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FDA: Friend or Foe?

February 18, 2011

Hi lovelies!

I had a great lunch date with LB at OR Juice & Smoothie, a little hole in the wall vegetarian cafe. They are one of the only places in St. Louis that makes fresh veggie juices and I don’t go nearly enough! Last time I was there I got a veggie sandwich and homemade soup, so today I tried something new.

First I got a “CCR” juice made of carrots, celery, and red beets. It was pretty good! You could definitely taste the celery.

And for my main course, I tried their Raw Feta Pizza, veganized and no olives.

Raw Feta Pizza (can be vegan): organic: pita bread, hummus, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, leaf lettuce, feta cheese (or avocado if vegan), olives, and sun dried tomatoes.

That baby was piled high with veggies, which is a great thing in my book. Everything was crisp and fresh, including the big chunks of avocado. It was a bit messy to eat and I wound up picking up spilled veggies with my fork. I ate half of it along with the juice, and had an apple in the car on the way back to work.

I had my normal snack of yogurt with berries, and then hit the mall after work to browse the new spring styles. I was getting strangely tired and hungry, so I left a bit early to go to Crazy Bowls & Wraps for my traditional Friday night dinner.

Tofu Veggie Bowl with Brown Rice

Even after eating that whole bowl, I was still hungry. When I got home I ate the remainder of my pita pizza from lunch, some crackers and a piece of peppermint bark the size of my hand. I don’t know if all my running has just now decided to catch up with me or if I’m just having a weird week, but I just cannot put enough food in my body! I know I need fuel for my runs so I’m just going with it.

I might make some Supercharge Me cookies later.


Fighting the FDA

LB (who I had lunch with) is currently studying to get her masters in Public Health at St. Louis University, so I always love chatting with her about her classes and projects. Today she was telling me about a pilot project she is doing at her part time job. If I understood correctly, the goal of the project is to spread good nutritional knowledge to St. Louis City residents. Along with thinking of creative ways to get kids to eat veggies and creating lesson plans to teach nutrition, LB is “healthifying” popular meals like spaghetti and garlic bread, tacos, and cheeseburgers with french fries. She even priced out the menus and found that the healthier versions are cheaper. Fun, right?

She asked me a funny question though: “Do you think it’s possible to eat too many vegetables?”.

What? NO!

She asked because as a healthy eater, she is getting frustrated with following the FDA guidelines to create these meal plans. The FDA recommends about 3 cups of vegetables a day while she is used to eating far more than that. The make-up of the meals is just so different from what she would normally have herself, but she has to go along with the government’s recommendations. She’s also worried about getting trouble for substituting ground turkey or beans  for of ground beef in the meals. Trying to promote a vegetarian meal probably won’t fly!

While any step in the right direction is a good one, those that research health and nutrition in this country know that the FDA doesn’t always provide the best information.  The government is full of lobbyists and alternative motives. LB is working with it, though, and has some great ideas! They are hoping to test this nutritional education at public libraries first, but in the future they’d love to implement the program in hospitals so that they can provide sound nutritional advice to patients.

  • What are your thoughts on the FDA guidelines?
  • Do you have any great ideas for bringing nutrition education to the inner city?


**This is your last reminder to enter my Favorite Things giveaway! The winner will be announced in my post tomorrow afternoon**

18 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2011 8:30 pm

    That sounds like a fun assignment… So she is supposed to come up with a healthier version of tacos but cannot use Ground Turkey? Is it because it is more expensive??
    Your vegan pizza looks absolutely amazing…It’s so annoying that we have nowhere to go for a vegetairan/vegan meal around here…

  2. February 18, 2011 8:41 pm

    Ah CBW looks so good! And I never knew about OR so thanks for sharing! I’m gonna have to check it out when I go home next. Have you been to Vegadeli? I’ve been meaning to try that too.

  3. February 18, 2011 8:44 pm

    I can always taste celery. There can be 20 ingredients and if there is celery, I will taste it. I think I’m beginning to realize I only like celery on its own (well, smothered in PB of course).

    I always take FDA recommendations with a grain of salt. Their recommendations for how many vitamins/minerals/nutrients we should get each day are way off base. They recommend basically what it takes to survive, not what it takes to be truly healthy. They encourage people to strive for mediocrity.

  4. February 18, 2011 8:55 pm

    being hungry is so fun!! haha don’t ignore it lady! just go with it it’s what your body needs 🙂 when i was running like a madwoman last year i was hungry ALL the time! it got my to the point where i became super grumpy a lot so i knew i had to take it down a notch

  5. squigglefloey permalink
    February 18, 2011 9:00 pm

    Better to have hunger than to not feel anything! 🙂
    Tons of luck to you tomorrow!

  6. February 18, 2011 10:18 pm

    That assignment sounds right up my alley. I anticipate working with children once I become an RD and will definitely be doing those type of things!

  7. February 19, 2011 3:27 am

    Hm, I think I’d rather not comment on the FDA, because I think that there are many, many complex layers to this issue.

    I only eat about 1-2 cups of veggies a day, and I think 3 cups is a good amount…and that yes, you can have too many vegetables…as you will be able to feel from indigestion or obnoxious gas. 😉
    But in seriousness, I don’t think there’s a cookie-cutter guideline to health. Some people need a bit more protein, some people need more carbs, some people can digest vegetables well, others can’t.

    • February 19, 2011 7:09 pm

      You’re right. Asking about the FDA could prompt a book more than a short blog comment. And you’re absolutely right that each person needs to do what is best for them. I’ve suffered ill effects of too much vegetable fiber, but when I said you can’t get too many veggies I was referring more to a nutrient aspect. As long as you are getting other proteins and fats that you need, I think you can eat as many veggies as your taste buds and digestive system allow! But I’m no RD so who knows.

      Trying to create one meal plan for an entire subset of the population is a bit ridiculous. It’s nice that the FDA now has different suggestions for children and adults, men and women, but in reality the specifications could go all the way down to an individual level. We all know that Heather loves her animal fats, and Gina just realized she needs more animal protein, so each person needs to do what’s best for them.

  8. mel permalink
    February 19, 2011 5:51 am

    Most days I eat about 5-7 servings of veggies and 3 ish fruits. Yeah I do have bloating sometimes but its so worth it because they fill me up without filling me out (I’m a volume eater) and it cleans out my system! I don’t think the FDA knows what they are talking about personally b/c they say “Limit fat”…but don’t categorize it into healthy fats vs. unhealthy so people may think natural pb, olive oil, and advocado are “bad” foods. In reality I think you can have several servings of healthy fats everyday and maintain weight and stay full. Just my two cents!! Enjoy your weekend

  9. February 19, 2011 7:24 am

    i definitely do not agree with all of the FDA recommendations.. i think they need to be MUCH stricter and much more specific. i eat like 6 fruits a day and like 1000 veggies too.. I honestly think the FDA doesnt have proper nutritionists or something.. cuz im very skeptical

  10. February 19, 2011 7:46 am

    I don’t agree with the FDA. Have you seen Food Inc? Watch it! It’s talks a lot about how to FDA is run my members who are supported by the meat packing industries….ugh it makes me mad just thinking about it!

    • February 19, 2011 7:12 pm

      I have seen Food Inc, it is what started my passion for nutrition and caused me to be a vegetarian! I hate that the government controls the food industry. It kinda makes me sick.

  11. February 19, 2011 9:21 am

    Great question–I think it has to start young, with educating pregnant moms about bringing healthy foods into their homes, and ensuring low-income communities have access to healthy foods.

  12. Lauren permalink
    February 19, 2011 9:51 am

    my favorite things would be Peppermint Luna Bars, Runner’s World, Nike tempo shorts, banana chips, and vegan choc chips….yummy!!!!

  13. February 19, 2011 10:19 am

    Once I brought a bag of baby carrots to eat while my Springboard to Learning class were waiting to perform. Half of the kids asked me what they were and hadn’t seen them ever before!!!!!

    Our buddy Clara Moore teaches after school cooking classes to underprivileged kids. She says they all start off being grossed out by the food, but after they make it themselves, they eat it up. And they get the veg out of their neighborhood garden. I think this is one of the best ways to change the way people view what they should eat.

    I think starting with adults is a waste of time. I think it’s mostly too late for them. Too stubborn. Adults of all walks of life, as you have recently experienced yourself Clare, seem to view healthy food as some sort of personal attack on them. It makes no sense. It’s all about the kiddos.

    Have you seen He is trying to reform school lunches. And even though he is trying to follow the guidelines, is met with a ridiculous amount of resistance. And the school guidelines are sooooo stupid to begin with. It is as if they are set up to make it impossible to eat healthy. You should watch the episode from WV.

    • February 19, 2011 7:14 pm

      Didn’t know Clara taught those classes. That’s great!
      And while not 100% true, lots of adults are very stuck in their ways. They aren’t willing to be “different” or accept that something they are so used to might not be best. So in that way, starting with kids is essential.

      I watched Jamie Oliver’s show when it aired last year and really admire the project. I’ve heard he canceled filming or production in California right now for some reason. Unfortunate…it’s just what we need to happen to every single school in the country!

  14. February 19, 2011 11:39 am

    What a yummy lunch! The Raw Feta Pizza looks incredible! I think the FDA guidelines are great in terms of educating people on what their goals should be. As they note all the time- the US as a whole is NOT eating enough fruits and vegetables. I think its more than fine to go over the recommended amounts of fruits & veggies (I do every day). Sounds like an interesting project

  15. February 19, 2011 1:16 pm

    The feta pizza looks so amazing!! I definitely need to try that one! Have a fun weekend!

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