Why Are We Losing I.Q. Points?

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There are a lot of scientific studies out that show that we are losing I.Q. points every year.  This is disturbing news, but there are many indications that maybe we’re losing these points due to the type of I.Q. test that is administered.  Now, my thoughts about this have to do with shortened attention spans, and a lessened importance on education that has become all-pervasive in the U.S.  And, I think that this actually holds water.  There are places in the U.S. where teachers earn so little that they are on food stamps and housing assistance.  At the same time, they are required to have an extensive education – as they should be.  As we know, there have been teacher’s strikes all over the place regarding both salaries and the very state of the schools that they teach in.  Why do schools have exposed wiring and leaky roofs?  And, why do teachers have to supply their classrooms with paper, pencils, crayons, and the like?  Where does the money go?

Starting in the 1980’s there has been a vilification of educated people.  They have notoriously been portrayed as “elites”, and supposedly “out of touch”, interestingly this has usually been done by people who are either millionaires or billionaires (which right there is irony).  Now, I’ve personally seen the work that teachers do.  My mother was a teacher, and the hours are not confined to the hours that a school is open.  There is preparation work that takes place during the summers, and then there are the hours and hours of grading papers which is done outside of “paid” hours.  As someone who home-schooled my two children from grades 3 to 7, I have to say that I’ve got quite an appreciation for the work that teachers do.  And, I only taught 2 children, imagine having to teach 30+ every day!

My other thought is that people have a shortened attention span.  A lot of our activities require fast-paced thoughts and actions.  This can have a detrimental effect on how the growing brain works.  I read Endangered Minds by Jane M. Healy while I was pregnant with my first child.  This book had a huge influence on how I raised my children.  I was raised with none to little television.  Yes, this is true.  I’ve never seen many of the “iconic” shows from the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Do I feel deprived?  No, absolutely not!  I have seen some of these shows later on, and didn’t really feel like I missed anything.  So, believe it or not, my children were also raised without television.  What did we do after dinner?  I read books to them.  Some of these books include, but are not limited to: the Narnia series; Little House in the Big Woods series; and of course, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  There were a lot of other books I read besides.  They also played a lot, and this is extremely important to growing brains, also.

Critical thinking is so important.  You can regurgitate facts until the cows come home, but that doesn’t mean that you understand any of them.  Critical thinking is one of the most important things that people can be taught.  I had my children pick a topic and write me a report on it.  They also had to check where the information they were using came from, who funded the research and whether or not it was a peer-reviewed scientific study.

Do you think that people are losing their intelligence, or that maybe the way we raise, teach and test should be looked into?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Zero Waste Lifestyle

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My daughter recently asked me if I knew anything about “zero waste living”.  I had to admit that I’d heard of it, but really didn’t know what it entailed.  So, I decided to look into it and relay my findings to all of you.

Zero waste is living without any waste at all.  So, this means that you don’t buy your toothpaste, you make it.  When you get coffee out you bring a mug with you and have that filled instead of a coffee cup.  You need to think about bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, buying loose vegetables instead of ones in plastic bags.  Another great thing that is easy to do is to by your own steel straw and keep it with you just in case you end up going out for a drink, that way you can limit the amount of plastic straws you use.  By the way, you can also do this by bringing your own silverware with you if you end up in a fast-food restaurant.

The list of things that you have to think about is fairly long, and from what information I’ve found, it can take a while to get to zero waste.  There is a steep hill of learning to climb, to say the least.  A lot of it seems to be pretty time-consuming, and as an aside, the loophole of using “recyclable” plastic, can be more than confusing, since as I’ve come to know, much of what we “recycle”, doesn’t actually get recycled.  (The cost of recycling is going up all the time, and many of the countries that took recycling are not taking it anymore.)

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So, in my case, I could not go to zero waste, since many of the products at my local grocery store are packaged in non-recyclable plastic, from bread to vegetables, and many products in between. I don’t have the option of buying those items loose, since I’ve never even seen loose mushrooms, they are always packaged in the stores that I’ve been in.

That being said, there are a lot of other things that we can do to bring our waste down.  I almost always bring a bag with me when I shop, so I don’t have plastic bags.  If I do end up with them, I reuse them for as long as I can.  If I’ve forgotten a bag, I will often just put whatever is was that I’ve bought into my purse if it fits.  I also have quite a few net bags that I put my loose produce in – fruit and the vegetables that are sold loose.

While trying to live by creating zero waste is an admirable goal, I’ve found that the way we package food products, along with most of the other things that we buy, it seems to be a difficult task.  However, I absolutely advocate doing what you can in your daily life to create as little waste as you can.  After all, we have turned much of this world into a garbage dump, and What do you think about going zero waste?  I’ve left a few links below for you to check out if you’re interested.

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https://www.motherearthliving.com/healthy-home/zero-waste-living-zmfz15jfhou

http://time.com/5218046/how-to-live-zero-waste/

 

What’s the What with Beet Juice?

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I recently saw a post on Instagram about the benefits of beet juice and decided to check it out.  What I found was interesting, and I’m excited to say that I’ll be adding this juice to my “to-drink” list.  Some of the benefits include helping you exercise longer (and feel better doing so), lowering blood pressure, improve blood flow, may improve muscle power in people who are suffering from heart failure, slow dementia, and help with maintaining a healthy weight.  Other benefits include preventing cancer because beets contain the antioxidant betalaines which are known to work against some cancer cells.  Beets also have the following minerals:  potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium all of which are beneficial to our bodies.

Other good things found in beets are folate and vitamin C.  Some studies have shown that beet juice can reduce the fatty substances that may build up in your liver, and it also shows that it may help reduce cholesterol.

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There are some things to know before you decide to drink beet juice.  Like turmeric, beet juice may change the color of your urine, in this case to either red or pink (turmeric can make it quite yellow).  Also, it’s suggested that you introduce the juice to your diet slowly to give your body a chance to adjust.  All I can say is, thank goodness I’ve hung onto my juicer.  I’ll let you know how this new adventure into beet juice goes!

Does Peace Begin on Your Plate?

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There are many choices that we can make.  What you choose to put on your plate is definitely one of them.  While almost everyone who has chosen to forgo animal products grew up eating those same products, however, at some point these people made a choice to not add to the violence and destruction that is so pervasive in the world.  After all, if you can choose to not cause harm to anyone else – including other species, why wouldn’t you?  When I finally confronted that question myself, I knew that I had to get off the Vegetarian diet and become Vegan.

This was a hard decision, not because of myself, but because of the other people in my life, and others in general.  The meat and dairy industries generate a lot of money, approximately $864.2 billion annually in the U.S. alone.  Think of the incentive there is to vilify vegans, along with doctors who speak out against these industries, and you will see where the pervasive negative attitudes come from.  Not only are vegans portrayed in various media outlets as being slightly insane and/or obnoxious, but there are numerous examples of how extreme veganism is.  Why being vegan is considered extreme is beyond my understanding.  Isn’t raising an animal for the sole purpose of killing and eating that animal extreme?

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Not only are there the ethical questions regarding killing an animal that doesn’t want to die, but if you add to that the environmental damage done by the massive world-wide meat and dairy industry, you can see how the destruction becomes unsustainable.

Now, back to my question, does peace begin on your plate?  My answer is yes, of course it does.  There is only so much in the way of sustainable food, and when one country has a problem with consumption that causes others to suffer peace also suffers.  I’ve left links below for you to read.  Look up other information and decide for yourselves whether or not you believe that peace begins on your plate.

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https://www.google.com/search?q=How+much+money+does+the+meat+industry+make+a+year%3F&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjknMjQ4djbAhWs6IMKHZpCBUIQzmcIQQ&biw=1366&bih=654

http://www.jhunewsletter.com/article/2016/03/the-representation-of-food-on-television

http://science.time.com/2013/12/16/the-triple-whopper-environmental-impact-of-global-meat-production/

https://content.sierraclub.org/grassrootsnetwork/team-news/2016/10/10-reasons-why-meat-and-dairy-industry-unsustainable-0

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cutting-back-on-meat-consumption-could-help-end-hunger-by-2030-experts_us_55f3424ee4b077ca094f27a5

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/world-hunger-population-growth-ditching-meat/

What About Education?

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It seems that in America the states have lots of money for building new prisons, but no money for education.  I am talking specifically about Oklahoma, but this is true of other states as well.  In full disclosure, I am the daughter of a teacher, and I also homeschooled my children from grades 3 to 8.  I believe strongly in a good education system where science and math are taught, along with accurate history, literature and the arts.  I well-rounded education is a requirement for a good society.  I’m not alone in this, since many of our ancestors were also in agreement.

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the various teachers strikes, but they were not only striking for more money (remember, a teacher must have a Bachelors degree in teaching, but also a Master’s Degree – that is six years of college), but they are also striking for newer textbooks (some are over twenty years old), there are not enough books for the number of students, there are leaking roofs, moldy walls and ceilings, exposed wires, broken desks and chairs, no paper, and the list goes on and on.

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So, my question is this?  How did this happen?  Why is education being slowly strangled due to lack of money?  As a child I can remember when people who were smart were looked up to.  At some point, many parts of society decided to wage a war on education.  Being “smart” became less desirable, with put-downs such as “nerd” and “geek” being used.  Being a “bookworm” was a negative thing.  I wish I knew why education is no longer valued.  I do have some thoughts, including the fact that if people are kept from learning deductive reasoning, they may be easier to trick.  I’m leaving some links below that I hope you will check out.  The videos of the schools are really difficult to watch because they look like third world schools.  Please comment on this subject below.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/02/05/americas-school-funding-problems-state-by-state/?noredirect=on

 

Yes, Your Diet Is Related to Your Health!

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We keep hearing “all things in moderation”, and other silly statements meant to placate us into thinking that we can eat our cake (meat, dairy,) and be healthy all the same.  It’s a nice thought, but is it true?  Is the “typical” American diet keeping you in good health?  Well, it certainly doesn’t seem to be, given the amount of people with diseases that are caused by the “typical” American diet.   Frankly, our food choices are killing us.

Diet accounts for the following diseases:  cardiovascular; diabetes; obesity; and most (if not all) cancers.  So, you would think that your doctor would let you know that you need to make better food choices.  However, that is usually not the case.  Instead, we run into the typical “all things in moderation” type of advice.  When it comes to choices that actually cause death, there shouldn’t be any discussion of “moderation” in consumption of them.  We’ve been told for years that we should not smoke, since that leads to death, why not the same with food?

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Since I am a cynic, I more than suspect that this negligence on the part of the entire health industry has more than a little to do with profits.  After all, the following people/corporations profit from your illness:  doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and drug companies.  They are making a tidy profit off of you, and Americans are getting sicker at a younger and younger age.  This is simply ridiculous and really should stop.

I’m leaving some links for you to follow in order to educated yourselves, since the health industry isn’t going to do it for you.  Change your diet, change your life!

https://www.alternet.org/food/poor-diets-are-killing-more-americans-anything-else?akid=16594.302291.tdJuEv&rd=1&src=newsletter1087425&t=34

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1710486

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24742395

Here is a link that can answer all of your possible questions regarding diet and health, and they are much more qualified than I am.  Please go to https://nutritionfacts.org/ for your answers.

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What is Wrong with Education?

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I love to learn.  If I’m curious about anything, from the origin of a word to where a country is on the map, I’ll look it up (my geographic skills are very limited, and I’m always looking at maps).  I have an insatiable curiosity regarding almost anything to everything.  I will ask strangers all kinds of questions in order to get to know them.  I’m not pushy, and I try to do it in a friendly way.  I feel that there is so much going on the world and so many stories out there that are so interesting.  Most people are dealing with all kinds problems and I’ve been told that the very fact I ask them how they are makes them feel special.

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My curiosity includes education – of course.  I decided while I was at college, that I’d get two majors instead of the usual combination of a major and a minor.  I had a few interesting conversations with the Dean of Students over this decision, but due to my high grades they let me persue it.  When my children were in school I asked them to tell me one thing they learned that I didn’t already know.  When I home schooled them, the thing that I liked best about it was how much new information I was learning.  There is nothing like learning new things that gets me so excited.  When I first learned who Rachel Carson was, I wanted to be just like her. Most of my heroes are people who not only are highly intelligent, but also people interested in helping others.  The only way forward into a better and more equal future is through education.  Done right, education creates compassion and understanding.  No one who reads a wide variety of international literature can claim no compassion nor understanding. Once you feel what other cultures have experienced, your mind has been opened to new pathways.

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Of course, the point of all this waxing on about education is that a new study by Pew Research Center has shown that the majority of Republican voters believe that higher education is “bad” for America.  That being said, I wonder if they are prepared to forgo Doctors, Nurses, Engineers and computer experts.  All these people do have degrees from universities.  Indeed, many of them have advanced degrees.  These are the people responsible for many of the “little” things that make life a lot better – such as advancements in communications, infrastructure, safety and health care.  This finding simply flabbergasts me.  Please feel free to leave your comments on this subject.  I’d love to find out what other people think of it.

http://www.people-press.org/2017/07/10/sharp-partisan-divisions-in-views-of-national-institutions/

http://www.newsweek.com/republicans-believe-college-education-bad-america-donald-trump-media-fake-news-634474