Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Maximize-Minimize-Prioritze for a Healthy Lifestyle

Learning from Nicolette next to a flower garden.
Tonight at Stearns Farm CSA in Framingham, Massachusetts, Nicolette Blanco educated a small number of adults and one very curious and thoughtful child about the ways that we can maximize, minimize, and prioritize for a healthy lifestyle.

I listened with one ear for my own health and one for information to share with the children I teach and families I work with. As Nicolette spoke about the terrific benefits of drinking water, eating healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and whole dairy foods,  steering clear of toxins, ample sleep, rest, laughter, and meaningful relationships, I thought about how the students and I might make these lessons visible in the classroom this year.

Further, Nicolette shared lots of healthy snack suggestions such as hummus with raw veggies, guacamole, salsa, and bean chips, a handful of nuts, fresh fruit, plain yogurt with fresh fruit, and smoothies with fruit and almond milk. She noted how processed chemicalized foods, sugar, trans fats, and artificial sweeteners are energy zappers. And, reiterated what we all know which is that sugary drinks and soda are the leading source of sugar in the American diet--a source that zaps energy, causes cavities, and leads to health problems. Instead, she recommended that children add fresh fruit to water to give it a taste they like.

I found this leave on the farm after the talk.
She also told the parents in the crowd that they need to be detectives and observe how their children interact with food. For example, don't worry so much about when they eat, but instead pay attention to what they are eating. Let them eat when they're hungry, but make sure they're eating healthy food at least 90% of the time. Also, she mentioned the fact that overactivity can sometimes be connected with food dyes, and that eliminating those dyes have helped some children to calm down. Similarly she mentioned the connection between dairy products and ear infections or congestion for some children and adults. Near the end of her talk, Nicolette promoted the "Life Vitamins" of fun, nature, rest/relaxation, and love.

Nicolette's long term experience and interest in healthy living makes her a terrific speaker--she approaches the topic with an open, welcoming attitude. I think she' be a perfect speaker for a PTO event that focuses on what parents and teachers can do to help children and themselves live healthy lives

In addition she has recently published a book, By a Thread: 21 Tips on Resilience for the Partly Unraveled, about resilience which provides the reader with a number of exercises that will help him/her to build resilience and enjoyment in life. I plan to use the book to guide a number of healthy student activities too.