Monday, March 13, 2017

Misguided School Lunch Guidelines

On 3/4/17 I sent a letter to the editor of the Toledo Blade, which has not appeared, so I’m posting it here. It was in response to this editorial:

Good for Rep. Steve King taking aim at the misguided school lunch guidelines.
Where is the evidence that the current low fat, low salt guidelines for school lunches has led to healthier students? The notion that limiting fat will help kids lose weight is based on a misunderstanding of how the body deals with real food. Research has shown that children who drink whole milk tend to be slimmer than children who drink low fat milk. The butterfat contains valuable nutrients, such as true vitamin A. The nutrients in vegetables are absorbed better when you butter those veggies. The idea that natural saturated fats are bad for you has been thoroughly debunked, though it has been dying a very slow death unfortunately.
Salt is an essential mineral in the blood stream. The notion that you can’t add enough salt to soup made from scratch to make it taste good is nonsense! They seem to be using the guidelines for elderly people with high blood pressure.
We are giving our children the awful message that healthy food doesn’t taste good, which is simply not true when real food is properly prepared. I speak as a slim, retired dietitian who uses plenty of butter and drinks [raw] whole milk.
Kris Johnson, MS Nutrition, retired dietitian
Williston, OH
419-320-2309

I would have liked to add more information supporting my position, but the length of letters to the editor is limited.
The Healthy Nation Coalition, consisting of many health and nutrition professionals, has a goal of changing the USDA Dietary Guidelines so they actually promote good health: http://forahealthynation.org/healthy-nation-coalition-letter/
The Weston A. Price Foundation has several article on this topic: https://www.westonaprice.org/dietary-guidelines-usda/
And, of course, on my website there are many links to healthy dietary guidance.

So learn to take with a grain of salt some of the advice that you so often see in the paper, such as this article that appeared in today’s paper, Bacon, soda & too few nuts tied to big portion of US deaths.

Kris
Whole Foods = Good Health!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We Must Claim The High Moral Ground

Sunday I listened to John Ikerd speak on sustainability at the OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Asso.) conference. He emphasized that we must take the high moral ground that what we are promoting is the right thing to do, whether farming ecologically or organizing local food systems or communicating with our politicians. As he says in this recent blog:
“For purposes of this discussion, I have defined an ethic as: a set of rules of behavior based on individual or collective ideas about what is morally good and bad and thus is right and wrong. An ethic can be individual, communal, or societal and thus can guide the decisions and actions of individuals, communities, societies, or humanity as a whole. An ethic of sustainability ultimately must eventually encompass humanity, if the global sustainability movement is to succeed in its mission. However, individual ethics eventually shape communal ethics and communal ethics shape societal ethics, which ultimately guide the evolution of humanity.”

And then I reread Rev. William Barber’s piece in a recent issue of The Nation, where he speaks of the same issue of what is morally right and wrong and raises some pointed questions:
 “This is why progressives must learn to “speak in tongues” toward a new political Pentecost, because the issues we face in 2016 are not matters of left and right; instead, they are matters of right and wrong. What religious tradition urges its devotees to fleece the poor and destroy public schools? What concept of God informs the believer that it is right to turn hungry children away from preschool programs where they can get a head start in life and a nutritious breakfast, or to deny poor children medical care and dentistry? What Scripture permits the beating of prisoners or refuses a person a fair trial? We have a genuine moral vision, and it is time that we embraced it.”

There are many conservatives who are religious, but progressives have the high moral ground, while it seems like the Right Wing has become totally greedy and selfish and legalistic.  Setting aside the “hot button” issues, about which religious people sincerely disagree on ethical grounds, progressives are fighting for what is morally right, and we must maintain the high moral ground in all we do. And, as Rev. Barber emphasizes, we must band together with all those fighting for what is ethically right on a host of different issues if we are going to turn things around in this country. As Ikerd, who is an economist, said, we farm ecologically because it is right, not because it is highly profitable, we shop at the farmers market because it is the right thing to do, not because it is cheaper. We must appeal to folks’ higher moral standards if we are to win them over and change our society.

Kris Johnson



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nutrition in the headlines again - or it should have been!

I just finished reading this book, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by  Nina Teicholz (https://thebigfatsurprise.com/)
It's familiar territory to me, but what an indictment of our nutrition authorities! Nina documents the shocking refusal of so-called nutrition experts to entertain the idea that there might be another way to look at the issue of saturated fat, instead accusing those who have studied the research carefully of 'quackery' for suggesting that saturated fat is not bad. They simply refuse to look at all the research with an open mind - a very bad habit for anyone calling themselves a scientist!

Two recent stories in The New York Times (one after the other in my large print weekly edition) make me wonder if we’ll ever get the nutrition right!
relates the problems nursing homes are having taking care of massively obese patients. And I’ll bet they are feeding them the very low fat high carb type of diet that made them fat in the first place, since that is the standard diet in nursing homes. And that is what we’ve been told is a healthy diet for nearly 40 years - still recommended in the government’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
This is what guides food policy in many institutions, including our public schools.  Pity the poor children that can have low fat chocolate milk with extra sugar, but not the whole milk that is truly nourishing – and never any butter on their tasteless vegetables.

Which leads me to the other shocking article, where nutrition is completely ignored, as babies are given drugs for problems that are probably the result of missing nutrients.
Imagine giving babies,  or even toddlers, Prozac or Risperdal for depression! The doctors who prescribe these drugs know so little about nutrition, they have no idea that faulty nutrition of the child or even the mother could be at the root of the problem. Yet good nutrition is essential  for the brain to work properly. The influence on behavior of several common nutrient deficiencies is detailed in this article:
And good natural fats, like butter, are needed to absorb several of these important nutrients.

Parents who follow the Dietary Guidelines based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, DDS, rich with natural fats, have healthy happy children with little in the way of behavior problems. As evidence, check out the Healthy Baby Photo Gallery

These happy faces are an inspiration!

Kris, retired and reformed dietitian

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Merry Christmas to all!



Not a good place for family news, but here's a bit of my news. With a world in turmoil, I’d rather talk about what we can look forward to. I continue to teach classes on eating traditional realfoods. Some refer to it as the Paleo Diet, but that’s a pretty nebulous description, with many versions, though they often emphasize many of the traditional foods that Dr Price discovered nourished the healthy societies that he visited back in the 1930’s. For those who want to learn more, visit the website of the Weston A Price Foundation, www.westonaprice.org, or prowl around on my website www.MercyViewMeadow.org. I’m happy to report that many people are discovering that butter is better and eggs are excellent!

I’ve continued working on GMO issues (see last year’s Christmas letter). Efforts to get genetically engineered foods labeled have been sidetracked by nationwide efforts to defeat the so-called Dark Act (“Deny Americans the Right to Know” Act) which would prevent all GMO labeling nationwide and pretend that somehow genetic engineering is “natural”.  Meanwhile, in the face of growing evidence that this artificial genetic engineering is not good for our health or that of the planet, global food, farming and environmental justice groups will put Monsanto on trial for crimes against human health and the environment in the International People’s Court in the Hague. You can find out more at www.organicconsumers.org And most importantly you can take action to acquire your food from clean organic sources, including meat from animals raised and finished on well-managed pasture.

And in doing that you will also make a contribution to reversing climate change - much in the news these days. We always hear about the need to switch to renewable energy, and there is much good news on that, but we haven’t heard much about the other side of the equation – putting carbon back into the soil where it belongs. It turns out that organic style farming, sometimes referred to as ecoagriculture, not only puts carbon back into the soil, but also is highly productive, and very healthy for all.

I’ve been reading a book, World Hunger: 10 Myths (smallplanet.org), which ties this all together – food security, healthy food, happy farmers, fertile soils, stable climate. Food First (foodfirst.org) has been in the forefront of spreading the good news about ‘agroecology’, as farmers around the world learn to increase their food production by focusing on soil health not pesticides. The prospects are very encouraging, as long as they can fend off the efforts of corporate agriculture. Don’t be fooled when you hear “experts” claim that we need GMOs to feed the world. It is simply not true!

Another exciting activity this year has been participating in our local Multifaith Women’s group, getting to know women of other faiths, sharing garden and cooking knowhow, and attending demonstrations for peace and understanding. Our community celebrated a visit by the Interfaith Amigos (interfaithamigos.com), a pastor, a rabbi, and an imam who have become good friends and spread the message of unity, love, and compassion, having found that their friendship has deepened their faith. We need to understand and respect each other’s faith. I highly recommend inviting the Interfaith Amigos to your community. 

As we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, may we remember that we are all children of God, and that God loves us in spite of our many foibles and disappointing behaviors. I pray that understanding that Love, we are inspired to spread love and compassion far and wide. Our country and our world desperately need them!


Wishing you the best in 2016
Kris

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Letter to the Editor of BBC World Service concerning their coverage of GMOs

Dear BBC,

I listen to  BBC World Service night on Sirius XM. I was appalled that BBC would broadcast such a biased report about GMOs as the one I heard recently (6/1/15) on The Inquiry. It sounded like a propaganda press release from the genetic engineering industry (Monsanto) attempting to gloss over the serious scientific questions raised about their safety and affects on the environment.

I didn’t hear anything about the good quality, independent research that has revealed serious health concerns.
Nor did I hear anything about the serious problems farmers have experienced when they use these products and their associated pesticides.
Nor did I hear anything about how modern organic/ecological sustainable agriculture can be just as productive, if not more so under adverse weather conditions.

The notion that there is scientific consensus that GMOs are safe is totally misleading, as most scientists have no idea of the depth of deception coming from the industry.
The book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, documents the unethical practices of the industry in their efforts to minimize oversight by government authorities and protect their profits.

We deserve better reporting from the BBC!

Concerning recent headlines

A letter to the editor which didn't get published:

The price of eggs is up because of bird flu hitting giant commercial layer factories. Millions of piglets died last year in commercial pig factories due to a strange virus. Health insurance premiums are set to rise significantly. Salt is targeted as causing poor health, so labeling is mandated in restaurants. Our children are plagued by obesity and diabetes. The common weed killer, glyphosate, is a probable carcinogen and contaminates many foods.  What is wrong with our systems???

Commercial chicken and hog factories may provide us with cheap food, but animals that are so vulnerable to disease do not provide us with the healthiest food, to say nothing of the ethical issues they raise. The minerals missing from refined foods (salt, flour, sugar, & high fructose corn syrup) are keys to good health, rather than restricting salt. Now we are learning that the recommended low fat foods actually contribute to obesity, while butter and eggs are good for us, but modern vegetable oils are not.

Shockingly, unless they study nutrition on their own, doctors are not of much help, as they get almost no nutrition instruction in  medical school.


When are we going to learn that the quality of the food we eat and how it is raised are keys to keeping us truly healthy, cutting our health care costs, and restoring a healthy environment? They are all interconnected!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Why I’m reluctant to throw some things away!

Yesterday while working in the garden pulling weeds. The sun was bright, but it was getting late and the sun was lower in the west, and there was not much shade protection. I kept shifting my hat visor to try to keep from being blinded by the sun, and realized I needed a wide brimmed hat. Aha! I thought. I have an old wide brimmed straw hat (that I almost threw away at one point because it wasn’t very useful) that might work, so I went and found that. It might have served the purpose, except thanks to the loose weave, the sun was still able to get through and make it hard to see. Aha! I thought. I need to add some dark cloth that would keep out the sun. (I have a white hat with quite a wide visor, but being white and not very opaque it had a bit of the same problem in bright sun.) I was about done for the day, it would soon be dark, so I went looking for a solution to my hat problem – heading for the rag drawer, which is full of assorted old clothes, etc. I found a very old, faded, well-worn brown work T-shirt that my husband had worn out. It had already been cut across the bottom for some reason. It looked like as if I cut off about 4 more inches it just might work for my purpose. I made the cut and ran big stitches along one edge on the sewing machine, pulled the thread to gather that edge, and tried it on the hat, pinning it to the edge of the hat brim. It worked! It was just the right size! (Well, close enough.) But it was definitely ugly and needed a finishing touch.  I have an assortment of colorful decorative ribbons from my mother’s sewing things, including a bit of 1/2 inch ribbon with brown highlights that just happened to be sitting in a little basket on the shelve above the sewing machine - perfect! I stitched that on by hand, fastening down the old T-shirt in the process, and the result looks really promising – from three things that others might have thrown in the trash, or maybe to Goodwill!
So – my new garden hat for a really sunny day of working in the sun.

In the process of looking for the hat I did find 3 back packs that I don't need, and put them in the car to take to Goodwill.