While driving yesterday from Atlanta to Auburn, Alabama, I decided to blog today about St. Patty’s Day foods. Then, after arriving at Auburn University (my alma mater), I decided to try to have lunch.
After driving around a bit and seeing a Chipotle Grill, Chick Fillet or Papa John’s Pizza on almost every corner, I ended up in a restaurant near the middle of town (Toomer’s Corner) site of the infamous oak tree poisoning saga. The tree is still living but it has definitely seen better days.
After looking at the menu, I concluded that it would be easier to find a healthy meal at a St. Patty’s Day party than near the campus of Auburn University. I ended up having lunch at Hamilton’s Restaurant and ordered the large bowl of roasted vegetable soup. It was $6 — which worked out to about a dollar per calorie.
With not nearly enough to eat, I ordered an appetizer plate of hummus. It was loaded with hot peppers, onions and olives and surrounded by white crackers. I dodged the onions and peppers and managed to have enough calories to make it until dinner.
Not a 4Leaf by any means—probably closer to a 2Leaf, if that. My score for Hamilton’s was 27 to 2. There were 27 dead animals on the menu and only two items that were all plant-based. They didn’t even have any side orders.
Then I went to the Auburn Library (where I used to study when I was a student) on campus which was more like a tomb—as the school is now on Spring Break and I was one of the only three souls in the library. And one of the other two was the guard at the front door. So I found myself a quiet place—not hard to do—went online and searched for St. Patty’s traditional food. Here are the first 13 items that I found.
- Irish lamb stew
- Shepherd’s pie
- Chicken sausage with potatoes and sauerkraut
- Hard cider braised lamb shanks
- Warm red cabbage salad
- Guinness marinated bison steak sandwiches
- Warm chicken sausage and potato salad
- Corned beef hash
- Mint-pesto rubbed leg of lamb
- Turkey sausage with fennel sauerkraut and potatoes
- Braised beef and mushrooms
- Chicken and sweet potato stew
- Roast leg of lamb with cauliflower and shallots
- Corned beef and cabbage
My St. Patty’s score was 13 to 1, similarly lopsided to the healthy dining experience at Hamilton’s restaurant.
The Bottom Line. Not only do they not teach healthy eating at ANY of our institutions of higher learning, they make it darn near impossible to find healthy meals anywhere. This is why we must be educated and committed to achieving vibrant health via the 4Leaf Program. It can be done. Why not take our five-minute 4Leaf Survey and lay out your own course of action.
To be fair, there are some colleges out there with some mighty healthy dining options nearby. One of them is Cornell, where I have dined with Dr. Campbell on numerous occasions. But they don’t teach healthy eating there either. They abruptly cancelled his for-credit course about ten years ago (dairy industry pressure) but that plant-based nutrition course is still available through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. See link at bottom of this post.
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Blogging today from the shores of beautiful Lake Martin, near Dadeville, Alabama – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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It’s a hard row to hoe! I’m located in central California, near Yosemite – some people are “aware” here, and one market has good organic produce – this doesn’t compare to parts of SOCAL, or especially the true NOCAL – my neighbors’ and I are in the process of rebuilding and making our tiny back yards into vegetable gardens! A small way of spreading the word, and enjoying the results. Glad for having you and Lisa and our fingertips.
Here in Rochester NY, the selection of vegan items in our local restaurants is improving, and there are plenty of menu-options that are centered around grains and whole plants. However, the recent challenge for me has been finding vegan items that are not loaded with olive oil. I used to go into our local Mediterranean eateries and not think anything of ordering a big plate of hummus, veggies, and pita as an appetizer, followed by a spinach pasta dish loaded with veggies. Problem is, the hummus was covered by a glistening puddle of olive oil, and the pasta and veggies were drowning in oil slick as well. During the past few months, I’ve been getting away from the olive oil, and it’s a lot harder to find menu items that fit the bill.
If I’m in a pinch I will stop at Chipotle. i get their salad. Romain, black beans (pinto are not vegan), corn, tomato salsa.I know the salsa is salted, but I think it’s an ok compromise. They have brown rice too, but it’s also salted.
Yeah even though its a big chain, I usually find that Chipotle is a good option among the sea of greasy fast food. Its true that their food does probably contain more salt and oil than I’d like, but at least you can get a good serving of grains, beans, and veggies.
I had a pleasant experience at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio last week. I was invited to have lunch with a business associate. He suggested we meet at the cafeteria on the college campus. Price $6 per person. Selection of vegan foods was fantastic! Started with a vegan vegetable soup (sign indicated it was vegan) then some couscous with diced tomato and a salad with dark greens, spinach and lots of other fresh vegetables. A surprising and wonderful experience. On leaving I asked the cashier why so many vegan foods? She said the student body demands the caterer must serve vegan selections. Part of their contract. So here is fertile ground for your mission to educate and change how we eat in this country. Lake Erie College was primarily a women’s college years back and has an equestrian program. Thus many young women from affluent families attend this institution. I think Jim is correct in believing it will be the younger college students who will lead the change to a plant based diet. I’m looking forward to going back for another 4 LEAF lunch! Jim, come to Ohio and I’ll treat you to a wonderful plant based lunch at Lake Erie College!