"Let food be thy medicine
and thy medicine food." Hippocrates
I'll admit when I started this school year, teaching my Schnickelfritz about nutrition wasn't high on my list of priorities. We were still trying to master Readin' , Writin' and 'Rithmatic. Still, I had made a commitment to review the materials sent to me so I began to read Nutrition 101 to see how I could incorporate it into our lessons.
Have you ever gotten a new car and then suddenly noticed how many cars just like it were on the road? The other cars were probably there all along, you just weren't attuned to them. In the same way, as I began to read about good nutrition I became more sensitive to how often it came up in conversation-- the saddest case being a news story about the epidemic of Type II Diabetes in our children. It became clear to me that teaching Fritz good nutrition can have as big an impact on his future as reading and writing. We want our kids to eat nutritionally so why not teach them the wonderful way God made foods to benefit our bodies (this is a Christian-oriented text).
The book is organized into six units:
The Brain and Nervous System
The Digestive System
The Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory and Visual Systems
The Muscular and Skeletal System
The Cardivascular and Immune System
The Endocrine System & Emotions
Each unit has four chapters detailing specific organs and structures of the system, what they do, and what foods help them work better. The chapter ends with a recipe to try, discussion questions and activites for younger and older students. Nutrition 101 could be used as a straight textbook for older students. It's heavy on vocabulary and too advanced for my little guy so I've been reading the text myself and sharing simplified information with him. We've been studying the five senses so I jumped into Unit Three. The colorful diagrams of the eye and ear are perfect to copy for his lapbook. I had hoped Fritz would be more enthusiastic about tasting the recipes if he helped prepare them, but that wasn't the case. The "Getting Started" section has tips on dealing with picky eaters that we are now incorporating into our meals.
Perhaps the most valuable are the 30+ appendices: advice on selecting produce, vitamin and mineral charts, recommended daily allowances, alkaline vs acid foods (if you don't know how your body's pH can affect your health, read Unit 2), the toxins in household cleaners and personal care products, etc. You can download sample pages from their website.
Nutrition 101 is available from Growing Healthy Homes on CD for $79.95 or in hardback for $99.95. This is the "cost" of the book but it comes nowhere near the "value" of the book. What if, by following the book's advice, you boost your children's immune system and save on three trips to the doctor's office? What if feeding your body with the proper fuel gives you more energy and stamina to play with your kids and keep up with everything that needs to be done? What if making some lifelong changes in your diet protects you from chronic illness like diabetes or an acute crisis like a heart attack? In that case the value of this book would be priceless.
You can see what my fellow crewmates thought of Nutrition 101 by clicking here.