Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Growing Healthy Homes

Nutrition. We are inundated with information as it relates to this topic. We read countless articles on the subject. We watch news clips that warn of what we, and our children are consuming, or not consuming. There is more information than ever before on nutrition.

But really, what do you know about it? Are you a label reader? Do you worry about high fructose corn syrup lurking within those baked goodies in your pantry? Are you diligent in making sure your family is eating the recommended servings of fruits and veggies?

Honestly, I have considered myself pretty good in the foods that I prepare for my family. Not perfect, but certainly adequate enough. The discovery of some food allergies in me prompted me to become a better label reader, but even so, I would not consider myself a health nut or anything. Having said all of that, I have felt a little nudging, if you will, within me, to improve the quality of my entire family's diet.

TOS Homeschool Crew came through once again as this review presented itself to me. We have been privileged to try out a nutritional resource in e-book form that goes way beyond your basic food pyramid.

Nutrition 101:Choose Life! is an incredible resource that takes an in depth look at the foods we eat, what they are made up of, and how they affect our bodies, for the positive and for the negative, all while keeping an eye on what scripture teaches. Now, when I say in depth, I mean in depth. Included here are 6 separate units focusing on a different system in the body, with 4 chapters within each unit.

Unit 1.) The Brain and Nervous System

Unit 2.) The Digestive System

Unit 3.) The Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory, and Visual Systems

Unit 4.) The Muscular and Skeletal Systems

Unit 5.) The The Cardiovascular and Immune Systems

Unit 6.) The Endocrine System and Emotions

Perhaps at this point you're tuning out a little bit. You've seen it all, heard it all before. Okay, another nutrition book. Hey, that's great, yeah it's important, I'll get to it...

I get it, but stay tuned here. Have you noticed that, while we have a wealth of information available to us, we are heavier, and certain diseases are affecting the population earlier? It's true. What I like best about this book is that it doesn't just tell us to eat this, don't eat that, and stop there. The authors take us by the hand if you will, and teach us what a specific food does for our body, good or bad. And not just our body as a whole, but each specific body system.

Let's take a peek into Unit 3, Respiratory Health.

Are you a shallow or a deep breather? Why do we yawn? What do you know about allergies and asthma? You'll learn a lot about these and other facts and ailments of the lungs and airways. Did you know why vitamins A and C benefit this system? Were you aware that beta-cryptoxanthan foods protect lung health? Or that magnesium helps open the bronchial passages, and is found in broccoli, winter squash, and pumpkin seeds to name a few? Other foods that will keep you respirating properly include: cilantro, swiss chard, citrus fruits, watermelon, garlic, and onions. Now, it only stands to reason that if there are good foods for your respiratory system, there are also bad ones. These would include: dairy products (they cause excess mucous, eww), sugar, chocolate (gasp!), and other refined foods.

This specific unit has personal importance for me, as I have asthma and food allergies, so learning about the good and bad has been a big, and often surprising experience. I find myself wanting to write down all of that information here for you now, but, not only would that make this review way too long, it would also ruin the book for you. For those reasons, I will move on, although I will touch on a few more points included there.

Moving through the unit, you'll also learn about the ways the environment around you affects your breathing, and ways to improve the air quality in your home. The authors don't stop at the dispensing of the information, they have included recipes for meals, but also for homemade non toxic cleaning solutions. I like that they provide those options, because so often in various resources, while we are told what not to eat or use, we don't know where to find good alternatives, but this book presents them here. Now, this is just some of what you'll learn in this unit about respiratory health. There is so much more within this book covering all of the other systems in the body.

Also included at the end of each chapter are discussion questions and activities, and resources pertaining to each body system. Conveniently, there are 2 sets of activities- 1 for the elementary students, and another for the secondary students. I loved this part of the book, because they aren't the same old same old ones that are sometimes found in a regular textbook. Let me give you some examples from unit 3, chapter 2, which covers the sense of smell.

1.) Find 5 strongly scented items. Blindfold someone and have them guess what each item is. Try it with several people and see who has the best sense of smell.

2.) Take a field trip to the grocery store and write down all the smells you come across and then discuss the good and the bad.

3.) Research which animals have the best sense of smell. If you can, find an animal trainer, a vet, a zoologist who might be able to show the animal in action.

After you've done some of these activities, make the basil pesto recipe included in this chapter with the kids. Yum!

Okay, what else is in here? So much more! You and your family will learn so much in this e-book.

Instead of instructing the reader what to eat and vice versa, it tells you why. It teaches you what protein is, what minerals do for you, why a certain food is beneficial or not. That can only help us as we educate our children and make our way towards the goal of teaching them to make wise choices for their health.

Goodness! How could I forget? As you work through the book, you'll see the strong influence from the scriptures on every page. I love that each chapter begins with a verse. Such a good way to direct our focus back to the Creator of these bodies that we're seeking to take care of. I love that it flows so naturally, because as I teach my children, I want them to see God's hand throughout all of their education.

Well, let's talk about who will benefit from this book. Um, okay, everyone! Developed for elementary aged students and up, it really can be adapted for any age. And, this is a huge resource, with well over 400 pages.

Let's talk about prices. You have several options. You may purchase a CD-ROM for $79.95, the e-book for $99.95, or for $129.95 for the combo, which is both the CD-Rom and the book.

What a great class this could be for those of you in co-op's. There is more than enough material to take you through your class. But it also works great for individual families as well.

So, how did our family feel about Nutrition 101? LOVE IT! This is one of the best resources we have ever used! I just don't know that you'll find another book of this kind that contains everything that is in here. I mentioned before, that I love being able to instruct my kids on the why's and how's behind our nutritional choices, all while keeping the focus on God. Go check it out for yourself, and I'm sure you'll agree that it is a great addition to your homeschool.

*I received a free copy of the e-book Nutrition 101 in exchange for my honest review of it.

Growing Healthy Homes

Ages: Elementary and up, but adaptable for any age

Price: CD-Rom $79.95, e-book $99.95, Combo- CD-Rom and book $129.95

You might also want to check out TOS Homeschool Crew homepage, where you'll find more reviews and homeschool resources

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