healthy vending machines

I know that many of you are very active in your schools, playgrounds and local activity centers. I recently came upon this company in California who stocks healthy vending machines! ....just an idea... instead of complaining about that coca cola and candy machine you can tell them you have the answer...yonaturals!

and maybe one of these days those candy machines will be on VH1's remember the 90's! visit their website here for more information about becoming a location of healthy snacks from yonaturals.


an easy summer pasta - everything in the kitchen!

I think that I am going to call this dish 'everything in the kitchen'...you know those days, you are tired...and your kids aren't! all you want to do is sit down and veg out...but then you forgot, it's your night to feed your family for dinner...shoot! look in your fridge or freezer and pull out a comforting bunch of veggies, I found: frozen corn, baby bok choy, and edamame (now in the summertime you might find more fresh items, but when I did this it's all we had!). I like to keep it to three for some reason, otherwise it can get to be too much confusion in your bowl and I think it's a harmonious number...whenever I make pastas I use three ingredients.

boil your pasta...then go lay down for a minute, close your eyes and pretend to rest, if anyone bothers you just don't say anything...sometimes you can get a few minutes of rest this way!

strain the pasta and leave just a little bit of water in the pan throw in your veggies (if you need to steam some do so beforehand with a strainer on top of your boiling pasta, this is another good trick...) add salt and pepper and a big spoon of greek yogurt! that's it! this makes an nice creamy pasta and the kids love it! we like garlic toast with it or some roasted sausages (just in an iron skillet with a bay leaf)...yum!

let us know your ideas and what works in this dish for you! (I need some new ideas!)


dutch healthcare system

NPR started focusing on international healthcare systems and yesterday, they talked about the Netherlands. As I was listening there were many things that came into light about our failing healthcare system, including the american standard of taking a pill, for anything, and it will all be better. The Dutch, like most europeans, see this as the 'American way', and what I wonder is; why Americans don't see it!? Why is it so bad to feel pain if something is wrong? The Netherlands spends less than half what the United States does on medications per person, half! This is obviously a tricky subject, but NPR handled the story very well and, I think, with a very interesting approach.

They also talk a bit about the birthing system in the Netherlands, where most are home-births. Birthing in the Netherlands is thought of not as something you should go to the hospital for because it's natural, and not an illness, less hospital costs therefore their healthcare system costs less (obviously it's not just the birthing). The result is an infant mortality rate that is 20% lower than the US system, oh, the harsh reality. They also talk about more and more women wanting to go to the hospital and birth where it's normal to have an epidural...but the support for home birthing is so great and less than 8% are hospital births.

NPR is always working in ways for us to see things in a new way, and I like that...so take a listen to the story and tell me what you think! also, I would like to hear from some other countries about their healthcare ideas and woes...

to listen to the story go to their website at www.npr.org and click on Netherlands' Health Care Reflects National Values or just click here.


The Nonchalantdad: You Silly Rabbit, Trix are for.....

Lately, in our household there is a new sensibility. The kids want junk to eat. It is not really our fault as parents that they are aware of this new 'fruit', nor is it their's. We are surrounded by an ongoing unconscious experiment call capitalism. And one of the tenants of good capitalism is promotion. We want what we see, because it almost always looks good. As adults we have either learned by now to shut that whole process of desire down or we have succumbed to it in some fashion. My suspicion is that you are alot like me - you buy into to a certain point. You can not rid it completely without ease, nor do you consume it entirely.

I'm curious to see how young the promotion starts though. Our children went with us recently to see the new film called 'WALL-E'... I thought it clever how the films premise centred around a societal destruction brought on apparently by waste and capitalist greed (does that sound harsh?). My little guy pointed out several times that the 'big' (we don't use the word 'fat' to describe a person after a sort of embarrassing episode a few years ago in LA when our boy pointed at someone and said loudly that they were fat) people in the film were eating and drinking very big things. He noticed what I had already been curious about before the film even started. Anyone with any common sense has to be curious when the first thing they see when entering the mainstream cinema complexes these days are the concession stands selling monsterous proportions of popcorn, candy, and drinks. IF you are from my age group approximately (40's) you will remember fairly quickly that the smallest portions available now were once considered the 'Large' portion then. Think about that next time you order one of your 'Big Gulps' or 'Supersize' something. The message is a good one in 'WALL-E' and an awkward one for some people who have not noticed the trend to all things big and bad. The film finished and the lights finally came up. We stood up to leave and when we turned around to face the seating behind, and above us, there sat in a row or two behind our seats a small group of people grossly large and clutching large portions of seemingly everything they could get their hands on. I looked over at my son expecting a possible repeat of that earlier embarrassment in LA. Thankfully, he was looking elsewhere.

Now, I'm not the sort to think I've figured it all out and I'm better than others for it. Because, quite simply, I'm not. I hear stories of parents who deny everything they deem harmful to their
children. I hear firsthand the stories of people of my own age who tell me that when they were young they were not allowed to eat this candy or drink that soda-pop. I'm not that insistent for various reasons - but mostly because I don't want to outright deny anything and everything bad. A soda pop, or a candy, can be an enjoyable experience. I'm just not that hardcore.

So, here is what I do. I treat these things as special - or I mediate their actual existence. In other words, I moderate. As for my 6 year old wanting to have a soda-pop, for example, I make it clear how the drink is something special and therefore associated with special occasions that are usually few and far apart. This way, he gets to have a soda-pop now and again, and we have instilled in him the notion that it is something you don't always get to have except under special circumstances. And here's another one: I tried recently to trick my kids away from desiring the cereal known as 'TRIX' because they had seen it in passing on an ad for a cartoon they like to watch. I substituted an organic product made with the same little balls, but using fruit juice sweetener instead of sugar. I put the organic product into the TRIX box they talked me into buying. Damned kids - they could tell the difference. So, I acknowledged my fears about eating to much of that 'crap with sugar' as I told them. I told them that I didn't mind them eating the 'TRIX' as long as they accepted the way I prepare it. And how do I prepare it? When I make them their cereal in the morning I put in the yoghurt, dice up some bananas or add berries, add a small cup ot some organic flakes without sugar on, add local honey over the top of that and then sprinkle a small amount of 'TRIX' on the top of this for effect. You know what? They accepted it and did not argue.... in fact, they love it. And the 'TRIX' is now reduced to something almost insignificant in the larger picture.... know what I mean?

Now, they get something they desire and I don't have to be a curmudgeon. Plus, they aren't overloading on it. It is the understanding of sugar that does it for me - I have explained that sugar is not a good friend to exploit. And it works well. When we went to see 'WALL-E' we ordered a small popcorn for the parents to share, some water, and a large package of sugar saturated liquorice for the kids. Yes, I said it was a large package - it was the only thing available. Everything was large. So, we had an understanding beforehand that each one our
kids would only get 3 sticks of the stuff. The rest of the package would be put away safely for future reference.

If you can't fight them - join them.... a little bit. Only difference, once you've joined the rabble, just change the language! You can play the game - you just have to stay one step ahead...... at least that's what I think..... What are you other parents doing to keep tabs on the excess? I'm sure there are many approaches - what are your ideas?


toys and math...can it be fun!?

I recently found this wonderful magazine called "Good" it's not exactly a 'parenting' magazine but if you know me, you know that I rarely read them (way too hyper on the parenting front and would make me frantic!) and I usually find good things in smart magazines, and Good is certainly a smart magazine, I think that you will like it! visit their website here for a subscription--also your 100% of your subscription cost goes to a nonprofit of your choice...how's that for GOOD!

Ever wonder if Jimmy Carter was right and we need to switch over to the metric system...well this little ditty will help you out...treeblocks! we use them for counting with our kids at this point but they will come in handy all the way into algebra...to help your kids visualize their math! I use math every day in my work and I think that most people do, it's one of those basic things and it's wonderful to be good at it...(that's what I keep telling my kids!) so start now and let treeblocks help your kids play with math! ...we make up lots of games with them too! and they look and feel wonderful!

this company has other tree block games and ideas to check out! and yes, you just might find tree blocks one day at nonchalantmom! (I love them!)


the power of natural healing - macrobiotic conference

July 28th - August 3rd - 2008 :: Wellesley, Massachusetts

This maybe a little short notice but...(I somehow forgot about it earlier!) the macrobiotic conference or as it is called now: the power of natural healing--
this is a big secret of the natural and whole foods movement. I have attended a few times and it was extremely eyeopening and enlightening, and what I learned has followed me through my life and helped me raise my kids in a more healthy way.

There is something about seeing things done in a classroom format right in front of you, that really helps to get the picture in cooking and healing. this is an intensive week of classes on everything from cooking, yoga, do-in, qi-gong, massage, healing theory (for example "the energetics of food"!!), foods for healing, and much much more! the conference works almost like school, you can choose from about 3-4 class options each session (mostly 1 1/2 hours each) and then there are about 6 sessions a day and each night some kind of very special speaker! this is such a wonderful way to make a huge change in your families life, an educated change as these are the leading experts at this time, all in one place, in the natural foods/healing movement. take a look at the power of natural healing website to see a listing of the wonderful presenters and classes that are scheduled...it's amazing!
this is also a terrific place for your children! all ages are welcome but there are special classes/activities for kids ages 3-17 (they are separated in three age appropriate groups). children under the age of three are free and you can bring them to classes with you as long as they are not disrupting the class. you wanted to send your kids so summer camp...why not go with them!! what a great family summer vacation!
visit the website to find out more about macrobiotic conference or the power of natural healing! you will find all information on accommodations and pricing.

oh, and did I mention...delicious macrobiotic meals!

here are some of my favorite presenters:
yoga with Karin Stephan (she is my guru!)
Denny Waxman - incredible energy and charisma
Lino Stanchich - I have written about him before but a wonderful speaker and very inspiring
Gabrielle Kushi - a friend and a wonderful woman and chef and lecturer!
Warren Kramer - a great macrobiotic counselor
and obviously Michio Kushi himself lectures as well!

You will learn so much from everyone!! just open your ears and heart to a profound experience!


photo collage - that's his middle name - grégoire ganter

grégoire is a busy guy...believe me because I know him and he is everywhere! did you see that guy with a camera on Prince Street in NYC, that was him! he is all over the place photographing everything! but honestly, he is not only busy with his artwork, he has also made a name for himself with his many a varied ideas! he is the old fashioned idea man, but new because his work is AMAZING! I love the idea of going to a birthday party and instead of giving a plastic toy or the latest power ranger gadget, THIS is what you give them...the kid will love it for longer than any toy can ever last! I know because my son has one and he talks about it all the time. or here is my idea for party gifts, buy the alphabet pack of postcards, frame them and give them out as gifts for all your parties! see I told you grégoire has the perfect ideas!

but really, grégoire ganters gift to your kids is more than the wonderful piece of art it teaches your kids about making something and having ideas! it teaches them the wonderful world of collage...and what an exciting world that is! it will teach them how to use art throughout their lifetime, on their wall as a child with one of grégoire's works, then they can start to work things for themselves and use collage in their journal, as art, in notes to friends, there is a wonderful world of ideas wrapped up in collage!

my favorite works are grégoire's cityscapes (above)...take a peek whow...it's almost live! grégoire is an amazing artist, take a look at his website and see the infinity of his colorful work. and then take one home!

obviously, these are a great way for your kids to learn the alphabet, just in case you are tired of the Dr. Seuss...