Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ten on Tuesday and school lunch rant

10 Favorite (Paleo) Snacks
  • bacon
  • jerky
  • an apple
  • berries
  • veggies and guacamole
  • nuts
  • coconut butter
  • dark chocolate
  • Greek yogurt
  • leftovers (any kind!)
I don't think anyone else's Ten on Tuesday list is going to look like this one. I imagine there will be a lot of pretzels and chips and cookies, granola bars and cereal. It kills me. Your snacks are making you hungry. I'll say it again. Your snacks are making you hungry!

I actually don't snack much (because the food I eat doesn't make me hungry, see above), and usually it's just a piece of fruit or some jerky. Nuts used to be my most common snack, but I'm cutting down on them to reduce omega-6-related inflammation and lectin-related gut irritation, both of which seem to be much more of an issue for me in pregnancy than they were before.

The Greek yogurt is not strictly Paleo, but I'm finding the cultures in it have helped balance some digestive issues I've had in pregnancy, so I'll eat a little bit a few times a week. At least it's fairly low-carb, with lots of good saturated fat for building healthy baby tissues. Saturated fat is especially important for brain development, which is happening big-time right now. It makes me want to weep every time I read some "healthy pregnancy" recipe for a fructose/lactose-laden skim milk smoothie. The only good thing in there was the saturated fat in the milk, and you took that out! Better to go with coconut milk and ditch the banana for some berries. But I'm still not a fan of drinking your calories, pregnant or not.

Rant alert

Chicago schools sack the sack lunch via The Consumerist

OMFG. I saw this and seeing as I've been thinking a lot about childhood nutrition lately, some sort of fuse flew in my brain.

Their argument is that they want to ensure good nutrition across the board, but it's clearly about making money off very high-margin, low-quality foods. You know why dairies were happy to stop supplying whole milk to schools? Not because they actually believe that fat is bad. Skim milk is way cheaper. By not offering milk fat, their profit margins go way up. They probably lost money on whole milk. And skim milk is relatively expensive and healthy compared to all the soybean oil and flour and corn that go into those easy-to-prepare school lunches.

But even if the schools did have good nutrition as their goal, they are devastatingly misinformed about what good nutrition is. The bullshit food pyramid, the fat is bad myth, the whole grains are good myth. What do kids need? They need high-quality animal protein, monounsaturated and saturated fats, some vegetables. They DON'T need processed, packaged food, grains, trans fats, omega-6 overload, and mountains of sugar in all its forms: lactose, fructose, sucrose (table sugar). And until we can convince government bureaucrats that the data support this, we cannot trust them to set or enforce nutrition guidelines.

I think back to my school lunches and I shudder. Most of the time I packed my lunch, so I was better off than most. But in high school, a lot of times I'd grab an apple on my way out the door and just get a slice of pizza or some nachos for lunch. Even when it was less processed than that, it was so incredibly carb-heavy, I can now see that it's no wonder I struggled a bit with my weight. And from watching Jamie Oliver's show about the atrocious state of school lunches today (the second season is starting and you will tear your hair out in frustration as you watch it but you should definitely watch it), it's clear to me that things have gotten much worse over the years.

How can we do this to our kids? We as a country need to ask ourselves some tough questions about what is good enough for the next generation. Are we going to let government regulations eviscerate our high life expectancy and cripple the health care system with diabetes and heart disease? Or are we going to take a hard look at the data on nutrition, re-evaluate our assumptions, give people CORRECT information, and then let them make informed choices about their food and their children's food?

If I were a parent in the affected Chicago schools, I would take those stupid, petty, parochial, egotistic bureaucrats and make their lives a living hell until they started acting with some common sense and with children's welfare at the top of their list.

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