Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Power Pegging the top ten SuperFoods

A thought suddenly came to me as I was typing. How many of us have all of these great mnemonic learning devices that we teach to our kids, but we don't use them for ourselves? I mean, how great would it be to pull out our power pegs to use for remembering our groceries or our errands? How about power pegging our chores? Well whatever you decide to use your pegs for, is up to you. If you aren't already familiar with this great program I love called Quantum Learning, then it might be time to get acquainted with its wonder. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think of this powerful teaching system and its tools for building both social character and learning tools, all at once.


...We will talk more about this later. Meanwhile, let's attach nutrition to the classroom. When you are ducking from all the sneezing and flying tissues, you need to be stuffing your face with these amazing superfoods. What's more, is that if you can remember them all, when you go shopping and recipe hunting for ways to utilize these foods into your mealtimes, you'll have them attached to a peg...and then you'll most likely not forget them soon! I'd love to do a video to show you how to add the hand gestures to the pegs, but I mostly hope that you already know them. (videos coming soon.)

Now, as I'm about ready to list some super foods, I'm noticing that I have about five different CONFLICTING lists out in front of me from a variety of frontrunners on nutrition, and I will share the most nutrient dense selections from each of the lists. Let me know what you think.

Here they are.

1 son: Kale
2 eyes: avocado
3 triangle: almonds
4 floor: coconut and olive oil
5 fingers: dark chocolate and cacao nibs
6 sticks: wild caught fish
7 up: eggs
8 octopus: green tea
9 baseball: blueberries
10 hen: maca root

More on this later. Next, we will be singing a song to remember all of the nutrients in each power food! Just kidding.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My experience with on-the-job nutrition.

Ms. Grace was my food savior. Grace: Food SuperHero.

She would either be observing my meals or heating them up, cooking for me or handing me recipes. It was never in question that Ms. Grace loved food and cooking, but most of all health. It was one of our biggest conversations, and she never gave up on me, if she saw me eating something that wasn't on par with my goals, or if I wasn't eating at all. With Ms. Grace, I was sure to pack a lunch and eat daily. But there were definitely days where this wasn't the easiest thing to conceive of.

One thing I miss about having her in the classroom with me was her constant desire to seek out conversations with food. Seriously, we were always discussing the health quotient of a particular practice or lifestyle, how food affects religious disciplines, what we could and couldn't eat, how much we would pay for a certain food, where we would shop and how long to cook a desired food for dinner that night. It is no surprise that I went into a health coaching program after changing schools. Without Grace in my daily bread, I needed that interaction on mealtimes still.

Every day she would check to make sure I had food, and what I ate for dinner, and how I was feeling. I could not go wrong with her support, love and attention to the very thing that nourished me. She would get me to tighten up my diet, and I'd encourage her to exercise more than a 10 minute walk after dinner with her husband, though that sounded like a very wonderful bonding session. She loved that I was vegetarian. Most recently I told her of my switch to pescetarian, and she was happy to hear it. I am sure she will send me inspiration soon.

My favorite part with Grace in the classroom was that I would usually teach history and english. The most awesome part of teaching history, is the cultural experience we created for each country we studied. It gave us an opportunity to try a new recipe or food and bring it for all to taste. Now, this was even more fun for Ms. Grace, and she is an amazing cook. The students would agree as well. Whenever the students earned it, Ms. Grace would cook delicious cookies and brownies for the kids, and they would be on their best behavior to receive these goodies.

Such good memories deserve a blog post and applause to the one woman who made me feel nourished all the time. Thank you Ms. Grace, for making sure I remained a healthy teacher. Love you.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thoughts on a School day

Most teachers I know don't eat during the day.

They are so busy putting their students first, that they don't even drink an adequate amount of water during the teaching day, thereby ending the day and week feeling fatigued and tapped out. It's no wonder so many teachers retire with the highest incidence of post-career mortality. They have nothing else to live for.

It's very noble that one should place others before themselves, but nutrition is ultimately a very important element of holistic balance we ought not try to live without. How do we as teachers, keep our day fresh and filled with nutrition, while running a strongly organized classroom?

There is a healthy eating program that mostly gets circulated throughout the elementary school system. I was lucky enough to have this program offered to my students at the last  middle school I attended. It was just wonderful because we all sat together and either ate fruit, or tasted the outcome of a recipe we all made together, and we discussed the nutritional goodness of the food we were eating. The students were always interested that I maintained a vegetarian lifestyle for 12 years. "Really Ms. Dunn, no carne asada? No pork chops or bacon?" those were the first questions from their lips. This would inspire a deeper conversation about health, not just the food we ate. This always made me feel that as a teacher, I was contributing to more than just their academic health, but their health as a whole.

Being the example of health is important. It is not enough to merely be book smart. It is more often that we pull ourselves out of balance because we feel our teaching curriculum and professional development classes and such should go first...but....if we are not well enough to complete the tasks required to be successful in each, how will we be able to continue educating these kids? We have to look at this piece and approach with patience and constancy.