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WDYT- Diet and health in America

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I often choose to spend longer (lentils, beans, etc), but a basic supper is often 45 minutes or so

- switch on oven and boil water. While oven heats, slice and season veggies to roast

- put in veggies to roast for half an hour. If required, find pasta, bulgar wheat, couscous or quinoa and use the boiling water to get that going in a pan.

- season/marinade fish or meat or tofu. Chop veggies for steaming and put in separate pan.

- when roast veg is ready, steam second veg and saute fish or meat. Drain, season and oil steamed veg and starch component.

I clean up as I go, but there will be a bit to do after supper.

Edited by Laura Corin
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I don't make complicated things very often.  The vast majority of dinners are three parts: fish/venison, starch, vegetable

fish/venison: put fish on pan, drizzle salt and olive oil, put pan in oven.  Or put fish in pot with a cup of water, drizzle salt and olive oil, cook on stove.  Both of these methods take about 2 minutes - I buy the fish preportioned/fileted, so there's not any work in that except opening the package.  Venison is the same except I saute it, not roast or steam, and I do add garlic, which adds another minute.

Starch: I either boil noodles, cook rice in a pot on the stove, or rarely make cornbread.  Cornbread takes maybe 5-7 minutes to prepare, everything else takes 2 minutes or less.

Vegetable: I steam most vegetables, roast some, all done the same way as the fish.  salt, oil, steam, done.  

half the time we have beans instead of fish or venison, and in this case we just boil the beans in a pot with salt.  It takes time to cook but almost no time to prepare.

 

If I want something fancy I buy jarred tomato sauce or a package of curry and mix with a can of coconut milk or something else prepared like that.  On rare occasion, maybe once every two weeks, I make something complicated - osso buco or meat pie or fried fish or something like that.  Those types of meals do take a while.

I go in spates with salad, sometimes nightly and then sometimes not at all for a couple of weeks.  Salad here is just olive oil, vinegar, salt, green onions, maybe canned artichoke hearts, and lettuce.  It is never fancy.

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My personal experience is that I can manage “good foods” just fine... for a period. I can make room in the budget, I’m a decent cook and, more often than not, I have or can make the time.  Then, after a period of a few days, a few weeks, even a few months here and there, I WANT THE JUNK! And I want all of it.

I don’t like what it does to my insides or my outsides. I’m fully conscious of when I’m going beyond “moderation”. I’m well aware that it will take me twice as long to feel normal/good/healthy/whatever again.  But it’s yummy and it’s generally easy and it’s frequently cheap.  I want it, so I have it.  All of it.

I’ll admit that I do sometimes use “bad” in my narrative, but I see it as less of a morality thing and more about the physical ramifications.  My body will feel bad. It will not function as well. I will have damage to repair over time. (I’m not referring to having a celebratory slice of cake or an occasional drive thru, but an extended period of high calorie/low nutrient choices.)

The hard science of food may not be 100% exact, but the basics are relatively solid.  It’s the social science of food that does a number on me, personally. It can definitely take everything I know and feel and toss it right out the window with very little convincing!

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7 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

I have to ask...dh is in project management and I have heard the term "critical path" before. Do you take all the tools you anticipate you will need out, use them and have multiple pots sitting around while juggling different tasks completely focused while I (probably more like your dh) seem to be more mindful of cleaning up in between and stop to think how I can minimize the mess, eh dishes to clean?  🙂

Pretty much!

Critical path is more that there are things that have to happen in sequence in order to finish.  Those get priority over things that happen in parallel.  Plus there are things that must happen right before you completely finish, and you make sure that those are completely staged so that they can happen very quickly.  So you finish in the fastest possible way.

So, say I’m making a simple dinner—lean beef burgers on sesame wheat buns with red onion, a green salad, and watermelon chunks.

Cutting up the watermelon can happen anytime.  Toasting the buns and actually tossing the salad should happen right before serving.  Making the salad dressing has to happen before mixing the salad.  Mixing up the burger meat, though, has to happen before cooking the burgers.  And cooking the burgers takes 15 minutes or so.  So if I’m thinking critical path, I quickly get out everything I want to mix into the burger meat, and mix it up, shape the patties, and put them in the pan to sauté.  THEN while they are cooking I stage the buns in the toaster, tear up the lettuce and put it in the salad spinner to dry it, and mix up the salad dressing.   Etc.  Whereas my husband might start by setting the table, and then start cutting up the watermelon, and then get around to mixing up the burgers.  He’s doing fewer things in parallel, and he is spending some downtime waiting for the burgers to cook.  

I never worry about minimizing the dishes to clean anymore.  We have a dishwasher, and I used whatever I need.  But I do put things away as I have a little free time while other things are proceeding, and usually end up with a pretty contained mess—a set of dishes to wash but no food out.

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PS I should add—I don’t spend a lot of time teeing this up.  If I did, I would waste all the time that I saved.  I do this with cooking that I am already familiar with, that I know I have all the ingredients for.  If I’m trying a new recipe or planning a shopping trip, I’m not especially efficient.  Also, in general, mise en place is my go to attitude whether I’m trying for efficiency or not.

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53 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Pretty much!

Critical path is more that there are things that have to happen in sequence in order to finish.  Those get priority over things that happen in parallel.  Plus there are things that must happen right before you completely finish, and you make sure that those are completely staged so that they can happen very quickly.  So you finish in the fastest possible way.

So, say I’m making a simple dinner—lean beef burgers on sesame wheat buns with red onion, a green salad, and watermelon chunks.

Cutting up the watermelon can happen anytime.  Toasting the buns and actually tossing the salad should happen right before serving.  Making the salad dressing has to happen before mixing the salad.  Mixing up the burger meat, though, has to happen before cooking the burgers.  And cooking the burgers takes 15 minutes or so.  So if I’m thinking critical path, I quickly get out everything I want to mix into the burger meat, and mix it up, shape the patties, and put them in the pan to sauté.  THEN while they are cooking I stage the buns in the toaster, tear up the lettuce and put it in the salad spinner to dry it, and mix up the salad dressing.   Etc.  Whereas my husband might start by setting the table, and then start cutting up the watermelon, and then get around to mixing up the burgers.  He’s doing fewer things in parallel, and he is spending some downtime waiting for the burgers to cook.  

I never worry about minimizing the dishes to clean anymore.  We have a dishwasher, and I used whatever I need.  But I do put things away as I have a little free time while other things are proceeding, and usually end up with a pretty contained mess—a set of dishes to wash but no food out.

 

This is an excellent example. I think most of the time I do this by visualizing the sequence as well and hope I have no interruptions like phone calls, etc. Even though we have a dishwasher, I am still very much in the mode of cleaning up in between and thinking how to minimize dishes or pots, even cleaning a pot and reusing it which dh would never think of. I have to say though his meals get on the table hot and delicious. 

Where I seem to plan better is in the area of soaking things ahead of time like grains, feeding the sourdough early in the day so I can shape a loaf later, etc. 

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50 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Pretty much!

Critical path is more that there are things that have to happen in sequence in order to finish.  Those get priority over things that happen in parallel.  Plus there are things that must happen right before you completely finish, and you make sure that those are completely staged so that they can happen very quickly.  So you finish in the fastest possible way.

So, say I’m making a simple dinner—lean beef burgers on sesame wheat buns with red onion, a green salad, and watermelon chunks.

Cutting up the watermelon can happen anytime.  Toasting the buns and actually tossing the salad should happen right before serving.  Making the salad dressing has to happen before mixing the salad.  Mixing up the burger meat, though, has to happen before cooking the burgers.  And cooking the burgers takes 15 minutes or so.  So if I’m thinking critical path, I quickly get out everything I want to mix into the burger meat, and mix it up, shape the patties, and put them in the pan to sauté.  THEN while they are cooking I stage the buns in the toaster, tear up the lettuce and put it in the salad spinner to dry it, and mix up the salad dressing.   Etc.  Whereas my husband might start by setting the table, and then start cutting up the watermelon, and then get around to mixing up the burgers.  He’s doing fewer things in parallel, and he is spending some downtime waiting for the burgers to cook.  

I never worry about minimizing the dishes to clean anymore.  We have a dishwasher, and I used whatever I need.  But I do put things away as I have a little free time while other things are proceeding, and usually end up with a pretty contained mess—a set of dishes to wash but no food out.

If that's what it means then I definitely do this!  DH does not so when he cooks even a simple pasta sauce it takes hours, lol.

Seriously, you know how some people might be able to run in a marathon but no amount of training will let them win because they just lack the speed gene?  I just move slowly generally: when I was in the best shape of my life and danced ballroom I could not do very fast swing dances period.  Combine with no dishwasher (so really need to focus on clean as I go), cooking for a crowd each and every time (my kids eat a lot, even though all are skinny as rails, I have to make all my recipes for at least 8-10 servings if DH is to have enough for lunch the next day to take to work) and not being able to rely on convenience items for financial reasons (I rarely buy chicken breasts, for example, I get the whole chicken and cut it up myself) it just adds up to a lot of time spent in the kitchen.  Again, well worth it, but that's the reality: not correctable lame excuses.

As Pawz4Me said, that sort of thing needs to be taken into account when encouraging others to move towards healthier eating: why set someone up for failure when it is so easy to present realistic requirements from the beginning?  Many older people I know are used to opening up a can of this or that and dumping it together with some instant seasoned rice and pre-cut meat and sticking it in the oven.  All this can be gotten very cheaply if shopping store brand/loss leaders/clearance/double coupons and not worrying about the quality of the meat.  There's no way that telling them that it is just as easy/quick/convenient/cheap to cook healthy is being honest.  Or to take your burger example: preformed frozen who knows what sort of meat is in there patties are way cheaper than fresh ground beef and it takes more time to prepare.  Extra expense for the whole wheat bun vs. white (extra time if you bake them yourself).  Extra time and expense of pre-sliced American cheese packets vs. good quality that needs sliced.  Tearing up lettuce is more time than popping open a bag of chips and more expensive too when you take into account condiments (even good quality oil and vinegar is expensive, let alone semi-healthy salad dressings that beginners will want to get to make their salad more palatable).  Someone used to spending 15-30 minutes throwing some frozen patties on the grill and setting the table will end up spending more time to prepare a healthier version of this meal: even if they get more efficient with practice.  And none of this takes into account trying to change people's tastes (people mentioned fish, in my neck of the woods the only type of fish people eat is the deep fried fast food kind).  Let's be honest, transforming eating habits requires some serious motivation and committment: easy as (made from scratch with no food-processor) pie 🙂

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32 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Where I seem to plan better is in the area of soaking things ahead of time like grains, feeding the sourdough early in the day so I can shape a loaf later, etc. 

Yes, preparing foods in a more traditional manner adds even more time/effort into the process.  I completely drop traditional prep techniques when I'm pregnant/have a nurse around the clock infant.  Just can't do it.  Unsoaked brown rice is way better than rice-a-roni.

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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Pretty much!

Critical path is more that there are things that have to happen in sequence in order to finish.  Those get priority over things that happen in parallel.  Plus there are things that must happen right before you completely finish, and you make sure that those are completely staged so that they can happen very quickly.  So you finish in the fastest possible way.

So, say I’m making a simple dinner—lean beef burgers on sesame wheat buns with red onion, a green salad, and watermelon chunks.

Cutting up the watermelon can happen anytime.  Toasting the buns and actually tossing the salad should happen right before serving.  Making the salad dressing has to happen before mixing the salad.  Mixing up the burger meat, though, has to happen before cooking the burgers.  And cooking the burgers takes 15 minutes or so.  So if I’m thinking critical path, I quickly get out everything I want to mix into the burger meat, and mix it up, shape the patties, and put them in the pan to sauté.  THEN while they are cooking I stage the buns in the toaster, tear up the lettuce and put it in the salad spinner to dry it, and mix up the salad dressing.   Etc.  Whereas my husband might start by setting the table, and then start cutting up the watermelon, and then get around to mixing up the burgers.  He’s doing fewer things in parallel, and he is spending some downtime waiting for the burgers to cook.  

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.

Edited by Laura Corin
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33 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.

Me either. I"m lucky that stuff like that is intuitive and as easy as breathing for me. I know it isn't for some people. DH struggles with it. He'll pick something up, then decide to move it, get another thing out, decide the first thing needs to be moved again, open the fridge and get out one thing, turn around and then remember he needs to get something else from the fridge, etc. It takes him ten (or more) movements to do what I do effortlessly in two. And on anything I've done at least once I can easily "see" the best order to do it in the next time. If I had known all those many years ago that there was such a thing as an efficiency expert or productivity consultant I might have found my calling.

I still stand by my belief, though, that we do women a disservice when we insist it's easy to get a healthy meal on the table over and over and over. It's not. 

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3 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

 

I still stand by my belief, though, that we do women a disservice when we insist it's easy to get a healthy meal on the table over and over and over. It's not. 

I agree.  Among the things that make it much easier for me to cook from scratch than many people:

- transport and not worrying about the cost of going to the shop

- adequate space to store food, a work surface, decent utensils, a good hob, and an oven that I can afford to heat just to roast some veg

- enough space in my head to think about these things rather than poverty, eviction, bankruptcy due to medical bills, dire mental or physical family illness, abuse, more children than I can manage, three jobs, etc.

- a mother who cooked frugally from scratch every night

If someone asks me about improving their diet, I usually just focus on veg.  After all, if half the plate is veg, then the junk will be displaced.  And I stress that frozen veg is just fine.  If I'm not asked, I don't say a word.

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6 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.

Me too mostly.  I struggle some especially if I am tired.  

Dss18 just finished a vo tech course on culinary arts.  And he likes to cook, and knows things I don’t like how to cut meat, different ways of cooking things,  and he chops fast.  But putting a meal together is a whole ‘nother  story.  I realized it is a learned skill....and who knows maybe he won’t ever get it.  

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10 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.

See, yeah, me too, that is why I went into program management.  It’s just so natural to me that I don’t really have to think about it.  It was several years before I realized that that’s actually pretty uncommon, even in the tech world I was working in at the time.  It applies to a lot of things.

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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

See, yeah, me too, that is why I went into program management.  It’s just so natural to me that I don’t really have to think about it.  It was several years before I realized that that’s actually pretty uncommon, even in the tech world I was working in at the time.  It applies to a lot of things.

It explains a lot about office behaviour if that's not natural to some people.

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26 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

It explains a lot about office behaviour if that's not natural to some people.

 

I wonder if people do this naturally in their field but not necessarily when confronted with unusual assignments, i.e., someone who seldom cooks may not figure out the most effective way to do something but knows how to sequence events in their field of expertise.

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On 6/9/2019 at 4:07 PM, Seasider too said:

I think we will continue to fail as a nation until we revolt against the “kid food” culture of chicken nuggets and french fries which grows into a teen diet of pizza, burgers and donuts, setting a trajectory for failure as adults. 

Sadly, it is in youth activities where I see this so frequently - school (Private) has a daily pizza option. Church youth group has donuts, ice cream and pizza all the time. It’s hard to fight against, hard to be the one teen abstaining without standing out. 

And yes, healthy food in America is widely accessible, but not necessarily for those on a restricted income. Fresh produce isn’t inexpensive, and much clean lean protein comes at a premium cost. 

I don’t have a solution, but I feel the pain. The only way we’ve been able to do this is by getting most of our kids out of the house and on their own, so I have capacity in both my time and dollar budgets to focus on meal planning and prep. 

I agree. For real change to occur, children need to be taught healthy eating habits. Children need to be offered healthy foods in order to develop a taste for them rather than fried foods and sugar. 

While visiting nursery schools in the slums of Bangkok, I was amazed at the lunches the children were offered...seasoned rice or noodles served with steamed vegetables and some sort of protein and a piece of fruit. The food was delicious, freshly prepared, and whole/not processed. I wondered how these schools in poverty stricken areas were able to get children's lunches so right while American schools with much more resources do it so wrong. 

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17 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.


It was not normal to me.  Dh helped a lot, and meal kits helped, too.  Each step is laid out clearly, and while it didn't feel like the most efficient way at first (why am I chopping these veggies first that I won't need until the end?) it did end up being a better way.

I think oldest ds got it even worse than I had.  Our kitchen is set up so that you can stand on one side of the dishwasher and empty bowls, plates, cookware, and utensils.  Move to the left side - put away the glasses then start filling the dishwasher from your position right there at the sink. When the sink is empty the cloths are right there in a drawer so you can wipe down the counters.  Simple, easy, done, and starts from one end of the kitchen, moves to the other, and then back up.  It takes ds several times longer to do the same job because he either starts from the left or moves back and forth, depending what what his hand finds next.  No amount of telling him it's faster one way actually helps.

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5 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

I wonder if people do this naturally in their field but not necessarily when confronted with unusual assignments, i.e., someone who seldom cooks may not figure out the most effective way to do something but knows how to sequence events in their field of expertise.

Dh applies just about zero skills from his job to home life. It drives me completely bananas, and I don’t really understand it. Brains are weird!

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2 hours ago, Donna said:

I agree. For real change to occur, children need to be taught healthy eating habits. Children need to be offered healthy foods in order to develop a taste for them rather than fried foods and sugar. 

While visiting nursery schools in the slums of Bangkok, I was amazed at the lunches the children were offered...seasoned rice or noodles served with steamed vegetables and some sort of protein and a piece of fruit. The food was delicious, freshly prepared, and whole/not processed. I wondered how these schools in poverty stricken areas were able to get children's lunches so right while American schools with much more resources do it so wrong. 

The lunches when I taught at a (public) high school in France were amazing.  Starter, main, fruit, wine for the staff...  I remember dishes like lamb cutlets on a bed of lentils with a green veg.

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1 hour ago, Laura Corin said:

The lunches when I taught at a (public) high school in France were amazing.  Starter, main, fruit, wine for the staff...  I remember dishes like lamb cutlets on a bed of lentils with a green veg.

The book French Kids Eat Everything is a great at explaining how the French train their children to eat well and has examples of school menus.  It was an eye opener for me.  Of course, on this side of the pond, insisting that your three year old eat a bite of something new just to try it is the equivalent of tying him to a chair and beating him.

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I used to watch Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals show.  I think I even bought the cookbook.  It helped me a lot.  

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On ‎6‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 8:08 AM, soror said:

After letting myself get a little jaded with the false promises of AIP for my thyroid disease I'm trying to find balance again in healthy eating. I am trying to focus on whole foods now and hitting somewhere between eating well but not letting it be my whole life. I'm annoyed at how complicated food is in America. I'm annoyed at the diet wars trying to vie for their place in the spotlight and even more annoyed with the faction that says it just doesn't matter. 

Is there any way to turn around eating in America? I  worry with the obesity rates other health problems keep growing, I worry about the world my children will be raising their children in. I worry that we are normalizing things that aren't normal (like my husband being told his recently diagnosed fatty liver is NBD). I'm p*ssed that we mock people trying to better food choices like it is some kind of joke.

 

For myself, I know that I grab unhealthy fast food when I am tired, rushed, or both.  I think our fast-paced lifestyle contributes to grabbing unhealthy food for many reasons, and to fix this, we will need to dial back our lives and slow down.  I think dialing back our lives, slowing down, spending real time with our families, making time for leisure, etc...would actually help us eat better.  I do not see this happening on a large scale, but certainly, individual families can re-set their lives to do this.

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5 hours ago, Donna said:

I agree. For real change to occur, children need to be taught healthy eating habits. Children need to be offered healthy foods in order to develop a taste for them rather than fried foods and sugar. 

While visiting nursery schools in the slums of Bangkok, I was amazed at the lunches the children were offered...seasoned rice or noodles served with steamed vegetables and some sort of protein and a piece of fruit. The food was delicious, freshly prepared, and whole/not processed. I wondered how these schools in poverty stricken areas were able to get children's lunches so right while American schools with much more resources do it so wrong. 

 

3 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

The lunches when I taught at a (public) high school in France were amazing.  Starter, main, fruit, wine for the staff...  I remember dishes like lamb cutlets on a bed of lentils with a green veg.

Yes! I never did baby food or kids food, they joined in eating what we ate. Now they have some junk food but mostly it is simple food mostly from scratch. School lunches are just so terrible. I remember Jamie Oliver came over and worked on changing lunches but he was mocked and they just went back to what they served before, they said the kids wouldn't eat it anyway. I think it has to start at home though and that is a hard sell.

 
 
 
3 minutes ago, Reefgazer said:

For myself, I know that I grab unhealthy fast food when I am tired, rushed, or both.  I think our fast-paced lifestyle contributes to grabbing unhealthy food for many reasons, and to fix this, we will need to dial back our lives and slow down.  I think dialing back our lives, slowing down, spending real time with our families, making time for leisure, etc...would actually help us eat better.  I do not see this happening on a large scale, but certainly, individual families can re-set their lives to do this.

I completely agree there, our lives are too busy for sure. I've pulled our schedule back a couple of times in this world you have to fight to keep downtime. 

fwiw I generally am a fast worker too, my dh is slow and methodical in everything even if he had my experience cooking he'd never be as fast. I take advantage of shortcuts sometimes now that I didn't before, mostly homemade is good enough and when I have more time and energy I do more. Yesterday we had a potluck, I spent 6 hrs on ribs, homemade rub, storebought sauce. steamer bag corn w/ a bit of butter added and then samplings from the potluck. Tonight will be tacos- homemade seasoning for the beef and beans (dried cooked in the Instant pot a huge time save), homemade guac- store bought salsa and shells. Good enough. Some nights if I'm in a real rush it is ff canned refried beans. I almost always buy spaghetti sauce, I can make a quick sauce but a jar is even quicker

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22 minutes ago, soror said:

 

I remember Jamie Oliver came over and worked on changing lunches but he was mocked and they just went back to what they served before, they said the kids wouldn't eat it anyway. I think it has to start at home though and that is a hard sell.

Jamie Oliver had a hard time trying to do the same in the UK.  At least here his not-very-posh background (his parents ran a pub, but that probably doesn't mean they owned it) made it a bit easier for people not to feel preached at.  It's a whole different thing when someone comes from overseas to tell you what to do.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie's_School_Dinners

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On 6/10/2019 at 2:36 PM, Jean in Newcastle said:

I don't think that things have gone from bad to worse.  As others have mentioned, there is so much available out there now in healthy choices and choices that fit different dietary needs.  A lot has changed when I was wheat free 25 years ago and people would tell me that a slice of bread was ok to eat because "it was white bread, not wheat."  🙄  Though I still do have people who try to tell me that I shouldn't eat eggs because they aren't dairy free. . .  

All I have to do to find special recipes is to type in "keto dinners" or "paleo dinners" or "gluten free, dairy free ________" and I get recipes popping up on my computer.  I can use apps to find gluten free choices at various restaurants, including fast food if I really needed to for financial reasons or because I'm in an area with very few choices.  My grocery store has chopped up fruits and vegetables in the produce section if I want them for extra ease and convenience, even if they are more expensive.  There are frozen food companies like Amy's which have gluten free, vegan choices which might not be my tastiest choice but can help out if I need something very quick.  I can get fresh salads from the deli as well as rotisserie chicken.  One grocery store I shop at has a full salad bar. 

I have noticed that if I bring more healthy options to a potluck or to church, there are always takers.  I don't care if people also take a donut or slice of cake too even if I can't. 

 

Agree that generally we have more options and convenience. I am still concerned though about eating habits of some of the younger generation. We live near universities and also countless healthy food choices but for young people convenience and price seems to be a factor. A student or someone in their first or even second job may not be able to afford the local co-op or even the organic produce at Raleys or may not have the skills or the time to prepare homemade food. I know this is totally silly but if we imagined - for just a moment - no fast food available (by this I mean McDonalds type fare) and everyone had to do some minimal preparing, I wonder if we would see a change. On the other hand is a lot of the less expensive, commercially grown food, inferior in nutrition or even harmful (endocrine toxins) that may only be marginally better than fast food. I suppose education about quality of food at a young age and continuous education about food preparation may counteract some of the tendency to run by Burger King for a quick dinner.

Then there are other issues that affect digestion / metabolism that have little to do with food choice like Jean said but appear to be rooted in the complex mechanism that is the human body. I think those cases are in a different category than "general eating habits in the U.S" as they relate to medical conditions.

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11 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Agree that generally we have more options and convenience. I am still concerned though about eating habits of some of the younger generation. We live near universities and also countless healthy food choices but for young people convenience and price seems to be a factor. A student or someone in their first or even second job may not be able to afford the local co-op or even the organic produce at Raleys or may not have the skills or the time to prepare homemade food. I know this is totally silly but if we imagined - for just a moment - no fast food available (by this I mean McDonalds type fare) and everyone had to do some minimal preparing, I wonder if we would see a change. On the other hand is a lot of the less expensive, commercially grown food, inferior in nutrition or even harmful (endocrine toxins) that may only be marginally better than fast food. I suppose education about quality of food at a young age and continuous education about food preparation may counteract some of the tendency to run by Burger King for a quick dinner.

Then there are other issues that affect digestion / metabolism that have little to do with food choice like Jean said but appear to be rooted in the complex mechanism that is the human body. I think those cases are in a different category than "general eating habits in the U.S" as they relate to medical conditions.

Hasn't this been true for countless generations of young people?  Ok - maybe not countless but even in the 70's and 80's college students existed on Cup-0-noodle soup, ramen and McDonald's (or an equivalent).  I know that I did.  Maybe that contributed to my weight problems but I would kill to be as slim as I was back then! 

Note:  I'm not touting this as a healthy thing.  My own college student has made bulk batches of taco meat or spaghetti and lived off of it for a week.  Or has gotten frozen meals to pop into the college microwave - which I realize is still not as healthy as homemade but still better than fast food, I think.  Which I think is a step up from Cup-o-noodle soup! 

And we can't afford the expensive college meal plans but a lot of the food offered now at colleges is gourmet in comparison to back when I went to school. 

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1 hour ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Hasn't this been true for countless generations of young people?  Ok - maybe not countless but even in the 70's and 80's college students existed on Cup-0-noodle soup, ramen and McDonald's (or an equivalent).  I know that I did.  Maybe that contributed to my weight problems but I would kill to be as slim as I was back then! 

Note:  I'm not touting this as a healthy thing.  My own college student has made bulk batches of taco meat or spaghetti and lived off of it for a week.  Or has gotten frozen meals to pop into the college microwave - which I realize is still not as healthy as homemade but still better than fast food, I think.  Which I think is a step up from Cup-o-noodle soup! 

And we can't afford the expensive college meal plans but a lot of the food offered now at colleges is gourmet in comparison to back when I went to school. 

 

Yes, it's absolutely been like that for some decades - starting with "fast food" in the post WWII era. This probably goes beyond the scope but I have read some interesting articles on how generational DNA has changed due to deteriorating quality of food. So if someone started to subsist on fast food in the fifties, this person may present with some of the effects from poor food but evidently there are some indications that subsequent generations are affected as well. If this is even only partially true then it could well be that  some people can eat the healthiest of diets but are somehow predisposed to metabolic issues. And I want to make clear that I am not a medical researcher but have only read articles on this relating to some aspect of my work.

What would be a solution? It's a bit of a mess. Local farmers who want to offer good quality food have a difficult time making a living without setting a certain price point which is often prohibitively high for young people or even older people on a lower income.  (We could not have afforded going exclusively organic 10-15 years ago) .Then there is the mindset of prioritizing. If young people can afford $100+ cell phone plans, would they choose to have a less expensive gadget so they could afford better nutrition if quality of food was emphasized along with a focus on long-term health?  Some people have neither - the expensive cell phone nor the ability to afford better quality food. 

Dh and I are now at an age where we value our health more than we did 20-30 years ago. Fortunately, we can prioritize and spend more on food but I realize this is not everyone's option. And I don't know if we can "erase" effects of most of the poor food choices we made in the past. We are just doing the best we can with what we have.

Edited by Liz CA
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The older I get the more I believe our health has much more to do with genes than anything else. I also think worrying so much about food isn't good for any of us. 

Most of my family is obese yet they are all super healthy and live long lives (while eating mostly fried and fast foods). One of my grandfathers was morbidly obese but lived well into his 90s and was never sick. He was only hospitalized once for the flu at age 85. He wasn't on any medications either for blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol (he took no meds at all). His doctor would always comment on how healthy he was but his house was the one with all the sodas, cookies, candy, and ice cream. He ate fried food and fast food every single day I was around for so at least his last 35 years. I know all of his siblings died young during the Depression so it wasn't like he had a great start either. So much of my family is overweight but they don't worry about food and aren't trying to diet all the time. They just eat what they like and don't seem to care about the weight. They are all healthy too. 

I spent years nagging my own ds about his diet and lack of wanting to eat but this past year he was on his own at college and it was his healthiest year ever - but he ate nothing but junk! Seriously, he would only eat one actual meal a day and it was usually fast food delivery or pizza from the dorm yet he didn't have so much as the sniffles while students all around him were battling the flu, mumps, and all other kinds of colds/respiratory bugs. And he also ended with a 4.0 so he's now not going to listen to me at all about his eating habits. I think he's too skinny and needs to add weight but he is healthy so he's not listening to us. 

I'm uncomfortable being overweight so I am trying to lose for that reason but health wise I am healthy. Always have great blood sugar/pressure and cholesterol readings. Even though I feel it's mostly genes, I feel personally better when I eat somewhat healthy so that's what I do in our home. Dh and I eat three meals a day together and breakfast is always over medium eggs, toast, avocado, and fruit. Lunch is a tuna sandwich or leftovers (usually tuna twice a week). Dinner varies but is usually a beef/chicken/fish with potatoes/rice/pasta and veggies of some sort. We eat a meal out a few times a week as well. I feel pretty confident in the kitchen but I don't love cooking. Meals, even easy ones, usually take around 45 minutes to an hour if I include washing and prepping. 

I don't think there should be any morality linked to food. That's just weird to me and probably doesn't contribute to much of a truly healthy lifestyle and diet. 

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1 hour ago, Joker said:

The older I get the more I believe our health has much more to do with genes than anything else. I also think worrying so much about food isn't good for any of us. 

Most of my family is obese yet they are all super healthy and live long lives (while eating mostly fried and fast foods). One of my grandfathers was morbidly obese but lived well into his 90s and was never sick. He was only hospitalized once for the flu at age 85. He wasn't on any medications either for blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol (he took no meds at all). His doctor would always comment on how healthy he was but his house was the one with all the sodas, cookies, candy, and ice cream. He ate fried food and fast food every single day I was around for so at least his last 35 years. I know all of his siblings died young during the Depression so it wasn't like he had a great start either. So much of my family is overweight but they don't worry about food and aren't trying to diet all the time. They just eat what they like and don't seem to care about the weight. They are all healthy too. 

I spent years nagging my own ds about his diet and lack of wanting to eat but this past year he was on his own at college and it was his healthiest year ever - but he ate nothing but junk! Seriously, he would only eat one actual meal a day and it was usually fast food delivery or pizza from the dorm yet he didn't have so much as the sniffles while students all around him were battling the flu, mumps, and all other kinds of colds/respiratory bugs. And he also ended with a 4.0 so he's now not going to listen to me at all about his eating habits. I think he's too skinny and needs to add weight but he is healthy so he's not listening to us. 

I'm uncomfortable being overweight so I am trying to lose for that reason but health wise I am healthy. Always have great blood sugar/pressure and cholesterol readings. Even though I feel it's mostly genes, I feel personally better when I eat somewhat healthy so that's what I do in our home. Dh and I eat three meals a day together and breakfast is always over medium eggs, toast, avocado, and fruit. Lunch is a tuna sandwich or leftovers (usually tuna twice a week). Dinner varies but is usually a beef/chicken/fish with potatoes/rice/pasta and veggies of some sort. We eat a meal out a few times a week as well. I feel pretty confident in the kitchen but I don't love cooking. Meals, even easy ones, usually take around 45 minutes to an hour if I include washing and prepping. 

I don't think there should be any morality linked to food. That's just weird to me and probably doesn't contribute to much of a truly healthy lifestyle and diet. 

 

To the bolded; I don't see how you can separate morality and food.  To eat an animal product, you have to either kill the animal in the wild or raise it to be killed.  I can accept that it's not morally wrong to kill an animal in the wild or raise it to be killed (although it is a moral question to some people), but the way 95% of animal products in the US are raised is cruel and inhumane.  I haven't spoken to a single person who thinks factory farming is a morally acceptable way to treat animals, or a non-moral issue.  I also haven't spoken to anyone, other than DH and an aunt of his who died years ago, who thinks that the cruelty of factory farming has any implication for their food choices.

 

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6 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

To the bolded; I don't see how you can separate morality and food.  To eat an animal product, you have to either kill the animal in the wild or raise it to be killed.  I can accept that it's not morally wrong to kill an animal in the wild or raise it to be killed (although it is a moral question to some people), but the way 95% of animal products in the US are raised is cruel and inhumane.  I haven't spoken to a single person who thinks factory farming is a morally acceptable way to treat animals, or a non-moral issue.  I also haven't spoken to anyone, other than DH and an aunt of his who died years ago, who thinks that the cruelty of factory farming has any implication for their food choices.

 

While I was reading these posts, the morality issue seemed to be about choosing "junk" food over "real" food and had nothing to do with factory farmed meat. I didn't get the feeling that is what this thread was about and it definitely wasn't something I was getting into here. 

 

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5 hours ago, Joker said:

The older I get the more I believe our health has much more to do with genes than anything else. I also think worrying so much about food isn't good for any of us. 

Most of my family is obese yet they are all super healthy and live long lives (while eating mostly fried and fast foods). One of my grandfathers was morbidly obese but lived well into his 90s and was never sick. He was only hospitalized once for the flu at age 85. 

<snip>

One of my aunties just turned 96.  She was always overweight, as was her mom, and growing up I recall eating a lot of heavy food - my grandparents were immigrants from Poland, so we ate a lot of sausage and other meat dishes, ham, lots of starchy things. Lots of desserts.  Her sisters are not overweight, but I remember comments that they always controlled their weight with lots of cigarettes and black coffee. They are about 87 and 88 or 89, I think.   Their parents were very long-lived too.  My dad (their brother) died at 75 after being a functional alcoholic for probably 30 years. He was sick enough to stay home from work only once in my memory, with some sort of bad flu in the '60s or '70s; that is, until his liver and kidney gave out from the booze.  

I eat pretty well though I lean too heavily on cheese and bread sometimes, but the way people talk about meat, eggs, butter and such, I should have high cholesterol, but my numbers are great - doctors are always amazed. I am overweight and not happy about that, but I am quite healthy.  It's got to be genetic. My dad  used to say we were good, hardy Eastern European peasant stock.  

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42 minutes ago, marbel said:

 I eat pretty well though I lean too heavily on cheese and bread sometimes, but the way people talk about meat, eggs, butter and such, I should have high cholesterol, but my numbers are great - doctors are always amazed. I am overweight and not happy about that, but I am quite healthy.  It's got to be genetic. My dad  used to say we were good, hardy Eastern European peasant stock.  

My husband is a fit, healthy marathon runner who has to take medication for high blood pressure. His mother did as well, although she was not as healthy overall as my husband is. His doctor has said it is definitely genetic in his case.

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11 hours ago, Scarlett said:

I used to watch Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals show.  I think I even bought the cookbook.  It helped me a lot.  

Many of our family's favorites came from her 30 Minute Meals book.

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