Back to school time!

It’s September again, the beginning of a new school year. Healthy school lunches have generated heated discussions lately. Childhood obesity is a growing problem. The nutritional quality of the National School Lunch Program has been criticized by many, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was a TV hit, and most recently a USDA study determined that students who eat lunches provided by the National School Lunch Program are more likely to become overweight.

Unfortunately, it will probably take years for policy changes to improve the National School Lunch Program. For now, families can take charge of their health by packing healthy lunches to bring to school and work. Kids who enjoy eating healthy food can then set a good nutritional example for their friends and teachers in the school cafeteria.

Rose LoPiano, a young nutritarian student, took this idea one step further – she spread the word in her school about healthy eating by writing an essay about the merits of her high nutrient diet, called “A Better Choice Today, Longer Life Tomorrow.” This essay helped to earn her a place in an honors English class for the 2010-11 school year, and probably influenced many of her classmates.

Thanks to Rose for allowing us to reprint her essay here on Onlyourhealth! Great job, Rose!

A Better Choice Today, Longer Life Tomorrow

                Our society today is fueled by processed foods, animal products, dairy products, and sugary substances. The Standard American Diet which is based on the foods listed above is killing our people. Currently, eighty-five percent of the nation’s healthcare costs come from diet- related illnesses such as strokes and heart attacks. The only way to combat that and the Standard American Diet is to become a nutritarian. Nutritarians strive to consume more foods  with skyrocketing nutritional values, and food that is beneficial to their health. It is pivotal to make the change to a nutritarian lifestyle because of the harmful effects the Standard American Diet has on individuals, more energy from nutritarian eating, and it promotes health and longer life. It may seem challenging to eat  little else but nutrient dense foods, but the lifelong benefits it promises are worth it.

                The first key reason to being a nutritarian is to avoid the lethal effects the Standard American Diet has on individuals. By consuming a low intake of unrefined plant foods on that diet, the immune system becomes weakened. Therefore, frequent illness and premature death can occur. A diet consisting of animal products, pasta, fried food, and sugar are the building blocks of disease. Secondly, by eating foods without nutritional value and no antioxidants, waste products build up inside cells that lack necessary material needed for proper function. The average American consumes only seven percent of their calories from nutritional foods. Furthermore, adding fruits and vegetables to the Standard American Diet is not enough. To be a true nutritarian, individuals must make nutrient dense foods such as green vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes the center of their diet. Abandoning the Standard American Diet and becoming a nutritarian will increase one’s energy and productivity levels.

                A nutritarian lifestyle also gives individuals more energy and drive to complete tasks throughout the day. Firstly, being a nutritarian increases one’s stamina. Therefore, one will have more vigor to exercise and fully enjoy recreational activities. Secondly, being a nutritarian reduces fatigue which plagues many working people throughout the day. Empty calorie foods on the Standard American Diet makes one feel sluggish and lazy. Most importantly, nutritarian eating improves bodily functions, increases brain power, and promotes health.

                Lastly, being a nutritarian promotes health and combats disease. If individuals follow the eating routine of a nutritarian exactly, many diseases can be prevented and combated. Diseases such as type two diabetes, heart problems, strokes, cancer, and circulatory impediments can be healed and reversed. Furthermore, one can maintain a youthful complexion, age slower, have vigor and stamina, and live much longer. These results are proved and supported with years of medical studies and thousands of success stories. Because of eating those foods strictly from nature, one’s health can be preserved, and diseases can be reversed and healed.

                In conclusion, being a nutritarian can benefit one’s health incredulously. It is vital to be a nutritarian rather than a victim of the processed and fatty eating of the Standard American Diet. If one looks closely at the first letters of the words “Standard American Diet,” it spells out the word “sad.” That is completely true. This diet most Americans are on deters their health completely. Even though nutritarian eating can be difficult to switch to, it can taste delicious and gourmet with extra effort. Secondly, nutritarian eating satisfies every craving of the body. Backed by medical research, this way of life is the key to living longer without disease, illness, or the use of prescription medications. By eating food strictly from nature only, one can add up to twenty more years onto their life. It is never too late to become a nutritarian. If one wants to enjoy life to its fullest, being a nutritarian is the way to achieve that goal.

Rose LoPiano

April 30, 2010

Grade 8

The Average American Youth: Nutritionally Uneducated, Nutrient Deprived

It is no secret that young people in America eat unhealthy diets.  What most people might not be aware of is just how unhealthy teens are actually eating.  According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a meager 9.5 percent of high school students in the United States eat two or more servings of fruits and three or more servings of vegetables a day, which are the amounts recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  As the fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations given by the USDA are conservative compared to actual ideal requirements as suggested in scientific studies, the number of teens who consume enough nutrients is actually considerably less than 9.5 percent.  Tragically, the majority of high-school and college students don’t eat any fruits and vegetables at all.  It is tragic because such behavior is predictive of the development of serious chronic disease in their adult lives.

Girl eating pizza

While one might think this information is shocking, teenagers themselves are not solely to blame. Most, if not all, high-schools fail to educate teens about the importance of eating healthfully, and the limited information that is given is almost worthless. They cook foods such as pastries and macaroni and cheese in cooking classes and no effort is made to teach the link between diets low in produce and later life cancer and heart disease. Young people are constantly bombarded by advertisements from fast food, soda and snack companies trying to promote their products.  Due to the popularity and high-publicity of many chain restaurants and snacks, eating unhealthy is not just considered normal, but cool.  Junk foods such as soda, candy, chips, white-flour products and processed snack items abound around school campuses and are the most convenient and available food choices.  Seventy-five percent of high schools currently serve lunches that are high in saturated fat and salt and low in nutrients, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 

In addition to the paltry supply of fruits and vegetables available on school campuses, students are loading up on soda to fulfill caloric needs. In fact, soda is the food (if you can call it that) that supplies the most calories to the American diet. Most of these calories come from high fructose corn syrup, equivalent to about 10 teaspoons of sugar. The typical soda offers, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is packed with artificial food colors and sulphites.

Soda consumption is linked to osteoporosis, attention deficit disorder (ADD), insomnia, kidney stones, and tooth decay. Worst of all, soda is linked to obesity. In fact, the risk of obesity increases a dramatic 60 percent for each can of soda a person drinks per day. Teenagers and children, whom most soft drinks are marketed toward, are the largest consumers. Currently, teenage boys drink, on average, three or more cans of soda per day, and 10 percent drink seven or more cans each day. The average for teenage girls is two cans per day, and 10 percent drink more than five cans every day.

This year, let’s try to educate our youth.  If nothing is done to improve the eating habits of young people, I fear for my generation. The current climate of nutritional ignorance will lead to a future population of suffering and sickly adults riddled with chronic diseases, If you are trying to get healthier and lose weight, make it a family effort and try to teach your children about the importance of eating healthy and avoiding junk foods too.  Small efforts can result in big changes. It is never too early to make nutritious eating choices.Girls buying vegetables

What do you think?  What strategies should be implemented? What can we do to instill healthy eating values in our junk food world? 

Health-Points: Friday 5.8.09


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Health-Points: Friday 3.6.09

  • More gross news from the infamous peanut plant responsible for the deadly salmonella outbreak stemming from contaminated peanut butter, investigators claim dead mice and rodent droppings were found throughout a Texas plant run by the company; from Reuters.
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Preschool Lunches, Parents Skimp on Healthy Stuff

This fall, a study revealed the food supplied to 94,000 public and private schools by the United States Department of Agriculture is of poor nutritional quality, too many high-fat foods, like pizza and chicken nuggets. In California, fruits and veggies only make up 13% of the total money spent on school food.

And now, new research in Journal of the American Dietetic Association claims most bagged lunches, packed by parents, did not have enough of fruits and vegetables. Researchers studied the lunches of 74 children from 5 different childcare centers, observing their packed lunch for 3 days. They found only 29% of the packed lunches had adequate fruits and vegetables. And many parents were more likely to pack foods kids liked, rather than healthy, nutritious foods; HealthDay News reports.

Not surprising. Some parents feed their kids pizza and French because they don’t like vegetables and fruit hurts their mouth. Kooky! That why Dr. Fuhrman says it’s the parents’ job to set the example, if you want your kids to eat healthfully, start eating YOUR fruits and veggies! Monkey see, monkey do.

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Take Junk Food Out of Schools, Kids Eat Healthier...

An upcoming study in the Journal of Nutrition claims removing sugary snacks, i.e. vending machines, from schools makes kids more likely to eat fruits and vegetables. And this effect held up even when kids returned home. Most likely because kids are already full, having not eaten empty calories. Currently, 72% school districts limit the fat in cafeteria food and number of vending machines; The Orange County Register reports.

According to the CDC, many schools are already selling less junk. And other officials are working hard to get soda machines out of schools. College is a little different, but my school was loaded with vending machines, snack foods and fast food, and kids ate it up!

Via That’s Fit.

School Lunch Poor, But Could Teach...

In the fall, a report by the California Food Policy Advocates gave U.S. school food a failing grade, citing poor nutritional quality, i.e. kids aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables. And now, a new release from the Institute of Medicine, in Washington D.C., reveals school food provides more than half of a student's nutrient intake during the school day, making school meal programs the perfect vehicle for teaching children the importance of good nutrition; Reuters investigates.

But not all U.S. schools are devoid of good health and nutrition. Recently, schools like Anthony Elementary, Leavenworth, Kansas and South Elementary, Pinson, Tennessee, were praised for their efforts to get kids healthy, by opening onsite wellness centers and eating lunch in the classroom, to promote a family-like atmosphere.

Even Prince Charles wants kids to reconnect with healthy food.

Prince Charles Says Educate Kids about Food

Speaking at an event for better school food, Prince Charles blamed junk food for kids’ bad behavior and disconnect with nature:

"Over the last 40 years it would appear we have created a whole generation, the parents of the children you teach, whose understanding of where food comes from and how it is produced is severely limited. And it is causing real harm.


"It is about rescuing today's generation of over-industrialized children, about instilling in them a life-long appreciation of food and the way it is produced and reconnecting them with nature," he to told The Daily Mail.

Actually, despite his absent-minded reputation, Prince Charles is staunch advocate for both healthier food and a greener environment.

Via CalorieLab.

Kids and Soda, Can't Stop It

Districts have tried to stop kids from drinking soda by eliminating it from schools, but a new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reveals nixing sugar-sweetened beverages and diet soda, does little to stop kids from drinking them; via A Better Life.

Clearly, kids are finding a way to get their soda fix. And a recent report found not only are children’s diets getting worse, but consumption of sugary drinks is up 15%. That’s why San Francisco’s governor wanted a surcharge on drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.

An Apple Crank Started the Momentum

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Howie Jacobson, PhD of FitFam and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Packing school lunches is always a challenge in my house. So it was with some surprise that my 9-year-old son suddenly started asking for apples for lunch about a month and a half ago.

To me, apples are the perfect food. They resist most mild forms of travel abuse, unlike plums and peaches. They come in nice colors and can be eaten one-handed while you do your school work.

But for finicky kids, apples present a problem. The skin!

Skin the apple ahead of time, and it turns brown. Leave the skin on and a third grader will see ammo-deflecting armor surrounding his fruit, rather than a thin and delicious protective layer. The apple will come home untouched or worse, thrown away with one guilty bite taken out of it.

Back to the point, why was my son so excited about apples?

Turns out his teacher, who has a keen interest in all things mechanical, had brought to class an apple peeler and corer. Now, all of a sudden, my son's apple was the coolest thing at lunchtime, because he could crank this simple machine and magically peel and core it in front of his classmate's amazed and appreciative eyes.

Now all the kids want apples for lunch. Probably an overstatement, but I'm a little excited here!

So what's my takeaway? Presentation matters. The experience of food matters. Peer pressure matters. And most of all, if you want to change behavior, use toys. The apple gadget provided immediate gratification prior to the first bite. The apple jumped to the front of the awesome-dessert line because it started with momentum.

When you get a strong spasm of intention to eat right, to exercise, to meditate, to do whatever it is that supports your highest good and yet doesn't happen as often as it should. Use that POWER MOMENT to shift your future environment.

Buy an apple peeler, go for a fun run, clean out your study and make it a meditation room, use that momentum! Create ongoing favorable conditions, so doing the right thing becomes fun and easy.