Why You Should Let Kids Eat Dirt

I have always been an advocate of letting kids be kids and allowing them to enjoy the outdoors just like I did growing up.  I was raised at a ranch and life was basically 90% outdoors and 10% indoors, at nights. My mother was a clean freak so I have no idea how she managed to stay sane with so many dirty children coming home at night that she had to wash before bed.

I am a true believer that the environment we grow up in has much to do with our health, however not everything is entirely true.  I don't necessarily believe you should feed dirt to your kids to be healthy but just let them do what they do naturally.  Kids know what to do, they can handle it.

Kids who are exposed to more germs before age one are less likely to have allergies and asthma, a new study finds.

A new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that being exposed to allergens before a child turns one can benefit them from allergies. Kids who were completely free of allergies were also most likely to grow up in homes with the highest amount of allergens and bacteria in them!

This "hygiene hypothesis," which is the speculation that the reason Americans have so many allergies is because we are, quite simply, too clean.  Kids are kept in such sterile homes that they never build immunities to common allergens.

I remember being told to keep my cat outside my house while my first daughter was born to prevent her from getting allergies.  Not so.  I loved my cat so much that was not going to happen.  I had my pregnancy with him around and he was always indoors and outdoors and when she grew up, my cat was always a part of her daily life.  She never had allergies to cat hair or any other kind of allergy.  Maybe she inherited the immunity from me, in the womb or after she was born being around cats.  Whatever it was, none of my three daughters have cat allergens or any other type of allergy.

Whatever it may be, I have learned I always did the right thing by letting my kids be kids.  That's easy.

Check out the article here:  Why you should let kids eat dirt

Hero Dogs

National Geographic's "Hero Dog" article on their June 2014 cover almost had me in tears. It was an article about a military handler and his dog and his struggle that ended up taking both of his legs.

The training of a military dog begins at birth.  Their days are regimented, the dogs are released only at allotted hours for food and water, exercise and training. It's during these training sessions that the marines evaluate what role a dog is best suited for: patrol, detection, or tracking. 

Certain dog breeds generally do better than others on the battlefield, such as German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, and specially the Belgian Malinois, which is known for being fearless, driven, and able to handle the heat. Sadly though, many dogs that serve in the military saving American lives are never brought home. In Vietnam an estimated 4000 canines were used to lead jungle patrols, saving numerous lives. Nevertheless, the military decided to leave many behind when the U.S. pulled out. This is terribly sad and something we can only hope changes completely as a handler forms a life bond with his dog.

Out in front of America’s troops, combat canines and their handlers lead the way onto the most dangerous battlefields on Earth.

The age-old bond between man an dog is the essence of our fascination with these teams: The human reliance on superior animal senses-- dogs are up to 100,000 times more alert to smells than humans are. The selflessness and loyalty of handler and dog in putting themselves in harm's way -- one wittingly and one unwittingly-- to save lives.

In general, the military bureaucracy regards a working dog as a piece of equipment. "Dogs are like toddlers, they need to be told what to do. They need to know their primary drives -- oxygen, food, water-- are taken care of." The handler always has to be the Alpha. For a dog, searching for an IED is a game-- identify a scent and get a toy. Not so much for the handler, who knows his life, the dogs life and the lives of many other soldiers who depend on him are on the line.

No formal program exists in the military to reunite dogs with their injured handlers, and some of those handlers have found the process inscrutable and frustrating at a time when they needed clarity. If a handler is finally able to adopt his military dog, he bridges the three worlds the personal was before, during and now after they are home. A bond of friendship that is unlike any other.

Read the article here:  Hero Dogs

Should Kids Be Bribed to Do Well in School

While I was reading this article by TIME magazine, i kept thinking about my very own conclusion.  At the end I came to realize they should’ve just asked me to get the answer because I was right all along! (As I tend to be sometimes) Hey, I’m a mom so I know what woks!

The study was conducted by Roland Fryer Jr, a poor drug dealer turn Harvard professor, by his curiosity of whether money as a motivator could make kids get better grades.  He got a bunch of schools to agree to his study and with 6.3 million dollars in his pockets he began to bribe kids in four cities, Dallas, Chicago, Washington and New York City.  What they found was this:
kids respond best when there is less risk of failure.  They can control their attendance; they can’t always control their test scores.
The kids who did the best with rewards were those who were paid to read books, something they know how to do.  The kids who did the worse were those paid to get good grades because they didn’t know HOW to get good grades.  Also the younger the kids were, say 2nd graders, had the most positive impact.

So start bribing your kids early and reward or recognize them immediately after their attempt.  I do, It’s always “yay, this” and “yay, that” and high-fives for all their positive behavior.  Bad behavior gets nothing. If adults work just to get paid, lets be honest, why do we expect our kids to be any different?  
They also need rewards and there comes a time when a gold star on the forehead just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Why Exercise Wont Make You Thin

Whether because exercise makes us hungry or because we want to reward ourselves, many people eat more — and eat more junk food, like doughnuts — after going to the gym.

Apparently humans are not a species that evolved to dispose of many calories beyond what we need to live. After a long workout we often crave sugary calories like those in muffins or Gatorade. Self control is like a muscle that weakens each day after you use it. If you force yourself to jog for a hour, your self-regulatory capacity will be run thin.

"The most powerful determinant of your diatary intake is your energy expenditure. If you're more physically active you're gonna eat more".

What does it take to work off a blueberry muffin? (360 calories)
1. 33 min. Jogging (5mph)
2. 66 min. Gardening
3. 66 min. Lawn-Mowing
4. 92 min. Vacuuming
5. 115 min. Lifting Weights
6. 230 min. Folding Laundry

In short, it's what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight. You should exercise to improve your health but fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain.

... So after eating three muffins in a row, I say I have lots of folding laundry to do!

Check Out The Article!
Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

High Price of Cheap Food

So I read this article and can't help but feel a deep feeling of regret. Why do we have to be so dang addicted to this thing we call beef? It's not like we would die if we had it twice a week... no but we might if we have it every day like we do now. The way things are going right now I hate to think how it's gonna be when my children have children.

"He's raised on grass and hay and lives happily on a pasture by the ocean. His meat is free of antibiotics, but can we afford to eat it?... We can't afford not to."

The article points to the difference between the free range Organic and the Conventional way of raising cow. The latter being the crowded and inhumane way of living in tight quarters of a feedlot to be fattened up as fast as possible. The Conventional way is inhumane but also deadly to us. Not to mention all the chemicals used and the waste produced that end up in our oceans killing the one excellent source of nutrition, fish, but also the fat attack that ends up in our gut causing so much obesity in Americans.

So what can we do to help this situation out? We need small farms all around the country as well as more farmers willing do the labor that started this country in the first place. (Yeah I've seen Centennial) Eating less meat and more greens and fruits which are better for us and the planet.

So I raise my own cow and my own chickens but it's still find it too hard to bring myself to killing one for food. Supply and Demand... if we begin buying more organic foods (demand) then surely the supply will follow. Sure we may pay less at the supermarket now for cheap meat but we will pay far more in the long run through medical bills and polluting our earth. For now I will keep doing my part and keep collecting my delicious organic eggs my chicks keep giving me. =)

So, what's for dinner? =)

You can check this article out here!
Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food