Federal guidelines & Michelle Obama—not getting it done

When it comes to school lunches—just leading to more confusion

Until our government decides to tell us EXACTLY what we should be eating for the best possible health, all “official” efforts to improve dietary habits will fall way short of expectations. An article in the New York Times describes this latest round of confusion (See link below).

It’s pretty scary when the vast majority of our dietary and educational authorities see the above as a healthy lunch. Fries, milk, white bread, beef and cheese.

In a nutshell, here are some elements of the lame and ineffective dietary advice that are being implemented. From the article:

  • “All milk must be 1% or non-fat.”
  • And although they say that they’re being served less frequently, “School staples like chicken nuggets are typically baked, not tossed in the fryer, and hot dogs are more likely to be made of turkey.”

To be clear, the new guidelines do stipulate that there be more fresh fruits and vegetables offered and that the serving sizes be larger. And that is a good thing. But just because they serve them, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the kids will eat them. One school official in Arkansas fears that there will be a lot of waste as much of those healthier foods will just be left on the tray.

Adam Simmons, the child nutrition director for the public school system in Fayetteville, Ark., said that while the new rules were well intentioned, he worried that sodium limits and expanded servings of fruits and vegetables could result in more food being left on the tray.

Certainly, if all of the above leads to a few more kids consuming a few more calories of whole, plant-based foods, then that is a good thing. But the confusion caused by implying that cow’s milk of any fat level or hot dogs made from turkey meat is healthy for our children is negating all of the benefits. Eating “baked” chicken nuggets and turkey dogs is not going to help our kids and their parents learn how to be healthy.

Unless their parents a health-promoting dietary regimen in the home, there is no way the average child is going to opt for more fruit and vegetables—when offered the choice of chicken nuggets, turkey dog or french fries.

Is that a carton of cow’s milk in her right hand? Hopefully, it’s soy, but I bet it’s the real thing. What do you think?

Michelle to the rescue? This is where Michelle Obama could have a huge impact if she simply told everyone the truth about EXACTLY what constitutes a truly health-promoting diet. But first, she has to learn what that is.

And when she does, the mighty beef and dairy industries will make damn sure that her husband does not get a second term. See my earlier post on this topic. Michelle, it’s time to tell the world about “meat & dairy.”

But just think what Michelle could do in the next four years if she got on board with helping us “dispel the protein myth.” Even the President might join her in the effort—since he wouldn’t have to worry about getting elected again. Wouldn’t it be great if Michelle bought the 4-piece kit shown below and started a new program of “straight talk about food?”

So where does Michelle currently score on our 4Leaf Survey? My guess is that she is a 1Leaf at best (over 20% of calories from whole plants). Food writer Marian Burros followed her around for while and reported:

“Burros discovers and celebrates that Michelle does eat vegetables. But that’s like saying a murderer sometimes commits burglaries. The problem is with Michelle’s core diet, much of which seems to be fried, sitting on a bone, or infested with sucrose. (See source website)

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to Federal guidelines & Michelle Obama—not getting it done

  1. Leo S. says:

    It is suggested young girls get the HPV vaccination (Gardasil) and also that young boys do so. What if ingestion of certain foods could be a problem? Males should find this link interesting. It shows what a change in foods can do. Some ethnic groups also experience less incidence of HPV. Some still find it hard to link consumption of food to disease.


    Here is a link on meat and cancer.


    Here is a video about dairy products and their effect on health.


    • Leo S. says:

      The Appleton, Wisconsin School District made changes in the food given students and saw positive results in learning, behavior and costs.

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