HAVE A QUESTION FOR THE NUTRITON CHICK?
Do you have questions about your child’s nutrition?
• Is mac ‘n cheese for dinner every night OK?
• Will only eating bananas make your child climb trees better?
• Why won’t my child try new foods?
• Can somebody please explain to my child why they DO have to eat their veggies!
• Is your child is getting their full daily requirements?
Our Nutrition Chick, Emily Harrison MS, RD, LD will be on hand at the Decatur Book Festival!
Come by on Sunday and ask Emily any questions you might have about feeding your chickins! She’ll be in our booth #123 from noon – 1pm.
Check out her website too while your at it, aside from being a busy mom and former ballet dancer – she’s the staff dietician for The Atlanta Ballet – what a cool job!
Five Steps to Building a Healthy Coop | STEP ONE
Eat REAL FOOD
One of the reasons that we talk about REAL FOOD is so that children will develop an important understanding that many of the things offered to them in the course of their little lives is not really “food”… not in the traditional sense of something that you SHOULD put in your mouth so that it may nourish your body.
According to dictionary.com… FOOD IS:
- any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.
- more or less solid nourishment, as distinguished from liquids.
- a particular kind of solid nourishment: a breakfast food; dog food.
- whatever supplies nourishment to organisms: plant food.
anything serving for consumption or use: food for thought.
#1 (…taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.) sounds great – what food should do for our bodies. Rather than reveling in the first description of food we seem to have settled for an odd rendition of #3 (…a particular kind of solid nourishment: a breakfast food; dog food.)
A ROYAL FOOD FLUSH
While “a particular kind of solid nourishment” doesn’t sound too appetizing, it seems to more aptly describe what we put in our mouths these days. The choices we make about our our “solid nourishment” seem to be based upon many a rationale that have little to do with the actual purpose of food – to nourish our bodies. Based rather on some much different criteria: CONVENIENCE, COST and a very strong SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL/MARKETING draw that has become so prevalent in our so many of our lives.
CONVENIENCE IS KING
In order to do all the things we want to do in our busy modern lives, we often sacrifice what we feed ourselves. The need for food to be readily available, already processed and able to maintain a shelf life of however long we need it to last, is King. Our need for convenience trumps most all of our food choices today. The need to have a belly-stuffing meal that we can purchase, prepare, eat and dispose the remains of in under 1/2 hour is at an all time high. We are busy, busy folks with many important things to do.
COST IS QUEEN
What’s that old saying: “You can have it fast, cheap or good. Pick two and you’ve got a deal…”
FAST & CHEAP (but it won’t be good – for you anyway…)
FAST & GOOD (but it won’t be cheap)
CHEAP & GOOD (but it won’t be fast)
We can all see that we are paying more at our traditional grocery stores when we do the weekly shopping. The thought of intentionally increasing the amount we spend on food by choosing to purchase organic, local food seems out of the question to most folks I talk to – sometimes I have to rationalize it to myself over and over again. After all, more than anything else, low prices are what is pushed in the traditional grocery store. Sales, coupons, product placement, packaging are all designed to get us to buy a particular product that the store needs to move and that more than likely the manufacturer (notice I didn’t say “grower”) gets a good profit margin on.
If we acknowledge that good, healthy food that is grown and processed with ethically supportable practices means it is more expensive if compared solely on the sticker price and that’s as far as we are willing to look, then we can quit talking. But if we are willing to look at the tremendous value add on the other side of the equation, then we can make a connection that goes deeper than the pocket book. And once the connection is made, it becomes easier to enthusiastically spend more money on good food that will help our families have a better quality of life. (And yes Virginia, there is proof that you can have a better quality of life! If you haven’t read a good book on the subject…check out this: In Defense of Food and stay tuned – we’ll have a list in part 3 of this blog series.)
SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL & MARKETING EFFECTS RULE THE LAND
Pssst…Jedi mind tricks have been employed. Since the days we were wee little ones, the Jedi have been planting emotional bombs in our food. Jedi might look like your mom or dad or sweet little grandma, but rest assured…they are hard at work, forming lifelong emotional ties to what we eat. Sometimes it’s a fantastic bit of family culture that is passed along. Sometimes it’s not such a good experience that is subconsciously passed along.
As adults in charge of these important building blocks, we should make sure that we are developing a healthy food culture in our homes.
Aside from the influence of the immediate and extended family, there is social pressure from our schools to “be cool” and eat things that “other kids” eat. The peer pressure can be tremendous and even though a healthy lunch might be put in front a child, their desire to eat it is a whole other bag of worms. Happily, there seems to be a growing shift of the marketing behemoth to focus on such wonderful things as farmer’s markets, local food, farm to school movements, Jaime Oliver and his big ole’ Food Revolution, First Lady Michelle Obama and her groovy/stylish “Let’s Move” campaign…all things that have helped to really boost the “cool quotient” of eating healthy foods.
Now…if we could just get them to stop consuming media that promotes funky fabricated sugared up junk foods. Never underestimate the amount of money that is spent marketing poor food choices (laden with highly addictive salt, sugar and fats) to our children.
What’s the solution?
Practice, practice, practice.
Try to practice shopping for food while consciously trying to avoiding the influences of the in-store marketing.
Try to practice talking with your little ones about what they are experiencing when they are making one choice over another and surround yourself with good choices.
Practice bringing home only the food you REALLY want your family to eat. If it’s not in the house, it won’t be an option. Which leads us to…
A MOTHER HEN-ISM to remember:
If it’s not an option…it’s not an option.
And never forget the power of audible learning! FARMER GOAT to the rescue. He’s got a fantastic song that talks all about eating REAL FOOD in favor of food that comes from factories. It’s very catchy and will definitely stick in your little ones brain and not annoy the parents to the point of distraction either…
Five Steps to Building a Healthy Coop | STEP FOUR
Seems like a no-brainer. We hear all the time how important it is to exercise, however…
Sometimes it just seems impossible to move. Like right now, sitting at the computer – again – for long hours, working on important business matters, trying to increase the bottom line *-.-*.. ooops, I think I just felt it working! It really is time to work some more movement into the daily routine.
• • • MOVE MORE @ WORK
A recent study I heard on NPR talked about the fact that sitting for long extended periods is worse for our health than we might think – even if we are getting in our regular exercise regime! Finding ways to exercise a little bit throughout the day is very important. Before you read the next paragraph, stand up and reach for the sky – take a moment to breathe in deeply and stretch all the muscle groups you can feel. Doesn’t that feel better? Now, repeat it every hour or two…Don’t worry about the folks in the next cubicle staring at you. They are just jealous of your improved circulation.
Need a little help? If you are sitting at the computer regularly, set an alarm to prompt you to get up every hour or so and do a little something healthy. Take a brisk walk around the building, or do a little yoga refresher…check out this new site my yoga friend just started! Yoga Poses Daily.
• • • MOVE MORE @ SCHOOL
Just think what our kids feel like at school! The pressure to perform academically and “make the grade” seems illogically to push aside time and budgets for physical endeavors. It is not an EITHER/OR situation – they go hand in hand, check out this article on Active Bodies lead to Active Minds.
Can we pause for a MOMENT OF ADVOCACY: Just say YES to more PE/Movement in your schools – if you see it seeping out of the classroom, talk to the Principal or School Board.
Seek out and volunteer to help with programs like Girls on the Run! An EXCELLENT program that is quickly spreading around the country!
• • • MOVE MORE TO AND FROM
WALK or BIKE to and from school. If you can figure out how much extra time it would take to get there under your own steam instead of driving, then you can set your alarm clock ahead that amount of time. Your child’s brain will be better engaged and their body more ready to learn if they’ve had a healthy breakfast (i.e. not full of sugar) and they’ve gotten a little exercise before school.
If you live in a community where it is possible to walk to some of the places you need to go (i.e. market, bank, post office) then great! Make a little time to power yourself. If you are contemplating a move for one reason or another then consider a community with a walkability! and bike trails too.
• • • MOVE MORE AS A FAMILY
Walk after dinner, hike on the weekends, b-ball in the driveway, bike ride after school, run/walk a local track while the kids play in the middle… Being seen as a parent who appreciates, enjoys and understands the need for movement will have lasting effects on your kids. By all means cheer them on from the sidelines, but get in there and take part yourself!
Sometimes as adults, we’ve let things settle a bit much and the thought of re-entering the sporting life is a bit intimidating. By all means get some good shoes and workout gear that you feel comfy wearing, but don’t let the fact that you don’t look like an Olympic athlete shut you down. After all…
If it ain’t shakin’ – it won’t fall off.
Five Steps to Building a Healthy Coop | STEP FIVE
Let’s face it … being healthy isn’t worth a hoot if we don’t end up happy. Eating right and exercising will build a better functioning body that will enable us to have a better quality of life.
This is the kind of “big picture” thinking that I try not to loose hold of in the face of a gooey cinnamon roll.
Giving your children healthy ways to think about their food and their need for exercise, in ways they can understand is very important…but make sure not to go overboard with the “nutrition-ish” information. And be sure to teach them that actively HAVING FUN each day is AS important as getting enough fiber.
TEACH your children by example to be silly, play and have fun!
The Family Dinner :: An Heirloom Read.
A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a luncheon hosted by Georgia Organics and Laura Turner Seydel honoring Laurie David, mother, advocate and author of a book called The Family Dinner, Great ways to connect with your kids, one meal at a time. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend because I had to connect with my kid for end of the school year acitivites.
I’m glad that I chose to hang with my boy, but was sorry to have missed the opportunity to connect with Ms. David and get the book directly from her. My good friend Peggy brought me her copy of the book to peruse until my own arrives. You can order one by clicking on the link in the text above.
If you aren’t familiar with Laurie David, she is a well-known advocate of ending global warming – she produced the Academy Award winning movie, An Inconvenient Truth. She’s the ex-wife of the famous Seinfeld creator/writer, Larry David and an obviously busy mother of two girls. Not exactly the kind of lady you would think has time to put together such a homey book, but Ms. David seems to have been able to hone in on what is truly important in life and put it down on paper for the benefit of busy parents everywhere that frequently loose sight of the forest for the trees.
I believe this book might just fall into the heirloom category. It is something that you will want to savor, share and pass along with dog-eared, food stained pages to your children when they start families of their own. Hopefully many of the great tips and recipes shared in the book will be passed along through habit and ritual by that point.
The primary message of the book is – NO EXCUSES – share a regular dinner meal with your family, where your eyes meet across the table – not in the rear view mirror – at a set time each night, where everyone is served the same meal, is required to try all the foods on the table, drinks water and is encouraged to linger, play, read and get to know each other – what a fantastic legacy to pass along to your children.
It also has lots of things I look for in a book for busy, slightly ADD folks like myself. Little tips & snippets that you can get your head around on a quick look through, great recipes by Dane KIRSTIN UHRENHOLDT that aren’t complicated and that really do consider what and how folks eat, and some nice pictures of Ms. David’s friends and family that make you feel like you can pull it all off!
As a mother, I really appreciate the simple central message of the book…no matter what you eat, always do it together with love. Hey who can’t use a little reminder from time to time!
And of course I have to admit that I love it because it is cut from the same cloth as our Chickin Feed Primer. A wonderful collaborative effort that presents really good and useful information in highly digestible ways!
Pick up a copy and get connecting!
Healthy Foundations :: Kelly Dorfman Book Signing and Q&A
Alert the Coop! Two exciting things are coming up very soon! First, an introduction to two great professional moms that truly understand just how important the link is between nutrition and a well functioning body and brain.
Lauren Zimet is a Speech Language Pathologist, Feeding and Early Communication Specialist and owner of Early Insights, LLC. Her Healthy Foundations Program integrates learning, nutrition and social thinking. She also offers a great summer Camp TheraFun.
Kate Drummond is a very well respected OT and Sensory Integration Specialist in Atlanta and the owner of About Play, LLC.
This seriously dynamic duo are opening the Healthy Foundations Therapy Center in Decatur, GA very soon! For details, check out the Healthy Foundations Facebook Page and give them a little LIKE while you are there.
And if that weren’t enough, Healthy Foundations is bringing Kelly Dorfman, a nationally renown dietician who specializes in “developing nutrition and lifestyle strategies to adddress complex health problems from autism to bone loss to rare genetic disorders” to town for a book signing. Her new book from Workman Press, What’s Eating Your Child? (click below for FACTS), is being released on June 6th and Kelly will be signing and participating in a Q&A at the Little Shoppe of Stories in Decatur, GA on Friday, June 10th @ 7pm.
“In her terrific book, Kelly Dorfman clearly explains how to decipher the clues to nutritional disorders that affect the body and brain. Parents will find it packed with sound advice and useful information” – Maurine Packard, MD
pediatric neurologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
Lil’ Biggest Fan . . . a lesson in gratitude
I’m a huge fan of our biggest fan – Lil’ Chickin LUKE. He’s ten years old and has more manners and gratitude than I’ve seen in a month of Sunday’s around my coop.
His family lives on a farm near Savannah, GA and they raise goats, chickens and rabbits. He discovered Chickin Feed at the Georgia Organics Conference in February where he spied our Primer. He decided that he really wanted a copy for his family and instead of beg, plead and whine in front of his mother (sadly this tactic probably would have worked on me) he must have asked his mom and she told him to save his money and he could buy it. So, last month after saving up his $18.00 – his mother placed the order online.
When we receive an online order, our automated email reply asks folks where they found out about Chickin Feed, because I’m nosey that way. So Luke’s mother told me the story about the Conference. I was so impressed that a ten year old boy saved his money for our book that I sent him some freebies in the package.
Last week I received an envelope in the mail full of lovely gratitudes from Lil’ Chickin Luke! Some colored pictures he printed from the FARM GRUB pages of our website and a great magnet of Lil’ Chickin that he made (it’s hanging on my fridge) as well as a lovely Thank You note. I loved sharing it with my two kids and really appreciated the opportunity to talk about Gratitude!
What a Healthy Habit little Luke has inspired in our coop! Thank you.