Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

The average American gains a couple of pounds or more during the Holiday Season. With the abundance of parties, cookies and traditions that involve food, it’s no wonder. Unfortunately many Americans have trouble shedding that weight in the upcoming year and instead just keep adding to that. 

What did you weigh in your 20s? If that number has increased, you see how it can sneak up on you.

The good news is that you can thoroughly enjoy the Holidays without putting your health at risk. You have to be willing to make some changes, but you definitely don’t have to starve. 

If you are attending a function for work or at a hotel, the tips below should help. If you are fairly certain that what is being served is a large departure from how you need to eat, do consider eating a small meal before you leave the house. It will handle any hunger and allow you to mingle and enjoy everyone’s company without having to eat food you know will get you in trouble. 

When you are dining at a friend’s or family member’s home, it is much easier to have some control. Some options are to bring a big healthy salad and an entrĂ©e that you can eat. You’ll be contributing to the hostess plus saving yourself from getting into trouble.

Consider bringing a carrot or cucumber of celery stick already cut into pieces. How hard is it to throw that in a baggy before you leave the house? And with it you have a way of enjoying the hummus or guacamole that’s being served while avoiding the crackers. Add half an avocado to your goody bag and you won’t be hungry.

Below we provide alternatives to the pound enhancing, disease promoting Holiday fare so pervasive at this time of year.


Instead of This                                                  Try This!
Cheese and crackers                                      Hummus or guacamole dipped with veggies
Cereal mix with nuts                                      Raw or dry roasted nuts (fresh, not from a can)
Pigs in a blanket                                             Chili (try Amy’s Organic Chili, canned but great)
Cheesy dip, hot or cold                                  Shrimp with cocktail sauce
Pot stickers                                                     Chicken or veggie skewer – check the sauce


Instead of This                                                  Try This!
Baked macaroni and cheese                      Opt for the plain chicken, or cold salmon
Prime rib – large slice                                 Small slice or try chicken or salmon                             
Chicken or turkey with stuffing                 The meat is fine, just avoid the stuffing
Vegetable casserole with cheese                Try to find some plain veggies or salad


Instead of This                                                  Try This!
Holiday cookies                                                 Organic dark chocolate (bring some with you!)
Gooey cake                                                        Coconut ice cream (Try Bliss brand, it’s delicious)
Fruit cake                                                           Fresh fruit and nuts


Instead of this                                                   Try This!
Margaritas                                                       A glass wine - Pinot Noir is highest in antioxidants
Champagne                                                      One small glass is fine, otherwise have wine
Egg nog                                                             Try the “So” brand made from coconut milk
More than one drink                                      Water! Staying hydrated will help you lose weight

Remember to enjoy some long walks or outside activities that keep you exercising.
And most importantly, truly enjoy the company of friends and families.

Visit us at If you have questions or need any help, I’m here for you! Call 408-733-0400.

Our best wishes to you and yours for a joyful Holiday Season! 

Until next time, I wish you very good health.  

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP

IFM Certified Practitioner

Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”

Holiday Tips when Trying to be Healthy


If the holidays are typically a difficult time for you to eat healthy, you'll want to learn these tips. You can easily enjoy a healthy and fun eating experience despite all the bad holiday food that surrounds you! 

Learn from a doctor and author.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Picky Eaters? Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids

How Do You Get a Child to Eat Healthfully?

As a mom of three, I went through many years of the lunch nightmare. It goes something like this: 

“Why didn’t you eat your lunch sweetie?” 
“I didn’t like it – it was yucky.” 

“But last week you said you loved it when I made the exact same thing.” 
“I don’t know. I just don’t like it.” 

Does that sound familiar?

Despite the fact that my children are now grown, that conversation feels like it happened yesterday. You want to feed your children well. You want them to eat what you feed them. And you want them to be healthy so that they can learn and do well in school. That can be a tall order. Add with a food sensitivity such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy... it can be, well, a nightmare. Hopefully this article will help. Over the years, I came up with several good ideas that got my kids through school with few illnesses, zero antibiotics, excellent GPAs, and they are now healthy adults who eat well.

Be Honest About Good Nutrition

Before we get started I wanted to share a philosophy I utilize when dealing with children and changing their lifestyle and diet. I used this with my own children and those whom I have had the privilege to care for over the years. Treat them like adults. What I mean is that you should be honest and talk to children as you would talk to a close friend – don’t talk down to them. As an example, if you change from pepperoni to sliced organic chicken slices, let them know why. 

Tell your child that the pepperoni has lots of chemicals and preservatives that will actually make his/her body sick. Obviously you don’t want that—and neither does he/she—so you are changing over to a cold cut that won’t create damage. If your child asks why his friend’s mother feeds his friend pepperoni (or other junk food), let your child know that his friend’s mom just might not know better. And of course, set a good example by eating well yourself. 

Work with your child to slowly change his/her taste buds until they enjoy fresh fruit and good food. Yes, this will take time. Yes, there will be some periods of frustration. Yes, you do need to be tenacious. But it’s so very worth it. If you ask my children if they appreciated all my efforts to keep them healthy, they will respond with a resounding and grateful “yes”.

Don't Discuss Your Own Dislikes of Food

Another suggestion is to try to avoid mentioning your own food dislikes. If you ‘hate’ certain vegetables that you know are healthy, don’t mention that to your children. Just purchase the healthiest vegetables, lightly cook them and serve them with a smile. Who knows? You might start to find some that you like! I can't tell you how many adults who rarely eat vegetables have told me that they don't eat them because their mother or father didn't like them. This is a shame and something we don't need to perpetuate.

Experiment: Try new things, especially ones involving healthy fruits and veggies. Good quality fruits and vegetables are delicious. Plus, your tastes change as you get older and as you get healthier. Something you didn’t like before you may find is quite tasty now. Keep trying new things!

10 Tips for Healthy Lunches

Drink water 1. When it comes to beverages stick with water.
I know that may be difficult at first, but it’s worth it to make the transition. If your child is stuck on juice, try the trick of diluting it more and more with purified water. If you’re subtle, they won’t notice. Concurrently let them know that you’ve learned that fruit is best eaten, rather than drunk, and you’ll be adding delicious organic sweet fruit to their lunch box along with water that is more hydrating. Further, as a clinical nutritionist, I should note that a vast majority of our population is dehydrated—children included. The body works much better when properly hydrated. 

Hint: Make sure that the fruit you include is tasty. There’s no faster way of turning a child off from a fruit or vegetable than by giving them one that tastes bad.
2. Make extra dinner from the night before that can be used for lunch. Whether it’s a pasta meal with meat and veggies, or a stir fry, or soup or chili, heat it in the morning and put it in a thermos that will keep it warm. If they liked it for dinner, they’ll like it for 
lunch. Just don’t serve it AGAIN for dinner—you’ll have a mutiny! 

Hint: Take organic kale and chop it very finely. Add it to soups, chili, tomato sauce, stir fry—everything. It’s so small that they won’t taste it, but it’s in there and very healthy 
for them.
hummus 3. Serve hummus.
It's a protein-rich dip that can be dipped into with celery sticks, carrot sticks, pieces of cucumber—or really any raw veggies of choice. Hummus is filling too.

4. Another option on celery sticks or apple and pear slices is almond butter or peanut butter. (I know that some schools "outlaw" peanuts if a child has a serious allergy, so consider other butters such as almond or cashew.)

5. For salad lovers: Some kids love salad, bless them, and you can just put the undressed salad in a Tupperware container and send the dressing separately. Salads are a great way to get a lot of veggies into your kids. Ours typically consists of organic spring green mix, arugula, celery, green or red onion, avocado, red cabbage, cucumber and tomatoes. You could add shredded carrot, zucchini, sunflower seeds, and more—have fun with it and change up the ingredients to keep it interesting. 

organic egg salad  6. Egg salad is a nice main course.
Just ensure that your container keeps it cold within their lunch box. I don’t recommend canned tuna, or much of any tuna, since the fish tends to have high mercury content. Definitely not good for developed nervous systems. 
organic turkey slices 7. Cold cuts that have no chemicals or preservatives are good as "roll-ups"or on a sandwich.
Personally the only place I ever found "clean" cold cuts was Whole Foods, but check around and see what you find at your local grocer. The ingredients of the ones we used were only these 3: chicken/turkey, salt, water—that’s it! The only liability of these was that they would go bad within about 5 days due to the lack of preservatives. They're a good thing health-wise, but important to keep track of so you’re not throwing good food away. 

Hint: If your child is addicted to bologna or salami, for example, Whole Foods likely has a healthier version you can switch to while you’re weaning to healthier options. The chemicals and preservatives in standard cold cuts put them squarely in the category of a Frankenfood—too far from the real thing to be ingested by a body that wants to be healthy.
8.Serve fresh nuts and fruit, or raisins (or other dried fruit). Make sure all are organic and the nuts are raw or freshly dry roasted. Nuts roasted in oil are frequently rancid which is a bad fat; something you want to avoid.

Healthy fruit and nut balls 9. There are some very healthy desserts you can make that are easy, raw (in many cases), and fun to make with your children.
Go online and search “fruit and nut balls” and you’ll find many, many options. They typically involve dates, a nut butter, dried fruit, coconut, fresh nuts, cocoa powder, etc. What makes them fun is that you can change up the ingredients to make them taste different so you don’t get bored. Try to avoid the ones with sugar or lots of chocolate. Believe me, the dates and other dried fruit will make it sweet enough, and these are very satisfying. We are trying to decrease the size of the sweet tooth—these healthy desserts will help.

Read food labels 10. Read labels—please!
It's so easy to grab the heavily processed, chemical filled, artificial "something" that your child wants because his friend has it or he saw it advertised on TV. Don't do it! Read the ingredients. If it's more than 5 ingredients, it's likely too heavily processed to be healthy. If it contains words that you don't have in your own pantry, such as "red dye" or "sodium benzoate", don't buy it—it's a Frankenfood. Such foods are addictive, fattening and inflammatory.—all things you want to avoid if you want a healthy body. 

I hope this was helpful. Please write me back with any great ideas you have that we can share with other parents.

Is Your Child Gluten Sensitive?

It is better to find out sooner than later—contact us at If you have questions or need any help, I’m here for you! Call 408-733-0400.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP

IFM Certified Practitioner

Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”