Archive for the ‘children’ Category

10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

Institute for Responsible Technology – 10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs.

10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

1. GMOs are unhealthy.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.

2. GMOs contaminate―forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―they deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.

Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA’s own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, later their vice president. He’s now the US Food Safety Czar.

6. The biotech industry uses “tobacco science” to claim product safety.

Biotech companies like Monsanto told us that Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. They are now using the same type of superficial, rigged research to try and convince us that GMOs are safe. Independent scientists, however, have caught the spin-masters red-handed, demonstrating without doubt how industry-funded research is designed to avoid finding problems, and how adverse findings are distorted or denied.

7. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.
Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding. The journal Nature acknowledged that a “large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge.” Attempts by media to expose problems are also often censored.

8. GMOs harm the environment.

GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

9. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined.” The report noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.
On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies.

10. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America’s dairies.

The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMOs in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5% of the population. The key is to educate consumers about the documented health dangers and provide a Non-GMO Shopping Guide to make avoiding GMOs much easier.

Please choose healthier non-GMO brands, tell others about GMOs so they can do the same, and join the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network. Together we can quickly reclaim a non-GMO food supply.

Lawmakers Look into Federal Response to Rising Rates of Autism

This happened yesterday.
http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/video-highlights-from-first-congressional-hearing-on-autism-in-10-years/

Video Highlights from First Congressional Hearing on Autism in 10 Years. Lawmakers Look into Federal Response to Rising Rates of Autism. The House Oversight Committee Hearing on Autism was held in Washington D.C. on November 29, 2012

“We have gone from one in 10,000 children with autism to one in 88. It is worse than an epidemic, it is an absolute disaster.”

My Mom Made Me Fat

If it hadn’t been for the Big Macs that Joannie ate three times a week, she wouldn’t have gotten fat. But, if she hadn’t been exposed while in her mother’s womb to chemicals x, y and z, Joannie wouldn’t have had the propensity to get fat. And if Joannie’s mom had eaten more sensibly, both waistlines would be slimmer.First Lady Michelle Obama has, admirably, put her weight pun intended behind a campaign against obesity. But it’s a mistake to limit the remedy to better food and more exercise. Fat people most likely are programmed to become fat before taking their first sip of milk. The manmade chemicals we encounter every day are responsible for this reprogramming.Two of three U.S. adults are now classified as overweight. Type II diabetes has increased in like measure over the same decades, and so has heart disease. This is not a coincidence. These illnesses share common characteristics: they are triggered while in the womb by exposure to the same kinds of chemicals and the outcomes show up in adulthood. Scientists now call this pattern “the fetal origins of adult diseases.”The most likely culprits are chemicals now grouped together under the rubric “endocrine disrupters.” It’s been known for about two decades, though disputed by the manufacturers, that these chemicals alter the normal signaling pathways of hormones. They knock normal development off track. Bisphenol A BPA is right now the nation’s most celebrated endocrine disruptor.Pesticides are often endocrine disruptors. It’s just been discovered that a family of pesticides that’s among the most widely used in the world is connected to the three adult illnesses of obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease. This is the family of organophosphates, concocted from petroleum with an addition of phosphoric acid.

When lab rats are exposed to these pesticides through the mothers’ diet, at a time in their development equivalent to a human baby’s second trimester in the womb, their metabolism changes in two ways: their cholesterol and triglycerides rise. These abnormal and lasting changes are exactly the major factors that predict and lead, later in life, to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular heart disease (specifically, atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty material collects along the arteries and hardens artery walls).

These changes in metabolism happen at low levels, within the levels we are uniformly exposed to, which the Environmental Protection Agency declares as “safe” but are evidently not.  The changes are the strongest when the mother rats are fed a high-fat diet.  Human babies may even be underweight at birth (and there’s an epidemic of underweight babies in the U.S.), but quickly become overweight

Humans run into these pesticides in our food and water.  Of course, children continue to be exposed once they are born and are in fact exposed more than adults because they eat and drink more in relation to their body weight and have a higher ratio of skin. The other groups of people exposed most to organophosphates and other pesticides are the same groups with the highest rates of obesity – people who live in run-down inner-city neighborhoods, the poor, and farmworkers.  Again, not a coincidence but a connection, a trigger.

Dr. Ted Slotkin of Duke University, the researcher responsible for these discoveries, found another compelling clue: exposure caused harm to the rodent’s brain, as well as its metabolism.  Once the exposed lab animal was born and started to eat at will, its consumption of a high-fat diet reduced the adverse symptoms in its brain.  As Dr. Slotkin muses, “If you’ve got neurofunctional deficits, and they can be offset by continually eating Big Macs, then you will naturally (but unconsciously) select that kind of food because it will make you feel better.”  Unfortunately, increased fat will further harm the animal’s, or human’s, metabolism.

What this means for you? Particularly while trying to conceive, during pregnancy, while nursing, and for your children: avoid pesticides, eat organic foods.

For information about endocrine disruptors, read the new booklet published by the nonprofit Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative.

via My Mom Made Me Fat | Care2 Healthy & Green Living.

Keep Kids Healthy, Naturally

No need to run to the pharmacy once sniffle season strikes. These doctor-approved home remedies work
By Jessica Downey

For kids, back to school means excitement and anticipation. For parents, it means colds, flus, rashes—and back to the doctor. Come September, along with their art projects and homework assignments, kids start coming home with an array of germs that leave them—and the rest of the family—sick, sapped, and cranky. However, there’s no need to resign yourself to a season spent at the pediatrician’s office and a medicine chest filled with prescription meds. Experts agree that using holistic, homeopathic, and alternative remedies can resolve common kid ailments. And when it comes to your kids’ health, not reaching for the big pharmaceutical guns right away makes good sense.

“People naturally want to give kids medicine if they aren’t feeling well because they want to help them get better,” says Roy Steinbock, MD, an integrative pediatrician in Boulder, Colorado. “But illness is part of life. Suppressing symptoms at all costs is not a good approach.” And while conventional medicine has plenty of merit, some treatments come with potential risks of their own and don’t even get to the root of the problem, says Lawrence Rosen, MD, a pediatrician at the Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey. “Medicine used to be very ‘one-size-fits-all,’ which doesn’t treat kids most effectively,” says Rosen. “It shouldn’t be a decision between conventional or alternative treatments. The approach to helping kids feel better should really be integrative.”

Of course, many parents feel nervous going outside the generally accepted guidelines, especially when their child gets sick. So we asked pediatricians what they deem to be the safest and most effective natural solutions for the five most common ailments. Here’s what they had to say.

Ear Infections
Often signaled by fevers, tugging at the ears, and congestion, ear infections—one of the most common of all childhood complaints—can cause excruciating pain for your kids, making it difficult not to fill that prescription for antibiotics immediately.

“Most pediatricians are taught that ear infections are best treated with antibiotics,” Rosen says. But holistic practitioners and conventional pediatricians don’t agree. “We want fewer antibiotics prescribed to kids,” he says. What’s more, studies show that antibiotics don’t always work. First, many ear infections are not bacterial—and antibiotics only clear up bacterial infections. Secondly, antibiotics target bacteria indiscriminately, so they wipe out good bacteria along with the bad. And finally, growing immune systems can become dependent on the drugs, says Dana Ullman, MPH, DHM, and author of The Homeopathic Revolution (North Atlantic Books, 2007). “If you treat with antibiotics too soon in the inflammation process, your child’s body doesn’t learn to identify what has infected it. Her body then depends on the antibiotic to fight the infection for her.”

Furthermore, an ear infection—viral or bacterial—will often clear up without the aid of drugs. “More than 80 percent of the time children recover from earaches just on the strength of their own immune system,” says Kathi J. Kemper, MD, professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina. However, if you and your doctor decide antibiotics are the best course, Kemper recommends simultaneously giving your children probiotics, which contain beneficial bacteria, to replace some of the good bacteria that are lost.

If you decide to steer clear of medication, try one or more of the following options to fight off ear infections.

Willow, garlic, and mullein oil drops
.
These olive oil-based solutions contain a combination of herbs with pain-relieving, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. “The research behind these oils says they are more effective than antibiotics at treating ear infection symptoms like pain,” says Rosen. Dosages vary based on the age of your child and his symptoms, so read the label carefully or check with a holistic practitioner about how much to use.

Homeopathy.
“One of the principles of homeopathy is that your ear infection and my ear infection are not the same,” says Ullman. “Once a child has the conventional diagnosis, we then figure out the unique symptoms.” This means you can choose the homeopathic remedy that matches the symptoms your child has. Ullman recommends belladonna for children whose earaches begin with sudden, intense pain and are accompanied by a high fever, and pulsatilla for children who are being especially cuddly, complaining that their ear pain is worse at night, and have a yellow-to-green discharge from their nose. Chamomilla can help children who suffer from extreme ear pain, are irritable, and don’t want to be comforted.

Nasal Congestion
Many parents complain that their child’s nose is runny or congested more often than it’s clear. Congestion occurs when the membranes that line the nose swell from inflamed blood vessels, which result from colds, allergies, dry air, or dust.

Although some doctors endorse decongestants to remedy congestion, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends letting your kids heal on their own, unless they are younger than 3 months old. Steinbock agrees.

“If a kid has a runny nose, you really don’t have to treat it unless he can’t breathe.” Of course, if you get nervous, by all means call your doctor. But once you’re satisfied your little one has nothing more serious than a cold, these gentle, noninvasive choices may keep his sniffles at bay and his breathing freer.

Humidifiers.
Most doctors agree the first thing you can do is put a humidifier in your child’s room to increase the moisture in the air while she’s sleeping. The added moisture will loosen sinus congestion and soothe airways. German chamomile, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender essential oils will help kids breathe easier. Add one to two drops to the water in the humidifier before you turn it on.

Saline nasal rinses.
These solutions, such as Kids’ Xlear Saline Nasal Spray With Xylitol, gently clear your child’s nasal cavities of irritants, which is important because the mucus membranes are sensitive. For infants and toddlers, Steinbock recommends applying a simple saline solution followed by a gentle bulb suction.

Hydrotherapy.
If your congested child is older—or very cooperative—try a hydrotherapy treatment using a neti pot. This ceramic vessel designed especially for water to flow in and out of the nose allows you to pour a saltwater solution into your child’s nose and irrigate the sinuses. The water washes away allergens from nasal passages, and the salt draws fluid out of swollen mucus membranes, which helps drain the sinuses.

Skin Rashes
Rashes can signal any number of things—from something as serious as a spider bite to a mild allergic reaction to a new food—and because of this, they can be tough to treat. “The most common skin rash is called, ‘We don’t know what it is but it will probably disappear on its own,’” says Kemper. “The vast majority of rashes go away on their own because our immune systems are marvelous.” And the keys to a strong immune system are simple, she says: “a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and a loving family.” Of course everyone should wash their hands frequently to keep germs at a minimum.

For more serious rashes and eczema—a common condition in infants and children that causes itching, dryness, and red or scaly rashes—doctors may suggest hydrocortisone, a topical corticosteroid that works by decreasing (or preventing) the tissues’ response to inflammation. Since cortisone doesn’t cure the eczema and can nibble at the body’s ability to fight infection, try these other options first.

Eco-friendly products.
Environmental irritants include everyday products like laundry detergents, household cleaners, perfumes, face and body washes, and soaps. Switch to eco-friendly, scent-free brands of laundry detergent and bodycare products, and opt for chemical-free household cleansers.

Soothing baths.
If flare-ups occur often, give your child a bath. Soaking in a lukewarm bath of evening primrose oil for 15 to 20 minutes can help relieve itching and dryness. Try Kneipp Evening Primrose Moisture Bath and pat or air dry so the oil stays on the skin to protect and soothe.

Probiotics.
Research has shown that probiotics prevent eczema in adults and has explored their use as a treatment for the condition in infants and children.

Aloe and calendula ointment.
For other mild rashes, comfort the area without exposing your child’s skin to chemicals and toxins. Aloe and calendula ointments (try Hyland’s Skin Therapy) will soothe the itching and burning that often come with a rash, says Rosen, and that should keep little fingers from scratching and infecting the area.

Cough & Sore Throat
A sore throat usually indicates that a cold is coming on. During childhood your kids will likely have more colds or upper-respiratory infections than any other illness, according to the AAP. In fact, most kids have eight to 10 colds in the first two years of life. Until earlier this year, when the makers of several leading over-the-counter cold medications voluntarily withdrew products sold for infants, cough medicines were the generally accepted remedy to handle sore throats and coughs. “A lot of Western medicine isn’t always tested thoroughly, which you can see from the fact that they removed all cough medicines from the shelves,” Steinbock says. Steer clear of those OTCs and try these drug-free alternatives instead.

Slippery elm bark.
A number of doctors opt for an expectorant over a cough suppressant to get the mucus out of a child’s system. Steinbock touts the benefits of slippery elm bark, an herb that acts as an expectorant and a demulcent, which soothes the throat. The remedy comes from the bark of an American elm, but is not considered an official drug in the US. The bark is available in powder form and can simply be mixed with hot water. If your kids turn their noses up at boiling bark, try adding a little honey. “It’s a great home remedy,” says Kemper.

Menthol and eucalyptus.
For kids older than 6, Kemper recommends rubbing menthol and eucalyptus on their chests.

Fevers
Fevers—even when they aren’t high—can push any parent’s panic button. In fact, a study released by Johns Hopkins University in May found that parents tend to overtreat even the mildest fevers. To qualify as a fever, body temperature needs to spike above 100 degrees (normal is 98.6). But a mild fever—considered somewhere between 100 degrees and 102 degrees—should not be cause for alarm. “We must remind parents that fever is a sign of the body’s revved-up defenses fighting infection and that fever-reducing medications carry their own risks,” says Johns Hopkins pediatrician Michael Crocetti, MD. While it can be tempting to give an uncomfortable, cranky child acetaminophen or ibuprofen every six to eight hours (kids tend to feel better when their fever is lower), Ullman cautions against the urge. “Fever up to a certain degree is beneficial,” he says. “Parents shouldn’t give kids acetaminophen for fevers below 103 degrees.” Use the following modalities to treat a fever holistically.

Homeopathy.
There are three main homeopathic fever reducers, says Ullman: belladonna, which is used when kids display a flushed face and give off heat in response to a high, rapid-onset fever; ferrum phos, which helps treat mild fevers; and aconite, which is a homeopathic form of vitamin C. Talk to a homeopath about how to use these remedies.

Hydrotherapy.
Cold-water baths can be effective in bringing down high fevers, but check with your doctor first. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids, and call the pediatrician if her fever spikes. You can also give your little one a warm to hot footbath while placing a cold cloth on her head and wrapping her body in a blanket. This is especially good for fevers that are accompanied with headache.

Aromatherapy.
To help reduce fevers, dilute essential oils of bergamot, chamomile, or eucalyptus with a carrier oil before applying them as a warm compress on her forehead or chest, or having your child inhale their vapors.

Jessica Downey is a freelance writer in Pennsylvania.

via Keep Kids Healthy, Naturally – Natural Solutions Vibrant Health Balanced Living.

8 Ways to Sort Aging Parents’ “Stuff”

By Paula Spencer, Caring.com

“Christmas lights. Do not work.” Three boxes, so labeled and tucked in the basement ceiling joists, were perhaps my favorite find while clearing out my parents’ house. Well, those or the shelf of neat notebooks recording weekly bowling scores back to the 1960s. A dozen casserole lids, no casseroles. Spare stereo knobs, circa 1975. Enough yarn to knit a sweater that could encase the entire house and yard, Christo-style.

I tossed plenty of useless stuff while clearing out my parents’ home of 40-odd years, recently. (100 pairs of elastic-waist pants, anyone?) But I had it relatively easy, because my parents weren’t involved. (My mom had died and my dad, who was relocating, was sidelined by dementia.)

Most caregivers face the “junk wars” with still-living relatives. It can happen when you combine households because of the recession. Or help a parent downsize into assisted living. Or just try to make a crowded old house safer for an older adult in which to age-in-place.

Sorting through the accumulated years can be exasperating. Even a nightmare, if the person is a packrat, under stress, or hopelessly sentimental. (Which doesn’t leave too many people, I know.) Here are eight great tips to get you started:

1. Start yesterday

Just about everybody who’s been through the ordeal–whether they have to “de-junk” in crisis mode or not–wishes they’d begun sooner.

Tip: Appeal to the person’s sense of not wanting to be any “trouble”: “Dad and Mom, it will be a heck of a lot more trouble for me to sort through all this after you’re gone than to sit here and help you get a handle on it now.”

2. Snap it, then dump it

Take pictures of beloved objects before disbursing them. What is really important are the memories, not the stuff. Your parent is apt to have more fun looking at albums (or downloaded images online) than dusting and digging. Likewise, you can scan old documents.

Tip: Perfect summer job for an unemployed teen.

3. Box it and “forget” it
For stuff you’re pretty sure you’re not going to want to see again–but the resistant person insists is important–try some elegant boxing. Get official, sturdy moving boxes, carefully label contents, and relocate the clutter to a basement or storage unit. Nine times out of ten, it’s never asked about or seen again. But the person feels reassured that it’s safe.

Tip: For items worth leaving out, write the significance (where it came from, family meaning, etc.) on a piece of paper stuck to its bottom. Your own children may appreciate this tiny extra step.

4. Develop some questions to sort by
The specific questions depend on the situation, but you can make a game of it. Samples: When was the last time you wore it? (More than two years and it’s out.) Does it work? (If it doesn’t function, forget it.) Is this a sentimental thing for you or a memory you want to pass on to somebody else? Is there anybody who could use this more than you right now (a young family starting out, a charity)?

Tip: Focus on potential gains (less to clean, safer floors, money, helping someone else) rather than losses.

5. Distinguish saving from collecting or hoarding
It might all look like junk to you, but understanding the person’s motivation can guide the psychology you use on them. People reared during the Depression tend to save stuff because they “might need it someday.” (That would explain my Dad’s broken Christmas lights.)

Tip: Collectors might be persuaded to cash in on their collection(s) in this economic climate. Or work with them to plan ahead to divide a collection among, say, grandchildren as Christmas gifts.

6. Cope with it as an alternative to “American Idol”

Try easing a willing parent into a downsizing spirit by suggesting you spend an evening a week, or an hour every evening, having “Sort Time.”

Tip: Start nonthreatentingly small: a corner, a box of paper paraphernalia or photos, a bookcase.

7. Enlist professional help
Especially if it’s a crisis or you’re out of town, consider finding a senior move manager. These experts know not only what to do with all that stuff but, more importantly, empathetic ways to get someone to willingly part with it.

8. Think twice about grabbing it for yourself
Your own kids will thank you someday.

via 8 Ways to Sort Aging Parents’ “Stuff” | Healthy and Green Living.

How to start a garden, save money, and eat fresh!

AARP the magazine featured a great article recently, detailing a full plan for a vegetable garden in your yard. I’ve been looking for something like this all summer! This year was too busy and I spent too much time away from home to start my organic vegetable garden, but I’m armed with all the information I need to get a great start on next year!

The article talks about specific plot sizes, how to prepare your soil, keep out greedy animals, what is will all cost and how much you can save on groceries.

The author also points out how a garden can be a teaching experience:

Most vegetables are annuals, planted anew each year, but I tuck in a few alpine strawberries, too. These tiny, exquisite plants bear fruit all season and remain in place from year to year, to our grandchildren’s delight. They head for the strawberry row the minute their parents pull up in the driveway. Our sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes are also kid magnets, and I like to think our small foragers are gleaning far more than a healthful snack. They’re learning that growing food brings joy, and that dividend is priceless.

I would add to that, not only does growing food bring joy (which it definately does) but also that it nurtures an understanding that the food you grow needs balanced care, sunlight, water, protection etc, just as people do. This lesson makes it easier to understand why it is unhealthy for people to eat and drink junk and fake foods, and to have respectful balanced care for their own bodies. What a great lesson to draw on, especially in the teen years!

Dirt Cheap Eats.

6 Tips For Raising Healthy Eaters

Use these simple tips to help your kids understand how to make wholesome food choices on their own and to create an environment that will nurture healthy food habits as they grow.

1. Work with your kids’ natural preferences

Kids require frequent refueling–and they’d love to do it with fudge cookies and lollipops. “Children are born with a natural taste and desire for sweet foods and carbohydrates,” says Joel Fuhrman, MD, board certified family physician and author of Disease Proof Your Child (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006). Instead of fighting a sweet tooth, offer healthier treats, such as a colorful array of fresh fruit. “Preparation is key,” says Jay Holt, a nutritionist in St. Petersburg, Florida, and author of The Adventures of Tommy the Tomato (JR Holt Publishing, 2007). “Always have a fruit salad ready to go, or frozen banana, or apples to spread with almond butter. That way, kids will have a fast, nutritious alternative to a cookie.”

2. Involve the whole family

Cooking with your children helps you get them invested in making healthy choices and explain the nutritional value of various foods. At the grocery store, let them choose the fruits and vegetables that appeal to them, or make a game of it: Ask them to find their favorite green, orange, and red vegetables, or to choose which nuts or beans they’d like to add to a salad.

3. Encourage children to think about food

Raising healthy eaters also means helping them understand what their bodies are asking for, when they’re thirsty or hungry, and the difference between eating until they’re satisfied versus stuffed. Don’t get heavy or intense about it; just make the occasional observation, then let it go. And forget the clean-plate club–it’s the fastest way to encourage kids to ignore their bodies’ messages.

4. Don’t reward or punish with food

This sends the subtle message that food equals love and approval–a dangerous message, and one that’s hard to escape later in life. Instead of using food as a reward, offer treats that have more to do with connecting–a trip to their favorite park, hugs, an extra book at bedtime. And don’t fall into the “If you eat your peas, you’ll get your pie” trap. It makes dessert more valuable than vegetables–not a lesson you want to teach.

5. Take charge

Sometimes we’re so fearful of creating negative food relationships for our children that we shy away from insisting on good eating habits. Insist your children eat at least a portion of fruits or vegetables at every meal, and that they minimize sweets, refined carbs, and unhealthy fats. Tell them why that’s your rule–because you love them and want them to be healthy. “There’s no reason to be fearful of that message,” says Fuhrman, “or to believe that it will set up unhealthy emotional eating patterns later in life.”

6. Realize that it takes time

This will take time and repetition. Your kids may put up a fight, especially at first, and there will be setbacks. Stay calm and be matter-of-fact. Also avoid power struggles, and continue to set a good example with your own food choices. “They’ll notice what you and the rest of the family are eating,” says Pavka. “At some point, they’ll just come along for the ride.”

via 6 Tips For Raising Healthy Eaters | Healthy and Green Living.