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  • Kid’s Corner -

    Back to School

  • Mom’s Corner -

    Eat Breakfast!

  • Dad’s Corner -

    Plant a fall garden

  • Planet Earth -

    Eat Healthy

  • News -                                                                                                        

    The Economy’s Impact on Education



            Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for September-October 2009.

    The big news for September is CHILDREN RETURN TO SCHOOL!!!!!

   September is also Organic Harvest Month, a great time to plant fall and winter vegetables. October is best known for Halloween, but I thought this year we would focus on the fall growing season because I was struck by how many days on the September and October Calendars are related to food! September is apple and mushroom month, “National Organic Harvest” month with days for oatmeal, salami and rice and October is “vegetarian month,” “National Chili Month” and has “School Lunch Week.”

This is a great time for us to focus on eating healthy for our kids. When they are in the school lunch line or sit down with their friends to eat the lunch you packed for them, our children face foods that contain high fat and large numbers of calories that also have few colors and even lower nutritional benefits. It’s our job as parents to educate and set examples for our children by packing colorful food variations for take along lunches and snacks and to set examples as to what are correct choices for proper brain function and body developing nutrition.

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Back to School

In the summer my son still gets up at 5:30 or 6:00 AM even though he doesn’t have anything scheduled to do until 9:00. He’s just an early riser. Thank goodness I am an early riser too so we have the chance to spend special time together when the world is quiet.  However, for most children, after a summer of sleeping in or doing things on their own time schedule, hearing the alarm ringing and telling them that they need to get up to go to the first day of school can really throw them off their schedule. For children of all ages, and of all grades, heading back to school means many changes. You will be in new classes, and might have to change classrooms for the first time; you might have a new teacher; new schedules for in and after school; and a new group of friends.

Organization is the key to life. As a student, going back to school is the perfect time for you to get ORGANIZED.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF-Get a good night's rest. This will ensure you are ALERT and ready to learn the following day. Eat three healthy meals each day, along with fruit for snacks. Don't overload on sweets, which cause many people to feel TIRED.

LAY OUT YOUR CLOTHES FOR THE NEXT DAY- Before you go to bed each night pick out what you are going to wear for the next day. This way, you'll be all set to dress and go in the MORNING and won’t be rushing around trying to find something.


AVOID CLUTTER- Create separate folders for school announcements, tests that have been graded, papers you must give to your parents and so on. My wife keeps the important papers for my son in an accordion folder by subject for each quarter. She then has a shredding party as soon as he finishes school for the year.


HAVE A SPECIAL STUDY AREA-Study in a quiet, well-lit area. Don't study in front of the television, or in an area of your home where you're bound to be DISTRACTED. Study while sitting at a table or desk and not in a comfortable chair or a bed where you might get sleepy.


AVOID OVERLOAD- Figure out how much study time you need and THEN choose one or two recreational activities that you enjoy. You can even try a different activity each quarter, or if you have an activity that goes all year, you can set learning goals for each quarter. For example, my son is learning tennis, so his goal for this quarter is to learn he rules and strokes.


USE A STUDENT PLANNER-Use a good student planner that has pocket folders, dividers, and a planning calendar. Use only one calendar to plan all of your school and personal activities.  A good trick is to color-code similar activities on your calendar. You can highlight upcoming tests in red, study time in green and after-school activities in blue.


WRITE IT DOWN-When you learn of an upcoming test, event, or anything you must prepare for or attend, immediately jot it in your PLANNER. Don't wait for later, or you may forget about it.


STUDY TIME-Determine how many study hours you need, and SCHEDULE study time in your planner. Make it CONSISTENT. Whatever you do, avoid last minute studying and cramming. You won’t retain the material for your mid-terms and final exams.


DO YOUR HARDEST HOMEWORK FIRST-Do your homework for your most DIFFICULT subjects first. Then, everything else will be a breeze.


GET HELP-If you don't understand a lesson in class or a homework problem, ask for HELP IMMEDIATELY! A friend, parent or your teacher can save you a large amount of time and frustration.

I’d like to ask you to do something special. If you have new kids show up in your class, try to make them welcome. If you can remember how scared you were about going to a new school for the first time, you can understand how they feel.  Ask them their name, where they are from and what they like to do for fun. You might be surprised how good it feels to help someone else feel better about coming to your school.


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Your Kids Have to Eat Breakfast!!

     Most mom’s mornings are frantic as you try to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door. Offering a healthy, well-balanced breakfast is the most important way to help your family and children get the most out of his school day. I bet that your mother always told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and research shows that, at least in this case, mother knew best. Children who eat a healthy breakfast have been found to have better behavior in class, higher test scores, fewer episodes of hyperactive behaviors and are better able to concentrate in the class setting.

But many families don’t have the time or opportunity to gather as a family for breakfast. Many times, breakfast is a grab-and-go event.  Try to give your children a healthy breakfast that includes whole grains, lean proteins and fruit (even vegetables if you can sneak them into the meal!). When your child starts his day with a good meal, he or she will have a more consistent energy level throughout the morning and will feel fuller longer. Children who fill up on sugary cereals and white-flour based foods often have energy highs with a “sugar crash” after a short time. They also become hungry earlier and tend to eat more at lunch. In most cases, choose those unusual snack items for lunch. Because your children are better fed, their minds are clearer and better focused for making the right choices at lunch.

So, what are good choices for a school-day breakfast?

Whole grain breads: bread, bagels & English muffins

Whole grain cereals: oatmeal and high-fiber, whole grain cereals

Lean proteins: lean meats, hard-boiled eggs, low-fat yogurt and low-fat milk

Fresh fruit

Under the “Color Your Plate” section of this newsletter you can routinely find fresh ideas and even innovative recipes that will spark your own good nutrition capturing our season’s harvest.

School days are best started with a well-balanced meal but that healthy meal can be just as beneficial for mom or dad. So, if you can carve out a few minutes to join your child for breakfast, you may find yourself reaping the same benefits at work that he does at school.

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     You may think that September and October are the worst times to plant a vegetable garden; but if you want to harvest late plantings of cool weather vegetables, now is the time to get these seeds in the ground. Vegetables that grow best in cool weather are leafy greens, root crops and various members of the cabbage family. Beets, carrots, peas, chard, endive, kale, lettuce, turnips, radishes, spinach, oriental vegetables like Chinese cabbage and bok choy. Transplants of late cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts may be planted in early August for fall harvesting.

Snap peas and snow peas ; broccoli, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy; carrots, parsnips  (you can keep them in the ground over winter and harvest in spring for what most consider to be the best flavor!); beets; onions; lettuce ; spinach; rutabagas/turnips. Garlic can be planted two to four weeks before the first frost for harvest the following summer. Shallots can be planted after the first frost.

When planting seeds for your fall garden, keep in mind that conditions are much different than summer planting. Rains are usually infrequent but heavy rather than frequent but light so you must provide constant soil moisture for good germination and to get your plants well established. To increase seed germination, water the planting area with a fine mist 30 minutes before you plant. This lowers the soil temperature and creates the conditions that cool-season crops prefer.

When you plant a winter garden and what you are able to grow successfully in the winter garden will depend upon your location and garden zone. You can easily calculate when to plant it by knowing the days to maturity of the vegetables you plan to grow. This information is on the seed package or you can find it in the seed catalog’s description of the seed.

If you love gardening, you are probably going to plant your winter garden in the same place you had your warm season garden. This is when a garden plan is important too! If you plan the timing of your plantings properly, you will have space for every vegetable you want, spring, summer, fall and winter. When a summer vegetable is spent, then prepare that spot for your winter vegetables.

Adding nutrients, such as compost or fertilizer, to the soil to make it better able to grow vegetables is essential. You should add compost or your favorite additives to the soil if you had a garden in the summer because the summer plants took essential vitamins and minerals from the soil.

To protect your vegetables from frost, watch your local weather forecast during late September and early October. When frost is predicted, be ready with some kind of protection, such as polyethylene blankets, corrugated fiberglass covers or simple household items like used gallon milk jugs with their bottoms removed or even old towels and bed sheets, to throw over plants in the evening before the frost is forecast.

Remember, a return of warm weather that often follows the first frost or two is some of the best growing weather of the year for cool weather plants. It is not unusual to be able to harvest root crops throughout a mild winter if you mulch them well.

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     Healthy children are vital to the health of our planet. What we feed our children in the home has a great impact on what they will eat in school, and what foods the schools will choose to serve our children. Schools have classrooms, the school dining room, and other school activities that explain and reinforce healthy eating and physical activity habits. Students learn to make healthy lifestyle choices not only in the classroom and the school dining room, but also at class parties, school sporting events and wherever they are throughout the school day. Students have many opportunities to practice healthy habits and can choose from an array of healthy food options and enjoy daily physical activity. But it is your example that affects them most. It is up to us to guide them and to help them form good habits.

Good nutrition is important for growth and development, physical well-being, the ability and desire to learn, and decreased episodes of disease. Remember that unhealthy eating habits are established early in life.  Children who have unhealthy eating habits usually keep the same habits as they grow older and may suffer from diet-related diseases such heart disease, some types of cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and osteoporosis. These diseases are showing up earlier and earlier in children.  Don’t forget that even in our country of abundance some children are undernourished. Even being moderate undernourished can have lasting effects on children's growth, development, and school performance. Your child can be of normal weight or over weight but because they are not eating the right type and color of foods they can still undernourished. Every meal should have a wide assortment of colors, red, yellow, green, purple…to balance our nutritional needs.

One of the biggest impacts we have on the planet are our use of processed and fast foods. Fast foods are usually of minimal nutritional value and our bodies are not able to process the artificial and chemically modified ingredients contained in the foods we serve our children. We are also using up natural resources at an enormous rate when we serve and eat meats in large portions. Teach your children that they don’t have to eat a quarter or half pound hamburger, or my favorite, the two patty hamburger with bacon. Help the school in planning healthy lunches and have your child set an example for other children by not drinking the fructose flavored juices served in the lunchroom.  Instead, have them pack their own bottled water. Help them become a leader by example for their classmates.

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All parts of society have been affected by the crashing economy and recession. Jobs have disappeared, and many States has stopped spending money on their educational system because of decreased tax revenue. The economic impact affects each state differently and, although a national recession may be short, individual states may face financial stress for years. Right now, most states face financial crisis because of rising Medicaid costs, new federal laws and requirements, higher public school enrollments and increasing local state and federal taxes.

When states start cutting back services because of revenue shortfall, higher education is very likely to be cut back further than other sectors. When this happens, the state and higher education institutions shift their budget shortfalls to students and their families by raising tuition in private schools or cutting back on services and improvements to public schools. Tension in schools increase because of limitations on the number of children they can enroll and teach effectively, faculty salaries and school facilities. When the school can’t afford a multipurpose room then elementary and middle-school students don’t have gym and end up eating lunch in their classrooms. This means they won’t be as healthy and probably won’t do as well in school because there is no break from their classroom environment. Many studies have shown that children do much better if they have periods of physical exercise during the day. Financial stresses on individuals and families have increased. With rising tuition colleges and universities are giving out less financial aid.  This means that students who do not receive financial aid and student loans may not return to school. 

When I was growing up school nurses and school counselors were available to most schools. When I did my child psychiatric training in the 1980s there were still many resources available to schools. Those days are long past.

So what do we do? It is vital that each parent and family work closely with the school to ensure our children are receiving a quality education.

  • Volunteer to help out the teachers on field trips, in the kitchen or in the library
  • If you have special talents with computers, such as web page design, or setting up a network for the building I’m sure the school can use you
  • Be open with your children that, if you are having money problems, you can’t afford to buy the latest sneakers or designer clothes
  • Pack healthy lunches and cut back on your children leaving the school campus to buy fast foods. As money gets tighter, the eating habits get worse because fast food is so inexpensive
Community Service-Have your children and their friends, or even as a class project, suggest to the school principal that two or three afternoons a month, everyone can get together to work in the school’s flower beds; pick up trash on the school grounds; start a vegetable garden like Mrs. Obama. In winter have them shovel the school’s sidewalks. This service shows pride in the school and gives the children wonderful exposure to fresh air.


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Our free newsletter “The Worm’s Eye View” is uploaded to the computer each month. Each issue includes valuable information for all members of the family as well as the inclusion of the most up-to-date information concerning medical research and treatments.

As a subscriber you will be sent announcements of my new books, CD, and seminars at reduced prices and fees. Sign-up now.

You should read my latest book, “Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle.” Please go to the order page and read part of the first chapter. You will learn a lot from this book why everyone has gained weight and the Three Secrets to normalize your weight.


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