You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TOS Review Nutrition 101

I was very excited to receive Nutrition 101: Choose Life! from Healthy Homes LLC for review. This is much more than a health and nutrition curriculum; it's an incredible resource for your whole family whether you homeschool or not.

The authors are Christian women and the dedication of the book reads: Dedicated to all the families who read and implement the healthy living suggestions outlined in Nutrition 101: Choose Life!, so they may have the physical and emotional health to fulfill God's calling on their lives. And each chapter begins with a Scripture reference to encourage you.

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is a three-in-one family nutrition and health program for all ages that presents the major body systems, how they function, their common health issues, the benefits of good food and the consequences of bad food.

Its 448 pages include six units:
1) The Brain and Nervous System;
2) Digestion and Elimination;
3) Respiration and Olfactory;
4) Muscular and Skeletal Systems;
5) Cardiovascular and Immune Systems; and
6) Endocrine System and Emotions.

Within each unit are 4 chapters chock-full of information including key words, fun facts and nicely done graphics. Each chapter ends with discussion questions (answers are provided at the end of the book!), activities - for both elementary and secondary students, and a list of additional resources for more indepth study such as other books or websites.

There is also at least 1 "Power" recipe at the end of each chapter. I think this is one feature that really seals the deal for me. The recipes are yummy, and most of them are safe for Shane's allergies. Very nice.

There are also elementary and secondary-level activities outlined for the recipes. For example the elementary activities for the Guacamole recipe that compliments Chapter 1, The Brain and Nervous System , are:
1) At the grocery store, learn how to pick out fresh, ripe and ready-to-eat produce for the recipe (refer to Appendix D);
2) Help make the guacamole by measuring and adding the ingredients while learning or reviewing fractions;
3) Experiment to find out how to make avocados ripen faster with some unripened avocados, an apple and a small paper bag. Compare the process with a regular avocado sitting by itself next to the bag. Is there a difference? Give your findings in an oral or written report.
4) Grow an avocado plant

Another excellent feature are the appendices which cover 31 topics ranging from Health Statistics in the Labels and Household Toxins- the latter provides a number of recipes for natural cleaners. It's clear that a lot of time and research was invested in the contents of the appendix.

How we used it:
I didn't approach this like I would a curriculum, but rather I sought to integrate it into our daily lives. Because of Shane's allergies- dairy, wheat and corn- we already eat fairly healthy, most of the time. But it was good to learn the "why" behind our food choices.

The information in the chapters is over my little ones' heads so I would read the chapter on my own and then share key points with them while either making the recipe or doing a craft activity.
Unit 1 is about the brain and nervous system so we made brain hats and talked about where in our brains different body functions are housed.

Hank and Ella tried eating with their non-dominant hands (they're both lefties), and later we all brushed our teeth with our non-dominant hands

We learned how the ingredients in guacamole and Greek salad are good for our brains and nervous system. And how rice stuffed tomatoes are good for our hearts.

We made nut balls for a healthy skeletal system.

We tried many other recipes that I didn't photograph. As we ate, we talked about why those particular ingredients strengthened and nourished our bodies as opposed to fast food or junk food. We also talked about why, as Christians, it's important to take care of our bodies so we can better serve the Lord.
Also, after reading the appendix on the dangers of microwave ovens, we moved ours to the basement. And we've been getting along just fine without it!
If natural living and healthy eating appeal to you at all, I highly recommend this book. It's not inexpensive, but I think it is worth saving for. You can purchase a CD version of the book for $79.95 or a hard copy for $99.95. They also offer a CD/Hard copy combo for $129.95.

You can buy it here, and you can read what other TOS Crew members have to say about it here.
The authors graciously explained their pricing strategy to the TOS Crew members and asked us to share the info with our readers. So here you go!
The pricing of the Nutrition 101 was not determined lightly. First of all, we are Christians and know it is our duty to be good stewards with the resources He has given us; we are committed to making His priorities our priorities. Second, we are all moms that understand the costs of running a household and doing so within a budget.

Factors that contributed to the cost:
1) N101 is a three-in-one product: a curriculum, family health program and exhaustive nutrition guide. As a curriculum, it includes the unit studies with activities for elementary and secondary, power recipes with activities and a complete teacher's guide. Everything you need is all together, so no purchasing separate books or workbooks.
2) There is nothing like it on the market. We looked at the mainstream health genre, but found nothing comparable. We conducted market research on similarly sized and packaged (book, ebook and combo) products in the homeschool market. Although we found similarly packaged products, N101 was the largest, only full color and graphically/photo intense. We knew that N101 was more expensive to produce, but we priced it competitively based on what was well received on the market.
3) N101 is multi-generational and multi-directional. Although homeschoolers are our biggest market, our customers include health professionals, public and private school teachers, and adults with empty nests or without children who are seeking solid health information. As a curriculum and health program, Nutrition 101 is designed to be used over and over and over and over again.
I use it with my three-year-old and am already introducing her to basic biology with it. The biggest reward for me is that she is loving to eat good food and why. (We are avoiding sugar right now because of the high levels of sickness in our town. Yesterday, she was offered a lollipop when I was in the next room, and I heard her say "no thank you.") Of course, I loaned my 88-year-old grandpa a copy to read because of his interest in sweetners and healthy alternatives. So, I plan to be using N101 the rest of my life ... in my home and to help others experience abundant health.

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