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Homeschool Crew Review: Nutrition 101: Choose Life!

 

So often I hear about how North Americans harm themselves by their food choices.  Although our family has always eaten quite nutritiously,  there are many ways in which I could improve our family’s nutrition.  Some of them I’m not prepared to get involved with.  Yet.  Some I even scoff at.  For now.

 

I think all thoughtful food preparers share this opinion.  We’re doing the best we can within the time, energy, money, taste bud, and knowledge constraints we have.  Besides, there are so many contradictory opinions out there that it is hard to know what is best. 

 

But, say you were to find out a bit more.  Say your family discovered a few sensible, manageable ideas that would improve everyone’s health for the rest of their lives.  Would that be worth it?  Read on and see if the course Nutrition 101: Choose Life!  could work for your family.

 

 

Summary

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is a huge course in nutrition, using anatomy as a springboard for discussing healthy and unhealthy food options.  The purpose of this curriculum is to help entire families, including little ones and parents, “understand that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that food — good and bad — does affect the body.”   Tasty recipes are included.

 

 

Details

Available both as a ‘real’ book and a CD-ROM, this 448 page curriculum explores the human body in six units:

 

1) The Brain and Nervous System

2) The Digestive System

3) The Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory, and Visual Systems

4) The Skeletal and Muscular Systems

5) The Cardiovascular and Immune Systems

6) The Endocrine System and Emotions

 

Each system is described in four detailed chapters, with information about the nutrients and foods that are beneficial to that particular system.  Both healthy foods as well as problem foods are listed.  At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions, a list of activities for elementary and secondary students, and a list of additional resources, usually web sites. For anyone interested in background information, footnotes are included in the course.

 

Each chapter also includes a relevant recipe with cooking-related activities for both elementary and secondary students.  Every four chapters, there are additional recipes, all healthy of course.  Some of the recipes, such as Super Tonic, Onion and Garlic Poultice, and Electrolyte drinks are beyond the scope of conventional recipe books.  Most of the recipes, however, are for healthy versions of everyday foods: soups, salads, baking, casseroles, veggies, pizza, snacks, and even desserts.  We’ve not yet tried many of the recipes, but most of them look yummy.

 

The appendices are filled with much information about topics as diverse as How to Select Fresh Produce, Mould, Spices for Good Health, Sleep, and Kitchen Safety.  Also included are many nutritional charts.

 

Nutrition 101:  Choose Life! can be used as a solid high school health course, as well as a major supplement to biology and home economics courses.  As a more casual family study, it can be enjoyed by all ages since the activities vary from toddler level to adult, and everyone can enjoy the recipes.  In order to make it easy to implement, the course includes an introductory section titled “Getting Started” that helps a parent schedule chapter activities and that addresses the problem of picky eaters.

 

 

How We’re Using It

After reading the 448 pages of this course, I am pleased with what I learned, and excited to be able to share the information with my children.  My older children are assigned one chapter a week as part of their schoolwork.  They do a few of the activities, and we all enjoy food based on the chapter.  The younger children will start this course once they are finished their current project.  We plan to make it a year-long study and will try to incorporate note booking with it for the little ones. 

 

I printed out the table of contents, the activity and recipe pages, the answers to the activities, and some of the appendices, and put them in a three-ring binder with dividers for each chapter.  The book itself is much nicer to read on the computer than printed because of the lovely full-color pictures.

 

As for the recipes, most of the seven cooks (ages 7 to 45) in our household are recipe tweakers.  We constantly adjust recipes to eliminate gluten, reduce sweetening, reduce the cost, and make do with what we have on hand.  Obviously we’re adjusting the recipes in this course as well.  We eliminate the gluten and substitute for the occasional expensive ingredient, making healthy gluten-free recipes that fit our budget. 

 

When the children have finished the course, I’m sure I’ll still be looking up information and recipes as needed.  For us this course is a practical health guide as well as part of our curriculum.

 

 

Our Opinions and Those of Others

Initially, I balked at the idea of using and reviewing this course.  Not that I had any choice, but I felt we were doing the best we could, nutrition-wise, in our current situation.

 

Now I am thankful that I had this project handed to me.  We have some new super-healthy recipes.  I have a better understanding of the different kinds of fats.   We have made (or planned) a few easy changes to our family’s lifestyle: eating yoghurt regularly, sanitizing toothbrushes, eating more veggies (and we already eat a lot), and eating more fish (yum, we love fish).  Also, I’ve discovered helpful material in the appendices about herbs, spices, cleaners, and mould removers. And when I’m ready to learn and do more, the book is there, waiting for me.

 

Although we’re a health-oriented family, a few of the concepts in this course struck me as going just a bit too far. Other concepts did not go far enough, and many were just what we were ready for.

 

I’m sure most families will have a similar response.  Depending where your family is on the healthy eater-unhealthy eater continuum, you may find the book too extreme, or you may be comfortable with the entire thing and be able to use it as is.  If your family is facing a life-altering health issue, this book is definitely a helpful resource and it is recommended for anyone who needs to learn more about healthy eating and living.

 

Look at the sample pages  to see if Nutrition 101:  Choose Life! would be helpful for your family. Also check out the video to see how some other families reacted to this course in a coop setting.

 

 

As a curriculum, this course is very pricey.  We’re using it as a health guide as well as a curriculum, and in that case it’s an investment in reduced health costs.  If I would have had to buy the course, I probably wouldn’t have, initially. After working with it, however, I’m convinced that Nutrition 101:  Choose Life! will easily pay for itself within a year in reduced health-related costs.

 

Unfortunately, this book, like many other self-published books, would have benefitted from more diligent editing.  The authors are thankful to be told about the typos, which will be eliminated in future editions.  That being said, the content is good and thorough and, though I’m no expert, I found no discrepancies in it.  

  

To access reviews by other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew, please visit the Crew blog.

 

 

Purchasing Information

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is available from the Growing Healthy Homes website. The CD-ROM costs $79.95 US, the book costs $99.95 US, and both together cost $129.95 US.

 

Disclosure Policy:   I received this course for free in order to review it as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew.

2 Comments

  1. jenn4him says:

    That sounds a lot like the nutrition class I had to take in college!

    Jenn

  2. AnnieKate says:

    Wow!

    Well, I don't think this book is quite college level, but if a teen did all of the research activities and really understood the anatomy, it could be a good start.

    Annie Kate

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