Friday, 23 October 2009

Autonomous Education in Action

Healthy Eating.

When getting herself breakfast today Beth asked me to read out the sugar and salt quantities in the ingredients list on her cereal carton.  She has always been interested in eating healthily but is beginning to want to relate what she knows to what she eats.

So she brought me the cereal she was considering and I read out the quantities of sugar and salt.   She went away seemingly satisfied only to come back in a couple of minutes with the salt and sugar weighed out.

How much salt and sugar?

She was horrified and that cereal was definitely out of the running. She then bought me a packet of Shredded Wheat which is much better but she had noticed that the cereal with milk contained a lot of sugar and that got her interested in the sugar in milk, so we googled it. First we found this site which is not too keen on milk at all. Then one that is much more keen.

This video was fun to watch and I would do well to take note but we could not find Almond milk for delivery in the UK. Probably we will have to actually go to a health food shop for that, which we will do when I am back on my feet because she is interested in trying it.

This discussion about healthy cereal led to questions about healthy bread and the difference between white and wholemeal bread. We learned that white bread only contained the endosperm while wholemeal contained the bran and the wheatgerm as well which is where a lot of the nutrition is.

This image explained it well.


Our search then led us here, and then here, which exposed some of the horrors of processed food, and we had to look at the worst cereal, NestlĂ© Curiously Cinnamon.

This site looked interesting to me but not to Beth so we didn't tarry here.  Perhaps we will go back and have a look at sometime in the future.

A break occurred at this point when we realised that Beth was in danger of missing French, however she found out when she got there that it was off for half term (still got to get our head around this went to guides as well, we haven't done many things that have broken for school holidays in this way before).  French lessons combine with social time in the park and luckily someone else had made the same mistake and they had bought their very young puppy with them so win win for Beth.  You know who you are and thank you!

We then covered baked beans : ( and cheese.

This is what a hundred grams of cheese looks like.

100 gm cheese
Any more than this and you are definitely getting too much salt not to mention fat.

Baked beans seem to be out of the question if you want to eat anything else with salt in that day!

We looked at pizza and decided they need to be home made and wholemeal, shop bought ones have massive amount of salt.  We thought of french bread pizzas but can't find wholemeal french bread

And Lynda McCartney pies, a family favourite contain 17.5 grams of salt equivalent.   Arrrggghhhhhh!!!!

That is 12.5 gm more than a woman's recommended daily allowance.    Arrrggghhhhhh!!!!

An excellent unintended consequence of all this was the rediscovery of the Usborne Beginner's Cookbook which went missing four years ago when we had the kitchen redone and has previously avoided all efforts to find it.

We have had to stop as I am exhausted and need a break before cooking our extremely unhealthy shop bought pizzas for tea.  We always have lots and lots of sliced veggis with them but I am not sure that will compensate for the salt content.

Beth grumbled a bit as she was not exhausted but then accepted it and is now playing Adventure Rock on her computer, a game she recently discovered for herself.

It was fortunate that I had had nothing else planned for today-although it was unfortunate that this is because I have two broken legs and can't go anywhere - however autonomous learning does not always take place at the most convenient of times as Jax points out.


  1. Half term here starts next week. No guides here next week either. I feel sorry for schooling families who live in different counties from each other. They must have difficulties arranging to meet up, go on days out together etc

  2. We had this problem a lot when the kids were younger, they keep saying they are changing it but doesn't seem to make any difference.

  3. I am not shocked Elaine that I didn't know about your blog! Off to add it to my sidebar.

  4. This post is the ultimate antidote to my chocolate one yesterday!
    Thanks for the heads up on milk, very interesting.

  5. Lol, it is isn't it Hannah, not sure the place we are in is permanent though, but baby steps!

  6. we watched a sort of documentary about all this stuff the other night, and I was feeling all smug about how good we do - but how much salt in cheese? And do I get to do shop bought pizzas every now and then? (Daren't even look up the cereals we use :( )

  7. OK, you mentioned fat and cheese ... it is law that I pipe up at this point with my Public Information hat on...

    Don't get too hung up on fat, especially saturated (animal) fats. Saturated fat is good for you - you need it to think, to move, to protect your heart and blood vessels, for hormone production and much much else!

    Notice how many of the people telling you they are not are either trying to sell 'lite' products, pharmaceuticals, or services based around 'official' attitudes (government sponsored research that finds what the government says is true is automatically suspect in my book!).

    Read up on the cholesterol myth, fats that harm and fats that heal, the differences between saturated, mono- and poly-unsaturated and hydrogenated fats. Strange how you are being told not to eat too much of the natural fats that our species has been eating for tens of thousands of years, and to replace them with man-made fats that do not exist in nature, and so have never before been eaten.

    I could go on and on and on about things like the 17 year study of 25,000 New Yorkers which found that those on a low fat diet had twice the incidence of heart disease....... but won't! :)

    I return you now to your regular programming...

  8. Jax, I thought our diet was much better than it actually is before doing this with Beth 8-0

    Hi Jem. thanks for that, we try not to touch hydrogenated fats in fact we have decided I think that most food needs to be home made from the most natural and freshest ingredients you can find. Can't quite manage it yet though although we have had a lot of fresh veg from the garden.

    And yes I am deeply suspicious of all these claims now, but for Beth at 11 it is a good enough amount of info for now.

    I am rather hung up on the fat disabling qualities of the calcium in dairy products but have moved back to full fat cheese as it tastes so much nicer!

  9. I know that our diet has improved hugely over the last couple of months - since I started getting veg boxes. I've now graduated from them and we buy fresh fruit and veg at the greengrocer down the road which is even better.

    And I measure success by the fact that the children moaned at the idea of pizza tonight!

    Nice linkage to my post, good intro!

  10. I am planning that mine will, once i am back on my feet but planning is the easy bit, lol. Cannot imagine my kids moaning at the idea of pizza but never say never!