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School lunch

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | May 10th, 2017

How about cow’s tongue for school lunch?

King Donald of Trumpistan has decreed that the school lunch regulations propagated by Michelle Obama back in 2010, after serious research and debate by medical authorities and dieticians, did not have enough fat, sugar, and sodium.

So he has ordered the Department of Agriculture to follow the desires of food corporations such as General Mills, Schwan’s, Cargill, Land of Lakes, and Hormel, that over the years have added millions of tons of fat to small bodies.

During the school year 33 million children eat school lunches daily. Before the menus recommended by First Lady Obama had time to take effect, 30% of the students were considered obese.

Yes, we do have a School Nutrition Association that recommends the contents of the meals prepared by school districts, but that group is actually funded by food corporations who want to increase their share of the market.

With the Republicans now in charge of waistlines they have gained the upper hand in the many battles over school lunches. There’s money to be made. Minnesota school districts alone serve 100 million meals a year.

Research has proven that students who consume lots of fast food actually learn at a rate 4% lower in reading, math, and science classes.

First, I actually ate “school” lunches for 12 years from first grade through high school. Then I ate meals in a college cafeteria for four years. After college I spent three years in the Marine Corps eating in mess halls, Navy ship wardrooms, and devouring C-rations with onions and hot sauce while in the field. Adding onions and hot sauce to sausage patties, franks, and other mystery meats in C-rations of an indeterminate age often turned mystery meat into filet mignon.

After Marine rations I ate school lunches and supervised students in the Fargo Central High School cafeteria while teaching English and Journalism for eight years. As a matter of fact, when Central High burned in April of 1966 from a fire that started at noon, I was supervising the lunchroom.

After going into administration I served as principal for South High, North High, and Horace Mann Elementary for a total of 23 years. Each one of those school days I could be found in the lunchrooms. With 47 years of exposure to school lunches I think I have earned the right to comment.

What a bunch of crybabies and political racists

Here we have 30 percent of our young ending up obese before they hit the teens and some people bitch about the “nanny state” telling them how to feed their kids. They need to be bitched at. Try being a parent instead of a submissive friend for your kids.

One mother wrote: “My kids don’t eat half of what’s being served, and they are always hungry.” Well, kiss my grits. When people are hungry enough they will eat shoe leather, grass, rats and mice. Those kids aren’t really hungry yet.

Fargoan Leah Swedberg had it right when she wrote: “Hungry is normal.” By the way, students can have second helpings of fresh fruit and veggies today if they are still hungry.

I see a football coach is complaining that his players aren’t getting enough to eat and he has noticed a “decline in performance.” His players say they are “starving.”

Eat what’s served or provide your own food. If a teenager is too dumb to find food when he really needs it, he is too dumb to learn plays and block a defensive lineman or run a pass play.

I played eight years of high school and college football and baseball, participated in all practices, and never saw a player faint from starvation. I also coached the Fargo American Legion “B” team for eight years. Never had a kid collapse between third and home.

The Forum didn’t say what happens when you eat crap

I see the Forum Editorial Board in its infinite wisdom says ”It makes no sense for public schools to offer an allegedly healthy lunch menu that students won’t eat...Not gonna happen in an era of taco Tuesdays, double cheeseburgers (you want fries with that?) And a super-size Mountain Dew.”

And these health and food “experts” at the Forum say nothing about what happens when you eat crap.

Did they describe what happens to diabetes victims? No. Well, some die and some have to have rotting limbs chopped off as the disease progresses. Did they describe how nutrition affects the brain and nerves? No. What do French fries (which are not French, by the way) do for the brain as compared to broccoli and green beans? Fries turn the gray matter to mush.

Did they mention that our life span is decreasing because of fast food junk and the lack of fresh fruit and veggies in our diets? No. Want to live an average of three years shorter than European countries? Eat American. That editorial was irresponsible and sucking up to our worst failings as a culture.

The school lunch guidelines developed by the Agriculture Department under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 were pushed mightily by Michelle Obama and the White House. Remember? She tore up some of the White House lawn and grew a nutritious garden of vegetables for use by the chef with the help of school kids from D.C.

There is a noxious mixture of politics, stupidity, and racism involved with these discussions about school lunches.

First we have the “nanny state” people. “No one, particularly the federal government, is going to tell me how to feed my kids.” I don’t think most of these people know Swiss chard from celery or broccoli from parsley.

Then we have the Republicans, caterwauling against the interference of the government between parent and child. They are the same people who fought the removal of pop and candy machines in school lunchrooms because it removed “choice.” They also want the “freedom” of not wearing seatbelts when flying through windshields or dying under vehicles.

One writer wrote: “Liberals even mess up lunch!” What a sound political argument. Some parents need a lot of “interference.” I still remember the parents of an 18 year-old senior brat who bought him a new car so they could take it away from him when he screwed up again!

And then we have the racists all over the country who mean to say: “No darky First Lady is going to tell me what to do.” After all, some of her ancestors were slaves. They are the most despicable.

How to feed students right

My French relatives in the old country have learned how to eat food in school while having a rich diet loaded with saturated fat that really makes things taste great. They drink a lot of red wine instead of water at meals. As one French elder said: “Water is for ducks!” By the way, the French have the best health among European countries–and have the highest rated health care system in the world.

There is an enigma called the French Paradox: Why is eating fat and drinking alcohol good for the French heart? The most common foods in France are chocolate, butter, wine, eggs, and milk.

A few reasons for French health: (1) They use only fresh and whole foods, (2) Food is only good if you can pick it off a tree, catch it in a river, lake or ocean, or raise it on a French farm, (3)They do not eat frozen or processed foods and most of their stores do not stock them, (4) They do not use fats and oils made in labs, (5) The French eat much smaller portions than we do (They do not drink 64 oz. Dews at one sitting), (6) French children are taught early that eating should always be enjoyed, that every bite is chewed and swallowed with a purpose.

The French know how to do things right

An article by Vivienne Wall in Time outlines why the French are the healthiest people in Europe. They teach children in pre-school how to eat. All the students eat the school-provided lunch and parents pay what they can afford. Students are not allowed to bring food to school.

An American mother was shocked to learn when she was picking up her child that he would not be released to her until he had finished his dessert.

School menus are prepared for a two-month period and every school in France posts the week’s menu outside on Monday morning. The variety is amazing, according to visitors, with no single meal repeated in a 32-day period.

Every meal includes an hors d’oeuvre, salad, main course, cheese plate, and dessert. The menu also includes suggestions for the evening meal that fits the school menu. Wall cited this example: “If your child has eaten turkey, ratatouille, and a raspberry-filled crepe for lunch, we suggest pasta, green beans, and a fruit salad for dinner.” All meats served in French schools are from local farms.

Wall adds: “In a country where con artists and adulterers are tolerated, the laws governing meals are sacrosanct and are drummed into children before they can even hold a knife.” Children learn quickly that they won’t be fed anywhere else. Eating is very serious business.

Snack and soda machines are banned in all schools. Parents generally are not allowed to eat with their children at school. French schools emphasize that eating is a serious and yet very enjoyable business.

The French are so serious about their school lunch program that they have done extensive research into French eating habits and the results of having such a carefully crafted set of laws. It has paid off with much lower health care costs than our messed-up, Rube Goldberg system.

Even with universal care the French pay half of what we do to cover everybody. Of course, these “know-nothing” socialists save hundreds of millions on health costs. This is a “nanny” state that makes economic sense.

We have politicians who laugh at the French for making decisions that are inimical to ours. Remember, France decided not to get involved with our invasion of Iraq. The French helped us in the Afghan quagmire but they decided early on that it was a disastrous policy and pulled out. They were right then -- and are certainly right about how to handle school lunches.

The French obesity rate is about 10 percent. Ours is 30 percent. And many of our dogs and cats are obese.

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