Sunday, February 27, 2011

No Sugar Added: 30 Day Challenge

For the month of March, my good friend Matt Germain and I will be attempting to eliminate processed sugar from our diets. Back this summer, Matt went thirty days without buying food from a grocery store, making purchases at farmer's markets, local bakeries, etc. Matt wanted to do something similar again. This was the idea he came up with, and due to my deadly sweet tooth, I figured I would join him! Out of both of us, Matt arguably has a head start based on his superb diet, but we are both expecting this to be difficult! We both know that any healthy eating pattern allows foods in moderation. Sugar in small amounts isn't entirely bad. We don't want to come off as presenting opinions or unproven facts as scientific evidence, so we want to be clear that we don't have an agenda. We're not trying to stick it to the man by taking on the sugar industry. We're simply trying to become more aware of what exactly we're putting into our bodies, for food is fuel and clean fuel is the best fuel. This is about self awareness, and about being proactive with what we are putting into our bodies. Adding more nutrient dense foods to our diet is never a bad thing.

As of right now, we are still ironing out a few details of how exactly we are going to implement this, but we are going to strive for daily updates as time allows. We will have a blog solely for this, although Matt will also be posting on his own blog, Positive Eating. I may post some posts relating to our 30 Day Challenge here if it has to do with teaching about nutrition, but I don't want to get away from why I started Middle School Health Esteem in the first place.

With work/grad classes/coaching going on for me, and work/running/coaching going on for Matt, it will be tough, but doable, to attempt this 30 Day Challenge. We are hoping to add some video posts, too. Analyzing various snack food items from my middle school cafeteria and maybe even my own cabinets might take place, too. I can't make any promises or speak for Matt, but hopefully we can enrich our own updates with some extra things, too. I am taking a lot of inspiration from Mrs. Q, who blogs at Fed Up With Lunch. Basically, the sky is the limit and I'm sure that this will be more of an undertaking than we thought! There are already some excellent resources out there, and we don't want to rip anyone else off. By no means are we medical or science experts, so we're hoping to showcase these resources to our readers. Ultimately, we'll have to wait to see exactly how much time we want to devote to blogging in addition to everything else going on in our lives.

Matt is more of the nutrition authority, and I'm more of the rambling type. We hope to find a balance between our strengths to bring you some serious information regarding sugar and your health. It is also our hope to document how our bodies initially handle this change, and the challenges of accommodating our eating habits to eliminate processed sugar. Heck, even ketchup has sugar in it!

We'll still load up on fruits and vegetables, of course. Honey and agave nectar are also allowed. Any plant or animal products are allowed. But, any processed white sugar is out. So cookies, cupcakes, white breads, etc.

Posts will most likely be taking place on a unique blog. We do have our own separate blogs, and this new blog is how we hope to link our interests together. The idea to co-write a blog with both of us goes back a while, and we have thought of both serious and goofy ideas.

We're going to try to promote this through a variety of means: Facebook, Twitter, word of mouth, maybe guest blogging on other sites, etc. It is our hope that we can motivate other people to undertake a similar change to what they put in their bodies, whatever that me be for them. Maybe someone stops drinking soda, or adds fruit to every meal. We are all capable of such changes, and if people see some normal twenty-something year old guys do it, well then maybe they will be motivated to change, too. We do want to get our message out there; Matt with his nutrition information and myself with information about health education.

I'm working on a teaching activity about sugar right now that I am hoping to eventually have published in the AAHE Teaching Techniques Journal. I'm not sure if time will allow myself to finish this before the end of the month, but we shall see!

Stay tuned for updated information on our 30 Day Challenge!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

AAHE Teaching Techniques Journal

NOTE: Some of my older posts are in the process of being edited so I can update and repost them. My most popular (the HIV Transmission Simulation Activity from the AFY Website and the Alcohol Simulation Stations) are among those. Eventually the old posts will contain links to the new posts. Check back later this week!

One of the best parts of teaching health education is searching for new, interactive, skills-based, hands-on activities that I can use in my classroom to spice up our curriculum. Through networking with other teachers, scouring the Internet, and picking through books, I always seem to find something to try out in the  middle school classroom. This is one reason why I started this website!

So, I was pumped to see that the American Association of Health Education is now publishing an online journal entitled, Teaching Techniques Journal! This resource is located on their website, is free of charge, and can be accessed by anyone. Simply click the "Current Issue" link and read away!

The Teaching Techniques Journal is exactly what our profession needs. The American Journal of Health Education used to publish one or two "Teaching Ideas" and I was disappointed to see that go away. Now, through a separate resource, it's back! The activities in the first issue cover a wide variety of topics, and even if a teacher feels that the specific activities might not fit into their classroom, teachers can take the basic idea or concept and adapt it as they see fit. I already have some ideas about how I can tweak some lessons for my own classroom. Many ideas for the secondary classroom in the first issue were submitted by individuals working in higher education; I hope to see some ideas submitted by secondary teachers in the future as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out the first issue of Teaching Techniques Journal now!
As always, please feel free to e-mail me with any questions, comments, or concerns.
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