- ROTTEN TOMATOES. Purchasing managers from Kraft, Frito-Lay, Safeway, and B&G Foods have admitted to taking bribes from food processors. As a result, they knowingly fed millions of pounds of mold-tainted tomatoes to Americans. And if you didn’t know already, eating mold is a really bad idea. Just another example of the fact that our food industry does NOT have our best interest at heart.
- WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. Apparently the movie Wall-E inspired the CEO of Quizno’s to switch to compostable and recyclable packaging. That’s good. But their food is still crappy, so the message feels contradictory. If you get a Coke in a nice eco-friendly compostable cup, it’s still Coke.
- HE’S ALSO A MODEL AND AN ASTROPHYSICIST. Olympic Gold Medal winner. Organic farmer. Bodie, you’re so hot right now.
- s’COOL FOOD. Another school garden. This one’s in Santa Barbara. Funded by the s’Cool Food Initiative (love the name). Keep ‘em coming!!
- HIJACKED BY VAMPIRES. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (that’s a government agency, folks) has partnered w/ Diet Coke to help spread “The Heart Truth” and encourage “heart healthy behaviors”. What, like drinking liquid plastic with caramel coloring? Yeah, that’s great for your heart. Ironically, their non-diet product, Coke, contains HFCS. That’s been directly linked to heart disease. Just more sad evidence that the government is NOT necessarily looking out for your best interests, particularly when it comes to health and nutrition.
- EQUAL OPPORTUNITY DEATH. In Los Angeles, one can now use food stamps at such fine dining establisments as Dominos and Jack in the Box. From the program’s leader: “Our goal is to provide healthy meals for the homeless, disabled and elderly participants”. ??? Jill Richardson of La Vida Locavore replies: “As a bleeding heart liberal, I am outraged for ethical reasons, but as a taxpayer, I am outraged as well. The same group that is eligible for food stamps is often eligible for Medicaid. So, great, go give them diabetes so that we can pay for treating it for the rest of their lives”. San Francisco’s Ferry Building Farmer’s Market takes food stamps – at least they did when I used to volunteer for CUESA – but I thought that was on the other end of laughable. All $5 will buy you there is a cup of Blue Bottle coffee or perhaps an heirloom chocolate pepper.
- LOCAVORES ARE LIKE COMMUNIST CHINA. A recent New York Times piece compares locavorism to an initiative by Chairman Mao (huh?) and questions its viability “as much of the East Coast lies blanketed beneath a foot or more of snow”. Mr. Darlin, just how did you think people ate during the winter for the past, oh, I don’t know, 40,000 years? By using food preservation techniques that have been lost to the mainstream only with the advent of industrialized food, of course. He should check out this website.
- da Vinci, Donatello and da burger. Italy’s Minister of Agriculture is talking up the Italian McDonald’s new McItaly burger. He’s even used an official government seal of approval customarily seen on museum exhibits. Naturally, many Italians such as Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini are questioning this lapse in taste. Carlo initially founded Slow Food in 1986 in response to the installation of Italy’s first McDonald’s.
- Poison Poisons Us…Who’d Have Thought? When people are making the decision to switch from conventional produce to organic, sometimes they need some specific examples about the effects of pesticides and herbicides. Here’s a lovely one.
- A Slow Day In Calgary. The president of the Calgary Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK) has been charged with “keeping livestock”. Here is a photo of him getting a ticket. Fight the power, Paul!
- Map Your Food. The USDA has developed a new Food Environment Atlas. Maps include access and proximity to grocery stores, food prices at stores, health, socioeconomic characteristics, and more. Check out your state and see how you measure up!
Was it just me, or was January a weird month? I’m glad it’s over. And I am happy to say that February seems to be going swimmingly thus far. In optimistic spirit, I bring you…the First Friday in February edition of News Bites. Brew up a mug of tea and read along.
- SUGAR: PART OF YOUR COMPLETE BREAKFAST. What are students at H.D. Cooke Elementary in D.C. dining on at 7 am? Kellogg’s Crunchmania Cinnamon Buns, chocolate milk, and grape juice. And no, grape juice does not count as one serving of fruit. Its sugar level is 50 percent higher than that of Coca-Cola. I wonder how many of those sugar-infused children are being “diagnosed” with ADHD or anxiety and put on Ritalin.
- NIRVANA AND URBAN GARDENS. The city known for McDreamy, coffee, and grunge is designating 2010 the Year of Urban Agriculture. One goal: to “encourage residents to get their hands in the soil”. Nice. A number of initiatives, including a new urban food bank farm, are planned. With food prices escalating and oil peaking, the future lies in looking to the past, with household and community gardens providing fresh, local produce. It makes sense.
- WE NEED A NEW SYSTEM. Fewer than 1% of US farms are organic, per the USDA. This despite the increasing demand for organic products. We MUST vote with our dollar and demonstrate our unhappiness with the mono / factory farm culture by buying products that are created in a more sustainable way. On a positive note, California’s organic operations account for 20% of the state’s farming operations. Go Cali!
- POO SALAD. While there are always creepy crawlies on, around and in us, some foods harbor more than others. A recent Consumer Report indicated that pre-packaged bags of leafy greens contain high levels of bacteria that are indicators of poor sanitation and fecal matter. I have inherent suspicion of anything packaged. Why would you pre-package leafy greens, anyway? Is it THAT hard to pull a plastic bag off the hanging thingie and shovel some of your spinach in?
- STATE OF THE UNION’S LUNCH. Although President Obama called for a freeze on domestic programs during Wednesday night’s State of the Union address, Debra Eschmeyer argues that childrens’ nutrition should remain a priority. The US Department of Ag recently reported that in 2008, 1 in 4 children went hungry. 1 in 3 children will develop Type II Diabetes – 1 in 2 if the child is Black or Hispanic. Fun fact: the School Lunch Program was initially developed to prepare young men for military service. But today, 27% percent of the population are too overweight to serve.
- MANIFEST DENSITY. No, that’s not a typo. Asserting that “America is great because we outconsume every other nation”, Steve Colbert calls on us to, well, get fatter. I’m of two minds about this clip. It’s a typical Daily Show sketch – a pointed indictment of the American sociopolitical machine. That I like. But in some ways it’s also pretty insensitive to fat people.
- FRUIT’S ROOTS. A Gallup poll indicates that fewer Americans ate fruits and vegetables in 2009 than in 2008. The USDA’s famous recommendation is, of course, five servings per day. Does anyone know what a serving size looks like? It’s not just “any time you eat the food”. For instance, it’s half a cup of veggies, or a cup of raw leafy greens. And while we’re on the subject of vegetables, I’d like to repeat what one of my brilliant holistic nutrition professors said. The phrase “fruits and vegetables” should really be “vegetables and fruits”. Vegetables contain everything fruits do, and more. Fruits are great, but they’re sugary. They actually evolved to spike our blood sugar so we’d gain a little weight going into the winter. So this isn’t about “I’m healthy because today I had grapes, a mango, a piece of watermelon and some strawberries”. Fruits are treats. Healthy treats. Better for you than sugary and refined foods, but still treats. I really don’t think we need three pieces a day.
- FRANKENWORMS. Frankencorn has made its way into soil-dwelling animals, such as worms. I could make a joke here about how everything’s made of corn nowadays, but I don’t find this situation funny. Everything we do on this planet impacts everything else. What are the implications of GMO food slowly taking over??
- OUR NOBLE FRIENDS TO THE NORTH. Referencing the fact that 28% of their students are overweight or obese, Ontario schools have banned the sale of soda, fries and candy on school premises. Quite logical, right? Why can’t the US follow in their footsteps? Perhaps it has something to do with the subsidies our public schools receive from the aforementioned industries. Wouldn’t it be nice if they received more money from the government instead?
- FOOD IN HAITI. Here’s an interesting article on Haitian agriculture. Once a self sufficient rice producer, the country was forced to open its economy to cheap US food imports. Local food producers cannot compete with these subsidized products. This sad story is repeating around the globe.
- COWS = LAWNMOWERS AND FERTILIZERS. Time Magazine reports on the ability of grass-fed cattle to enrich the soil. This is a wonderful piece to read if you want to argue that eating meat doesn’t HAVE to be a drain on the ecosystem. It’s all in the process.
So I couldn’t get it together to write Friday News Bites this week. Well, here you go…a well-rested, exercised and brunched version. Happy reading!
- A GAY COUPLE WITH KIDS. Move over, Jersey Shore. A fabulous gay couple from NYC learns biodynamic farming in Planet Green’s latest reality tv series. And yes, some of their activities involve goats, hence the pun. I’d much rather watch this than orange oompa loompas with too much hair gel. But I don’t have a tv.
- ANOTHER ONE FOR THE DUH FILES. In case you need proof, the California Department of Education discusses the efficacy of environment-based education: specifically, school gardens. Apparently, if you are involved in creating a school garden, you learn more about nutrition and are more likely to eat vegetables. Who’d have thought?
- AN UNFORTUNATE REASON FOR GROWTH. Check out this WSJ chart of the recession’s impact on various jobs. Waaay down in the bottom right hand corner you’ll see that “community food services” grew by 11.5%. When unemployment’s high, food banks become crucial.
- FOOD TRENDS FOR 2010. Marion Nestle, nutritionist extrordinaire, predicts the ten most pressing food issues for 2010. Hunger, childhood obesity, and food regulations top of the list.
- EATING FAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU FAT – BUT DRINKING SODA DOES. If the first part of this statement confuses you, check out this brilliant book. If the second part confuses you, check out this new anti-soda ad running in NYC. Gross? Yes. Shocking? Yes. Potentially effective? Yes. Accurate? Yes…except for the part about avoiding consumption of fat. Drinking soda will do many harmful things to you. But people tend to respond quicker to threats about their appearance than to the mysterious potential pathologies occuring in their deep dark guts.
- WHO NEEDS THE LIVER AND KIDNEY, ANYWAY? New studies demonstrate that a 90-day course of genetically modified corn consumptionÂ induces a state of toxicity in the organs of rats. Researchers called the findings “highly statistically significant” . And this was only over three months. Who knows what might happen over a period of years?
- NEVER WAS THERE A TALE OF MORE WOE / THAN MONSANTO AND ITS GMO. That was horrible, but I felt compelled to do something with my undergrad degree in English Lit. The Obama administration is seeking stories of how corporate food systems have impacted individual Americans. If you have a tale of woe of Monsanto or another industry giant, or simply want to express concern about these monopolies, click here.
- ULTIMATE DETOX IN 2010. New Year’s Resolution time. Join me for a three week weight loss detox beginning January 11. Lose weight and kill your sugar cravings using cutting-edge health techniques and easy to implement strategies. Detox safely and restore your health. Start 2010 with the energy and vitality you’ve always dreamed of having!Â For more info, shoot me an email.
- THE SOURCE OF MALE POWER IS MEAT. At least, that’s what an essay by Ernestine Friedl suggests. Exploring the connection between machismo and bloody steak, she concludes that males have controlled resources since traditional hunters brought home bison and woolly mammoths. Interestingly, she finds that among hunter-gatherer societies, the more food the males supply, the more control they have over the females. Perhaps today, meat has been replaced with moolah. Read more here.
- YUCK CLUCKS. Two thirds of chicken broilers sold in American stores harbor salmonella or campylobacter, another cause of foodborne disease. Gross. One solution? Cook your chicken well: the high temps kill off bacteria. Another solution? Refuse to buy chicken from factories. They’re kept in hideous and unsanitary conditions, contributing to the spread of disease. Stick to poultry from local farms, or distributors you trust. And hey, you could always become a vegetarian, if that works for you.
- FRIED GMO. China just approved GMO rice. It makes its own pesticide. I have nothing more to say on this matter.
- CUTTLEFISH BONE TOOTHBRUSH? Insert joke about British teeth here. Ok, just kidding, I think this is really cool. 1500 people gathered in Bristol, England for an entirely foraged feast, including homemade beer and hard cider. One of the gents in charge of creating this event has been living without money for a year. According to the article, he washed his clothing with handmade soap and brushed his teeth with cuttlefish bones. Nice! My other favorite aspect to this story is that a woman who attempted to sell flapjacks at this free festival was taunted with jeers of “oi, flap jack”. I’m not sure I understand why this is a mockery but I plan to use it.
Hello all, and welcome to another edition of FRIDAY NEWS BITES. If you’re not out at the running of the bulls, aka Black Friday, you’re probably curled up on the couch, sporting some elastic-waist pants. Grab a mug of tea and digest along with the Digest.
- ICH BIN EIN MCNUGGET. In Germany, 100 McDonald’s restaurants are changing the backdrop of their logo toÂ hunter green in order to promote a more eco-friendly image. Lesson: the color green = automaticÂ environmental responsibility. Sooo….the Incredible Hulk? Kermit the Frog? Green Skittles? The Volvo my parents drove when I was in elementary school? Eco-warriors all.
- THE POWER OF SAUERKRAUT. A study at London’s King’s College finds that sauerkraut is as effective as Viagra in improving male sexual function. What’s so great about this limp, white, tangy food? The fermentation process increases lactobacilli, one of the “good” bacteria that lives in your gut and aids digestion. Traditional cultures understood the benefits of fermenting foods, and pickeld treats, from kimchi to curtido, can be found in societies across the globe.Â Wouldn’t you rather have a mouthful ofÂ cabbage than a pill?
- BETTER THAN THE SWINE FLU APP. A new Iphone app allows you to rank the health and environmental benefits of various foods by scanning their bar codes. This author explores its benefits while grocery shopping with his “koodie” (kid foodie) son.
- EIGHT SQUARE MILES OF PEOPLE. This is how many Americans go to bed hungry every night. Something to remember as we struggle to button our pants after the Thanksgiving feast.
- GRATITUDE FOR FOOD. If you’re fortunate enough to have a table full of treats this Thanksgiving, give thanks. According to the USDA,Â 506,000 American households had children going hungry in the last year. And about 17 million families – that’s one family in seven – was “food insecure”. Read more here.
- ALLERGIES ABOUND. Outpatient visits to medical facilities for treatment of food allergies nearly tripled from 1993 to 2006. Why? Well, here’s one explanation. Our environment, and what we eat, are full of toxins that wreak havoc on the digestive system. This makes it more difficult for us to process what we eat. We’re more fragile, and therefore, more reactive.
- BENJAMINS AND MCKINLEYS. This isn’t specifically about food, but it’s interesting regardless. 237 members of Congress are millionaires. Yep, you read that right. Two hundred and thirty seven. That’s 44% of the body, compared to 1% of Americans overall. I wonder how so many rich people know how to make fair laws for the rest of us. But now I know who is buying the $17.99 wild salmon at Whole Foods!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May you have a peaceful day. I leave you with a song to reflect on gratitude…
- COMMUNITY GARDEN TAKES ROOT. Wilmington College in Ohio donated 20 plots of land, along with gardening advice, to families in need. Anyone who would like their produce organic, local, and – the best part – FREE – would do well to plant a few veggies. Even if you don’t have a backyard, start an herb box. Wouldn’t you love fresh basil in January?
- SPROUTS IN THE SINK, CARROTS ON THE COUNTER. So how do you begin growing edibles in your own home? Check out this interview with R.J. Ruppenthal, author of FRESH FOOD FROM SMALL SPACES. My favorite tip: don’t get discouraged. I myself I had the “black thumb” for many years. I even killed a cactus when I was a wee lass. I am happy to report that I’ve kept a lovely leafy green alive in my bedroom for the past two whole weeks. Stay optimistic!
- EEEWWWWWW. Q: Is this strawberry soft serve or chicken? A: You don’t want to know.
- SO MUCH FOR THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH. The American Association of Family Physicians has signed a sponsorship deal with Coca Cola. In doing this, the AAFP agrees to “educate consumers about the role their (Coke’s) products can play in a healthy, active lifestyle”. Only one phrase is appropriate here: WTF??? I find it very difficult to believe that these physicians have our best interests at heart. In case you’d like some concrete reasons as to why Coke is best avoided, have a look at this list of facts about soft drinks and obesity. And no, it’s not better if it’s diet.
- FOOD BLUES. This is the reason I chose to integrate nutrition into my psychotherapy practice. A study demonstrates what I experienced for years, both personally and with clients. A diet high in processed foods leads to depression. There are many reasons for this. Too many, in fact, to explore in today’s News Bites. If you’re curious about how this works, email me. And if you’ve noticed your spirits are low, and that your usual snack consists of Doritos and brownies, consider that there may be a link.
- ASPHALT TO EDEN. In Vancouver, a parking lot is being transformed into a half acre garden. The staff areÂ local residents who suffer from addiction, mental health issues, and unemployment (could they be eating too much processed food?). Poverty and malnourishment abounds in this area of town.Â Community based gardens improve the physical and emotional health of their communities in so many ways. When I worked at a psychiatric unit in the Bay Area, I started a food reform program including an on-site garden, and the effect on the residents who chose to participate was visible. (I guess it is all about me today.)
- THIS IS STRANGE. What a crazy coincidence. I typed that last sentence, then went on Civil Eats to search for some more blog-worthy food news…and found a post on the very program I just referenced. Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Health Care Without Harm program recognizes that hospitals and large medical centers are places of healing, and should offer food that reflects this mission. Participants in the program seek to reform their institution’s menu offerings by providing more sustainable and local options. Nice article, Lena. Thanks for confirming that it really is all about me today
I think I should end here today. That was a nice missive from the universe. Keep fighting the good fight!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVE, MY GHOULS AND GOBLINS!!
I guess it’s not quite correct to say “Halloween Eve”, since “Halloween” actually means “Hallowed Eve”. Regardless of the grammatical implications, today’s News Bites are heavy on the junk food. If you’re trying to deter your little one from consuming his or her entire pillowcase of Red Vines and Skittles, why not suggest a “buy-back” program, where every piece of candy contributed goes towards a non-food oriented gift? On that note, have a look at today’s FIRST item under google search “Halloween”.
- JUNK FOOD JUNKIES. Once you pop, you can’t stop. The Pringles ad is truer than you may know. Just in time for Halloween,Â researchers at the Scripps Institute have concluded that the brain responds to junk food the same way it responds to heroin. Rats addicted to junk food will even submit to electric shocks in order to get their fix. The study’s scientists are quick to point the finger at fat, but remember that it’s trans fats, rather than natural fats, that have been shown to be problematic. Many synthetic food additives, also abundant in junk food, are toxic too. This may leave you feeling confused about to eat. My rule of thumb: if you don’t understand the ingredients, you probably don’t want it in your body.
- VIKINGS LOSE THEIR FRIES. Iceland is about to join the ranks of Jamaica and Bolivia as a country who’s lost its McDonald’s. The cost of flying in cheap, crappy meat got too high. Iceland, by the way, is a fascinating country. Their language has changed very little since the country was first settled around 900 AD. They do not use foreign words for new inventions, but make compounds of pre-existing Icelandic words, or revive ancient ones that have fallen out of use. I know you’ve always wanted to know how to say “Wednesday” in Icelandic in case you were ever in Reykjavik on a Tuesday, so check out this video on days of the week (today is Fostudagur!).
- COUNT CHOCULA’S CAMPAIGN DONATIONS. The Rudd Center at Yale (holla!) took an in-depth look at cereal companies’ marketing, and found that most of the marketing dollars are spent pushing the least nutritious concoctions.Â Another Rudd Center study indicates that children enjoy their cereal equally whether it is sweetened or not. Children given a low sugar cereal, and allowed to add sugar to taste, end up consuming significantly less than those eating highly sugared cereal.
- Things are looking up for kiddie nutrition: Congress has passed the Agriculture Appropriations budget.Â The part I’m most excited about is $5 million to promote breastfeeding to WIC mothers (mother’s milk is really the only perfect food), $8 million to improve nutrition and physical activity in child care centers, and $25 million for schools to buy equipment for our kitchens. Since word has recently spread that many school kitchens are stocked only with microwaves (aka Beelzebub’s oven), this will be helpful indeed.
- If you think kids don’t want to eat healthy: White House Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass is visiting schools in the DC, VA, and MD area to check out innovative lunch programs.Â A few weeks ago he joined a Baltimore school for a lunch of local greens, local apples and nectarines, and eggplant dip made with herbs from the school’s garden. Sounds wonderful but growing kids need protein and fat too…I hope there was some butter on those greens! And yes, that was a link to a blog devoted ENTIRELY to food as it relates to Obama – personally and professionally.
- Read Your Labels Carefully: When checking labels for calories, we often just glance at the number, and neglect to look at the serving size. Companies that KNOW their products are ridiculously caloric, such as Coca-Cola,Â often use this to their advantage. Don’t let them outsmart you! Although if you’re actually buying Coca-Cola…they already have.
- What’s Really In Your Burger? 22 year old dance instructor Stephanie Smith was recently paralyzed by eating a burger tainted with E. Coli. From the NYT article detailing the composition of said burger: ” a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria”. All the more reason to buy local whole cuts from butchers you know…and to implement more stringent testing requirements for the factory giants.
- You babies just need to exercise more. According to aÂ recent article from Newsweek, in 2006, scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health reported a striking increase inÂ the prevalence of obesity in babies under 6 mos. Apparently it hasÂ risen 73% since 1980. Since we know most babies eat the same diet and get the same amount of exercise, i.e. none, what’s accounting for this shift? Turns out that certain plastics (called “obesogens” by one scientist) have hormone-mimicking effects that wreak havoc with your genetic structure and metabolic rate, causing calorie hoarding and fat accumulation. These plastics have been ubiquitous since the ’80s. Provides some real incentive to find all-natural cleaning solutions, doesn’t it.
- I’m lovin’ it! A panel of teenaged fast food connoisseurs agrees that homemade equivalents to Burger King, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut are superior in taste. The chef indicates they are superior in nutrition and cost. The solution: MYO Egg McMuffin. Read on for details. Like I’m always saying, it’s all about the quality. Nothing wrong with a pasture-raised egg fried in butter, draped over a sprouted grain English muffin. In fact I had that for breakfast yesterday myself.
- Lettuce, tomato, and penicillin. 70% of antibiotics in this country are used on livestock, to keep them barely alive in filthy and deplorable factory farms. This most likely accounts for the startling rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria: we’re consuming antibiotic in low doses all the time from the meat we eat, so only the superpowered bugs survive…and reproduce. Now, the aptly-named Rep. Louise Slaughter has introduced a bill preserving the use of the seven most potent antibiotics for humans.Â The industry objects that this will make meat unaffordable. How about the millions of dollars in health care costs to combat these superstrains of bacteria?
- WELL, THE SHAMROCK SHAKES ARE GREEN: Newsweek has come out with a ranking of America’s 500 greenest corporations. Greenest corporations. Like a Jewish Pope? Or perhaps a nutritious Pop Tart? And speakingÂ of crappy food (as we often do here), McDonald’s is on the list. At NUMBER 22. That’s right. McDonald’s, according to Newsweek, is the twenty second greenest corporation in America. They rank above Whole Foods. 45 spots above. Now, we know Whole Foods is not the angelic haven of sustainability it purports to be, but come on. For a nice smorgasbord of the insidious, disease-spreading entity that is this fast food chain, check out La Vida Locavore.
- ESTROGEN AND H2O COCKTAIL: Another reason doctors need to think before handing out the Pill like Snickers on Halloween:Â we pee about 85% of those hormones out into our water supply.Â That’s aÂ lotta extra estrogenÂ floating around…leading to things like early onset puberty in girls and low sperm count in boys. Thankfully (after how many years?) the EPA is finally taking a look at this.
- PEE ON TOMATOES INSTEAD: Since we’ll be contributing to testicular cancer if we pee in the toilet, why not try urinating on your heirloom Cherokees? In a Finnish study, plants fertilized with urine contained more protein than their piss-free counterparts and matched or surpassed them in nutrition. Besides being rich in estrogen, it turns out pee is also plentiful in potassium,Â nitrogen, and phosphorous.
If you’ve read the BODA blog, listened to any news, or seen any children in any American town aside from Boulder, CO, you’re well aware of the epidemicÂ ofÂ childhood obesity. And if you’ve ever had the misfortune to eat a meal in a school – or any other government-run institution – you’re well aware that our health and fitness tend to come second to budget and ease of preparation. In the case of schools, grassroots organizations such as Slow Food are taking steps to ameliorate this situation by supporting school lunch reform.Â Â In that spirit, today’s News Bites will take a brief look at school lunch in two other countries that are currently doing a lot better with this stuff than we are.
ENGLAND: New regulations championed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and recently put into effect include: fried foods only served twice per week, a ban on chocolate, at least one portion of fruit and one of veg per day, and limitations on sodium. Coolest of all is that no preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or artificial colors are allowed. Of course, “one serving of fruit and one of veg” has the potential to mean “gross mealy apple that no one wants to eat, and limp overcooked green beans that get flung at friends instead of placed in mouths”. But these regulations actually go further than what we have here in the US. It’s a start.
JAPAN: A picture is worth a thousand words. How about seaweed, miso soup, and a tangerine? Or perhaps fish, soup, and rice? The cost of producing a meal is 2500 yen, or just over $27, most of which goes to labor, because lunches are made primarily from scratch. Parents are only responsible for 250 yen. Meals are also considered a time for learning appropriate manners and behavior.
When I think back to my 3rd grade lunches in Boston, I remember limp french fries, Eric S. calling the lunch lady “gramma”, and ketchup as “the vegetable”. Let’s askÂ our government to take a cue from the more progressive countries and start giving kids what they need – wholesome, nutrient dense, and delicious meals…so they can grow up big and strong, instead of obese and diabetic.
Oh, and on a similar subject, check out this video of Dr. Doris Rapp discussing how children’s allergies to various foods can cause severe behavior problems. Fascianting stuff.