Recently I heard a report on NPR that since illegal immigrants are having a harder time getting into and staying in our Country, American farmers are having a harder time getting their crops harvested. Now while I whole-heartedly agree that you’re welcome to come to America seeking a better life, you must do so through proper channels (just like in any other Country), the problem with turning away (or sending back) so many of these hard working individuals is that American citizens are not willing to pick up the slack.
For whatever reason, a majority of American’s have decided that hard manual labor is beneath them and not worth the money it pays. One Washington farmer stated that every time he’s hired an American to work on his vegetable farm, they quit within a few days finding the work too hard. One such worker even stated that he’d rather work 8-hours at McDonald’s for minimum wage, than 12-hours on the farm for $3-5 more than minimum wage!
Meanwhile his foreman of 20 years (originally an illegal immigrant who now has a green card), is very happy to have the consistent work and has been able to bring the rest of his family from Mexico, buy a house, pay taxes (unlike our President Elect), and his grandchildren are all going to college. That’s the American dream, right?
Many small farms have even had to close down (leaving those American families without income) because they can’t use illegal migrant workers any more but few American-born workers will fill the gap. Even the large, federally subsidized farms are having trouble getting their fast-growing crops (thanks to GMO seeds) harvested in time because they can’t hire enough “legal” workers.
I have to ask, what’s wrong with working in the field people? I know it’s “back-breaking work” in a lot of ways, but fresh air, and lots of calorie burn (active farmers are rarely over-fat) is not too shabby an option if you need consistent work – compared to working in a fast-food joint at least in my opinion. It’s not just farming and gardening that we shy away from. Even unionized jobs like car manufacturing assembly (where machines do 70% more of the heavy lifting labor than 100 years ago) cater to our need to have “down time” and comfortable environments and food breaks, yada yada yada. While Unions are important to keep us from being abused by employers, we still need to embrace HARD WORK.
My husband used to run a day spa, and he had an abundance of white educated applicants for front desk jobs and massage therapists. But the drudgery work – the cleaning of rooms and maintaining of equipment – was filled 95% by Latin American immigrants (Guatemala, Honduras, etc.) Granted, a lot of it has to do with language skills and education – but there still seems to be a disconnect between jobs available in our country, and jobs that we’re willing to take. Yet we complain about those who will do that drudgery. Can’t have it both ways.
So I think we need to take a hard look at what we’re teaching the current and future generations about hard work and how to earn a living when life throws you a curve ball. I’m teaching my daughter to always have a back up plan to your career goals, and always be willing to work hard for whatever it is she wants.
With 2016 winding down, and a radical new presidency upon us, now more than ever we need to band together as Americans and be willing to work ALL the jobs our Nation needs to stay “great.” From farms, to mechanical labor, restaurants to offices, no job is too small if it gets you (and America) from point A to point B.
Very often when faced with that dreaded moment where you must choose what to eat that will be quick, tasty and healthy, we make assumptions that we know which option is better (i.e., more nutritionally healthy), and that assumption is usually based upon limited knowledge.
For instance, the other day I was pressed for time for lunch (but as always wasn’t going to skip a meal or suffer inferior (fast) nutrition), so I hit my freezer and had two choices: a Trader Joe’s Chicken & Bean Burrito or an Amy’s Organic Mushroom Risotto. My brain riffled through my solid base of nutritional understandings and told me that the burrito was the way to go because it would have more protein, less carbs, and probably be lower in fat and calories as well. After all, Risotto is pasta-ish and rice-ish both of which are high in carbs and sugars, right?
Well then the trainer in me took pause, and decided to read the labels and compare the stats. To my shock I found out that I was not only wrong in my assumption, but really way off on my perceptions. Here’s what I found:
THE RISOTTO: THE BURRITO:
240 calories 400 calories
8 grms fat 12 grms fat
590 sodium 950 sodium
35 grms carbs 51 grms carbs
2 grms sugars 1 grm sugars
7 grms protein 20 grms protein
While clearly I was correct that the burrito had more protein (almost 3x as much), but it also had almost double the carbs and sodium, and 4 grams more fat! Who knew? To help you grasp this further, lets compare a typical Subway sandwich to one of McDonald’s supposedly “healthier” sandwich options than their typical Big Mac:
SUBWAY 6″ COLD-CUT McDONALD’S GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWHICH
350 calories 350 calories
12 grms fat 9 grms fat
1030 sodium 820 sodium
46 grms carbs 42 grms carbs
13 grms sugars 8 grms sugars
7 grms protein 28 grms protein
While I vehemently oppose ever spending a dime in a McDonald’s, when push comes to shove, I have to admit while I (and many of you I suspect) would assume that a deli-style “cold-cut” sandwich from Subway would always out-health anything from McDonald’s, clearly the facts prove otherwise. In case you missed it, Subway’s sandwich while having the same calories, had far less protein, and more fat, carbs, sugars and sodium.
So the next time you make an assumption about what you’re about to eat, stop and get the real facts and then decide. Your body and fitness goals will thank you for it!
To the untrained eye, lately it would seem that many fast-food chains are offering healthier food options for the growing population that cares about their nutrition. However, the catch here is that “healthier” may not be healthier — don’t be fooled by false advertising!
Take for example a comparison of McDonald’s Quarter Pounder vs. their “fresh menu” Chef Salad. While the salad is lower in calories, and fat and carbs, it’s higher by 15 grams in cholesterol and almost equal in sodium, yet significantly lower in protein. We won’t even get into the fact that the quality of said protein (both the beef and chicken) offered in these two options are sub-grade B and not something I would ever put in my body.
Next lets look at the popular chain Tropical Smoothie (similar to Jamba Juice for those of you in state without this chain). They are currently advertising the following “limited offer” sandwiches as being healthy options: Chipolte Cranberry Turkey Club and Rustic Turkey & Apple Club. Both have over 650 calories, as much as 34 grams fat, 2043 sodium, and in the case of the cranberry choice, 22 grams sugar! If you look at their turkey bacon ranch on ciabatta sandwich (which looks and sounds less healthy than the two specials), it is lower across the board with only 576 calories 20 grams of fat, 1940 grams sodium, and only 8 grams of sugar. Once again, I’m not certain that the turkey being sliced and served is all that healthy, and clearly it comes packed with a whole lot of sodium, but I was amazed to find out that the bacon ranch sandwich was slightly healthier than the Rustic Rurkey & Apple Club!
Following are a few helpful hints to help you manage your fast food choices. By making a few simple changes/choices to your orders you can make a huge difference in the nutritional breakdown of what you eat.
- When ordering Subway or other deli chain sandwiches: ask them to scoop out the inside of the bread, leaving the outside of the bun to hold your veggies and deli meats. (This significantly lowers the carbs and sugars you would otherwise ingest from the bread.)
- Skip the diary – no mayo, no cheese. Use mustard and avocado to smooth out and spice up the flavor of your sandwich.
- When faced with limited choices, opt for simple. The basic and unadorned McDonald’s hamburger is actually healthier for you than some of their salads and chicken and fish sandwiches.
- Avoid obvious salts – bacon added to fast food sandwiches is a horrible addition as it is usually sub-par quality fatty pork, loaded with sodium, nitrates and fat. Same goes for pickle options (jalapenos, pickles, and pepperoncini). I am a lover of pickles so I’m not saying ditch them completely, but I used to put all three options listed above on my Subway sandwiches until I realized how much extra sodium I was ingesting. Now I pick just one.
- Also, when it comes to sandwiches, avoid the traditional “Club Sandwich” wherein an extra piece of bread is inserted into the middle. If this is your only choice, take out that middle piece before you eat the rest. Removing that extra bread can seriously lower your ingested carbs, sodium, and sugars.
- Remember, lighter fare doesn’t necessarily mean healthier. Calories are not the only indicator to the healthy quality of food. They may be lower in calories but higher in sodium and sugars both of which rob your body of nutrients, make digestion slower and less effective, and therefore turn more of what you eat into fat storage.
- Lastly, dink water vs. soda or fruit juices. Your best tool to battle the sodium bloat and digestive slow down from fast foods is water water water – keep your system flushed.
So the next time you get suckered in to a menu offering “healthy” or “light” fare, remember to read between the lines – the nutritional breakdown lines that is.
I am very frustrated of late with the perspective most of our society has about children’s nutrition. It’s as if we are clueless as to what we put in their bodies, yet so many Mom’s micro-manage their own calories and food quality.
Restaurants routinely offer soda or lemonade as a drink included with the cost of the child’s meal. I see kids being served a large glass of Sprite at dinnertime as the parents are under the misunderstanding that clear soda is better for their kids than Cola (dark soda). Sugar is sugar and both contain as much as 17 spoonfuls — and in the case of Mountain Dew, there’s still caffeine even in a clear soda.
The other day at my daughter’s school awards ceremony (in the morning mind you) they offered chocolate chip cookies and lemonade as treats. My response of “sugar and sugar?” was met with offensive glares. I said I would have gladly paid for the purchase of water, but that fell on deaf ears. These are probably the parents who bought the concept Nutella tried to sell us that the chocolate spread was healthy for breakfast because it had nuts and milk in it.
My best friend recently informed me that Los Angeles Unified School District (the most screwed up school district ever) has made it mandatory that children have breakfast in their cafeterias during first period, noting that many households haven’t the money for food. As great as that sounds, they’re only offering the likes of processed and shrink wrapped pastries (sugar, fats and unhealthy carbs) or pizza rolls (sugar, fats and unhealthy carbs). Network television routinely touts statistics of our increasing percentage of childhood obesity then they cut to a McDonalds’ or Coke commercial. It’s all so frustrating!
Then there are the thousands of parents who claim there’s no time or money to make food at home and eat healthy. Well to those nay-sayers, I say: being short on time is no excuse for feeding your child (or yourself) a crappy processed-foods breakfast, or no breakfast at all! It’s, as always, a matter of priorities. 15 minutes the night before or in the morning to make and eat a healthy breakfast is doable for everyone! With proper planning and routines set into place time and money does not have to increase (see last week’s blog “Healthy Nutrition Made Easy).
Calculate what you spend on gasoline driving to and sitting in the car-line at McDonalds’ or Starbucks, along with the cost of the food. Then take that money, and buy a dozen eggs, a package of whole wheat tortillas, some deli turkey and a bag of pre-washed organic spinach. The cost will actually be less, the food can be cooked ahead of time, and in the morning heat up a healthy egg burrito for all of you. Soda and fruit juices should be saved for “treats.” Water is essential to everyone’s health and it’s cheaper (if not free).
A school mate said to my daughter one day “hey how come your Mom doesn’t give you Lunchables (as he ate his Oscar Mayer Lunchables)?” She looked at what he was eating and said “I have the same thing only better.” She had low-sodium organic turkey meat, all-natural sliced white cheddar (no orange dye), sea-salt rice crackers, grapes, carrots, cucumbers, a dollop of humus, and one Hershey’s kiss. Compare that to salami, dyed cheese (known to cause headaches and allergies), Ritz crackers (made with HFCS & sugar), no veggies, no fruit, and two Oreos — a usual Lunchables. Compare the cost too! I can feed her my homemade lunchables all week the cost of 1-2 pre-packaged Lunchables filled with stuff I wouldn’t eat, and I suspect neither would you.
Clearly I’m on a soap box today, but this really gets under my skin. No matter the age or school level, all kids need to eat six (6) small meals all day long, and get off their bums at regular intervals to move, stretch and expel energy. Only if parents commit to making this a lifestyle for their entire family, will we end the rampant obesity besieging our Nation.