Friday, September 25, 2009

Review: Nutrition 101 by Growing Healthy Homes

You are what you eat.
No more candy!
That isn't healthy for you.
Oh my - look at the fat content in that snack.
There is too much sugar in that.
You need to eat less junk!

I'm sure we've all told our kids, or even ourselves, a variation of the above just prior to consuming some less-than-healthy snack. I don't know about your house, but in mine, the typical response is not, "Why, thank you for the reminder, mother. I think I'll eat this apple instead of these Oreos!" Rather, my kids' reaction is usually similar to when I say, "You need your rest, " and "You'll need to know this stuff when you are a grown-up!" They comply, but not very willingly and not without the giving the sense that they feel like they are being nagged. Wouldn't be nice if your family was on board with making healthy choices and how they fit in with God's design of our bodies?

Nutrition 101: Choose Life!, by Growing Healthy Homes, is a nutrition, health, anatomy, cookbook, and practical guide all rolled into one. Written by a team of mothers, with health, homeschooling and teaching in their backgrounds, Nutrition 101 is meant to empower with knowledge for a long-term healthy lifestyle. Growing Healthy Homes' mission is as follows:
It is our mission to honor God by creating and distributing products that educate and empower His children to establish healthy, Christ-centered homes.
We established Growing Healthy Homes LLC in 2007 to educate and train families regarding God's plan to optimum health as outlined in the Bible. We are wives, mothers, researchers and teachers dedicated to reaching homes with a message of hope and healing. Our product line includes family-centered and health-infused books/e-books, as well as educational materials for user of pure therapeutic-grade essential oils.
At 448 pages, the Biblically-based Nutrition 101 isn't a skimpy nutrition guide. There are six units total, covering the following areas:
  • Unit 1 - The Brain and Nervous System
  • Unit 2 - The Digestive System
  • Unit 3 - The Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory and Visual Systems
  • Unit 4 - The Muscular and Skeletal Systems
  • Unit 5 - The Cardiovascular and Immune Systems
  • Unit 6 - The Endocrine System and Emotions
The text is very visually appealing, with bold color photographs, charts, tables, boxes with fun facts and more. You can view a full table of contents, read more about the authors, and see various portions of the units and appendix by clicking here for the 26-page sample.

Each unit starts of with an introduction, often including Scripture for reference. Four chapters are included for each unit. Most chapters include about 8-10 pages of text information, followed by discussion questions, activities and a list of additional resources. Activities for both elementary and secondary students are included to allow for group teaching of multiple ages. Next comes the part that every student, from young to old, is sure to enjoy - cooking and eating! Each chapter includes a recipe that relates to the topic discussed, allowing the students to put their new-found knowledge into immediate action.

For example, Chapter 3 in Unit 5 discusses the immune system. This chapter defines the immune system, discusses the lymphatic system, covers disorders and diseases of the immune system, gives information on how to boost the immune system, shares a list of good foods and bad foods and more. There are three discussion questions, eight elementary activities, a choice of six secondary activities and a list of four additional resources.

Samples of the selections from this chapter include:

Discussion question: How can you tell a T cell from a B cell?

Elementary Activity: Draw a picture of a white blood cell phagocytosing a germ.

Secondary Activity: Research scientists Ilya Mechnikov and Paul Ehrilch. Prepare a written or oral report discussing what they discovered and why their discoveries were important.

Additional Resource: Vaccine website link.

After reading and discussing the material and trying out some activities, students will make and eat a Mixed Berry Salad. Additional nutritional activities, for both elementary and secondary students, are included on the recipe page. For this particular chapter, researching kiefer and arranging a field trip to a berry picking farm are among the suggestions.

I felt the reading portion was geared more towards older kids, approximately middle school and up. However, because of the variety of information and activities presented, teaching this course as a group or with mixed ages within a family is certainly feasible. And, really, changing eating habits should be a family affair! Younger students will enjoy scaled back information of the material presented, completing activities and, of course, cooking and eating!

What I particularly like about the information shared in Nutrition 101 is that much of it is the type of practical information you'd get from other moms concerned about health issues, in addition to your more textbook information. Understanding the science behind the body paired with information like reading labels, the dangers of microwaves, warning signs of deficiencies or toxic exposure, and how to select fresh produce gives students both the knowledge and the action. It not only explains the why but the how, hopefully eliminating the need for "because I said so" and creating a desire in children to want to make healthy decisions and become healthy adults.

The simple volume of this product, a blessing in many ways, personally made it difficult for me to navigate as an e-book. For review, the Crew downloaded the product, though the e-book is sold on a Cd-Rom on the website. The file was huge! I opted to have the complete book printed at an office supply store, something I don't often do with e-products. However, this product is more than a text and includes many reference materials. Having a printed copy will be convenient for continued use. I recommend that you purchase the combo of both the Cd-Rom and the printed book if it is within your budget.

The Nutrition 101 Cd-Rom sells for $79.95. You can pre-order a printed book for $99.95 or get both products in a combo package for $129.95. Multi-user licenses are also available for co-op classes. Visit Growing Healthy Homes website for more information on this product. Be sure to check out the free audio downloads as well!

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew's blog to read more reviews on this product and others.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result in my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew, a team of 100+ homeschooling parents. While the product was provided at no expense to me in order to provide this review, I have not received any other compensation. Furthermore, receipt of the product does not guarantee a positive review. I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool.

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