This episode upset me so much that I swear I had acid indigestion. There were a few things that upset me, but I’m just going to go with one.
*The Office of Child Nutrition in Charleston says that its more important to get calcium in kids then it is to look at how much sugar is in the product.*
So, feeding kids pink and brown milk that contains more sugar then soda is fine, because they get calcium along with their bottle of diabetes. Seriously? The level of utter stupidity and abuse here is beyond comprehension to me. This show isn’t the first time that we are hearing of the fact that childhood onset diabetes is skyrocketing. We know this and we’ve known this for years. And by ‘we’ I mean every nutritional institution in the land. ALL OF THEM.
To me what they are doing is criminal. To knowingly feed children something that you know is going to cause them physical harm under the guise of ‘well they need calcium’ is bullshit. That’s right, I said bullshit. And shame on them for removing the pink and brown milk because this was being televised and they were being revealed. Its obscene to me.
What the hell is going on in this country with our children? How is it that we, from the highest level to the most micro level, aren’t doing everything we can to provide them with the best in order to insure their bright futures? Shame on you Office of Child Nutrition. You should be held accountable for this. This level of negligence and incompetence is not acceptable.
This is what the Office of Child Nutrition has to say about milk. And here is what I wonder after reading this:
Why have flavored milk at all?
Exactly how much sugar is added to flavored milk?
What else are you adding to flavored milk to make it flavored?
Are those ingredients natural?
What possible reason is there for creating flavored milk to begin with?
What does having fake colored milk teach our children about whole foods?
What about all the other foods that have high amounts of calcium? Like broccoli for instance? Wouldn’t the high levels of fiber and other nutrients in a food like that far outweigh the damage that all the sugar and flavorings in the milk will?
What kind of money are you getting from the dairy industry?
Here is what I think:
I have some pretty radical ideas about milk in general and don’t believe that children should be fed milk AT ALL. The reasons for which, I’ll have to get into on another post. BUT if you’re going to feed children milk, then make it REAL. Make it low fat and keep all the other crap out of it. It teaches children what milk really is, it will stop the contribution to childhood diabetes and our collective addiction to sugar as a country, and its the right and responsible thing to do. Children will eat what is made available to them, plain and simple.
If this pisses you off too, go to the website and call them or write them or both. We can’t continue watching this occur with our children in this country. This is a no brainer. No added sugar in anything? THAT should be a no brainer. I would also encourage any of you that have food blogs who feel the same to also write about this. I think that the more people that know the better.
So… I didn’t think that I would be ranting this way on my lovely little food blog, but you know what? Food choices? Food practice? Its not just personal in this country, its deeply steeped in class, money and politics. We can’t pretend this isn’t so.
And now, with out further ado, here’s Jamie!
Christine (Blisschick) Reed says
I’m totally with you on this. The WHY of it is beyond our comprehension, I think.
Or is it…
Have you read the Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett novel, Good Omens? In it, one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse is a guy who has masterminded the creation of fake food. It’s hysterical stuff. Not really…
The amazing part of the book is how much it is rather prophetic about the current state of our foods. (GO, Sci-Fi!)
My point being that there are bad people who only are concerned about money and power and THAT is the “WHY.”
Elena Rego says
I just can’t allow myself to believe that it comes down to money. I know that it does in many cases, but the rest of us have to hold space for something else entirely or else we will never turn this thing around. And we have to… we soooo have to!
Saw your profile on food buzz. Glad I read your informative and well-written blog. Look forward to following you here. Cheers!
Elena Rego says
Completely agree. Here in the UK we have to be very careful because almost all food/drink marketed for children contains aspartame. Yup, the cancer-causing sweetener that adults don’t want in their food anymore. Give it to the kids. They say ‘low sugar’ and then jack it up with carcinogenic sweeteners – WHY??!! Why not just let it be less sweet??!! I want my kids to learn to enjoy food and drink in it’s natural form and like it for what it is, but the food industry, and government for that matter, certainly aren’t helping. Very double-standard, when all we hear from the government is about their supposed efforts to reduce child obesity…
Elena Rego says
There is so much controversy over aspartame. Its bad, its good. I find it interesting that the people who say its fine are those that are financially invested in it. There are countless people who deal with withdrawals from it, and a slew of symptoms from ingesting it. Again, whatever happen to only ingesting whole foods?
Amen sister! I happily stand with you in this fight! The statistics of the damage we’re causing ourselves and our children is just simply staggering. I am among all the rest of you when I have to stop and ponder the “why” of all of this. You would think that using natural, organic, additive free foods that come from small, family run farms with fresh hormone free milk and range fed meats would be a no brainer! Let’s continue to stand together in this and as we gather more and more members that join this fight then the powers that be will have to listen. We need to quit using products that come from these huge conglomerate farms with genetically changed poultry and hormone laden dairy products. Please use family friendly foods to save our children!
Elena Rego says
I say AMEN right back!
Baking Barrister says
Before I comment, I just want to say to Ruby that aspartame does not cause cancer. Please see these websites for information: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/aspartame and http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/anstopics/topic/aspartame.htm
As for the milk, I’ve been thinking the same thing for some while. I’m 25, and I don’t particularly remember my parents giving me something sugar-laden for the purpose of nutrition. Sure I had chocolate milk now and then, but we almost exclusively drank nonfat plain milk. I see so many more products that are flavored and trying to mask the actual taste of items that don’t taste bad to begin with. I just feel that the nutritional benefit of milk is overridden when bogged down in sugars and food dyes. Plus, like you mention, there are so many other ways to get calcium. Cheese, please? While I don’t particularly care for most cheeses in their low fat versions, skim mozzarella in the form of string cheese is low in fat, high in protein, and will provide nearly a quarter of recommended daily calcium intake. Oranges have calcium. Plain or greek yogurt with fruit.
I’d also like to posit a potential theory about the surge in added sugar. I wrote on my blog yesterday about how, during my travels, I found that many of the countries I have been to like things much sweeter than we do in the US to the point where I find these things sickly sweet. This was particularly true of Southeast Asia and South/Central America. Their sodas contain more sugar, almost all of their dairy products are laden with sugar and their pastries are filled with creams and pastes that most of us would consider too sweet. I’m wondering if the changing demographics of the US are in part responsible in the shift towards added sugar since my childhood.
Elena Rego says
Since reading your comment I have been racking my brain to remember the name of a book written several years ago that outlines exactly how the west and its penchant for sugar has infiltrated other cultures and has contributed to the rise in diseases in those countries that were only really prevalent in the west. For the life of me I can’t remember what the name is, but when I do, I’ll send you the title!
If anyone else here knows what I’m referring to, please feel free to leave a comment or respond to Baking.
Anni Daulter says
I honor Jamie for his efforts and agree that this revolution just HAS to happen. All of my work and cookbooks are geared toward this shift and I hope that America starts realizing that this issue is a matter of life and death for these next generations of kiddos and we have to help shape a new era of understanding nutrition, healthy cooking and food as our life source!
Since when did we let kids decide anyway? Of course they like flavored mile- they also like twinkies. This doesn’t mean we should feed them the stuff all the time. Yet the one place they go to learn practically everything is teaching them that cows can give you strawberry and chocolate milk. Shame on the adults that are disguising nutrition. It’s practically criminal. We’re raising a bunch of nutritionally ignorant young people. Adults need to get back to being adults. Kids can suck it up. Good for you for writing this strongly worded blog entry. Keep up the work- get the word out. We’ll join you!
Elena Rego says
Holly, This is one of my biggest frustrations of this show. How repeatedly they defer to what the kids are going to want or complain about. They will eat what is made available to them. Period! And of course there will be complaining. They have been fed crap for years. But suck it up! Its the right thing to do.
One thing that my boyfriend pointed out however, and Connie (the commenter below you) mentioned, is the parents. Jon said, “ya, but if these kids are eating the same crap at home, its what they know to eat and expect, so getting these different meals will be harder for them to deal with.”
I think that’s true, but I don’t think that’s any excuse to continue slinging crap at them either. I mean, who the hell is going to take responsibility here?
I think the point you make here is absolutely valid–and I agree with you 100%. Though–I’m going to be blunt and say schools have so many more bigger issues at hand then what color milk they are serving in their lunch lines.
The thing is–and, I haven’t watched any of these Jamie Oliver videos yet–but I plan to soon, so please excuse my ignorance if I am missing something here in saying this—the ONLY way to change any of this is through the parents.
I teach in the public school system–I know this as fact.
The parents have so much stinking control over our school systems that it is beyond ridiculous. I have parents going to district office yelling and screaming–trying to get me fired–because I gave little Johnny a B in art instead of an A. You better believe that district office is breathing down my neck to totally change things–and make little Johnny’s Mom very happy.
If anything is going to change in the school cafeteria’s it has to start with the parents. End of story.
They receive a cafeteria menu each month–they are aware that little Johnny is eating hot dogs and tator tots on Monday, pizza nuggets on Tuesday, chicken fingers on Wednesday..etc. etc. It is their choice to pay the lunch money every week instead of packing little Johnny a lunch each morning.
And, yes, I too have taught in low income, urban schools–where most of the kids are eating subsidized breakfast and lunches–and in those schools, it is simply a triumphant every day to simply have those kids show up–and for the schools to put at least something in their tummies–for many of them, the junk they eat there might be the only thing they ever eat. Those schools are hurting so bad in other areas–that pink milk seems like a blessing.
But, on a more softer note. I, for one, try to do my part–in helping kids eat better–on a small scale. Every quarter I have nine classes that win a reward for best behavior the past quarter—instead of cupcakes or candy–the usual elementary party school food—I reward with a handful of pumpkin seeds, little cups of mixed nuts, or sometimes even I pick pomegranates off the tree by where I live and give them those as well. I’m amazed each time how this type of treat is something completely new and foreign to them.
Once again, supports my believe–that the ONLY change will occur when the parents make a stir–when the parents take control of what their children are eating.
I hope Jamie Oliver can influence enough to start a stink.
Big hugs to you Elena for making your own statement on this. I hear you. I really, really do.
Elena Rego says
I agree with you, that the awareness needs to begin with parent. 1000%! The impetus for this post was because of a completely stupid statement issued by the Office of Child Nutrition. And what kills me, is that they know better. And for reasons of money and commercialism they are choosing to continue slinging this crap.
But parents? Many many have to wake up and be educated on what is happening to the health of their children. And rather then use their power for making sure Johnny doesn’t take responsibility for his B performance in a class, they should be using it to advocate for the highest quality food, and the best funding for their children’s schools.
Jamie Oliver is working in schools, but the reality is that this is an issue for all of us. We need to not only educate ourselves about our bodies and the nutrition it requires along with the consequences of processed foods and excessive sugar, but we need to take responsibility for that knowledge and act on it.
And… then at the end of the day, I need to look in the mirror and remind myself to do the same. Each and every day.
i love you mama!
The Rowdy Chowgirl says
Hmm! Very interesting. When I was in elementary school, we had “milk monitors” who came around and shook our carton to make sure we finished our (white) milk before we could go to recess. Personally, I’ve always detested the taste of milk, so I don’t know that I can endorse that particular method wholeheartedly, but it was simple and straightforward–they didn’t bribe us with chocolate milk, they just required that we finish the white stuff before we could go play.
I think that the purpose nature intended for milk is to fatten baby animals. So the idea of taking most of the fat out, and then insisting that our children drink tons of it daily, long after they have been weaned, doesn’t make much sense to me anyway, with or without the sugar.
Elena Rego says
I can’t believe it! I totally had a memory of our milk monitors! I hadn’t thought about that in way too many years to even share here. But that aside, I don’t think children should drink cows milk at all. Not only is it hard for our human bodies to break down, but with all the crap put in milk now its doing more harm then good in my opinion. Once children are weaned from the milk of their OWN species, preferably their mothers, there is no need for it anymore.
The calcium argument is a product of the dairy industries amazing marketing campaign. We get calcium from a whole range of food. Milk isn’t needed for this at all.
I’m with @Holly! Since when did kids decide what they eat? Of course, they’re going to choose a sugary milk and greasy food over a green salad.
AMEN!!! You said it loud, that show is bringing a lot of light to a huge problem. I can’t belive what is going on in the schools. I wish the show wasn’t on a friday night, it needs to be on a thursday or wednesday night, another night that gets even higher ratings. Bravo to Jamie Oliver for taking this on.
Elena Rego says
Rumor has it that there will be a second season with a different city. Jamie winning the TED award has gotten him a lot of support to try to do this throughout the country, and apparently First Lady Michelle Obama is on board with the campaign.
Diaczun Style says
A big fat “hell yeah”. This show is eye opening. The rules for school lunches astound me. It is sad to me that our country has to remind it’s kids to eat fresh food and play outside. Kudos to Jamie Oliver and kudos to you for posting about it on your blog. Keep up the great work!!
*claps* woo! i totally agree. if anyone chooses to drink milk, or use milk products (which are not required in adulthood, hence calcium in other foods like you mentioned), then it should be raw. i can’t believe raw milk is illegal and industries like this are not. shameful.
Elena Rego says
You can get raw in very FEW places. But I seriously doubt that this country would EVER allow for raw milk to be made widely available. We’re uptight that way. But I say we step back to the reality that cows milk just isn’t good for children or adults and we shouldn’t be drinking it anyway.
I watched the 1st episode and was so pissed by the end of the hour. The way EVERYONE in that town looked down on him, from that stupid DJ to the freakin’ lunch ladies. I haven’t watched it since. Hats off to Jaime! I probably would have packed up and went home after the first day. I know he’s doing it for the future (the kids), but those adults would make me want to bolt back home!
Elena Rego says
Norah, I agree, the resistance has been so frustrating. And on a superficial level, I get that no one likes to be told they are ignorant of some facts, but my god… once you know, you would think that you would do everything you could to learn and change… I think its definitely a reflection of our collective challenges with self facing. Compassion, persistence and patience…
I agree. There is no evidence to support that drinking cow's milk helps human bone development. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary. And look at cows. They don't drink cow's milk after they're weaned and they continue to grow big, large bones. Where do they get their calcium? Grass!
Hey, I would offer one change to your post above. You should say in the 3rd paragraph, "The level of UDDER stupidity and abuse here is beyond comprehension to me."
I totally agree with you. I hate that the food peeps for public school treat us and our children like idiots. When did we stop making the choices for our kids because we know best? And when did schools stop caring. French fries = veg and pink milk = calcium. Makes me ill. Ill to the point that we are a home lunch family now. My kids started asking for better alternatives to what they serve at school. Unreal. It is so hard to watch sometimes.
Jessica N says
Check this out:http://www.nutritionexplorations.org/sfs/schoolmi…
Basically, the way they sweeten/flavor it is with High Fructose Corn Syrup. In Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, he talks about the subsidizing of commodity corn and the need for the market to absorb that extra biomass that has been created to be falsely cheap. This is why there is flavored milk in the school. Captive audience to eat the extra biomass that we pay taxes to subsidize to make us fat and diabetic.
Also, more nefariously, this gets children hooked on that flavor and crazy sweetness so they will continue to eat it later in life. It is NOT a mystery as to why they are doing this.
I watched the first couple episodes on Hulu and couldn't sleep that night. I haven't watched it since because it pushes way too many buttons for me. The producers of the show really know what they are doing and of course it is a good thing the light is being shone so brightly on school food. But, Connie, who has an up close view of what's going on, has many good points. All I know is that my local school district nutritionist isn't calling me back. Maybe it's time to figure out another way to channel my energy. This is easier said than done when most of the people in my community think that school lunches are just fine the way they are.
The only milk I drink is real milk, raw milk, unpasterurized and all the natural fat in it. The pasteurized, de-fatted stuff gives me horrible GI problems.