November 9, 2011 / Issue 98


Mrs. Green's World 

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A Case of Acute Green Confusion

(of the green, leafy & peachy keen kind)

WARNING: The contents of this newsletter may be hazardous to your mental health. It took me hours to write because I am honestly and truly in a total stupor and an agitated state about the entire subject. It's about our children and their health and welfare. It's about setting aside greed and profits and asking the village to raise the children. At the end of the day, I have to ask myself are we the people or are we the sheeple?


Children holding handsCause of agitation: How can moving to healthier school lunches for our children set off a HUGE dispute? How can it possibly be a cause for debate let alone HUGE dispute?


Background for this RANT: According to several articles I read, the government has proposed changes in school lunch programs to make them more nutritious. They want to cut back on potatoes and add more fresh peaches, apples, spinach and broccoli. And hold the salt. Such heresy! Less pizza and fries you say?


Shockingly (sarcasm strongly intended), these changes, the FIRST in 15 years to the $11 BILLION school-lunch program, companies including Coca Cola, Del Monte and the makers of frozen pizza (should not even be considered food) and French fries, have a huge stake in the new guidelines and are arguing that it would raise the cost of meals and call for food that too many children just will not eat. (So I guess as the adults in charge, we should just keep on feeding them frozen pizza and fries - yes?)


Now, a few random, pesky facts for you to ponder:


  • Fact: At this writing, a quarter-cup of tomato paste on a pizza is considered a vegetable.
  • Fact: A third of American children are categorized as obese or overweight.
  • Fact: Roughly 40 percent of the calories children eat are consumed in the school lunch period.

Here's an encouraging quote (again, heavy sarcasm) from one of the articles I read: "The battle is shaping up as a contentious and complicated fight involving lawmakers from farm states and large low-income urban areas that rely on the program, which fed some 30 million children last year with free or subsidized meals. Food companies have spent more than $5.6 million so far lobbying against the proposed rules." Battle? Over more nutritious school lunches? Is anyone thinking rotten potatoes or greed or smelling money instead of fresh peaches? Am I going to have to start an "Occupy Del Monte" movement?


Another shocker for you to absorb: A group of farm-state senators have already succeeded in blocking an Agriculture Department plan to limit the amount of starchy foods in school meals, and are now hoping to win a larger victory. A VICTORY OVER WHAT? This is the point at which I begin to shout - a victory over feeding our kids too much starch? A victory for potatoes? A victory for obese kids? Please tell me what victory we could be celebrating here.


As to the "raise the cost of meals" fear put out there by those companies profiting from the status quo, the Agriculture Department said the proposed rules would add about $6.8 billion over the next five years, about 14 cents to the cost of a school lunch. I realize I may be mixing apples and missiles here but what is the WEEKLY cost of the war in Afghanistan? Oh, that's right - 2 BILLION A WEEK. But silly me, this would improve the health and nutrition of OUR children, in OUR country, in OUR schools. What was I thinking?


So as an Irishman who loves potatoes, who can devour a bag of fries in nano-seconds, and who can't think of a potato I have ever met that I didn't like, do I have anything against them? No - but limit my intake I must, I must!


But why, you say? I want to live long and prosper! According to a Harvard School of Public Health study, published this year in The New England Journal of Medicine, starchy carbohydrates like those in potatoes are responsible for many of the nation's health problems, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. French fries and potato chips are the worst uses of the potato, but even boiled potatoes contribute to weight gain, the study found. So, let 'em eat potatoes - they don't know any better any way. After all, they are children for heaven's sake!


Here's the quote that may have put me over the green edge: "The food industry agrees that eating more fruits and vegetables and reducing salt is a good thing. It says it has developed healthier foods over time to make school lunches more nutritious. But they say the government's proposals go too far too quickly." A GOVERNMENT proposal going too far too quickly? And who is "it?" What does that even mean - the food industry has developed healthier foods? And should we just slow down growing overweight kids and phase in thinner ones over time? Am I just being obtuse or missing someone's point?


And the unbiased, totally pure, selfless, "thinking only of the health of our children" quote? Brace yourself. The National Potato Council said the proposal to offer fewer weekly servings of potatoes in favor of other vegetables and fruits was OVERLY RESTRICTIVE. "Everyone thinks that the only thing kids eat in school are French fries," said John Keeling, the council's executive vice president and chief executive. "But 90 percent of the potatoes served in schools are baked, boiled or mashed." And I guess that helps with how much starch is in them - right?


For the record and as God is my judge - my children and grandchildren eat spinach, broccoli, apples and fresh peaches. There's no disputing that.


I feel so much better now.
It's Your Party and I'll Cry If I Want To! 
Family gatherings and holiday celebration times are here. What a great opportunity to waste not when entertaining. Our landfills are rapidly filling up, it's easier on our budgets and the Earth if we reduce and reuse, and we CAN make it fun. Please check out and share Mrs. Green's video.

It's Your Party and I'll Cry If I Want To: Green Parties

Gardening Tips for Your Reading Pleasure!

The easiest way to propagate plants is with a clone machine, sign up to win Botanicare's Power Cloner 45 today! 

-- Brought to you by Sea of Green  

New Feature from Mrs. Green
Thought we would mix things up little and add a new feature: Mrs. Green's says "check it out." Just cool, green things you might not know about.
Upcoming Shows


HabiStoreNovember 12

Terry Dee - Habitat for Humanity's HabiStore, and Laura Fairbanks - Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department  

This show is all about bringing awareness to communities about green programs, green practices and green living. Every year a group of individuals work diligently to hold the Green Living Fair. Information about energy saving, water saving, rainwater harvesting, green plumbing, waste management, healthy eating and so much more is made available to the Tucson community. Tune in to find out what this great group is up to and maybe even learn enough to start a Green Living Fair in your community. This show sponsored by The Fairfax Companies.


Peter ArpinNovember 19

Peter Arpin, radio show host of Renewable Now, president of The Arpin International Group

What is the fourth generation of Arpins doing running a company started by his great grandparents AND running his own radio station AND show? You will have to tune in to find out. Peter started Arpin Broadcast Group (ABN) in 2008. It is the first web-based television network dedicated to the moving and storage industry. He is an entrepreneur, a person dedicated to reducing the Arpin Groups carbon emissions (among their many accomplishments) and Peter will have a vast array of exciting, green, cutting edge things to share with us. This show sponsored by Chapman Tucson.


Human Society of Southern ArizonaNovember 26

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona - Kerri Burns, Vice President, and Lyndsey Bruno, Public Relations Lead

Join Mrs. Green to talk about what might be the ultimate recycling - that of animals. Recognized nationally and internationally for her work in the animal welfare arena, Kerri will share with us her knowledge and understanding of the field's issues and innovations, as well as a contagious enthusiasm and determination to make substantive progress. Honestly? There is no end to what Ms. Burns has done in her work with animal welfare. And trust me when I say, Lyndsey Bruno is at the forefront of informing people of Kerri's contribution as well as successfully spreading the word about the myriad of programs and activities of this great organization. You will NOT want to miss this show. Sponsored by The Fairfax Companies.


Debra DuneierDecember 3
Debra Duneier - Author of EcoChi
EcoChi has the power to change your life - but only if you let it! Here are a few things you should know that will make you want to listen live: Did you know that we spend about 98% of our time inside? Did you know that the design of a room can give you a certain vibe or alter your mood? The EcoChi´┐Ż system that Debra easily describes in her book, brings nature's elements inside to create indoor environments that influence your senses and shape how you feel about yourself and others. This harmonious blend of Classical Feng Shui, Green and Sustainable Living and Environmental Psychology is the revolutionary wave of design. Bonus? I read the book and will share some personal stories. This show sponsored by Chapman Tucson.


Jeannette MareDecember 10
Jeannette Mare - Founder, Ben's Bells Project
The mission of Ben's Bells is to inspire, educate and motivate each other to realize the impact of intentional kindness and to empower individuals to act according to that awareness, thereby changing our world. Sound like a good fit for Mrs. Green? Ha! Jeanette is one of the most incredible human beings I have ever met. You really have to read their story and about how Jeanette and her family turned the sudden death of their son Ben (who was not yet three at the time) into an internationally recognized, acclaimed and phenomenal movement promoting kindness. Ben's Bells symbolize kindness and its power in healing. You really have to plan to listen to this show. You'll be very glad you did. Why not practice an act of kindness while you are at it - invite a family member or friend to listen with you? This show sponsored by The Fairfax Companies.  

Mrs. Green's World GREEN TALK RADIO Show
Please remember to tune in to Mrs. Green's World every Saturday at 12:00 pm PST, live streaming on the Internet. 
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Mrs. Green's World