Things That Are Trifling

Thoughts on Food, Gender, Race, and Popular Culture

Archive for the category “Food”

11 Amazing Food Advocacy Organizations

We believe that everyone has a right to access health and sustainable food. Unfortunately, our food and agriculture system in the United States does not always allow for the just production and distribution of healthy, sustainable food. Here is a list of 11 food advocacy organizations who are working to change that.

  1. Restaurant Opportunities Center United – A national organization that works to improve the wages and working conditions of food industry workers. ROC is active in research, policy work, employer engagement, membership and leadership development, and workplace justice campaigns.
  2. Coalition of Immokalee Workers – A grassroots community-based organization made up of mostly Mayan, Latino and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage food jobs aimed at improving conditions for farmworkers. First founded in 1993, CIW has organized a number of successful campaigns including its Anti-Slavery Campaign, the Campaign for Fair Food, and the Fair Food Program campaign.
  3. Live Real – A platform for young people to get involved with shaping the food system in the United States. Live Real is guided by belief in real justice and real health. Its current campaign for real food is Bring Healthy Back! community members pledge to eat real food for 30 days while sharing their experiences through social media.
  4. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is a DC based food advocacy membership organization that advocates for federal policy reform to support sustainable agriculture, food systems, natural resources and rural communities. NSAC is one of the most reliable resources on the development of sustainable ag policy in major food bills, particularly the Farm Bill.
  5. Food Democracy Now – A community of advocates who organize online and in person actions across the country aimed at building a sustainable food system that provides healthy food for families, maintains natural resources and supports farmers.
  6. Food and Water Watch – A non-profit organization that informs policymakers on and advocates policies that will ensure safe, accessible water and food. Food and Water Watch has 15 different offices across the country of policy researchers and communication experts who build campaigns and influence decisions in order to protect consumers.
  7. National Family Farm Coalition – A coalition of family farmers and rural groups who work on the grassroots and federal policy level to empower family farmers and ensure a safe, strong, and just food and farm system.
  8. Green for All – A national nonprofit based in Washington, DC and Oakland, CA focused on building green economy that can raise people out of poverty. Green for All’s food justice work includes supporting policies that promote healthy food and repairing the food system through green jobs promotion.
  9. Detroit Black Community Food Security Network – A coalition based in Detroit, MI that aims to build food security in black communities by influencing public policy, promoting urban agriculture, promoting healthy eating habits, facilitating collective action among members, and encouraging young people to engage in agriculture and other food related fields. DBCFSN will be celebrating its 7th anniversary at the end of the month!
  10. Rooted in Community – Rooted In Community (RIC) is a national network of youth and adults that encourages and empowers youth to take on leadership roles in their communities. RIC members are committed to developing a just food system through urban and rural agriculture, food security, and environmental justice initiatives. RIC holds a
  11. Food Chain Workers Alliance – The Food Chain Workers Alliance is a coalition worker-based organizations whose members plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve, and sell food, organizing to improve wages and working conditions for all workers along the food chain. They seek to build a more sustainable and just food system that addresses institutionalized racism, corporate control of the food system, and poor working conditions.

7 Food Blogs or Sites That We Love

We enjoy reading other folks’ opinions about developments in U.S. food policy, new opportunities in sustainable agriculture, and advocacy efforts supporting food industry workers and food justice initiatives. Here’s a list of 7 blogs we visit regularly to stay updated on important food issues.

  1. Civil Eats – A source of writings by food advocates and activists who promote ideas supporting sustainable agriculture and food systems.
  2. Fooducate – A website created and maintained by dietitians  nutritionists and parents to provide accurate information (good and bad) about nutritional content of what we eat. Just use your mobile phone to scan UPC barcodes of food and let Fooducate do the rest!
  3. Grist – One of the most reliable environmental news and analysis sites out there. Grist’s environmental commentary often includes articles about the food industry and agriculture in the U.S.
  4. Appetite for Profit – Michele Simon, a food writer with years of experience, and author of Appetite for Profit, regularly updates her blog with opinions of the food industry’s role in perpetuating poor food habit.
  5. U.S. Food Policy – Parker Wilde’s personal blog about food policy in the United States. Wilde is a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
  6. Hunger Incorporated – A blog and fundraising site managed by Andy Fisher, founder of the Community Food Security Coalition and longtime anti-hunger and food security advocate. Andy is writing a book about how corporations are benefiting from present state of hunger in the United States.
  7. Where Is My Milk From? – Find out where your milk comes from!

Mmm. Farmers.

God made a factory farmer


This is great.

Sugar Washing

I’ve been getting riled up about food issues for about 12 years. First it was factory farming. Then it was industry lies about factory farming when people started to realize the jig was up. Then it was nonprofits. I was living in a world where everyone wanted to do this thing called “i-banking” and I was like um, yes, I bank, do you? (I didn’t get it). Then when entrepreneurs were like, I can start a nonprofit and make money at the same time while completely ignoring the broader issue of systemic oppression, I turned my attention to cause-marketing and the non-profit industrial complex. Then it was food paternalism. It’s still food paternalism, but more on that in a later post. For now, my target is sugar-sweetened beverages.

I’m tired of all this anti-soda talk coming from the public health community. If it’s not NYC, it’s some other state trying to restrict the food choices of low-income people by preventing them from buying soda with food stamps, in an effort to reduce obesity.

Everyone eats badly- obesity is rising everywhere, in every single country across the world, and the poor are supposed to have a better diet than the rest of us?

I heard something that the average american spends 40% of their income on food. Not the 10% figure that people talk about. The cheap food thing is a lie. But I digress.

But back to what really gets me riled up. Fruit juice. I loathe fruit juice. The conversation should stop being about soda, which everyone knows is bad for you, and focus on “healthy” foods that are *actually* bad for you but have been marketed to make people believe they are healthy and necessary to consume on a daily basis. Fruit juice is a sugar bomb.  It’s liquid candy with Vitamin C, that you can easily get from a variety of other sources.

If the public health community wants to get behind something to change in federal nutrition programs, frozen vegetables as part of the WIC package would be awesome in my opinion. Frozen fruit even. 

But more broadly, the solution is to regulate this type of marketing at the federal level. This marketing affects EVERYONE, and people eat foods that have sugar in ALL forms. I’m seeing the yogurt aisles being taken over by sugar-added yogurt. It’s hard to find a plain sometimes. More on that later.





Worst Breakfast Advice Ever

I came across this blog post this morning and I cannot believe that a registered dietician actually recommends this food.

Do you eat #breakfast every morning? 7 days of quick & #healthy breakfast ideas to keep you going.

While I agree that some breakfast is better than no breakfast at all (which leads to overeating later in the day), I am particularly concerned because basically everything that she suggests has added sugars or refined carbohydrates. Putting this stuff in your body at the start of the day, for many people, makes them ravenous by lunchtime (or by mid-morning); these meals spike your blood sugar and, I believe, screw up with insulin regulation. I’ve seen many studies that compared people who ate eggs or other high-protein, low-carb breakfasts with those who had the traditional cereal and juice, and the protein eaters reported feeling more satiated until lunch. And don’t get me started on the nutritional travesty that is juice. I know we grew up with it but that doesn’t mean this form of concentrated sugar is good for you. Eat the fruit!

Because this is how I roll, let’s break it down.

Moms and nutritionists all agree: Breakfast is vital for focus, energy, and stamina throughout the day. It’s your body’s first chance to refuel. When you miss nutrients at breakfast, they’re rarely made up for during the day, which starts a vicious cycle of eating a larger meal toward the end of the day and not being hungry for breakfast the next morning.

To get the nutrients you need first thing in the morning, focus on a blend of protein and carbohydrates at breakfast. Hearty carbohydrates will give you a boost of energy to jump-start your day, mixed with protein for the staying power to keep your body going strong over the next three to four hours until lunch.

If you’re not hungry first thing in the morning, start small. Try a piece of fruit or half a carton of yogurt. Get ready for work and pack a breakfast to eat later. Select grab-and-go items you can bring to work or school, and when hunger hits, pull out your breakfast.

A Week’s Worthy of Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Try a new breakfast menu this week. Here’s some inspiration:

Monday: Whole-grain, high-fiber cereal with diced bananas and low-fat milk or alternative milk

My thoughts: Many cereals use  words like “whole-grain” and “high-fiber” on their front-of-label packaging when they are actually just sugary crap in a box injected with inulin, which is fake fiber, and have some passing representation of whole grains. Bananas are high in potassium, but are super carby. And most cereal serving sizes & calorie counts posted on the side of the box are much smaller than what you would actually eat. Most people probably eat double the serving size. Finally, milk didn’t come out of the cow low in fat. Fat is good for you! What is the alternative here? This isn’t anywhere near as healthy as it looks.

Tuesday: A bagel with hummus or peanut butter and a piece of fresh fruit

My thoughts: Bagels have been known to be enormously larger than they once were, averaging 300 calories. Add 200 calories of peanut butter (are you really going to measure out the two tablespoons you should?)  Additionally, few bagels are made entirely with 100% whole wheat and most have at least some form of enriched flour in them.

Wednesday: A breakfast smoothie and hearty whole-grain muffin

My Thoughts: Breakfast smoothie…. for many is a recipe for sugar bomb. I hope nobody read this and thought “I should go to Jamba Juice”, unless they were in the mood for entering diabetic shock on their morning commute. Same as with bagels, muffin sizes have increased exponentially over the years. And nearly every muffin recipe I have seen, even if it’s gluten free, nut free, wheat free, whatever-free, is NOT sugar free, with the exception of the little rocks I have in my work freezer which have 4 packets of stevia in them and which I doubt any sane human besides me would actually want to eat on a regular basis. A kale smoothie and one of my rock-sunflower seed biscuits would be  a good alternative.

Thursday: Old-fashioned oats with dried fruit, sliced almonds and low-fat milk or alternative milk

My thoughts: The author must actually have eaten this breakfast on Thursday which prompted her to share as this is a relatively good idea. Also, she doesn’t mention oatmeal packets, which have tons of sugar in them. However, dried fruit in and of itself is often sugar-heavy. And again with the low-fat nonsense. At least the almonds have some fat.

Friday: A breakfast burrito with turkey sausage, diced peppers and tomatoes, shredded low-fat cheese, and salsa with 100 percent mango juice

Mango juice? at 27 carbs perserving? Please. And what is the tortilla made out of? My guess is that it’s a refined white flour tortilla.  The inside is good. How about turkey sausage, diced peppers, tomatoes, and cheese with some, oh I don’t know, EGGS?

Saturday: Low-fat yogurt with fruit and cereal

Saturday is the day that your hair falls out because you haven’t fed your body any nutritious fats all week.

Sunday: Frozen whole-grain waffle, toasted and topped with low-fat ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries

Sunday is the day that Kellogg’s sells you their bullshit about their “made with whole grains” waffle that’s probably 90% white flour, 10% whole wheat, and 100% bullshit good for you.

More Breakfast Ideas

Preparing a healthful breakfast is easier than you might think. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started:

  • Make mini loaves of pumpkin, apple, zucchini, or banana bread the night before, then serve with a breakfast smoothie.
  • Set out your bowls and cereal at night and you’ll be one step closer to eating breakfast the next morning.
  • Make a shopping list and purchase grab-and-go items at the grocery store, like individual cartons of pudding, fruit, applesauce, cottage cheese, raisins, oatmeal packets, string cheese, milk chugs, and granola bars. This is incredibly expensive and wasteful!
  • Buy bite-sized, whole-grain cereal.As opposed to giant-sized cereal? So I can eat it mindlessly out of the box? Good idea.
  • Keep whole-grain frozen waffles, bagels, and English muffins on hand. Earth to everyone: just because the package says whole grain on the front does NOT mean it is healthy! Trifling!
  • Make a yogurt parfait. Mix low-fat yogurt with crunchy granola, dried fruit, or nuts.
  • Top a pudding snack pack with 1/2 sliced banana and granola for a breakfast banana split. I just don’t like this one because pudding makes me gag. It also has artificial sweeteners and stabilizers in it. And granola serving sizes are like 2 flakes of oats. NO thanks.
  • Toast a waffle and top it with yogurt and a small sliced banana.
  • Serve canned fruit like pears or peaches with cottage cheese. Wow this is actually reasonable EXCEPT that canned fruit is often covered in oh, that’s right… heavy syrup.
  • Eat leftovers from the night before. Uh, what if your leftovers are cold shitty pizza? Or pasta? or some other terrible carb?
  • Create a breakfast smoothie. We’ve been over this.
  • Have a fruit pizza for breakfast. Hmmm… pizza…hmm…yeah no.
  • Toast leftover pancakes and spread with peanut butter. Better sell this one to IHOP, I see $$$ in the making.
  • Roll a tortilla wrap with diced avocados or low-fat shredded cheese. Uh, hope this isn’t meant to be eaten cold?!?!
  • Stuff a pita pocket with fruit salad. Ok,  this is just gross. I love soggy white refined bread in the morning.. Mmm..
  • Bake muffins or breakfast bars over the weekend or the night before. Freeze extras for future breakfasts. This is the type of advice that lures people into thinking that homemade food is good for them. No matter if you put sugar in it. Or chocolate. Or Icing. Or sugar. Or sugar… sugar.
  • Create a nontraditional breakfast like a homemade veggie pizza.
  • Take an apple and hard-boiled egg on the go with you. Oh, it finally got to her… the actual ONE GOOD, fast, easy, definitely healthy, whole-food, real breakfast on here. 

Fuel up, start the day right, and give breakfast a chance!

If you can calculate how many miles it takes to burn these calories, your package is free!

I parodied the original email, which was an attempt to make money (I guess? Or maybe they were like me and trying to procrastinate too haha) by selling people something they could buy across the street at Tommy’s if they weren’t so lazy, but offer people door delivery and, well…nevermind. Just read it.
The Harvard College Democrats present…
buy them for yourselves and for your blockmates! packaged expensive crap never tasted so good!
Order by May 1 at 11:59PM
Delivered by May 3rd
Experience sugar high by 15 mins after consumption
The sugar crash and the hunger by mid-afternoon
two options:
option 1 – $5 – includes genetically modified corn, sugar, HFCS, FD&C No.40,  enriched wheat flour, and MSG (pop-tarts, fruit snacks, gum, popcorn, etc), easy mac, and ramen
option 2 – $10 – includes option 1 + dangeous chemical red bull + gift card to a greasy food joint in the square
(Don’t forget to click on the paypal link to pay!)

Fight diabetes with cookies!

From the annals of my undergraduate inbox.  My email commentary on said listserv blast.


Of course. Because selling calories, starch, fat, and oil as a way to ‘reduce stress’ will give proceeds to the cancer and diabetes society. MAKES A LOT OF SENSE. Emotional eating. yeah, that’s always helpful.

This is like selling meat with proceeds going to the national colon cancer prevention society.
also, LOVE the fact that sororities (that’s what this is basically) contribute to these random-ass national charities once a year and that’s their “community service”.
They should be selling FRUIT SMOOTHIES
**Disclaimer: I have not been to the gym since Tues. but I’m going TONIGHT!
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: 2009/5/3
Subject: [Lowell-open] LAST DAY TO ORDER A BIG COOKIE!!!!
To: Lowell-Open <>

Stressed about the papers and final exams coming up?
Know a friend that has too much going on?

Delicious, homemade, personal-pizza sized cookies will be made for you or your friends by members of
*[Random Girls’ Finals Club full of women who would never actually eat said cookie]*

to ease the exam-period stress. Only $5! Order by Sunday, May 3rd.
Cookies will be chocolate chip with your choice of vanilla or chocolate frosting (or half and half!). Delivered to the door.
Order your cookies now and have them delivered the first week of reading period!
Just e-mail [person] with your order [name, chocolate or vanilla frosting, who you want it to be delivered to, their room number, optional message to be delivered with cookie]! And yes, if you were wondering, you CAN have a cookie (or 10) delivered to yourself!
Deliver your money to [mailbox] or email me to find a time so that I can pick it up.

All proceeds go to charity and are donated to the American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association.

Hurry and get your order in today!


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