meal in around 5 minutes with very little effort.


Aside from the fact that they are vegan, MorningStar Farms veggie bowls are just like any other type of food we eat, and I know that we’re going to be looking for them at the grocery store from now on.

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Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterWithCraisins #CollectiveBias

.The weather in Georgia is finally starting to get cool enough to really call say fall has arrived — at least during the mornings and evenings. For me, this transition means a couple of things: I can pull out my warm sweaters and boots, I can turn off the air conditioning in the house for most of the day, and I can start enjoying fall flavors. Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries are among my families favorite ways to indulge in a taste that just feels like fall.

And this recipe created with Craisins® Dried Cranberries in mind, is a great, light way to enjoy that flavor.

Cranberry Apple Salad with a Crunch



  • 2 cups raw spinach or other greens
  • 1/8 cup Grape Nuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup diced apples

Makes a single serving. Multiply as necessary to serve more than one person.


I admit I am not a huge salad eater. I should put greens on my plate more often, but what can I say? I am particular about flavors, and not many salads really satisfy my palate. This one, however, is one of my all-time favorites.


For the salad base, you’ll need two cups of raw spinach or your favorite greens. I try to buy my spinach organic whenever I can.

The star of this show is the cranberries. They provide the subtle zing that will make you want to eat this every day, and they’re a guilt-free way to enjoy a snack that feels decadent, but is really healthy. But my other favorite part of this salad is the subtle crunch provided by the Grape Nuts. Simply toss the dried cranberries and Grape Nuts together with the spinach.


For the final flavor punch, add the diced apples. Top with the salad dressing of your choice, though I’d recommend something light, like vinaigrette or simple oil and vinegar.


Take one bite of this salad with everything on your fork, and you’ll see why I love it so much. The combination of flavors and textures is amazing, and the memory of the cranberries will stay with you all day. Plus, there’s the fact that just 1/4 cup of Craisins® Dried Cranberries actually provides you with 1/2 cup of fruit, and that’s all the more reason to indulge.


If you’re used to buying Craisins® Dried Cranberries at your local Sam’s Club, you may have noticed they’ve disappeared from the shelves. Not to worry. You can still find them at other stores. I found mine at Walmart on rollback for just $4.98 for a 24oz package!

Looking for more ideas for using dried cranberries? Click here for recipe ideas and to find a store near you.

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Disclosure: Balance Bar has provided me to with product to facilitate this review, along with compensation for my time and effort in creating this content. As always, all opinions are my own.


Anyone who knows anything at all about me knows I have a sweet tooth. It’s my vice. Even a few years ago when I was on my weight loss journey and meticulously counting calories every day, I always left room for a sweet treat a couple days a week. That treat? Usually cookies or something else that would definitely qualify as not so healthy. Even though I was always careful not to overdo it, there was still a level of guilt about eating “bad” snacks instead of something healthier.

Today, I am focused a lot less on my weight, and a lot more on general healthy living and moderation. Which means that though I sometimes journal my meals, I’m not on a strict calorie count. I just watch what I eat and try to move my body. And my sweet tooth is just a strong as ever. So when Balance Bar reached out to me about trying their newest protein bars, meant specifically to curb those sweet cravings, I couldn’t wait try them.


Because I’m going to be real with you — when I want a cookie, I have a cookie. I’ve never been great at depriving myself, because I don’t enjoy the idea of a “diet.” I just want to be mindful of what I put in my body and still be able to enjoy the treats I love once in a while. The challenge is that “once in a while” tends to turn into “every day” over time. And I knew I needed to dial back.

What Balance Bar has done is change the way I think about snacking. Now, when I want something sweet, I reach for one, and I can feel good about the fact that though they taste amazing, they are also providing my body with nutrition I’d never get from a cookie. They are formulated to have a balance of carbohydrates, protein and dietary fat that feels indulgent and filling, so I don’t feel the need to keep snacking.

This is helpful when I’m at home working or chasing my little one around because I don’t have to think about what I’ll eat to keep me fueled. (Plus, Juliza likes a little something sweet too. What can I say? She’s her mother’s child.) They’re also great to throw in my purse on my way out the door so I’m not tempted to stop at the drive thru for some french fries or anything else I’d be better off leaving alone. Balance Bar is a snack I can enjoy without thinking about it. It’s a snack I can crave freely.


And with my oldest daughter home for the summer and wanting to snack all the time, they’ve become a go-to for her as well. They are the perfect snack for her to throw in her bag for quick refueling during gymnastics practice or to keep her satisfied between meals.

Now let’s talk about those flavors. Look. They are an amazing incentive to choose a healthier snack option. I tried Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat, Chocolate Peppermint Patty, Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle and Dulce De Leche & Caramel. And when I tell you they are all scrumptious? I am so serious. I am picky about tastes and textures when it comes to new foods, so I went into this a little skeptical that I’d be able to make myself eat them all. I truly needn’t have been worried. They are all sweet and decadent and so delicious that I don’t even have time to think about the texture. My absolute favorite is Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle.

And the awesome thing is that there are a bunch of other flavor options you can try if none of these tickles your fancy. Head to your local Walmart store or Amazon to try them for yourselves.

They’ve become the go-to snack for my family this summer, and I’m thankful that I have them without guilt.


Want to try Balance Bars for yourself? Win a box of Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat mini bars.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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