Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sentinel column - 6-8-12

While visiting my daughter in Australia this spring I noticed many differences between the Perth area and ours. The price of eating out was at least 50% higher in Perth, the number of cyclists and pedestrians on the roads and pathways even higher. Energy consumption was less with many houses, including my daughter’s, sporting solar hot water heaters and having no clothes dryers (Perth’s sunny climate makes the first practical and the second unnecessary). Many families have only one car in Australia and they often park them on the grass in their yards and on the medians. I asked why 3-foot stakes had appeared stuck along the curbs of yards near where a new house was being built. “So the construction workers don’t park in their yard.” Apparently unless you take measures to keep people off your yard, it’s fair game. The people in Perth seemed a far healthier weight than our population and that probably goes back to the high number of cyclists, walkers and active people, as well as a diet that includes a lot of produce. In fact, in Perth there are more produce stores than grocery stores. The Aussies are big on their veggies. And, according to the Center for Disease Control, we need to follow suit.

Particularly alarming are the CDC’s statistics on children:

• Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.

• The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.

• In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

That does not bode well for our children’s future, not that we have any room to talk. Missouri is one of 10 states with the highest percentage of obese adults – over 30%.

So what’s the big deal over a few pounds. Well, a long list of chronic diseases is associated with obesity and there’s the loss of quality of life. Let’s face it, those extra pounds make it hard to get up out of the chair and get moving, which in turns causes us to pack on more pounds. The CDC calls it a health crisis, so does the Missouri Foundation for Health which is stepping up to give us a hand in creating better health here in Webb City. MFH is providing the market with a grant that will allow us to do nutrition education at the market, through cooking demonstrations, recipes and dietary advice. Last week our market intern demonstrated grilled zucchini roll-ups at the Saturday market. Packing only 20 calories each, the roll-ups are quick, easy, satisfying and tasty. This Saturday, Trish Reed, who was our Friday caterer last year, demonstrates no-sugar freezer jam. It’s full of the goodness of blackberries without the added and empty calories.

We’ll be sharing tools to make better food choices. Tools like, the nutrition tool of the United States Department of Agriculture that replaces the food pyramid. And it makes a lot more sense than the food pyramid. At each meal, you can just look at your plate and compare it to the USDA’s recommendation. Is one half of it fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on vegetables? Should be. Another tool we’ll share is the CDC’s “More Matters – Fruits and Vegetables” program which encourages increased consumption of produce and provides motivation and recipes to make it happen. And it suggests making your choices colorful. Red, green, yellow fruits and veggies – lots of different colors give us a variety of nutrients. Again, an easy way to make good food choices – go for a colorful plate. Here’s the recipe we did last week for the green and very abundant zucchini -

Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups

3 medium zucchini
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
3 ounces goat cheese
1 Tablespoon finely minced flat parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Fresh baby spinach
Fresh basil

Slice each end off the zucchini and slice lengthwise into ¼ inch strips. Brush both sides with olive oil. Grill each side for 4 minutes.

Mix goat cheese with parsley and lemon juice.

Remove zucchini from grill and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

Place about 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture about ½ inch from the end of each zucchini strip. Add 2 spinach leaves and 1 basil leaf and roll up with end at bottom of roll.


Today, Granny Shaffer’s at the Market serves ham & beans, fried potatoes, cornbread, dessert & drink for $6. The Plainsfolk play Irish music.

Tomorrow’s Cooking for a Cause is breakfast served by volunteers of Greyhound Pets of America. Since opening its doors in 1987, Greyhound Pets of America Chapters have worked together to adopt over 80,000 Greyhounds into loving homes. Breakfast, served from 9 to 11, includes biscuits and gravy, sausage, farm fresh eggs fried or scrambled, with all the fixings and coffee and orange juice.

Jim Graham plays from 9:30 to 11:30. The Art Market featuring the work of local artists runs from 9 to noon. Old No. 60, Webb City’s restored streetcar will give free rides from 9 to 11 just west of the market. It’s another fun weekend at the market.