More Odds and Ends

Some days the food I eat is pretty boring. Yesterday, I had cereal for breakfast and crackers with hummus for lunch/dinner (linner?). Today, I had hummus and bread for breakfast/lunch, and will probably have soup from a box for dinner, because I’m doing a late paperwork night at the office. On a good note, I made bread again last night, and it came out even better than the other day. I’m working with the same batch of dough for now, but may make some changes next week. Go bread!

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I mentioned a sort of change for the new year a while back to combat junk food eating. Vegan junk food tends to be pretty expensive, right? So, my new deal is spending no more than $25/week on groceries. I’m only one person, so really, there shouldn’t be a need to spend more. I am starting off with a well-stocked pantry, but in reality I have to spend less than the $25/week so I have extra from the budget to stock up. I think this amount will also still leave me enough to buy the occasional vegan specialty food, as well. See? It’s automatic moderation. This week I spent about $13 on groceries, though I could have gotten away with not shopping at all (I needed a couple of specific things, and bought some fruit). This will be an interesting experiment.

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Part of the reason I’m working on cutting back on the junk food is because of some weight gain- and there was an interesting article in the Boston Globe today about ways Massachusetts is trying to combat obesity.  The first is about requiring chain restaurants to provide calorie counts right on the menu (or menu board), much like New York.  I suspect this is the wave of the future, and I’m pretty on board with that. The second is about weighing children in school and sending home  a “report card” to tell parents if their children are overweight.

I have mixed feelings about this one, and it all comes down to the execution.
As someone in health care, I’m acutely aware of the rising rates of childhood obesity, as well as the research regarding poorer outcomes for people who become obese at an early age.  As someone whose niche in health care is childhood mental health, I’m also acutely aware of how fragile a child’s ego can be and how cruel other children can be in taking advantage of that.
A few years ago, my hometown began a program much like that.  The execution was extremely poor.  Instead of mailing letters home, all of the children who were overweight or obese were given a letter- unsealed- to take home to their parents.  In class.  That means that all of the overweight kids were singled out for everyone to see.  When parents complained, the school said it was too expensive to mail out letters.  Any idea how hurtful that is to a kid?  It may seem like since it’s often obvious who the kids with the weight problem are (though not always), it shouldn’t matter.  This method however, almost gives permission to make fun of the overweight kids, and that’s not cool.
If they can execute this discretely, I think it’s a great idea.  Sometimes parents don’t want to face that their kids have a problem, and this is something concrete where progress can be made (though that won’t look the same for everyone, and weight should never be the sole measure of a child’s health). If not… are the adverse effects that this has on children’s mental health going to worsen the overall outcome?  That’s a serious question to consider.
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