Food can be a beautiful thing

Here come the food holidays — and boy, do I enjoy the season. My family taught me to celebrate anyone’s holiday — it didn’t matter if we were Irish or Italian — everyone’s food was delicious.

How fortunate we are to have such delicious wholesome produce available in Dolores and surrounding communities. The Farmer Markets provide lots of healthy choices — local honey to garden grown vegetables. The local ranchers provide wonderful protein choices — beef, pork, elk, deer, chicken, eggs — and so much more. The season is quickly coming to an end. Now folks who have taken the time to freeze or can summer’s bounty will enjoy wholesome food for the wintertime. How foolish we are when the good food is passed over for the fast food that does not contain nearly adequate nutrition.

The state of Colorado has one of the lowest incidences of overweight/obese people in the United States. You can be proud of that. However, statistics indicate that many children entering preschool are already overweight/obese. Physicians are treating many more youngsters with diabetes and other diseases correlated to inadequate nutrition. Dolores School has implemented a vegetable garden and a greenhouse that is planted and cared for by students, parents and teachers.

The produce isn’t nearly enough to feed the children every day of the week — yet, it’s a terrific beginning. Changing eating habits is no easy task. The garden produce is healthy, but how do you get people — especially young people to eat it. Dolores cafeteria employees have attended a week long seminar to “hide the good food” with tasty recipes that are more likely to enter the hungry children and less likely to land in the trash barrel.

Sugar beverages also add to the nutritional negative intake. An orange contains about 80 calories and provides fiber as well as vitamin C. One cup of orange juice may contain the juice of up to three oranges and no fiber adding 240 calories to the diet. Soda pop and power drinks are loaded with sugar or diet pop is packed with artificial sweeteners and food coloring that have been the greatest source of empty calories and who knows what else. It doesn’t take very many soft drinks to pile on the pounds. Water or is a better choice, but less acceptable to most.

Are there easy solutions to these mounting problems? No. Is the health of our children and our own health worth some effort? I think yes. What are you doing to help the change? Do you have time to volunteer at with the school project? Are you willing to “go healthy one day a week to start? Do you have any helpful suggestions?