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Dr. Power trades in coffee for high-intensity beet juice as part of health challenge

Okay, executive faculty members, it’s time to trade in your Diet Coke, coffee and chocolate for some seriously healthy fresh-pressed juice. The four-day health challenge is the brainchild of UCC’s nutrition committee and aims to raise the bar on smart eating choices school-wide.

Kicked off with a video in Upper School assembly on Tuesday, May 19, the challenge requires participants to give up one unhealthy thing for four days and replace it with a juice delivered by the nutrition committee. The juices will become progressively more challenging over the course of the week, with potent ingredients like fresh ginger and cayenne

“I’m a new man,” proclaimed Principal Jim Power after taking a sip of his beet concoction and before signing the official contract issued by student committee members. (He vowed to give up one of his beloved coffees.)

Joining Dr. Power on the challenge are David McBride, vice-principal of enrolment, Julia Kinnear, academic dean, Don Kawasoe, head of Prep and Upper Schools, Jim Garner, vice-principal of strategic and advancement, Mary Gauthier, executive director of the Wernham and West Centre for Learning, and Lara Koretsky, head of human resources. As well, five students will join the challenge. They are Ryan Sheehy, Johnny Li, Gabe Boucher, Clayton Jeffrey and Charlie Dunn.

In addition to drinking the juice, challenge participants will diarize their progress with short submissions that we’ll post to our Facebook page.

The challenge also serves to promote the work of the Strength, Agility and Speed Fitness Centre (SAS) in setting an example for the entire school about high-performance nutrition.

“Food choices have the ability to improve your physical and cognitive performance,” says Matt Verboom. But the challenge is that for that behaviour to become embedded in the school culture, it can’t be a “top down” legislative approach; the initiative has to come from the students themselves, he says.

“The pack mentality can be postive and helpful,” he says. The kids who work out here get looked up to and have the potential to set the precedent for the rest of the student body.”

In addition to introducing SAS-approved foods and drinks that improve performance to the school menu, i.e. protein-powered smoothies, Verboom has also developed a booklet called “The Athlete’s Guide to Hydration and Nutrition.” It stresses the importance of whole foods, healthy fats and drinking one litre of water a day for every 50 pounds of body weight.

“The health challenge is an amazing way to promote nutrition throughout the school,” says nutrition committee head Joannah Lawson. I’m thrilled about the momentum we’re gaining and that executive committee members are willing to give this challenge a go. It’s a playful way of getting across a point about our behaviour choices that has a huge impact on every aspect of our daily performance.”

(Greenhouse Juices have been graciously donated by company founder Anthony Green ’01.)