Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s In My…School Backpack of Our “Resident Four Year Old”

Today the “resident four year old” starts pre-k for the fall…a moment that any fifty year old chasing a four year old 24/7 looks forward to all summer long.

I imagine that I will drop him off and then come home and sleep until it’s time to pick him back up…I’ll let you know…

So even though he’s only in pre-K and doesn’t need too many things to take with him to school other than his lunch, a stuffed animal, and a nap-pad…(oh year, teachers…good luck getting him to take a nap)…this made me think about upgrading out school and office supplies to more environmentally friendly options.

Even school and office supplies can be unfriendly to the environment, as well as toxic…

A few of the toxic chemicals that are sometimes included in school and office supplies include…

  • asbestos (a known carcinogen) in crayons
  • benzene (a probable carcinogen) in dry-erase markers
  • lead (a neurotoxin) in children’s water bottles
  • phthalates (linked to hormone and developmental problems) in 3-ring binders

Not only that many of the companies that make school and office supplies are not cruelty-free.

So it’s important to think about things like that instead of simpy running to Dollar General and buying the cheapest items so that you can cross them off that dreaded back-to-school school supply shopping list this year…

A few trains of thought as far as shopping for school and supplies include…

1.Backpacks…As far as backpacks are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose natural materials, such as cotton or hemp. Never choose PVC plastic at all costs.

2.  Crayons and Markers…As far as crayons are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose crayons that are composed from beeswax and soy products. Always avoid cheap crayons which may be laced with asbestos.

3. Lunch Boxes…As far as lunch boxes are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose reusable and durable, PVC-free lunch bags and lunch boxes that will last more than one season. Another great options, especially for adults, would be stainless steels. But whatever you do, avoid using plastic baggies and plastic wrap. Invest in a stainless steel water bottle….(I will look at a few more great options as well as ideas as to what to put in your lunch boxes in a future post).

4. Markers…As far as markers are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose water based markers. Many permanent markers contains chemicals such as xylene, toluene, and other VOCs…which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, my “one new thing learned at school today” for today.

5. Paper…As far as loose-leaf paper, notebooks, and binders are concerned, the main train of thought should be to shop for items made with recycled paper, and binders that either do not have a plastic cover or are clearly labeled PVC-free.

6. Pencils and Pens…As far as pencils and pens are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose pencils that are made from recycled materials or wood from sustainably managed forest…and pens made from recycled plastic.

Thankfully there are sources for better school and office supplies that you would typically find at the local dollar store…sure, they may be more expensive…and honestly, these options might not be way more expensive…but depending on how committed you are or are not about the above concerns in all areas of your family’s life, you may want to get out your debit card so that you can buy some really cool new gadgets for the new school year.

Finally, some really great places online to shop or at least browse at these other options include…

Beginning with Breakfast, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Breakfast 101

So what exactly SHOULD we eat for breakfast, assuming that we simply accept the reasons that we should eat breakfast in the first place.

Based on what I have talked about four, there are three posts that already talk about specific things that you should be eating each day and suggest ways to make sure that you accomplish that goal.

These previous posts are…

  • The introduction to the Raw Foods Diet
  • The book review of Eating for Beauty
  • Information about continental breakfasts

So looking back on this overload of information and thinking only about what I should be putting on my plate, let’s make a breakfast plan—just in time for back to school and having to actually wake up and get the kids out the door every single morning.

Now grouping items mainly according to the Raw Foods Pyramid, let’s make a menu plan and a grocery list for what to have on hand to help get the day off to a great start.

  • IMG_4473-1

1. Production Foods

  • Water
  • Leafy Greens
  • Fruits and Vegetables…As far as fruits and vegetables are concerned, the main foods that will help contribute to your diet goals are…
  • Brightly colored fruits and vegetables…Most brightly-colored fruits and vegetables—like bright orange, yellow, red and green foods—contain high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A. These foods include carrots, pumpkin, mango and spinach.
  • Kiwi and citrus…Both kiwi and citrus are excellent sources of the vitamin C needed to make the collagen that gives skin support and shape. The RDA for vitamin C is…
    90 mg/day in men, 75 mg/daily for women older than 18

2. Proteins and Amino Acids…Proteins, such as keratin, collagen and elastin, are the building blocks of skin, hair and nails…Women need about 46 grams of protein per day…men, 56 grams.

  • Legumes and Sprouts
  • Nuts and Seeds…Nuts are packed with essential fats, vitamin E and B vitamins. A healthy daily intake of nuts is 30g (a small handful) or approximately: 20 almonds. 15 cashews. 20 hazelnuts. 15 macadamias. 15 pecans. 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. 30 pistachio kernels. 9 walnut kernels.

3. Medicinal Foods

  • Herbs, Microgreens, and Juicing Grasses
  • Seaweed and Nutritional Yeast

4. Other Non-Pyramid Related Things to Consider

  • High iron content…A diet low in iron can make you feel tired and have little or no energy. The RDA for iron is…13.7–15.1 mg/day in children aged 2–11 years…
    16.3 mg/day in children and teens aged 12–19 years…19.3–20.5 mg/day in men
    17.0–18.9 mg/day in women older than 19.
  • Whole grains…As far as whole grains are considered, think about adding the following to your breakfast rotation…
  • Muesli…Muesli and other whole grains boost your intake of essential fats, B vitamins and the potent antioxidants. it is recommended that adults eat six ounces of grains each day.
  • Seafood and Fish…Fish is a good source of the omega-3 fatty acids that the heart needs to prevent cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5oz servings of fish per week.

So keep reading in the days ahead as I posts ideas on what to plan and serve for breakfast in this “What’s Next” section…