The Best Christmas Gift: The Freedom to Eat What You Want

If you celebrate Christmas, it’s possible your stomach will hurt by the end of the day.

Over-indulgence isn’t the reason for the season, but it is a crucial part of it. The enshrining of a hunk of protein is central to the feast: a ham, a roast of beef, the goose that is all the poor Cratchits of A Christmas Carol can afford before Scrooge’s change of heart, or the “prize turkey” that he sends them when he wakes up and discovers it is still Christmas Day.

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Why Empty Calories Are a Big Problem

Not all foods are created equal. Some foods, in fact, from a nutritionist’s point of view, barely count as foods at all.

Among these are doughnuts, pizza, ice cream, candy, soda pop, chips, chocolate pudding, and bacon—as well as beer, wine, and any other conceivable form of booze.

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The Ramen Noodle Diet: Not Just for College Students

By Diana Wilkinson, The George Washington University

Whenever my mom tells stories about her life as a young working professional, she typically reminisces about her first job, her first apartment, and how she lived off meals like packaged ramen noodles.

I realized I had come to a similar point in my life as I carefully stacked about 30 packages of ramen noodles on top of my fridge. Instant ramen noodles still give young people (including me) a quick, easy and moderately tasty meal for a very low cost. A 12-pack of beef-flavored Maruchan Ramen is just under $2.25. That’s potentially 12 meals for just 19 cents each. While they may ...

We Need Young Farmers—Here’s Why I’m Not One

“What would it take for you to join a farm?” asked my editor. I raised my eyebrow as if the answer wasn’t obvious.

Who wouldn’t want to drop everything and become a farmer? Spending the day working outdoors, in the dirt, under the sun, and out of an anemic cubicle? Long hours? No problem. Fresh air? Yes, please. Growing food with your own two hands? Sign me up. (more…)

Project Learning Garden: Teaching Kids to Grow Vegetables, Like Math and Love School

Two dozen elementary-school kids watched intently as Linton Hopkins, an award-winning chef with the white coat and expensive knives to prove it, lit a burner under a frying pan, drizzled in olive oil and honey, sliced an orange and squeezed it, tasted the mixture and sprinkled in some salt, and then tossed in double-handfuls of raw broccoli leaves—leaves that had been growing 10 feet away 15 minutes ago, until the kids fanned out across the school garden and picked them.

Hopkins tipped the warm salad into a giant metal bowl, beckoned the kids off their benches, and showed them the result. “Salad’s done,” he said. “Who wants a taste?” ...

When Yogurt Grows on Trees: Why Home Gardens are Important

Julian Scheer’s classic picture book, Rain Makes Applesauce, is a rollicking nonsense poem, with the title as refrain: “The stars are made of lemon juice,/and rain makes applesauce./I wear my shoes inside out,/and rain makes applesauce.”

“Oh, you’re just talking silly talk,” an unseen critic periodically puts in. It’s a delightful children’s read, but these days it’s a little worrisome, too. The fact is that many American kids today—if not quite convinced that rain makes applesauce—come pretty close. (more…)

School Makerspaces: Growing Farmers, Gardeners, and Cooks

When my son took his preschool application intelligence test (yes, seriously), the test administrator said, “He cooks with you, so he will likely score higher than other children.”

Turns out, intelligence tests incorporate examples of everyday objects that many kids no longer see—whisks, measuring cups, loose buttons, sewing needles, spools of thread. Necessary items for tasks done by hand.

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