Teach your child to cook today!

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Kids who learn to cook eat healthier because they are able to prepare delicious food using fresh and wholesome ingredients. (Barbara Brandt)

Children should be taught to adopt a healthy lifestyle since a young age. With health issues like obesity, diabetes, and eating disorders affecting even kids there days, its best the young ones understand and practice healthy eating habits as early as possible.

One easy way to start this practice is by teaching your child to cook. Barbara J. Brandt, author of Your Kids: Cooking!, agrees. “It is imperative that kids learn to cook, especially today when their only other option is commercially prepared processed food that has been proven to be causing unprecedented heath issues in our children.”

Brandt’s book/DVD set teaches kids to cook using video demonstrations and a unique kid-friendly recipe format that makes it possible for them to prepare 20 complete meals on their own, with minimal supervision.

Cooking classes helps kids eat more fruits and vegetables
Inspire your little chef

Barbara Brandt

Barbara Brandt, Author, Your Kids: Cooking!

Benefits of cooking
Brandt points out that cooking can benefit children in many ways:

  • Kids who learn to cook eat healthier because they are able to prepare delicious food using fresh and wholesome ingredients.
  • They are empowered to make healthy food choices that are right for them, which is the definition of independence – not being influenced or controlled by others.
  • Their food choices are not influenced or controlled by food companies that want to sell them unhealthy food full of salt, sugar, fat and preservatives.
  • They learn organizational skills, time management skills, how to follow directions, food safety, math, science, patience, and humility, among other values.
  • One of the best by-products of their learning to cook is that they gain an appreciation for what it takes to get tasty, healthy food on the table. It also helps them gain an appreciation of what it takes to keep the kitchen clean.
Book

Brandt’s book/DVD set teaches kids to cook using video demonstrations and a unique kid-friendly recipe format. (Barbara Brandt)

Get the child involved
It may be hard for parents, at times, to get their child interested in cooking. So how do you get the kiddie involved? “By letting their kids be in charge of the process, starting with picking out which recipes they want to make, to shopping, and especially when preparing the recipe,” answers Brandt, offering a solution.

Allowing kids the opportunity for their input and choices to matter is usually all it takes to spark an interest in kids to learn anything. “They spend all day in school being told what they are going to learn and rarely have a chance to engage in active learning. When they are allowed the freedom to choose and feel like they are really contributing to their family in a meaningful way, they become very excited and motivated,” says Brandt.

“It is imperative that kids learn to cook, especially today when their only other option is commercially prepared processed food that has been proven to be causing unprecedented heath issues in our children.”

A few points need to be kept when teaching your young one to cook. “Safety, safety, safety,” emphasizes Brandt on the most important point, “In my book, we take great care to educate kids about the dangers they may encounter in the kitchen, and group them into “hot stuff,” “germy stuff,” and “sharp stuff”.”

Youngsters learn with FoodStorm

Keep the teaching process simple, advices Brandt. “Just introduce them to the basic concepts of the five food groups and how to build a healthy plate.”

They also need some understanding of the difference between fresh ingredients and processed ingredients and to understand why fresh is better than processed. “Teaching them these basic things is really all they need to get started with learning about cooking and eating healthy,” she adds, summing up.

Try these recipes with your kid

Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Made with oats, yogurt and bananas, these muffins are an easy-to-make delicious snack full of whole grains, dairy, and fruit.

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar of your choice
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 ripe bananas

Method: Combine all the ingredients together and mix well. Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes.

Spinach Balls
The name is sometimes enough to make kids turn up their noses to the idea. If that might be the case with your kids, try calling them Green Meanie Balls, or Martian Bites, or anything but spinach balls!

  • 20-oz frozen spinach (thawed and thoroughly drained)
  • 1 box stuffing mix (chicken flavour)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 5 eggs (lightly whisked)
  • 1 onion (finely minced, or grated)
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese (finely grated)

Method: Combine everything in a large bowl. Mix together until the spinach is evenly distributed throughout the other ingredients. Form into small balls. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.

 

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Gloving: Create magic with fingers

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Gloving, also known as light shows, is slowly gaining popularity at rave parties and at dance shows and competitions. (Emazing Lights)

Gloving – a modern dance form which involves the use of fingertip LED lights to accentuate hand and digit movement – is slowly catching the eye of young dancers and attracting interest. Though a dance form that has been around since the 2000s, not many are aware of gloving or have seen performances of it.

Alexander Balladares, associate community manager at Emazing Lights, defines gloving as “a hobby that nobody ever took seriously which exploded into something much larger than anybody expected it to.” Emazing Lights is a California-based retail company best known for its light show gloves. The company, which started in 2010, is pioneering the new Gloving Movement into a skillful expression of art.

Though the origin of the dance form is unclear, Balladares states it may have started in the 1900s. “It was definitely rooted in the good dance that was popular back then.” The passionate glover further narrates that in early 2000 people started putting small lights from department stores into their gloves and began playing with it. “The only real beginning we have on record of gloving is a video from 2006. That’s when the online community started getting together.”

cypher

Alexander Balladares, who also goes by the name Cypher, has been a glover for five years. (Emazing Lights)

Balladares, who also goes by the name Cypher, has been a glover for five years. He started out as a kid in high school. He came across gloving while witnessing somebody else doing it at a rave party. “I found it cool. I looked it up and found live videos of people practising and doing cool things with it. I got myself my first pair of gloves, and started practising with a friend,” he recalls.

Gloving, also known as light shows, is now slowly gaining popularity at rave parties and at dance shows and competitions like BOSS and International Gloving Championship. Balladares agrees, “It has definitely been a strange growth since the last couple of years. There are dedicated kids in school and otherwise that are practising and creating moves, and are really defining the sport themselves.”

“Gloving has something for everybody, anybody can be a glover. It’s very much for the community and I think the world is about to see how deep this is,” says Balladares, associate community manager at Emazing Lights.

One will be surprised to know that gloving also has medical benefits. Kids suffering from depression or physical disabilities are able to function, grow and get better with the help of gloving. Emazing Lights started a program called Glove4Glove to find glovers with medical issues and ask them how the dance form has helped them – to spread the word of medical benefits of gloving. They found many youngsters who have benefited greatly from gloving.

Balladares shares the story of Mathew Fernandez, a wheelchair-bound youngster suffering from a condition called cerebral palsy, whose motor skills started improving with the help of gloving. “Medical doctors said that because of gloving his motor ability had increased, his strength had increased, his muscles were rebuilding. We had no idea that gloving can have medical benefits at that time,” explains Balladares.

Glove4Glove, now a nonprofit organization after being inspired by Mathew, gives away gloves to disabled festival fans.

Emazing Lights is exploring other conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and trying to figure out what gloving can do and the medical benefits behind it. “So far it seems very positive and a lot of medical professionals are willing to work with us to get more help,” says Balladares, adding that even older adults are practising gloving trying to better their hand strengths or fixing their arthritis.

“Gloving has something for everybody, anybody can be a glover. It’s very much for the community and I think the world is about to see how deep this is,” says Balladares summing up.

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Flower power: How are they affecting us?

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Studies state that the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions and affects social behaviour in a positive manner. (Flowers Canada, Ontario)

Need some happiness in your life? Include flowers in your lifestyle. Happiness is indeed connected to flowers – research conducted at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA, proves that the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction, and affects social behaviour in a positive manner.

The study, titled An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotions: Flowers by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Holly Hale Rosario, Patricia Wilson and Terry R. McGuire, was published in the Evolutionary Psychology Journal in 2005. In three separate studies, the researchers were able to show significant evidence that flowers have very positive effects on people.

Studies suggest that flowers help with concentration and memory and help clean the air you breath of impurities. (Flowers Canada, Ontario)

According to studies, flowers help with concentration and memory, and help clean the air you breath of impurities. (Flowers Canada, Ontario)

The researchers suggested that people who received flowers expressed increased genuine positive emotions, lasting up to several days after receiving them. “Additionally, people receiving flowers were seen changing their social norms. For example, in the study, participants that received flowers stood closer to the people that presented the flowers, even though these presenters were strangers. This is fairly remarkable as these “social distances” are well established within different cultures and are difficult to overcome,” says Dejan Kristan, marketing director of Flowers Canada, Ontario.

In the third study, the researchers were able to show that the happiness flowers provide was cumulative, in that people who received more flowers were happier than the people that received fewer flowers. “Astonishingly, they also gathered evidence that the memories of people who received flowers were improved!” adds Kristan.

Benefits of flowers

Including the presence of flowers in your lifestyle has a lot of benefits – mentally and physically. Kristan states that there are studies suggesting that flowers can help with:

  • Concentration and memory
  • Help clean the air you breath of impurities
  • Enhance learning for children who are around plants
  • Reduce stress levels for people who nurture plants and tend to gardens, and
  • Being around plants improves relationships between people and the compassion they feel towards each other


“There is even a study, Effects of Flowering and Foliage Plants in Hospital Rooms on Patients Recovering from Abdominal Surgery by Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson, that suggests flowers help patients recover after surgery,” points out Kristan. According to the study, patients with plants in their rooms experienced lower pain intensity and pain distress, experienced lower systolic blood pressure, and had higher room satisfaction than patients without plants in their rooms.

There are also several papers explaining how plants within a working environment can affect employees in a positive manner. The Effect of Live Plants and Window Views of Green Spaces on Employee Perceptions of Job Satisfaction by Andrea Dravigne, Tina Marie Waliczek, R.D Lineberger and J.M Zajicek found that employees with plants in their offices expressed higher job satisfaction and a higher overall life quality rating than employees with no plants in their offices.

Dejan Kristan“There is even a study, Effects of Flowering and Foliage Plants in Hospital Rooms on Patients Recovering from Abdominal Surgery by Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson, that suggests flowers help patients recover after surgery,” says Dejan Kristan, marketing director, Flowers Canada, Ontario.

Another study, The Effect of Interior Planting on Health and Discomfort among Workers and School Children by Tove Fjeld, found that plants in an office environment significantly reduced the prevalence of both neuropsychological (fatigue, headache, concentration problems, etc.) and mucous membrane symptoms (itching or irritation of the eyes, running or stuffy nose, cough, etc.). “Any office environment struggling with any of these issues could look at introducing flowers into their workplace as an interesting and inexpensive tool to help alleviate some of these problems,” advises Kristan.

Chrysanthemums

Being around plants improves relationships between people and the compassion they feel towards each other. (Flowers Canada, Ontario)

To know more about the beneficial blooms, Kristan recommends reading an article published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture titled Economic, Environmental, and Health/Well-Being Benefits Associated with Green Industry Products and Services: A Review by Charles R. Hall and Madeline W. Dickson. This article is a literature review of all the recent studies involving flowers and summarizes the many benefits of flowers.

 

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Guadalupe fur seal and green sea turtle rescued from BC beach

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The Gaudalupe fur seal was sighted on beach within Pacific Rim National park Reserve. (Pic) CBC

A Guadalupe fur seal and a green sea turtle were recently rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (PRNPR).

The seal and the turtle are currently admitted and being treated at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (VAMMRC) and Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre (VAMSC) respectively.

“The seal and the turtle are currently admitted and being treated at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre respectively.”

On Thursday, January 21, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Parks Canada and VVAMMRC saved the seal on being sighted on a beach within PRNPR. Two mornings later, Parks Canada officers saved the turtle hauled out on the remote beach.

“This species is usually found off the coast of Baja, California, and breeds on Mexico’s Guadalupe island,” said Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the VAMSC, about the fur seal.

green-sea-turtle

Green sea turtles are a tropical species found in warmer waters around Mexico and Hawaii. (Pic) Shutterstock

Green sea turtles are normally a tropical species found in warmer waters around Mexico and Hawaii, but occasionally may follow a warn current northward and end up in B.C. or even Alaska waters.

The seal and the turtle are currently admitted and being treated at the VAMMRC and Vancouver VAMSC respectively.

 

 

 

 

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