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Archive for the 'Health and Nutrition' Category

Foreign Vegetables

Below is a video that was emailed to me this morning (thanks to Andrew).  It is a short preview to an upcoming television show that premieres later this month.

The Youtube video description states the following:

Watch as kids in an elementary school class in Huntington, West Virginia have trouble identifying fresh fruits and vegetables. Huntington has been called the unhealthiest city in America where nearly half of the adults are considered obese.

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Unfortunately, I’m not surprised by the video.  I am however glad that my three year old son was able to identify each vegetable from the preview.

Perhaps he has an unfair advantage, as he is usually my wife’s sidekick when she does the grocery shopping.  He’s been eating fresh vegetables since his first day of real food. When he asks for a snack, he is usually looking for fresh fruits and veggies. That is his idea of a snack. It’s what he’s been around his entire life.

In the words of John Dryden,

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

As I’ve stated many times before, youngsters don’t do their own grocery shopping. They follow the lead of their parents. It is up to us to guide, nurture, and teach them.

The best role model for a child is his or her parents.  Parents need to stop making excuses and step up to the plate.   If you don’t know what to do, take the time to find out.  Knowledge must be sought.  It won’t funnel through your pillow at night through osmosis.

Do what you need to do to raise a healthy child.

In the words of Ben Franklin,

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”


Get Your Kids Outside

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the average American child spends between four and seven minutes playing outside each day.  For a young child, that’s about enough time to throw a ball, retrieve it, and then head back inside.

Kids have become more inclined to sit in front of the television than ever before.  If you are a parent, I highly recommend perusing the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There campaign.

You can even find a link that will help you locate outdoor activities in your local area.

Nature Event Finder

A Change In Times

As a child, sitting in front of the television was the last thing I wanted to do.  We’d get home from school and immediately head outside.  We stayed outside until the sun went down.  There was always something to play.  It didn’t matter the season.  Whether it was hot in the summer or cold in the winter, we headed outside to play.

My wife and I are raising our children the same way.  They love the outdoors.  My kids would stay outside all day if we let them.  It’s natural for children to enjoy playing outside.  The kids of today aren’t different than us.  It’s just that their surroundings have changed.  We didn’t have the technology that exists today.  I still remember when the Atari 2600 came out.  If the kids of today had to trade in their Playstation for the old Atari system, they’d probably want to head outside too.

Since that isn’t going to happen, parents need to step up to the plate and invest time in their children.  That means getting up and taking your kids outside to play.  Yes, there will be times when Mother Nature interferes, but even the winter offers opportunities for the kids to play.  I still have vivid memories of my childhood winters.  We played football in the snow, went sledding down any hill we could find, skated on the ice, and had monumental neighborhood snow ball fights!  As a child, life revolved around what to play and where to play.

The kids of today begin with a similar interest in outdoor play.  It fades as they gain more and more access to electronic devices.  Parents still have the power to pull the plug however.  I don’t want  my kids glued to the television set.  I’d rather have them involved in a useful activity.  Clearly, we can’t spend all day outside, but we can certainly make an effort.  Earlier today, I took my son for a hike into the woods.  We were gone for no more than a half hour, but he had the time of his life.  He didn’t need any toys.  He ran in the snow, followed animal tracks, and watched as I collected wood.  He had an outdoor adventure and we didn’t make it more than 100 yards from my back door.  Outdoor activities don’t need to be complicated.  Get outside and your kids will find ways to entertain themselves.

Unfortunately, many kids never have the opportunity. Here is a quote from the National Wildlife Federation site:

American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades, taking a mental and physical toll on today’s kids. The negative impact of decreased time outdoors includes a doubling of the childhood obesity rate — accompanied by an incremental hundred billion dollar cost to our health care system — as well as declining creativity, concentration and social skills.

Parents have the power to curb these alarming statistics.  Your children will follow your lead.  Get up, get outside, and promote a healthy and active lifestyle.  It doesn’t take anything other than the willingness to get up and get involved. And if you can’t get outside because of the weather, find something fun to do indoors.   My kids can turn a few balloons into an hour of fun.  They hit the balloons into the air, chase them down to catch, kick, throw, etc.

Once again, children don’t need elaborate toys for entertainment.  More often than not, they just want to get up and move.  Foster this interest rather than ignoring it with unlimited access to electronic media.

Let a kid be a kid, the way nature intended…


Farms For The Future

Following two recent posts on food production (The Future of Food and Food, Inc.), I’ve received several emails with additional viewing suggestions.  There have also been comments posted within each of the original entries.

Farms for the Future has been mentioned a few times, so I figured it would be worthwhile to embed the full video within the blog.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Viddler video.

For those interested, the video is also available on Youtube.  Part I can be found here.

And please note that I’m not posting these videos to scare anyone, but I do think it is important to know how and where our food is produced.

In terms of nutritional strategies and ideas, I am all for simplicity.  As stated within a past entry:

My nutritional strategy is very simple. I eat real food (ex. fruits, veggies, fish, meat, etc.) when I’m hungry, and I don’t eat any artificial and/or processed junk. That’s it. I have better things to do with my time than counting how much of this or that nutrient has been consumed in this or that meal. My ancestors did pretty well without calculating zones and nutrient ratios on the abacus, so I see no reason to change. I never get sick, recover quickly from training, and feel good throughout the day. If it isn’t broken, I see no reason to fix it. Find what works for you. That’s the best nutritional advice I ever heard, so now I’m giving it to you.

In the words of Confucius,

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

Amazingly, despite originating a few thousand years ago, the statement above is still as true as ever.


The Future of Food

Following a recent entry on the movie Food Inc., a reader of the site recommended another film (The Future of Food).  I’ve finally got around to watching the entire film.  If you enjoyed Food, Inc., I’m sure you will enjoy this one as well.  An introduction to the film is provided below:

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You can watch the entire film on (for free).  A direct link is provided below:

The Future of Food




Fostering An Active Lifestyle

As a father of two, I’m amazed at how physically active children are by nature. My three year old son would play outside all day if we let him. He loves to run, jump, climb, wrestle, ride his bike, hit the bag, and throw the ball.

He often tags along at the gym and keeps himself busy by making up his own games and “moves” (as he calls them). When it is time to pack up and leave, he does his best to delay the exit. He always looks to extend the gym stay by a few more minutes.

My 15 month old daughter is following closely in his footsteps. One of the first things she wanted to do after learning to walk was put on her brother’s gloves and hit the punching bag. She was obsessed with her big brother’s gloves. My wife and I finally broke down and bought her a pair to help keep the peace.

She now brings the gloves and mitts to me. She smiles and laughs as she plays with them. And just like her big brother, she too is sad when it’s time to put them away. I’ve learned to distract her when it is time to clean up, otherwise she would keep the gloves on all day.

Lead By Example

I am not writing this entry to suggest that we push our kids to become champion athletes. If my kids want to play sports when they are older, I will support them, just as I’ll support them if they want to play the piano instead. I will never push them towards something they don’t enjoy.

Yet based on my own observations, it is clear that children imitate their parents. Their view of normalcy is based on what they encounter each day at home. I happen to be in the business of training fighters. My kids have seen fighters training here, and at the gym since day one. They are surrounded by a gym scene. It is both normal and fun to them. I first bought my son boxing gloves so he would stop taking dirty gloves out of the gym. He wanted to imitate what he saw around him. My daughter now imitates her big brother.

When my son was two, I asked him what he wanted for Christmas. He asked for a pull-up bar. Initially, I thought I misunderstood what he had said. But in fact he wanted a bar to imitate what he saw at the gym. Almost a year later, my son and daughter both pull at my leg to ask for a turn on the bar. We can’t get upstairs without one of them asking.

My kids find these physical activities enjoyable. I’ve never asked or pushed them to do anything. Kids by nature do what is fun. They will not actively do something that they do not enjoy. It is their nature to seek out and do what they find fun.


As a parent, it is my responsibility to prepare my children for the world around them. I don’t care whether they participate in sport or not, but it is important to foster physical, mental, and social development.

Unfortunately, many parents seem to believe their responsibility ends in the bedroom. I’ve met parents whose idea of entertaining their children is to sit them in front of the television. They don’t want to be bothered playing with their kids. They are too busy to play, yet oddly enough find time to update Facebook, track their favorite sporting teams, and keep up with their favorite television shows.

How do kids go from laughing and playing at the park to becoming sedentary, overweight teens and adults? It certainly isn’t natural. By nature, humans were born to move. Unfortunately, as children grow older, they are often encouraged to do otherwise. It’s easier to plop your kid in front of the TV as opposed to taking him outside to ride his bike or throw the ball.

Clearly, there are other causative factors, but the inactivity of our children is without question a contributor to the continuously increasing rate of adult obesity. Consider the link below for some recent statistics:

The Cost of Treating Obesity

It is sad to think that children who by their own accord would gladly run around all day will eventually become overweight adults. All too often parents look elsewhere for solutions, rather than taking a moment to ponder their own responsibilities. No one is more responsible for a child than the parents. It isn’t the responsibility of the school or government to develop a healthy child. Parents must take it upon themselves. The ability to freely move and enjoy the world around is something that all kids should enjoy. No parent should deprive their children of this simple pleasure.

We as parents need to take it upon ourselves to foster an active lifestyle for our children. Making time for active play is the most enjoyable part of my day. I wouldn’t trade those smiles for anything in the world.

I’m amazed at what many consider to be such a complex topic (ex. childhood obesity) is actually so easy to correct.  The first step is for parents to begin leading from the front.  Is that really too much to ask?  I can’t think of anything more important (to me) than my children and their health.  How could any parent think differently of their own children?

Parents need to wake up and take matters into their own hands.  They must put their children first and stop making excuses about what the world owes them.   They should instead worry about what they owe their children.


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