Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nutrition and Healthy Habits

As promised here is my first post on my readings of Charlotte Mason's works.  I just finished part 1 of 6 in  Volume 1: Home Education.  Just a little background; the preface to the fourth edition was written in 1905 by Ms. Mason.  Part 1 is titled Some Preliminary Considerations.  I will not bore you with trying to paraphrase her works but I'll just write a couple of things that really caught my attention.  They are attention grabbers mostly because I can see how I relate to her philosophies and  already implement them in our lives.
She of course reminds us of how children are persons in their own right and should be given careful care and attention, especially if we want them to get the most out of their education. 

I particularly enjoyed the end of this section when she starts talking about Conditions of Healthy Brain Activity.   She talks about proper exercise, rest, good air quality and nutrition.  Mind you I realize she was not a doctor or scientist and these were just her observations.  It was astonishing to me to read how over a hundred years ago this lady was already foreseeing some of the problems we have slowly come to experience in our young population today.  I'm sure we all have seen the headlines and national concerns of our children's growing obesity rate, among which include certain health concerns like diabetes and heart problems.  I'm not a politician or do I dare tell people how they should live their lives, but I can try to be a good role model and citizen by assuring that I provide a good environment for my children.  Yes, we are among those who enjoy the occasional drive thru meal or those pizza nights or  even Sunday morning church donuts, but they are not staples in our home.   I had to laugh when I read " fresh fruit at breakfast is invaluable; that, as serving the same end, oatmeal porridge and treacle, and the fat of toasted bacon, are valuable  breakfast foods..."  O.K.  maybe not the bacon and instead of treacle we use honey or agave, but the idea is that this is true in our house: a wholesome breakfast with good grains, protein and fruit. 

You've heard the modern phrase five fruits a day, my kids certainly take this to heart.  Especially since we don't keep a candy bowl or sugary snacks jar.  The fruit basket is refilled on a daily basis as are more nutritious snacks like whole grain or graham crackers.  We bake most of our own treats and often substitute ingredients for healthier ones or add ingredients like flax seed or some protein powder.   As for drinks, because she mentions the importance of drinking pure water, (and again I silently giggled at this) my kids are known to personally ask for water down fruit juices.  And the children don't drink soda!

I hope you don't misunderstand this post, it is just a glimpse at how we've tried to be healthier in our nutritional lives, and just like almost everything else: a healthy life style is also a habit.   Believe me, there is much room for improvement in the area of excercise and I've taken notes.  Ms. Mason states (and honestly I had not completely made the connection myself):

" The lowest round it may be, but yet it is the lowest round, the necessary step to all the rest.  For it is not too much to say that, in our present state of being, intellectual, moral even spiritual life and progress depend greatly  upon  physical conditions."  (Bold my own.) Volume 1, Home Education, pg 37, 1906 edition.

There were so many other great points in this section about school systems vs. methods, theology/spiritual, and mother's (parents) roles.  I hope you'll get a chance to read them too.  I'm deep into the second section and thoroughly enjoying it.

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