Nov. 16, 2005 It was the regularly scheduled meeting of the Claude O. Markoe elementary school Parent Teacher Association on Wednesday night but the tantalizing scent of something special was in the air.
"One of the first rules of education is to get a good breakfast," Richard Muhammad, PTA president said. Since diet is so important to a good education, families can enhance the education of their children by practicing good eating habits, Muhammad explained.
Muhammad has been the PTA president for the past three years and has consistently attracted parents to the monthly meeting by offering various incentives to the parents, children and teachers at the school. This month, with the assistance of several local vegetarian restaurants, the committee passed on healthy eating advice along with a full course meal complete with dessert and local drinks.
Lynda Muhammad, a self-proclaimed "How to Eat to Live" practitioner led a discussion with parents and teachers on healthy eating and alternatives to mainstream diets.
Muhammad said healthy eating cures the body by detoxifying it and rejuvenating the nervous system. She suggests a diet that focuses on an abundance of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onions and garlic. "Navy beans, whole wheat and milk" covers all the nutritional needs of your body she said. Eating this way not only good for the body, it's economical, Muhammad said.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Muhammad suggests using mushrooms as a substitute for meat and seasoning beans with sage which gives the meal a "smoked meat" flavor.
The vegetarian meal and accompanying information attracted more than 30 parents and about 30 children. They were treated to dinner of veggie fried rice, tofu balls, fried tofu, veggie lasagna, spinach stuffing, falafel and lentil balls and baked macaroni casserole. For dessert there was dairyless chocolate cake topped with dairyless chocolate icing. Quenching the thirst was local golden apple and passion fruit juice.
Antonia Prosper, a 10-year-old fifth grade student at the school, enjoyed the vegetarian fare. "It tastes good, I think its healthy," she said. Prosper said her father is a vegetarian who eats only fish. "We eat veggie burgers and vegetarian hot dogs at home sometimes," she offered.
Even principal Kent Moorehead cleaned his plate. "This is good stuff," he said, while eating the last bite of food. Moorehead said he filled his plate with veggie lasagna, spinach stuffing falafel balls and bean pie.
The PTA president said he plans to host more interesting meeting to keep the parents coming back. He said previous meetings have featured movie nights, entertainment by the school's steel band and choir and guest speakers.
"Student participation increases parental involvement," Muhammad said. He said he also invited the general community to the meetings. "We are not a closed door committee," he said, "we involve the community."
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