School Lunches according to Grist!


This week has been thoroughly interesting and I feel as though I’ve learned those integral, shocking facts that no American wants to hear about the foods they consume. A big one that struck me, and I continually enforce throughout my day to my peers is the fact that there are 38 ingredients in a chicken nugget. I’m disgusted by that fact, and would like nothing else but to shut down whatever power has the control of what goes into it. I’ve also been interested in learning the background of what road is travelled by our food. From the seed company, to the farmer, to the processor and to the consumer, I’ve found out there is a lot more to it than just my meat finding it is way to my table from the grocery store. This class is already turning the tables in my head out of how I not only eat food, but what I purchase as a consumer. I want to be an informed person who eats fresh and healthy foods and supports the right people that will help me do so. After a recent discussion with my mom, I feel like I’ve been able to already give good information and insight into fixing our own food issues in our household. I am able to support my notion of buying local food within my own family. I hope I can continue to learn proper tools to be a better consumer, a better eater and a better lobbyer for the organic, fresh, healthy food industry. I can’t wait to be more educated on this subject as the semester unfolds.


As I explore food blogs for my next entry, I came across the Grist website. Nancy Heuhengarth recently wrote an article with hard facts on what is going on within the food at school lunches, and how the government is involved. I have not learned much on the subject, and at that age I didn’t know what lobbyists, USDA, FDA or even the difference between healthy and non-healthy foods was. To give a quick overview, the news on this subject have been quite positive within the last few years. Since Obama has been in office, Michelle has been a large supporter of kids getting healthy and active, and part of her stance was what schools are doing to help in the process. A few facts generated from the article include, adding a variety of vegetables, and the amount that is available to students. Another is whole grain being a staple within the school baking or ordering process. Taking whole milk out of schools is another important factor. An alarming fact is that pizza is still considered a vegetable by the USDA. Are they serious? My reaction this information and blog entry is a positive one. I feel as though the right moves are being made to make the food system in America better for everyone. It is exciting to see such changes happen now that I am out of the school-age, and I wish more students were educated on healthy foods that it would become a priority for them even when they are young. Even though some members of Congress have held some aspects back (pizza is not a vegetable and sugary drinks aren’t that great), since they are paid for by big business to pull for no legislation against outside unhealthy foods integrated into school meal options, I still feel as though we are going in the right direction to keep America healthy.


Food Log and Response, 1/20


As I sit down to write this response to the first week of classes, thoughts of vegetables, grains and leather fringe dance through my head. I figure most of this class will be talking about tree-hugging hippies, liberals and free spirits fighting for the rights of animals and plants everywhere. I do realize that these ideas have manifested through the media’s contribution to my “green” thinking. But as I sat through these first few classes, I realize there is much more to food than the average American realizes. My mind is awakened by the idea that the United States consumes much  more than is humanly  needed at that it has become the social norm to over-eat, but we don’t technically see it as that. There is also the idea of instant gratification and constant busyness that Americans are obsessed with.  We find that because processed foods seem to be the easiest and fastest that is our first choice at meal times. This idea does not necessarily mean that it’s the healthiest or best. Americans overlook the way they obtain foods because of the instant gratification, but that doesn’t mean it works economically either. There is more to the process of how we obtain foods, and of what kinds seem best to us. As I look over the syllabus of the class, a few key features pop out as being most interesting to me. I’m excited to learn about the costs of getting healthy foods, and why this contradiction of valuable things does not make sense. I’m also interested in understanding what brought us to this place where processed, quick foods are most important to consumers.


According to the food blog Food entry on January 10th entitled, “Antibiotics in Farm Animals: FDA issues a weak rule,” there is a broad discourse on how some congress members are now writing stricter legislation against January 4th’s FDA rule on how much, and how antibiotics in animals such as chickens, pigs and cows can be used. The FDA just made the rules stricter. I’m going to completely agree with the entry that has been written against what seems to be an unjust function of the FDA. An interesting fact that is mentioned in the blog entry is this, “If bacteria are resistant to cephalosporins [antibiotics found in animals], doctors have fewer options for treatment and these are less effective or more harmful.” This statement is quite scary. For most people, especially the elderly who are used to processed foods because of their convenience and history with the production of them are going be less able to help themselves cure or treat their ailments. If we do not help out by supporting legislation that restricts this use of antibiotics, we will also be affected. Antibiotics helps animals grow faster and costs less many for farmers to feed their animals. One of the sincerely awful thoughts of this whole antibiotic movement is that the FDA is well aware of the consumers who are against the use of antibiotics in their meats and poultry. In the blog it states, “In November [2012], the FDA turned down consumer petitions calling for a ban on the non-therapeutic use of a broader range of antibiotics in farm animals.” If it is used for more than just therapeutic for the animals, then it is too much. A Congresswoman from New York has established an Act that will intervene in the FDA for a stricter take on the use of antibiotics and animals. I will be thoroughly interested to see where the FDA finds itself in just a few short months.

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