“In the past decade, localities across the nation have lashed out at sugary drinks by passing policies to limit their consumption in schools and government-owned properties, by initiating tax measures and by insisting on warning labels.” – CNN report
Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and lead investigator of a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, explains how “a three-year onslaught of TV ads, digital marketing, direct mail, outdoor ads and social media against sugary beverages” led to reduced soda consumption in Howard County, Maryland.
This campaign, which was accompanied by policy changes and community outreach, helped significantly in a place where “one in four kids are overweight,” and although “it is among the wealthier counties in the country but is both ethnically and racially diverse,” said Schwartz.
The Future is Plant-Based, Duh!
There are numerous benefits for any individual to eat less meat and cheese; such as lowering your carbon footprint, reducing your potential for cancer and chronic illness (hello!? have you not yet read the China Study?); and decreasing your support of an industrialized food system linked to serious threats of superbugs, due to its ubiquitous use of antibiotics and hormones on animals (should I even mention animal welfare issues?). Furthermore, eating fresh produce, whole grains, beans and other plant-based foods are proven time and again to lead people towards healthier and happier lives.
In business, entrepreneurs and investors have even begun to shift their corporate interests towards plant-based proteins, vegetarian/vegan cuisine (check out one of NYC’s fastest growing chains, byChloe here), and now offer more tasty alternatives for reasons to do with reduced costs and simply because consumer demand is asking for it.
However, according to an article published on Civil Eats, “most school districts still don’t believe they have the bandwidth to plan their menus around addressing the problem [that over-consumption of factory-farmed animal meat and dairy has a huge impact on climate change and other environmental issues].” Aside from several hundred Meatless Monday programs around the nation, many schools still resist changing their menus to provide more plant-based foods because it requires such an immense effort.
I believe through grassroots organizations like Slow Food, iEat Green, and the Coalition for Healthy School Food, we can mobilize mass movements to support programs in schools and ultimately, build healthier, fairer food systems. Improving public health, and especially communities which are most vulnerable to critical issues of climate change, needs to become a national priority. We need to promote a widespread ideological shift away from capitalist, free market agendas where deregulation is rampant, and instead work towards more egalitarian world views which protect farmers and local, regional food producers.
The True Paleo Diet: Some Neanderthals Were Vegetarian
According to the DNA in dental plaques, the Neanderthals in Spain ate no meat at all. “We find things like pine nuts, moss, tree barks and even mushrooms,” says Laura Weyrich, at the Australian Center for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and the lead author on the new study. “It is very indicative of a vegetarian diet, probably the true Paleo diet.” – NPR, the Salt
This is big news!! “Within the next two years, Dunkin’ Donuts will remove synthetic colors across its menu, including donut icings, fillings and toppings, as well as frozen beverages such as Fruit Smoothies and COOLATTA® frozen beverages, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and coffee flavorings. Similarly, Baskin-Robbins will remove synthetic colors from its menu, including ice cream sold both at its restaurants and in quarts and pints at retail locations, as well as its syrups, sauces, sprinkles and beverages, including Cappuccino Blast®.” –report provided by Dunkin News Release