Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

By , on March 29, 2010

Miscellaneous Comment

Anneke, at Aisle of Confusion, recommended Jamie Oliver’s new television show, Food Revolution. I watched the first two episodes.

Mr. Oliver chose Huntington, West Virginia based on morbidity, heart disease, and stroke statistics that suggested the citizens of Huntington have the worst health and dietary habits in the United States. It was still a surprise, even in Huntington, to see that early grade school children could not identify tomatoes, potatoes and a host of slightly less common vegetables. Also, at least in the limited sampling required of television, there seemed a severe lack of knowledge on the part of adults about how to shop for food, prepare it, and meet the energy, vitamin, fiber, and mineral requirements of those they serve. The cooks did not know how to limit and restrict deep-fat frying, processed food, and animal fat appropriately.

Mr. Oliver seemed a little naive with the speed at which the changes he advocates can be made. I believe it takes most of us years to understand the key elements of healthful eating. Thirty years ago I always had a well-balanced inventory of food, but would eat the processed sweets first and then replenish that supply before eating the food that was more healthful. It was six months ago that I argued against organically grown food on the grounds that there was no labeling to indicate it actually had fewer pesticides, herbicides and other nasty stuff in it than the cheaper, regularly grown food. My position changed. I now buy organic for all thin-skinned fruit, all coffee, and for other items that are affordable. I like the tendency for the organic processed food to include fewer ingredients (that long list of stuff the names for which I cannot pronounce is not a feature of organic food generally), and better ingredients such as non-hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Another revelation of Mr. Oliver’s show was that it is time for the USDA to orient the school lunch program to the health of the little ones or get out entirely. The U.S. Government’s oversight and regulations are seriously flawed and need a substantial revamping.

2 Comments to “Food Stuff”

  1. Rusty says:

    I agree completely. The thing that surprised me was that Oliver was not allowed to substitute rice for bread at a meal. It seems USDA doesn’t know what a starch is or what role it has in the diet. Are they protecting the wheat farmers over the rice farmers? Whatever the case, they are certainly not protecting the kids. I think USDA should get out of school lunches altogether.

  2. Anneke says:

    That was my thought as well! Those USDA requirements seem quite suspicious. I’m thinking the USDA didn’t come up with their menu requirements on their own, it sounds as if they had a lot of “help” from the food industry. In addition to what Rusty said, it seemed like a lot of food. Why does a first grader need two servings of bread at lunch? Why do they have to have milk? And those trays were full of food. It seemed disproportionate to their size (at least for now!!). How did the USDA get involved in school lunches in the first place?

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