Good News from the Food Industry

grocerystoremomentoftruthA couple of years ago, I posted a video link to the ABC News documentary, How to Get Fat Without Really Trying.  In that video, the late Peter Jennings interviews the president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

His responses so blithely dismissed the needs of the consumer in favor of the needs of the GMA, which are increased sales without regard to food safety or the negative effects of marketing junk food to kids.

The GMA is one of the largest and most powerful lobbying groups that wields great influence on food policy in Washington, D. C.  Most often, not to the benefit of the consumer.

I was totally disgusted by the GMA president in the video. That documentary, along with a few others, was one of the biggest influences for me to quit eating popular brand-name processed food.

If you haven’t seen How to Get Fat… you can access it here.   It’s several years old but the message is timeless–especially in light of the news I read today.

My favorite food policy guru, Marion Nestle, via her blog, Food Politics, tells us that many national food manufactures are feeling the pinch of the public demand for better food. I say its about time.

They’re caught between the consumer and the GMA, which opposes anything that would make food safer and more nutritious. In their mind, that translates to “less profitable.”

Professor Nestle tells us that several national food manufacturers have now left the GMA over disagreements on many issues. Some of those companies’ products had been old favorites of mine that I gave up buying after watching the ABC documentary.

I’m happy to hear of their defection from the GMA but it remains to be seen if they change the nutritional profiles of their products.


Here’s Professor Nestle’s report:

I’ve written many times about the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), an organization so locked into the interests of its food-company donors that you can count on it to vehemently oppose every consumer-friendly measure that gets proposed. A couple of weeks ago, Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich and Catherine Boudreau wrote what they discovered about the unraveling […]

via Defections from the Grocery Manufacturers Association: Rats leaving a sinking ship? — Food Politics by Marion Nestle

Fall Fitness Challenge

gimage-fall-woods-walk-960_720Autumn leaves in NE Minnesota already. Almost had frost last week. Eeek!

The Fall Monsoons are gearing up now too. As I write, there’s some really high, tree-branch scattering winds blowing. I hope my garden pots don’t get tipped. Oh well–it’s time to start wrapping up the garden anyway.

As much as I love September, I hate to think it’s time to wrap up Summer. I usually have until my birthday to get in a little more Summer. (It’s the 26th, in case you were thinking of sending a card 😉 ) It’s a milestone birthday too so it’s a very good time to roll out a new fitness plan.

Or rather, get back to the online program I was using. I don’t usually use it during the Summer since I belong to a community fitness group in my hometown. We wrapped that up last week. This was our second year. The first year, we were solely a walking club and walked around the 2 small lakes and the large park in our town once a week all together.

This year we added a variety of fitness activities to try out like QiGong, kayaking, disc golf, Zumba, Yoga, and Strength-Training. We also tried out lawn games like croquet, badminton, and bocce ball. I remember as a kid, our parents would get together at the neighbor’s house to play volleyball. They also belonged to bowling leagues. People just don’t do stuff like that anymore, and it’s too bad. It’s a fun way to keep fit and socialize at the same time. I think there should be Lawn Game Clubs too.

Anyway–back to that online fitness program. About five years ago, I discovered this really cool wellness site, The Daily Challenge. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a ‘package’ of different programs, or tracks, as they call them.

It’s free to join, which fits nicely into the frugal philosophy of DIY Healthy Lifestyles. You choose a track from a wide assortment of fitness and wellness programs and click ‘join’. Then you receive a daily notification by email, IM, or SMS (message to phone or device) that gives you a simple 5- to 10-minute activities to do related to the track you are in. You can choose to join more than one track if you’d like a variety of things to do during the day.

There is a new one that’s been added since I was last there. It’s called Better Weight but it goes beyond the typical diet and exercise programs. This one includes behavior change prompts for finding support, managing stress, and staying motivated. It’s that last one that caught my attention.

Seems like every Fall, I feel so good about the weight and BMI I’ve dropped and I vow to maintain it. But then there’s birthday cake and pizza, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas… I know that’s an excuse but you have to admit it’s not a bad one. I’ve been working on ways to make the holidays less fattening and healthier.

But, staying motivated is a challenge. So that’s why I chose to sign up for The Daily Challenge’s Better Weight Track. I’m inviting my friends and followers to join me in this program. Let’s start our own wellness group here to get and stay motivated!

Here’s where we’ll meet. If you’re not already a Daily Challenge member, it’s free to join so just sign up if you’re interested in getting together.

Hope to hear from you soon–
Kat

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

study-reportsMy favorite nutrition guru, Marion Nestle, has again posted about something  that has always irked me: studies that tell you that a certain food is good/bad for you. The bottom line is that it all depends upon who is funding the study and where their interests lie.

In this article Professor Nestle (who, btw, is not related to the chocolate company), is interviewed by a reporter looking into a study on chocolate. Professor Nestle provides some excellent insight into food studies as a whole, and educates us about why we shouldn’t always buy into the headlines like “study shows this or that food is good/bad for us”.

There is more to know about the behind-the-scenes motives in the publication of nutrition studies.

What is revealed here can be applied to other studies so keep these thoughts in mind if you’re someone who is influenced to start or stop eating a certain food because of something you read regarding a study. Its’ always a good idea to look for more information from other sources before making a decision based on a study.

Read the article at Food Politics.com

 

March is National Nutrition Month

Arranged Vegetables Creating a Face

National Nutrition Month comes at the perfect time of year! With warmer weather on the way, we’ll soon be taking our Spring and Summer clothes out of storage.

We hope everything still fits after a long Fall and Winter filled with many holidays and high-calorie foods! For those of us in the colder parts of the world, we also get less activity when it’s too cold to be outside.

To help you get started on your Spring eating and activity plans before you put on your first pair of shorts, check out these tips from the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate site.

You’ll find tip sheets and interactive tools to help you make healthier choices yourself and your family.

If you’re a health educator, school teacher, or home-schooler, there’s also the My Plate for Schools section where you can find learning materials to use in your health lessons.

My favorite tip is “Make Small Changes”. Rather than trying a total diet overhaul, just decide to change one thing. Try eating fruit for dessert instead of ice cream. Do that for a few weeks until it becomes a new habit, then make a new change, like going out for a short walk after dinner.

Every little change you make moves you closer to your fitness and wellness goals.

So, click here and started on your diet and nutrition plan today!

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/national-nutrition-month

Share the small changes you plan to make this month or your favorite health and wellness website!

 

 

 

Junk Food and Healthy Nutrition

Junk food has its place in diet and nutrition.

OK–stop cheering–I’m not finished.

HNjunkfoodjunkie-female

Junk food has its place because it motivates discussion of healthy nutrition as a hot topic these days.

Some of us haven’t talked about nutrition since grade school health lessons. How many of us today really remember why our bodies need magnesium? I know I didn’t until I ventured into diet and nutrition studies.

I’ve since learned that magnesium is a really, really important mineral for a lot of reasons. But this article is about junk food, not magnesium. We will talk more about magnesium in future articles though.

However, because I don’t want to leave you sitting here now wondering about magnesium, I’ll give you this link to my favorite go-to site for health

information: WebMD explains the need for magnesium much better than I can.


There are a few reasons why I chose to open this discussion of Healthy Nutrition with “Junk Food”:

  1. It is a major culprit in chronic pain and fatigue syndromes as well as problems like cardiovascular disease (heart and circulatory dysfunction), diabetes (blood sugar imbalance), and gastrointestinal distress (upset tummy, acid reflux, ulcers, and other nasty stomach problems).
  2. Believe it or not, changing your diet from junk food to whole food is easier than you think.
  3. Learning about the junk food industry is a hugemotivator toward making healthy diet changes

These were the first three things I learned in my quest for a healthier lifestyle so that’s why Lesson 1 is about Junk Food.


DIY Nutrition Project 1: Learn about the junk food industry

Watch How to Get Fat Without Really Trying, an ABC News documentary with the late Peter Jennings.

This is the video that really got me thinking about what I was mindlessly buying and eating. It got me so riled up that the first thing I did was stop eating boxed macaroni and cheese (which I loved!). It started as my own personal boycott in protest against the food industry and turned into a victory for me when I began feeling better within a couple of months. This one small action–giving up mac n’ cheese–was the start of my movement toward real food.

That’s all it takes: one small action. Giving up just one thing that’s not good for you.

Watch the video in the Healthy Nutrition video library at YouTube. You can choose between watching:

A condensed 10 minute version by Nutrition Mom

This video is a shorter version hitting upon some of the highlights from the full documentary.

The complete 5-part documentary by FoodMattersMovie.com

This is the in-depth version that covers all the tactics and trickery the food industry uses to get us hooked on junk food

Note the happy faces of the corporate food manufacturers and government officials as they talk about ways they get us addicted to processed foods while they become billionaires doing it. And then tell us that our addictions are entirely OUR fault because we’ve demanded junk food all on our own, with no help at all from advertising.

If no part of this video makes you feel disgusted, then you just might be a hopeless junk food junkie.

After you watch it, scroll down to ‘leave a reply’ to share your comments. And share this post with friends, too.

Let’s all work together to let them know we’re not going to take this anymore! 

Beware of this school lunchtime scheme

frito-lay-chips-bagsIt’s not bad enough that TV ads make junk food so appealing to kids to the point where child obesity is a national problem. Now food manufacturers are getting schools into the act.

Here is an article that is good education for parents, grandparents and other caregivers responsible for keeping kids healthy.

You may have heard me mention one of my heroes, Marion Nestle, in previous posts. At the beginning of the 2016 school year, Professor Nestle posted an article at her Food Politics blog  The article tells us about yet another under-handed ploy by the food industry to trick kids into eating more junk food.

If candy-coated cereals and ads that look like cartoon shows aren’t enough, wait til you read this. If I had school-aged children in my family, I would be concerned. Actually, I am concerned–for your children–so that’s why I’m sharing this with you.

After you read this article, if you’re not sure if your kids’ schools participate in this ‘program’, you may want to look into it.

Click here to read about the food industry’s latest scheme to fool kids.

Cool Beans!

bullbrdframe-colorfulbeansDoes anyone know where the expression “cool beans!” ever came from? I don’t but I thought it would make a great title for this post.

I love beans of all kinds and dishes made from beans: hummus, refried beans, bean soups, baked beans, garlic beans, green beans almandine. Bean there, done that. (Sorry—couldn’t resist).

In the agricultural world, beans and legumes are known as pulses. When I read that, my inquiring mind wanted to know why so I looked it up. PulseCanada.com tells us that the word pulse is “from the Latin puls meaning thick soup or potage, pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family.” They go on to explain that:

“Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fibre, and are low in fat. Like their cousins in the legume family, pulses are nitrogen-fixing crops that improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems.”

In my email today, I found a link to a site called FoodNavigator-USA that talks about the many ways that food manufacturing is using beans and legumes to make gluten-free flours that can then be made into any number of healthier processed foods. This is fabulous news for people like me who like the convenience of packaged foods but not the way most of them are processed with unhealthy, unsafe, questionable ingredients. FoodNavigator-USA tells us:

“Beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils are now appearing as added value ingredients in every part of the store, from chips and snacks to salads, soups, pastas, dips and baked goods. Non-GMO, gluten-free, high in protein, fiber and micronutrients, and low in fat, beans in particular are undergoing a PR renaissance among consumers, who have been eating them for years in tacos and burritos, but now see them as a more wholesome alternative to soy, rice, corn and potatoes in their snacks.”

I kind of like the idea of incorporating these uber-healthy little pulses into my own recipes. How about you?

A Bit of Nostalgia 

Who remembers this little ditty from grade school?:

Beans, beans, the musical fruit; the more you eat, the more you toot. The more you toot, the better you feel so why not eat beans at every meal?

Read all about this revolutionary food processing technique at FoodNavigator.USA.com