Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tell Your Story.

Nourishment comes in so many forms.

A kid who runs all over the school and never goes to class told me his story today, and it made me think about the nourishment we choose to give and receive. This young man was supposed to be in high school, realized his friends were there and he wasn't, and he had been discouraged about getting himself back on track. He willingly told me about how he gave up and how his sister at 18 had a baby. She was working and also did not finish high school, which to me just sounded like a recurring theme in his family.

He obviously seemed to have some home training, as I relayed my story to him about sleeping on desks and failing every math class, only to have math be a revelation and a joy with the teachers during my summer classes. He said "rest in peace," when I told him about one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Radke, who died of cancer when I was coming back for school that fall, and how that crushed my heart. He reacted when my custodian friend walked by and told him his story of having to take night classes as an adult to get his credits towards graduation, a story he tells with regret, because of the extra time it took him to get that diploma after he began his adult life. His eyes seemed to tear when I told him of my veteran ex-gang member friend who pulled his life together.

Imagine the pain I felt when I asked the young man why he hadn't told anyone his story. His answer broke my heart. "No one has the time to listen, or cares to ask."  Do we even wonder why a child would keep making the poor choices he makes if he keeps getting taught that we do not live in a loving, caring and compassionate world? Teachers become the collective, as opposed to an individual.

We consume so much information throughout the course of the day. We hear, see and experience things on a pretty regular basis, that we forget how much of this we are consuming. And we forget, just like food, how some experiences are lush and pleasurable, sometimes not healthy, and some are light and nutritious...

I don't know. Maybe I didn't reach him at all, but I was sure to tell him that if he needed someone to listen to more of his story, I'd be willing. In the meantime, I am not going to stop feeding myself and others healthy food.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A teacher Eats Grad night.

"Hello, these are your feet calling. Please sit in a chair, preferably lying down on a bench even, if possible. Now stop moving." Grad nights present problems for the working teacher. First, they don't see their home that day, they hope they wore comfy shoes and hope to endure a park full of screaming kids, albeit they are the district's finest. A wonderful time is definitely had by all...but the day is literally the longest day ever. This is why good chaperones prepare.

Did I prepare well? Well let's review. I brought a protein shake and fruit to school, tea but not enough water. I did not take a multi, and got a cup of evening coffee. They offered evening snacks like pretzels, salsa and chips with nacho sauce and raw vegetables. Hm. Ugh, was my initial reaction. I didn't end up doing much better, but at least I found some protein and ate fried, battered jalapeƱo fish and fries. I was so saddened by the meal because it was a good diet gone wrong, but only for the moment. I knew I could fix this mess. After all, I was in the land of the superhero. I could fix anything. And boy did it taste good to have a mess to fix.
A note on cutting back on grain carbs: it seems inevitable that the body will eventually want those carbs back if you are extracting them from your diet. If you are, several things should take place. Firstly, in real time, fried fish is not a sustainable habit with white flour and excessive oils. Secondly, give yourself carbs that support the highest goal possible. Thirdly, there are plenty of starchy carbs that can help you avoid a food tragedy by selecting whole, unprocessed food like sweet potatoes and bananas. Next, have them as early as possible. People reach for carbs sometimes as a need for balance in their nutritional profile, and have either cut back too far, or simply need the nutrition the carbs provided, such as extra B complex.