Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TOS Review: Growing Healthy Homes


It often seems like I learn as much about life as I do about traditional school subjects when I review a product. Most recently, I reviewed a product that taught me that my first impressions aren't always to be trusted.

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is a health/nutrition program published by Growing Healthy Homes, LLC. At first glance, I didn't like the program at all. I was a bit put off by what I interpreted as a push towards  alternative medical treatments. My own experiences color my perception, and I often feel that the choice is either one or the other and not a choice of what parts of each approach are most appropriate for the situation. Since we've obviously chosen a traditional medical approach for most of Lauren's needs, I often feel defensive when reading materials written by proponents of a more natural approach.

Once I decided to set aside my initial reservations, I dug into the materials and found that I was quite impressed with the information included in the book. Nutrition 101 has 448 pages that are packed full of health information. The six units each cover a body system, how it functions, some common diseases that could affect it, and perhaps most importantly how good nutritional habits will benefit that specific part of the body.

PhotobucketI always like lots of information when picking school materials, so perhaps it will be best to share a bit about what all is included in each unit. The Unit on the Digestive System starts with chapter giving a five page overview of the digestive process. Even though it's not lengthy, it's very detailed. I have rarely seen materials that include this many details. All of the relevant organs are discussed, including the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. It even discussed the various parts of the small intestine. Each chapter includes discussion questions, activities for all ages of students, and a recipe to try. The other chapters in the digestive unit include one on Digestive Health and Nutrition, one on Enzymes (including enzyme supplements), and Elimination. In addition to the recipes for each chapter, the unit as a whole includes eight additional recipes that showcase the healthy foods that are being discussed. We baked the Spice cookies (oat-based), and they received a thumbs' up from my picky taste testers. I also enjoyed the Quinoa Vegetable Risotto that I fixed for myself one day.

This book is absolutely gorgeous. The diagrams and pictures really help to make the materials easy to understand. I read large portions of the materials on my nook in black and white, and it simply does not compare to reading it in full-color on the computer screen. In addition, the pictures of the prepared foods make me want to fix (and sample) all of the recipes.

The best way to get a feel for this book is to look at the sample pages available here. You can read the entire table of contents, including a complete list of the information contained in the 30 appendices. Be sure to look at the lung diagram on page 101; it's a good example of the exceptional illustrations included in these materials.

This book is definitely not a product to rush through; reading through all of the materials in a week left me feeling more than just a bit overwhelmed. The authors include a sample schedule in the introduction that shows how to cover a chapter per week. There are plenty of activities and opportunities for further research that the book would easily stretch the 24 chapters so that they would fill an entire school year. If you work through the book slowly, your family would have the opportunity to make gradual improvements in your diet that will lead to better health. These sorts of changes would seem less daunting when implemented slowly, one at a time.

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is available as a hardcover book for $99.95, on CD for $79.95, or as a combination pack including both book and CD for $129.95. Growing Healthy Homes is currently offering a 15% discount coupon by using the code TOScrew11.

If you would like to find out more information about Growing Healthy Homes and their Nutrition 101: Choose Life! materials, you can join them for a live webinar on Thursday, April 21st. Details are available here. As always, if you would like to see what other Crew members thought of the Nutrition 101 course, you can find the links to their review on The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog.

I received an electronic version of Growing Healthy Homes for free as a member of the 2010 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.

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