Food Is Not Your Enemy

School Food That Sort of Actually Rocked …
October 26, 2010, 10:47 am
Filed under: Events, food politics | Tags: ,

So I was on hand at the School Food Rocks event at MS 51 in Brooklyn this past weekend. A few things that stood out:

  • A girl, about 10, I’d guess, walked up to me at my information table and said, “Why do they call this ‘School Food Rocks’ when school food definitely does not rock?”
  • The school lunch they whipped up for us attendees sort of rocked. They now only use whole wheat pasta in NYC school cafeterias, something I was wary of when I first heard about it only because some brands of whole wheat pasta taste like cardboard. But they found a good kind, and my penne bolognese was good. On the side I had a roasted broccoli/cauliflower/carrot/chick pea combo that was truly tasty–I would have complimented a friend if they rolled this out as a dinner party side dish (not kidding!) They were also serving whole wheat flatbread paninis, fresh fruit, salad, and whole grain rolls.
  • The NYC school food program only gets to spend $1 a child for lunch. Which made our lunch at the event all the more impressive.
  • I learned just how much power parents can wield if they get organized and approach their kid’s school in a constructive way (offering solutions, not just complaining about problems). The executive chef of the NYC school food program is totally, completely on board with improving school food and understands the issues. So we are not fighting an uphill battle here against politicians who don’t care. Though money remains an issue, of course.

School Food Rocks: An Event to Improve School Lunches
October 22, 2010, 11:46 am
Filed under: Events, food politics | Tags: , ,

Learn all about how to change school food at School Food Rocks, a free event (lunch and childcare provided) this Saturday, October 23, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Organized by the office of New York City Councilmember Brad Lander, School Food Rocks will take place at MS 51 – William Alexander Middle School, 350 5th Ave. (off 5th St.) in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

I will have a table there and will be available to answer any and all questions about nutrition and how your whole family can eat healthier.

If you’re interested in attending, you can register here.

How to Get (and Stay) Motivated

Maybe you’re looking to lose weight. Maybe you need to get your type 2 diabetes under control. Maybe your blood pressure and cholesterol are high and your doctor said you need to change your diet. Maybe tomorrow.

Getting motivated can be tough. You use less salt at home, but will this one sodium-packed meal at Applebee’s kill you? You joined a gym, but it’s so hard to get there, what with your busy schedule. Will burning 300 calories today on the treadmill really make a difference in the long run?

It’s very easy to talk yourself out of healthier behaviors. Why? Because if your goal is something that feels very big (control diabetes), or too “into the future” (lose 50 pounds), it’s hard to connect how a single choice (like getting a Big Mac and large fries for lunch today) will really make much of a difference. You think, Well, I’ll eat better tomorrow, or hit the weights tomorrow–it won’t be such a big deal to indulge or be lazy just this once.

Of course, we all know that “just this once” happens more than just once.

The solution to this problem is not a matter of having stronger will power. It’s a matter of the moment. Rather than focusing on those big goals and big problems, hone in on how your body and mind feel today as a result of eating a gross meal or skipping your workout. Not only will a plate of fried food impact your waistline, it may also cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea. A breakfast packed with refined carbohydrates and sugar will likely have you feeling irritable, sleepy, or both within a couple of hours after eating it. Blowing off exercise may lead to stiffness, tension in your back or shoulders, or low energy. Drinking 800 calories’ worth of cocktails (a few drinks will get you there more quickly than you may realize) will lead to hours of depression the next day.

So begin to pay close attention to how your choices affect you physically and mentally right now. It’s much easier than worrying about how what you eat today may affect the numbers on your medical chart sometime next year. And the great thing is that the foods and habits that make you feel good now will also help your overall health. Now that’s motivation that’ll stick around.

The Indestructible Happy Meal
October 14, 2010, 10:59 am
Filed under: Food/Health Blogs, Meat, Restaurants | Tags: , ,

This type of experiment has been done before, but look, the results are repeatable! A woman left a Happy Meal out on a table for months. Take a look at how McDonald’s food simply won’t rot.

U.S. Wins the Fat Contest
October 1, 2010, 11:26 am
Filed under: Chronic Disease, Food/Health Blogs | Tags: , ,

The U.S. has been declared the fattest country in the world. Not surprising, of course, but still depressing.