My School Lunch Revolution

Click here to go to my recent post on Chicago Moms Blog about my three-year long battle with our school lunch program and what we can do about it now (write your representatives!).  Also, see this recent article here (not written by me) and one in the New York Times (also not by me).

Secretary of Agriculture Vilsak Not Serious Enough about Child Nutrition Reform

I just got off the phone on a conference call with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak and my “sisters” at the Silicon Valley Moms Group where I blog for Chicago Moms Blog.  He claimed to be seriously concerned about childhood obesity, confiding that he was overweight as a child.  However,  when he was asked whether high fructose corn syrup (“HFCS”) will be eliminated as an acceptable ingredient in child school lunches under the soon to be revised Child Nutrition Act, he said, “I honestly don’t know if we would be as prescriptive as eliminating this . . .” and suggested that there would be a “push back” from Congress or a “push back politically.”    I had the opportunity to ask him why government surplus food with high fructose corn syrup and dairy with artificial hormones and antibiotics are being “dumped” on our schools.  I also asked him why it is more expensive to buy an organic apple than a cheeseburger at a fast food restaurant.  His response showed me that he is not really serious about reducing the obesity rates and that it is more important to support and subsidize powerful corporate groups like the Corn Refiners Association, the American Corn Grower’s Association, the National Corn Grower’s Association and the like.     He said that we will always be growing corn in our country and “we won’t stop providing resources to those who grow corn”.  He said nothing about the dairy industry (perhaps my question was too long anyway).  I wish I had a chance to follow up on his praise of corn and corn farmers.  I would have suggested that we turn to a much better, much more nutritious and hardier crop — hemp.  Yes, hemp oil contains wonderful omega 3s to feed our brain, while corn is a grain to bulk up in our tummies and feed to cattle which should be fed grass anyway.  Growing hemp (which is illegal in our country)  can also  help with our deforestation of the globe as it is a hardy fast growing  plant (no need for pesticides!) to use for making paper products and many many other useful things.  Indeed, the Declaration of Independence is written on hemp. Vilsak had some promising things to say about the USDA’s plans to help to improve school lunches, but it all comes down to business as usual in politics.  Those who have the money (corn lobbies) will always win over those who don’t (children receiving free lunches).  Who will pay the cost?  All of us.  If any of these politicians will just look to the bigger picture here.  What cost should we bear?  The cost of losing the money from the corn growers or the cost of losing human lives to obesity and diabetes?  There is no middle ground here.  We need a Secretary of Agriculture who is committed to the people of the United States of America not to the corporations of America.  Mr. Secretary, I implore you, stop the U.S. tradition of catering to our corn industry.  Give our children healthier food and give our farmers a better crop to grow!

Jeremy Piven Called a Liar

sushiI guess I should preface this by saying I have been a big fan of Jeremy Piven. Although he has made some terrible terrible choices in movies (PC U is one of them), his talent has always shined through. He makes that show Entourage. Gadget Man and I are constantly rewinding his one liners so we can see him perform them again. Anyway, he has gotten a ton of flack b/c he dropped out of his Broadway show due to mercury poisoning. Apparently, he used to eat sushi every day. Anyway, his producers didn’t believe him and are pursuing it through arbitration with the actors union.

Mercury poisoning from fish is well-documented. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as children have been advised to avoid certain fish for fear of this poisoning.

It is such a shame that we can’t trust our food supply. It is also a shame that Piven has to suffer through the stress of having to defend himself on top of the effects of the poisoning. I hope Piven will make something good come out of all of this and use his clout and celebrity to get our government to crack down on those poisoning our waters. Finally, all of this should serve a reminder to all of us (including myself): practice moderation; no good can come from eating one thing in excess every day.

Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup?

poisonRecently, the medical community has been so quick to say, “Oh, we’ve eliminated mercury in most of the vaccines, yet autism is still going strong, so it couldn’t have been the mercury.” Oh yeah? Well it has just been discovered that there is mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup. This stuff is in everything and has been blamed (though some deny it) for America’s obesity problem. Perhaps mercury is still to blame for America’s high rate of autism, but not only was it in our vaccines, it has been in our food all along! (David Sloane does a good job of explaining why many, many more foods have HFCS in them here in the U.S. than in any other nation).

In our household, we try to avoid it altogether. It is so difficult! Take salad dressing, for instance. HFCS is in almost all of the dressings. If you stick to buying organic, you will never have to put that stuff in your mouth. However, if you like soda pop or salad dressing (not organic) good luck! Thank G-d I can always count on Paul Newman’s dressings. They NEVER have HFCS. Parents, if we unite against this stuff, maybe it will go away! Insist that your food be free of HFCS and soon it won’t be manufactured here anymore. This IS a political matter people! The Corn Refiners Association is very powerful in the U.S.A. No one will help us but ourselves.

Melamine, It’s Not Just for Babies Anymore

125px-hazard_tsvgOk, this isn’t a joke at all. Melamine a very dangerous chemical which can cause renal failure (death) when ingested, has been found in more food in the United States. The Food and Drug Admin. has issued a recall of some biscuits from Vietnam that contain Melamine and were sold here in our country. I am scared to death that we will be poisoned by all of this. I suppose the best way to avoid all of this is to give our babies breastmilk and stay away from processed foods. Come to think of it, it’s not a bad idea. What will it take to get the FDA to sit up and take notice that so much of our food is poison? Will people have to start dying simply for enjoying tea and biscuits?