The Best Way To Help Your Child With Their Weight & Body Image + Chaos


If you have kids in your life, you’re probably already aware that body image challenges start early. Numerous studies have shown that even elementary school children, especially girls, believe they need to change something about their body, whether it’s their weight, their hair, their freckles, or something else. It can be heartbreaking to watch the children we care about struggling with these issues, and so many grown-ups want to know what they can do to help. As it turns out, there IS one thing that we, as adults, can do to create an environment that truly supports our kids’ development of a healthy, positive body image. It’s something we actually have a lot of control over, and best of all, when we start doing this, it will immediately make our own lives better, too.

I would like to share my thoughts on the best way to help children with their weight and their body image. Though I do not have credentials behind my name….yet (another six months and I will!), I have struggled with anorexia nervosa for almost 20 years. I have been in recovery for four years so I give myself a bit of credibility when it comes to this subject. I also do a ton of research!

We live in a time when so many people, young and old, are experiencing an epidemic of body hate and body dissatisfaction. You can read the statistics. Nine out of 10 women polled are hitting on their bodies, and 40% of girls, three to six years old, are already dieting. They’re hating on their body. They’re wanting to change their body parts.

This is crazy! This is the kind of challenge that cuts me to the core….and I hope yours as well.

Hating our body, judging it, and believing that it’s unlovable in some way is the royal road to misery and an unhappy life.

Think about it. When we’re born into this world, watch a baby. They’re not sitting there worried about how they’re looking or running around naked or if they’ve got little bits of body fat here and there. Babies and infants are in love with their physiology. It’s just all one. It’s pleasure. It’s play. However, so many people are struggling in silence with self-defeating thoughts about their own physical form. We’ve got to change that.

An unhappy and unresolved body image keeps us small in our sense of self. It limits our personal growth. It stops our best creativity, and it leaves us far short of the beautiful potential that we are born with. Body hate shuts down the soul. It ruins us. It’s a soul crusher!

If you’re a parent or you have kids in your life and you really want to help the child, especially if you’re a parent, then you want to give them the best chance of a loving relationship with their body….OR at least I hope you do! An unhappy body image these days often starts at a young age. However, there is one strategy that will help you succeed in such a brilliant and beautiful way:

Heal your own relationship with your body!

That’s it. Work on you. Work on your relationship with your body. Get to a place, please, as fast as you can where you forgive your own imperfections and where you let go of your own self-criticism. Stop the fight. Just stop the war because your children, our children pick up on who we are. Children are brilliant observers. They’re not good interpreters, but they’re brilliant observers. They will observe mommy, daddy hating on their own body. They’ll feel it. They’ll absorb it through the airwaves.

In a way, this is the beauty of our young ones. They want to be like us, and they will be like us. Therefore, it is best to look in the mirror and start to work on SELF. It is going to save your kids so much heartache and unnecessary waste of life energy as they get older.

SO AGAIN!!…….the greatest gift you can give your kids is to do your own work and do it now and stop the nonsense in your own head! Here’s how you start: Call a cease-fire on self-attack, and mean it! Just wake up and say cease-fire! Consciously choose to begin to love yourself in small ways. It’s a practice. You’ve got to practice every day.

Every day practice gratitude in some way, shape, or form, for the body that you’ve been given. I know you’ve got complaints about it and this and that and all that. However, balance out all those crazy complaints with some gratitude. Find ways every day to affirm love for your body.

Honestly, it is as simple as that because when you do work on yourself, you save future generations from pain and suffering. However, I know for some… isn’t that simple. Your “leading by example” will uplift them in ways that they’ll never know, and when you do that, when you do your work on self so your kids don’t have to finish up that work, we create such a better planet and such a better environment for all of us to thrive in. This is the magic of the world!


Chaos: Emily Rosen


Nutrition Tip of the Day

Enjoy fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout and albacore tuna are good choices!


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Food allergy diagnosis by oral food challenge is safe, says study

A new study concludes that medical procedures known as oral food challenges, which are used in clinics to test people for food allergies, are very safe and rarely cause severe reactions. A report on the study, led by researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, and Texas Children’s Hospital, also in Houston, is published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Lead author Dr. Kwei Akuete, a practicing allergist and member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), says, “Oral food challenges are a very important tool for anyone who wants to know if they have a food allergy.” Food allergy is a serious medical condition that arises when the body’s immune system reacts to a harmless food protein, or allergen, as if it were a disease-causing germ.

The reaction is often unpredictable and ranges in severity from person to person, as well as over time in the same person. It can range from minor abdominal pain or hives on the skin to a severe and potentially fatal condition called anaphylaxis, accompanied by low blood pressure and loss of consciousness. Up to 15 million people in the United States are affected by food allergy. Research also suggests that food allergies affect around 4 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S., where prevalence among children went up by 18 percent between 1997 and 2007.

Oral food challenge

As yet, there is no cure for food allergy, so the only way to prevent reactions is to avoid the foods that cause them. In the U.S., 90 percent of severe allergic reactions are caused by eight food groups: crustacean shellfish, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. Food allergy is not the same as food intolerance, and its symptoms can be mistaken for other medical conditions. It is therefore important that any diagnosis is confirmed by a qualified allergist who can then advise a food plan that is tailored to the patient’s specific allergies.

The new study concerns a type of noninvasive medical procedure called the oral food challenge (OFC), or feeding test. During an OFC, a board-certified allergist invites the patient to eat increasing amounts of a food very slowly and monitors them very closely for any reaction. OFCs are usually performed because other allergy tests, such as blood and skin tests, together with a careful medical history, have been inconclusive. OFCs are performed in two modes: open and blinded. In open OFCs, (more common in clinical practice) both the patient and the administrator know which food is being tested. Blinded OFCs are more common in research.

OFCs found to be safe

For their study, Dr. Akuete et al. investigated the results of 6,327 open OFCs that were carried out between 2008 and 2013 in five food allergy centers across the U.S. The majority of the OFCs were carried out in patients under the age of 18. They used a statistical method called meta-analysis to pool and analyze the data, and to determine rates of food allergy reactions and anaphylaxis. The results showed that only 14 percent of the patients that had OFCs experienced any reaction, and only about 2 percent experienced anaphylaxis.

The reactions that were not anaphylaxis only occurred on one part of the body, for example, hives on the skin. These were classed as mild to moderate reactions, and most of them were treated with antihistamines. Of the more severe reactions, the authors note, “19 OFCs resulted in patients being placed in hospital observation, and 63 were treated with epinephrine.

OFCs ‘improve quality of life’

“Food challenges improve the quality of life for people with food allergies, even if they are positive,” says senior study author Dr. Carla Davis, who is also a practicing allergist and ACAAI member. Dr. Davis explains the importance of having the test sooner rather than later, saying, “When an OFC is delayed, sometimes people unnecessarily cut certain foods out of their diet, and this has been shown to lead to increases in health costs to the patient. A delay risks problems with nutrition, especially for children.” It is important to seek an accurate diagnosis so that a clear recommendation can be made about which foods to avoid, she adds.

Adapted from:

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Pick plants! Protein derived from plant sources such as seeds, nuts, tofu and tempeh, as well as grains, can help lower cholesterol, improve your heart health and add a satiating blend of flavors to extend Meatless Monday to the rest of the week.

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And for one more gobble day!



Premature infants may get metabolic boost from mom’s breast milk


The breast milk of mothers with premature babies have different amounts of microRNA than that of mothers with babies born at term, which may help premature babies catch up in growth and development, according to researchers. In a study, researchers compared the breast milk of mothers with babies born prematurely between 28 and 37 weeks gestation and at term after 38 weeks. They examined whether there were differences in the composition of the breast milks’ microRNAs, snippets of RNA that affect gene expression and can be passed to the infant.

“We found that there are differences in these microRNA profiles, and that the majority of the altered microRNAs influence metabolism,” said Molly Carney, medical student in the Penn State College of Medicine. “If those microRNAs are being transferred to the infant, that could potentially impact how the newborn processes energy and nutrients.” The researchers said the results, recently published in Pediatric Research, could help better match babies with donated breast milk and give insight into how to develop better infant formula.

Babies born prematurely are at risk for a host of problems, including failure to thrive and neurodevelopmental delays. They also tend to be born at a lower weight than term infants. Because of these issues, premature babies have different nutritional needs than babies born at term.

Previous research has established that the macronutrients, fats, sugars (carbohydrates) and proteins, in the breast milk of mothers with premature babies are customized to meet the unique needs of these infants. However, although researchers have suspected that microRNAs in breast milk have a role in infant health and development, no study has specifically looked at whether microRNAs differed between premature and term breast milk. The researchers collected 36 samples of breast milk from mothers with infants born at term and 31 samples from mothers with infants born prematurely. They then processed the samples in a lab, extracted the microRNAs and compared them to the human genome to pinpoint the differences between premature and term breast milk.

After the analysis, the researchers identified nine microRNAs that were significantly different in the premature breast milk. They found that these microRNAs target metabolic processes and may help regulate gastrointestinal function and energy use in premature babies. Steven Hicks, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Penn State College of Medicine, said the results may help explain why premature infants tend to do better when breast-fed by their mothers.

“We know that babies born prematurely have better health outcomes with breast milk than with formula, and our results may explain some of these health benefits associated with breast-feeding,” Hicks said. “The unique microRNA profiles that we found in premature breast milk seem well suited to premature infants, because they target metabolic pathways that could spark catch-up growth.” For example, microRNAs found in premature breast milk block both ADRB3 and NR3C1 gene expression, both of which negatively affect adipogenesis, or fat storage. Blocking these pathways could help boost fat production in premature babies that are having difficulties gaining weight.

Hicks said the results could have several applications, including matching babies with donated breast milk. “For a variety of reasons, babies who are born preterm often rely on donated breast milk,” Hicks said. “Oftentimes, that milk comes from a mother who gave birth at term, and has been breast-feeding for months. That milk may not be optimal for a 32-week premature infant who was born two days ago.”

Hicks also said the findings could lead to opportunities to create better baby formula in the future. “MicroRNAs are an epigenetic material that is made by our bodies and is not present in formula. So even though formula is made to mirror the nutritional components of breast milk — carbohydrates, lipids and proteins — it doesn’t have any of these epigenetic factors,” Hicks said. “It is possible to create microRNAs in a lab and put them in formula. This approach might help bridge the health gap we see between formula- and breast-fed infants.” The researchers said the study helps reinforce that breast milk has multiple nutritional benefits, and may be adapted to individual infant’s needs.

Adapted from: Penn State. (2017, September 14). Premature infants may get metabolic boost from mom’s breast milk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2017 from

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Have a vegetable at breakfast! Most people save their veggies for dinner, but it’s perfectly healthy to think outside the cereal bowl and veg out at breakfast, with veggies. For example, add a sliced tomato to your cheese sandwich or some mushrooms to your eggs.

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7 Ways to Make Halloween Safer for Kids with Food Allergies


Halloween time can be a season of costumes, scary movies and candy. But for parents of kids with food allergies, there is a different reason to be frightful. Six of the top eight allergens are in high circulation around Halloween. Wheat, milk, soy and even egg are used in many chocolates, caramels and fruit chews. Even more candies are made with or processed on the same equipment as peanuts and tree nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and cashews. Even small amounts of these allergens can cause an anaphylactic reaction in kids who are allergic to them.

“Parents are responsible for ensuring that their kids are aware of the various strategies to manage their food allergies,” says Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, CLT, who is a Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She recommends parents take the time to discuss with their children the allergens that may be hidden in specific foods, including Halloween treats. “Parents also should talk to kids about strategies for when they are attending parties and trick-or-treating, including what to do if they think they are having an allergic reaction,” she said. “Parents should be sure that a responsible adult at the party is aware of their child’s allergies.” Consider these tips for a safe, allergen-free Halloween.

Read All Labels

This is good advice for all candy, but especially true for miniatures or snack sizes, which sometimes are processed in a different facility than regular-sized candy. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires that all FDA-regulated foods list the top eight major allergens in the ingredients list with common names of the allergen included in parentheses — such as “lecithin (soy)” or “whey (milk).” Some packaging includes a note with “Contains …” or “May contain …” statements following the ingredient list. These statements are completely voluntary, so play it safe and read the ingredients list every time, even in products you typically consider “safe.” Since many individual bite-size candies don’t contain an ingredients list, look up the ingredients for specific products online to ensure they are safe for your child to eat. If a product is homemade or has no label, throw it out.

Talk to Your Neighbors

Neighbors and friends may want to buy allergen-free candy but don’t know what to buy, or may not even know that your child has a food allergy. Share with them what to look for when purchasing candy, or even offer to provide them with “safe” candy that they can hand to your trick-or-treater.

Look for the Teal Pumpkins

Created by Food Allergy Research & Education in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign to raise awareness of food allergies and provide safe options for food allergic trick-or-treaters. Participants pledge to put a teal pumpkin outside their homes, indicating they have safe, non-food treats available.

Instill the “Always Ask First” Rule

Carry candy for young children and remind all children not to share food and to ask you before eating anything. “Kids should learn to always read the label before eating any packaged food or candy,” says Angelone. “I recommend the ‘ask before eating anything’ rule. Kids can sort all candy when they return home, and parents can provide ‘safe,’ alternative foods for parties at school or other events. If in doubt, throw it out, trade it or give it away. It’s helpful to make a list of packaged treats that are safe based on individual allergies.”

Safe at School

If your child’s class celebrates Halloween, take an active role in preventing the risk of a dangerous allergic reaction. Talk to the teachers in advance, volunteer to organize the party, offer to bring the treats or non-food goodies or plan to attend in person and double-check that your child’s emergency action plan and epinephrine pens are up-to-date.

Trade or Donate

Before setting out trick-or-treating, make a plan with your child to swap any unsafe candy for another prize such as a safe candy, book or small toy. Or, donate candy to the local food pantry or other charitable organization.

Start a New Tradition

Host a costume party at your house, so you are in charge of treats. Or, forgo candy altogether and offer trick-or-treaters a variety of non-candy items such as stickers, glow sticks, bouncy balls or fake mustaches.

Adapted from: Rima Kleiner, MS, RD, LDN

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Look For Shortcuts! Healthier versions of convenience foods can be time savers when it comes to getting healthy meals on the table in a flash. Next time you’re shopping, look for these nutritious options: Pre-cut butternut squash, ready-to-go stir-fry vegetables and pre-made salads.

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4 Fall Foods for Your Family



For many, fall means new classes, new activities and sports, new schedules and a shift to colder weather foods. Regardless of age, having the right fuel — even better if it comes from produce that is at its peak — is key to helping kids function at their best. Summer’s bounty of tomatoes and peaches may be over, but harvest season has its own advantages such as an abundance of the following delicious fall foods. Here are some simple, kid-friendly ways to add them to your family’s meals.


Is anything more fall-like than a pumpkin? These famously orange winter squashes are chock-full of vitamin A and deliver 3 grams of fiber per ½-cup serving of cooked pumpkin, plus potassium. Note that the pumpkins you carve into jack-o’-lanterns are not the same type of pumpkins you eat. Try pumpkin puree mixed into mac-and-cheese or with hummus for a seasonal spread. Looking for more options? Add pumpkin to pancake batter, oatmeal, smoothies or your kid’s favorite chili.

And don’t forget about roasting the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are a delicious and healthful snack and a good source of several nutrients, including zinc, which is essential for many body processes including immune function. To toast your pumpkin seeds, first rinse to remove pulp and strings. Spread seeds on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray or drizzle a small amount of olive oil over seeds. Bake at 325°F for about 30 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir occasionally during cooking. Take a look at your spice rack and try a seasoning on your toasted seeds such as garlic powder or Cajun seasoning.


Heart-healthy oats are loaded with fiber for slow-burning energy. The soluble fiber in oats also boosts heart health. Warm oatmeal is an affordable and filling breakfast. Top oatmeal with nuts such as walnuts or pecans, seeds such as ground flaxseed or chia seed and fruit such as pears or cranberries for even more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.


Apples pack a powerful nutrition punch. They are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Sprinkle apple slices with ground cinnamon or pair with cheese or peanut butter for an easy snack. Don’t forget about dinner! Apples also taste great when stewed and served with savory foods such as roasted pork.

Brussels Sprouts

They may be small, but Brussels sprouts are part of the powerhouse cruciferous veggie family. Each 1-cup serving of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 4 grams of fiber, is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and folate and a good source of iron. They even have some protein.

You can cut whole Brussels sprouts into kid-friendly quarters and toss with sea salt and olive oil. Roast until crispy and you have a tasty alternative to French fries. If your kids are skeptical, serve the sprouts mixed with roasted sweet potato or butternut squash cubes. You also can shred them (or buy them pre-shredded) and sauté lightly in olive oil then toss with your kids’ favorite pasta or rice dish.

Adapted from: Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Those jumbo packs of snacks aren’t a bargain if you end up throwing some away, plus having bigger packages at home means you’ll eat more.

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Infant gut microbes linked to allergy, asthma risk


Our digestive tracts are home to trillions of microbes—including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This microbial community, known as the microbiota, plays a role in illness and health. Scientists have suspected that infants’ gut microbiota could influence how their immune systems develop. A team led by Drs. Christine C. Johnson at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and Susan V. Lynch at the University of California, San Francisco, set out to examine the relationship between an infant’s gut microbiota and subsequent development of allergy and asthma. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Results appeared online on September 12, 2016 in Nature Medicine.

The researchers analyzed stool samples from almost 300 infants, ages 1 to 11 months. The infants were part of a large, diverse study group born in and around Detroit between 2003 and 2007. The children and their families were followed over time to better understand how early-life exposure to environmental factors might affect the risk for allergy and asthma.

To determine the composition of gut microbes in the stool samples, the scientists examined sequence variation within ribosomal RNA (rRNA), a central component of the protein-manufacturing machinery of all living cells. The investigators found that the infants formed 3 groups characterized by distinct bacterial and fungal gut microbiota. Blood samples obtained from the infants at 2 years of age were tested for sensitivity to allergens. The researchers found that the 3 microbiota groups had substantially different risks for allergen sensitivity. The “high-risk” group had a relatively lower abundance of certain bacteria (such as Bifidobacterium, Akkermansia, and Faecalibacterium) and a higher level of some fungi (such as Candida and Rhodotorula). This high-risk microbiota group was also more likely to be diagnosed with asthma at 4 years of age. The relationship between gut microbiota and allergy and asthma held when the researchers controlled for other factors associated with allergic disease, such as breast feeding and dog allergens in the home.

The team analyzed metabolites in some of the infant’s stool samples. They found extensive differences among the 3 groups. Notably, the high-risk group had greater levels of metabolites that promote inflammation.

The scientists next exposed immune cells from healthy adults to metabolites extracted from the infant’s stool samples. The high-risk group’s samples increased the proportion of allergy-promoting immune cells and production of interleukin-4, an allergy-associated cell-signaling protein. These samples also reduced T-regulatory cells, a key group of immune cells necessary to prevent allergic responses. The team identified a lipid found at high levels in the highest risk group, called 12,13-DiHOME, that could suppress T-regulatory cells.

“We have been working for over a decade trying to figure out why some children get asthma and allergies and some don’t,” Johnson says. “It seems that the microbial communities within the body could be the keystone to understanding this and a number of different immune diseases.” “Humans have co-evolved with microbes, and as a result we rely on their genomes for a range of critical functions. Understanding the basis of human-microbial development may prove critical to unraveling the basis of allergy and asthma and to developing preventative therapeutic strategies,” Lynch adds.

 Neonatal gut microbiota associates with childhood multisensitized atopy and T cell differentiation. Fujimura KE, Sitarik AR, Havstad S, Lin DL, Levan S, Fadrosh D, Panzer AR, LaMere B, Rackaityte E, Lukacs NW, Wegienka G, Boushey HA, Ownby DR, Zoratti EM, Levin AM, Johnson CC, Lynch SV. Nat Med. 2016 Sep 12. doi: 10.1038/nm.4176. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 27618652.

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Grocery shop with a friend so you can split large packages and take advantage of volume discounts such as, club packs or ‘buy one, get one free’ deals.

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School Cafeteria Meal Options for Kids with Food Allergies


Does your child have a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity? Partner with your school’s foodservice and nutrition staff (many of whom are registered dietitian nutritionists) to find safe and nutritious options. The best way for schools to meet the needs of children with food allergies is to work together as a team with the child, the child’s parents and the healthcare provider, says Wesley Delbridge, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a school food and nutrition director in Arizona. “Effective communication is key to helping everyone understand the specifics of each food allergy and to try to serve appealing menu items that the children enjoy eating,” he says.

Meet with Staff

Make time for a field trip to the school to meet with the cafeteria manager. Be sure the staff recognizes your child and they know the problem foods or ingredients. Additionally, identify a go-to person because there should be at least one individual your child is comfortable asking if a food is safe to eat, Delbridge suggests.

Once you’ve made the initial contact with the foodservice and nutrition department, obtain the monthly menu, Delbridge says. Review it with your child so you both know the acceptable menu options. Feel free to ask for ingredient lists of prepared foods and recipes for scratch items. “Schools should do their best to make sure they have accurate labels and information on all of the food items they serve,” Delbridge says. “Having your food ingredients and nutrition facts online can be an excellent resource for parents and students to use when choosing what works best for their specific diet.”

Peanut Allergies

Peanut allergies are on the rise. According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, the number of children with a peanut allergy in the U.S. more than tripled between 1997 and 2008. Many schools avoid peanuts and peanut butter in their menus, but not all schools. If peanuts are a concern to your family, be certain to ask which foods may contain them. Peanut butter cookies are an obvious example, but peanuts and peanut products may be hidden in sauces, gravies, salad dressings, chicken salad, egg rolls and a variety of foods from global cuisines. Many schools serve a popular peanut butter substitute made from sunflower seeds, says Delbridge. If your school doesn’t already offer it, ask them to have it on hand.

Gluten-free Options

Because of celiac disease or other intolerances, some students avoid gluten, a protein in wheat, barley and rye. Some easy-to-spot sources of gluten are bread, pasta, pizza and breaded items like fish or chicken nuggets. “Children with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should be taken very seriously and every ingredient should be analyzed to ensure there are no hidden sources of gluten,” Delbridge says. “Cross-contamination of serving and prep utensils in the kitchen can be a source of this as well as processed foods, powdered mixes, seasonings and many snack items. Check all labels in advance and be sure to have a specific set of kitchen prep dishes and utensils in the kitchen for food allergies only.”

The good news, he points out, is that so many wholesome and delicious foods naturally are gluten-free. Among them are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lentils, eggs and unflavored milk. Swapping bread and flour tortillas for corn tortillas is another option. So is requesting that your school offer gluten-free bread, he adds. Most importantly, be prepared by talking to both your child and the school staff. And help your child feel comfortable by focusing on what is safe to eat and not just what must be avoided.

Adapted from: Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Trying a new food or new recipe every week helps to ensure you are adding variety to your diet. Experiment with new vegetables and fruits as well as different seasonings.

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