Tag Archives: omnivore’s dilemma

Omnivore’s Dilemma: Food education

30 May

Once again I am merging the two concepts upon which this blog was designed- my love of food and my teaching career. I already posted awhile back about incorporating my love of food into my classroom. To end the year, my students are completing a research project centered around an amazing book I just finished, which was life changing to say the least.

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In his book, Pollan strives to uncover secrets of industrial, processed, industrial organic, and sustainable meals. It really goes to the heart of how what you eat affects not only you, but the environment, the economy, the government, and society as a whole. As bloggers, we may put a lot of thought into what we eat. But have you REALLY thought of the political, social, environmental and economical implications of eating your morning cereal? Who grew, processed, packaged and shipped that product? Did it take more energy to make it than you can actually get from it? The answers will surprise you, and most likely make you NOT want to eat a lot of the things you currently eat. I know I’ve changed my eating habits immensely since reading this book.

So I was reading this book and come to find out…..it’s on the common core for 8th grade! Who would have thought?!?! My initial reaction was excitement. Then it turned immediately to panic. They want 8th graders to read this?!?!? One of the chapters was labeled “corn sex” !!! There were words I couldn’t pronounce. I was freaking out. Then I discovered this:

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The young adult version! Essentially the same book only at a lower, much easier to understand reading level (I was struggling to follow the adult version myself!). And no sex, even of the corn nature.

I picked out about 5 chapters for students to read to get an overall picture in order to answer this question:

essential question

Students did various activities examining food labels, watching videos provided by Nourish, and studied industrial faming VS local farming.

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It just really surprised me how little my students knew about the secrets behind the food they eat. That soda is mostly 100% HFCS. That they put ammonia in meat to kill bacteria. The environmental implications of drinking hot chocolate that was shipped from Switzerland.

There’s so much to talk about when it comes to this topic (I already covered eating local). At some times I was feeling weird about teaching students this, thinking they were going to go home and rant to their parents about how they need to start eating grass-fed beef. But if you really think about it, if we don’t teach our kids about this damaging, corrupt, and disgusting thing that is the food industry, when will the ignorance end?

SO when we were done studying the topic, students picked their own individual topics to research further. Choices included:

*Organic vs conventional food

*Food poisoning

*grass fed vs industrial meat

*processed food

*fast food secrets (a popular one)

*hunting for food

*Hidden ingredients

Students will do research (we’re wrapping up day 3 of research) and then complete a presentation (no paper- aren’t I nice?) using the Ipad app Haiku Deck. This presentation software is really easy to use, student friendly, and eye catching! It’s similar to power point but much more simple. Perfect for our shortened time frame.

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Can’t wait to post some examples!

You should really get your hands on the adult (or young adult!) version of the book. It changed the way I look at food forever. I obviously ate pretty healthy before this book, but some of the things you think to believe are “healthy” have some compromising implications you’d be surprised about. Check it out!!!

Have you read the book? Do you think we should teach our kids to care about where our food comes from?

Why you shouldn’t drink soda

24 May

Excuse me for a minute while I go on a rant.

 

Every time I go to the grocery store, I tally in my mind the amount of people with carts full of soda. Not one pack. I mean cart overflowing with soda. So much soda that they have to add it on to the edges of their carts. And mostly nothing else in the cart. Maybe some microwave pizzas.  And if you’re that person, I’m judging you.

I’m not a rude person, but this completely baffles me. Are you throwing a party? Why do you need 100 20 oz bottles of mountain dew? It amazes me that people are even still drinking soda. It’s disgusting. It’s sugar and empty calories in a bottle.

 

WHY?????

 

Not saying I’ve never had one. But I can honestly say I have not willingly consumed a soft drink in over two years (unless there was alcohol in it). I think I’ve mentioned my view on this. If a beverage has calories and no alcohol in it…..why???

Since the 1950’s the average size coke bottle has gone from 8 oz to now giant 20 oz bottles. Soda is purely 100% high fructose corn syrup from GMO corn in most cases. They are the biggest source of added sugar in the U.S diet. Studies have found that people who drink soda weigh more, and you tend to eat more during the day if you drink soft drinks. Soda can even predispose some people to gaining weight.

(information from the book Omnivore’s Dilemma and http://www.kickthecan.info/soda-facts)

People must be seriously addicted to this crap. When everyone is equally as stumped as to why people in America are so fat, unhealthy, and spending so much on healthcare. Grass fed meat and organic vegetables are TOO EXPENSIVE….but let’s find room in the budget for some diet coke. When this is the food people chose to spend their money on (which I don’t know how anyone can justify), it’s no mystery why there are so many health problems.

Sorry about the rant. I’m really not rude. If you have a soda once in awhile, you’re not a terrible person. But I’ve consistently seen roughly 3-5 people with CARTS FULL OF IT for the past three weeks at the grocery store and it’s infuriating. Had to get that out.

Do you drink soda????? WHY????? STOP IT!

How to eat local

2 May

I’ve really been lacking on the blog front these days…..every time I tell myself I will do a post tonight I find some excuse not to….

I wanted to write about something I’ve been trying to make an effort to do lately- buy and eat local food. I’ve been reading this book by Michael Pollan called Omnivore’s Dilemma and it’s basically changed my life. I will do a more in depth book review when I’m finished, but the book is already changing to way I eat and look at food and I haven’t even completed it.

“Don’t you find it odd that people will put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor than they will into choosing the person who grows their food?”

Do you think organic is best? Do you think about the impact of the environment on the boxed lettuce from California that “contains 80 calories…[but takes] more than 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy to make” and ship all over the country. I’m telling you, this book will make you never look at food the same again!

The biggest thing it delves into is the disgusting way that industrial meat is produced. I won’t go into detail here but I’ve read Paleo books and blogs before that harp on the requirement of ‘grass fed beef’ and ‘organic chicken’  however I would always say that was stupid and I could never afford it. Now I know the importance of KNOWING where my food comes from. Buying local is a way to do that. I know exactly what the animals are getting fed (and if antibiotics are used), how they are raised, and where my money goes. But how do you eat straight from the source, especially if you live in a big city?  Here are some ideas I’ve already put into action.

1. Join a CSA

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CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically you own a ‘share’ of a farm and they give you some of their crop weekly. I signed up for what is called an ‘individual share’. I paid $180 dollars and I get to go pick up my veggies every Tuesday. I’m supporting my community and I know exactly how my food is grown and where it comes from. And just because a farm isn’t USDA Certified Organic doesn’t mean it’s not. A lot of farms don’t want to bother with the paperwork and regulations to get certified.

Here’s a website where you can find a CSA farm near you:

CSA 

2. Go to the farmer’s market

This one is easy in every city! I always try to buy produce during the summer from the farmer’s market, again supporting my community instead of workers in Mexico. I can’t wait for my town’s to start- should be coming soon!

3. Eat seasonal

If you are part of the CSA or shopping at the farmer’s market this one’s easy. Food has a bigger environmental impact when you have to ship it across the country. Try as much as you can to eat stuff in season- berries in the spring, zucchini in the summer, squash in the fall, etc. Obviously you can’t do it all the time, but try to do what you can. Here is a more comprehensive list:

http://whole9life.com/2012/01/seasonal/

4.  Find a farmer near you!

This one was easy for me since I live in the boonies and there are farms everywhere. There was actually one down the street from my house. The farmer was super nice and willing to explain everything to us about how the animals are raised. I contacted him through email and drove down the road to pick up some chickens and eggs. I also made an appointment to pick up more chicken on an upcoming slaughter date.

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My eggs and chicken! Yum!

You can use this website to find a farmer near you:

http://www.eatwild.com/

This farm didn’t have beef so I had to search out another one. It was hard to get beef this time of year because slaughters are usually in the fall, but I finally found a farm that had some leftover from last year. The meat is the best quality  meat I have ever tasted and since it’s grass fed, it’s naturally lean.

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And yes, this type of meat and shopping is more expensive. But really- do you spend more on your cable bill a month than you do on the food you put into your body to keep you alive? What are you priorities? I know this type of eating is expensive, but you really have to think about if it’s worth it. I think it is. It’s worth it on the money I may be spending on health care later on in my life. It’s worth it for the lesser impact to the environment, and it’s worth it to benefit my community instead of some huge factory that sends work out of the country.

What’s your take on this way of eating? Worth it or not? Do you buy locally raised meats and produce?

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