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Does organic food always have nutrition?

Parenting Tips

September 2023

Written by: Registered Nutritionist (Public Health) (UK), Ng Pui Yu

Many families choose to consume organic foods such as fruits, vegetables, and eggs. When asked about the reasons for purchasing organic food, most people respond with, “Because organic food is safer and more nutritious.” In this issue, the author will educate everyone about what organic farming is.

What is organic farming?

Organic farming refers to agricultural practices that replace synthetic substances with methods involving agriculture, biology, or machinery. It avoids using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified crops and instead relies on local natural resources while adhering to the laws of natural ecology. The scope of considerations is broad, for example: an organic production area on a farm must be at least 2 meters away from non-organic areas to prevent crop contamination.

   

         Crop and Variety Selection and Diversity:

  • Seeds or propagating material used for organic cultivation should be certified as organic.
  • Farms must practice crop rotation and intercropping while striving for diversification to avoid monoculture.

          Nutrient Management:

  • Fertilization should be applied appropriately to prevent nutrient excess and environmental pollution.
  • The sources, quality, quantity, and application methods of fertilizers used on the farm should be ecologically benign.
  • Soil fertility should be restored through fallow periods.
  • The use of chemically synthesized fertilizers, human excreta, sewage sludge, and chemical waste is prohibited.

         

          Management of Pests, Diseases, Weed, and Crop Growth:

  • Implement appropriate fertilization and irrigation management.
  • Utilize physical methods, including manual techniques, fencing, light, sound frequency, heat, etc.
  • Plant crops that have pest control properties (including pest repellent and attracting natural enemies).
  • Prohibit the use of chemically synthesized herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and other pesticides.

From this perspective, organic farming emphasizes ecological conservation in the cultivation process. However, when it comes to nutritional value, there isn’t a significant difference between organic and non-organic foods. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that children who consume organic foods are healthier or more intelligent. Of course, due to the environmental friendliness and reduced use of chemical pesticides in organic farming, I also encourage everyone to make more organic choices!

         Conventional Farming vs. Organic Farming

 

Conventional Farming

Organic Farming

Safety

More commonly uses chemical pesticides and fertilizers

l   Fewer chemical pesticide

l   Emphasizes ecological environment

l   Uses non-genetically modified materials

Nutrition

No significant difference

Health

Also need to pay attention to the principles of a healthy diet: low fat, low sugar, and low salt.

Three sentences of family life: Love warms within the home

Parenting Tips

September 2023

Written by: Education expert, Principal Cheung Jok Fong

Have you ever heard the theme song of a certain TV drama called “Embrace Love”? I really like a few lines from it, as these few words capture the essence of “family.” A family is a place that provides shelter from the wind and rain, your “support.” When you’re feeling “weary,” the door of your home will always be open for you. The mentioned “love” refers to the deep-rooted bond of kinship that’s destined from the moment you were born, stronger than blood. Indeed, what could be more important than family ties? When you’re feeling down, your family will share your burdens, willing to listen to your worries and accompany you through difficulties. When you’re sick, your family will take care of you unconditionally. When you achieve success in your studies or career, they’ll genuinely rejoice and take pride in your accomplishments. This kind of “love” can’t be bought with money.

We all hope that parents and students understand the value of family love. Sadly, this love might come too easily, acquired from birth, and as a result, some don’t fully appreciate it. Sometimes, we see in newspapers that some teenagers would rather linger on the streets than go home; some families argue all day long, turning the home into a battlefield; some even resort to violence over trivial matters, leading to tragedies. The examples mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg, and sometimes I can’t help but feel saddened that a once peaceful home can turn into such a situation.

The Three Sentences of Family Life

How can we build a harmonious family? Pope Francis once proposed the “Three Languages of Family Life” when talking about family, which are the three phrases that should be spoken more at home: “Thank you,” “Please,” and “I’m sorry.”

“Thank you” represents gratitude towards family members. Many times, children are taken care of by their parents from a young age, and they may start to take it for granted. Consider this: do parents have to prepare three meals a day for you? Who washes your clothes and cleans your shoes and socks, providing you with a cleaner living environment? When you’re sick, who takes care of you tirelessly, even getting up at night to give you medicine? Classmates, while your parents are taking care of you, why not say “thank you” more often and help with household chores when you have the time, sharing the workload with them? In fact, when children complete household tasks for their parents, parents can also say “thank you” to them. In today’s society, the notion of elders being on a pedestal is no longer appropriate. You should know that in building a harmonious family, everyone has a responsibility. Don’t think that certain tasks are necessarily assigned to specific family members. Even when you receive help from others, even family members, you can still say “thank you.”

“May I ask” represents respect for family members and polite behavior towards others. Some may think that since we are family, there’s no need to be overly polite in our speech and we can just speak straightforwardly. However, “May I ask” doesn’t just encourage us to speak politely; it reminds us to consider the feelings of our family members in our words. Sometimes, people tend to get heated over trivial matters and believe that they should argue their point forcefully in all situations, even with their family members. But is it really worth it to act this way? As the saying goes, “Winning an argument but losing the family.” Even with close family members, it’s better to choose our words carefully.

As for “I’m sorry,” it represents seeking forgiveness from family members. When you make a mistake, it’s only natural to have the courage to take responsibility and say “I’m sorry” to the person you’ve hurt. At the same time, “I’m sorry” also signifies an opportunity to mend relationships with family members. Sometimes, right and wrong are not easily judged in a few words. Or perhaps, there is no clear right or wrong, but rather differences in values among individuals. Unfortunately, many conflicts arise from such differences. If no one is willing to compromise, relationships can become very tense. As the saying goes, “Give in a little, gain a lot.” Putting down your pride doesn’t mean you’re surrendering, nor is it about compromising on the issue. Instead, it creates a new opportunity to resolve the problem in a better way.

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Parenting Tips

Parental Relationships and Child’s Physical and Mental Health

Parenting Tips

September 2023

Written by: Marriage and Family Therapist, Child Play Therapist, Lee Wai Zi

Whenever a child is born, it brings about changes to the family. Many times, parents, caught up in taking care of and disciplining their children, can easily overlook the quality of their own marital life. Over time, marital life becomes reduced to a pile of responsibilities and pressures. I once heard a friend say that when he comes home from work every day, it’s like an assembly line of checking his children’s homework, supervising their studies, while his wife takes care of their meals and routines. By the time the two of them can rest, it’s often late at night. Even if there’s still energy left to exchange a few words with his wife, the topic tends to revolve around their children’s academic performance and achievements. Sometimes, there isn’t even enough time left for their own rest, let alone considering their spouse’s needs.

Many couples facing difficulties in their marriage tend to attribute the problems in their relationship to the birth of their children. Generally, people believe that this is due to differing expectations and parenting methods between parents, or unequal distribution of roles and responsibilities in raising children, leading to conflicts in the relationship. However, the vast majority of couples express that they don’t necessarily need their partner to agree with their thoughts or actions. The key issue is that when they face the stress of parenting and various life pressures, they often don’t feel valued, supported, and accepted by their spouse. This leads both sides into a state of loneliness and helplessness, gradually eroding trust and emotional connection.

Differing educational philosophies and methods between spouses are ordinary and natural. However, during the process of parenting, parents are prone to repetitively using ineffective and destructive methods to deal with their differences, inadvertently creating a negative cycle of interaction within the relationship. For example, a wife might complain in front of her husband that the child doesn’t listen, and might even reproach her husband for not helping to share the responsibilities of household chores and parenting. The wife’s expression of dissatisfaction is aimed at making the husband understand her concerns and troubles, and hoping to receive his support and comfort.

However, husbands often only receive criticism and blame from their wives. In order to protect themselves from getting hurt, they might remain silent or explain and defend themselves repeatedly, hoping for understanding and acceptance from their wives. The more husbands explain, the less valued and understood their wives might feel, leading to more accusations. And the more wives accuse, the more helpless husbands might feel, causing them to further evade and defend. Both spouses are participants in this negative cycle of interaction and victims of this cycle as well. If parents don’t promptly address and resolve the deadlock in their relationship, not only will the problems persist and worsen, but it could also ultimately impact their children.

The well-being of the family and the children relies on a strong emotional connection between the spouses. Therefore, for the sake of themselves and their children, it’s worth spending more time nurturing the love between partners. As long as the marital relationship is harmonious, children can naturally grow up healthy and happy.