thoughts after Educ. Wk.: they’re teaching baloney (literally) part 3 of 5

So I went to the lady’s class and learned two interesting facts that I shared with you yesterday.   But that’s where the useful information ended.

 

I was hoping for some good tips since I’ve spent quite a bit of time assembling an arsenal of good information and great expert speakers for my upcoming 6-part teleseminar on Developing a High-Nutrition Food Storage.

 

Imagine my shock to spend an hour in this class on stocking a healthy pantry, and never hear any of these three important words: Vegetable (with one exception you’ll love, later in this paragraph). Fruit. Whole.   Not even any talk of grains or legumes. What I did hear was advice to stash things like creamed soup (full of MSG), Otis Spunkmaier cookie dough, cake mixes, canned anchovies, and “Krab” meat.   A long discussion of whether to freeze your meatloaf before or after you cook it.   Instructions to blanch all your veggies before freezing them to stop the enzymatic action.   The teacher laughing about how she never uses her oven because she adores her microwave so much.   A tip about a wonderful taco salad she eats often, full of chips, cheese, and hamburger meat.   A suggestion to use your canned chickpeas to make hummus, and don’t bother going to the health food store for tahini (raw sesame seed paste)–just use sour cream instead!

 

I could write paragraphs on each of these pieces of COMPLETELY BOGUS ADVICE.

 

The teacher put mypyramid.gov up on the screen, the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines.   She said this:

 

“Recently a man asked me, ‘Is there a better way to eat than the American diet? Like the Mediterranean diet, for instance?'”   The teacher pointed at the government’s pyramid, which prominently features meat and dairy and ignores raw plant food, and said this:

 

“I told him, ‘No.   This is more research based than anything in the world. It is the best diet anywhere.'”

 

I was astonished.   I got a book out to read until class was over, writing her off as being a rather ignorant grandma who was recruited to teach the class maybe because she was willing and maybe has a very organized year’s supply of food.   But then she mentioned being single and living alone, and a few minutes later mentioned, “When I was getting my PhD . . .”

 

PhD!   I put my book away.   Please, please, I thought to myself, don’t let her PhD have anything to do with nutrition.   Hundreds of people are sitting in this class learning falsehood from her.   Please, please tell me she is not influencing young people, the parents of the future, every semester on this campus.

 

I quickly flipped to the back of my Education Week magazine to learn her credentials, and this is what it said: “Association professor and dietetics program, director in nutrition, dietetics, and food sciences.”

 

So what did I do then?   I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Thoughts after BYU’s Education Week, and hope for young moms

Part 2 of 5

In a very huge curriculum across all topics, I found next to nothing on nutrition. I should really teach at Education Week. Somebody make that happen and I’m there.

 

On Friday, though, I went to a class called Stocking A Healthy and Convenient Pantry.  Please make careful note of the way that title is phrased, for my later comments. I had low expectations of the class, since the LDS (Mormon) people attending the campus event (at the Mormon university) have adopted all the ways of the larger culture, in terms of the Standard American Diet.  We embrace processed food and a heavily meat- and dairy-dominated diet, despite counsel against that in both ancient and modern scripture. (One of these days, LDS friends, I’m going to start posting loads of public comments from the prophets and apostles over the past 150 years on diet.)

 

My low expectations went even lower when I walked into the class and saw the teacher, an older lady who is about 80-100 lbs. overweight. Please know that I love everyone (I am already bracing for the responses to this blog entry), but I say that only because I prefer classes on health to be taught by people who are healthy.  Just like I expect a class on Old English to be taught by someone who has read Beowulf, and a class on dance to be taught by someone who can cha-cha.

 

Before I go just all-out nuts on what was taught in this class—representative of what’s being taught in America—let me tell you the two interesting and valuable facts I learned from the highly academically qualified source:

 

First, in the 1940’s (before Betty Crocker and prepared foods), guess how much time women spent in food-related activities, and guess how much time they spend now? 

 

1940’s:  6 hours a day

Now:    20 minutes a day

 

Sure, we have more pressures now.  More of us work.  But wow.  We could do better.  We don’t have to spend 6 hours.  But maybe we could commit to spending a bit more than 20 minutes?  Remember that includes shopping and drive-thru time . . . ALL food-related activities!

 

And here’s the other interesting fact.  Google “food neophobe” about children who are very “picky,” a new phenomenon that I’m sure is also a spawn of the Standard American Diet and its addictive chemical “foods.”  Children who won’t try new things need 9 to 10 exposures, according to research, to embrace a new food.

 

So don’t give up if you gave them green smoothies three times and it didn’t go over well! Be patient and persistent.

The Essential GreenSmoothieGirl Library . . . part 8

More important books for parents to own:

 

Denise Punger, M.D. is a GreenSmoothieGirl 12 Stepper and a brave new voice in modern medicine.   She’s a board certified doctor married to another medical doctor, but she’s also a mother who has breastfed for 12 years and delivered her last baby via home birth.   She’s an advocate of home birth, doulas, breastfeeding, and trusting a mother’s instincts.   Her Permission to Mother: Going Byond the Standard-of-Care to Nurture Our Children is an important book for young mothers to own.

 

 

Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food are geared towards teens.   Give your kid an incentive to read one or both of these books.   My 11- and 13-year old kids loved these best-selling exposes and never wanted to set foot in a fast-food establishment again.   Okay, they never set foot in fast-food establishments anyway, except to make a bathroom stop on a trip.   They inspired my oldest daughter to become a vegetarian, and she later converted her sister.   Written for preteens and teens, this is an excellent education in why you want to avoid all fast food.   I overheard my daughter after she read Chew On This telling a friend regarding the friend’s sugar habit, “You know that children diagnosed with diabetes by the age of 8 shorten their lives by 25-30 years, don’t you?”   (Heh heh, my evil educational plot is working!)   Too bad the author states in the introduction that his favorite meal is a fast food burger.

 

 

Ron Seaborn’s The Children’s Health Food Book is a seriously weird book!   A friend recommended it to me, and when I picked it up at a health food store, my then-four-year old son went crazy for it.   I read it to him several times a day, because he begged me non-stop, until I just couldn’t take it any more and was making up my own words.   The antiheroes are the Starch Creature, the Dairy Goon, the Meat Monster, and the Sugar Demon.   Of course, the vegetable, fruit, and whole-grain superheroes come in and save the day.   This book is good for younger kids–just beware that the preschool teacher might call you and say your kid is scaring the other kids by pointing out how bad their snacks are (this actually happened to me).

Need motivation to eat less meat and more plants? . . . part 7 of 12

Today, good stats about the fact that Americans need EDUCATING on the subject of a plant-based, whole-foods diet. (You know GSG.com has an agenda to get YOU to help spread the word–and many of you already do so, brilliantly.)

 

98 percent of the wheat eaten in the U.S. is eaten as white flour.   Only 2 percent is eaten as whole wheat flour!   In traditional diets, 75-80 percent of total dietary energy comes from whole grains.

 

U.S. children who eat the recommended levels of fruits, vegs, and grains: 1 percent

 

American who are aware that eating less meat reduces colon cancer risk: 2 percent

 

American men who are aware of a link between animal products and prostate cancer: 2 percent

Tell me: How can YOU help, you being much more educated about nutrition than, well, basically almost everybody?

“the plural of anecdote is not data” . . . part 4 of 4

Third, is the study reliable?   This is the second basic research standard, and it means is the research repeatable with consistent results? Reliability is one of the best things about Colin Campbell’s The China Study, the largest nutrition study in history, which will be referenced throughout this book.   Dr. Campbell’s animal research showing the benefits of a low-animal-protein diet were duplicated by other researchers, using various animals, all over the world.   The results were very consistent.

 

Finally, have a basic understanding of and consider carefully a few other things before placing much stock in what you read.   Is the study longitudinal (covering a long period of time)?   If none of 500 subjects got cancer in three years, that’s much less compelling than if none of them got cancer in 30 years, like in the Framingham study, the Harvard Nurses’ study,  or the Oxford-Cornell (China Study) Project.

 

Was the study double-blinded, which means that neither the researcher nor the subject knew which of multiple therapies the person was receiving?   Was it placebo-controlled, meaning that some subjects received a placebo (sugar tablet) instead of the supplement or drug?   Was the research published in peer-reviewed journals (often but not always ensuring more scientific analysis)?   How big was the sample size?   Bigger is better, and although case studies (with only a few subjects) are interesting, without further research, you shouldn’t bet the farm on findings of those kinds.

The more you read and study, the more confidence you can have that the very important decisions you make about how to fuel your body are sound.   12 Steps to Whole Foods undertakes to synthesize the research and best practices from around the world, leading to dietary practice that is simple and achievable and customizable for your personal dietary needs–a direct route to optimal health.