Can I Eat Plants? The story behind

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The story behind.. What inspired this book?

“Can I Eat Plants?” is a short picture book series written for children, it’s about plants we eat everyday, .  The inspiration for this book came to me through my three lovely children, who wanted a quick guide, to help them  learn how to choose food. This title series is dedicated to all those curious Little GrownUps who have proven from time and time again, that they are ready to learn more.   “Eat , it  is good for you” , does not make much sense to them, so here are some answers finally. This book will ignite their imagination and allow them to start thinking like a ‘nutritionist’. Let them learn & enjoy applying this knowledge everyday .


Motivation:

The turning point in my life was, when I became a parent. My oldest son ‘Aqeel’,  would bombard me with questions  such as – why should I eat more spinach today? why should I drink a thyme tea? what is the difference between whole grain and the white bread? etc all the time. But like most of us, I too got away by replying “it’s healthy for you so you should eat” .  In a few years time my second son ‘Evaan’ joined the same question club along with tiny tot ‘Reeva’ who only knows to ask ‘why?’ for everything . 

One day, I over heard my sons talking to one another, Aqeel said to Evaan – ” stop asking, we will find out when we grow up. Just eat , otherwise mamma won’t like it “.  I realised instantly that I was doing it all wrong then.  They were right, I was going to leave it all to their fate, it was going to be up to them to find out why their parents gave them certain food and avoided others. Suddenly, it made no sense, also because, what if  none of my three children choose to study ‘nutrition’ when they grew up?  will it mean that all these childhood years are wasted? it is now they are asking, so it is now I should answer.  I can’t let their childhood  be a missed opportunity .Eating habits need not be unexplained, there are greater things that need waiting , so it was time to open communications.


Changed Approach:

I teamed up with my Little GrownUps – Aqeel, Evaan & Reeva and we began speaking about food. Our dinner table became a learning space and me cooking in front of them was their visual lessons. The questions surfaced and this time, I paused and replied their ‘why?s’. We  spend time  in the backyard amongst the seasonal plants, vegetables and herbs discussing their uses.

We try making connection with everything  happening in the nature, such as – why do some plants die off when seasons change? , how is  ‘lady bug’ protecting the tomato plant ?,why does a snail leave a trail? or why it is important to invite ‘bees’ into our garden? etc . We  sometimes spend hours observing the different  colours, scents , textures and taste of plants. It is amazing how our conversations around food extended to plant and then to health . 

I involve them, and we together decide what we should eat based on our mood, climate, temperature or occasion using  an understanding of food science. For example  if we are going to spend a lot of hours outdoors, then we may decide to have a fresh veg and fruit mix drink , or  if one of us has a sore throat , we might cook something with pepper and garlic in it , if there is a celebration then perhaps something very rich.

New Results:

It is very common now a days to find Reeva (my 2 year old daughter) having a tea party with her toys using stuffed herbs and sticks in them.  I have even heard them impersonate Harry Potter famous magic spells with plants botanical names , like “Plectranthus amboinicus” – it is their favourite herb. All this gives me hope and assurance that this is the right way to live. Knowledge should flow carelessly without the age barrier, if they can frame the question then they are most definitely ready to hear an answer.

I want to share this happiness & experience with the rest of the world , that is why I have written this book. The book sets the stage for a progressive conversation on plant food , which is the foundation to understand the purpose of eating for health.

Resourcefulness of this project:

This book  “Can I Eat Plants? “ is a good companion  for parents, teachers and home schoolers who have brainy , fussy eaters or both. The book answers many of the questions around food choices and gets the conversation going . There are worksheets in the book, that can be used to reinforce the learnings with further one on one discussions & practical experimentation. A recognition for hard work  also awaits in the last page.

With the help and support of my friends, I was able to put this book to test with some of the toughest, 8 – 14 year old, critics. I am pleased to say they not only liked it, but also found the whole concept very simple to grasp. So give it a go & share here with us what ‘you’ think.

The Ultimate Goal:

My biggest sense of achievement comes from the realisation that this book series will help ‘Little GrownUps’ grow up making informed choices for every meal they put in their mouth .This can only lead to a healthier tomorrow which  is the main objective of  “Little GrownUps Herb School “

The Giving Continues:

I asked my son, “What will make attempting and successfully completing this workbook even more special and motivating?“. He replied , “Well if I  get to share with everyone what I have completed and where there are others who have done this sort of certificate as well…”  so,that gave me another idea and  I decided to create a “Wall of Fame”  , technically a “Page of Fame”, it will list the names of every body who completes the workbook and fills in the form available on the website. The link is listed under the certificate in the workbook and I am really hoping this will help me create a new generation online community made of specially talented nutrition conscious children.

All the best.

Yours truly,

Mehru
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