School lunches. We thought they were getting better…


Why we must have a complete re-design of our food information system

Did you see the news this week (see link below) about how some school districts are dropping their “healthier” lunch programs? Not that their “healthier” lunches were ever that healthy anyway. And now they’re dropping them because many of the kids won’t eat them. So they’re bringing back the burgers, fries and pizza.

Not exactly a 4Leaf meal

Not exactly a 4Leaf meal

This photo is one of their “healthier” lunches. White flat bread roast beef sandwich, apple sauce, chocolate milk and a cookie. Not exactly a whole foods, plant-based 4Leaf meal, is it? I doubt that it would even score at the 1-leaf level on our 4Leaf scale. Click on this link to learn how well you’re doing on that scale. It’s free and takes about two minutes.

Michelle still doesn't "get it." Here she is with a carton of milk as she role models "healthy" eating in our schools.

Even Michelle Obama seems to think that cow’s milk is healthy for children and adults.

So what’s the problem with school lunches? Michelle Obama has been working on them for five years now and we’re constantly hearing news about the improvements that are taking place. But the kids are still obese and type 2 diabetes rates are soaring all across the country. And Michelle is still drinking cow’s milk. What’s going on?

There is no PLAN for educating the public about what they should be eating and WHY. In my blog earlier this week, I called for the complete re-design of the entire system that controls the flow of information about food in the USA and, to some extent, around the world.

The system I am talking about is VAST and it has never provided clear information to the public about exactly what comprises the healthiest diet—one that is capable of reversing heart disease and preventing cancer. The sad part is that the diet we should be eating is so easy to describe. I can do it in two words—WHOLE PLANTS. We should be deriving most of our calories from whole plants.

It's time to tell the world the simple truth about whole plants---for our health, for our children and for our future as a species.

It’s time to tell the world the simple truth about whole plants—for our health, for our children and for our future as a species.

What about the parents? We can’t expect the kids to develop healthy eating habits if their parents don’t show them how. And how is that supposed to happen when we have a system that thinks that white bread, roast beef, cow’s milk and cookies are healthy foods?

The solution to this mess is simple. Not easy, but simple. Every parent in America needs to be taught the absolute truth about healthy eating—for their own health AND for the health of their children. Personally, I concluded that our current system will never get this done. And I proposed a simple solution, one that I explained in detail in this the 8-27-13 blog entitled Rx for Global Food Information System. Complete Re-design.

That blog contains a workable PLAN to inform every American citizen and much of the entire world exactly what healthy eating is all about. That PLAN was created due to a near certainty that our civilization will collapse by the end of this century—unless we make some radical changes in how we live.

I will be speaking about that PLAN in Tucson next month.

I will be speaking about that PLAN in Tucson.

And there is no human activity that needs more radical change than the way we eat—when it comes to longterm sustainability. My conclusion:

Shifting to a whole foods, plant-based diet will do more to ensure the long-term survival of our species than ALL other possible initiatives combined.

Win-Win-Win. As Dr. Campbell said in The China Study, “It turns out that if we eat the way that promotes the best health for ourselves, we also promote the best health for the planet.” And a healthy planet is what we need to sustain us as a species. And the best thing we can do for the health of our planet is choosing a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Ending on a good note!

So this blog won’t be all bad news, I wanted to share this 15-minute video entitled: Impact of Fresh Healthy Foods on Learning and Behavior. This video is all about the wonderful things that happened in Appleton, Wisconsin, when a school district there decided to get serious about nutrition.

Before the change, there were many behavioral problems, including weapons—that have simply disappeared. The students are now calm and well-behaved since the junk food and soda have been replaced with water and nutritious, whole, plant-based foods. What about the cost? How about a reduction in the district’s budget of FIVE MILLION dollars a year? They make the point that when you invest in one area (like nutrition), costs go down in other areas—like security.

I watched the entire video carefully and applaud what they’re doing in Wisconsin. My only complaint is that the food education is still not complete—and won’t be until we replace our current dairy-controlled system. In the video— the fruits, veggies and whole grains far outweighed the few shots of eggs and cow’s milk. (Thanks Leo, for sending me this video)

For your convenience, in addition to the source article, I have provided links to a few other blogs that I have written about kids health in the last few years.

Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf 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

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf page and also enjoy some great recipes from 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.

SHARE and rate this post below.

—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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7 Responses to School lunches. We thought they were getting better…

  1. Dr. Demas’ program, Food is Elementary, has been in some of the Rockford, Illinois public schools for two years (the program was in Rockford previously as well). Children learn what the whole food is, where it is grown, and why it is beneficial. They grow, prepare, and taste the food. It becomes a part of their social studies, geography, and math lesson. Children ask their parents to buy the whole foods they have learned about. The children are excited about what they have accomplished. Teaches them new skills on many levels.

  2. Barbara Paape says:

    That is not an appetizing lunch! It also looks like there was no preparation needed on the part of the cafeteria staff. Do they even have the facilities to prepare real food?

  3. Sal Liggieri says:

    Jim,

    Other than the occasional good news about PFBD, do you ever get discouraged in how little progress is being made to get people, government, corporations, schools, etc to change to a PFBD diet?

    One solution is to get the government to mandate the change. It happened during WW ll, where certain foods were severely restricted and even rationed.

    Sal Liggieri

  4. Leo S. says:

    Here is a video by Dr. Neil Nedley about nutrition, depression, mental performance, diet and violence. Go to about 15:00 to see/hear discussion about prisons and violence. Do plan to see the whole video.

    Cows’ milk is mandated a part of every school lunch. Michelle Obama should take the time to see Udderly Amazing, linked here and also in your VIDEOS in the menu strip in your blog.
    http://amazingdiscoveries.tv/media/169/304-232K/
    Thanks again for all your excellent articles and efforts to spread information which everyone needs so they might make a better choice in the foods they choose, especially for their children who usually only get what others give to them. Many times it isn’t until the children can read that they themselves might come to realize their parents did not have all the information they needed to make wise choices for themselves or theiir children. Too many years pass until changes are made and in that time the child may develop illnesses which were usually seen in adults.

    • Leo S. says:

      Apologies for the wrong link above (Dr. Neil Nedley). This one should do it. It is number 96 of approximately 160 presentations. Fingers are crossed.

      • Leo S. says:

        If at first, and second you don’t succeed, try, try again. This is the third try at posting the video by Dr. Neil Nedley and it is hoped it will be successful. He is listed as the 96th presenter in a list of about 160 videos by various indivuduals.

  5. tcc12013 says:

    Jim,

    Good message.

    But I must put in a serious plug for Dr. Antonia Demas who has long been promoting and doing the most successful school lunch program in the country.

    She actually started her program in the late 1970s as a volunteer mother when her children were in school in Vermont. Then, in the mid-1990s, when her children were late in high school, she undertook her doctoral program in education at Cornell to test her ideas in a more formal setting at a local town school district.

    She now has been invited to share her ideas and her book “Food Is Elementary” across the country and beyond, teaching school lunch administrators in more than 3000 schools with great success. One of the most remarkable achievements was her taking this program to a incarceration institution for teenage boys in Miami where the effect on the violent tendency of this population was truly remarkable. One of the boys in that school was allowed by the superintendent to come to give a presentation to my class at Cornell. The presentation of this 19-year old former gang member was the highlight of that year’s offering of my class.

    Antonia’s daughter, Ariel, is following in her footsteps and, together, their story needs to be told as widely as possible.

    I was on her graduate research committee, representing nutrition.

    It would be fabulous if you could do a follow-up interview with Antonia and Ariel.

    Colin

    On Aug 29, 2013, at 7:57 AM, “J. Morris Hicks, author” <comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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