Pizza is…a vegetable?

Does this look like a vegetable to you?

Great news…according to Congress, it is!

If this sounds strange to you, join the club. I don’t know about you, but I have never been chowing down on a slice of pepperoni pizza and thought “this is one delicious vegetable!”

MSNBC reported today that Congress wants to count pizza as a vegetable in school lunches. There is also a really good article about this outrageous policy change on NPR. That’s right: pizza. And not the whole wheat crust, veggie-covered, relatively healthy pizza you may order from a local pizza shop. Nope. Remember the pizza they served when you were in elementary school? Soggy, gross, greasy. That kind of pizza. As a vegetable. Think about that for a minute.

How can we expect kids to know what healthy food is when they see pizza and french fries being labeled as vegetables?! Making healthy choices is hard enough for adults, and even harder for kids. Seeing pizza as a vegetable is confusing; this confusion becomes misinformation, which grows into a lack of education that helps form unhealthy habits and eating patterns that follow the kids into adulthood and are very hard to correct.

Everyone knows childhood obesity is an increasingly dangerous issue with major implications for the future of health care costs and the general health of our population. Kids are developing obesity-related diseases like Type II Diabetes and some are even showing signs of heart disease.  So what message does this latest “health” declaration send? “Eat pizza and french fries because they’re healthy!”

Unfortunately, all the good work the USDA is trying to do with healthier food in schools is being undone by politics. Less sodium? Not important. More whole grains? Forget about it. Greasy french fries? Yes please! Is ketchup a vegetable? Absolutely!

I know politics are frustrating. Food politics are just as bad. MSNBC reports that the “food companies that produce frozen pizzas for schools” are the ones who requested this change. There is so much corruption and greed that it’s hard to keep track of all the lobbying and “fundraising.” But this is about more than campaigns, reelection, and partisanship. It’s about our kids, our future, and our health.

It’s hard enough to make healthy choices. We don’t need food politics and “Big Food” to make it even more confusing for us. Pizza a vegetable? Come on.

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Don’t worry: McDonald’s is never too far away

Ever been on a road trip and felt like you couldn’t go more than 3 exits without seeing a sign for a McDonald’s? Well it turns out it’s not just a delirious “road trip mirage” that develops when driving, say, from Miami to Green Bay. Check out this unbelievable and somewhat frightening graphic from grist.org:

How scary is that?! Even more crazy to think about: the location in the contiguous 48 states that is the farthest from any sign of the Golden Arches is out west, somewhere in the Dakotas. And at this magical place, the nearest McDonald’s is…only 145 miles away. That’s right. In this HUGE country, the farthest away you can possibly be from a McDonald’s is a bit more than a 2 hour drive. Is anyone as blown away by that as I am?! I think it’s wild!

I wonder how this map compares to a similar map showing places to buy fresh, healthy food. I bet the US wouldn’t look nearly as bright…

Read the story on Grist.org here: McDonald’s Map

and from the original source here: Where the Buffalo Roamed

And comment below and let me know what you think!

Marine Corps Marathon: Race Recap

This recap is WAY overdue, but it’s impossible for me to not recap a marathon, right?!

I ran the Marine Corps Marathon with Mal and our friend Kathryn (on twitter @ticktalkrock) and all three of us crossed the finish line and got the VERY cool and all-important finisher’s medal from a US Marine.

As you can see, it was FREEZING when the race started!

The course took us and the other 20,000+ marathoners through Rosslyn, down Spout Run, over the Key Bridge into Georgetown, through the Palisades, into East and West Potomac Park, up to the Mall by the Washington Monument and in front of the Capitol, then back down the Mall to Beat the Bridge at Mile 20, into Crystal City, then in front of the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery, before winding its way back to the Iwo Jima memorial and the finish line.

Whew…I’m getting tired just writing about where we ran! 26.2 miles of scenic VA and DC running filled with Sports Beans, GU, orange slices, pretzels, bananas, Gatorade , water, and thousands of cheering supporters along the course.

     

My parents and my sister came to cheer us on and the dreaded Mile 19, right before the very intimidating bridge at Mile 20 and that was a huge boost to my psyche. It’s hard to describe how much it means to see people you know encouraging you and supporting you during such a physically and emotionally draining event like a marathon. Seeing them and having my dad jog a few tenths of a mile with me convinced me that I could power through and cross the finish line. Thanks you guys 🙂

It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, and it was painful at times, but I somehow managed to set a new personal best! Mal also set a new PR and I couldn’t be any prouder of her! Despite a relative lack of training and a lot on my mind in the last few weeks, I had my eyes on the prize and fought through the pain to cross the finish line.

    

KT ran with me the whole time and did a great job keeping us focused and making sure neither of us hit the dreaded “wall.”

We’re all now three time marathoners!

Next up: The Veterans Day 10K this Sunday, November 13. There’s still time to sign up so check out the site (here: Veterans Day 10K) and register. Hope to see you out there!