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I scurried around the kitchen. There was dinner to be made. I peeled, chopped, sauteed and simmered. I sweated as the hot summer air mingled with the heat from the stove. I held an icy glass of water against my cheek. I ran the compost out back. I let the cat out. I let the cat in.

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Lifeseedlings Posting

My daughter sat calm and cool at the table. She asked me a few questions. She danced her fingers around a little. She called me over to look at some things. Way sooner than the time it took for the meal to be ready and without barely moving a muscle, she created a new portal into the universe for me–by opening an Instagram account for The Nutritionist’s Dilemma. She turned the first MyPlate Haikus into little lovely portraits. She chose nice hashtags and linked this to that. She set the table. She let the cat out.

I am excited about my new Instagram account. There, I hope to highlight the little morsels of collective poetic wisdom that illuminate the experiences of self-nourishment that many have contributed to my blog along with other pearls that I have gathered along the way. The concept is to cobble together a creative and meaningful expression of how feeding ourselves may look and feel. It is a conceptual revisioning of the dietary constructs of the USDA MyPlate model of nutrition. (These messages can also be seen at the bottom of the blog’s sidebar.)

New My Plate Haikus or any other poetic expressions and My Plate Plates are always welcome and will be necessary for me to hold my space in this new environment. For general instructions and examples, please see Accepting Haikus. We will see how this goes. It could be fun.

I’d also like to highlight some of the ongoing work of Michelle Obama to brighten the futures of the nation’s children through nutrition and health initiatives. For the past four years, the First Lady has sponsored a rather competitive Children’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cooking Contest. Winners are chosen from each state and U.S. Territory and are treated to a Kids’ “State Dinner’ at the White House. This year’s event was held a few weeks ago and (spoiler alert) included a surprise guest. The impressive recipes of these culinary kids are also compiled in the Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook. Maybe a child you know can participate.

The Kids’ State Dinner gathering also provided a platform for the First Lady to announce her new anti-big food advertising campaign, FNV Prepare to Be Marketed To which employs the efforts of celebrities and famous athletes to redirect their messaging power toward healthy eating. Coincidentally, this is what I wrote about in my last post, Spring Cleaning, and the NBA Finals.

I am off to start following Michelle on Instagram. And who knows, maybe she might follow me. And you can follow me on Instagram @lifeseedlings, and on Twitter @lifeseedsnutrit.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

(Update 2017: Jason Brown of First Fruits Farm was the highest-paid Center in NFL history, but he walked away from a 35 million dollar contract with the St. Louis Rams to grow food for others.)

(Update 2020: Today, as I reviewed this post, the world learned of the tragic loss of basketball legend Kobe Bryant. To honor his spirit, his fatherhood, how he inspired others, his dietary consciousness, and how he used his celebrity, it is quite apt that I just found this article Kobe wrote for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move blog on Five Healthy Habits.)

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My Plate Haiku

Did you really think

That you could hide fish in rice?

Oh, the green paste burns! by Francesco\

by A Cat

(from I Could Pee on This and other poems by cats collected by Francesco Marciuliano)

spring cleaning and the NBA Finals

I recently decided to revisit some of my old posts, brush them off and bring them out for some fresh air–a kind of spring cleaning. I found a few that I have now fluffed up or polished, but this one is screaming for immediate attention.

As I write, I am sitting and watching Game 5 of the NBA finals–Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors. The postseason with the advance of Cleveland and LeBron James has necessitated this postscript to “Dominique et Moi”. There, I wrote about my meeting with NBA legend and diabetes ambassador Dominique Wilkins on his visit to the Health Center where I worked. (Yes, really! Did you miss that one?)

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Curry Varieties Image by TeeFarm at Pixabay

In that meeting, I asked Dominique how he felt about famous athletes using their celebrity to market unhealthy products–making reference to LeBron’s Pepsi ads which were running at that time. Though not to single out LeBron, I do find certain celebrity endorsements particularly troubling. During this year’s final rounds, LeBron has been featured in an ad for Kia automobiles.

The spot starts out with him sitting alone in his kitchen, eating a bowl of cereal with a box of Fruity Pebbles prominently displayed. The milk is in a plain, round, unmarked glass bottle. Just as he raises the spoon to his mouth, his zen moment is interrupted by a maintenance worker outside the window wielding a noisy leaf blower. LeBron leaves the table, miffed that his quiet moment has been disturbed–but not before five camera shots feature the Fruity Pebbles. A few more distractions, including his kids playing with a ball, pursue him until he finally finds solace in the quiet, obviously roomy and reclining back seat of his very clean and crumb-free fancy Kia.

I have been catching up on recent seasons of Mad Men so I know how these pitches are made by ad companies. But, can someone please tell me what marketing seduction was intended here? Does Kia own Post Foods or are they just sleeping together? What demographic is eating kids’ cereals and buying fancy cars? Long-legged adolescents saving their lawn mowing money? And, why is LeBron party to it all?

Ironically, recently as I watched LeBron on the court, I noticed he seemed more lean and lithe than I remembered. I turned to Pete, my source for all things sport and nutrition-related. Concerned he may have missed something, I implored him to get me some scoop on LeBron’s diet. Thirty seconds later he was back to me with a report that sure enough, this incredible sports phenomenon was adhering to a lower carbohydrate diet and was playing minus fifteen to twenty pounds this season. I was not surprised. I knew it! No Fruity Pebbles for King James. Notice he doesn’t actually eat the cereal in the ad. And, I am also going to venture that he’s likely lactose intolerant and not much of a milk drinker.

Well, I do hope that these athletes heed some warning from Dominique. Not even the creme de la creme are immune from negative dietary impacts and diabetic consequences. Well, except maybe LeBron–because the way he plays, he likely is immortal. And, they should be mindful of the messages they embody through their endorsements. But, hey, what is that food that his nemesis is hawking on his jersey? Curry? You mean that the anti-inflammatory spice blend that may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and that contributes to some spectacular shooting? I wonder who is marketing that.

The truth of the matter is that increasingly, many athletes (and teams) are caring a lot about diet and nutrition and making it a prime focus for performance and endurance–and for helping others.

Here is what LeBron is really fueling on, and what he actually drives. Here is what Steph Curry is doing to promote healthy eating. And, here is how 4-time NBA Champion John Salley has committed himself to conscious eating.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Posts: Dominique et Moi, Wings of Desire, Love is Love

OH, DEAR ME. After writing this whole thing, I went to look up the ingredients of Fruity Pebbles for a link, only to find out that Fruity Pebbles is also a LeBron James endorsed Nike Air Foamposite One sneaker!! Wow. Your thoughts?

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Child’s My Plate

My Plate Haiku

Food is medicine

Farmers are doctors, Cooks priests

Eat, pray, eat, pray, love.

by Gordon

dietary linfluences

Linsanity. I am all over it. Jeremy Lin–Harvard graduate, undrafted player, turned New York Knicks phenomenon. Like I just learned that he’s a point guard. And, no, I haven’t seen him play yet–but that’s due to us not having much accessible TV in my home and something about a broadcasting contract between MSG Sports and the local cable company. So then, what do I know? I know he grew up playing basketball at his local YMCA; his other favorite sport was soccer; he does yoga; he has a charitable foundation; and, most importantly–what he eats per day to meet his protein requirements. Oh, and that he has a weakness for In-N-Out Burgers.

English: Turnips (Brassica rapa) Français : Na...

This 6-foot-3 and 205-lb rookie player has come charging onto the scene fueled with 205 grams of protein per day–as recommended by his personal trainer. Regular humans need about .4 to .7 grams of protein per pound depending on a variety of factors which include activity, age, state of health and a degree of imprecision in calculating optimal protein requirements. However, superlative athletes can extend their intake higher, and Lin’s 1.0 gram of protein per pound is probably both generous and acceptable. Sports that involve a lot of impact and pounding necessitate a large degree of repair nutrients which protein delivers–and with the compacted NBA season this year resulting in less rest between games, it seems like the players are taking quite a beating.

This means that to start him on his way each day, Lin aims for 50 grams of protein at breakfast. To reach this amount, he eats five eggs along with a serving of another protein like ham or turkey. The rest of his daily diet includes lean proteins from chicken, fish and milk-based protein powder, lots and lots of vegetables which he derives often from big salads, and a modicum of starchy carbohydrates. I was surprised at the lack of more carbs but I think they were just not clearly described in the plan that I saw.

I did not really intend to write about what Mr. Lin is chowing down–despite my being very interested in athletes’ diets. I enjoy hearing about those who credit their success or long, injury-free careers to their attention to nutrition–and will gladly delve into any Sports Illustrated Magazine that makes me privy to some piece of information about a sports celebrity’s care and feeding of their body. And, with professional sports’  fierce competition, more athletes are turning to such measures to improve their edge. I am also a champion of such stars who use their celebrity to promote healthy behaviors and give back to their communities such as Celtic’s Paul Pierce’s Truth on Health Fund.

I would love to be a sports nutritionist for a professional organization. I did once serve in that role for a college women’s basketball team. When I joined them for a team-building day–which included games and a high ropes course–my life felt a bit endangered. These tall amazon women felt entitled to some payback for my moderating their carefree college eating experiences. They were only Division 3.  Maybe, if they were more assured of a high paying basketball contract they would have better appreciated my input and might have caught me in that game where you stand in the middle of a circle, lean back with your eyes closed and trust that the others will gently receive and carry your weight.

I digress. Anyway, since I am not a highly paid sports nutritionist, my attentions go to the more pedestrian aspects of how the mere mortals are eating. The little tidbit that really led me into this Linsanity was a NY Times article this week about Jeremy’s grandmother, 85-year old Lin Chu A Muen. Though she lives in Taiwan, when Jeremy was a baby and young child, she came here and cared for him in the California home where he was raised. Apparently, one of the budding basketball star’s favorite dishes that she prepared for him was fried rice with egg and dried turnip. For me, right there was the story.

I extrapolated from this one sentence mention a whole message about childhood feeding–and grandmothers. I thought I would just use it to advance my personal theory that the whole ruckus about feeding kids is overblown and that kids will just eat good healthy food if that is what is presented to them–without a myriad of choice and being catered to and if served with love–just as Lin Chu did for little Jeremy–dried turnip and all.

This seemed like a good way to present my adopt a grandmother feeding initiative. I have long observed that there are many from the older generations who really know how to cook–but no longer have anyone to cook for. Connecting these grandmothers (and grandfathers) with households that lack such important know-how would be a brilliant solution to the current childhood culinary and nutritional crisis.

My thesis was advanced when quick research revealed that Lin’s family doesn’t cook much and so he eats out for most of his meals. I assume that this describes the situation when living at home with his parents–after Grandma returned to Taiwan. It seems like once Lin Chu left,  this family of ninth-generation descendants of immigrants from the Fujian province in southeast China, like many other American families, became clueless in the kitchen and In-N-Out Burger replaced the dried turnip dish.

One could probably argue that little Jeremy might not have grown so tall without the addition of such burgers to his diet and that a continued dietary of dried root vegetables, starch and a touch of egg protein could have deprived the New York Knicks of the divine lintervention he seems to be providing. His current protein intake far exceeds that of his ancestors. However, that raises other philosophical, ecological and nutritional issues.

I suppose he is living on his own now somewhere in the vicinity of New York City. Though he can probably afford it, his new-found fame probably makes it difficult for him to frequent the local burger joint, and besides, I don’t think we have In-N-Out Burgers here in New York. Jeremy might just have to take his eating back into the home and to find a grandmother who can prepare for him the sustenance he requires. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s too late for him to draft his own grandma for the program. Apparently, Lin Chu is too busy hanging out in sports bars in Taipei watching her grandson play basketball.

Knicks fans and Michelle Obama, what do you think?

Sunday’s stats: Knicks 104–Mavericks 97; Jeremy Lin 28 points and 14 assists  (7 turnovers–and that doesn’t mean apple)

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health,  Elyn

(Update 2020–The Real-Life Diet of Jeremy Lin 2017)

 

wings of desire

I have been hiding under the covers since before the Super Bowl game. This was not the weekend for peace-loving nutritionists. Too much head bashing and too many food blitzes for my liking.

Dear Sweet Luna

A few days prior to the game I was at the supermarket. I saw a shopping cart filled with about twelve cartons of frozen pepperoni pizza. I thought it was being used to stock the freezer section, till I saw a guy proceed with it to the check-out line. It vaguely dawned on me that this might be due to the game. I then saw legions of 2-liter soda bottles marching out the door along with armored tanks of beer. Little bags of celery sticks were unwittingly running behind. Little did they know they would soon meet their fate, drenched in fat-laden dip, in mouths that mindlessly devour whatever comes near.

While often feeling like the nutritional equivalent of Florence Nightingale, ready to mend and tend with soothing bowls of oatmeal and blueberries, this is a battlefield I will not administer to. Spectators and players alike are not innocent victims. They participate in this bloody sport of gladiator gore and gluttony of their own volition. The players come to score while the spectators come to gape and gorge.

Being big is an asset in football. However, even that begs a hefty question. How big is big enough? In 1970, only one player in the NFL was over three hundred pounds. Now 532 players or 25% of the league claim that distinction. This excessive mass is detrimental to the players and to their opponents alike. It is well documented that these very large offensive and defensive linemen suffer serious health consequences related to their size and eating behaviors after the end of their careers, and increasingly, while they are still active players. Even in this well-padded professional sports league with all the resources in the world, it is only recently that nutrition is being carefully considered. How do you promote strength and power in these guys without jeopardizing their health, and prevent turning them out to pasture to fend for themselves–often sooner than later.

So, if the guys with the big contracts hardly get the support they need, the shlubs on the couch in the den eating with pure Pavlovian abandon are entirely on their own when it comes reckoning time. Is it just me, or has the ferocity of the Super Bowl Game Glutton Fest actually increased in the past few years? Genteel women– including some of my own friends– now converse about watching the game, what team they are for and what they are serving. We have now been seriously programmed with Big Brother intensity to associate this event with bingeing. The Bowl brimmeth over.

While under the blankets with a flashlight, I read that the day of the game is called “Restaurant Christmas”. An article in my newspaper about local food establishments anticipating the big day described a restaurant that “uses a computer spreadsheet to track orders and strategically positions 15 employees to produce and deliver the restaurant’s maximum capacity: 300 wings and seven pizzas every 15 minutes. They expect to churn out more than 5,000 wings and in excess of 100 pizzas.” I think that means 2,500 chickens and many tomatoes were sacrificed for the game plan just at this one place. Again I ask, can this possibly be?

I don’t mean to sound like a party pooper, though that’s not really a big problem ’cause I didn’t go to any party to poop on–though I did surprisingly actually have two invites. One was from someone who doesn’t really know me and should be glad I didn’t show. However, the whole scene just exaggerates our already extreme daily eating that severely compromises our health. If this was truly a one-day event that would be one thing, but sadly, it isn’t. Or, if our health care system just had to carry the weight of a few shoulder injuries and some bruised egos, but that is not the reality either.

So, like that other February icon, Puxatawney Phil, I must try to venture out from my hole. If I don’t see another major food holiday in sight, maybe, just maybe, I can just predict a salubrious spring. And, Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy the Dark Chocolate.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Posts: Peepin’ Out; Spring Cleaning and the NBA Finals; Skinny Boys

(Update 2020: Just in. The Frito-Lay U.S. Snack Index Report for Super Bowl LIV. This is quite a compendium of snacking statistics and financials. Retail sales data shows Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day of the year for salty snacks, generating approximately $520 million in one day. Historically, Frito-Lay produces approximately 600 million pounds of snacks in the six weeks leading up to the game – nearly 20 percent of its annual snack production – and more than 67 million pounds of snacks the week of Super Bowl. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be back under the covers.)

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Recipe: Vegan Keto Buffalo Jackfruit Dip