February 1, 2012 / Issue 104


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A Case of Acute Green Confusion - Part II 

(Update to the Rant of November 9, 2011)


In my November 8th newsletter, I wrote about my confusion, frustration and yes - even a bit of anger regarding proposed changes in our national school lunch program. I wrote that it upset me that an eighth-cup of tomato paste counted as a vegetable and also that the farm states were spending lots of money opposing the changes in the lunch programs due, in a significant way, to the proposed reduction in the use of potatoes for french fries. Feel free to refresh your memory about the entire rant.


I don't exactly know if I am ready for another rant because what I really feel is frustration and yes, even sadness to bring you this update on the new, approved rules for federally subsidized meals (in other words, paid for by us.) Given that childhood obesity is our biggest public health threat and given that roughly 40 percent of the calories children eat are consumed in the school lunch period, shouldn't we ALL care about this issue? Since "federally subsidized" is a euphemism for tax payers money (same money that funds the defense budget), should not more people care that we, the people, will end up paying for healthcare costs due to childhood obesity if we don't take measures to change things?


Ready for the facts? (If you can stomach them.)


Fact: tater tots and french fries will still count as a vegetable.


Here's the quote from one source I read: "One source of saturated fat the agency wasn't able to cut down on is the french fry. The agency initially proposed to sharply limit starchy vegetables like potatoes on school menus, but lawmakers and farm lobbyists killed the effort last year." Is it far too dramatic to say they might be killing our children instead of "the effort." Sickens me.


Rant: Sen. Susan Collins from Maine took credit for helping thwart the Department of Agriculture's efforts to reduce the amount of potato-based foods served in schools. Shockingly, Maine is the fifth-largest potato-producing state in the US. Farmers lobbying worked. Forget the children - let them eat cake AND french fries.


Fact: At this writing, an eighth-cup of tomato paste (mostly used on a pizza) is STILL considered a vegetable.


Tomato PasteThe agency tried to diminish the amount that tomato paste in pizza counts toward vegetable requirements. Congress blocked that effort late last year. Why? Because the food industry complained. OMG - say it isn't so. Are children not our future anymore? What about the parent industry? Where was everybody that should care about good nutrition? Where was I?


Fact: The Agriculture Department initially estimated that the proposed rules would add about $6.8 billion over the next five years, about 14 cents to the cost of a school lunch. Last week they cut that estimate to $3.2 billion, partly because they removed yet another proposed requirement that schools provide a meat or meat substitute in the government subsidized breakfast programs. Once again, did anyone ask me where I would like my money to go? I guess we can always use that savings if we need to build another missile or to create another government agency. Silly me.


There is good news but it really didn't get me that excited. It doesn't feel like small steps, big impact. No more whole milk. Flavored milk allowed but only if nonfat, and over the next two years, whole-grain products must account for half of the grain products served in school lunches. I guess whole-grains aren't available for purchase yet - heavy sarcasm.


Schools will also be required to OFFER students to one cup of vegetables, plus to one cup of fruit a day. The students won't be required to put that much on their trays. I get that but I also get that when I was in first grade, french fries would have trumped broccoli all day long and twice on Fridays. Still might.


Well, I guess the folks at Del Monte, Coca Cola, and the potato farm lobbyists were right. The government's proposals were asking us to go too far too quickly. And we should just slow down trying not to grow overweight kids, pay for their health issues due to obesity and phase in thinner ones over time.


And again, 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 don't feel so much better now like I did the last time. Sorry. 

Green Cleaning Products
What do olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda have in common? They can all be used to clean your entire house! Mrs. Green shares tips on how to make your own environmentally-friendly cleaning products for a healthier you, and a healthier planet.
Green Cleaning Products
Green Cleaning Products
Gardening Tips for Your Reading Pleasure! Wonder what the professional gardener's at Sea Of Green feed their plants? Check out their favorite five fertilizers and sign up for a chance to win them all!
-- Brought to you by Sea of Green

Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner. Please think about baby steps and/or giant steps in either growing some of your own food or supporting locally grown. And think Sea of Green to help you out.  
Mrs. Green says Check It Out!

Want to laugh? Learn? Laugh out loud? Check out this website! There's a WAITING list to be invited to join. Thanks, Megan Jasper, for sharing.

Upcoming Shows


Debbie Clagett TriSportsFebruary 4

Debbie Claggett, Owner, TriSports.com

Triathlete, business owner, Mom, wife, community leader. That would be Debbie. She and her husband Seton are the owners of TriSports.com, the largest supplier of triathlete gear in the world. Add to that the following: Their 32,000 square foot facility is solar powered, has two massive rainwater harvesting tanks (can hold 36,000 gallons of rainwater), and has a recycling bin four times bigger than their dumpster. Proud winners of Mrs. Green's Arizona's Greenest Workplace Challenge, it has been my privilege getting to know them, learn about their sustainable culture, their green events and their commitment to our planet. You won't want to miss - trust me. This show sponsored by The Fairfax Companies.


TerracycleFebruary 11

Albe Zakes - TerraCycle

Albe was one of my very first guests when I started Mrs. Green. We've come a long way baby! The tagline on their website? Eliminate The Idea of Waste. Love it! You also know I love numbers so ponder these and plan to join us: Number of people collecting trash through partnerships with Terracyle - 26,511,927. Waste units collected: 2,262,684,595. Dollars donated to charities: $3,491,776.12. Counting the days. This show sponsored by Environmental Development Group (EDG).


Patti GoldmanFebruary 18

Patti Goldman, VP of Litigation, Earthjustice 

How could you not love the tagline: Earthjustice: because the earth needs a good lawyer. I love all of my lawyer friends and all of the lawyer jokes but this tagline gave me pause. Did you ever stop to think about Mother Earth's lawyer? I did not. How can you not want to hear about a law firm dedicated to protecting magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife, and to defending the right of ALL people to a healthy environment. They create controversy, take bold stands and yes, make people think. Plan to think with me by joining us. This show sponsored by Chapman Tucson.


Green CorpsFebruary 25

Emma Greenbaum, GreenCorps

It's finally happened. A friend of my youngest daughter is going to be a guest on my show. Time flies when you are Mrs. Green. I have known Emma for close to a decade and was so very proud when she wrote to us asking for us to support GreenCorps. (First I had to read about what the heck it was.) Well, GreenCorps (like Peace Corps) is a one year program that trains the next generation of environmental revolutionaries to win campaigns for the planet and the future. What? Our Emma a revolutionary fighting for things like safeguarding fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, protecting the arctic refuge, and advocating for fair farm rules? Yes! How could you miss this one? This show sponsored by The Fairfax Companies.


Green peek at what's in the line-up:


March 3

Green America - Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director


March 10

Tucson Festival of Books - Ivy Manning & Drew Aquilina - authors participating in TFOB - the 4th largest Book Festival in the USA


March 17

Solar One Stop - Betty Stamper - national model on streamlining the solar installation process.

Mrs. Green's World GREEN TALK RADIO Show
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