Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Food Fascination

Lately, like everyone, I've been riveted by the Sinclair-esque downer cows (via Gristmill) in our meat supply. My favorite description of the situation (at Eating Liberally) called out the meat plants for "bovine water boarding."

Sometimes, in fact oftentimes, the frugal thing to do (bagging lunches) is also healthier. Last I checked, there weren't very many organic, free-range, locally- and sustainably-farmed, whole-grain, additive-, preservative-, and synthetic dye-free items on the school lunch menu.

But I figured last week was the safest time in history to relent and let our kid get a much-desired Hot Lunch or two since all of the bad press caused our school district to yank meat, recall or no, from the menus. C'mon, didn't you trade your lunches back in the day? Hostess Ding-Dongs being the platinum currency of lunchbox wampum. Kids can't do that now, what with food allergies on the rise and all. So to take an item off the Delightfully Forbidden Fruit list you have to bend the rules now and again.

EGirl had a (persistant organic pollutant-laced) fish sandwich (on white GMO bread) and some (bGH) cheese pizza. But her favorite part (and my favorite description?) was the milk: "Mom, it was chocolate and even though it wasn't organic? It tasted so cold and delicious that it seemed like it really was." Ah, everlasting sweetness.

Below: less musing, more foodbits...

  • This cool tool at Foodsel allows you to see nifty visual guides to food contents. Like if you eat a Krispy Kreme, what does that really mean? Why, a fifth of a stick of butter and four sugar cubes just went down your gullet. But you got 16 batteries' worth of energy. And if you're my weight, to burn off the calories, you could play lawn darts for two hours and 16 minutes. (via Lifehacker)
  • This nifty little list by Kid Safe Seafood answers the question on a lot of parents' minds -- just tell me what fish is safe for the little ones to eat. A-OK to gobble = shrimp, scallops, salmon, cod, crayfish, mussels, and tilapia. (via Green Mom Finds)
  • Rocket fuel's in all of our food. Sigh. (chipper fact courtesy of EWG).
  • Get rid of those teflon pans, easy to clean though they may be. (more EWG).
  • Americans may be fatter than the French because we look to external cues to tell us when to stop eating (like whether The Daily Show's still running) rather than internal cues like satiety. Blame it on the Clean Plate Club, eh? (via Science Daily)
  • A tip from Zen Habits to help you stop eating sweets after dinner: brush your teeth right away. You won't want to mess with your minty freshness. Plus, you can get your kids on the path to bedtime pronto.
  • An aside in a recent Gristmill story about wine and chocolate pairings noted that highbrow chocolate is fair trade because really expensive chocolate is made from custom grown cacao and therefore is free of forced child labor. It's also relatively pesticide-free, labeling or no, so gobble up that Valrhona.
  • Safeway's getting on board with animal rights. (also via Grist) First an organic line and now bunny-love? More to love than just the hook-ups....
  • Button mushrooms are just as healthy if not healthier than highbrow expensive fungi like shitaake or porcini. Mmmmmmushroooms. (via Science Daily)
  • Here's a thorough piece at the Boulder explaining the debate about big organic milk producers like oh-horror-a ahem Aurora and whether or not they are fauxbies breaking the spirit of organics or the real deal. (via chewswise)
  • Another reason to bag the nuggets? Runoff from conventional poultry farms is polluting waterways like the Chesapeake Bay. (via NPR)
  • Cool resource: a list of high fiber veggies. Apparently avocados have way more fiber than carrots. Who'da thunkit? (from A Veggie Venture)
Happy Wednesday!

*Photo via sxc - for more of
ramasamy chidambaram's work, see


Susannah said...

You can add ginger to your "avoid" list:

Tainted ginger difficult to track
(Wall Street Journal; Nov. 20, 2007)

But here's my question: What else is coming from China that we don't even know about? Toys are marked "Made in China" and produce is often marked, but what about packaged food that probably passes through a few locations before arriving in your cabinet? Where to Wheaties come from? MamaBird, please investigate!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Wow, you are thorough. My head kinda hurts now! But keep it out--we need people on this stuff.

Anonymous said...

I think letting kids decide when they're full is one of the most important things you can do to prevent childhood & adult obesity. Even now, into my 30s, my parents still ask "aren't you going to finish that?" when there is food left on my plate-- guess they forgot about those pesky bulimic teenage years.

MamaBird said...

Susannah - will look into food sourcing. That is such an interesting question...

Jenn, my head often feels like it is going to explode!

BLC - I so totally agree with you, and there's a child nutritionist I love (Ellyn Satter) who wholeheartedly agrees with you on letting kids choose how much to eat. Mostly I honor this but it's so commonplace that I occasionally catch myself requiring some controlling '# of bites' and have to stop myself.