The Military dishes up School Lunch

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Basic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 – Republished article.

Undernutrition and malnutrition are very different animals, except when it comes to the convergence of soldiers and school lunch.

The school lunch program was started during the Great Depression in 1935.  It was a fantastic solution to two national problems.

  1. Farmers had surplus produce that many people could not afford leading to a drop in price.
  2. Children were going hungry because of the 25% unemployment rate – 75% in minority communities.

The Secretary of Agriculture was given funding to purchase surplus foods for a school lunch program via the Congress.[i] School children across the nation began to have at least school lunch as a daily meal.  During World War II, the surplus food supply dwindled as the nation had to feed a military stationed around the globe.  By the end of the war the congress was thinking of ending the program.  However, the military spoke up.

The Surgeon General of the Armed Forces testified in 1946 that, “70 percent of the boys who had poor nutrition 10-12 years ago were rejected by the draft.”  That meant boys between the ages of 8-14 during 1934-36 with limited food sources became a “threat to national security” due to the fact that the US could have had difficulty assembling a military force due to the stunted growth from undernutrition.  This testimony was the linchpin to continuing funding.[ii] 

 Skip ahead to 2010.  Thirty percent of teens are overweight or obese.  This comes from “malnutrition”.  They have food to eat, but the food is extremely high in fat and sodium and lacking fiber and many vitamins and minerals.  Until now, the military has been pretty silent about school lunch, school breakfast or any other federal nutrition program, even though many of their employees have wages and salaries low enough to qualify for a number of public welfare programs.

However, on April 20, 2010 retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr. with a group of officers called, Mission: Readiness, spoke to Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  Adm. Barnett said that, “When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice.”  Again, the military speaks up because lousy nutrition leads to lack of national security.

School lunch never hits the front page and yet it affects every child in public school, approximately 45-50  million Americans.[iii]  Music and art programs are being slashed and the military had approximately 23% of the 2009 US Federal spending.  One budget of theirs isn’t even allowed to be public.  There are weapons systems, which have been denounced by top military brass, being built at the cost of millions.  But we hear little to nothing about school lunch and school breakfast programs which have not had an increase in reimbursement since 1973.  So,  now they want to help out the poor little lunch ladies. 

The military also wants to help out the phys ed department because so much money is being spent to train new recruits when seasoned soldiers are too heavy and are discharged.  Military recruiters want to work with schools to help recruits lose weight before they try and sign on the dotted line. One recruiter was quoted as saying, “This is the future of our Army we are looking at when we talk about these 17- to 24-year-olds. The sad thing is a lot of them want to join but can’t.”.[iv] It’s great the military is motivated to preventative measures.  

 Well, that’s one way to look at it.  Another way is that the military industrial complex may not have the fodder it needs to continue its various “security” operations around the world.  If we don’t have an abundant supply of healthy young people we may not be able to continue as the world’s police department.   What would we have done if we didn’t have recruits to go to Afganistan and search for vaporous weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

 The former president of the American Medical Association, Ron Davis, MD, stated he had spent all of his time in office, 2007-2008, trying to get one word changed in defining Medicare and Medicaid.  He lobbied that the word, preventative, be added to the type of care covered by these two programs.  On a phone conversation he said that if preventative medicine were available to people who qualified for these programs costs would decrease because the high expense of treating diabetes, progressive cancers and health problems related to obesity could be addressed early on.  It still has not happened. 

 But with Haliburton on board all things are possible.

[i] Food Research and Action Center. 2008. Commodity Foods and the Nutrition Quality of the National School Lunch Program: Historical Role, Current, operations, and Future Potential.  Executive Summary. FRAC. Retrieved from :http://www.frac.org/pdf/commodities08_execsummary.pdf on May 12, 2010.

[ii] Boyle M. 2003. Historical Background of Food Assistance Programs. Community Nutrition in Action: An Entrepreneurial Approach, pg. 124-125.  Wadsworth, Belmont California.

[iii] Institute of Education Sciences. [nd] Fast Facts. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=65 on May 18, 2010.

[iv] Jalonick MC, [2010] Are school lunches a national security threat?, Military Discusstion. com, April 20. Retrieved from http://www.military-discussion.com/forum/index.php?topic=2545.0 on May 18, 2010

You are what your grandmother eats

DNA illustrationDarlings,

Just got back from the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition held in Loma Linda, CA.  This is a conference where research papers about vegetarianism are presented.  It happens once every 5 years.  So, those famous studies such as the EPIC-Oxford study, Framingham study, Nurses Health study get a chance to state their updated data with regards to veggie life.

The most interesting one I saw was Dr. John Kelly speaking about epigenetics.  Here is part of the definition of epigenetics by John Cloud from a Time Magazine article, “epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve alterations to the genetic code.”  What does that mean?

Ok, as oppose to what most people think, your genes and the work they do is not set in stone.  Your genes have on and off switches.  There are some basic biological actions that can turn the switches in one direction or the other.  One example of a flipping of a switch is  the beginnings of a beard as a young man . . . or an old woman.

In epigenetics, we don’t get rid of the on/off switch or change the wall it is attached to.  Rather, we see that lifestyle factors alone can flick a switch, such as food you eat.  Dr. Kelly demonstrates this in the Agouti mouse.  This was a female mouse programed with a genetic code for obesity and fed a diet during pregnancy to turn off the gene.  The Agouti mom gives birth.  The offspring doesn’t look fat like mom, however, it carries this gene.  And unlike mom, the gene is turned off.

What this says is that what mom ate changed the gene in the offspring.  What is more is that they found the gene switch change held for another few generations.  This type of gene switch expression was also seen in humans, although in a different type of study.

Okay, so you may be understanding how you can get stuff from mom, but here’s a fact I had completely forgotten about with regards to anatomy and physiology of a human.  You, at least in some faction, were created inside your grandmother’s womb.  Yep.  Your mother’s ovaries and eggs were created while she was still a fetus.  So if grandma was chowing down on the beer and potato chips that just may explain you.  Or if grandma was munching the greens on the farm that could have led to a different outcome.

I’m left wondering if the processing of foods in the 50’s and 60’s, then eaten by pregnant women, added to host of allergies that seem to plague every dinner party.  Which switches do the current typhoon of added chemicals to our diets get pushed in the other direction?

Ladies, I don’t mean to lay the ills of the world at your feet.  Rather, I’m excited knowing that you can truly change it.

LaDiva Coming to a Kitchen near You . . . Yours, Actually

You and me, Darling.  Cooking together at last.

You and me, Darling. Cooking together at last.

Very exciting news I’ve been waiting to share like a kitten wrapped in a box for Christmas.

So many people have asked me to teach them to cook or run a cooking class.  But, after trying to figure out the place and time, I threw up my hands in frustration.  Then, I thought why am I going to travel all over, schlep food and equipment, clean up after 20 people taste recipes and have folks go home and try to re-create it in their own kitchen with who-knows-what equipment?

The best place for them to learn – is in their own kitchen.  And you know what?  This is 2013 not 1913.  We have video chats all the time on a myriad of devices.  Why not cook the same way?

So I am.  Here’s video to introduce the idea.  That’s right.  I am having a video chat cooking class.  The class meets once a week for 10 weeks.  There are 4 different days and times to accommodate your schedule.  You will see me cook and I will see you.  We can chat and I can answer any of your questions right then and there.  No typing questions, no time lag.  It is interactive.  With a traditional cooking class it would be you and 20 more people very little hands-on.  But, with a video chat we cook together.  Here’s the catch -there is only room for you and 7 other members for each class period.  So, it is a very exclusive and limited class size.

We will be cooking with me, and LEARNING about the week’s recipes from my BFF, Marty Davey, MS, RD, LDN.  I will explain the How and Marty will pop in with a video explaining the Why.

Walnut Pecan Pesto with raw collards

Walnut Pecan Pesto with raw collards

The recipes include Nutty Thai Stir Fry, Apple Date Salad, Pear Stuffed Crepes, BBQ Tempeh Bacon Wraps, Girl-ish Figure White Bean Pockets, Raw Walnut Pate, Nepalese Dal, Morning Scramble Rancheros, Corny Bean Salad, and Chocolate Ice Creme Sandwich Cake and more.

We’ll cover how to use a knife, time a meal, read a nutrition label in 30 seconds, and substitutes for fats, eggs and dairy.  Marty will look at the food connections to cancer, heart disease, diabetes as well as what are antioxidants and probiotics.

I will have a demonstration class to check your connection and answer any other questions you have.  You just need your laptop or other device that can work with “Skype” type programs.  If you have any questions, contact me and we will walk you through it.  We set it up in about 10 minutes and I am NOT a tech wizard.

Writing the list of equipment and ingredients

Writing the list of equipment and ingredients for the first class

There’s a 20% discount for registration before January 10th and I can only teach 8 participants in a class period.  So, space is limited!

I am so looking forward to working with you to create de-lish dishes that, oops, happen to be healthy.

Oh, and you may even learn why LaDiva LUVS her immersion blender.

Stop ok of crazy new beverage!

What is this stuff?

Just found out USDA and FDA are going to approve a new beverage that has some problems:
* Linked to cancer: When you put one of the main proteins of this stuff in a petri dish and add cancer cells, the cells grow like mad. Add more substance, get more cancer
* Linked to multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Lupus, Acne, Digestive Disorders, blocked sinuses and snoring
* Causes inflammatory state in the human body
*Over 70% of the world’s population is allergic to another of its main ingredients causing digestive upset, flatulence, diarrhea

* It’s original use was to grow calves from 60 to 600 pounds in 6 months.

The recommendation is to have this stuff 3 times a day. That would be at least 30 grams of cholesterol.

Please help put a stop to this decision.
Thanks.

Paying through the nose to lose body weight

LaDiva goes nuts over weight loss hype!

Okay, this is a quick post about weight.  I have gotten so many tweets about “Great New Diet”  “Quick Weightloss Plan” I am ready to go screaming into the night.  The amount of teasing done to the public about “pay me to lose weight” has driven me to the point of a short rant and cut to the chase about weight loss.

I am just finishing collecting data on a weight loss study for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  I don’t know what all the data will say from the study.  I work at only 1 of 10 sites across the US.  This is what I see works at my site and it is VERY simple.

Fat makes you fat.  Cut out all the cholesterol from your diet.  Cholesterol is made in the liver.  So, you need to cut out all food sources that have a liver – cows, pigs, chickens, chicken by products, fish [yes, fish are high in cholesterol – chinook salmon 50% of calories from fat] and cow by-products.  Your body makes all the cholesterol you need.

Cut your fat intake from such sources as oils, nuts and seeds to 20% of your calories.  If that is too hard to figure out, I’ll make it easy.  Keep nuts or seeds to a few tablespoons a day.  Decrease concentrated oil, I don’t care what kind olive, canola, vegetable, you-name-it, to a teaspoon per day.

If you eat processed foods, this is not a judgement on your food merely a reality check, look at the nutrition label.  The serving should have no more than 3 grams of fat.

When you decrease the fat, you may find that you increase the volume of food you eat.  Having more whole grains and legumes will keep you satisfied because they take a little longer to leave the stomach.  However, the fiber in these foods will sweep out cancer cells from the colon and are a great source of protein, calcium and B vitamins.  They are exceedingly low in fat.   For those of you worried about Omega 3 fats, take a couple of tablespoons of flax MEAL, not seeds a day.

You do not have to exercise if you cut down the fat.  It would be great if you did, but one participant lost 22 pounds in 3 months with no exercise.

By following this eating style, I have seen a participant get off 3 of their diabetes medications and their endocrinologist will take them off all meds if their A1C number is still as low or lower in another 60 days.  Another participant, using this diet, lowered their cholesterol the same amount points in 4 months as much as their medication did in 1 year.  Everyone else that has been implementing this has lost weight and lowered their cholesterol.  The changes these participants have had in their health is directly related to fat in their food.

If you look at the foods on my YouTube Channel you will see little added fat.  Even the nut butters I use are very diluted.  FYI – for home made nut butters, a tablespoon of butter equals a tablespoon of nuts.

That’s what works, free of charge.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes are up!

Chocolate Mint Cupcake for Seamus

Hello Darlings,

I dedicated my first Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cupcake experiment to one of the Planet Pyramid kids, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.  [He has his own new blog, SeamusTV @ wordpress.]  His favorite tastes in dessert are chocolate and mint.

Check out my YouTube channel whether I killed them or not.

Gotta get back to editing and putting up September videos.  My frig is filled with dessert!