The purpose of the Kids and Climate Change Class was to educate kids about aspects of climate change, and then empower them with information so that they know that what they do to help matters. This happened while they learned how to make Minestrone Soup with Farro. Kids always enjoy cooking, and love knife skills. They especially loved eating their delicious, nutritious soup at a communal table. Such a great class!
These tips are appropriate for kids and adults, although the ‘watch your caffeine/alcohol/smoking’ tips are (hopefully) only needed by adults.. Teenagers are particularly interested in healthy, clear skin. These healthy skin tips will make body and skin healthier. Perfect!
Wintertime is notorious for leaving people with dry, chapped skin, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some easy tips for healthier skin.
In the nutrition world the mantra is: if all else fails, support your liver. Your liver, like your skin, is a detoxifying organ and the average person tends to abuse the liver with too much alcohol, caffeine and toxins. So, begin your day with a glass of warm lemon water, which is alkalinizing in your body. Simply squeeze a half (or a whole) lemon into a glass of water and your liver will love you. Before you get into the shower, exfoliate your skin. Use a soft, natural fiber brush with a long handle and brush dry skin up from your feet and down from your shoulders towards your heart. Do not brush varicose veins or damaged skin. Dry brushing not only removes dead skin, but also improves circulation, which helps to remove toxins. As toxins will be released and removed, it is important that your bowels are clear, so the toxins can be removed and not reabsorbed. If you are constipated, work on alleviating that problem.
A nice hot shower or bath feels wonderful in the winter, but is also drying for your skin. Reduce the temperature of your water and if you can stand it, finish your shower with cool water. Speaking of temperature, forced-air heat is drying as well. Reduce the heat in your home and wear extra clothing – natural fibers are best. Your skin will be thankful as will your heating bill. Pat your skin dry, and then rub lotion (no toxins in the lotion please!) all over your body. Occasionally rub your scalp and hair with olive or coconut oil and let sit for a few minutes before rinsing off. Your hair will be shiny and beautiful.
Your skin is a product of what you put in your mouth. Staying hydrated with eight glasses of pure water a day is imperative for a healthy body and skin. Alcohol, caffeine and acidifying foods are dehydrating and should be limited. Smoking is very damaging for body and skin, and should be avoided.
Free radicals are a natural part of your body’s metabolic function. Consuming processed foods, exposure to toxins, and unhealthy habits such as smoking, causes free radicals to increase to dangerous levels damaging our body and skin. Antioxidants are free-radical scavengers and help protect the body from damage. The best way to ensure adequate intake of antioxidants is through a balanced diet consisting of 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruit per day.
Essential fatty acids are responsible for healthy cell membranes, and protect us from the same inflammatory process that can harm our arteries and cause heart disease. The best-known essential fatty acids are omega 6 and omega 3, which must be in balance for good health and good skin. A 1:1 ratio is optimum, but 4:1 is acceptable. Unfortunately most Americans are woefully shy of Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, walnuts, flax seeds and oil.
When oil is commercially processed, high temperatures are used and unhealthy solvents and deodorizers are added to the oil. There is basically no nutritive value and they can actually be damaging to your body and therefore your skin. Use those labeled cold pressed, expeller processed, or extra virgin. Since any fat, even a healthy one, is high in calories, we don’t need more than about two tablespoons a day.
When you consume a balanced diet full of health-supporting vegetables combined with dry brushing, cooler water, and natural lotion, your skin will look and feel much softer and healthier throughout the winter and the rest of the seasons.
Carrot Apple Walnut Muffins
No sugar and non-gluten
These muffins contain stevia, which is the dried powder of the Stevia plant. Be careful to purchase Stevia without artificial sweeteners.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Makes 12 muffins
¼ cup olive or coconut oil
1/3 cup mashed banana
1/8 cup dried stevia See Note: *
1 medium apple, grated
1 cup grated carrot
½ cup milk-dairy or non-dairy, unsweetened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup old fashioned oats- See Note*
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour- See Note*
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
In a large bowl, place the eggs and whisk slightly. Add the mashed banana, stevia, apple, carrot, milk and vanilla and mix well. Next stir in the oats and let sit for 2 minutes. Combine the flour, baking soda and spices and add to the bowl, stirring briefly. Lastly stir in the walnuts and poppy seeds.
Place in well-greased (use olive oil or coconut oil) muffin tins or use muffin tin liner. Even with liners, I recommend greasing the bottom slightly as non-gluten flour seems to stick a bit more than other types of flour. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before trying to remove paper liners.
*Note: Use non-gluten oats if you are making this as a non-gluten recipe. Use non-gluten flour mix or flour made from the ancient wheat, Einkorn. To make this a vegan recipe, use egg substitute and nut milk. If you don’t want to use Stevia, use ¼ cup non-refined sugar such as Sucanat or coconut sugar.
Creativity: Feel free to change spices. Chinese 5-Spice is a nice choice. Perhaps add nutmeg or cardamom. You could use raw almonds instead of walnuts and use almond extract instead of vanilla.
If you’re teaching a class in the winter months and perhaps it’s pouring rain, you might do what we do. Make a nice pot of soup, and while it’s simmering, have the kids stand against the wall, and see who can last the longest. We’ve had many a laugh over this one!
What is physical exercise?
Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. Most experts agree that there are five basic components of fitness:
1) Aerobic Exercise
The definition is the ability to do moderately strenuous activity over a period of time. It reflects how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body during exertion and exercise.
2) Muscular Endurance
This is the ability to hold a particular position for a sustained period of time or to repeat a movement many times. This could be the capability to hold a push-up for five minutes, or to do fifty sit ups.
3) Muscular Strength
The ability to exert maximum force, such as lifting the heaviest weight you can move, one time. It is possible to have muscular strength in one area, say your arms, while lacking the strength in another area such as your legs. Please do not try to lift heavy weights without someone advising you!
This is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion showing the elasticity of the muscle. This is how limber you are.
5) Body Composition
The proportion of fat in your body compared to your bone and muscle.
The above five are the most recognized, but there are other components as well, below.
- Speed – How fast a distance can be traveled, whether it is the whole body or just a part of the body like the hand.
- Power – Is the strength and speed combined, as in a punch, a fist has no power without speed.
- Reaction Time – Amount of time to initiate an action.
- Agility – Ability to move under control.
- Coordination – Ability to synchronize movement of different body parts.
- Static Balance – Ability to balance while not in motion.
- Dynamic Balance – Ability to balance while in motion.
- Fun! If it’s fun for you, you’re more likely to make it part of your lifeMovementWalking, running, climbing the stairs, playing soccer and dancing are all good examples of being active.Moderate physical activities include:
- Walking briskly (about 3 ½ miles per hour)
- Gardening/yard work
- Golf while walking and carrying clubs. Do kids golf?
- Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)
- Light weight training
Vigorous physical activities include:
- Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)
- Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)
- Swimming (freestyle laps)
- Walking very fast (4 ½ miles per hour)
- Heavy yard work, (yeah, right)
- Weight lifting (vigorous effort)
- Basketball (competitive)
Some physical activities are not intense enough to help you meet the recommendations and do not count toward your total exercise. These activities can include grocery shopping and light housework, something kids don’t often do anyway!
Life on a Farm is part of DirectionThree: how our Earth’s health affects our health and vice versa.
Kids love this Life on a Farm lesson. If we teach this in the morning, we might make a veggie scramble with farm fresh eggs. If this is part of a farm tour that’s even better; purchase some goods from the farm and have a no recipe- recipe when you return to class.
Life on a Farm: Then and Now
In the 1930’s, a family farm raised several kinds of animals, selling some and butchering a few to feed their family. Other animals were a source of income and food. Cows provided milk and meat, while chickens provided eggs and meat.
Horses and mules were used to plow, plant and harvest the crops. Tractors were beginning to replace horses, but even by 1940 only 23 percent of the nation’s farmers had tractors. As more farmers traded their horses for tractors, they planted their rows of corn and other crops closer together. Instead of rows that were wide enough for a horse to walk through (42 inches), the rows were 30 inches apart. Production increased.
In 1900, almost all farms – 98 percent – had chickens, 82 percent grew corn for grain, 80 percent had at least one milk cow, and pigs. Most of the farms were diversified, growing multiple crops and raising various animals.
By 1992, only 4 percent of farms reported having chickens, 8 percent had milk cows, 10 percent had pigs and only 25 percent were growing corn.
Grasshoppers were picked by hand in the fall. Farmers used manure from farm animals, gypsum, ground animal bones and crop residue to fertilize their fields.
Today, more than 98 percent of the U.S. farmland planted in corn is chemically fertilized.
Pesticide residues from industrial agriculture enter our bodies through food, water, and air, and they raise risks for certain cancers as well as reproductive and endocrine system disorders
1 billion pounds of pesticides are used per year in the U.S.
35 percent of food is contaminated with pesticides
5 billion pounds of pesticides are used per year worldwide
Federal agricultural programs launched during the 1930s changed how and what farmers planted by paying them to plant certain crops or paying them not to produce a crop at all and allow the land to rest or lie fallow. Farmers who signed up for federal programs agreed to limit the number of acres planted with corn and wheat which depleted the soil, and increased the number of acres with legumes and grasses which helped renew the soil.
Farmers began rotating their crops on a regular basis in the 1930s, but the practice lost popularity as farms got larger and specialized equipment became more expensive and needed to be kept in use. Farmers now concentrate on growing just one crop such as corn, soybeans, or wheat.
In the 1940’s, America entered World War II. More and more farm workers left for the cities or serve in the military, and a tractor became the only way to get things done on the farm. The beginning of the war coincided with the end of the 1930s drought, but farmers remembered the dry years and irrigation systems were built.
There was greater demand for farm products; American farmers were feeding the world. The war effort produced new technologies that revolutionized agriculture and effected urban and rural life. New technology created a dramatic increase in productivity as farmers could do much more work in fewer hours.
- Post-WWII fertilizer production has increased yields, but also nitrogen and phosphorous pollution.
- High resource use (soil, water, energy, etc.)
- Environmental consequences and changes include land and water degradation, pollution by fertilizers and pesticides and soil loss.
- Artificially inexpensive fuel and water
- Agricultural subsidies (the farm bill)
- USDA has dueling roles: To promote U.S. agricultural products and to offer nutrition education.
- Threatened biodiversity
One of the continuing themes of American agriculture in the 20th century was a decline in the number of farms, farmers and rural residents coupled with an increase in farm size and specialization.
In the 1950’s to the 1970’s the number of farm declined by half before leveling off. More farms were consolidated or sold during this period than in any other period in our history. The number of people on farms dropped from over 20 million in 1950 to less than 10 million in 1970. The average size of farms went from around 205 acres in 1950 to almost 400 acres in 1969.
- · In 1900, 41 percent of workforce employed in agriculture
- · In 1930, 21.5 percent of workforce employed in agriculture;
Agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP, 7.7 percent
- · In 1945, 16 percent of the total labor force employed in agriculture;
Agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP, 6.8 percent
- In 1970, 4 percent of employed labor force worked in agricultureSource: Compiled by Economic Research Service, USDA. Share of workforce employed in agriculture, for 1900-1970, Historical Statistics of the United States; for 2000, calculated using data from Census of Population; agricultural GDP as part of total GDP, calculated using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Land in farms peaked in 1950 at 1.2 billion acres. Today, land in farms has dropped to around 0.95 billion acres. Most of the lost farmland was converted to suburban and urban sprawl. However, land that is devoted to actually raising crops has remained relatively constant. In other words, as some farmland is taken out of production, farmers convert other land from pasture or lands once considered marginal for crops into cropland by installing irrigation systems, and applying fertilizers and pesticides.
We all know that kids eat way too much sugar, so at DirectionFive, we encourage healthy eating, with desserts being an occasional treat. When we do have desserts we ‘tweak’ recipes so that they contain healthier ingredients. That said, we don’t beat anyone over the head with a carrot, and kids love to pipe frosting on that beautiful cupcake they made. It’s all about balance.
This delicious cake is full of vegetables.
1/2 cup walnut oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup raw grated carrots
1 cup raw grated zucchini
1/2 cup raw grated beets
1 cup chocolate chips, optional
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13″ pan.
In a large bowl mix the oil, eggs and sugar, beating well with a hand mixer or whisk for 3-4 minutes.
Wash the vegetables well, but there is no need to peel any of them. Grate all the vegetables and set aside. Place the beets in a separate bowl so the other veggies don’t turn pink.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into wet ingredients.
Add shredded carrots, zucchini, beets, chocolate chips and walnuts. Stir until blended and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Béchamel Sauce with Variations
The sauce everyone should know how to make
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup warmed milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch nutmeg, freshly ground, optional
Heat the butter or oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, mixing thoroughly as you go. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in a small amount of milk to form a smooth paste. Continue until all the milk has been whisked in and the sauce is thick. Add sea salt & nutmeg to taste.
Add 1/2 cup grated cheese to 1 cup of hot sauce; stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Season with a little mustard or Worcestershire sauce to taste.
Substitute chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable broth for the milk.
Add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped herbs or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs to 1 cup of hot sauce. Cook for a minute or two longer to get more flavor from the herbs.
Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of heavy cream to the finished sauce. For an onion flavor, add an onion slice to the milk when heating; remove onion slice before adding milk to flour and butter mixture.
Combine 1 teaspoon dry mustard to flour used in sauce. This sauce is especially good with fish and chicken.
We are all biochemical individuals and therefore nutrition information as well as exercise programs and health advice should be altered to suit your particular needs. The intake percentage for fats, carbohydrates and proteins are estimates based on the “average” person of good health. Some people need slightly more protein to feel their best, some need less. An individual with, for instance, diabetes, might consume fewer carbohydrates.
Growing children might require increased protein and good fats, etc. Most food guides use a base of a 2,000-calorie a day diet though an individual’s calorie requirements depends on their stature, level of physical excursion and any health anomalies. Recommended portions are based on this caloric number. Portion sizes have increased dramatically over the past 20 years and a portion of brown rice might now be 1-2 cups, when, for most, it should be 1⁄2 cup. Do be cognizant of your portion sizes.
There are certain constants for all; antioxidants, natural body chemicals that reduce the oxidative damage caused by free-radicals, are necessary for everyone’s health. A free radical is an unstable molecule with an unpaired electron, which can cause oxidative damage to cells or tissues. Antioxidants scavenge and destroy free-radicals and are found in leafy green vegetables such as kale and chard, as well as the carotenes such as carrots, yellow squash and sweet potatoes, etc. Free-radicals are created by such health-diminishing activities as smoking, alcohol consumption and exposure to toxins, to name a few. Vitamin and mineral supplements can be a useful tool to help maintain health and a good-quality multivitamin is recommended to boost anti-oxidant levels and other important nutrients.
A whole food is a foodstuff that is in its natural, unaltered state, unrefined state, i.e., brown rice, not white rice. Whole foods offer the health-supporting nutrients required for optimum health and should be a part of everyone’s diet. Avoid processed foods and consume nutrient-dense whole foods.
The glycemic index is a system, which measures the extent of which various foods raise blood sugar levels. The benchmark is white bread, which has a GI (Glycemic Index) of 100: the higher the score, the greater the extent of the rise in blood sugar. A starchy vegetable such as a potato or yam has a higher GI score than that of a non-starchy vegetable such as kale or spinach. Diets full of high-glycemic foods can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, unhealthy levels of blood fats and possibly adult-on-set diabetes.
Whole-grains, as an example, have a lower GI than their refined counterparts (again, the example of brown rice to white rice) as the fiber in the whole grain slows the absorption of sugar into the system.
Safety and Sanitation:
Before you enter the kitchen, tie your hair back if you have long hair, and if you’re sick, stay out of the kitchen altogether. Next wash your hands in warm, soapy water. If you have any cuts or sores, be sure to cover with a bandage. While you’re in the kitchen, if you sneeze, cough, touch your hair, nose or any other body part, or eat, please wash your hands again. You obviously wash your hands well after you use the restroom. If you handle raw meat or fish, please wash your hands before touching any other food. Ideally your clothes and aprons should be clean.
Here are some very important tips to always keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:
• When you work with food, keep raw foods away from cooked foods.
• Keep food away from cleaning products.
• Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before preparation.
• Rinse off your meats and fish as well, pat dry and leave in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Raw and thawing meats and fish should always be kept on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to avoid dripping and contamination.
• Do not thaw foods at room temperature; thaw in a proper container in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze food after it’s been thawed.
• Food needs to be held at proper temperatures to avoid the growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Stuffed meat and reheated leftovers should be kept at 165 degrees, beef and other hot food, 140 degrees, fish and poultry, 145 degrees and cooked pork, hamburgers and eggs, 155 degrees.
Kitchens can be dangerous places, with sharp equipment and hot stoves! It was my experience when I had my cooking school that, in order of accidents, potato peelers, graters, knives, and hot stoves and ovens, were the major culprits. With some very basic and very important rules, well learned, accidents rarely happen.
A tip for adults working with kids in the kitchen is to try not to hover. I understand the nervousness about watching an eight-year hold with a knife, but hovering only makes them nervous and makes the kitchen a stressful place, when it should be a warm, nurturing place. When they understand basic kitchen safety and the proper use of equipment such as knives, they’ll be fine.
There is one basic rule when working in the kitchen-stay focused on the job at hand! If you are grating or chopping, your eyes are on that knife and cutting board and nowhere else. When this is learned, accidents rarely happen.
A Tip for ‘quick breads’:
Carbon dioxide is necessary for leavening, or causing tiny air pockets in, the pancakes or muffins. Excessive blending of the batter causes early formation and escape of carbon dioxide gas. Over-mixing can overdevelop the gluten (a protein) in the flour. While some of this protein is necessary for the normal texture of pancakes, too much gluten can produce tough, chewy pancakes and muffins. For best results, stop mixing the batter before all the tiny clumps of flour are gone.
Oat Bran Muffins
2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup sugar*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup milk or other liquid. We used Chai once.
3/4 cup applesauce or pumpkin puree or prune puree
1 cup apple, grated
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil the muffin pan or use paper muffin cups.
Mix together first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl mix together the milk, applesauce and egg; stir well and add the grated apple. Stir briefly into the dry ingredients with the pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins.
Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.
* Use non-refined sugar such as Sucanat or Rapadura
You may use walnuts instead of almonds and dried apricots, cranberries or cherries instead of raisins. I have also added 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of chopped sunflower seeds.
Here’s an easy breakfast that we’ve found all kidd like! You-or better yet the kids- can put together in about one minute at night, for an easy breakfast.
Oats and Chai Breakfast
For one serving, place in a Mason jar or bowl:
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon old fashioned oats
10 raw walnuts, or other nuts, lightly chopped
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of sea salt
1 cup almond or other milk
Stir together, place in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours, or over night.
In the morning, stir in fresh berries.
Yes, Turkey Meatloaf beat out homemade ice cream!
3 pounds ground turkey
3 large eggs
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 medium red pepper, chopped fine
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 small carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. I find it easier to use my hands for the mixing. Place the mixture in the 9X9 pan and shape into a loaf. If you like top with BBQ sauce. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until light brown.
Notes: If you are sensitive to oats you may substitute leftover brown rice or brown rice breadcrumbs. You can easily reduce this recipe by half-but then you might not have leftovers!
Serving Ideas: You may form the turkey into meatballs and place on a cookie sheet to bake. Cooking time for meatballs is about 30 minutes, depending on the size. You may also sauté them in a large frying pan in a little olive oil. When done, remove from pan and drizzle with Honey-Dijon Sauce.