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September-October 2010




  • Kid’s Corner -

    Halloween safety

    Mom’s Corner -

  • Eat Breakfast!

  • Dad’s Corner -


  • Planet Earth -

    Halloween and the Environment

  • News -                                                                                                        

    Children and Poverty



     Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for September-October 2010. The big news for September is CHILDREN RETURN TO SCHOOL!! My son started the 9th grade this year and it’s had a huge impact on my wife’s schedule. Up to this year she had to pack him a lunch (which he never ate) to take to school in addition to driving to and from school.  This year…she has a short walk to the bus stop and the school provides him lunch as part of the tuition. The bus stop is within our local shopping center so she can do light marketing when she drops him off or picks him up. Life is good!


     In early September the report on poverty within America is released. I have chosen to write on this vital topic in the “latest news” section of this newsletter. Poverty has a direct impact on families and children. Children are especially hard hit by poverty because poor nutrition and the stress on families directly impacts their physical and emotional health and how successful they are in school and in life.


  October is time for Halloween! You may not know this but Halloween is the second largest holiday for shopping, gift giving and parties next to Christmas. North Americans spend more than $6.5 billion dollars on Halloween while Canadians spend about $1.5 billion dollars each year; the largest expenditure is for Halloween candies.

What we now celebrate as Halloween is actually derived from three different sources, that is 1) the Celts; 2) and 3) the Romans (they always count twice)

Samhain (pronounced "sowen"). 2,000 years ago, the Celts of modern-day Ireland and the UK ago braced themselves for winter with this festival, which means "summer's end" and falls on November 1. Samhain marks the beginning of the dark, cold half of the year so the Celts gathered their harvest and gave thanksgiving, made sacrifices, divination and prayers.

Pomona. Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit trees and the symbol of abundance. The Romans held a festival dedicated to her at the end of autumn, around the time of the big harvest. The Romans combined this custom with Samhain when they conquered Britain in the first century.

Feralia This was the ancient Roman festival of the dead. Feralia was held on February 21 with prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the deceased. This festival also was combined with Samhain. The Christian Church changed Fearlia to All Saints Day (All Hallow's Day or Hallowmas) observed on May 13. Pope Gregory III changed the date to November 1 in the eighth century. All Saint's Day was followed by All Soul's Day, on November 2 to remember the souls awaiting release from Purgatory. Halloween is a contraction for "Hallow's even, " October 31st, the evening of “All Hallow's Day.”

We also have several other Halloween customs that are deeply rooted in the mists of history:

Jack-o'-lantern. The jack-o-lantern was originally a carved out turnip with a candle inside. It’s named after Jack, a poor Irish soul, who used it to light his way as he wandered for all eternity, denied entrance to both Heaven and Hell. The Irish brought this custom to the US in the 1840s but found it more convenient to use pumpkins instead of a turnip.

Bobbing for apples. A Celtic parlor game played on Samhain in which unmarried people would try to bite into an apple in water or on a string. The first person who was successful would be the first person to marry.

Trick or treating. Going out to ask for “tricks or treat” may be derived from an All Soul's Day practice, "going a-souling," in which poor people called soulers would beg door-to-door. The soulers would promise to say a prayer for the dead if they were given a gift of soulcakes. In Ireland, farmers prepared for the All Saint's Day and All Souls Day the night before by going door-to-door collecting food for a village celebration. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who did not give were threatened with bad luck.  In the 1800s, Irish Catholic immigrants brought this practice to America. But knowing that America (and Russia) invented everything, some say that the practice developed in the US in the 20th century, especially the part where children threaten a trick if they don't get a treat.

Costumes. The Celts wore disguises, usually made of animal skins, during their Samhain celebrations, possibly to conceal themselves from the spirits who were afoot at the time. No wonder people dress up in caveman costumes at Halloween.

Ghost stories. Ghost stories began with the Celtic belief that during Samhain the boundaries between this world and the Otherworld became blurred and the spirits of those who had departed walked the earth.

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I know you love to dress up in costumes but it is also an important time to be extra careful so you don’t get hurt.

Costume safety

  • Make sure that your costume isn’t too long that you’ll trip on it and fall.
  • Have your mom or dad put some reflective tape on your costume or wear a costume made of bright material that is visible in the dark. Some kids like to carry a bag that glows in the dark or a small flashlight. Neat!
  • Make sure that you can see clearly out of the mask you are wearing
  • If you carry a knife or swords they should be soft and bend easily so they can’t hurt you or your friends

Trick-or-Treating safety

  • If you are too old for your parents to go with you, be sure you travel in large groups in your own or a close friend’s neighborhoods. The houses you go to should be lit up so you can see inside. Remember “Monster House?”
  • Carry a flashlight or wear a light on your costume so you can see where you are going and be seen.
  • Don’t take shortcuts across backyards or alleys. Stick to the sidewalks of well lit streets. It’s really easy to fall into a hole when you’re wearing a costume in the dark.

Candy safety

  • Take all the candy you get home before eating it so that you and your parents can carefully inspect it for tampering. Don’t snack on your candy while your out trick-or-treating.
Don’t accept anything that isn't wrapped in plastic.

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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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     One of the biggest issues that I deal with when I talk in schools is that of “bullying.”  It happens in all grades, in all types of schools, in all types of socioeconomic areas, and with both boys and girls. The story is that in each class there is usually one (or more) children who go out of their way to make life hard for another child, usually one who is smaller or who has some type of “difference” from the rest of the class. It may be that the kid they bully wear glasses, may be the “smart ones” of the class, are of a different country or speak a different language, but the “bully” chooses that child to pick on.

According to one study in Canada, bullying may start early in elementary school but even when kids are teens a significant number continue to be involved in bullying, or are victimized through bullying. Approximately 23% of Canadian young people in grades 6 through 10 reported that they bullied others, and boys reported bullying behaviors more than did girls. Bullying behaviors peaked in grade 10 for boys and grade 7 and 8 for girls. A small number (1%-6%) reported bullying on a regular basis, at least once a week or more. This trend decreases as girls aged, but not as boys grew older.

Victims and perpetrators of bullying can experience mental health problems such as depression, insecurity, lower self-esteem, loneliness and anxiety, and in severe cases, can be driven to suicide. Some victims become angry and aggressive, and start bullying others. Teens who bully others are at risk for doing more serious forms of aggression such as sexual harassment, dating violence, workplace harassment, marital aggression, child abuse and elder abuse.

Parents and teachers are extremely important in preventing young children and adolescents from becoming bullies and to protect children who are victimized. Help children to learn other ways in dealing with frustration and conflict in their relationships. Parents especially have the opportunity to teach children lessons that help them develop strong and healthy relationships free of aggression. Teachers should and must discuss bullying with their students. Children need to learn that they can walk away from bullies and that they must tell their teacher about inappropriate physical and verbal challenges. It is vital that parents become involved in addressing bullying. If necessary, go to see the teacher or even the principal to ensure that bullying is not allowed.

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Halloween is a favorite holiday but Halloween traditions take a toll on the environment.


     Most masks and costumes are mainly plastic and unfortunately, it is hard to recycle the costumes. Why don’t you make your children’s, or your, costume this year. I’ve seen some AMAZING costumes made from trash bags and cardboard boxes. Another option is to rent a costume for the night or to pass down costumes to a neighbour. This ensures costumes are used multiple times and don’t end up in the landfill after only one wearing. We bought our son a fancy “Phantom of the Opera” costume one year (I made a mask from plaster to fit his face) and the boy across the street was ecstatic when we gave it to him. I think I’ve seen him lurking in the windows looking for Christine.


     If you can, buy a pumpkin that is organic or at least “pesticide-free.” Halloween pumpkins are usually grown with a lot a pesticides to help them grow as large as possible which may cause rashes on children or adults. Try to put your pumpkins in the compost pile because pumpkins take up valuable space in the landfill as well as release greenhouse gases as they decompose. Baking the pumpkin seeds or making a pumpkin pie are also excellent ways to use more of the pumpkin. You can also make a pumpkin soup or a side vegetable for a meal. If your pumpkin has sat out for too long, then cut it up and put it outside for the birds and squirrels to enjoy and for us to watch. I love to see a squirrel try to carry a piece of pumpkin up a tree.


     Most of the main Halloween candies contain ingredients to keep them fresh, make them more colourful and to increase their sweetness. Most candy makers use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to make candy (it’s much cheaper and sweeter than real sugar) which isn’t metabolized by your body in the same way as real sugar and in fact may make you want MORE sweets! Your children also don’t need to eat all the candy they collect. Take most of the candy they collect to work or church and let someone else eat the calories and worry about cavities in their teeth. Some food additives may cause unexpected allergic reactions if your children eat them.

Bags for Halloween Candy

     Have your kids use bags made from cotton or canvas instead of the single use plastic bags shaped like pumpkins that end up in the trash and landfill. Did you know that each year between 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used around the world and we recycle only 1% of them?


     A lot of families throw away their Halloween decorations when Halloween is over. Instead of throwing away decorations try to store them and reuse them again. Another great way to save money is to have a family night of making Halloween decorations. Cut out bats and spiders from black construction paper; make a skeleton out of white construction paper or carve up a pumpkin (you know what you can do with the left over pumpkin). The time you spend together doing the project is just as important as the decorations you make.

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           Being poor can kill your spirit. It’s true that most families are only one paycheck away from poverty. With the economic crash in America two years ago many families have seen their jobs vanish, their home’s values drop by 30% and in truth not knowing how they are going to survive. I personally know several doctors who have been forced to sell their homes at HUGE losses because they are having to move to a different location in the military. One of my friends declared bankruptcy. But, many times, we forget that the children are enormously affected by theses economic changes. Currently, one of every five children in the United States lives in a family with income below the official poverty level. There are definite associations between living in poverty and children's health, cognitive development, behavior problems, emotional well being, and problems with school achievement.


     Poverty affects biological health, psychological health and social health. Biologically, if the mother is unable to eat fresh foods that contain essential vitamins and minerals, or eats “fast food” because it’s the cheapest food you can buy, the growing baby doesn’t have the nutritional building blocks to build nerves, muscles and bones. They may be born prematurely with low birth weights or have neurological problems which will impact speech and learning. Psychological, a child is dependent upon their parents, especially their mother during the critical early years, for love and emotional support to help them navigate the anxieties of infancy, childhood and adolescence. Socially, children who go to school and are unable to interact with the other children because of poor learning and interpersonal skills quickly become outsiders and may be bullied or picked on.


     This is why it is so important to intervene early to help children living in poverty. Pre-natal care includes helping mothers to eat the proper diet, take vitamins, not smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs. Helping families to deal with stresses of unemployment, homelessness, domestic violence and abuse are other issues. Recently, many schools have been struggling with programs that provide free breakfast and lunches to students. For many children living in poverty, this is the only way they get the nutrients they need to grow physically. Getting the proper nutrition is extremely important for development of the brain and nervous system so that they are able to succeed in school.


There are many ways YOU can help children who are living in poverty:


  • Become a Big Brother or Big Sister
  • Tutor children in afternoon sessions
  • Help fund the local community center
  • Become involved in your local religious community
  • Encourage your children to be understanding and supportive with their classmates who are struggling with poverty.

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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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