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s/o Death by diet....How do we stop it?

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There are lots of thoughts swirling through my head on this. The SNAP changes I heard about this morning on the news are discouraging. I cannot even begin to explain all of the reasons this will be a huge step backwards. It is just part of a bigger narrative to demonize those who use/need "entitlements."

 

I would also like to see infrastructure changes to help us have more walkable/bike-friendly cities and better public transit. I don't buy the "It's too cold, too far, too many things to carry" arguments. I currently live in a house and city that was planned and built well before cars were a thing. It also happens to be in an extremely cold and punishing environment. The people who lived and worked here got around before cars despite having much harder lives. And we could now, theoretically. I rarely drive more than 2 miles at a time. Dh and my places of employment are within one mile from my house. I could walk to 95% of the places I need to go assuming I was not picky about which grocery store or which hairdresser I went to. I often spend significantly MORE calories and time trying to get my car out of the snow than I would walking to wherever I am going! I won't even discuss how much time (and gas) I waste searching for a parking spot at my place of employment. Last week, I spent more time looking for a parking spot than it would have taken me to walk to work had there been a safe way to do so. But. We no longer have sidewalks. We don't have streetlights. We have way too many vehicles driving WAY too fast to make walking on the roads pleasant or safe. That is "car culture." It is not the weather, it is the lack of infrastructure. We made this and we could easily fix it.

Yep. I don't live in the Deep South. I'm in the part of the Midwest where your temps can be below zero, snowed in and iced over, OR up to 100 degrees with humidity.

 

Nobody has said we should all be car free. We can need our cars for some things without deciding that nobody would ever walk again. That's actually how it's been since we've had cars, until now!

 

In the aforementioned recession in our walkable town, we'd frequently combine trips for which a car was best. Doctors appointment, oil change, grocery shopping. We didn't walk to town during or after the literal blizzard of 78. We had trucks and stuff.

 

Heat, on the other hand, did not stop us from walking to the grocery store. Send a kid with a wagon and a cooler full of ice.

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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Creekland, as someone who works at a school and who is also interested in the Blue Zones, I think you might really like that podcast I mentioned upthread.  Dan Buettner mentioned in it that there are some things schools can do which don't cost them a dime, and yet which really do impact the obesity rate of their students.  Two examples that I remember were banning food and beverages from classrooms and hallways (so that the students are only eating at designated meal times rather than snacking and sipping sodas all day long) and putting the healthiest food choices like veggies first in the cafeteria line.  Little things that can actually make a real difference.  

 

Snacks and beverages were banned from the classrooms and hallways when I was a kid, so I didn't even realize how much of an issue this had become.  But I must admit the cafeteria veggies were not particularly appealing.  They were just reheated canned veggies.  Not the kind of thing that gets kids excited about eating healthier!  But probably the best they could do on their budget, so I'm not blaming them at all.  What are the food rules and cafeteria foods like at your school?

 

Oh yeah the veg we were served were absolutely terrible.  I don't know any adult who would eat it.  One "famous" veg they served every single week on Friday was iceberg lettuce doused in vinegar and salt.  Absolute garbage gross and I wouldn't feed that to someone I hate.

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And let's not get into what goes into making these guidelines.  It's not 100% about the best nutritional advice backed by science.  It's also about economics, lobbies, etc.  

 

 

 

Absolutely. 

 

Home Ec, shop, and other such classes fell into disrepute because they were gender segregated.

 

 

Not always. Many schools had home ec one semester, shop the next, and everyone took both. My dh's school did that in junior high, mine did not. Same time frame, different parts of the country. 

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Oh yeah the veg we were served were absolutely terrible.  I don't know any adult who would eat it.  One "famous" veg they served every single week on Friday was iceberg lettuce doused in vinegar and salt.  Absolute garbage gross and I wouldn't feed that to someone I hate.

 

 

Well, that's an . . . interesting attempt at a salad.  :lol: 

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Except, the cooking classes didn't really teach much about cooking. In middle school, everyone had to take them, in high school they were electives. I don't remember much of anything from my HS foods and nutrition class because we spent so much time sitting at our desks...I slept a lot.

 

And it middle school, all I remember making was grilled peanut butter and jelly. I don't remember every learning how to steam vegetables, for example. My mom taught me some basics, like the difference between mincing, dicing, and chopping, and how to follow a recipe. But, actual knife skills? Food Network.

 

And now, it's true, many schools aren't offering any of these classes at all. The high school for our current local district offers a "Nutrition and Wellness" class and it doesn't look like that includes any ACTUAL cooking. It DOES say "direct concrete mathematics and language arts proficiencies will be applied." Which I hope means teaching the kids to learn to read a recipe and figure out the measurements? But I don't know.

I had excellent home ec classes in middle school. And I imagine we covered diet in both health class and in home ec. I learned a lot from my family, but in my family almost all meals are both made from scratch and often include homegrown ingredients. My parents were born in the late thirties to farming parents, so it was just a way of life that my parents continued. I remember asking my mother to buy microwave meals when they came out and she wouldn't because they were expensive and my father called them "instant leftovers ." Now l didn't learn how to do anything fancy or good knife skills until food network. 😄 But I could cook a bare bones meal. And I was familiar enough with a recipe to figure it out. I am certainly unusual in my upbringing, but it was the way things used to be. I don't know how that helps figure out this problem as a society, but that's my background. I guess the line people have been fed is that both parents work so they will pay someone else to do the cooking, and with all the women's equality stuff there was no longer a expectation that the women should learn to cook, nor the men either, and so no one learned. Not at all saying we need to go back to being a 1950s housewife division of labor, either! 😂😂. As an aside, I gave my younger cousin a cookbook for her wedding. She's an engineer, married to an engineer, and has her kids in daycare. She commented that, "Oh, you think I'm going to cook, huh?" With a smile in her face, not being nasty. I spluttered something about how I figured they had to eat somehow and I really liked the cookbook--it was a 30 minute meal one. I'm not close enough to her to know how meals go, but I've always sort of windered what they do for meals. They are a healthy weight.

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Well, that's an . . . interesting attempt at a salad.   :lol:

 

LOL

 

I know!  And I was not generally picky about veg.  I had no problem eating the canned crap because that's what my mother made.  But it's like they took something that wasn't so great to begin with and made it worse.  Had they just left the lettuce plain I would have eaten it.  But white vinegar and salt is good for cleaning stuff..not eating!

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I think maybe I misunderstood what you were getting at when you were talking about the greater distances in the US versus Europe.  I thought you were referring to distances between cities (cities are much more spread out from one another in the US than in Europe).  

 

What I'm trying to say is that even within cities in the US, people are forced into driving because the cities were not planned with pedestrians, cyclists, or public transportation in mind.  They were planned with the car in mind, and the result is that people are practically forced into using cars.  25km is a typical commute in the US - 15 miles and 26 minutes each way is the average.  That isn't a commute being made by thousands of people, that's a commute being made by millions of people.  And that's because cities are so spread out.  I too live in a place where I see people walking their dogs, but not walking to work or walking to the grocery store.  That's because I live in suburban sprawl.  The community was built around the car, and so the car becomes necessary for functioning in the community.

 

It didn't have to be this way.  We chose this.  Personally, I think it was a lousy choice.

 

Not really the fault of suburban sprawl at all. It's because people are choosing to do other things than walk. You just said that people could walk, but they don't. That isn't the car's fault, is it? I walk, bike and ski around my neighbourhood. I stay active. My vehicle isn't tied to my body. 

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The difference in terms of use in the body isn't huge though.  BELIEVE ME it would not matter if I ate sugarless oatmeal and pasta and rice.  BTDT.  My body just doesn't go for it.

 

Sugar is a huge problem though.  I am not arguing that. 

 

i believe you when you say your body is like that.

 

Do you believe me when I say my body absolutely knows the difference between whole grains and a donut? Much sugar--even from fruit--makes me nauseous. Whole grain breads and cereals make me feel great.

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I am amazed any teacher pulled "real cooking" off though.  Class was an hour.  What "real" meal from start to finish including clean up can be pulled off with a group in under an hour?  Who procures the fresh veg and ingredients and where does the stuff get stored?  Who pays for that stuff?  We made a pie crust with shortening.  Shelf stable shortening and flour are cheap and easy to store. The filling was canned, which we were asked to bring in ourselves.  No wonder it was something we were taught to make.  But really, did we need more pie on our lives?  I found the cooking part of my home ec classes to be an absolute joke.

 

We'd talk about healthy eating and then bake a pie.  We'd talk about the food pyramid and then make something we were told wasn't so healthy.  It made no sense.

 

Honestly, I don't think we need to teach kids how to make a full meal in an hour.

 

I think we need to teach them the actual basics of cooking.  Knife skills.  How to steam vegetables.  The difference between beating and folding, simmering, boiling, and rolling boil.  Cooking eggs. 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, something we haven't discussed much, is how much of people's consumption comes from DRINKING their calories and sugar and junk.  Whether it's a milkshake masquarading as a "smoothie" or a McDs Coke, or a Starbucks Frappuccino, or alki or kool-aid or whatever.  The beverage industry is huge, and most of it is unhealthy. 

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How about screens vs cars. Which do you think are "causing" people to eat more and move less?  At least the small electronic devices allow people to move while they watch/text. ;)

 

It varies by person.  The last town hall discussion here featured an elderly woman who did not want her taxes to go towards sidewalks in the town...she expressed she had a car, and therefore did not need sidewalks. People who no longer drive due to health and the poor asked for sidewalks because they wanted to be able to walk to the town hall to pay their bills without dodging SUVs and school busses.   Looking around, plenty of people are driving their dc the mile or two up to the public school bus stop, and idling while waiting.  A large fraction of those could walk, if the public school would put in a protocol to keep winter boots, coats, and rain coats from being stolen, as happened back in my day.  There's also a feeling that gardening is for the poor or the farmer...you see people here who live on three or more acres inherited from the gp and the garden plot hasn't been touched since gp passed..and they line up for holiday baskets at the church.  

 

I observe people that eat more because they are on the blood sugar roller coaster and they won't eat nutrient dense food. There's also a large segment (est 30%) who are truly hungry...they can't process the folic acid now added  in to the food supply, and they are eating in search of the nutrients they lack because their body can't make due to their genetic variance. Some of them eat whole foods, some don't, but until they get the right supplement, nothing really matters.  The fix for that is genetic tesing --very cheap, or bloodwork with norms for thrive, not survive and supplements.  I don't know about you, but B12 and D aren't part of the standard of care here at a physical....with all the money unsubsidized people pay for premiums and deductible, that seems a poor choice.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Yeah it's always funny to me when people say eat like how my grandmother ate.  My grandmother ate fast food and had baked goods always available.  You'd have to go back FURTHER to have that comment make sense.

 

But she is 90 and still alive.  So I can't exactly argue with her results. 

My great-grandmother baked every week on her wood stove.

 

She also cooked every meal.  Her husband brought home whatever meat she wanted for the evening every night, and she would cook it then or the next day.  He owned and ran a ships' chandlery so he had good meat available fresh every day.  

 

She made bread, coffee cakes, pies, and rolls.  They were eaten for a week, in order of tendency toward spoilage.  (I don't know whether she had a fridge, I think maybe not, maybe an ice chest fridge that was used for meat but not for baked goods.)  People ate stale baked goods then--it was just normal.  There were lots of recipes that involved soaking stale bread in milk as the starting point.  

 

She lived in a neighborhood with others from the same country that she was from.  When they built their house, they built it as a set of flats just in case, as so many immigrants did.  Later in life when their only daughter got married she and her husband lived in the upstairs flat with their children.  

 

She invited her friends over for coffee cake and a nice chat pretty often.  She sang a lot when she was alone.  She walked to people's houses and to church.  She carried on a lifelong active mail correspondence with family in the old country.  She had a very strong faith and spiritual life and spiritual community.  During the depression she was known as one of the kind ladies who would always feed you if you knocked on her door.  She would say, stay here, I'll be right back, and cook up a big mess of eggs and sausage and bring it out to serve on the front porch on a tray.

 

She had a life that had very tough periods but this was the golden era, and it lasted for a long time.  Even after her husband died youngish, her good life continued pretty much.

 

She had all the elements that we are talking about here, in spades.

 

And she keeled over and died of a heart attack at 62, while writing 'Man proposes, but God disposes' in a letter to rellies in Europe.  62.  The old times were good but they should not be idealized.

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i believe you when you say your body is like that.

 

Do you believe me when I say my body absolutely knows the difference between whole grains and a donut? Much sugar--even from fruit--makes me nauseous. Whole grain breads and cereals make me feel great.

 

Yes, I said so.

 

I love cereal, but if I eat it...I feel STARVED in half an hour.  As a kid that was what was generally available.  I felt like passing out every other day and after awhile I discovered that if I skip breakfast altogether I feel fine.  It took me awhile to realize what the problem was.  Not the eating breakfast, but the eating of what was traditionally available for breakfast.

 

Now if I went to a dietician they'd tell me to eat the cereal (and add fruit) and just eat something an hour later to deal with the blood sugar issues.  They'd tell me to just keep eating...all day.  That's what they tell my sister.  She is on multiple diabetes medications and just had both hips replaced due to complications (she is not yet 40).  Same with my mother.  She followed this advice and suffered. 

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I am amazed any teacher pulled "real cooking" off though. Class was an hour. What "real" meal from start to finish including clean up can be pulled off with a group in under an hour? Who procures the fresh veg and ingredients and where does the stuff get stored? Who pays for that stuff? We made a pie crust with shortening. Shelf stable shortening and flour are cheap and easy to store. The filling was canned, which we were asked to bring in ourselves. No wonder it was something we were taught to make. But really, did we need more pie on our lives? I found the cooking part of my home ec classes to be an absolute joke.

 

We'd talk about healthy eating and then bake a pie. We'd talk about the food pyramid and then make something we were told wasn't so healthy. It made no sense.

All of our ingredients were there. We had one prep day of learning about the recipe and the next day we got down to business fairly quickly. I can still whip up a tasty meal in an hr. Taco salads, chicken breasts, none of it takes that long. We didn’t have all the spices I use today but every cooking station (we worked in teams of two) was well-equipped. We actually made our scratch apple pie filling and a crumble for the top. Edited by Sneezyone
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My home EC teacher was amazing. We cooked real food, studied pre-1995 nutrition, made meal plans and shopped. She told each of us to bring in a family recipe to teach others how to cook, and those were all whole foods. I did chicken and egg noodles, mashed potatoes, and green beans. All from scratch.

 

Other projects included useful sewing like patches, buttons, and hems. Ironing. Comparison shopping (before there was unit pricing on shelves.) Consumer studies and product comparison. Very simple plumbing. Repairing wood furniture. Field trip to a mortuary, to learn the whole process. Banking and budgeting. Just anything she thought future adults should know.

 

She put us in groups and assigned a capstone project to each - my group redecorated a guidance counselors office in the school. Learned about, compared and shopped, ordered and installed new carpet, wallpaper, drapes, and furniture in a coordinated Dutch revival style.

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Honestly, I don't think we need to teach kids how to make a full meal in an hour.

 

I think we need to teach them the actual basics of cooking.  Knife skills.  How to steam vegetables.  The difference between beating and folding, simmering, boiling, and rolling boil.  Cooking eggs. 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, something we haven't discussed much, is how much of people's consumption comes from DRINKING their calories and sugar and junk.  Whether it's a milkshake masquarading as a "smoothie" or a McDs Coke, or a Starbucks Frappuccino, or alki or kool-aid or whatever.  The beverage industry is huge, and most of it is unhealthy. 

 

That would work. 

 

I suspect budget constraints (and lack of priorities) are a big part of why we don't.

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All of our ingredients were there. We had one prep day of learning about the recipe and the next day we got down to business fairly quickly. I can still whip up a tasty meal in an hr. Taco salads, chicken breasts, none of it takes that long. We didn’t have all the spices I use today but every cooking station (we worked in teams of two) was well-equipped.

 

Yes meals can be made in under an hour no problem.  That was not quite what I was gtting at. 

 

We just didn't have the funding to pull off "real". 

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Part of the problem with diet is the results of poor eating/lifestyle doesn't show up till 40ish/50ish.  Sure, people feel better with a better diet, more exercise, better sleep but life altering health effects aren't seen until the 50 year old is hospitalized for that non healing leg ulcer that turns out to be uncontrolled diabetes and a few months later winds up with an amputation. typically, most are able to control any health issues with a few pills until the heart attack, stroke, amputation occurs after 40, 50, 60 years of crappy diet.   Even then, the majority won't make changes.  Because at that point, they are defeated.    Try telling a 50 year old without a leg if only they would control their diet and eat better............It's too late. 

 

Most people just don't think about the effects until it is too late.  We have an idea of invincible I'll never be sick or die attitude until bamm, we are sick from stuff that could have been prevented with the right diet. 

 

I don't have any answers.   Getting people to make the connection between diet and health issues is hard.

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Not really the fault of suburban sprawl at all. It's because people are choosing to do other things than walk. You just said that people could walk, but they don't. That isn't the car's fault, is it? I walk, bike and ski around my neighbourhood. I stay active. My vehicle isn't tied to my body. 

 

Completely the fault of suburban sprawl.  People will walk their dogs around the neighborhood for a mile or two because it's good exercise for them and their dogs.  People won't walk the 15 miles to and from their jobs because that would take all day.  For some people in my city, it is 5 miles to the nearest grocery store.  That is much too far to walk for groceries.  And it is entirely because of poor city planning and car culture.

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I think we have higher standards of grooming and of taste in food now also.

 

It was easier to walk around and be socially acceptable when weekly baths were normal and everybody smelled a little.

It was easier to wear hats against the cold and wet and still walk places before hair was expected to be clean, shiny, and poofy all the time.

 

It was easier to get kids to eat iceberg lettuce with vinegar or sauerkraut before frozen fried zucchini was readily available.

 

People were not expected to look or smell as good, and food was not expected to taste as good.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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To be fair though, cooking at home is great, but lack of ability to do it isn't always the only factor.  Time and energy and desire are other factors.  My family gets homemade food because I'm home to make it.  I am also not overworked or lack the time and motivation.  If I worked full time, it would not be this way.  I can guarantee you that.  My husband DOES NOT COOK.  Ever. 

 

 

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Completely the fault of suburban sprawl.  People will walk their dogs around the neighborhood for a mile or two because it's good exercise for them and their dogs.  People won't walk the 15 miles to and from their jobs because that would take all day.  For some people in my city, it is 5 miles to the nearest grocery store.  That is much too far to walk for groceries.  And it is entirely because of poor city planning and car culture.

 

A lot of this comes out of zoning, and residential developments just stuck out in the middle of no-where.  

 

I find it hard to wrap my head around the idea that someone would think - gee, let's build a bunch of houses here.  We won't have any areas where people can shop or meet together or where they can start businesses.

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That would work. 

 

I suspect budget constraints (and lack of priorities) are a big part of why we don't.

 

I suspect that budgets might be a part of it, but a lack of priorities is probably bigger.

 

That and....even when I was in high school in the 90s...no one was electing to take the classes.  At some point, the class size is too small justify taking it.  I think there are a lot of reasons for class sizes to dwindle.  It's often not a highly regarded class.  And really, who wants to take a class where you learn how to make grilled peanut butter and jelly lol.  If you only have 10 kids signing up for the class, it's hard to justify continuing to offer it. 

 

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I suspect that budgets might be a part of it, but a lack of priorities is probably bigger.

 

That and....even when I was in high school in the 90s...no one was electing to take the classes.  At some point, the class size is too small justify taking it.  I think there are a lot of reasons for class sizes to dwindle.  It's often not a highly regarded class.  And really, who wants to take a class where you learn how to make grilled peanut butter and jelly lol.  If you only have 10 kids signing up for the class, it's hard to justify continuing to offer it. 

 

 

True.  I took sewing in high school, but it was a choice among art, music, shop, and some home ec options.  I liked to sew.  My classes were extremely small though.  This was really right on the edge of changes.  When I was a student they even still had a "home ec" focus for high school.  Probably shortly after I graduated they did away with it.

 

 

 

(well damn now I feel old...LOL) 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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For us, home ec and shop were required in middle school by our district, not the state. I’ve been searching for such an option at even one of the MS/HS in our STB states and nada.

Edited by Sneezyone
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To be fair though, cooking at home is great, but lack of ability to do it isn't always the only factor.  Time and energy and desire are other factors.  My family gets homemade food because I'm home to make it.  I am also not overworked or lack the time and motivation.  If I worked full time, it would not be this way.  I can guarantee you that.  My husband DOES NOT COOK.  Ever. 

 

Cooking homemade food doesn't HAVE to take a lot of time though.  There are LOTS of meals that can be made in 30 minutes.  I am looking at recipes right now in fact as I am going to be working on my menu.  I am looking at a pork chop recipe that lists a total prep/cook time of 25 minutes.  The asparagus with mushrooms side that is showing a total prep and cook time of 15 minutes.  And that's a cooked side.  Sides can be as simple as sliced cucumbers seasoned with a bit of salt.  A basic baking powder biscuit made as a drop biscuit can be done in 15 minutes, start to finish. 

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Now if I went to a dietician they'd tell me to eat the cereal (and add fruit) and just eat something an hour later to deal with the blood sugar issues.  They'd tell me to just keep eating...all day.  That's what they tell my sister.  She is on multiple diabetes medications and just had both hips replaced due to complications (she is not yet 40).  Same with my mother.  She followed this advice and suffered. 

 

I know two people who are currently seeing dieticians and it's not what either of them has been told. Not even remotely close.

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A lot of this comes out of zoning, and residential developments just stuck out in the middle of no-where.  

 

I find it hard to wrap my head around the idea that someone would think - gee, let's build a bunch of houses here.  We won't have any areas where people can shop or meet together or where they can start businesses.

 

 

Agreed!  The lack of thought that has gone into building and planning many American communities is really astonishing to me.

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I went to public middle school in the late 80s and both boys and girls were required to take home ec, shop, personal finance, and etiquette.  Over the three years of middle school, the time added up to one full year each of home ec and shop and a semester each of finance and etiquette.  Home ec did not cover anything fancy.  Lots of desserts and quick breads.  But we also learned how to follow a recipe, prepare eggs, basic knife skills, safety, sanitation, timing different aspects of cooking, etc....  We also learned basic sewing.  We learned meal planning and budgeting (as well as tax basics, balancing a checkbook, investment basics, etc....) in the finance class.  My mom worked full time and was not a stellar cook so the only cooking/sewing/shopping/budgeting instruction I got was from these classes.  These are the baselines from which I learned all of what I do now.  I think it was valuable, even for a kid that came from a solid middle class family.  I would rather see these classes in schools than force every kid into taking physics or pre-calc.  

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I know two people who are currently seeing dieticians and it's not what either of them has been told. Not even remotely close.

 

Good.  I'm glad to hear it.  I am just floored by what my sister claims she is told. 

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Yeah it's always funny to me when people say eat like how my grandmother ate.  My grandmother ate fast food and had baked goods always available.  You'd have to go back FURTHER to have that comment make sense.

 

But she is 90 and still alive.  So I can't exactly argue with her results. 

 

When we go out to breakfast with FIL, hubby and I are often the youngest ones in the fast food places (not counting employees).  We're 50 and 52.  I suspect the younger folks getting breakfast (like those who often bring it to school) do the drive thru.  Whenever we pass these places, the drive thrus are rarely empty and sometimes have long lines.

 

Creekland, as someone who works at a school and who is also interested in the Blue Zones, I think you might really like that podcast I mentioned upthread.  Dan Buettner mentioned in it that there are some things schools can do which don't cost them a dime, and yet which really do impact the obesity rate of their students.  Two examples that I remember were banning food and beverages from classrooms and hallways (so that the students are only eating at designated meal times rather than snacking and sipping sodas all day long) and putting the healthiest food choices like veggies first in the cafeteria line.  Little things that can actually make a real difference.  

 

Snacks and beverages were banned from the classrooms and hallways when I was a kid, so I didn't even realize how much of an issue this had become.  But I must admit the cafeteria veggies were not particularly appealing.  They were just reheated canned veggies.  Not the kind of thing that gets kids excited about eating healthier!  But probably the best they could do on their budget, so I'm not blaming them at all.  What are the food rules and cafeteria foods like at your school?

 

I should be able to watch it at school next week.  For now, we're just in our "southern office" at a campground overlooking big water as I type while hubby works (on our data place for the internet).   :coolgleamA:

 

Our school?  Teachers have the final word on what they allow or don't in their classrooms.  Very few limit snacks or eating/drinking.  A few provide snacks - helping those who are hungry (poverty) not have to go without food and not limiting the snacks to those known to be in poverty so there's no stigma.  Anyone want pretzels?  Help yourself.  I would never limit eating in my classroom.  School lunches are not enough to fill teen stomachs.  I prefer they get enough to eat.  My preference overall is always to educate rather than "demand."

 

Veggies in our cafeteria?  Um, I've always brought my own lunch, so I only see what's there when I get lunch duty (which happens, but not daily).  I wouldn't eat their veggies.  I hate canned veggies and these look like that.  Our school does rotate between a salad bar, pasta bar, and taco bar as an option.  That usually looks good, but I still bring my own lunch rather than taking time to buy one at school.  Lunch is just 25 minutes.  There's a hot (main) option, a cold (sandwich) option, an a la carte options or whatever bar is open on that given week.  That give FAR more choices than in the 70s and 80s when I went to school.

 

 

 

I suspect that budgets might be a part of it, but a lack of priorities is probably bigger.

 

That and....even when I was in high school in the 90s...no one was electing to take the classes.  At some point, the class size is too small justify taking it.  I think there are a lot of reasons for class sizes to dwindle.  It's often not a highly regarded class.  And really, who wants to take a class where you learn how to make grilled peanut butter and jelly lol.  If you only have 10 kids signing up for the class, it's hard to justify continuing to offer it. 

 

Interesting.  Our Home Ec classes (and shop) are often full at our school.  Sewing and cooking are classes many want.  As I'm reading this thread I suspect a good part of it is because they do real things.  They make real clothes the kids expect to wear afterward.  They cook real foods many will later make at home.  They make furniture (two pieces of which are in our house from when my ps lad took Wood Shop I and II).  Sometimes the kids in shop classes sell the furniture they made when they are done. 

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Oh yeah the veg we were served were absolutely terrible.  I don't know any adult who would eat it.  One "famous" veg they served every single week on Friday was iceberg lettuce doused in vinegar and salt.  Absolute garbage gross and I wouldn't feed that to someone I hate.

 

Oh gosh, I remembered a very similar salad in school. The "dressing" was a brown fluid, and I don't think it was balsamic. I have ranch dressing to thank for my current love of salads. As a kid, having salad with ranch on it was like a revelation...wait, salad can taste good? Fortunately my tastes have evolved since then, and I even enjoy salads with vinaigrette on them. 

 

It seemed like adults in general (or in my life at least) didn't know what to do with veggies when I was a kid. Everything was canned or boiled excessively. I am so grateful to frozen vegetables as an adult. Who knew peas are supposed to be bright green and have some texture? 

 

I do think schools have upped their game with regard to fruits and vegetables. I think main dishes do tend to be processed/fried crap more often than not, but fresh fruits and vegetables are served along with that, so it's a step in the right direction. 

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For us, home ec and shop were required in middle school by our district, not the state. I’ve been searching for such an option at even one of the MS/HS in our STB states and nada.

 

I think this may be related to the watering down of trades training in many places.

 

The other thing I've heard about here is the costs for things like ventilation systems in shops have really gone through the roof.  The wood shop at my old hs was shut down until they could get one.  Sometimes they seem to just get rid of them rather than spend the money.

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I haven't read all of the replies, but one thing we can do is to stop making all the sugary, junky foods cheaper.  Yes, people should drink water, but if they're choosing between milk (which is or is not healthy, depending on who you ask) and soda or cheap juice-drink, the soda and cheap juice-drink are cheaper than the milk.  And you know your kids will drink the soda/juice-drink, plus they also don't need refrigeration, at least not at first, so it's very convenient.  Sugary treats are pretty cheap too and can be a little something that keep families without a lot of disposable cash from feeling completely deprived.

 

Look at produce.  Apples are more expensive than cheap chips, and a bag of chips that doesn't get eaten keeps better than a half eaten apple.  Iceberg lettuce is cheaper than romaine.  And so on.

 

We need a whole overhaul of so many things.  And it would help if everyone couldn't find a study or guru to say that every different dietary approach was the right one.  We don't agree on what is healthy.

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I haven't read all of the replies, but one thing we can do is to stop making all the sugary, junky foods cheaper.  Yes, people should drink water, but if they're choosing between milk (which is or is not healthy, depending on who you ask) and soda or cheap juice-drink, the soda and cheap juice-drink are cheaper than the milk.  And you know your kids will drink the soda/juice-drink, plus they also don't need refrigeration, at least not at first, so it's very convenient.  Sugary treats are pretty cheap too and can be a little something that keep families without a lot of disposable cash from feeling completely deprived.

 

Look at produce.  Apples are more expensive than cheap chips, and a bag of chips that doesn't get eaten keeps better than a half eaten apple.  Iceberg lettuce is cheaper than romaine.  And so on.

 

We need a whole overhaul of so many things.  And it would help if everyone couldn't find a study or guru to say that every different dietary approach was the right one.  We don't agree on what is healthy.

 

Yeah a common argument is that healthy stuff is not more expensive.  HOWEVER, it goes bad quickly and is often wasted.  Every week I throw out some sort or produce no matter how careful I am.  I have never thrown out chips or crackers that went bad.  LOL 

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Including my FIL who always treats us to McD's, Wendy's, Hardees, or Cracker Barrel when we visit?  And with the first three, knows all the regulars who work and eat there?  He's 89, soon to be 90 and grew up with none of it.  There's rarely a day he misses and he can compare his favorites to Burger King, Chick Fil A, Popeyes, and more - even knowing who's 10 cents cheaper than than a similar place.

 

That's a good point.  Your fil, as you've written before, is exercising his free choice.  He can do as he wants.  Eat like he grew up, or join the junk food nation.  Pretty easy to see who chose what path in his age group....or smell.  I figured out who was lying to me by that unique smell that comes when they aren't treating their diabetes...and then there's the times visitors aren't welcome, because they've had heart surgery. Role models, yep.  Bad and good. 

 

Where I live, we have Manhattan pricing for fast food, so its not a huge issue.  Its the dollar menu at one, the soda,  the yogurt, and the convenience foods.

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Our school?  Teachers have the final word on what they allow or don't in their classrooms.  Very few limit snacks or eating/drinking.  A few provide snacks - helping those who are hungry (poverty) not have to go without food and not limiting the snacks to those known to be in poverty so there's no stigma.  Anyone want pretzels?  Help yourself.  I would never limit eating in my classroom.  School lunches are not enough to fill teen stomachs.  I prefer they get enough to eat.  My preference overall is always to educate rather than "demand."

 

 

 

Yes, I did wonder about districts which have kids that aren't getting enough food at home.  That would definitely change the needs.  (And that is probably a great many districts!)  

 

But I (middle class and never went hungry) never felt deprived by not being able to eat outside of lunch time at school.  I was hungry by lunch time, but other than that, I really didn't think about food while I was at school.  It does seem to me that our culture has gotten a lot more "snacky" now than when I was a kid.  Some people seem to think that kids can't survive two hours without food (not saying you think that! just musing here).  I grew up on "three squares a day" and a small snack before bed since my family ate dinner quite early.  But we didn't snack during the day, whether at school (because it wasn't available or allowed) or at home (because mom believed "it will ruin your dinner!").

 

Oh, wait, I do remember my half-day kindergarten class had snack time!  We left school for the day before lunch was served, but the moms all took turns providing a mid-morning snack.  First grade and beyond, though, lunch was the only time we ate.

 

 

 

Veggies in our cafeteria?  Um, I've always brought my own lunch, so I only see what's there when I get lunch duty (which happens, but not daily).  I wouldn't eat their veggies.  I hate canned veggies and these look like that.  Our school does rotate between a salad bar, pasta bar, and taco bar as an option.  That usually looks good, but I still bring my own lunch rather than taking time to buy one at school.  Lunch is just 25 minutes.  There's a hot (main) option, a cold (sandwich) option, an a la carte options or whatever bar is open on that given week.  That give FAR more choices than in the 70s and 80s when I went to school.

 

Yeah, that's a lot more choices than we had, too!

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This is the second post where you've seemed to imply that your WOE is right and others are wrong. Which kind of goes to the point I was making in my first post.

 

You do realize that many, many people (including me) thrive by making whole grains--things like pasta, bread and rice--staples of their diet? That untold generations of people all across the world have not only survived but thrived on diets based on those foods?

 

I repeat (or re-state): Demonizing foods and food groups is nothing but a backhanded way of trying to laud or legitimize your (generic) own way of eating. And I think to a certain extent it's wishful thinking ("I've got it figured out, so if I eat this way that I have decided is the right way I won't get sick or die"). It's detrimental to the greater goal of getting people to take steps toward improving their overall diet.

This.
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Boo-frickin'-hoo. People who are stressed from long-term unemployment don't want to have to tell their children that yes, we're having rice and beans or veggie omelettes or soup that's a teeny bit of canned chicken and a whole lot of filler or [insert cheap but unprocessed meal here] for the umpteenth day in a row. BTDT.

 

It's called being responsible.

 

 

Your empathy and compassion are an example to us all.

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This.

Unfair. Katilac has explained herself from multiple angles - she was discussing a specific change to recommendations that everyone, everyone, everyone agrees was a mistake; she has not been on her current regimen long enough to have become an apostle; and she isn't telling anyone to eliminate food groups, or indeed, to consume or not consume anything. She's not the devil trying to interfere with people who need to improve their own diet.

 

I'm just going to plan to cut and paste this, for anyone else who wants to dogpile on that personal attack.

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Unfair. Katilac has explained herself from multiple angles - she was discussing a specific change to recommendations that everyone, everyone, everyone agrees was a mistake; she has not been on her current regimen long enough to have become an apostle; and she isn't telling anyone to eliminate food groups, or indeed, to consume or not consume anything. She's not the devil trying to interfere with people who need to improve their own diet.

 

I'm just going to plan to cut and paste this, for anyone else who wants to dogpile on that personal attack.

 

Yep.  This further complicates things.  That we all can't be on the same page.  But really...we can't.  My family members chose or choose to listen to the professionals and they suffer.  I chose not to.  I'm the one who gets the eye rolls and "so you think you are the expert".  Yet, it works for me!  I'm not on 4 diabetes medications!!  I'm not the expert and won't claim to be, but I can tell you that what they have told my family DOES NOT WORK and it is based on current guidelines.

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Unfair. Katilac has explained herself from multiple angles  

 

Thanks. I'm trying not to react defensively, but it does amuse me that the takeaway some people have is that I promote one way of eating above all others, when in fact what I was calling out was one way of eating set above all others, that ended in disaster, lol. 

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Unfair. Katilac has explained herself from multiple angles - she was discussing a specific change to recommendations that everyone, everyone, everyone agrees was a mistake; she has not been on her current regimen long enough to have become an apostle; and she isn't telling anyone to eliminate food groups, or indeed, to consume or not consume anything. She's not the devil trying to interfere with people who need to improve their own diet.

 

I'm just going to plan to cut and paste this, for anyone else who wants to dogpile on that personal attack.

 

It wasn't a personal attack. I'm sorry if my wording was such that you (or the person I was responding to) perceived it as such. I was using it as a jumping off point and thought I was making that clear when I included the "you (generic)" wording. Or I assume that's the post you mean. This thread was moving so fast for awhile and I was in and out of it and probably missed some posts.

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Thanks. I'm trying not to react defensively, but it does amuse me that the takeaway some people have is that I promote one way of eating above all others, when in fact what I was calling out was one way of eating set above all others, that ended in disaster, lol. 

 

See above post.

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Yeah a common argument is that healthy stuff is not more expensive.  HOWEVER, it goes bad quickly and is often wasted.  Every week I throw out some sort or produce no matter how careful I am.  I have never thrown out chips or crackers that went bad.  LOL 

Yes indeed.  I've just made peace with occasionally throwing out produce.  If we buy it and have it on hand, there's a chance we will eat it.  If I don't even buy it, there's no chance we will eat it.  I'd rather take the chance and waste a little money sometimes.  

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I think it is hard in general.

America is a diverse country -- racially, economically, and culturally. The diversity is wonderful, but with it does come a certain amount of, well, diversity that other (less diverse) countries do not have to consider when they holler, "We make it work! You can, too!" and that will always mean, no, we can't agree across the board about anything, really. 

 

Culture absolutely does impact diet and I think people really do not give it the credit due for the obesity epidemic. I see a lot of people claiming that it is almost entirely an economic situation that causes someone to eat poorly. And I would disagree wholeheartedly. We are upper middle class, in a low cost of living area, and have access to quality food. But my husband was raised by immigrants, in an area full of immigrants (from the same country), and it's a culture that has a heavy, heavy food influence. His entire life was occasion for "special meals." Sure, they liked their vegetables, too, but the amount of empty carbs taken in daily is insane and can't be combated a few "good for you" foods on the side. And if you were to suggest to any of his family or culturally-similar friends that their diet could use some tweaking, you will be looked at like you personally kicked St. Francis while he was holding a puppy. Even if the majority of them are overweight and suffering medical complications from that obesity.

Getting my husband to realize it took a long, long time. And if we lived close to his family and childhood friends (12 hours away), I doubt his habits would have changed at all. 

 

 

And the naysayers about healthy school lunches are right, unfortunately. We're expecting minimally trained cafeteria workers to turn healthy ingredients into appetizing food and the children (who may not have been otherwise exposed) to just take to it? They tried it when DD16 was in public elementary school for a year. The food was so unappetizing that even the teachers ended up bringing their own food. And the children typically threw their trays out or brought food from home. They scrapped the program because, frankly, at least before they didn't have children going to their afternoon classes hungry (and therefore fatigued and unable to concentrate). 

And even if they turned the tables there and invested in the cafeteria workers, and the food was appealing and eaten, it's one meal a day, five days out of the week -- all other meals and snacks come from home. 

If my husband were to change only his lunch habits when he is at work, and not his general (overall) eating habits, it wouldn't touch the potential problems. 

 

And then we have, as you mentioned, a problem with people not having time or, frankly, the desire to cook from scratch. I fall into the "no desire" category. I do it, because it needs to be done, but I stay at home. I hate cooking in general, though. It's going to be almost impossible to catch the "have no desire" crowd and teach them to cook healthfully. You can't teach me to enjoy cooking; some people do, some do not. And the "don't have time" crowd? We can't add more hours to their day and we have to be honest -- it's more time consuming to cook appetizing healthy meals from scratch, than it is to run through a drive-thru for a few burgers at the end of a work day. 

 

Lastly, I think it's important to note that a general "good for you" diet proposed, to everyone across the board, is a bad idea. Different people have different dietary needs (genetics, amount of energy exerted daily, etc.) and there is no one way to eat healthy for every single person. Ask me how I know :p Four of the five people in this house have sincerely different dietary needs. 

 

 

Greta mentioned on the McDougall thread about how many people die due to diet. Coincidentally, I overheard two different convos discussing the same thing yesterday. Being the time of year when people generally think about health I thought it might make good food for thought, ha!

 

I'm very wary of food evangelism but very much agree that our collective diets are in need of overhaul, what we are doing is obviously not working, we are continuing to get fatter and more unhealthy by the year. 

 

Do you think we will figure this out or just continue on track until those at a "normal" weight are the outliers? I just keep thinking of the movie Wall-E, are we headed there and are we going to stop?

 

Do you think there is anything we can do to make Americans healthier?

 

Can we put aside our differences and agree on anything?

 

I love the idea of revamping school lunch programs but I see critics respond that food just ends up being thrown away and both sides of the extremes argue that whatever they do isn't healthy anyway, the vegs want no meat and the lc/keto people argue it is too many carbs.

 

I love the idea of WIC like program for everyone with kids under 5 giving out whole foods, fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, and dairy. But if people don't have time to cook will it help anything? 

 

I'm not personally opposed to a soda tax, I think sodas and sweetened drinks are one of the absolute worst foods in terms of our obesity epidemic. Of course, people argue that they should have free will to eat whatever they want (didn't we have the same argument about cigarettes?).

 

Edited by AimeeM
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One thing I think Food network and eating out and etc has done to our diets is that we expect so much more out of food than we used to. I speak about my grandparents and particularly what my father remembers eating, from the farm, when he was a child. They killed a hog each year. They had chicken when they killed a chicken. Red meat was extremely rare. They grew corn and wheat. They had a garden and canned everything in sight. So their diet was pretty simple: some pork, but definitely no fancy pork chops, chicken Breasts, or steaks except on special occasions. Green beans, corn, sweet potatoes. No sodas. There were usually desserts in the house, but this is a piece of cake after dinner sort of thing after working all day. Lots of vegetable soup. Most cooked on a wood stove. No pasta. Of course we can't go back to that. But, re cooking, if I needed to make simple and cheap meals, I would eat dried beans and cornbread one night, vegetable beef soup, maybe a taco soup, chicken legs and vegetables, spaghetti, lasagna, and something else along those lines. All simple and easy to make ahead of time. I think people look at food network and magazines and Pinterest and think that cooking needs to be something fancy.

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Boo-frickin'-hoo. People who are stressed from long-term unemployment don't want to have to tell their children that yes, we're having rice and beans or veggie omelettes or soup that's a teeny bit of canned chicken and a whole lot of filler or [insert cheap but unprocessed meal here] for the umpteenth day in a row. BTDT.

 

It's called being responsible.

 

 

Sure. But you had faith it was temporary. There's a big difference between that mindset and the mindset of generational poverty. 

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Completely the fault of suburban sprawl.  People will walk their dogs around the neighborhood for a mile or two because it's good exercise for them and their dogs.  People won't walk the 15 miles to and from their jobs because that would take all day.  For some people in my city, it is 5 miles to the nearest grocery store.  That is much too far to walk for groceries.  And it is entirely because of poor city planning and car culture.

 

People take buses 15+ miles to work and school everyday. I'd rather live in the suburbs because in my city there is statistically less crime out in the suburbs. Those "walkable" streets in the city core aren't walkable unless you like getting stabbed, shot, robbed or harassed. Daytime is fine, but it's dark by 4pm in the winters here. And for some reason the stabbings and shootings still continue in the winter.    

Edited by wintermom
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