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The importance of Diet, Vitamin D and a Child Ready to Learn – Part 1/3

When I was still teaching (1975-2005), I often started the school year by asking my students about breakfast and discovered that most didn’t eat it. When I asked what they did eat, the average answer was a bag of French fries or a slice of cheese pizza (and maybe both), and a 60-ounce Coke or Pepsi, which was usually for lunch.

And let me tell you, fifth period was my first class after lunch and that was the class with the most behavior problems. First period and sixth were usually the classes with the least behavior problems since too many students do not eat breakfast and by sixth period the sugar crash has arrived and energy levels among many students is unusually low.

It’s like teaching a room full of zombies.

In fact, USDA.gov reports that 88% of children ages 7 to 9 are not eating a good diet and most diets do not improve as children age. In a classroom of 36 students, that means about 32 arrive in class without the adequate nutrition to feed the brain where learning takes place.

The news gets worse when the diet includes too much sugar, which also comes from consuming too much grain products since these complex carbohydrates also break down in the liver to form sugar.

Brain Health and Puzzles.com says, “Another connection between sugar and brain function concerns dysfunction. These people often have dwindling mental capabilities. They are more at risk to develop depression and different cognitive problems with memory, processing information and recognizing spatial patterns. It can even lead to dementia.”

In addition, Grist.org reported that most Americans eat 30% more grain (which converts to sugar)  than they should and 20% too much meat, while eating just 80% of the recommended daily servings of vegetables (French fried potatoes or chips usually represent all vegetable consumption) and 40% of fruit–mostly apples and bananas. Did you know that the apples you buy from the store could be more than a year old?

Continued on October 12, 2011 in The importance of Diet, Vitamin D and a Child Ready to Learn – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The “Wanna Be” Natural – Part 2/3

I don’t recall this student’s name so I’ll call him “Wanna Be”, and he was convinced he was going to be a big league pitcher. He often disrupted the class by announcing that baseball scouts were already watching him and his future was guaranteed.

Wanna Be saw no reason to read the assignments, study for tests, or do homework and he failed both semesters.

In the mornings before first period, I’d often run into Wanna Be before he had his liquid-sugar breakfast and he was a friendly guy—nothing like the surely, moody monster that walked into my fifth period after lunch with a 64 ounce Coke in hand.

The sugar he consumed at lunch often resulted in glazed eyes, a slack jaw, slurred speech and a serious change in behavior.


Liquid Sugar is Toxic

The student snack bar, which was more of a fast food outlet that served mostly French fries, pizza slices, nachos smothered in cheese and hamburgers, sold 64 ounce Cokes for less than a dollar.

Near the end of my teaching career, the high school also had soda machines installed in the hallways to make money for the school district. The vender split the profits.

One morning, I ran into the truck driver stocking the machines and asked how many sodas the students drank.  I recall that he said he stocked an average of 2,000 cases a week in the machines at Nogales and a case held 24 Cokes—that’s 48,000 Cokes a week at one high school. The high school had about 3,000 students. You do the math.

To be fair, the machines also sold water but most of the students hooked on this liquid candy hated water and had no qualms saying how horrible water tasted.

Continued on April 28, 2011 in The “Wanna Be” Natural – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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