The Food Revolution Continues….

Go green...eat more meat..wheeeeeee!!!

I thought this supermarket ad in the newspaper was amusing…celebrate Earth Day by buying even more meat! Yeah, except that if you really want to do the Earth a favor, it would be consuming LESS meat, not more(a 2006 U.N. report found the meat industry creates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined) . I’ve made efforts in that direction, avoiding meat for a couple of nights a week. I might do black bean soup with avocado on top, or something like that. I really enjoy it, but it’s a whole different mindset not planning a meal around the protein…know what I mean?

Tonight I’m going to hear Michael Pollan speak at Goucher College( full disclosure… I got the invite from my Chesapeake Foodie friend Elise who got the tickets…I didn’t even know he was in town, duh)…He’s written In Defense of Food, and other books, about the science and art of simply eating well…he believes that the health care crisis we have on our hands is due in no small part to what and how we eat. Here, here…so he has now written Food Rules.  It’s a book of simple everyday rules about how to eat better…and it all ties in with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution..(I just signed his petition today, here’s a link! Nothing crazy really….eat  real food, not too much of it, more plants than meat. How hard is that? Hey, it’s not, but it takes thought and planning. Pollan says this about Food Rules…” I set out to collect and formulate some straightforward, memorable, everyday rules for eating, a set of personal policies that would, taken together or even separately, nudge people onto a healthier and happier path.”

I was telling my baby sister about the Jamie Oliver tv show trying to get schools to serve healthier, real food to their kids, and with the resistance he’s met. She is a kindergarten teacher at a rural private school in Alabama….and was surprised that the only milk they offer is whole milk. Not 2%, Not 1% or skim, but good ole full fat milk…which NO kid needs to be drinking, and some kind of sugary fruit drink…ditto. “Oh, that’s all they’ll drink“, or “They don’t like low fat milk“….hogwash, I say. Sure they will, if that’s what you put out. Or start with 2%, and them switch to 1%, and then maybe make the switch to skim. Her pleas fell on deaf ears for a while….then they put out lower fat milk, but have now switched back to whole. Sigh. What is it in this country…such nutritional ignorance… that we poison our kids with foods and drinks they shouldn’t have?? What? Where a serving a French fries count as a vegetable? Laughable. Disgraceful. I like French fries too but they’re a treat, not served on the lunch line every day. This is not new by the way, but much worse today. When I was a kid, I complained to my Mom about not liking the hotdog buns(mmm, healthy) served one day a week at school. She asked why, and I told her they were greasy. So she went to school where the lunch ladies explained they had all this free butter from the government and they had to use to somehow, so they put it on the hotdogs buns. “Hey, lets add a couple of hundred calories to all these kids hotgdogs! Grab the butter, lots of it!” They stopped, btw, afte she complained. And shouldn’t we parents be doing more of that? Finding out what schools serve(like sodas-come on!), and making our voices heard.

So I’ll be anxious to hear what Mr. Pollan has to say tonight…he’ll be preaching to the choir of course. Most of us there are already converts to good eating. Still, I’d like to learn more about the whole issue. And maybe you too will think about removing meat from the table a night or two a week…for your health and for the planet.

Oh, and here are a couple of his rules for you to think about…..#36 Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk. #19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t. And here’s my fav: #39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. As he says, once you start cooking those fries yourself….you won’t eat them as often! What used to be treats like pastries and cakes and fries are now cheap, readily available everyday foods….and that’s just not good for us.

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8 Responses

  1. I would love to have more meatless meals. The problem I have is finding meatless meals that my 4 children enjoy. Have any suggestions?

  2. I’m on it Courtney….readers….suggestons???
    Donna

  3. Portabella mushrooms are a terrific way to add “substance” to a vegetarian meal. I buy them by the dozen at BJs. They’re fantastic grilled, cooked in Italian sauce, and even used as a dough/bread substitute for making little mini pizzas.

    In the past two years, I rarely buy meat anymore, and when I do, I buy local/organic. It’s better health-wise, environment-wise, and makes me feel better that I don’t support factory farming. If you want your eyes opened as to what they’re doing in factory farms to put those gigantic chicken breasts on grocery store shelves, just watch the documentary Food Inc. You’ll be mortified. God only knows the effect this is having on children.

    I should also mention that I dropped my cholesterol 22 points buy dropping meat from my diet.

  4. I used to serve my late fiance and his son (both very picky eaters) the soy chicken nuggets. They loved them! I had to hide the boxes, though. There are lots of places online to find good alternatives. Maybe engaging the kids and have them help find a meatless meal might help. Kids love to be involved in planning and prepping.

    When I’m eating healthy (and I’ve done something right, lost 125 pounds with 60 to go) I eat one meatless meal a day and have one meatless day a week. I also try to make my meat protein more of a side dish than the main item. I focus more on whole grains (so many yummy options!) and complex carbs (sweet potatoes) and veggies and fruit and nuts. When I eat this way I feel so good. I also have found that I am much healthier now and have actually changed my health insurance to a lower priced option since I don’t need the doctor and meds so much, and I’m getting older (45) usually it’s the other way around. I can’t wait to see what other changes come when the last 60 are gone!

    I am so sad to see what kids (and adults) are eating. I don’t eat perfect, I still backslide, but it’s a lot better than it used to be. Fast food/junk food is just too easy. We are a “now” people and don’t like to wait. Trust me, cooking your own food (doesn’t take THAT long) is worth the wait!

  5. There are so many alternatives now. I recommend the following books to get ideas, they should be available at your local library: The Kind Life by Alicia Silverstone, The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn and 30 Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. You can make a variety of Asian, Mexican and Italian foods.

  6. Donna, I have become captivated by “The Food Revolution.” It does very well shine a light on how we are creating our own health problems, an it’s been a long time comming. I also realized that the govt. budgets for schools and the poor nutritional tolerances are deplorable. These are our children, the future of America and not only do we not give them healthy food but we can’t even pay our teachers properly. I see the two go hand in hand and wrapped in a dollar.

  7. When our elder son was born in 1970 and ready for milk, his pediatrician told me to give him 2% milk. That’s all he, his younger brother, father and I drank.

  8. The school where I taught use to serve pizza with a side of corn! I could never figure out how that was a healthy meal.

    As far as a meatless day during the week, as old time Catholics we always had meatless Fridays. So we would have tuna, shrimp, crabcakes, fish, oysters, etc. Boy was that roughing it? Ha And now it is thought of as Healthy instead of Sacrifice!

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