I’ve been reading Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food. The first sentence grabbed me right away.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
He makes it sound easy, right? But when you’re living in a city, or on a budget, if you work long hours or if you have kids who are picky eaters, eating according to Pollan’s plan can seem almost impossible. Unhealthy food is cheap and it’s EVERYWHERE. Eating healthy takes a bit more effort. But believe me, bellas — it’s worth it!
I have big, big admiration for First Lady Michelle Obama for getting her hands in the dirt and encouraging kids to plant a vegetable garden at the White House. 36 students from Washington DC’s Bancroft Elementary helped her, and just this week they harvested their veggies. 73 pounds of lettuce, to be exact. Then, together with White House chefs, the FLOTUS and her elementary school assistants dined on baked chicken with brown rice and peas, salad with carrots and honey dressing, and garden cupcakes with fruit topping.
Delicious! Michelle Obama explained her motivation in a speech following the harvest.
“I also thought that this would be a fun and interesting way to talk to kids about healthy eating and nutrition. The President and Congress are going to begin to address health care reform, and these issues of nutrition and wellness and preventative care is going to be the focus of a lot of conversation coming up in the weeks and months to come. And these are issues that I care deeply about, especially when they affect America’s children.
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high-blood pressure are all diet-related health issues that cost this country more than $120 billion each year. That’s a lot of money. While the dollar figure is shocking in and of itself, the effect on our children’s health is even more profound. Nearly a third of the children in this country are either overweight or obese, and a third will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lifetime. In Hispanic and African American communities, those numbers climb even higher so that nearly half of the children in those communities will suffer the same fate. Those numbers are unacceptable.”
They truly are, and all of us — old, young, busy, working, well to do, or struggling — can make an effort to eat healthy, local, and fresh. If you live in an apartment, or in a place where you can’t have a garden of your own, you might want to consider signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture organization, where local farmers provide shares of seasonal fruits and veggies. It’s a great way to support local growers.
If you’ve got a green thumb and it’s getting itchy because of a lack of growing space, you can consider Square Foot Gardening or check out CommunityGarden.org to learn more about starting your own community garden elsewhere.
And at the very least if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can still add to a healthier lifestyle by seeking out your local farmer’s markets, and adding more fresh, locally produced, pesticide free fruits and veggies to your diet.
Here’s some added incentive, if you’re struggling — Dr. Ian Smith and the 50 Million Pound Challenge will award a different lucky winner of $1,000 every day from June 22-26! All you have to do is update your profile to automatically have the chance to win. $1000 should go a long way towards getting a healthy lifestyle in place, right? I hope some of you bellas win!
Do you find Michelle Obama’s garden inspiring? What do you do to eat healthy?