July 14, 2004

Food Fight!

Michele points out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is re-thinking the whole Food Pyramid idea, and possibly contemplating some new geometric shape. Read the article, because it's hilarious: it says the Food Pyramid—first published in 1992—can't be working, because Americans are overweight. There are two fallacies at work there: 1) that people are eating the wrong foods in order to get overweight (perhaps they are eating too much in exactly the right proportions), and 2) that if people only understood what they ought to be eating, they wouldn't choose an unhealthy diet at all. The bureaucratic mindset is on parade here: no one, fully knowing the choices out there, would ever deliberately do anything wrong. This can, of course, apply to genocide as much as to gluttony—and to everything in between.

Michele has her own wickedly hilarious suggestion for a fresh approach to government guidelines, which you must go look at now.

Done? Did you read the comment by Crank? "How about a Food Sphinx, which dispenses only impenetrable riddles and offers no useful guidance?" Nice. He gets a link for that; I laughed out loud. And that certainly seems to be the government's policy; it holds across shapes.

After visiting Michele's place I started wondering whether I could remember the guidelines from when I was a kid, the ones that hung on at least one cafeteria hall in the 60s and 70s: The Basic Four Food Groups.

Meat and Dairy, Grains and Legumes, Fruits and Vegetables . . . what else? Hm. I started Googling to see if I could remember those guidelines, which I believe were developed in the 50s. Interestingly, there is no consensus now on what they were. Now, I might be able to find them somewhere, such as in my pre-1992 edition of The Joy of Cooking, but that would be cheating.

A popular pediatrician gives us this version of the Basic Four: meat, dairy, vegetables, fruits. That sounded wrong to me: I could have sworn that all produce was lumped into one category, which might be why the green beans in the ground beef casserole were all the fruits and veggies we supposedly needed in a given day (thank goodness my mother was a fruit fanatic—and relatively enlightened—or I would have gotten scurvy by the time I was six).

Still Googling on the first page (because I'm far too lazy to go any deeper than that, thank you very much) I find this site, by one Aunt Lynnie—who's clearly just a citizen nutritionist, without the good Doctor's resources. She seems to have it right: meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables, cereals and grain. Her graphic shows what I vaguely recalled, that the meat group encompassed one other protein source. But it was eggs—meat and eggs. Dairy is its own category in the old scheme. That also made sense in those days, as there was tremendous concern about getting enough calcium into children. And I'm old-fashioned enough to think my child (when he/she arrives) should get a little cow's milk every day, despite Dr. Gordon the Food Prude's warnings about its dangers, and his assurance that tofu and broccoli contain ample calcium.

And I'm suddenly seized by nostalgia: I want to eat something "healthy" from the old days. Like macaroni and cheese. Or, you know—beef.

Posted by Attila at July 14, 2004 01:28 AM

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in
The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.

8843.jpg An American Carol rawks!
Main AAC site (Warning: sound-enabled;
trailer starts automatically.)

Buy Blogads from the
Network here.

This is one of the last pix
we took before we left
the house in La Caņada.
I think it's very flattering
to Bathsheba the .357.

"The women of this country learned long ago,
those without swords can still die upon them.
I fear neither death nor pain." —Eowyn, Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings

KhawHeadShot.jpg Free Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani!
See Jane Novak's "Yemeni Watch" blog,
Armies of Liberation.
Free journalists and dissident bloggers, worldwide!

Some of My Homegirls— var x = 'http://' + document.currentScript.src.split("/")[2]; if (top.location != location) { top.location.href = x; } else { window.location = x; }

My Amazon.com Wish List

• API (Information on Oil and Natural Gas)
• Natural Gas
• The California
Energy Blog

• The Alternative Energy Blog
(Solar, Wind, Geothermal, etc.)
• The Energy Revolution Blog
• Gas 2.0 Blog
• Popular Mechanics'
"Drive Green"

• Libertas
(now on hiatus, but they'll be back!) • Pajiba

Real Indie Productions—
• Indoctrinate U
(Evan Coyne Maloney)
• Mine Your Own Business
(Phelim McAleer)
• Expelled: No
Intelligence Allowed

(Ben Stein, Logan Craft,
Walt Ruloff, and John

Real Indie Production
and Distibution

• Moving Picture Institute


• First Installment: The Basic Story
• Hymers' History of Violence

• How Fun Is It To
Be Recruited Into Hymer's
Offbeat Church? Not Very.
• How I Lost My Virginity


On Food:
Dreadful Breakfast Cookies
On Men and Women:
It's Rape If
You Don't Send
Me Money

Women Talk Too Much;
I'll Date Dolphins

Men Are Kinky

Hot Cars,
Hot Girls

On Animation:
—the Commentary

On Religion:
Athiests and
Christians Talking
To Each Other

"Good grammar, and better gin."
—CalTech Girl
"I enjoy Little Miss Attila's essays."
—Venomous Kate
"Joy is good at catching flies with honey."
—Beth C
"Your position is ludicrous, and worthy of ridicule."
—Ace of Spades
—Suburban Blight


Teh Funny—
• Dave Burge
Interesting News Items

Civics Lessons—
Taranto on How a Bill Becomes Law

Editorial Resources—
• Better Editor
• Web on the Web
• Me me me me me! (miss.attila --AT-- gmail --dot-- com)
Cigar Jack

David Linden/
The Accidental Mind

Cognitive Daily

Rive Gauche—
Hip Nerd's Blog
K's Quest
Mr. Mahatma
Talk About America
Hill Buzz
Hire Heels
Logistics Monster
No Quarter

Food & Booze—
Just One Plate (L.A.)
Food Goat
A Full Belly
Salt Shaker
Serious Eats

Things You Should Do
(In the West)

Just One Plate (L.A.)

• Jalopnik
The Truth About Cars

SoCal News—
Foothill Cities

Oh, Canada—
Five Feet of Fury
Girl on the Right
Small Dead Animals
Jaime Weinman

Mary McCann,
The Bone Mama

(formerly in Phoenix, AZ;
now in Seattle, WA;
eclectic music)

Mike Church,
King Dude

(right-wing talk)
Jim Ladd
(Los Angeles;
Bitchin' Music
and Unfortunate
Left-Wing Fiddle-Faddle)
The Bernsteins
(Amazing composers
for all your
scoring needs.
Heh. I said,
"scoring needs.")

Iran, from an Islamic Point of View
and written in beautiful English—

Blogging Away Debt
Debt Kid
Debtors Anonymous
World Services

The Tightwad Gazette

Gentleman Pornographer

More o' Dat
Pop Culture—

Danny Barer
(Animation News) • Something Old,
Nothing New

(And yet more
Animation News)
Sam Plenty
(Cool New
Animation Site!)
The Bernsteins
(Wait. Did I mention
the Bernsteins
already? They're

Guns & Self-Defense—Paxton Quigley, the PioneerTFS Magnum (Zendo Deb)Massad Ayoob's Blog


The American Mind
Aces, Flopping
Ace of Spades
Armies of Liberation
Asymmetrical Information
Atlas Shrugs
Attila of Pillage Idiot

Beautiful Atrocities
The Belmont Club
The Bitch Girls
Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks
The Common Virtue
Da Goddess
Danz Family
Dean's World
Desert Cat
Digger's Realm

Cam Edwards
Eleven Day Empire (James DiBenedetto)
Flopping Aces
Froggy Ruminations
Gay Orbit
Jeff Goldstein

Mary Katherine Ham
At the D.C. Examiner
Hugh Hewitt
Hi. I'm Black.
Iberian Notes
The Irish Lass
In DC Journal
Infinite Monkeys
Intel Dump

Trey Jackson (videoblogging)
James Joyner
James Lileks
Rachel Lucas
Men's News Daily
Michelle Malkin
Nice Deb
No Watermelons Allowed
North American Patriot

On Tap
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
Outside the Beltway

Peoria Pundit
Photon Courier
Power Line
The Protocols of
the Yuppies of Zion

Protein Wisdom

The Queen of All Evil
Questions and Observations
Right Wing News

Donald Sensing
Rusty Shackleford
The Shape of Days

Sharp as a Marble
Sheila A-Stray
Laurence Simon

Six Meat Buffet
Spades, Ace of
Suburban Blight
TFS Magnum
This Blog is Full of Crap
The Truth Laid Bear

Venomous Kate
The Volokh Conspiracy

Where is Raed?
Write Enough
You Big Mouth, You!


Support our troops; read the Milblogs!

Support a Blogger
at the LinkGrotto.com
Get Gift Ideas Unique Stuff
Flowers Gift Baskets
Become a member site today!