Exercise & Fitness

Expert Insight Kathleen Hale

 Serving your family fresh, organic food on a time (and monetary) budget is easier than you think. Kathleen Hale tells us how.

{Q} I keep hearing about GMOs. What are they? What is their impact on health?

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, can be plants or animals created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology. This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

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Monsanto first began introducing GMO crops in the early ’90s. By 2008, up to 97 percent of soy, 95 percent of corn and over 90 percent of wheat were GMO crops. The problem is that we don’t really know the long-term health effects of eating these crops.

{Q} Are there any foods I can use to treat my child’s cold symptoms or strengthen their immune systems?

We live in a very toxic world, and eating foods that help the body detoxify is beneficial in the spring. Nature provides many foods that help rid our bodies of toxins, such as asparagus, dark leafy greens, cilantro and fresh fruit. Also, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and beets help the body detoxify.

More Resources
• “World’s Healthiest Foods” – whfoods.com

•“The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods” by Michael Murray, N.D.

•“Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford


Taking olive leaf extract is a simple, benign way of supporting the immune system. Coconut oil, which is anti-fungal and anti-viral, supports a healthy immune system. It can be used in cooking and makes a natural treatment for skin rashes or irritations.

{Q} I don’t have time to shop at the farmers market for local organic food. How can I shop smart at the grocery store?

It takes planning. First, keep a basic pantry filled with raw, unprocessed ingredients so that cooking can be simple. These ingredients include healthy oils, vinegars, whole grains, nuts, beans, diced tomatoes, chicken or vegetable broth, herbs and spices, pastas, garlic, onions, milk and coconut or almond milk.

When shopping, buy raw ingredients that will flavor pantry items: citrus fruits, fresh vegetables, greens, fresh herbs and meats. Buy lots of fresh fruit. It’s nature’s fast, nutritious food and something kids will eat. Have the kids eat undressed organic salad greens, which can be found at most stores. Add complex carbs with brown rice, throw in some nuts for a healthful fat and add an easy protein of your choice. Voila, you have a dinner in less than 30 minutes.

{Q} I’ve heard about substituting spaghetti squash for noodles. What other healthy food substitutions should I consider?

First and foremost, eat real food that you know the story behind. I am more interested in how the food is raised, grown or processed than I am in food substituions. “What is the source of this food?” is the first question you should be thinking.

Second, there are endless books on healthful substitutes. It really depends on why you want to substitute. If you have dairy intolerances, there are numerous non-dairy options. Coconut milk and almond milk are two of my favorites. For years, I have thickened soups with pureed vegetables instead of cream. Mashed cauliflower is a popular substitute for mashed potatoes.

{Q} What are some good resources that can help me educate myself about food and nutrition?

Remember, we are all individuals, and we need to eat what is right for us. That can mean a vegan, vegetarian or carnivorous diet, regular juice cleanses, no red meats, no dairy, no gluten, etc. We are all unique. Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules” is simple, small enough to stuff into your handbag and has sound advice in a concise format.