Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Reading


Shopping for back to school lunch totes? Great Round-up of safe kid food containers and lunch boxes on the Feed our Families blog.

Speaking of safe kid lunches, a study reported in US News and world Report among other outlets says home-packed lunches reach unsafe temperatures before they are eaten.  But you should also check out this rebuttal over at The Lunch Tray. Still, throw in another ice-pack while you're at it.

Read a great summary of Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa (of Two Angry Moms) at PsychCentral.  It's a scary description of the state of school lunch - but it also tells us what we can do (hint: join the nutrition committee at our school.)

After that, you may wish to pack lunch for your kid. If so, check out these lunch ideas at Epicurious.

Things to Do

On Sunday afternoon, the Long Island Children's Museum will be celebrating watermelon with a tasting, games and educational activities.

This Saturday starts the New York Botanical Garden's series - Mario Batali's Edible Garden.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Action Alert - Tell Congress to To Support Healthy School Lunches

From the Healthy Schools Campaign:

Dear HSC Friend:

Your voice in support of healthy school food matters now as much as ever. As kids across the country head back to school, some members of Congress have begun efforts aimed at rolling back progress on improving school meals -- even after countless parents, teachers and advocates have demonstrated strong support for healthier choices.

We need your help to let Congress know just how important healthy school food is.

The USDA has proposed common-sense standards to improve school lunches and breakfasts by including more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; fat-free and low-fat milk; less salt; fewer unhealthy saturated and trans fats; moderate calories; and better accountability.
Now, some Senators are worried that the USDA’s proposed standards would limit servings of certain starchy vegetables, including white potatoes and corn, and have asked that funding of the new standards be prohibited. The proposed standards, which follow the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for school meals, would put more fruits and vegetables on students’ plates every day and provide students with a greater variety of fruits and vegetables. This represents an important step toward addressing the childhood obesity epidemic and helping kids develop healthy eating habits for a lifetime. We believe that as the USDA is finalizing its proposal, the agency will strike a balance that most importantly ensures kids are getting well-balanced meals at school.
We need your voice to urge your Senators to support these standards so that all children have access to healthy school meals.
If the Senators who oppose USDA’s efforts are successful, their objections could jeopardize the important progress we’ve seen this year for healthy school food. Please take a moment to let your Senators know that there is still strong support for healthy school meals. Take action here.
Thank you for speaking up for kids' health.

Many thanks -
Rochelle Davis
President and CEO

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Read Your Labels - Deceptive Food Marketing

I was traveling. I went into a Starbucks, and I was starving when I saw:

What luck! Simply nuts and fruit sounds great! Well, it turns out "simply" is one of those meaningless words.  Here are the ingredients - which I should have read before hand:

These were actually nuts, fruits, sugar, salt and oil.

Read your labels.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Get Ready for Slow Food USA's Take Back the Value Meal Campaign

On Sept. 17th, take the challenge to create a healthy meal for $5 - read more here from Slow Food USA's email about their new campaign - The $5 Challenge:
Get together for a slow food meal that costs less than $5/person & take back the value meal!
“I want to eat healthy, local food but I have no time, not much money and no clue how to pull it off. What can I do?” - pretty much everyone
Dear Sara,
Slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. It shouldn’t be harder to feed our children fruit than it is to feed them Froot Loops. But against the odds, every day there are people all over the country who manage to cook healthy food on a budget. We need to make cooking and eating this way a possibility for everyone.
That’s why we’re launching the $5 Challenge.
On September 17, take the challenge: share a healthy delicious meal that costs less than $5 per person. You can cook slow food for yourself and your family for less than $5 per person. You can host a potluck where nothing costs more than $5. You can cook for a crowd and charge $5 at the door. You get the idea – and so will thousands of others when we tell the stories we gather on this day.
Click here to read more and take the challenge.>>
Then check out our web site for tips, tricks and recipes.
This day will give us a clearer sense of what needs to change about the way food works, in order to make this a reality for everyone. Bringing people together around the table is the best way to educate and advocate for good, clean, and fair food.
Join us! Take the challenge. Together we can take back the value meal. 

- Josh Viertel
President, Slow Food USA
P.S. Even if you can’t do an event on the 17th, you can still take the challenge and share a meal with family and friends. Click here to sign up – every action counts.

Monday, August 22, 2011

PCA Victory Garden Update

I hope you didn't miss out on last Spring's "Victory Garden" fundraiser from the PCA.  For $20, you got a cucumber plant, a tomato plant, one bsail and one thyme plant. We bought two.

I jammed them into various corners of our flower beds since we don't have a use-able backyard (it's a swamp - literally  and a protected one at that).  Here's one tomato/basil/thyme combo:

The cucumbers went in front of the azaleas. They have now taken over the azaleas.

And here's our first harvest! No, it's not much but the kids love picking and eating them.

The vegetable-averse son will even eat raw string beans off our one tiny bean plant (he planted the seed himself at the Planting field's annual Arbor day Festival - not to be missed!)

So, I'm looking forward to this Spring's Victory Garden sale.

PS - They should sell mint plants so y'all can all make your own mojitos.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekend Reading


Is Coconut water really a better option? Check out the studies cited here by the NYT.

You'll love this though: Chocolate is good for your workout.

And then there's the ongoing problem with serving sizes.

Plus, There's this interesting discussion of what "processed" food means over at the Lunch Tray.

And, the Freakanomics blog takes on "biofortification."

Things to Do

Try these smoothie recipes which skip the dairy.

Don't miss Thursday's Sunset Serenades through Sept. 1st - 7pm, Memorial aka Sunset aka Hippie park here in Sea Cliff.

Old Westbury House and Gardens has this listed for Saturday:
Kids and Family Programs: Storybook Stroll 12:00 pm A series of educator-led thematic tours and activities with The Giving Tree. Lend an ear to Shel Silverstein's classic story chronicling the selflessness of nature. Learn how trees are the ultimate gift to people and sample some of the tasty delights trees provide!

The New York Botanical Garden will have a Global Harvest Celebration for kids in their children's' garden both Saturday and Sunday.

The Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary will hold a "Nature at Night" workshop for families Sat. at 7:30pm.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Farmer's Market Round Up

If you haven't tried them yet, don't miss these local Farmer's Markets:

Glen Cove - Friday's 9-2 in the Village Square - small but could not be more convenient. Besides produce, they've got fresh breads, pickles and fresh local fish.

Christopher Morley Park runs a market every Wednesday from 7am- 1pm.

You can buy organic produce from the golden Earthworm's farm here on Long Island in Port Washington at the town dock on Saturday's from 8-12.
Oyster Bay has a good-sized market on Fridays from 10-4 on Audrey Ave., north of the Oyster Bay Bandstand.

The Queens County Farm Museum sells its produce at a farm stand on site Wed- Sundays from noon - 5pm.  Fresh eggs if you're lucky - they sell out quickly. Plus, they have their own wines for sale.

On Saturdays from noon - 2, the Old Bethpage Restoration Village sells organic produce grown on site through Sept.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pictures from the Backyard Farmer's Market

Pictures from last week's Backyard Garden table featuring herbs grown in Sea Cliff's one square mile of backyard (and front yard) gardens.

More Garden Markets coming soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Action Alert:Stop Deceptive Food Marketing Aimed at Kids

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

The food and advertising industries are aggressively lobbying Congress to kill the voluntary marketing guidelines proposed by several government agencies; hiring high-powered lobby firms; flying in company CEOs to meet with the White House and agency leaders; and trumpeting a bogus study that predicted economic disaster if the voluntary standards were adopted.

While companies publically proclaim that they want to be a part of the solution for child nutrition and obesity, privately, they are doing all they can to kill the marketing guidelines.  Companies have asserted that the proposed marketing guidelines would "prohibit marketing of healthy foods," like whole wheat bread, peanut butter, and most yogurts.  But those foods generally meet the proposed guidelines.  Of course, that sounds more persuasive than overtly lobbying against guidelines that identify Cocoa Puffs and Cookie Crisps cereals, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, and sugary popsicles as junk food.

Please write to the CEOs of these companies today and ask them to use their resources to market healthier food to children, not to lobby Congress to kill voluntary guidelines that would encourage healthier food marketing to kids.


Margo G. Wootan, D.Sc.
Director, Nutrition Policy
Center for Science in the Public Interest

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fun Action Alert

Take a two minute quiz on fresh fruits and vegetables (on which I did not do that well...) and Kraft will make a donation to help provide fresh produce to needy families.

From the food charity Feeding America:

Right now is the harvest season for fresh fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, green beans, apples and peaches. These fresh, nutritious foods are vital to the health of the men, women and children we serve.

We have offers of these foods from farmers and corporate partners across the country. But we must move quickly before these fresh foods expire.

Thanks to a $250,000 matching grant from Kraft Foods Foundation, we have an easy way for people to help.
We've created a 10 question quiz about fresh fruits and vegetables. For every question you get right, Kraft Foods Foundation will donate $1 to Feeding America. Each dollar helps ship 10 pounds of fruits and vegetables to feed hungry families.

Take the quiz now & help ship these fresh foods to families across the country.

Every question you get right helps pay for the shipping & transportation costs that get the food from farm to table.

Thank you,

Vicki Escarra
President and CEO
Feeding America

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekend Reading


Poor neighborhoods have long lacked for good supermarkets and healthy food options. But a new study shows that a supermarket alone can't solve the obesity problem.  The presence of good foods can't necessarily overcome the predominance of bad foods (e.g. McDonalds outlets.)

It does matter which foods you choose to eat. In another new and exhaustive study, we discover what I have long suspected - moderation is the big lie. Eating junk in moderation will not keep you healthy - eating whole foods will. Read more in the NYT.

Eating Rules also ran a great piece on the lies the food industry tells - chief among them that there are no bad foods (moderation!).

Great article at La Vida Locavore called How to Get Rid of Zucchini - check it out if your find yourself overrun with them. She includes a zucchini muffin recipe -- try it - my own vegetable-averse son loves them (although he did ask how the oven was going to 'get the green out' of the batter.)

Things to Do

Make those zucchini muffins!

Old Westbury House and Gardens has this activity listed for Saturday:
Kids and Family Programs: Bamboo Art and Brush Making 12:00 pm Children learn the fast growing benefits of this true grass plant as a renewable resource. Plant origins are discussed as is Asian line drawing as an art form. Kids will create brushes out of bamboo stems and leaves and will paint amongst the shady walls of the Secluded Garden. Appropriate for ages 8 and und. Free with admission, but advance registration required, please call (516) 333-0048 Ext. 301.
The NY Botanical Garden's Home Gardening series will focus on growing vegetables on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Next weekend will cover planting greens as a fast fall crop.

The Japanese stroll garden in Mill Neck will host a tour and tea ceremony on Saturday at 10am. 

The WSJ had a great article on community farms in the Bronx and you can take a tour.

Or, plan a pick-your-won fruit outing here on Long Island.  You can pick your own raspberries, peaches and blackberries east of here. For a complete list of u-pick locations (organic farms are flagged in green) see For Example -

Windy Acres Farms has conventional  raspberries blackberries and peaches as does Lewin Farms.

Davis Peach Farm  has conventional peaches.

Wickham's has blackberries and apples by late August.

Fort Salonga Farm will open Aug 20 with raspberries and apples shortly thereafter.

Make sure you call before you head out to the east end to check availability.  Children do not like to ride for an hour in the car only to find out the farm is already picked-out.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tonight!: Films on Food Presents...

Let's Eat!  Films on Food
Co-presented by Slow Foods, Huntington
Sponsored by Whole Foods Market - Jericho
Live via Skype: Dr. CALDWELL ESSELSTYN, featured in the film,
a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic

Thursday, August 11 at 7:30pm
Food at the Reception provided by Whole Foods Market, Jericho

Members $9 • Public $13 • Includes Reception
Active Membership Will Be Checked

Co-presented by Slow Food Huntington, Healthy Planet,
CenterFood Co-op, Sustainable Sea Cliff Cooperative,
Green Thumb CSA Huntington

What has happened to us? Depite the most advanced medical technology in the world, we are sicker than ever. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug and major medical operations have become routine. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death, even though billions are spent each year to “battle” these very conditions. Could it be there’s a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive, but so utterly straightforward, that it’s mind-boggling that more of us haven’t taken it seriously?

Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. This film traces the personal journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional scientist from Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic. Inspired by remarkable discoveries in their young careers, these men conducted several groundbreaking studies. Their separate research led them to the same startling conclusion: degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented and in many cases reversed by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet. In addition, cameras follow "reality patients" who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes, and are taught by their doctors to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments. USA, 2011, 94 min.
Speaker Live (via Skype): Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. was a researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic for more than 35 years. In 1991, he served as the president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons and organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Heart Disease. In 2005, he became the first recipient of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine. 23 years ago, while chairman of the Cleveland Clinic’s Breast Cancer Task Force, Dr. Esselstyn says he and his peers were doing “nothing to prevent disease in the next unsuspecting victim.” Targeting heart disease, his experiment started at home. He and his wife adopted a plant-based diet. “It means a lot to patients to know their doctor is making the same changes they are.”

Click HERE for tickets and further information

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Backyard Farmer's Market Today!

The Sea Cliff School Nutrition Committee is hosting a farmers' market style table in front of the Adult Library at 1:30 today.  Come buy fresh - and extremely local - produce from Sea Cliff's own backyard gardens.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Action Alert - Help the USDA Improve Nutrition Standards for School Lunch

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed common-sense standards to improve school lunches and breakfasts by including more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; fat-free and low-fat milk; less salt; fewer unhealthy saturated and trans fats; moderate calories; and better accountability.  However, some Members of Congress are trying to stop USDA’s efforts to improve school meals. 
We need your help to urge Congress to support these standards so that all children have access to healthy school meals.
To support USDA’s efforts to finalize strong standards and ensure schools begin to serve healthier breakfasts and lunches, please send an email to your Member of Congress asking him/her to sign on to the Miller/Polis letter.  The letter urges implementation of the new school meal standards within USDA’s proposed timeline. 
A model letter that you can adapt and send is provided here.  Your email today can help make improvements to the school meal programs a reality by the 2012 school year. 
Thank you!
Margo Wootan
Director, Nutrition Policy
Center for Science in the Public Interest

You can also read this background piece on the Food Industry's frantic lobbying in this article from Food Safety News.