Corn Queen part 3 of 3 by Child Grower A. Woz

caeltiptoegeraniumfeetSo I have to confess that strong, healthy buns were on my mind.

I was walking the aisles of the grocery store, picking up, putting down, picking up, reading, putting down. Over and over.

My youngest was dancing up and down the aisle with one foot on the lowest shelf the other other on the floor, and hopping up and down the length of the metal shelf. He asked what I was doing and I told him I was looking for some buns that did not have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in them.

He watched me for a few seconds and resumed his lopsided loping entertainment.

After I could not find a single set of six (or eight) buns without the ingredient I was trying to avoid,  I paused for a moment and did the V-8 head slap with the palm of my hand.

I was in the aisle looking for a nutritious bun that I was going to fill with a HOTDOG!

OMG, I was out of my mind. Who cares what the bun is made of, take a look at the DOG!

So, laughing out loud at myself,  I shook off the impulse to look around and see who was judging my inappropriate behavior in the adult world and left the aisle with a very unhealthy bag of buns to stuff these equally unhealthy hot dogs.

So this is my new life with awareness.

I feel like a hypocrite and a fanatic in one body, but I’m feeling like I’m making a dent in my family dinner regimen and that I am ready for the next step.

I’ve purged the bad foods, learned about shopping the outside of the store for simple items packaged without packaging, and I’ve done some comparison tasting with the kids to get them on board with what I’m trying to accomplish. They are reading labels and they are starting to mimic my words and that is making them sound like my mother.  They even have the finger wagging down pat with the words, “You know, you are what you eat!”

So the next step is clearly the CSA. Community Supported Agriculture. Yup, that’s right. Eating real veggies, real food, grown locally and by real people that we are supposed to get to know while they get to grow umpteen varieties of lettuce and potatoes.

I’m loving it. I admit I have belonged to the same CSA for about five years and I have the added bonus that the pick up point is in my friend Karen’s garage. Once a week a big truck rolls up to her garage door, deposits about a hundred (maybe more!) crates of fresh, cleaned, sorted, labeled, counted produce all of which is ripe and ready to eat and the variety from the beginning of the season to the end in October is astounding, delicious and colorful.

And thankfully, it arrives with recipes and identification.

When I started this farm share, I could not recognize turnips, parsnips or celeriac. I had never purchased or prepared kohlrabi, leeks, jicama, soybeans (also known as edemamme) or eggplant. And, I have to confess I have been introduced to fava beans and I have also rejected fava beans.  I can’t love it all! So I trade my fava beans with a fellow farm sharer for her sweet sugar beets.

And with this CSA share we are also invited to the farm. We went to the pea pick one season where essentially families go up and down these beautiful rows of pea stalks carefully staked and stringed to stand tall.  The farmer has held up a fat plump pea pod (so we know what to put in the collection bags) and then demonstrates how to unzip the pod from the top and then to discard the zipper and stem and eat the peas right out there in the fields.

We pick 6 lbs for the farmer and get to take 3 lbs home. While my children are picking, I hear one tell the other, I’m going to help this farmer get all of her peas picked even if it makes my fingers bleed. She’s clearly dedicated to doing her share!

And sure enough, while in the fields, my kids eat the peas, taste testing straight from the vines. We declare the peas our favorite veggie and no one stops eating the fat fresh peas while the baskets are emptied, the peas are weighed and handed over to our CSA farmers and we load up for the drive home.  We arrive at our destination with almost nothing to show for our afternoon of picking, but have mastered the skill of unzippering and happy tummy making.

I took the liberty of signing up for a Fruit Share this time, too. Three families will split a weekly delivery of ripe, local fruits from farms all over the state and we’ve made a deal to get together to learn about freezer jams, canning and pie making. I think I’ll have to ask my mother to come and teach us these forgotten skills. Isn’t that sad that store-bought has become so easy that we have lost our skills in preserving and with that, abandoned our taste buds to mushy processed, additive and preservative filled fruit that we have accepted as both delicious and just as nutritionally safe and sound as what Grandma put on her pantry shelves?

But not all Grandma’s would agree with me on that point. The store bought time savings really was freeing for parents. No more hours in the kitchen with hot jars and mason lids, no more juggling a garden with a job.  No more need for pickling and processing and pure hard work around a kitchen table with the kids snapping beans and the Aunt blanching the corn and then cutting the bumpity rows for freezing. No more blue enamel canners and no more jelly sitting on the counter waiting for the pop of the lids to show they were safely sealed.

I guess I don’t want to go back to that, either but I’ll settle for somewhere in the middle- in the middle of a CSA farm field, the middle of a forkful of real food, in the middle of an incredibly tasty tomato.  This is where I’m happy to be.

### A. Woz.

Recipe Day- Creamy White Chili – from Child Grower A. Woz

mtolivegraduationgirlfeetI take no credit at all for this absolutely delicious recipe.

I am simply passing it along.

Today, someone asked me for a good chicken chili recipe and I offered to share this one.  I have to admit, posting recipes might be something you will find more often on my blog.

You should know, that I believe that when I meet people, I take a little bit of them away with me.  For some, a recipe will be one of the few things that connects me with them for years and years.

Admit it- we lead busy lives. We pursue many goals. We get sidetracked from friends and acquaintances over a lifetime. 

I do not have the ability to keep up with all the wonderful people that I meet, but I think of them often when I’m cooking.  A recipe, cooked at home for my family or for a book club night or shared just like this, is a way to remember all the best parts of those friendships and a way of unwrapping the gifts they may not have even known they gave.

This chicken chili recipe was given to me by a woman who had a daughter in the same preschool class as my middle girl.  She brought it to a potluck.  I was new to the pre-school community and I didn’t know many of the families but this recipe helped me meet someone who taught me that women can balance their faith and retain a sense of style and independence.

Before I met this creamy chili, I had never imagined bringing a crock of soup to share at a potluck but it made complete sense that evening. This is an easy recipe to put together and whether it is served out of cups with a spoon at a gathering or served at home with a warm crusty bread on the side, it is one that you will want to make over and over. 

Spring is around the corner, but until then, rainy, dreary, wind-blown days serve only one purpose- they give the excuse to make and eat one last meal of soup!

Thank you to Nancy J.  for this recipe and for your quiet acceptance and gratitude that inspires me when I hear you talking about the graces that shape your life. I love your very realistic view of mothering, your sense of humor and your ability to make time for yourself and your hubby in this busy world we share with such magical children. You – and your chili- are an inspiration.

Creamy White Chili (handwritten on a recipe card that says, Live Simply)

1 lb. boneless, skinless Chicken breast, cut into 1/2 in cubes

1 med. Onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp Garlic powder

1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

2 cans (15.5 oz each) great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained.

1 can (14 1/2 oz) Chicken broth

2 cans (4 oz each) chopped Green Chilies

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp gr. Cumin

1 tsp dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Pepper

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 c. (8 oz) Sour Cream

1/2 c. Whipping Cream

In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink.  Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 mins.  Remove from the heat, stir in sour cream and cream.  Serve immediately and think of Nancy J.

Yield 7 servings.

###  posted by Child Grower Annita Woz.

A Refocusing by Child Grower A. Woz

seenoevilRight in the middle of watching the best Disney channel repeat ever, a shocking thing happened. The house went completely still. Power outage.

Some powerline crisscrossing the star filled night sky of this rural town, had been forced down, by the weight of the ice and the winds that chilled and convinced even the heartiest of the winter loving natives to abandon activities and bundle up with family while gathered around a fireplace stocked with logs split by someone who still considered necessary workout equipment to be an axe instead of a lanyard with an access card to the local gym. 

No hummm of the DVD player, no squeaking of the fan on the computer, no bubbling sound from the fish tank, just complete silence.

In a way it was a beautiful refocusing. A rare opportunity to rethink life as we know it and a wake up call to never take for granted the busy expectations that come with the sounds and of the electric world that shapes what we do and how we communicate every day.

One little guy, sharply interrupted from his tired play-worn stare into the television that was preparing him for dozing in his bed, groped his way across the living room to reach his mom.  She was speaking softly, soothing and steady,  completely opposite the broadcast that he had been watching,  and she was calling with outstretched arm and a steady voice that met him halfway. She drew him close to her hip and together, they babystepped across the room to the junk drawer, which thankfully, had been emptied of most of the junk due to a Grandma’s visit the previous weekend.

Several tiny flashlights were recognized by fingertip touch and handed to tiny hands seeking light and perspective in a small cozy home that now seemed larger than a field ready to be plowed and planted with some farmer’s grain of choice, his livelihood, his bargain with mother nature for his temporary earthly needs.

The flashlights were lit and then the candles were found, and scattered in important places like kitchens and bedrooms, the places where people find themselves when they seek the comfort of others and peace from the demands of the world that lives outside of a home’s walls- the walls that create the family routines, the order, the protection from the intrusions of the world, the creation of the separate world that is borrowed and controlled for a short time by living beings pretending to be masters of this supply and demand universe.

In stillness, the decorative candles and wicks were lit not for their scent but for their flickering flame and ability to cast the darkest shadows to the far walls and light up the eyes of small children as they began to see the simplicity of an evening determined by togetherness instead of the remote. The matches were carefully tucked into their space in the farthest of cupboards, hiding from little hands, these unnecessary tools that had been replaced by the light switch, abandoned except for silent nights like this one.

No phones, no Facebook, no American Idol tonight. And with the stillness, each could now feel the weight of a busy day inside foggy heads and could recognize the call of their tired limbs that needed a bed or a book. 

Singing softly, one of the girls made up a song and its tune felt right, better than any new hit on the radio, lulling everyone toward pillows and blankets and the sweet slumber that comes with all members of the family sharing one big bed. Limbs and teddy bears, long hair and pointy elbows, all nudged and jostled their way into cocoons of warmth and silence. A little dog jumped up on the monkey pile and turned its three circles before settling into the crook of a little leg and everyone yawned through the blessings and gratitude that were a part of the words for the letting go of the day. 

The glow of the candle was safely put to sleep without even a birthday song and the obligatory wish before the puff of air.  It had served its purpose, had lit up the land that this family called home, had done more than add ambiance, had done its duty.

The family all sighed, turned or squiggled a few more times, some held a tiny hand in a large one, tucked a fleece under a chin, stroked a cheek of a growing girl, patted that mop of hair that crowned the youngest adventurer.

A satisfied smile played across the face of the oldest daughter, originally reluctant to give up her late night computer game, she accepted the change and resorted to counting the deep breaths of her father who lay already sleeping, his body making the new sounds of the night, the sound of safety she took for granted whenever waking before the birds or the dogs wanted to start the next day.

Without a need for padding down the stairs or crawling into his safe daddy arms, she had been made aware, during this night of no light, the true sounds of her little world, the security of relying on her own little family.  United in darkness with scores of children, across the globe, who trust that bedtime begins with the setting of the sun, who know that the learning starts with the dawn of the next day, she realized she would not be called to the morning by her buzzing alarm, now silenced but blinking in the darkness.

She sighed before drifting off, almost ready to forgo the dreaming, so much was she looking forward to the bright sunshine blazing through this darkness.  She knew she would squeeze her eyes tightly against its warming wake up call and then steal the last snooze, but would then give in to the golden morning sun, throw the covers back and bounce herself out of the night and into the new day. 

### A. Woz – Child Grower.

Corn Queen part 2 of 3 by Child Grower: Annita Woz

avacadofeetMy husband has taken to calling me the Corn Queen after my subsequent manic food label reading frenzy.

Part 1 of this series covered Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and a bookclub discussion where I learned all about corn.  I mean, Pollan’s book had me thinking about farming, subsidies, corn-fed cows which become corn-filled meat and I had pondered, but turned quickly away from the idea, that I might have to give up the typewriter style eating fest of deliciously yellow summer sweet corn.

I also learned that essentially, the addition of corn in some form of processed sugar or as a staple in the diet of the animals we consume has successfully put to use all the corn over-production that is going on across the U.S.  I love farmers but this might be a stretch even for me to support this corn crazed dietary system.

I learned about corn filled food creations like yogurt, bread and cereal which I didn’t think contained corn until reading the ingredient labels and seeing all the versions of corn syrup that make the convenient food world go’round.

I hadn’t recognized that corn can be listed on the ingredients label as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) or plain corn syrup and often it is called other things like sucrose, dextrose, fructose and many more, unpronounceable, unnaturally created ingredients.

Mostly, the lesson in Part 1 of the Corn Free post, was about recognizing the need to provide food for our growing children from sources that are nutrient dense and simple foods that are delicious because they are fresh and not processed, packaged or prepared with 10+ tablespoons of sugar. The interview with Barbara Stitt’s formerly of Natural Ovens, educated me on the concept that Plain Jane style food is delicious, affordable and will promote well behaved kids because they feel good fueled with real food.

I began at home. Home is where the heart disease is. I tossed boxes into the trash if the label listed high fructose corn syrup or plain old corn syrup near the top of the ingredient list. I cold not believe where I was finding it either- in tomato soup! in bread! in ketchup! in my half-and- half! What was shocking was how little remained in the cupboard after the purging.  Stitts had warned me that not only was I eliminating unwanted sugars, but I was also tossing additives, food dyes, preservatives, hydrolyzed this, stabilized that and the odd container of may-or-may-not-contain-one-or-more-of-the-following in the ingredient list.  

I imagine these ingredients may someday be linked to behavioral issues, attention issues, emotional disorders and I know they have already been linked to increased rates of childhood obesity and diabetes in children.   

The Corn Queen’s first test was to take the real eaters in the house and turn them into guinea pigs to test whether feeding them good food could result in good behavior at school. I sent my kids to school with carrots that still had their greens attached, the tail root still showing, no chopping or peeling required and clearly labeled organic in the grocery aisle.  I did manage to run them under water and get the dirt off of them but you know when I was a girl, I just pulled them out of the garden and wiped the dirt off on the front of my shirt and ate them. Sorry Dad, we did not have that many rabbits…yes, I stole many carrots from the well-weeded rows and confess I may have been HFCS avoider way back then. 

So, you know what I’m talking about, right- the carrots that still have the two foot long green leafy stem part attached that usually gets cut off after pulling them out of the ground and before a big machine chops up the full size carrots into the stubby ones that they get away with calling baby carrots- all parts were sent in the lunch box.

Yup, reports were filed at the end of the day.  My children told me they enjoyed the carrots and the best part was that they loved whapping each other with the long green stems!

Well, so much for good food eliminating bad behavior problems.  My whole purpose for switching was to get well fed, cooperative kids who not only felt better but behaved better.  But then my daughter said, “They were awesome carrots mom, can you send more tomorrow?”

And while I was at it, this crazy corn queen, maybe I should be the anti-corn queen (?) browsed the upper shelf looking for whole wheat hot dog buns without HFCS.  It took me fully 10 minutes of searching, reading, rejecting, up and down an entire aisle before it hit me. Oh yeah, let’s serve some all natural, high sodium, unidentified processed “meat” dog on a nutrient dense bun! I started laughing out loud at myself right there in Millers.

Well, I still think I might be on to something.

Next week I am going to see what else I spy in the grocery store. I hear going around the outside is best. Produce, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, even meat- all located on the outside wall of the store…focus on the packaging that nature gave it.  Hmmm. I also know I am supposed to read the labels on packages to see if all the ingredients are recognizable.  Real food has very few ingredients actually and the ones on the list should also be things that I would already have at home like flour (not bleached but whole wheat) and plain old sugar (not corn syrup or hfcs or sugar substitutes ) and milk and eggs (not partially hydrogenated anything).  I had been told that buying fresh automatically eliminates ingredients like additives and preservatives. Could it be this simple?

The next biggest change I made was to chuck the syrup. First ingredient, HFCS. I was mortified. Here I was making pancakes, cornbread, waffles, all from scratch and then I had been pouring the HFCS-potentially-mercury-laden liquid gold all over them. Then I saw the price of real maple syrup and did a double take. We compromised on two less expensive bottles of maple syrup- one that is half honey and one that has cane sugar instead of corn syrup and one jug of the pure stuff. Taste tests on waffles were planned for Monday’s breakfast.

The jury is still out on whether this is truly a choice that a fresh HFCS spying Corn Queen needs to make because now my kids love the real mapley flavored syrup and won’t go back to the bargain stuff.  My husband… not so much. But then I don’t worry about his emotional state or his behaviors. Why try and change him when I know I can at least save the children and the Corn King will still be the kind of guy who can eat whatever he wants because truthfully, he already knows that daily exercise might be more beneficial than just eating in fear of the label.

Has anyone tried this kind of  ’round the outside of the store grocery shopping? Anyone tried this kind of searching for real food? Anyone noticed how your kids are behaving or if they are feeling differently at all?

Next week, Part 3. The eggs or the chicken.

Thousands of Sex Offenders on MySpace! by Annita Woz

Due to the nature of this post, no pictures are posted with today’s blog.

A recent CNN reports states that 2,000+ sex offenders from North Carolina are registered users on the popular social networking site MySpace.com.  MySpace was ordered to turn over the names to officials and Facebook was also asked to do the same. 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with MySpace or Facebook here’s the skinny. Both are Internet sites where users can post information and pictures about themselves and allow other people on the site to view those pictures and read posted information like interests and education, when approved as a “friend”.  Some users have more than 500 friends and it is a common to compete to have the most. 

Though the rules include age verification, many younger than 18 are on these sites with or without parental permission.  Heck, I know many parents who are on, who have allowed teens to sign up as well,  and then have “friended”  their kids for the sole purpose of keeping an eye on them. Clearly this contradicts all parenting advice that we should not be our child’s friend but we do live in a technology age and perhaps this is part of it?

I actually cannot think of a better way for a sexual predator, a pedophile even, to troll for information on children or vulnerable adults since many users are unaware of or forget to use the built in security cautions that can block access to private information. Would users find these social networking sites fun or interesting if everyone limited posts to simple and safe commentary? Probably not.

Sexual predators typically target and plan acts of abuse. They are patient, persistent and often obsessed with those they are pursuing.  After identifying a victim, the predator, who sometimes poses online as a teenager, tries to develop a relationship that will ultimately become sexual.

Add this personality profile to thousands of unsuspecting, invincible, young technology users operating on social networking sites and you have a recipe for very unsafe situations. 

Worse, the loopholes in the law prevent authorities from prosecuting these registered sexual offenders.  In Florida for example, “The language of the Florida law says it is illegal to use a computer for soliciting, seducing or luring a child for sexual contact to a minor who resides “in this state.” That means a suspect, can communicate with a minor outside Florida and not be tried on state charges.

Officials at the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (in Florida) are working to get an amendment to the statute that would either eliminate those words or add the phrase “any other state.”

I can’t think of any other loophole that should be closed faster- nationwide- than this one.  

I’ve seen phone numbers, email addresses, street addresses and cell phone numbers posted for all to see. Sometimes the user profile gives information on where people work and more.  I have seen members post a phone number and tell their friends to call them so they can get together. When I asked a college student why she was posting her cell phone number on the site she said, they have my whole name on the page already and can easily look up my address and phone number anyway.  Good point, but why make it any easier than it is? Beyond that logic, I was at a loss for how to deter her from doing this again.

How do parents handle social networking sites and what do you tell your children about security and safety on these kinds of sites? 

### by Annita Woz for Empowering Parents March 10, 2009.

Obama on Homework by Annita Woz

cobipedalsatstinasfeetTuesday night, February 24, 2009, President Obama addressed Congress in his first State of the Nation address. He outlined the three key areas of focus for his upcoming budget and one of the goals was education reform. His clearly called on responsible parenting as a necessary part of making education reform a success. And then he mentioned the word my kids dread – yup, homework.

“These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. I speak to you not just as a president, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children’s education must begin at home. ”

I just don’t know how the President is going to manage that for his two girls and hold down a job and prop up the economy,  but he seems like the kind of guy who says what he means, so I imagine his house would be included in this effort.  

In families where mom and dad both work and children are signed up for after-school activities the family dinner is often served in the van in transit.  There isn’t much time left for homework after dinner, heck there isn’t much time for dinner around a kitchen table, either. 

In our school, each child has assigned homework almost every night.  This is not just the work that didn’t get finished in class time, this is actual work that has to be done outside of school before the next day.  Sometimes my daughter has enough homework to keep her busy for more than an hour in the evening. And if one of my kids is dealing with a focusing problem homework time can seem like it lasts forever!

Parents in our school have mixed feelings on homework.  Some believe that there is too much homework and not enough time for fun in our stressed out children’s lives. Others simply believe that homework is busywork and kids don’t learn a thing from having to juggle homework with home time.

Obama’s education reform included a stern warning that dropping out of school is no longer acceptable.  Additionally, he asked that all adults get at least one additional year of school or vocational training after high school, and he expects that by 2020 we will have the highest rates of college completion in the world.

Parental responsibility is part of President Obama’s equation for a strong economy.  So, I wonder who is doing the homework with the Obama kids at the White House and how much homework after dinner is necessary to help advance the President’s educational reform goal in the U.S.?

### A. Woz.

Corn Queen 1 of 3: Corn-free Meal No Easy Task by Annita Woz

chickenlittle-feet1It all began with my bookclub that meets on Thursday nights.

This time around we read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, considered light reading for the two food scientists in the group. The appalling revelation in the book is how much corn is a part of our diet as well as the diet of the animals we eat and a main ingredient (in its various forms) in the processed foods that we eat.

I admit, I learned just enough to be considered dangerous.

The bookclub host served up a corn-free meal for the group (no easy task) and I had a lengthy conversation with a member who lives in the city and raises chickens for their fresh eggs.

One bookclubber confessed that she was going to start feeding her dog a raw diet – just fresh, natural people food- because she had learned that most kibble has ingredients that can cause skin problems and allergies in dogs.

That’s when I realized she was feeding her dog better than I was feeding my children!

So when EP editor Elisabeth Wilkins blogged on the mercury found in high fructose corn syrup (hfcs) it dawned on me that maybe I should not have pooh-poohed all the talk about washing the pesticides off my produce and should not have rolled my eyes all these years at all my granola-head friends that were buying grass-fed beef from a local farmer.

I was not convinced that I had to change a thing, until-sure enough- there it was – three EP forum parents posts had comments like, “the school reported that my child’s behavior was worse after lunchtime.”

Behavior and bad food– there really is a link?

So I’m reading labels like a lunatic. My kids are reading labels. My husband is quizzing me on the food in the fridge, testing me to see if I know what does and doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it. I’m finding some form of corn in yogurt, my bread, in my ice cream. My worries are taking on a life of their own! I don’t need a therapist, I need a nutritionist.

So, I put a phone call in to a couple who had published a link between good food and good behavior. They worked for 30 years documenting their results and training schools and parents how to get the same results. Their approach reduced behavior outbursts to nearly zero in the school where Barbara Stitts worked and the test results and followup research is featured in the hit movie Supersize Me.

(Editor’s Note:  Paul Stitts passed away in 2009. Our condolences to his wife Barbara and our never-ending gratitude to this couple and their work on behalf of children.)

Barbara Stitts, currently retired, worked as a probation officer and is a nutritionist. Her work with school lunch programs has taken her all over the world. Her husband Paul, a biochemist, founded Natural Ovens Bakery and the Stitts’ program tested and documented a link between providing nutritious food for lunch and successfully reducing behavior problems in Appleton, Wisconsin schools.

Though they no longer own Natural Ovens Bakery, they still promote feeding students good foods that make them feel good and behave better. Together this educated and dedicated couple make some excellent arguments about how fresh nutritioius food is actually cheaper than buying processed convenience foods. The administrators of those Wisconsin schools agree that it was cheaper to feed the students healthy food than to pay the costs of handling repeated student outbursts or removing a student from school for behavior related problems.

Barbara Stitts believes that with the current focus on the environment that parents are recognizing the value of fresh food and families dealing with shrinking grocery budgets find that eating a fresh food has no hidden costs. Paul Stitts reminded me that in Supersize Me the budget was $27.00 a day to eat at McD’s and that every family can buy plenty of real food for less. Paul added that the food we are putting into our children’s bodies is killing them and healthy school lunches with nutrient dense food can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity in our children. I had to agree he had a good point there.

Stitts suggested parents buy food that comes in the package nature gave it- no boxes, no cans, no packaging required- and this will also help families avoid food dyes, additives, preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients that someday may be revealed as links to current childhood diseases and behaviors.

Hmm. Could I do this, on a budget? Could I get my school to try this? If I sent simple fresh food in the lunchbox, would my children eat it? Would they feel good and therefore be able to concentrate better? Barbara Stitts says, Yes! What do you think?

Annita Woz

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