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

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Aug 27, 2009

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.

Posted in: Nutrition, Standard American Diet

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

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  1. This reminds me of my food science teacher at BYU. She was well meaning but didn’t even know where yeast came from. Please Robyn, help save the day!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am on the edge of my seat needing to know what you did next. I am picking my jaw up off the ground and going to drink a green smoothie. I am shocked at the ignorance of some people.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    what is her name? i know someone at BYU that is in that department… email me if you don’t want to post it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    mean to keep us hanging

  6. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable!!!! Any people pay good money for such bad advice. Perhaps you should send everyone in the class –especially the dear Dr. — a personal invitation to your seminar! I bet their mouths will be the ones on the floor then!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am dying to know what you did. Please tell me you raised your hand and told her the thuth… so that the rest of the class would know, too. I would have loved to be there if that is what happened!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Waiting for the next install! Can’t wait till you post it!

  9. incredible and pathetic. i can’t wait to hear the rest of the story!

    btw, i got your green smoothie diet book 2 days ago and can’t put it down. i carry it around the house as i do things or while at the computer when i’m waiting for a screen to refresh or something. i was expecting a book of recipes but it took me 2 days to find the recipes due to all the other great information! so easy to read and helpful. i think i will actually try brussel sprouts in my smoothie sometime soon. and i’m off to the asian market when it opens in an hour! oh, and i freeze everything since it’s just me…i hope to convert my husband from his daily heavy protein powder smoothies to a green smoothie. thanks! you are awesome!

  10. Anonymous says:

    omygosh! unbelievable! actually, no it’s not! i can’t believe the way the government misleads people into thinking they are eating healthy by following their guidelines! if they really want health care reform, they could start by changing their FDA guidelines! uuuuuuuggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    You can look at the class schedule here: http://ce.byu.edu/ed/edweek/schedule.cfm

    and search for the class name…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Was she really 80-100 pounds overweight? The picture of her on BYU’s website shows a mid-chest-and-up shot, but she doesn’t look “huge” there. Perhaps an old photo?

  13. http:// says:

    Olivia, thank you!

    Erin, no comment (except, I didn’t say “huge”).

  14. Anonymous says:


    I suggested to BYU in my evaluation form to please have you teach some classes at Ed Week on Nutrition.

    Hope they listen.

    Donna B

  15. I like your blog. I just discovered it. I am a big Education Week fan. They did have, about 7 years ago, a biologist who presented a 3 hour lecture on the healing effects of food. It was so amazing! One of the best lectures ever!! You would have loved it.

    I chose to focus, this year, on marriage & relationship classes. They were excellent and spot on. Just what I needed.

    How can we expect to get good food advice from a university campus that promotes the kinds of foods served there? Did you notice the hub and heart of BYU is the candy counter? This, while offering a class on obesity as a national epidemic.

    I don’t even bother with the Relief Society classes on food storage. Canned orange drink is not my idea of survival.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am currently working towards my degree in English and found I needed one more elective class, so decided to take a nutrition class over the summer for fun. My professor is a personal trainer/nutrition consultant and is currently working towards his PhD in Nutrition. He pushes mypyramid.gov as a great resource and last class he told us all that it’s OKAY to drink 32 oz of soda per day as long as you drink it first thing in the morning for a sugar buzz and caffeine boost OR if you drink it after working out to recover. I could NOT believe what I was hearing. My husband got on earful as soon as class let out. If I didn’t have to rely on a grade from him my professor would have gotten one too.

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