eNutrition 101
a LaFrance Consulting Services™ e-Course
Nutrition for Liberal Arts Students, independent study

Introduction to the Course

Before we begin, you need to know the real (“real” refers to my own world, and it is common knowledge among my children and grandchildren that I am weird) basic food groups:
    Peanut Butter,
    Cookies, and

    You should also know that I have been “underweight” my entire life, so few people want to know my advice on weight management [read weight loss], even with my ability to maintain a stable, below average weight for my entire adult life. However, at a health screening at a technical college where I taught preNursing classes, the doctor reviewing the results for me stated, “You're disgustingly healthy for a man your age” [at that time I was in my late fifties], because I scored 98 on a scale of 1 to 100. It was a medical doctor discussing the results of medical [wellness] testing, so I take it to be a “diagnosis” that I am disgustingly healthy. When I took the “RealAge Test” [RealAge®] I scored minus 6 years compared to my calendar age [at the time, mid 60's]. My advice on wellness, based on multiple degrees in Biology [BA, Botany, Zoology & French, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS; MA, Botany, Columbia University, New York NY; PhD, Biology (Ecology), University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN] and personal experience, may be considered to be sound.

    Throughout these lectures, Anything in this font style is “jargon” and will be followed by the definition of the word as I am using it. One the other hand, anything is this font style is “important,” at least in my opinion.

the Course

If you wish to succeed in this course, it is important to follow the directions! You are expected first to read the lecture; then to take the quiz using the text and other references (either in print or on the web) to prepare your answer [cite references other than the lecture]. If you are unclear about what the question is, after trying to decipher it on your own, ASK by e-mail to the professor. It has been documented, and statistically confirmed, that there is a direct correlation between the effort you put into the course work and the amount you can expect to Learn [and therefore your grade, which probably does not need defining]. This is what is meant by “independent study” at the College level. If this sounds like a lot of work, you understand correctly; if it sounds like more work than you are willing to put in, contact the College about changing to an in-class section of the course.

    The premise of this course is that Humans ought to be concerned with wellness, and ought to understand that wellness is increased by proper nutrition and certain other life style choices (some of which will be included in the content of this course). My definition of “wellness” is that it leads to a longer life expectancy with high quality of life throughout the patient's life span. A more common definition involves concepts such as “absence of illness.” Understand, I have no objection to the absence of illness. As an aside, life expectancy is defined as the “age at which 50% of an even-aged population will die;” while life span is the “maximum age which humans can reach at death” [probably set at least in part by genetics]. Currently the maximum recorded [Guiness Book of Records, which demands official documentation of birth and of death] life span is 122 years and a few months, set by a French woman who smoked for only 98 years [age 14 to 112], and who is the poster child for the French Paradox: the French are well known for their bad habits, yet tend to avoid cardiovascular disease. Another group famous for avoiding cardiovascular disease are Orientals who have few bad habits, and who normally eat undercooked vegetables. You will hear more about these groups later.

    The role of nutrition and other life style choices in Wellness will be a recurrent theme through these “lectures.”

    We shall review just enough Anatomy & Physiology to understand the Biology of Nutrition Science. This will be a “review” of what you didn't learn from the A & P course you didn't take. The bad news is that we will also “review” the Chemistry which you didn't learn from the Chemistry course you didn't take; the good news is the Chemistry covered will be very superficial and so over-simplified that you should not quote any of it to a Chemistry professor [because that professor may explain why it's incorrect]. As we cover the various classes of nutrients, you will gain knowledge which will assist you in your analysis of the actual diet of a real Human for the final exam. Obviously, if you are going to analyze someone's diet, you will need to know what that person's diet is. Here we are using diet in the sense of a record of what a person actually ate during some past time interval. You will collect total food intake data for three (3) consecutive days. [I require my Nursing students to collect 7 days of data.]

    You will have daily “quizzes” assuming two meeting per week for 16 weeks (as for the in-class version of the course). The quizzes are designed to provide the students with opportunities to learn and to apply Liberal Arts college skills such as Critical Thinking and application of knowledge to “new” situations [translated to English this means that the answers are often not in the lectures nor in the text]. Some quizzes will be assignments which will give you hands-on experience with the lecture topic (in education terms this is called the discovery method wherein the students discover the answer for themselves; and underlying approach to learning/teaching is called the Constructivist method. Either way they will count as quizzes for grading purposes. The quizzes are in webpage format, so you will not be able to answer the questions on-line. You will have to retype the question on your reply, answer it and then e-mail your answers to [professor@twooldguys.com] as an attachment. For the more computer literate among you, you can highlight the question, press Ctrl-c to copy it, then move to your Word document and press Ctrl-v to paste it into your document. If you don't have Microsoft Office on your computer, and don't want to buy it, you can download a free word processor, spreadsheet (and other Office-like programs) from OpenOffice.org [“The OpenOffice.org project is primarily sponsored by Oracle, which is the primary contributor of code to the Project. Our other corporate contributors include Novell, RedHat, RedFlag CH2000, and IBM. Additionally over 450,000 people from nearly every curve of the globe have joined this Project with the idea of creating the best possible office suite that all can use. This is the essence of an ‘open source community!’” (Open Office website)]. You may find my quiz questions to be confusing at times; this is intentional because one of the first steps in answering a question using Critical Thinking (a skill generally accepted as important in a Liberal Arts education), is to determine “what” the question is. In an interview of A. Einstein, genius, the interviewer asked, “How can you come up with answers to such difficult questions?" Einstein is said to have replied, “I don't. I find simpler questions.” If you still don't know what the question asks, you can always ask me [by email] what I think I want as an answer, and I will try to guide you toward the answer.
    The “lectures” are webpages of text written in my lecture sytle. It was my intent in writing the lectures as I did to give you the feel of attending an actual lecture, but without the exchange of student comments and questions. I am looking into the technology needed to provide the interactive aspect of the lecture, but have not yet implemented that feature on my website. You may, of course, e-mail any questions to me [professor@twooldguys.com]. You will find my lectures to “stray” onto tangents, seemingly unrelated to the subject; this is part of the Constructivist approach to education. Applying Piaget's Theory of How Humans Acquire Knowledge requires the instructor to cause just enough confusion in the students to motivate them to learn the material (into Long-Term memory); if the students are not confused, they will (according to Piaget) erroneously conclude that they already “know” the material and will not invest the intellectual effort necessary to learn it [More Liberal Arts curriculum basics]. In memory-courses, students hold knowledge in Short-Term memory until they need it (for the tests), then promptly discard it from memory. My course is designed to move the knowledge into long-term memory (more often than not, without the students realizing that they “learned!”
    The recommended text, Brown's Nutrition Now, is intended as your primary source of knowledge, while the lectures are intended to assist you in identifying what to concentrate on while reading, while providing a sufficient introduction to the principles of Nutrition Science [but not the detailed factual material you will need for the final exam; such detailed knowledge is, in my opinion, best stored in outside resources, not in the brains of students]. The suggested texts, Roizen & Oz's books, can provide a very readable discussion of wellness issues and strategies: You, the owner's manual for the general population; You, on a diet for the adult population with weight issues; or You staying young for the older adults concerned with quality of life in their senior years. I suggest that you use the text which best covers which ever you find either the most interesting, or the most applicable to your current life stage.


Obviously, it will take 3 days to collect 3 days worth of data. Therefore, this assignment will not be due until week 3.

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revised: 29 Jul 2010