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Activism Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family Raw Dairy Real Food Recipes

Current Events in Real Food and Sustainablity – What’s Going On?


I’d like to share some important and interesting destinations I’ve recently visited on the Internet relating to real food and food politics – of course, two subjects I am keenly interested in spreading around to my readers. Here we go!

The school lunch saga continues on. In this report on the New York Daily News site,  apparently even though programs have slashed calories (and along with it, grams of fat), school lunches are still unhealthy. Hmmm. I wonder why that is? They still aren’t getting it, are they? In one part of the article, one of the students remarks on how one of the foods appears to be so greasy, how could it be healthy? For so many years, people have associated grease with unhealthy properties, they can’t even tell the difference between unhealthy fats like shortening, margarine, and vegetable oils and real fats like butter and tallow. Marion Nestle, food author says that kids should be getting nutrients from real food – isn’t this what we’ve been saying all along? Why, why is it so hard to get this really quite simple point across? Oh wait, I forgot. Agribusiness companies and conglomerates wouldn’t hear of it…so we’re back to the drawing board.  :(

And here’s another maddening school lunch story – Sodexo, a supplier of processed foods to schools, has been pocketing rebate checks from processed food companies like Kellogg’s and Pepperidge Farms instead of passing the money along to schools. Do the unethical acts ever end? Of course, we don’t like that they are supplying processed foods to schools, but this just adds insult to injury.

Because genetically-modified foods are a big problem in today’s world with respect to health and sustainability, The Millions Against Monsanto Campaign is an important movement to get involved in. Genetic-modification is something that big companies like Monsanto argue is necessary in order to keep up on being able to feed the growing population of the world. But did you know that genetic modification of seeds is done at the DNA (cellular) level and prevents crops from re-seeding year after year (and Monsanto will sue you if their seeds blow onto your land too)? There are many side-effects to GMO foods including widespread failure and destruction of healthy, heirloom crops and damage to human health. It is a threat to our entire food supply and future. Becoming acquainted with what you can do to help stop this destructive process, boycott GMO foods and contact your local congressperson to let him or her know how you feel about GMOs and how they impact our health and the planet.

Last week I wrote two in-depth articles on the subject of raw milk – The Truth About Raw Milk, Part I and Part II, which have been circulating around the Internet and getting some good commentary. If you don’t know much about the importance and health benefits of real raw milk, give this subject a few minutes of your time today. This is another subject I feel very strongly about, and I’d like to point you in the direction of Mark McAfee’s (of Organic Pastures) interview on Sickly Cat about raw milk if you haven’t already seen it. It’s fantastic and really helps to answer some of the many questions people have about this hot topic.

Are you in favor of organic fertilizer or toxic sludge used to grow foods? In San Francisco, mayor Gavin Newsom is encouraging farmers, schools, and homeowners to use wastewater sewage for fertilizing produce. Come on San Francisco, I thought you were more progressive than that! Follow the link at the top of the Organic Consumers’ Association to the Peter Collins Radio Show for the latest on this development.

CHOW has this great article about whole animal buying - advise about purchasing large portions of meat directly from farmers or ranchers, and ideas for splitting it up with family or friends. I highly recommend buying meat this way – it creates less waste and you can save money on many fronts – by knowing your farmer and the practices they use, and being able to avoid supporting big agricultural outfits that produce unhealthy meats/meat products and harming the environment.

You’ve probably heard about the new USDA Dietary Guidelines that have recently been released? There are some really good articles available critiquing this subject. Kimberly Hartke who manages Hartke is Online! has this informative piece, Government has Failed to Halt Epidemic of Obesity and Diabetes. Also, David Augenstein’s fantastic new site, The Journal of Living Food & Healing has this great article – Scientists Claim: USDA Diet Guidelines Cause Obesity, Heart Disease, and Diabetes.

Mother Earth News, a great publication with a vast variety of topics shows you how to garden in small spaces, something that’s useful for many people who don’t have big pieces of land at their disposal for farming. Also, I liked this story on sustainable poultry management too, for those of you who are venturing into raising your own chickens and eggs.

Even though I’m not supposed to, we’ve been eating pancakes for the last two days at breakfast – along with some other great things too like chorizo omelets and bacon and eggs. Yum! I do much better if I eat my grains very sparingly and eat them properly prepared – as in, sprouted, soaked, or fermented. Something I still haven’t attempted yet is a good sourdough bread or other recipe, but my friend Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa has this fabulous recipe (and is a fantastic cook too!) for sourdough blueberry pancakes, with all the steps and photos (she’s so good at that!) you need to get started. Don’t these look absolutely delicious???

Okay, here’s two posts with recipes I really liked. My friend Tara at Keep It Real has some great ideas for meal items that are naturally rich in probiotics, something we all need more of in our diets…and something fun, a soaked spice cake that is really delicious! She brought some over for us to try when we met at the health food store last week.

The Local Cook has a great book review on food preservation, something that I really want to learn how to do, but haven’t yet. I was going to start doing that this summer, but I’m still trying to find out whether my garden is actually going to produce enough to make it worth my while. And, two of my friends who normally can and that I was going to get together with to learn how to do this with aren’t doing gardens this year. Our weather was really weird and we had a long cold snap in the spring, which caused a lot of problems for many people with gardens this spring. But, we’ll see what happens. If not this year, next year for sure!

Who’s got carnivals?

I don’t, but I would love to get one going sometime soon. I’m always so busy I barely have time to get posts up, but in the meantime, here’s a list of really great blogs with great weekly carnivals you should check out!

  • Two for Tuesdays Blog Hop – my friend Alex Clark at A Moderate Life is hosting this great recipe carnival weekly now, and she gets a lot of contributions. So stop on over, contribute a recipe, and read some of her articles too. She has a great variety of things to read about – all connected to real food, nutrition, eco-friendly ideas, and sustainability.
  • Tuesday Twister my friend Wardeh from GNOWFGLINS has a lot of great information about real food, cooking, and recipes and her Tuesday carnival is a great way to share your own real food recipes. I love Wardeh’s informative style and her great ability to teach new things to people about real food!
  • Real Food Wednesdays – My friend Kelly the Kitchen Kop is one of the most well-known and visited food and nutrition sites in the world of food blogging. You will find a whole lot of great posts contributed on Wednesdays about food, nutrition, and all things to do with breaking the conventional molds of ideas about health and food.
  • Pennywise Platter Thursdays My friend Kimi’s site is one of the best for recipes and great sustainable food ideas that are nutrient-dense. Check out her thrifty carnival on Thursdays for some wonderful recipe ideas!
  • Fight Back Friday – My friend Kristen at Food Renegade, another great resource site for insight on real food, recipes, and food politilcs has a great carnival for real food each Friday, and is a wonderful site for information about nutrition, health, and food politics.

Have anything interesting to share? Please do!

Activism Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food

Jamie’s Chicken Nuggets…and, What’s Wrong With Fat?

I love Jamie Oliver and what he’s doing for the children of America. In my opinion, he’s one of the biggest heroes of our time. Having said that, I also believe there is room for some improvement.

What’s really wrong with the chicken nugget demonstration?

On Jamie’s second episode of Food Revolution, he is seen in his kitchen with a small group of kids showing them how processed foods – namely, chicken nuggets – are made. Standing there at a counter where a whole chicken sits, he tells them that the parts of the chicken like the breast (pointing out that it’s the most expensive), legs, thighs, and other more “recognizable parts” of the chicken are to be saved and eaten.

When the carcass is stripped from the meat, he goes on to tell them that the leftover components are really not useful and proceeds to hack it up and place it in food processor. “This”, he tells them, “is how chicken nuggets are made.” (not in America, but the demonstration is supposed to be for the effect of showing the kids how horrible chicken nuggets are).

At this point, I wanted to jump into the screen and yell, “but those parts are good for you to eat, just not like that!”

This scene was infinitely frustrating, but not because the children didn’t get the point he was trying to make; it was frustrating because traditional peoples all over the world use every part of the animal and bird. Why? Because this is where the most nutrient dense elements are found! Why didn’t Jamie tell the children that there is a good use for the carcass, and that some of the most vital nutrients come from it?

The entire point of why the nuggets were bad was lost. Children associate good taste with greasy slop from fast food. They don’t understand that you can take the carcass and make delicious, nutritious bone broth from it and it can be used in a variety of foods from soup to casseroles to rice, and the list goes on and on. And it’s not their faults, they’ve just never been taught!

The importance of real, traditional foods is still being completely missed by those who claim to know about nutrition. I love Jamie, I think he’s a hero in every way, he’s just missing this really important point that kids need to know. Kids think soup comes from a can, and don’t realize at all the versatility in a chicken carcass as to just how much food and nutrition it can provide. And it is not from grinding it up and putting it in a blender to put in gloppy cakes, coat in flour, and fry in toxic, industrial, vegetable oil.

Pastured animals and birds

The other thing that Jamie does touch on occasionally -which is good, but not emphasized enough – is that all meats and meat products that come from animals and birds on pasture are healthy to consume. We need real, saturated fats that are from healthy sources. They are some of our most important ways to obtain Vitamin A, D, E, and K – all nutrients that people in developed countries are in short supply of and desperately need to get more of in their diets.

Animals and birds on feedlots (and we don’t know the origin of this chicken he is preparing, now do we?) have obese meat from being fed soy and grains (cattle are ruminants and are not meant to eat grains), which is full of chemicals, antibiotics, and all manner of horrible substances we and our children should not be eating.

Animals and birds living on concentrated animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) do not get enough outdoor access and those important nutrients are not transferred to the meat from sunshine and grass – that’s where we get our Vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as Omega 3s and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (you know, the important stuff for our brains, hearts and circulatory systems).

Fat is good for you!

Which brings me to the next point, which is the one about fat. Fat has been made into a criminal, but rarely do people differentiate between good and bad fats. To modern health and science, saturated fats are the enemy. But to people who have lived all over the world, generations of children have been raised on good, real, saturated fats. Why would those substances just suddenly be bad for us to eat? They’ve been around for millennia, while the new fats created by hydrogenation, genetic modification, deodorization, and all manner of horrible processes are being heralded as fantastically healthy for us. And yet, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are epidemics to our culture. More than several times Jamie refers to how unhealthy fats are, but we know he knows better!

I’m so glad Jamie is doing what he is, and I really commend him for his efforts. I hope as time goes on, he’ll impress on these important points. Jamie is a smart man – I’ve heard him talk about locally-raised foods, pasture-raised meats, and even raw milk (hey, the Queen of England drinks it!), so it’s only a matter of time before this information starts to become more well-known by the average person. I also think if a lot of people were to send letters to Jamie and comment on his web site, there might even be a positive response.

There is a forum on Jamie’s site and I would encourage everyone to go on there and leave their comments. Please take a moment and express your views about these important topics, and let’s give Jamie 150 percent of our support! Thanks for all your hard work Jamie!

Want more information about school lunches?
Disturbed About What Your Kids Are Eating In School?
Hormones In The Milk – Do You Know What Your Kids Are Drinking
Changing The Face Of School Lunches – There’s Still A Lot Of Work To Do
Meals For Children – Restaurants and School Lunches Are Lacking In Nutrition
Want more information about traditional diets eaten around the world and how critical they are to health? Visit the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sad Changes In The Standard American Diet