Living a Locally Supported Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition and Health’

Costco U.S.A. Takes Large Stride with Self-Inspection

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
 About to buy ground beef?  If you can’t go local, go Costco.

About to buy ground beef? If you can’t go local, go Costco.

With the onset of other super-size stores such as Walmart, Target, and the like, poor little Costco seems to have stepped off of center stage.  However, appearances aren’t always as they seem.  According to Wikipedia, the wholesaler “…is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States” as well as the number three biggest retailer in the country.  With that kind of size comes power, and Costco authorities have decided to use that magnitude of leverage wisely.  How so?  Well, the Washington-based corporation now self-tests all of the ground beef that gets into its hands— before it reaches the consumer.  That means less potential health-hazards like E. coli will be reaching people like you.  Now, that’s the sort of big news that’s worth talking about.
-Serena

Fast Company Deems Frito-Lay Best in Food for Sustainability

Monday, April 12th, 2010
Who would’ve thought that these chips would ever be considered healthy for anything?

Who would’ve thought that these chips would ever be considered healthy for anything?

One of America’s most sought-after snack foods has recently become more known for the plant that produces them than for the provisions themselves.  Fritos, those corn chips that are found everywhere from gas stations’ racks to your very own kitchen cabinets, are now the product of what is deemed as the top, innovating company in food for 2008 and 2009.  That’s right.  Frito-Lay was selected as Number One by Fast Company for its ecological attributes.  In Topeka, Kansas, Frito-Lay’s plant has earned a LEED Gold certification for its ever-decreasing water and energy use.  On the to-do list is for the plant to process its own waste by turning it into steam.  Will these gadgets get me to eat Fritos?  Probably not.  But, will it get me to write about the company in the hopes of inspiring other business owners to follow suit?  Why, it already has.
-Serena

Girl Scout Cookies, Made in the USA, are Simply No Good

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Spring is Girl Scout cookie season.  It’s the time of year when young girls, ages 6-16, and their super-involved parents stake out prime foot-traffic spots in order to sell you as many boxes as they can of their much-craved confections.  Or at least, that’s how I remember it.  I was once a Girl Scout.  Thereafter, I was just a happy consumer of Girl Scout cookies.  Now, it seems as if quite a lot has changed.  While the packages of Girl Scout cookies are clearly labeled as having been formed from recycled paper and their contents Made in the USA, I can no longer say that I proudly put the pieces of dessert into my mouth.  For starters, the names of most of them have changed.  What were once Samoas are now Caramel deLites, as if Americans were too ignorant to connect the look and flavoring of Samoas with the people and place that they were once named after.  Instead, Caramel deLites evoke a (faux) sense of (fake) health.  Now, come on.  Those caramel cookies are in no way “lite.”  Especially not when they contain 2% high fructose corn syrup.  Or, perhaps the commercial in propagandic support of the substance was produced by the same company that now creates these Girl Scout cookies?  Honestly, it does not matter.  I am simply saddened by a wonderful period of my own childhood that now seems tainted and by the current state of our country that profits from the excellent marketing of poor consumer products.

-Serena

Were Caramel deLites and Thin Mints named sarcastically?

Were Caramel deLites and Thin Mints named sarcastically?

Who Knew You Were a Chef, Filmmaker

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Consider yourself an “almost” chef?  How about a “kind of” filmmaker?  Well, win one of The Who Farm’s current contests and you may be able to elevate those titles to ones with greater degrees of certainty.  Before March 26th and 29th, respectively, submit your recipe or short to the organization.  Who knows, your creative pieces may be on the road to garner the same respect as The White House Garden sooner than you thought.
-Serena

The Who Farm’s ad for its contest for chefs.

The Who Farm’s ad for its contest for chefs.

Get to Know Small-scale Processing from Your Cell Phone

Sunday, March 21st, 2010
The USDA has created a help desk for small meat and poultry processors.

The USDA has created a help desk for small meat and poultry processors.

For those of you who are in the business of producing animal protein for local consumption, you may be interested in learning about the USDA’s recently launched hotline.  Though I have not personally made use of the new system by calling the toll free number, (877) 374-7435, it could be worth giving a try.  It was proposed to assist small processors of poultry and meat and should deliver with knowledge of governmental regulations, at the very least.  This initiative is part of the larger-scale “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program, also headed by our Department of Agriculture.  More information is available directly from the source, online.
-Serena

In Minnesota, More Local Foods for Schools

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
Cafeteria trays in Minnesota are changing for the better.

Cafeteria trays in Minnesota are changing for the better.

After learning that school districts in Indiana are lagging in the movement towards farm-to-cafeteria, I was pleased to hear that in Minnesota, such is not the case.  A study that was recently conducted by the Minnesota School Nutrition Association in partnership with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy showed exactly the opposite: in the Midwestern state, local food purchases among school districts doubled from 2008 to 2009.  Yes, they were reported to have doubled.  That is some exciting stuff.  Though for now, those foods are for the most part relegated to staples such as apples and potatoes, I can easily see that as more local foods are acquired, the variety of the items that are served will increase as well.  That will be an exciting day for Minnesotan growers and young eaters, I’m sure.
-Serena

Indiana Lacks Local Food, Learns What it Takes to Have It

Sunday, March 7th, 2010
Apples are one of the only local foods that Indiana school districts have acquired.

Apples are one of the only local foods that Indiana school districts have acquired.

Here’s one instance where local foods are NOT being incorporated into a school district, despite much demand.  In Indiana, it appears that the physical infrastructure and interpersonal relationships that would be needed to support a local food system are just not there.  While district parents have expressed a desire for such fresh foods, acquiring them has not proven to be as simple as just working with school faculty and staff.  Though frustrating, this is also a good thing.  Transitioning a food system from an industrial to a sustainable one takes heart, real drive, and hard work.  Only after Americans have given their all to changing the system can the fruits of their labor be long lasting.
-Serena

Movie, Cloudy, Brings Light to America’s Health and Habits

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a movie that I would not usually choose to see.  For one, I’m among the few no-fun people who just don’t really enjoy animations.  I also have no children or young friends to speak of, so I’m not accustomed to seeking out G-rated films for entertainment.  When on a recent United Airlines flight, however, I had no choice but to watch (or to not watch, I suppose) the one movie that was broadcast over the miniscule airplane screens.  Interestingly enough, I found the flick to have quite a bit of relevance to today’s American society.  Cloudy dealt with the pervasive issue of health in many forms: how Americans eat without abandon and how they’re given what they ask for (from family, friends, businesses, and the media) with often-negative repercussions.  If awareness is part of the solution, Cloudy surely brings light to the situation.

-Serena

 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs might be a good choice of movies for you and your young’uns to see.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs might be a good choice of movies for you and your young’uns to see.

Q&A with Pollan a Period Piece for this TIME

Saturday, January 30th, 2010
Courtesy of TIME, Pollan eats real food.

Courtesy of TIME, Pollan eats real food.

TIME magazine is an American institution.  It has been with this country through its highs and lows and in betweens, covering all news of importance since the 1920s.  This preface is what makes the publication of a Question and Answer period with Michael Pollan so noteworthy.  For foodies and locavores, Pollan has become a common champion; one who exalts the movement and educates the population one skeptic or unaware individual at a time.  Having his opinions in writing in a magazine such as TIME is a testament to the valor of what he thinks and produces as well as a miniature time capsule, so to speak, for where America is at this period of history.
-Serena

Consumers Make Sustainable Cities, Especially in San Francisco

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

What happens when an iconic city’s status is shadowed by one establishment’s discordant decision?  The media makes some noise to alert consumers to the event and advise them to uphold what that city stands for with their purchasing power, that’s what.  In San Francisco, where eating locally officially got its start in the United States, the oldest seafood restaurant in town recently began serving salmon that is imported from Scotland.  If the city were landlocked, then perhaps such a glitch would have been let slide.  Being an ocean-side city, however, there are few corners for San Francisco seafood establishments to hide when they commit blunders like the one made by Sam’s Grill & Seafood.  Besides having such eateries go back to serving local seafood, it is indeed important that eaters everywhere stay informed on which fish items are most sustainable to consume in their region.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium of California has just made it that much easier on all of us to stay on track with its latest iPhone application.  With a quick click to download and swish to find out which a region’s “Best Choice” is, we—and especially the San Franciscans—can bring back or simply elevate our respective locales to their very best status.
-Serena

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