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  • Are You Interested in Creating Healthy Children?

    by Fiona Hollis

    creatinghealthychildren“I made the mistake of putting off reading this book because my children are all grown and on their own.

    What could possibly hold any interest for me in a book about raising healthy children? If I’m going to take the time to read an entire book, I like it to be applicable and relevant.

    Let’s repeat the cliché- “Never judge a book by its cover!”

    Karen Ranzi’s book marries the two most important foundations for creating healthy children: fresh living foods and attachment parenting, a term originally used by pediatrician William Sears in describing a more natural and intuitive parenting philosophy than most people in this day and age practice.

    Attachment parenting sheds light on the truths about raising and truly ‘nurturing’ children from the heart and not the head. I loved reading about the mothers, and fathers returning to the practice of following their parenting instincts and each child’s individual needs for the mutual benefit of all, and not following whatever current popular parenting trend comes along.

    From the first few pages, I was thoroughly engrossed. Karen’s writing style is very easy to read, yet highly informative. This book was seven years in the making and it shows. The research is impeccable and covers the entire spectrum of parenting healthy children from pre-conception, to pregnancy, breastfeeding and beyond. It also includes information on vaccinations, circumcision, exercise, education of children, obtaining sufficient nutrition from plant foods at every stage of a child’s life, transitioning older kids to a healthy diet focused on fresh, unprocessed foods, meeting emotional needs, and would you believe there’s more? Read more »

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    Posted in Health & Beauty | 5 Comments »

    Part 3 of 3: School Dinners & Healthy Alternatives to Homeschooling

    by Joanna Steven


    Part III. The dreaded school menu, and healthy alternatives to home schooling.

    The modern school system is not only flawed in the way it tries to educate our children, it is also flawed in how it feeds them. Many of us have watched, in shock and horror, Jamie Oliver’s attempts at reforming the school menus in the US. Not only are the schools resistant to change, many people don’t even understand where the problem is in the first place!

    Curious, I took a look at the local elementary school’s menu. A banner at the top features “I love lunch” and “eat learn live” written on a black board. OK. Below, we can read: “Feeding our students high quality meals that are nutritious and delicious is our top priority. Chartwells’ menus are built to support the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and use recipes that taste great and are lower in fat, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol and sodium and provide whole grains, fruits, vegetables and appropriate portion sizes for age. We analyze our recipes for nutrient content and food component into nutrient standard or food-base menu planning that comply with child nutrition guidelines for the National School Breakfast & Lunch programs. Our Balanced Choices Meal Program is a guidance system to assist students in making the most nutritious parameters and is highlighted on the serving line.

    Shouldn’t it be “no trans fat” rather than “lower in trans fat”? But, it could have been for the sake of having a neatly written paragraph. Let’s look at the menu itself. For breakfast, children have, on various day, a choice of pancakes, breakfast taco, a muffin, French toast with syrup, ham & cheese biscuits, sausage patties and the like. Yes, I definitely want my children eating this every day (no, I don’t).

    Let’s look at the lunch menu. Cheeseburger on bun. Ham & cheese wrap. Chicken nuggets. I see some “brocolli” (sic) is included. To bad it is misspelled. Turkey Corn Dogs. Beef A Roni. OK! I’ve seen enough. I don’t want my kids eating all this, that’s for sure! And what happened to the “delicious and nutritious”?

    You might think: “if only there were schools for healthy vegetarians!” I certainly thought that, which brings me to my second point. Read more »

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    Posted in Health & Beauty | 2 Comments »

    Part 2 of 3: Are Parents Qualified to Home School?

    by Joanna Steven

    children playing

    Part II. Are parents qualified to home school? And what about socialization?

    As parents, we can only do what we think is best, follow our heart, and hope everything works out. As a child, my mom had to attend a Christian school run by nuns. She swore that when she would have kids, she would send them to a secular school only, and she did.  She didn’t enjoy her school, and wanted us to have a better experience. Unfortunately, I don’t think my experience was better than hers, and my younger sister even opted later on to attend the same school my mother went to because she could not stand the one we used to attend. How are we supposed to guess what’s best? We can’t. We can only do what we think is best, and sending my children to the same schools which made me sick with anxiety and worry does not really sound like the best thing to do.

    One issue which often comes up with homeschooling is the lack of socialization of home schooled kids. But really, how much socialization does one do while being chastised by a professor, or having to sit still without talking for 6 hours? Is socialization really something we do while eating low quality food in a noisy, unruly cafeteria? And what would be the quality of such interactions? I am fully aware that socializing my children will take a big effort on my part, being quite the introvert, but I am fully prepared for it.

    Read more »

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    Posted in Health & Beauty | 7 Comments »

    Part 1 of 3: Education and Our Children by Joanna Steven

    by Joanna Steven

    Girl drawing back to school

    Is anything really wrong with our modern school system?

    Homeschooling. Few things are as dividing as the simple concept of teaching our children at home. This definition, however, could be a big part of the problem. People against homeschooling often imagine a child staring longingly out of the window at other children playing in the school yard during recess, while an often uneducated mother wastes his formative years keeping him cooped up at home. To me, while this scenario might happen sometimes, it is not an accurate image of what homeschooling can (or should) be.

    After doing a quick survey of my friends and family members, I realized that very few of us have fond memories of school. Condescending teachers, unfair punishments, the feeling of wasting one’s time while unruly students have to be unsuccessfully disciplined, studying subjects for hours knowing full well most of them would be completely useless a few years down the road… These are only a few reasons why school is rarely considered a happy place for kids.

    I am no exception. Sure, when I was little and had my first Christmas vacation, I actually cried not understanding why I wasn’t going to school anymore. Later on, I had some very good professors who made me look forward to attending their class (if not school in general). Now, though, I am seriously considering homeschooling my child (I am currently pregnant and taking a good hard look at the so-called necessary institutions). What happened to me along the way? What turned me from a school-loving little girl into an anxious, and even fearful child and adolescent?

    While preschool was apparently quite fun for me (I have no memories of it), school quickly became a nightmare. By age 6, I had recurrent stomach cramps due to stress, and gradually, I started wishing I could be homeschooled. There were several subjects in which I naturally excelled, such as French literature, but a few like math gave me a lot of grief. I realize now that the fear of being called up to the front of the class, the humiliation of getting bad grade after bad grade, and my general feeling of hopelessness were a big reason why I felt like giving up. I thought I was irremediably bad at math, but as soon as I got a private tutor, my grades went up, to the surprise of my teachers. Read more »

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