Giving Up Soda… Forever

I see many clients who have some type of addiction to soda.  Some drink a few each day, others a few per week.  Most of them find it comforting in some way, and believe it is relatively harmless because they are drinking the diet version. 

You have heard the statistics on soda, and the effects the sugar in soda has on our teeth, bones, and weight gain.  You may even have read by now that diet sodas also harm our teeth and bones, and cause us to gain weight. 

Apparently, the largest soda companies are now on the hunt for a soda that is low in calories, contains no artificial sweeteners, and still tastes good.  They are investing millions of dollars in research, and are optimistic that there will be some type of beverage that fits this mold on the market within a few years (read full article HERE).

In the meantime, I suggest that you simply get off of soda completely.  The “next best thing” in the soda world will only turn out to be just as harmful ten years down the line as our current sodas are now.

One of the first things I address with clients is their soda intake.  We discuss it, and then we begin taking steps to end it.  And most of the time, this works.  Many of my clients are able to successfully give up soda, forever, and as a result of this, they experience increased energy, weight loss, decreased sugar cravings, more mental clarity, decreased headaches, and less dependence on caffeine overall.  Many of these people reflect back on where they were six months earlier, and cannot believe how dependent they once were on soda.

I provide clients with a list of alternative beverages that can satisfy their need for something other than water, and have health benefits on top of that.  This is a small change that can make a huge difference.  If you’re interested in facing your soda addiction and making a big change, let me know!  I would love to help.


They'll Eat What They Pick

My 15-month old daughter is a great eater, so far.  She eats about 90% of the foods we put in front of her with no hesitation and a smile on her face.  The other 10% she tries and either quits after swallowing one bite, or spits it out completely.  And I am okay with this.  We prepare meals and snacks for her each day, but never force her to eat them.  She makes the decision about whether or not to eat her food, and this has worked very well for us.

Two foods that she has repeatedly turned down are tomatoes and raspberries. 

Taco night is a weekly event at our house, so we often have diced tomatoes that I give to her for lunch or dinner.  She will try them but immediately spit them out. 

She could eat 1,000 blueberries, but as soon as we give her a raspberry, she will scrunch up that little mouth and spit it right out.  Not exactly what mom wants to see, considering organic raspberries aren’t cheap!

Despite these apparent dislikes, I decided to bring her outside with me one day to harvest the first raspberries off of our bushes.  She immediately demanded the berries I had in my hand, and was eating them faster than I could pick them.  I even let her pick the low ones, and she’d pop each and every one into her little mouth, followed by a sweet little “mmm, mmm, mmm!”.  Picking raspberries has quickly become one of her favorite activities. 

And sure enough, she loves picking and eating the cherry tomatoes as well!  Nothing makes me happier than seeing my little girl eating fruits and veggies straight from the garden.  And now I have proof that something I have always read and heard about is actually true: growing a garden and involving children in the planting, watering, and harvesting will increase their interest and excitement about fruits and vegetables.

Below is a photo of my niece, Milly, picking basil with her mama.  My sister Alice says Milly eats a basil leaf each time they go out to look at the garden!  I am pretty sure most toddlers wouldn’t eat plain basil leaves if they showed up on their tray at lunch.  But straight from the garden?  Much more exciting!

I am the first to admit that I am not much of a gardener (my husband does most of it), and I am pretty content getting the majority of our fruits and vegetables from a local farm’s CSA program.  If you’re in the same boat with regards to gardening, I recommend taking your kids to an apple orchard or other type of farm that allows people to pick and keep the fruits and vegetables.  If you go HERE, you can look up pick-your-own farms in your state.

Kids love to be involved in things.  Just as we appreciate food the more we experiment with cooking and flavors, so does a child the more they learn about each food, how it is grown, and how we use it to create a meal.  My daughter absolutely loves watching me use the salad spinner, and I always let her "spin" her own salad after I am finished.  Try to make them a part of the meal process in your home, whether it be helping in the garden, picking out groceries, or assisting in the kitchen.  It will pay off, trust me!


Facebook Updates

Do you follow Pierce Whole Nutrition on Facebook?  If not, click HERE to “Like” PWN!

I have been getting some friendly “reminders” recently to keep blogging.  I appreciate this and love to know that people are still reading.  However, I only have a couple of days per week that I devote to work, and unfortunately that leaves little time for blogging.  But, I do try to update my Facebook page as often as possible with current articles or events in the nutrition world.  So, for those of you that need to get your nutrition fix each week, check PWN’s Facebook page out!

For those who don’t have Facebook, here are a couple recent articles I have posted:

Click HERE to read about the increasing popularity of corporate wellness programs.  I find this really interesting because not only are employees happier and healthier due to their companies’ wellness efforts, but the companies themselves are actually cutting back on healthcare expenses!  A win-win.

Click HERE to read about the importance of eating a varied diet.  I love the inclusion of how variety (or lack thereof) can affect a child’s diet and food preferences.  Children emulate their parents, so if you’re picky, your kid is likely to be picky too!  We cannot hold them to different expectations than those we have for ourselves.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!


Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Seeds

A few different people have asked me about chia seeds in the past couple of months.  After we got over the realization that chia seeds could be used for something other than a “pet,” we began to wonder: What are they?  Should we be eating them?  How do we use them?

Chia seeds have shown up at health food stores and are definitely creating a buzz.  I have always believed that seeds in general get overlooked all too often, causing us to miss out on their numerous nutritional benefits. 

Considered a superfood by many, chia seeds come from the chia herb, and are best known for their high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.  In addition to healthy fats, chia seeds provide protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and many other important minerals.   Chia seeds were traditionally used by Aztec warriors and were known to sustain them for 24 hours.  Medicinally, the seeds were once used to stimulate saliva, ease joint pain, and protect the skin (source).  This makes perfect sense.  Many of my clients with joint pain or skin issues see significant improvement when we increase their omega-3 fatty acid intake!

Chia seeds seem like an obvious food to include into our diet.  They are fairly easy to use, and tend to add more texture than taste, so go well in many different recipes.  When added to water, the chia seeds form a gel-like substance.  This usually takes around 10-30 minutes.  The gel slows digestion and absorption once in the stomach, causing us to feel full for longer periods of time and preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar. 

Below are some ideas for how to incorporate chia seeds into your diet:

  • Add them to smoothies (after blending) and allow to sit for 10 minutes so the gel forms
  • Add to oatmeal after cooking
  • Mix into plain yogurt along with some raw honey and fruit
  • Add to rice or quinoa after cooking or towards the end of cooking
  • Grind them into a flour and use in baking
  • Add chia seeds to your almond butter or other nut butter
  • Add chia seeds into soups for thickening and extra nutrition
  • And for the urban farmers out there, adding chia seeds to chicken feed increases the omega-3 and vitamin content in the eggs!

This website contains some more information about how to incorporate chia seeds into your diet.

I hope that clarifies things for those of you who have yet to try chia seeds.  I have been using them in oatmeal and smoothies for my toddler.  Since her diet needs to contain very high levels of fats, adding chia seeds to her food is a great way to ensure she is getting the fats she needs to support proper growth and brain development.

Good luck!


Pink Birthday Cake

Despite many peoples’ doubts, I did allow my daughter to eat cake on her first birthday. As much as I value good nutrition, sometimes I value tradition even more. So the little peanut got a big slice of cake on a red platter that read "You Are Special Today," and she enjoyed every second of it. However, it was a homemade cake using only the finest organic ingredients. Obviously.

I wanted to make her a pig cake, because her favorite book is about farm animals. But last I checked, pink food coloring isn’t all-natural and organic. So, I was forced to get creative.

When I think pink, I think beets. I have cooked with beets often enough to know that their juice is vibrant, indicating loads of nutrients. So I immediately scoured the internet for ideas on using beet juice to dye frosting, and pieced together a method that ended up working quite well.


2-3 cans organic beets (I used three, but only ended up needing about half of the reduction to get the right shade of pink)

Add beet juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and keep at a simmer/low boil, stirring occasionally, until only about 1-3 tablespoons of beet juice remain. Pour into frosting.

Note: Beet juice reduction will harden eventually at room temperature, so I recommend making the frosting first and then the dye, and adding it right away to the frosting.

This was so easy and made the perfect shade of pink for the pig cake. It did not alter the taste of the frosting at all, and I felt good that my daughter was not getting any artificial colors on her birthday!

I recommend saving the unused beets and adding them to soups, salads, chili, or even juicing them.