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U.K. Hospitals Throw Out 82K Meals Every Day

U.K. Hospitals Throw Out 82K Meals Every Day

Hospital food isn’t known for being particularly delicious, but some reformers are campaigning for an overhaul of the hospital food situation in the U.K., as studies indicate that hospitals there are throwing out more than 82,000 uneaten meals every day.

Additionally, a recent survey indicated that two-thirds of all hospital personnel said they would be unhappy to eat the food they served patients.

According to the study, between 1992 and 2013 there have been 21 different initiatives designed to improve the quality of hospital food so that people will eat it, but so far they haven't had much success with voluntary food improvement initiatives. Celebrity chefs Albert Roux, John Benson-Smith, Mark Hix, Anton Edelmann, and Heston Blumenthal were all tapped to try to improve the quality of British hospital food, The Guardian reports.

Some campaigners have suggested that a mandatory minimum standard for hospital food, like that in place at schools, would go a long way to cut back on the tremendous amount of food waste.

"Part of the problem is the huge amount of money paid to outside caterers who inflate their costs and use the cheapest ingredients," said Alex Jackson, coordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food. But he says the problem of wasted food is not just about a lack of quality.

"There is a problem with the way the food is served," Jackson said. "It's usually done by medical staff who have other priorities. And often inappropriate food is served to people who have specific medical and healthcare needs."

Part of the problem could be that patients are currently served from pre-assigned portions at specific times, regardless of whether or not they're hungry at that time.

"A menu system allowing patients to order their food early on each day would cut out large amounts of waste," said Andy Jones, chairman of the National Hospital Caterers Association.


Wuhan lockdown: How people are still getting food

The severe restrictions on the city's 11 million residents, designed to prevent the spread of the disease, mean even simple grocery shopping and eating out are no longer straightforward.

Chinese blogging site Weibo is abuzz with people complaining about problems getting food.

One Wuhan resident talked about the difficulties in buying certain vegetables, with prices of other foods "a little expensive".

Even getting food delivered comes with risks.

"I used to order delivery foods many times a week, but now it's much less, about four times a week, as we want to avoid direct contact with the delivery guy,'' said Xingxing Yin, a student from Wuhan.

But one Chinese meal delivery firm is adapting its technology to solve that challenge.

China's food courier market has grown rapidly in recent years and Meituan is now the biggest player with 440 million customers and 700,000 daily riders.

It is now using its vast network and its technology to help support Wuhan and the wider province of Hubei during the crisis.

Meituan, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, has adapted its food delivery app so riders and customers don't have to meet face-to-face.

The app has been updated to allow users to add a note to the delivery rider asking them to leave the food on their doorstep or at a building's reception area. Customers can also call or text the rider directly within the app to discuss a location to drop off the food.

Meituan is also handing out 1,000 free meals every day to medical staff in Wuhan and delivering them fresh ingredients to cook with. Contactless lockers are being installed at hospitals around the city so food can be left securely by riders and unlocked by medical staff using a QR code.

During the past three days, Meituan has delivered around 5,000 free meals to medical staff in Wuhan.

More and more companies are asking staff to work from home, including Facebook, WeWork and banking group Morgan Stanley. Such measures are likely to prompt a rise in demand for food delivery apps like Meituan and Alibaba's Ele.me.

Meituan's new human contact-free app feature was first launched in Wuhan but is being rolled out nationwide and now covers 184 cities. Meituan says it 'ɾxpects the feature to be available across China by end of this week'.

For medical staff, the free food deliveries are a lifeline. They are under huge pressure to treat thousands of people suspected of contracting the deadly virus. A hospital is being built in six days in Wuhan to treat patients.

But staff don't have time to go and find fresh food in Wuhan, while working long hours to help patients.

Meituan's business-to-business arm Kuailv Jinhuo, which normally delivers fresh food to restaurants, is now delivering produce to hospital staff.

''Under current conditions we think some medical institutions and CDCs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) might also have the need to buy the materials and cook for themselves,'' said Meituan spokesman Whitney Yan.

The food delivery giant has donated 200m yuan (£22m) to help with food supply for medical staff at Hubei. Meituan's main rival in the food delivery sector, Alibaba, is donating 1bn yuan to buy medical materials for hospitals in Wuhan and the Hubei province.


How Boris Johnson fucks up a free lunch. Again.

In case anyone suffers from the delusion that Boris Johnson’s government learns from its mistakes, it’s proving them wrong by screwing up free school meals. Again.

The free school lunch saga

When schools are in session, the poorest kids are supposed to get a free lunch. Last year, though, when schools were locked down and what would normally have been a school holiday rolled around, the government announced that it’d be fine if the kids missed lunch for a few days. They weren’t the government’s problem during the holiday.

It held that position until a football player, Marcus Rashford, who grew up poor and hungry, kicked the issue squarely into social media and made the government back down.

Now, with schools locked down again, a mother posted a picture of the sorry collection of food that was delivered for her kid. It had about £5 worth of food, although the company that’s contracted to deliver it swears it cost £10.50 to buy, package, and deliver.

And profit from, of course. All hail the great god of privatization.

Irrelevant photo: cotoneaster, pronounced ka-tone-ee-aster. The birds plant them.

The food was either supposed to last five or ten days, depending on who’s right about this, but either way it hasn’t impressed nutritionists or parents or the public at large. I don’t imagine it did much for kids either.

Rashford waded in again, at which point Boris Johnson condemned the parcels and the company apologized, saying it would toss in a free breakfast starting on January 25.

Yes, folks, it was a miracle.

Parents and campaigners are asking, Why not just give the parents a voucher? That way they can buy what their kids like, what they’re able to prepare, and what suits the family’s preferences and diet. And guess what, if you do that, nobody has to pack, deliver, and profit from it.

Last I checked, the government was ignoring the suggestion. Because what’s the point of feeding kids if no one can make a buck out of it? Or a quid, since I’m supposed to be, at least marginally, writing British here.

Has the government learned anything? Don’t be silly. When the next school holidays come up in February, England plans to suspend the free school lunches again.

But the final word on this has to go to Conservative MP P auline Latham, who said, “It’s only their lunch, it’s not all meals every day.”

We’ll give her this week’s compassion award, okay?

And having nothing to do with free lunches but on the subject of MPs so clueless they sound like something I made up, her fellow Conservative MP, the Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, greeted the mess that Brexit’s unleashed on the fishing industry by saying, “They’re now British fish and they’re better and happier fish for it.”

He’ll have to wait for gets next week’s compassion award, since I lost last week’s and, um, last week’s over. But I award him next week’s not just to honor his sympathy for dead and dying fish but also his sympathy for the fishing industry, which is losing £1 million a day because they can’t get their catch to the European markets.

Fish are reported to be rotting on the docks. Happily and Britishly.

We need a shift in tone here, don’t we?

Scotland’s schools run under different rules than England’s, but even without the spur of England’s mean spiritedness, a group of chefs and hospitality workers in Edinburgh have delivered a quarter of a million meals to families during the pandemic. It’s all cost 50 p. per meal. (The p. stands for pence.) Each meal includes a main course, soup, bread, and a snack, and it’s free to anyone who asks.

And it’s for the whole family, not just kids. Because you know what? Adults need to eat too. And while more affluent people have saved money during lockdown (no night at the pub, no meals out, no cappuccino on the way to work), the poorest people don’t have those small luxuries to give up and have had to spend more on food, gas, utilities, and the costs that go with home schooling.

The Edinburgh program is organized by run by Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts and funded by donations, and it’s run by Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts.

The numbers

By now, over a hundred thousand people have died of Covid in Britain since the start of the pandemic. That’s almost one in every 660 people. Or to put that another way, one in every six deaths in the country can be traced back to Covid.

Of course, whether those numbers are right depends on what you count as a Covid death. The government started out by counting everyone who’d had Covid (as far as was known) and later died, then it switched to a system that only counts people who die within 28 days of a positive test. Both are inaccurate. There’s no perfect system, but the government’s system, conveniently, gives us a lower inaccurate number.

If I was cynical, I’d think that was why they bought it in that color.

Even using the lower figures, though, Britain’s death rate per hundred thousand people is ahead of the United States’. That surprised me enough that I checked it with a second source, which confirmed it. I thought Britain was doing better than the US. Maybe that’s because the British government gives some semblance of sanity. It recognizes that the disease is real and makes noises about fighting it. Even if it gets it wrong almost every time.

A member of the government’s science advisory group, SAGE, said, “The UK ranks seventh in the world in terms of numbers of deaths per million population through the pandemic. During the last week, our rate is the second highest in the world–a record that is ‘world-beating’ in all the wrong ways.”

Which not only confirms that we’re in deep shit but that the government’s own advisors can’t pass up a chance to whack Johnson over the head for bragging about the world-beating ways Britain was going to respond to the virus.

Whatever the numbers, intensive care patients are being moved from overloaded London hospitals to others as far as 300 miles away. But lockdown does seem to be working. The R number, a measure of how many people each infected person gives the disease to, seems to be going down.

Since we were talking about kids a minute ago, let’s talk check in on their parents. Over 70% of the women who ask to be furloughed from their jobs because the schools are closed have been turned down, or so says a survey of 50,000 working women.

Nowhere near as many men asked for furloughs because of childcare (167 compared to 3,100) but 75% of them were turned down.

How are any of them managing? Some are taking any leave they’ve accumulated. Some are cutting back their working hours. Others (I’m extrapolating here) are managing it all and either quietly or noisily losing their minds.

The difference between furlough and any of the other alternatives is that people are paid 80% of their wages or salary if they’re furloughed. The government kicks in most of that, but the employer kicks in part, and that’s where the reluctance comes from.

Britain’s drive to vaccinate as many people as possible is being slowed down by an inconsistent supply of vaccine. Doctors’ offices aren’t able to schedule patients more than a few days in advance because they don’t have enough notice of when the vaccine will show up.

That’s called a push model: Doctors can’t order the vaccine. Instead they have to be ready to jump in and use what appears.

Although having said that, our local GPs are almost through vaccinating the over-80 group and are scheduling the 75- to 80-year-olds. How those two pieces of information fit together is anyone’s guess.

Internationally, 95% of the vaccine doses that have been punched through human skin have gone to people in just ten countries: the US, China, the UK, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Russia, Germany, Spain, and Canada.

It will be March before Africa gets its first vaccine doses from COVAX, an international effort to be sure vaccines reach the poorest countries. More doses are expected in June, but doses from COVAX are expected to cover just 20% of the population–by what point I can’t say.

The continent has about 30,000 new cases per day now. During the first surge, it had 18,000.

Back in Britain, there’s talk of the second vaccine dose being postponed even further than originally planned, depending on whether the first group to be vaccinated, the over-80s, turns out to be well protected by the initial dose. Public Health England says it’ll be reviewing infection data weekly to track how well the first dose works.

Some evidence is surfacing that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may get more effective with a longer time between the two doses, but you’ll have to follow the link if you want more information on that. It involved too many numbers. I fled.

But I can tell you what the rationale is behind vaccinating the elderly before younger people: According to Professor Wei Shen Lim, for every 25 to 40 people vaccinated in a care home, one life is saved. For every 250 over-80s vaccinated, ditto: one life. You’d have to vaccinate thousands of train operators to save that one life.

To make sense of that, though, we’d have to understand the definition of a train operator. Are we talking about the person sealed into the booth at the front who drives the train–what Americans call the engineer and the British call the train driver? Or does it mean people working with and sharing air with the public?

Does that number hold true for bus drivers or does there have to be a train involved? What about people working in supermarkets and warehouses and meatpacking plants? People working in hospitals? I have no idea. I’m passing it along because it’s an insight into how these decisions get made.


The Planetary Health Diet Isn’t Much Use to People Living in Food Poverty

Yves here. Mass market food producers have not been good actors in promoting a healthy diet. Among other things, adding sugar to products makes them taste better and “snacks, drinks, and processed foods that are high in sugar have the highest profit margins.”

By Anya Pearson, a freelance journalist and editor, and guitarist in feminist punk band Dream Nails. Originally published at openDemocracy

Picture: Images of meals used in the Planetary Health Diet report.

The ‘planetary health diet’ was announced yesterday by an international commission established to prevent millions of deaths a year and avoid climate change. But for the 5 million people in the UK who are estimated to be malnourished or at risk of becoming so, the high cost of this earth-friendly diet will be out of this world.

The ‘planetary health diet’ is a welcome initiative to define a sustainable diet in the face of global environmental catastrophe and widespread lack of access to healthy food, and the ambition of the commission’s report is compelling. But with fresh berries, avocado, sourdough bread and fresh edamame served up on the planetary menu put together by the Guardian, the sample meals seem more like offerings from the latest book by Deliciously Ella instead of truly accessible, affordable food.

There’s no price breakdown included in the menu, but meals like “courgette, cavolo nero and tomato gratin with breadcrumbs and almonds, and a green salad and polenta on the side” are likely to be out of financial reach for the almost 4 million children in the UK who are estimated to live in households that struggle to afford enough fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods to meet official nutrition guidelines as it is.

These sample meals are simply intended to demonstrate that it’s possible to produce appetising food using the diet, but they raise an important concern. People shouldn’t be forced to choose between eating well, and eating in an environmentally conscious way. In Britain, where food deserts are becoming increasingly commonplace, the messaging around the ‘planetarian’ diet (to coin a phrase) has to be very carefully managed, or it risks being read as another middle-class fad instead of what it is: an urgent call to arms.

The report acknowledges that the “concerted commitment can be achieved by making healthy foods more available, accessible and affordable in place of unhealthier alternatives”. The challenge, should we choose to accept it, is to double our national consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes and halve our consumption of red meat and sugar by 2050. If the UK is to reach this target without leaving millions of families behind, business leaders and policy-makers need to work with farmers, supermarkets, suppliers and communities to tackle the gross inequality in the UK food system. And the government must lead the way by taking decisive action to subsidise healthy, sustainable food.

We can start by ending the damaging conflation between ‘sustainable’ food and luxury. The point is left just hanging in the air that being ‘environmental’ is expensive as if it’s a law of physics. Healthy and environmentally sustainable food is not unavoidably or inherently expensive – it’s the result of political and economic choices.

We are, understandably, quite resistant to being ‘told what to eat’. And often the campaigning messages get it wrong (step up Peta, who have chosen this week to ruin vegetables for everyone). But hidden behind cheap price tags are existing price systems and subsidies which already influence what people decide to cook for dinner – or can afford to buy in the first place.

People have become disconnected from the way food is produced, so wholesale systemic change needs to happen at the local level if it’s to gain enough traction. Schools, local growing projects and public health initiatives all have a part to play. Change the system, and you truly give people the choice to go green.

Nonsense beginning to end. We are not resource constrained we are knowledge constrained. Everyone going veggie is such a nonsensical side issue and teaching people to eat differently is silly.

Lab meat cheaper energy, suck up the carbon, let’s get real about this.

Indeed….and I couldn’t resist a recent take on this kind of advice from the Daily Mash:

The whole issue of eating healthy comes up against a whole range of cultural and societal and economic issues. I’ve talked to local doctors who work in areas in the UK who say that its a struggle to get their patients to eat just one portion of vegetables each day. Its not just about money – it depends on where you live, but in inner city areas in many cities you can find ‘ethnic’ shops that sell very healthy foods either dried or canned that are much cheaper than the processed crap that most people seem to eat. People don’t take advantage because they don’t know how. In my area in Dublin there was a scheme where unemployed men (most of whom had wives who were working in low pay jobs such as cleaners) were taught how to shop for ingredients and cook cheap nutritious meals for their kids. It was a big success – the men genuinely took great pride in being able to help out their families – it was pretty clear that most of them simply didn’t know how to do it before, so covered up their ignorance with macho bluff about cooking not being a mans job.

Of course, the whole thing about healthy eating being something for hipsters and the middle classes can be quite damaging. I like the youtube recipes from the Happy Pear – they have lots of demonstrations on how to cook great meals for a euro a meal – but the whole hippy dippy vibe really puts so many people off, its no wonder they just go and buy a frozen pizza instead.

Thanks for the Happy Pear link, PK. Even though I’m far from being a vegan, those dishes look yummy.

Yeah, I’m not vegan either, but that’s the link I send when any students in my family complain about the cost of food and how hard it is to cook. My local supermarket is next to some student accommodation and I keep thinking about that every time I find myself standing behind some students with baskets piled with junk (as I did last night, they were complaining about lack of money while they had a basket full of frozen pizzas and doritos).

The Happy Pear can be annoyingly upbeat sometimes, but their recipe demonstrations are fantastic, I’m not much of a cook but even I can follow them easily. Their restaurant is fab, that rare vegan place that even meat eaters love.

We had a nice “white tablecloth” vegetarian restaurant around the corner from us. The chef was from South Africa and served a mixture of food based on the different cultures in that country. We’re ominivores but we went there a lot, because the food was so tasty.

The chef pointed out to us that his dishes took more work to prepare than was needed to pull a slab of meat out of the refrigerator and throw it on the grill for 5-6 minutes.

on a tangent, I recently discovered that the ghost pepper, or habanero, is commonly used in african cooking (do I recall that it was east africa or the congo? not sure). I’ve always worried about the heat of these peppers, but I’ve found they add a very complex, fruity, almost smoky flavor when used in prep (as in cooked in, not sprinkled on top as garnish). Related to diet, meat consumption and the like, I’ve been getting more beans, so many different varieties makes it possible to have a varied menu but I still eat a couple of steaks a month without any decent justification. Stew is great as it gets lots of vegetables involved. I avoid ground meat, but the local market on san juan island makes their own italian sausage, and since I chat with the butcher I give myself a pass, along with the occasional hamburger, which tends to be better when you want it than it is after you’ve had it. Hmm. Cauliflower is a great meat substitute when cooking dal, stew, etc. Turmeric is good and good for you. One can have a hearty (pun intended, dad has a stent) vegetarian diet, and it’s pretty much never too late. Lose the sugar. Lose the sugar. Lose the sugar. There said it three times so it’s easy to remember. You don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy intensely flavorful and extremely healthy, food but it does take time to prepare, and a kitchen to prepare in. Currently also experimenting with veggie patty to replace the hamburger so any recipes for such would be appreciated as that task seems to be approaching rocket science.

A lot of this historically has been class driven. My father is originally from Europe and generally only eats white bread because it was poor people who ate whole grain bread, and nobody wanted to be viewed as poor. Wonderbread in the US was a similar type of phenomenon. So now the entire bread industry is structured around highly processed inexpensive white bread for shelf life while whole grain breads are generally more expensive and less available.

I’ve never really understood Wonderbread popularity as has no flavor, no texture, and falls apart easily. There has always been other brands of white bread that are far better and I do believe that the company’s multi-decade ad campaign was the reason for its success

“very healthy foods either dried or canned”

Canned food contains bisphenol A:

“The researchers found that people who consumed one canned food item in the past day had about 24% higher concentrations of BPA in their urine compared with those who had not consumed canned food. The consumption of two or more canned food items resulted in about 54% higher concentrations of BPA.” “eating canned soup resulted in a whopping 229% higher concentration of BPA compared with consuming no canned foods” (https://www.cnn.com/2016/06/29/health/canned-foods-bpa-risk/index.html

“Scientists have continued to examine whether BPA exposure from canned foods poses a health risk. The concern stems from how BPA can hack and disrupt the normal responses of hormones in the body. For instance, it can mimic the effects of estrogen. In doing so, it can reprogram cells, causing a plethora of health problems. .
“BPA exposure is associated with many adverse health effects including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, reproductive development issues, amongst others,” Hartle said.”

Dried food can be problematic, too. A lot of it is from countries that do not have good inspection or quality control standards.

Since evidence came out it could be harmful, many substitutes are being used–which appear just as bad.
https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)30861-3

From the article:
“Studies in monkeys, humans, fish, and worms suggest BPA effects extend across species…”

“Like with BPA, our data show that exposure to common replacement bisphenols induces germline effects in both sexes that may affect multiple generations.”

“Rapid production of structural variants of BPA and other EDCs circumvents efforts to eliminate dangerous chemicals, exacerbates the regulatory burden of safety assessment, and increases environmental contamination.”

Well, it seems you should only eat what you can grow, or following that, maybe can & freeze all you can of what’s in season (in glass containers)?

I remember my mom & gramma spending hours canning various foods from the garden.
As a kid, I (now regrettably) had no interest in such things so I’d grab my cane pole & head to the pond to fish, or catch turtles & frogs.

“Margulis also pointed out that low-income Americans may be most at risk.”

“The study found more than half the cans purchased at 99 Cents Only contained BPA.”

“In many areas, dollar stores are the only places people can go for fruits and vegetables,” said Margulis.

Anyone remember the recent articles here on NC about dollar stores & how they’re rapidly moving into poor areas?

One of our son’s friends works in Head Start programs. In addition to early education, childhood development, Head Start hosts paernts and caregivers to sessions on identifying healthy inexpensive nutritious foodstuffs, readily available if one is not in a food desert, along with home economics.

Teach a man to fish… then cut funding for Head Start

Some practical advice for those with zero spare time and little money:
1. Get a slow cooker. Put vegetables (root) and a little meat (ideally) in first thing in the morning, you get dinner at night. Leftovers for work-lunch. Ground pork is cheap meat and adds flavouring, barley and lentils go straight in without soaking and add texture and thickening
2. Dried beans/pulse as much cheaper than canned, cook fast in a pressure cooker if you soak for 24 hours first. Extras freeze well. You have to plan ahead… but since you now are, the cheapest cooking is to bring up to pressure and hold there for 5 mins, then turn off and ignore for 2-12 hours. Ready in the morning or evening if you do this in the evening or morning. No bacteria will get into a pressure cooker after cooking, so it’s a free big “can”
until opened.
3. Personal opinion… Indian vegetarian recipes are the nicest

“One may regret living in a period when it is impossible to form an idea of the shape the world of the future will assume. But there is one thing I can predict to eaters of meat: the world of the future will be vegetarian.” – Adolf Hitler

In a diary entry dated 26 April 1942, Joseph Goebbels described Hitler as a committed vegetarian, writing,

“An extended chapter of our talk was devoted by the Führer to the vegetarian question. He believes more than ever that meat-eating is harmful to humanity. Of course he knows that during the war we cannot completely upset our food system. After the war, however, he intends to tackle this problem also. Maybe he is right. Certainly the arguments that he adduces in favor of his standpoint are very compelling.”

Time: If you are exhausted from working 2 or more jobs (esp. if you travel), a microwave meal is a god send
Precarity: Food might be the one area of your life where you get some instant satisfaction from an otherwise deteriorating situation
Cost: basic things like nuts and dried beans are proportionally higher priced than many over-processed foods in the super market + some take time to prepare
Income consumed by cost of living: a mate in NYC once commented upon a couple whose wages barely covered their rent for a room. They had no cooking facilities. Yes they ate tinned food and some dated fruit, but once a day they wanted a hot meal which consisted of fried rice from a local takeaway
Advertising: keeping up appearances, being in the in-crowd
Other: as PK covered already

And lets face it, people are waking up to the fact that many are barely getting by or having to go to modern soup kitchens, called Food Banks in the UK (without the slightest bit irony). Meanwhile other people are worried about making sure their fortunes are not subject to UK taxes or, as one leading proponent of Brexit has done, setting up a financial business in the EU (Dublin) to ensure their fortune continues to grow. In such circumstances healthy eating is a subject that is at the bottom of many people’s concerns or expectation.

This situation is surely a sign that the rights of the wealthy now triumph over the common good.

“Soup kitchens” and “Food banks” are not the same thing, though they may at times occupy adjoining space. Soup kitchens feed people, the poor, the indigent, etc. and food banks give away boxes or bags of donated food to be prepared at home.

As a South African living in a small town I have never even seen most of the foods mentioned in the article. I am also quite sure that not even rich South Africans can buy most of those foods in the cities.

I read somewhere that child deaths in the UK dropped sharply during WWII. That was due to rationing. The government told the population that there will not be much food available, but that the food on the rations cards will always be available. And people were forced to eat everything available, and that included all the vegetables.

Maybe it is time to bring rationing back.

“Hoosier roots: New exhibit looks at greenhouse legacy”

“More than 80 growers featured these “acres under glass,” providing fresh vegetables and fruit to central Indiana year-round.”

““The German Growers of Indianapolis” gathers historical photographs and images dating back into the 1860s, combining it with first-person accounts of the southside’s greenhouse heritage from families who still practice it.”

““Right now, there’s a growing interest in the farm-to-table movement, locally grown, locally sourced foods. I think it’s notable to recognize that 150 years ago, there were folks who were developing a robust system of locally grown and distributed produce,” Gonzales said.””

1860’s is before we started generating food from fossil fuels. These were year-round sources, and Indianapolis is not warm in the winter.

One of the planetary health diet’s recommendations was to eat less – much less – red meat. Beef typically consumes far more resources than vegetables do. Eating more beans and vegetables should generally be a cheaper option if land is not given over to growing corn and soybeans to feed to pigs and cattle.
India was predominantly vegetarian for ages, largely for reasons of poverty. Vegetarian travellers have told me it used to be unnecessary to ask if a street meal contained meat you could assume that it didn’t.
Of course, as countries like China and India have developed, meat consumptioin has increased. And of course, UK agribusiness and its cousin the food industry make it easier to eat junk food than healthy food. But there’s nothing inherently more expensive about a healthier diet.

Seems to me that a sustainable diet would likely be dependent on where you live. How sustainable is shipping almonds around the world if you don’t live in a place that grows them?

Personally, I think we’d do better focusing on eating locally produced and processed food, rather than vegetables from thousands of miles away.

Yep, I was giving their menu suggestions the strong side eye. Hardly any of that stuff would be “local” in much of the U.S., much less U.K.

Hint: if it’s fresh and not local, it most likely is not sustainable.

I agree D. I would like to know how they calculated the greenhouse gas costs of the various foods… I eat beef from a local area farmer. The abattoir is also small and local. I think there would much less greenhouse gas from this than from eating supermarket beef from a huge factory farm.
I know the beef I get is not afffordable to all, but the point is that a one size fits all diet is not the best prescription. Local sourcing and learning to eat seasonally are important.
Fruits and vegetables need to be subsidized so that they are affordable to more people.
I am glad the 10B diet plan is making the news but like many of you writing here, I hope it doesn’t just end up being about status and virtue signalling nonsense.

” … focusing on eating locally produced and processed food, rather than vegetables from thousands of miles away.”

Exactly. On my cousin’s farm in NW Pennsylvania, a small sauerkraut making facility loads up 500 pounds of cabbage then produces the yummiest fermented cabbage. Of course, local families haul off pounds of cabbage and then have a weekend of shared shredding and salting. You can add other firm veggies, as well as garlic and hot peppers. And then it morphs into kim chee!

Fermentation is a low-energy (as compared to canning) method of food preservation.

Here in Seattle, we discovered that kiwi’s are local, when, at a dance evening, a gardener brought in a bushel of the fruit from her kiwi vine and begged us all to take some. It was a zucchini moment! And, I have noticed hardy greens, kale and collards, flourishing on the garden spaces between sidewalk and road. Fresh greens in January!

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/19839/chow-chow-i/
yum. green tomatoes and hot peppers. cans easily. (lots of green tomatoes for us northwesterners)

Kiwis grow in (parts of) Montana too! Eating local can also be “exotic”.

For my part, I really wish more peeps around here in the inland NW US would remember how to eat things like service berries and choke cherries, and maybe a little biscuit root and thimble berry while their at it. And how about lamb’s quarter and purslane, if you’re wanting some greens? We’re surrounded by edibles that most people are oblivious to, as our diets have been standardized and globalized. As a friend pointed out to me recently, practically every “weed” people pull out of their gardens is edible.

In gardens here – and growing wild from garden overspill – I see thousands of red amaranth growing and blooming. This is “pigweed” and you can eat it (stems, stalks,leaves,seeds), and it tastes great, and, if it matters to you, it is gluten-free.

Whenever I plant seeds, I offer seedings to whomever… tomatoes and the squash family are easy to grow, and root vegs or herbs are fun in a window box.

A diet richer on or exclusively made of vegetables is desirable from the point of view of sustainability, as well as population control. Such a change supposes modifications on the whole supply chain, some of them challenging if a big chunk of is it be be eaten fresh or at least unprocessed in dried forms. From seedlings to the table a lot of things should change. In high latitudes, keeping a continous supply of fresh vegetables comes at a cost.

I suppose the planetary diet has been thougth taking in account all that.

This is all much ado about nothing. Climate change is accelerating more than predicted. Chemical contamination of our waters, land and air is far worse than predicted and much worse than most people understand. Whether people living in food poverty can afford a climate healthy diet is sadly not an issue when it is very likely they will not have enough food. There are no “low hanging fruit fixes” that make any difference at this point. We all in the 99% are going to have logarithmically shrinking choices forced on us just through scarcity in our foods to medical choices. All these problems and their severity have been known by our governments and the 1%. If there were a rational plan for a solution we would have been engaged in it a long time ago. It is very likely the 1% have a plan for their continuation and the rest of us are not part of that plan. To say things are dire at this point is being very optimistic.

Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism.

> It is very likely the 1% have a plan for their continuation and the rest of us are not part of that plan. To say things are dire at this point is being very optimistic.

The plan is “pay what it costs.” The inevitable follow-up to “what if there is climate change that reduces food production by 50%” is an economic one: That’s just a supply shock. Prices will change, capitalism will tick on as usual. Please don’t bring up complete societal collapse.

The other view is a kind of technological soteriology: when things get bad enough to make it cost effective, smart young capitalists will engineer our way out of the problem. Lab-grown meat, vertical farming, weather modification technology.

The only real challenge is keeping the churls from tearing down the whole system before it has had a chance to do its work.

Funny thing about vegetables: It’s easy and fun to grow them. And then you can save the seeds. But there’s no corporate profit in that.

There is so much more to vegan diets than chickpeas and kidney beans.

There is a whole world of other beans such as: Aduki, Lima, and Split Mung beans, to name a few.

As someone who has (mostly) eaten whole food, plant-based for several decades now, I can testify to the health effects. I’m sick far less often than when I ate meat, milk, sugar and oil. I’m far more energetic, and take zero medications, other than aspirin.

As for whether such diets suit the poor: The cost of dried beans is far less than any meat, too. And with good salsa, you can eat tree bark.

My guess is the frou frou fancy schmancy meals suggested in the planetary health diet serve to attract the (wealthy) community leaders, while beans and tortillas will serve the poor. Either way people will have difficulty if they have to work too many hours to cook…but then beans are an easy-to-cook way to surmount that. The Mexicans have the right idea (although my French-based friends have complained they have difficulty finding tortillas).

drmcdougall.com, and forksoverknives.com are two excellent sources of both recipes and testimonials about the kinds of good health effects these diets have. The cures (and I mean cures, not sustained medication) include stuff like diabetes, heart and artery disease, autoimmune diseases (lupus, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis). This is not light weight stuff.

Meanwhile, a (flawed) UN report says livestock is responsible for more global warming than human transportation…

That said, my family remains skeptical, so I’ve stopped trying to persuade them to eat differently. Their health has suffered, but things have to be really bad for people to change their ways, I guess.

> although my French-based friends have complained they have difficulty finding tortillas

I can’t imagine any bread easier to make than a tortilla. Flour + butter + salt + water + skillet takes

10min to crank out enough for a meal.

“drmcdougall.com, and forksoverknives.com are two excellent sources of both recipes and testimonials about the kinds of good health effects these diets have”

The best source of information is a blood sugar meter, and bloodwork lab results. I was a vegan (for ethical reasons, but it was “health food”) for 19 years (and then vegetarian for 3 more years) and it was not good for my blood sugar. I found out by accident (I was stuck in a hospital tending a relative for weeks on end, and had no choice re what to eat) that my blood sugar is much better if I also eat beef and fish. People need real data on themselves. You don’t really know what your relatives’ health would be like if they were vegan it might be better or it might be worse.

Was your bs too high or too low?

Too high. For 19 years I ate as a “health food vegan” (all beans and whole grains) the only fat I consumed was olive oil. I was vegan for ethical reasons, but it was the “health food” version (not fritos and candy). I became prediabetic. Cutting carbs (as a vegetarian you can’t really cut carbs as a vegan) didn’t help. However, now that I am eating beef and fish, my blood sugar is normal. I’m not eating tons of it one small serving a day. I am guessing it either is a matter of gut bacteria (omnivore and vegans have different gut bacteria), or that this reduces my cortisol levels (thereby lowering my blood sugar).

“courgette, cavolo nero and tomato gratin with breadcrumbs and almonds, and a green salad and polenta on the side” – is this description designed to intimidate? This is just zuchini, kale (both grow like weeds!) and tomato casserole, with cornbread!! And, further, it can be cooked up in a plain frying pan…. sheesh, what were they intending? And to save $ for the important (Vit B12) meat, just try fasting for a day each week (after talking with doctor)…it’s healthy weight loss! : )

Fasting may not be good for some women. When I fast, my blood pressure skyrockets if you look around online that is not rare. My guess (just a guess) is that it is due to cortisol levels women have spent millennia eating little bits of food (e.g. everyone else’s leftovers) in an ongoing way, and if there is no food at all (the kids can’t even manage to catch a lizard) their body tells them that the situation is dire. If you try fasting, check your blood pressure often. And don’t expect your doctor to know this.

Eating little bits of leftover food? And here I thought I was misanthropic.

First, how a society decides who, what, and when you eat is very different among the vastly different human cultures especially across time. Even today there are plenty of people living in societies other than the patriarchal ones from European, Indian, Chinese!

The smaller, poorer, less “sophisticated” a society is, generally the more egalitarian it is, because they are usually more dependent on each other. It is true that agrarian societies are generally more patriarchal, but even that covers everything from near equality to near slavery. Farming has only been around for less than twenty thousand years whereas hunter-gathering societies stretch back millions of years.

Second, is quite possibly the reason for our two genetic bottlenecks. Aside from those caused by war, famines have been been declining in only the past two centuries compared to the previous millions of years of episodic famine. All this explains why humans (over)react to any food shortage and why many people from poor, often hungry, societies have their bodies fall apart when enjoying modern Western diets or even people who suffered hunger or severe stress as a child. If you come from a family that comes from such a place especially in the last two generations, it won’t be pretty.

This is nonsense, the more plant based humans become the sicker they get.

Humans are more carnivorous than plant eaters.

Plant based is carbs with fiber. The fiber makes a big difference in reducing glycemic load (some of the carbs get pooped out sorry to get graphic) and even keto guys in finance like Karl D eat a lot of green vegetables. . It’s true simple carbs (sugars, grain products etc…) can cause problems but the blue zones all have higher carb diets and longevity is associated with their diets (Japanese Okinawa etc…). I know some people do well with keto but genetic factors are real (Apo E 3/4 makes high fat diet problematic for example). This issue is a lot more complex than we like to think. Phytonutrients (the pigments in plants) simply cannot be gotten through animal products and are important immune chemicals for the plants and for us. I find it hard to endorse zero carbs for anyone but I hear ya all carbs is no good either.

Yes, people have eaten lots of carbs in many places for thousands of years, so people aren’t just getting diabetes because they eat carbs as that is nothing new under the sun. But the carbs were less refined (although not always totally unrefined), they weren’t particularly overweight, and they probably got more exercise. So all that counts, but the less refined is probably the majority of it. Now animal products do have some nutrients it’s difficult to get from plants so there is that point against an entirely vegan diet.

Nonsense. Seventh Day Adventist men live over seven years longer on average than other men, and women live on average over four years longer.

Individual doctor promotion of fad diets proves nothing. There are also doctors who do back fusion surgery (hugely expensive and does no good), stem cell treatments, and fake stem cell treatments (amniotic tissue, which has no live material) and will give human growth hormone for anti-aging (cancer futures).

However, you need to take into account – none of the Seventh Day Adventists supposedly smoke – or drink. They get their stress the healthy way – through exercise. They have a supportive community. Also, they are all not strict vegetarians… It varies. This is from an article I read (CBN News 02-07-2015)

“Many Loma Linda residents, like Welebir, are total vegetarians. Others will eat eggs and some have dairy such as cheese and milk. There is a group that eats fish, and there are those who eat small amounts of poultry and beef.”

How could this group not live longer than Americans in general?

The person to whom I was responding argued that eating a lot of vegetables was unhealthy. The Seventh Day Adventists show that is bunk.

Yes. Fair enough. Does not seem like those vegetables are doing them in. (Good to know – I do like my cabbage, and my oatmeal)
I also do wonder: is there a group of contemporary people, who live as healthy lifestyle as the Seventh Day Adventists – but have also been ‘Carnivore’ (Paleo, Keto, Atkins) diet for a long enough period to be fairly compared to the Seventh Day Adventists in longevity outcomes?

“One diet to rule them all, one diet to bind them….”

After 19 years as a vegan, and then 3 years as a dairy-eggs vegetarian (both for ethical reasons, but as it happens I ate the “health food” version of each), I am now eating fish and beef. Because my blood sugar is a lot lower if I eat fish and beef. I’m not happy about it, but I have a glucose meter and a lot of data. People vary a lot and what is a healthful diet for one person is not for another.

Cheap processed foods came on the market post WW2. The problem today is overconsumption of processed foods, delicious, calorie rich, fat rich and sugar rich. In the bad old days from Finland to Ireland the balanced diet consisted of potatoes, cabbage , milk fresh and sour, small amounts of meat usually pork and smaller amounts of fish. An often cited Finnish study from the 1980s’ determined that the people who lived the longest lived in rural areas in poverty where they grew their own potatoes and cabbage and either owned a milch cow or bought their milk locally unprocessed and unfiltered. They also kept laying hens who when they stopped laying eggs became hen stew. Prosperity which led to widespread availability of processed food engineered for taste and laden with chemicals, sugar and fat has shortened lifespans considerably. Usually by causing diabetes and heart problems. I grew up in a town of 6,000 in Ireland where I knew of only one overweight person, that person died early (50s’) of diabetes. Ireland today is well on its way to the widespread chronic health problems of the developed world.

When I was tending a relative in the hospital a few months ago, he wanted a McDonald’s cheeseburger, so we got one. Then he didn’t want to eat it. So I (a decades-long vegan/vegetarian) ate it, since there was nothing else for me to eat and the animal was dead already anyway it would otherwise be discarded. It was unbelievably tasty. I was stunned it was so tasty. And then it took over my brain for weeks and weeks I thought of that cheeseburger. No, I haven’t had another one, but whatever they put in that stuff is really tempting.

Something a lot of people miss when they talk about processed food is probably 90% of the reason they are eaten so much by people living on the edge of poverty. They don’t take long to prepare. If you are making minimum wage, you are often working long hours, sometimes two or three jobs, trying to make ends meet. Even if you are able to afford whole foods, and many times they are far more expensive than the processed ones (which makes no sense!) the time and effort, and equipment, it required to prepare the whole foods is beyond what they are able to manage. If you come home from working 2 jobs, 12-16 hours a day, often highly physical labor, you are most likely exhausted and not in the mood to spend an hour or two fixing dinner. Often working 7 days a week doesn’t help with food prep either. Then there’s the myriad of specialized equipment from blenders to mandolins, to pressure cookers to food processors, etc. that are needed to prepare those dishes.

Imagine, you have a burner and possibly a microwave. You have a couple of pans and a spatula. You have salt and pepper and maybe hot sauce. You don’t have a convenient whole foods store, so you have to travel to find quality whole foods ingredients. In addition to which you still have all the normal tasks of living: cleaning, washing dishes, washing yourself, taking care of children, etc. You still have to travel back and forth to possible two or three jobs each day so your work, including travel is often 18 hours a day.

You come home from 16 hours of hard, physical labor followed by an hour commute on the bus or train and you need to fix a meal. Do you fix “courgette, cavolo nero and tomato gratin with breadcrumbs and almonds, and a green salad and polenta on the side” which sounds fairly labor and ingredient intensive, or do you open a can of soup or slap a processed burger in the microwave? Common sense says make the food as fast and easy as possible. That is a lot of the reason why people living on the edge are often not eating whole food, nutritious meals every day.

Thank you, material conditions are extremely important. The millions of food carts on every street corner Southeast Asia have a similar function (and who wants to go home and cook in a sweltering, non-airconditioned micro-apartment after a long day?) Though of course corporate food in venues like 7/11 is competing with them, and the middle classes often want to clean them up, i.e. away. It’s too bad we can’t incentivize food carts in this country with the same sort of tax breaks Big Ag gets.

This is also a result of the trend towards two earner nuclear families and the disappearance of extended families.
My Mom lives with my youngest sister and her “assemblage of genetic kin” group. This was facilitated by Lydia’s husband being from a Spanish immigrant family. The practice of extended family living was still culturally strong with both her and Ralph. (And yes, he does spell it Ralph. He says that is a perfectly acceptable spelling in Espanya. [Sorry but I don’t have a tilda key.]) The point being that when the children of Ralph and Lydia were young, Grandmom, (she has gotten used to that usage by now,) acted as the caretaker while the ‘parents’ did their respective things. One of the skills that family emphasized was that the children learn cooking.
So, would we consider extended families to be class based or economically based? The two categories are not necessarily the same. One’s familial culture plays a big part too.
Sorry for the rant.

“then there’s the myriad of specialized equipment from blenders to mandolins, to pressure cookers to food processors, etc. that are needed to prepare those dishes. ”

oh my I’ve been cooking my whole life with none of these things but a blender. I get the overall point but the arguments are getting pretty silly, you don’t need all this to cook.

I think anyone who works for a living comes home exhausted and wanting to do anything but cook so it’s not hard to relate to at all, it’s an extrapolation of exhaustion and more importantly having even less time.

People shouldn’t be forced to choose between eating well, and eating in an environmentally conscious way. In Britain, where food deserts are becoming increasingly commonplace,

So what are you doing to change that?

What cheap food has low environmental impact?
What are you doing to support grocery stores in low income areas?


5. What about children and enemas?

We all love our children very much and want the best for them. When we are faced with a constipated child, it is sometimes confusing to figure out what to do. For instance, moving the bowels on a regular basis is crucial to optimal health and often solutions in the realm of alternative health do work, but your child starts screaming anytime you mention an enema. Or, you have a constipated baby, moving her bowels less than once a day and you are scared at the thought of giving her an enema.

Enemas can be great for any age and yes, it can be a tricky activity to take part in. With the very young, I use diet and homeopathics daily or when needed and enema only very occasionally and of course with very little water or a ayurvedic oil enema. With older children, I have found that taking things slowly, and exchanging ideas with them, so they can take the tool on as their own, really works the best. You have to look at it as a long-term project and be relaxed and warm. Best is to consult with your doctor, naturopath or holistic colon hydrotherapist.


Ensure Clear™ Therapeutic Nutrition

The front of the package for Ensure Clear portrays an orange drink with an apple next to it, the back of the package is quick to verify, however: this product “contains no apple juice” or any juice. Instead, its two main ingredients are water and sugar. It also contains the following:

Corn Syrup Solids are made of dehydrated corn syrup, which is 100% glucose, a type of sugar that adds to the risk of obesity. Corn syrup is also almost always made from GMO corn and has been linked to diabetes, and cancer. 4,5

Cupric sulfate is actually a pesticide and fungicide that is toxic and can cause gastrointestinal issues, anemia, and even death at high doses. It is also genotoxic, meaning it can cause the cells to mutate due to genetic damage. 6

Chromium chloride is toxic 7 and has negative effects on the reproductive system for both men and women, stomach problems, abnormal bleeding, and ulcers.

Sodium Selenite is a toxic ingredient produced as a byproduct of copper metal refining. Yet, it is often labeled as a “nutrient.” The Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as dangerous. 8

Natural and Artificial Flavors can include a row of different chemicals, often derived from inorganic sources, and are harmful to health, adding to the contributions for illnesses in the whole body, including different types of cancers.

Synthetic Vitamins:

While our bodies, especially when sick, do require a lot of vitamins, there is a huge difference between natural vitamins derived from food or natural sources, versus synthetic vitamins.

Unfortunately, the vitamins contained in Ensure products and other commercialized “health” foods and supplements are almost always synthetic and are manufactured with chemicals. 9 Generally speaking, when a new study comes out that claims that some vitamin is toxic at high levels, it is because only the synthetic version of it has been studied, yet it gets lumped together with natural vitamins.

Synthetics do not get absorbed by the body in the same way as natural vitamins because they have been “isolated”—they are separated from the entire vitamin complex and trace minerals and enzymes. What a synthetic vitamin is lacking, the body tries to make up for by itself and depletes its existing nutrients in the process. 10

“This process results in an overall negative health effect while minimizing any gains that could have been achieved by the supplement,” according to “Nutri-Con: The Truth about Vitamins & Supplements” report by The Hippocrates Health Institute.

Other Ingredients Include:

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate is a synthetic kind of Vitamin E. Not only is the synthetic kind only 12% as effective as natural Vitamin E, it is often created as a byproduct of a petrochemical dependent manufacturing process. 11,12 It also has been associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, DNA damage, and other adverse effects. 13

Ferrous sulfate: a synthetic form of iron, and can cause constipation, nausea, allergic reactions, and gastrointestinal issues. 14

Niacinamide is a synthetic form of vitamin B3 and its side effects 15 include a few dozen conditions, including liver failure.

Manganese sulfate is made “from the reaction between manganese oxide and sulfuric acid” and is often is used in paints and varnishes, fertilizers and fungicides, and ceramic, besides medicines (manganese itself is a mineral).

Calcium Pantothenate is a synthetic substance made from pantothenic acid, trying to mimic natural vitamin B5.

Vitamin A Palmitate is a synthetic form of vitamin A, which like many others above can cause liver damage and stomach issues.

Zinc Sulfate is an organic form of zinc and can be toxic to cells, as well as dangerous to the environment.

Sodium molybdate is a chemical form of sodium, and it has shown to have negative effects on fertility in animals.

Other synthetic vitamins are also included, and additional ingredients are: Whey Protein Isolate (likely from cows fed GMO corn), Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (a synthetic form of vitamin C that is usually inorganic and hard for the body to digest), Folic acid, Biotin, and Vitamin D3.

This is just the ingredient list of one of Ensure’s top products, and as you can see it’s basically nutritionally worthless compared to real, honest food.


My kids don't eat real food. Any advice on getting them to branch out?

My five year old thumbs her nose at everything, and right now she's living off of fruit, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, pasta, and pierogies. She won't even think of touching a vegetable. She doesn't eat any decent proteins and the only calcium she gets is through string cheese and GoGurt. Because of this, I limit her candy/sugar intake as much as I can, but I still worry that she's not getting enough nutrition.

My 18 month old is starting to fall into her sister's footsteps. As far as protein goes, she lives off of hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks. She used to eat a wide variety of things like eggs, broccoli, peas, beans. now she won't have any of it.

A few nights a week I have to make 2-3 different meals so that everyone is satisfied, but I feel so guilty because they're not eating anything good for them, and it takes up the very small, precious amount of time I get with them after work. Help!

The only way to make it stop is to stop serving 2-3 different meals and let them get a bit hungry. Also, no snacks. If you don't eat dinner, your plate goes in the fridge and you can have some of that if you get hungry later.

If you serve only nutritious foods and don't make chicken nuggets and fish sticks an option, then your kids will eat nutritious foods.

I addressed this in another comment, but I understand that by accommodating and making separate meals I'm not really helping, but I don't want to spend my whole night fighting or making my kids eat things they genuinely don't like - I personally would not be okay with someone doing that to me but I will try to enforce eating the family meal more often and find more kid-friendly healthy recipes.

As far as not offering the unhealthy foods, sometimes that isn't an option. There are a few times where I simply don't have the time to make a good meal or money is strapped too tight for fresh things but I'm going to try budgeting and pre-prepping meals to help avoid this in the future.

We started doing a poster with my son for "new foods" and when he fills it up with pictures of new foods he can trade the completed poster for a toy. It's been a few weeks, and last night before bed he asked me if we could have carrots for dinner tonight. I just GIS pictures of the foods, let him pick the picture he likes, cut and paste the image into MS Word, resize it to an appropriate size, print it and let him cut and glue it onto the poster. The size I use depends on how "challenging" or new the food is. He's been eating lots of things that he maybe ate when he was much younger (pre-picky phase) but refusing more recently, or that he always refused.

This is a really great idea! I think my daughter outs things before she tries them simply because they don't look 'normal'. I mean I can understand - I did that as a kid sometimes too. I'll have to try this out tho. Thank you!

Great idea. Nice to read some actual advice instead of judgment on this thread.

We do a "No thank you bite," with my 4 year old and it's gotten him to branch out a ton! He prefers a diet of celery, carrots, granola, and goat cheese though.

I don't mean this to offend but it's possible that catering to them and making them separate meals every night night may be more hindering. Make one meal, put it on their plates. Put at least one thing on there you know they like. For anything new, they should try at least one bite before they can decide they don't like it. Also, Raising A Happy, Healthy Eater , was a huge help too.

This is good. We do a 2 bite rule. He has to eat 2 bites before he can tell me he doesn't like it.

No snacks, nothing with sugar in it, and start introducing the healthy food. Once they have eaten it, they will e used to it and will eat it without much fuss.

There was an article a few months back, about how we learn our heating habits at around 18 months old, but we can still learn even as adults - eating small amounts of the intended veggie or protein.

So, blanch the broccoli, boil the carrots (to make it soft), make sure you don't overcook the eggs, and involve the kids in the preparation of foods: help whisking eggs, or adding spices, or choosing the spices when marinating the meat. Take the breading out of the meat, because you are simply stuffing the kids with carbs, but they really need the protein.

They will still make faces, but I'll rather have faces with a healthy diet that smiles with jelly. And eliminating the sugar has very important long term benefits that will actually improve their health during their lives.

I totally agree that I need to introduce more healthy options, but I can't say that I agree with cutting out sugar completely. My mom never let me have candy or junk food, so when I was old enough to buy it myself I binged hard and am having a lot of trouble weaning myself off sugary foods.

My kids are allowed to have small sugary snacks after they have eaten a decent meal. I think it's done them good because sometimes my daughter will even thumb her nose at candy offered to her and choose a fruit instead. I think overall sugar isn't that bad as long as it's in moderation.

I totally understand NOT wanting to spend the precious time you have with your kids fighting with them over food. That's definitely not how you want to spend your evenings.

So how about I offer you a compromise? You cook 1 meal - the meal is balanced and has a fruit, vegetable, protein, and carb. You serve the food on the table, family style. Your children (the 18 mo old will obviously need help but she can try) serve themselves, choosing from the items on the table. Use appropriately sized serving spoons. The only rule is that they may only serve themselves one serving at a time, and to get a second serving, they must try one bite of every other food on the table (I will detail this more below).

If they don't eat, they don't eat. You cannot force them and I don't recommend you try. Also, you will not argue, you will not bribe. You will not even comment on their eating at all when possible. You will talk about anything else but food at the dinner table.

So here's how the first night is going to go:

You make a beautiful dinner consisting of chicken breast, pasta (plain of course, don't wan't to KILL your kids by suggesting they try their pasta WITH sauce), steamed broccoli, and apple slices. You excitedly call your kids down for dinner and ask them to sit down. They are confused by the food on the table and ask where their chicken nuggets/hot dogs are. You happily tell them that there are no chicken nuggets. They start to panick - "no mom, I don't like this - I want chicken nuggets." You calmly repeat, no chicken nuggets tonight - here [older daughter], here is the serving spoon, why don't you pick some food to put on your plate?" Still confused and slightly shaky, your older daughter takes 2 apple slices and puts them on her plate. You ask her if she would like to try anything else, she replies "no." You repeat this exchange with your 18 month old, who points at the pasta. You hand her the spoon and assist her in putting some pasta on her plate. You and your (husband?) both sit down and each fill your plate with one serving of each item. Then you start talking about your day, what went well, etc. After 2 minutes, your older daughter has finished her apples. Again, she asks for chicken nuggets. You tell her, "there are no chicken nuggets, you may choose from the other foods on the table though - what would you like to try next?" "I DON'T LIKE ANY OF THIS!" she cries! You reply, "ok" Obviously she does not appreciate this answer and she begins to legitimately cry. You ignore this. As she gets more and more worked up, you remain calm. If she begins to freak out more, to the point that you are concerned she will throw something, it might be time to bring her to her room to calm down. No matter what though, you will not argue, you will not yell, you will not really even discuss the matter. Your 18 month old may or may not eat a whole meal.

After your older daughter calms down, she will again ask you for chicken nuggets. When you AGAIN respond that there are no chicken nuggets, she may eventually settle on some plain pasta. Then she will be satiated enough to be "done" with dinner. You agree to let her down, with the warning that food will not be offered again tonight, even if she gets hungry. She gets down anyways.

Two hours later, your daughter complains of hunger. TOUGH SHIT KID. Remind her that there is no food after dinner, and she may have water. She can have breakfast tomorrow morning. She's not going to like this and again, will probably have a meltdown. She's not going to sleep well (I also suggest you start this over the weekend). Neither are you. Try again tomorrow.

Over the next few days, your daughter will learn the rules and understand the consequences of not eating what is offered. What's very important about this method is that you do not push any foods on your kids, you don't bribe them. You are in control of one thing: what you put on the table and at what time the kids are offered food. they are in control of everything else: what they serve themselves, how much, how much they eat, when they are done. You will likely have plenty of days when your kids only eat the fruit and starch - one of the keys here is to ensure that their serving sizes are limited, because if your daughter eats an entire apple and a huge plate of pasta, she's not going to even get hungry until the next meal.

One of the keys to this method is that hungry kids will eat more often than not - snacks probably need to be pretty severely limited. You don't want your kids getting hangry/"starving", but a kid who is barely hungry isn't going to eat a food they find unappetizing.

Its also important to remember that your 18 month old is still quite young, and its normal for her to go through a picky eating phase right now. With her, continue to offer, allow her to serve herself, but also know that she's still basically a baby and is going to have weird habits. She might get a little more leniency than your 5 year old.

Don't dispair if this method doesn't work overnight. Some kids need to see a food upwards of 10+ times before they even deem it OK to put on their plate, let alone touch it or put it in their mouth.

If at any point you suspect your older (or younger) daughter is having significant issues with texture or is losing weight because of her refusal to eat, then this method probably isn't for her and there could be a deeper problem that you should consult a medical professional about.


The Optavia diet and Atkins diet are similar in the sense that they prioritize high protein as a source of fuel and as a weight loss aid. It’s worth noting, though, that the Optavia diet includes more processed and packaged food than the Atkins diet does.

Parade.com talked with with the co-founder of the Optavia diet, Dr. Wayne Andersen, also known as “Dr. A.” If you want to succeed on the Optavia diet, he offered tips on the best ways to create small, manageable habits around the way you eat. Here’s his advice:

Check in on your progress regularly

Dr. A: “Self-monitoring is critical for several reasons. Not only does it keep your goal top-of-mind as you encounter emotional and environmental challenges, but it allows you to recognize your progress, which creates confidence and, in turn, increases motivation to keep going. Consistently tracking progress also makes it easier to identify setbacks and get back on track. Journaling is a powerful tool that very few people use daily. Jotting down your thoughts, progress and challenges allows you to reflect on achievements and recognize weaknesses. In the Optavia program, clients are given a Lifebook, which is a tool that helps them discover what works for them as they’re learning to incorporate the Habits of Health into their lives. Journaling is a mindfulness exercise. Our modern lives are so busy that it’s easy to rush through the days, weeks and even years without pausing to contemplate where we are and where we want to go whether it be a health journey or any other life goal.”

Find a support system, and make sure they hold you accountable

Dr. A: “Everyone loves the tale of the person that pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and did it all on their own. However, any successful person will tell you it took a village when it came to accomplish their goals. So, get a workout buddy, a meal prep buddy, a lunchtime walking buddy, a personal trainer, a coach, a dietitian, a counselor or whomever you can to help you.”

Set realistic goals

Dr. A: “Since the key to habit formation is doing the action or routine consistently over time until it’s automatic, the key to instilling good habits is to make the action simple enough that you have the ability to do it every day. Start with the simplest, easiest goal imaginable. Make the threshold for success so low that you can’t help but be successful and begin to establish the habit through repetition first.”

Keep your surroundings healthy

Dr. A: “Focus on the people, places and things you surround yourself with, which create conditions that may make it easier for you to be successful. We have a tendency to blame the people, places and things we are exposed to when something goes wrong. While this may be problematic, it’s also true that our behavior is extremely dependent on our surroundings.”

People: “Our friends, family and co-workers influence how we act, from how we eat, move and sleep to how we handle stress and spend free time. When you associate with people who have the qualities you desire, you’re more likely to develop those qualities yourself. Joining a healthy community, like a group fitness class, can help you meet and engage with people who prioritize their health.”

Places: “The places we live, work and play need to support our daily choices and make it easier to avoid temptations. For example, it’s better to pick a healthy restaurant in advance than try to eat healthy off a wide-ranging menu once you’ve entered the front door.”

Things: “Modern life has benefited us in many ways but it’s also increased environmental stressors. As environmental stressors go up, so does our personal stress. For example, digital technology allows us to be more connected than ever, but it can also be distracting and unhealthy if not used in moderation. Identify the things in your life that are “kryptonite” and throw you off. Then, create an infrastructure for success by modifying your surroundings so you’re better able to make small improvements every day.”

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Use both self-compassion and accountability

Dr. A: “You won’t be successful one hundred percent of the time. You will fail and make mistakes. But when you do fail, reframe that experience as a learning opportunity and extend some self-compassion. At the same time, don’t let yourself off the hook completely. Stay committed and get back on track. Any journey, especially when it’s health-related, is a series of ups and downs, not a straight line.”

Find a “why” and a “how,” and check in on them frequently

Dr. A: “In order to achieve a goal, we need to identify both the why and the how. The why is, “Why is this important to me? Why am I willing to experience this discomfort?” The how is, “How am I going to achieve this goal? Who can help me?” Often, we fail because we only have one or the other. The mental aspect (why) is just as important as the tactical plan (how).”

Want to get a clearer look at all the different types of diets out there? Check out this list of 100 diets.


Five Foods to Feed Your Dog When He’s Sick

The following five foods are intended for use for dogs with mild stomach upset, including gas, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. As these symptoms are occasionally signs of a more serious problem, always check with your vet before taking treatment into your own hands. Dogs with existing health conditions like diabetes, cancer, allergies, and senior dogs might need additional nutrition to stay healthy.

Chicken and Rice: Chicken and rice are prime ingredients in many dog foods, and these mild foods sit well on upset canine stomachs. All you need are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and rice.

Shredded Chicken: Plain, unseasoned, boiled, shredded chicken is easy to digest and is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids, making it a great snack for dogs feeling under the weather.

Pumpkin: Pumpkin is high in fiber, which helps regulate canine digestive systems. Cooked, peeled, unsalted, and unseasoned pumpkin contains vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese.

Bone Broth: Bone broth is a very mild, liquid meal that sits easily in upset canine stomachs. It is also a nutritious and delicious way to add moisture and flavor to dry food and encourage dogs with reduced appetites to eat.

Baby Food: Baby food is very easy to swallow and digest and is a great way to give oral medications. Veterinarians recommend feeding Stage II meat-based baby foods like chicken, lamb, and turkey, as long as the baby food does not contain any garlic or onion powder.

Feeding a sick dog is challenging. Decreased appetite, upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting make caring for a sick dog stressful for both you and your pet. A bland diet can help relieve some of these symptoms while also giving your dog the nutrition he needs to recover.

The following five recipes are intended for use for dogs with mild stomach upset, including gas, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. As these symptoms are occasionally signs of a more serious problem, always check with your vet before taking treatment into your own hands. Only use these recipes once you have ruled out other health risks and discussed your plan with your veterinarian and remember that dogs with existing health conditions like diabetes, cancer, allergies, and senior dogs might need additional nutrition to stay healthy.

Chicken and Rice

Chicken and rice are prime ingredients in many dog foods, and these mild foods sit well on upset canine stomachs. Plus, this bland meal is easy to prepare. All you need are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and rice. White rice is lower in nutritional value than brown rice, but its blandness makes it more suitable for upset stomachs. Oils, butter, and added seasonings can irritate your dog’s stomach and make the problem worse, so stick with plain boiled chicken and rice and save the extra stuff for your own meal. Make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and cut or shred it into small, bite-sized pieces for your dog, since enthusiastic canines might choke on this unexpected treat.

Shredded Chicken

Shredded chicken is easy on upset stomachs and acts as a huge eating incentive for dogs with decreased appetites. Plain, unseasoned, boiled, shredded chicken is easy to digest and is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids, making it a great snack for dogs feeling under the weather. Chicken keeps in the fridge for three-to-four days, or you can freeze it for two-to-six months.

Pumpkin and sweet potato have similar digestive health benefits. Like sweet potatoes, pumpkin is also high in fiber, which helps regulate canine digestive systems. Cooked, peeled, unsalted, and unseasoned pumpkin contains vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese, giving your dog a nutritional boost along with a little digestive help.

Adding pumpkin to your dog’s meal usually helps regulate mild constipation. Veterinarians recommend one to four tablespoons of pumpkin, depending on your dog’s size. Canned pumpkin is a convenient alternative to preparing pumpkin yourself, as long as it is unseasoned. Feeding your dog a can of pumpkin pie filling might end up sending you back to the vet, as the spices and sugars could irritate your dog’s stomach and cause further complications.

Bone broth is a very mild, liquid meal that sits easily in upset canine stomachs. It is also a nutritious and delicious way to add moisture and flavor to dry food and encourage dogs with reduced appetites to eat. To make a bone broth for dogs, fill a crock-pot with beef marrow bones or bones with plenty of joints, like turkey and chicken legs. Cover the bones with 2-3 inches of water, cover, and cook on low for 20-24 hours.

Let the broth cool for 2-to-3 hours in the fridge to let the fat form a hardened layer at the top. Scoop it off and store the jelly-like broth in the refrigerator. If you want to use the broth to add moisture to dry food, microwave the broth just long enough for it to go from a semi-solid jelly to a liquid, but not long enough to get hot, as hot broths can burn your dog’s mouth. Freeze the broth in small containers like an ice cube tray for later use.

While bone broth is full of healthy bone marrow, cooked bones themselves are incredibly dangerous for dogs. Make sure you remove all of the bones from your broth before serving. Save yourself a trip to the emergency room and strain the broth just to make sure no small bones escaped your notice.

Veterinary emergency hospitals often use certain types of baby food to feed the dogs in their care. Baby food is very easy to swallow and digest and is a great way to give oral medications. Veterinarians recommend feeding Stage II meat-based baby foods like chicken, lamb, and turkey, as long as the baby food does not contain any garlic or onion powder.

While none of these recipes should be used as a replacement for proper medical care, feeding a bland diet can alleviate some of your dog’s intestinal discomfort while also providing him with foods he’ll love. These five recipes for dog digestive health also make delicious treats for when your dog starts feeling better, so consider saving some for later to reward your canine patient.


Keep it healthy(ish)

Yeah, okay, so you're probably not going to McDonald's because you're on a health kick. But that doesn't mean you have to completely pig out when you go there. McDonald's does have some things on their menu that are (relatively) good for you, and anyone who finds themselves in that weird gray area between wanting to eat healthy and really wanting a McDonald's would do well to take note of these menu items.

According to Thrillist, the healthiest McDonald's dishes include the Egg White Delight McMuffin, which comes in at 260 calories despite containing griddled egg whites, Canadian bacon, and a slice of cheddar. Elsewhere, you've got the plain hamburger, which makes a decent enough quick-fix meal at 250 calories the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich, which comes in at 380 calories and the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad, which hits 350 calories.

If you're after something sweeter, you could do worse than the Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfait (210 calories) or the Strawberry Banana Smoothie (190 calories, plus a bunch of fruit!). As with all things, the trick to keeping it healthy at McDonald's is taking all things in moderation. Even chicken nuggets will be fine as long as you're not gorging on them. And you're not doing that. right?