Friday, March 20, 2009
Who here has children? Raise your hands! Very well then. Quite a few. Who here has read to their children? Ah. Ha. Still a pretty good number of you, yes? Well let me ask you one final question. Which one of you fine parents out there haven’t read to their child: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle? One of you? Ay! Well shame on you Mum. How could you have deprived poor little Siempre Solo from this childhood wonder and this childhood joy? Huh? “Not born here” you say? “Never heard of him!” Ah well that is just to bad. No loss though Mum! You are quite forgiven. I my self however have made no such traumatic mistake with my own children. Because you see, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle has been a family favorite with the Solo children since ever the eldest girl was a wee lass of 3. You should know that she no longer fills those shoes. She is now twenty. But her younger brother and my wife and mine middle child also had the privilege of enjoying this fine book called The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. And yes for those of you that know even the twins that will be two shortly also have been blessed by the lovely story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. “Well that’s fine and well.” I’m sure all of you are saying “But what is so important about this little children’s book?” you are asking. Well that is a good question. And here is a good answer. Today Friday March 20th, 2009 is not only the first day of Spring “Welcome flowers!” But it is also the fortieth anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This little children’s book you see was written exactly 40 years ago in 1969 by the very prolific children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle. Many of you might not know but he has written and illustrated over 51 children’s books. His books have been published in many different languages as well. The Very Hungry caterpillar having the honor of being published in 46 different languages with over 36 different foreign publishers. Eric Carle was born in what was until recently my beloved adopted home town of Syracuse, New York. He was born in 1929 and lived there till he was six years old and moved with his parents to Germany where he went to school and eventually graduated from the prestigious art school, the Akademie der bildenden Künste, in Stuttgart. But his dream was always to return to America, the land of his happiest childhood memories. So, in 1952, with a fine portfolio in hand and forty dollars in his pocket, he arrived in New York. Soon he found a job as a graphic designer in the promotion department of The New York Times. Later, he was the art director of an advertising agency for many years. One day, respected educator and author, Bill Martin Jr, called to ask Carle to illustrate a story he had written. Martin’s eye had been caught by a striking picture of a red lobster that Carle had created for an advertisement. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was the result of their collaboration. It is still a favorite with children everywhere. This was the beginning of Eric Carle’s true career. Soon Carle was writing his own stories, too. His first wholly original book was 1,2,3 to the Zoo, followed soon afterward by the celebrated classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I implore you today to take some time out to watch the YouTube Video adaptation of Eric Carle’s lovely childhood classic and if you can get your hands on a copy pick it up and read it to a little one close by. Preferably your own if you have any. Make sure you check out the external link on the left for more fascinating facts and information.If I am not mistaken A 40th Anniversary Pop-Up edition is being released. So have fun with it as you welcome spring! And as always…
Eating is one the most important events in everyone’s life. We enjoy eating - it’s part of who we are and part of our culture; in fact, eating is the hottest universal topic of all times. We depend on eating: the foods we eat are the sole source of our energy and nutrition. We know so much about eating: we are born with the desire to eat and grown up with rich traditions of eating. But we also know so little about eating - about how the foods we eat everyday affect our health. We are more confused than ever about the link between diet and health: margarine is healthier than butter or not; a little alcohol will keep heart attacks at bay but cause breast cancer; dietary vitamin antioxidants can prevent lung cancer or can not. Eating is a paradox and a mystery that our ancestors tried and modern scientists are trying to solve.
Based on experiences and traditions, our ancestors have used foods and plant materials to treat various kinds of illness. Manuscripts discovered from a tomb (dated 168 B.C.) in China described prescriptions for 52 ailments with herbs, grains, legumes, vegetables, animal parts, and minerals. Ancient Sumerians recorded the use of 250 medicinal plants on tablets five thousand years ago. Today, plant and food remedies are still the major medicinal source for 80% of the world’s population.
The pharmacological roles of everyday foods have long been neglected by modern medicine due to lack of proven scientific validity. The main focus of modern medicine has been on pharmaceuticals. With the invention of modern chemotherapy by Paul Erhlich in the early twentieth century and sulfa drugs and antibiotics in the 1930’s and 1940’s, it seemed as if chemical medicines would take care of all our ills. However, while there continues to be great strides made in the understanding and use of pharmaceuticals, there is also widespread dissatisfaction with both them and the system of medicine that utilizes them. This dissatisfaction is centered around the feeling that they are too disease-oriented, and perhaps too limited by their precision to cope effectively with the subtle factors and interrelationships that compromise human health and disease. The precise and pure nature of modern biomedical pharmaceuticals also tends to increase their side effects. In addition, with the victory over many common infectious diseases, more people are concerned with chronic degenerative processes and with prevention of disease. The increasing concerns have started a new movement in medical research. More and more mainstream scientists are reaching back to the truth of ancient food folk medicines and dietary practices for clues to remedies and antidotes to our modern diseases.
Research on pharmacological effects of foods is fast-paced and the results are exciting. The mystery of what foods can do for or to us has started to unveil. In order to effectively use foods for our health benefits, the following issues need to be considered:
- Keep up with the most recent scientific findings and make use of them for our health benefits
- Try to use variety of whole foods as much as possible instead of isolated dietary supplements for your health problems - they are safer, cheaper, and usually more effective since they can provide multiple and balanced disease fighting capabilities
- Choice of foods is important: since healing power of a food is depending on the content of pharmacologically active constituents that differ among foods, and certain foods may need to be avoided due to their disease encouraging activities
- How do you prepare and eat your foods can affect their pharmacological effects
- Concerns about multiple health conditions: foods that benefit one health condition may be harmful to others
- Overall nutritional values of foods