50 Million Lb Challenge

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?

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Ope says:
June 18, 2009, 4:07 pm
Absolutely. I think Mrs.O is setting a great example, especially by noting the effects that bad eating habits are having on our black and hispanic children. Keep it going Michelle. Also, everyone should go see this new documentary Food Inc( http://www.foodincmovie.com/) cuz it will get you really thinking about what you're putting in your mouth. I wrote a review of it on my blog:http://panafya.com/2009/fit-nut/scared-straight-food-edition-food-inc-review/
b. says:
June 18, 2009, 5:08 pm
Thanks for the post, 'Bella. And thanks for the link, Ope. I've got to "move it move it" for real and better monitor my diet.
Nikki says:
June 18, 2009, 6:11 pm
I make a conscious effort to eat at least four servings of fruit along with a good sized green salad before I allow myself to eat any other food for the day. I also drink one gallon of water throughout the day and find it suppresses my appetite and increases my energy.
pets says:
June 19, 2009, 8:57 pm
About 8 years ago when I last visited Mylz and Paige I took them down to the garden centre and we bought packets of seeds - carrots, tomatoes and some other veggies came back home & split jalitre (2 litre soda pop) bottles lengthwise to make troughs - sowed our seeds & put the empty packet attached to lollysticks in each so we would know what was in each trough..from that he graduated to planting potatoes in his Surrey back yard and attending the Royal Horticultural Society show in Chelsea London. From 2 years old he loved being in the garden. So if you start with children from an early age and have them help and choose which plants etc to grow you have them hooked for life.
warrior11209 says:
June 20, 2009, 1:39 pm
Our First Family is setting an excellent example of a healthy lifestyle. I have given up meat and dairy products - no I did not do it overnight;just slowly changed the way I ate over the last 4 yrs. The key for me is that I try to eat whatever fruits and veggies are in season- I live near 3 farms so this is easy for me- unfortunately reasonably prices healthy food is not available to all people in this nation and that is a tragedy. Add to this - I am exercising 6 days per week. The exercising is something that I have added for the last 3 yrs, now that my children are older it is easier to workout arond their schedule.
nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
June 22, 2009, 8:10 am
I read Pollan's book and it's excellent. That some would complain that the First Lady's garden is "elitist" tells you how messed up American culture is about food.


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