February 05, 2013

The Farm Bill's shocking return

If you're a foodie, you're likely aware of the Farm Bill, if only because Michael Pollen's "Omnivore's Dilemma" basically spends its 700 or so pages pummeling the reader with how much this policy effects our diet and communities.  In short, the Farm Bill comes up every 5 years or so and sets food policy for the term to follow.  The greatest impact hitherto has come from federal farm subsidies for cash-crops (mostly corn, but also wheat and soy).

Frankenfood. an option again 

When the Food Bill last came up in 2008, while the legislation failed to tackle the subsidies, it did take some important strides to protect farms from the environmental disasters, and farmers from the financial consequences of those disasters, plus it finally put money on the table to encourage the growth of vegetables.  Cuz, ya know, vegetables.  Before 2008 they weren't good for you.

For the entirety of First Foodie Barack Obama's term, nobody touched the Farm Bill, but now the pundits are dusting it off, getting it prepared for a new round of scrutiny, possible reforming how Americans grow their food and what Americans eat, taking on obesity and malnutrition in a mature, game fashion to really improve diets.... or they'll make everything truly, unfathomably terrible.

As Food News recently reported, the current proposal for Farm Bill legislation includes provision 733, which allow bioengineering companies like Monsanto to fiddle with food chemistry (nothing new there), only this time time the legislation strips judicial oversight.  It rolls back the courts ability to scrutinize what bio-engineers do, and limits their regulatory authority.

Among the numerous things that get us Peeled Snackers irate is politicians who seek their office with the goal of limiting government oversight, neutering themselves.  Anyone that boasts such contempt for public office frankly shouldn't run for it.  If governments role is to let everybody do whatever they want, no matter what the consequences, then why even HAVE a government?

Okay, with that off my chest, I'll say that if this passes, then any notion that Barack and Michelle are Foodies gets thrown out the window.  As a company, Peeled Snacks wants to encourage innovation in food, but SOMEBODY needs to keep an eye the innovators to insure that what they do is actually innovative (as opposed to destructive, which for the record, is a distinct option).

Some day, someone with authority (i.e. the Senate, Congress, or especially the president of the United States) will step up to the challenge of cleaning up our food supply.  How can we get the current powers that be to take our food supply seriously?  Sigh,

Peeled Skinny

January 09, 2013

The REAL ENERGY Challenge!

This New Years, many a member of civilization will be making resolutions- clean the house more, call mom more frequently, eat more vegetables, pay taxes on-time.  There's no shortage of things we SHOULD be doing, and usually January 1st is the time to start.  But this year, Peeled Snacks would like to add a resolution to your list, and though it's a simple one, it's a challenging one- Eat REAL food.  That's why we've kicked off the Real Energy Challenge

Eat better now 

The Real Energy Challenge invites you to join thousands of others in learning ways to get your energy from real food, eat better, and incorporate exercise into your daily life.  We've partnered with a slew of like-minded individuals, from dieticians to food policy experts to celebrities.  But while we've got a roster of fabulous, famous people backing us up, the person I want to join us is YOU.

And it's really not that hard.  Go to the Peeled Snacks Facebook page or the Real Energy Challenge Pinterest page and look at all the tips that participants are throwing onto the Wall.  Then pick 3 and give them a try.  There's a conversation going on inside about little steps that can make a BIG difference, and I challenge you to look through the tips and NOT find 3 simple steps to make your 2013 a healthier and more energized year.

With the Real Energy Challenge, Peeled Snacks is offering some ways to incorporate healthier eating and living into anyone's every day.  But we're also launching our first big initiative to let people know that we stand for healthier diet and lifestyle, and we're working for it.  Peeled Snacks, while certainly trying to offer healthier snacks to the communities out there, has always stood for something bigger and better than food: Everyone should feel good about their lives and their health and what they eat, and with a few simple choices, everyone CAN.

So join us in the challenge- take five minutes to find 3 tips, put them to work, and see what happens.  When you get hungry for another tip, come back for more- good people are posting all the time.  Thanks, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Peeled Skinny 

November 19, 2012

Season of Eating FOOD! Redux....

Ah, Thanksgiving!  The veggies have all been harvested, the potatoes beckon, and the turkeys lie fat and happy.  Thanksgiving has long been a favorite holiday of mine, since I was a little kid and realized that stuffing tastes SCRUM-didly-UMPTIOUS, and since I came to the miserable realization that it pretty much only gets served this once-a-year (boo hoo).  Thanksgiving ranks as probably the biggest holiday in my family, and we have a long list of rituals, maintained every year, that keep Thanksgiving at the top of my favorite holiday list, well above Arbor AND Flag day....

Uh, YUM! 

But  regardless of my family's delightful traditions, Thanksgiving around this country amounts to a holiday about FOOD, and REAL food to boot.  We've no shortage of eating holidays- without dwelling on the non-secular options, I love me some Memorial Day and 4th of July BBQs, and though Labor Day competes with "back-to-school" melancholy, I usually picnic on that typically lovely day.  But Thanksgiving?  Nothing beats that holiday for its vital vittles.

And unlike most other holidays, almost everybody gets behind the "Real Food" tradition.  According to my favorite crowd-sourcing site, Wikipedia, 45 million turkeys were sold for Thanksgiving in 2009.  That's one Turkey for every 7 people or so.  Statistically speaking, everybody got fresh cooked turkey in 2009, and the vegetarians were planning on eating real veggies that day anyway.  Let's just hope that every one of those turkeys was stuffed with yummy stuffing.

Thanksgiving also reinforces seasonal food choices- carrots, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts (yummmmm...); to say nothing of the seasonal pie choices.  Sure, stuffing COULD be made year-round, but almost everything else is native to November.  I'm not sure how sensitive most of America is to that seasonality, but it does prevent proof in the concept that even non-foodies can crave and enjoy seasonal food.

So here's my issue- Thanksgiving being so undeniably delicious a holiday, when do we only have one per year?   Why not enjoy a national "Spring Greens" holiday, or play a "Fruit Bowl" come August?  Perhaps the Obama's should put forward a new Spring Food Holiday, one with lamb and eggs and scallions.  Perhaps we could call it, ahem, "Thanksgetting"?  Think about it and get back to me.  Happy Season of Eating,

Peeled Skinny, who published a version of this blog entry last year, and will post another version next year, because he just LOVES Thanksgiving

November 16, 2012

Twinkies in Heaven

And so ends an era of American industry that quietly has rivaled the work of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford and Jobs- Hostess, the great American bakery, is shuttering its doors for good after, according to corporate spokesmen, a prolonged strike by its bakers, or, according to almost anybody else, a prolonged period of trying to sell things nobody wants.

Twinky the Kid! 

I'll offer that a: I already blogged about this the last time that Hostess went bankrupt, claiming that the real tragedy is a major company not innovating, and b: it remains a huge tragedy for all the many people employed by Hostess.  But in all the press, something else has come to light that really deserves some scrutiny- notice in THIS link how Hostess really takes the opportunity to kick its employees in the teeth after punching them in the crotch:

"We deeply regret taking this action," the company said. "Widespread strikes by the Bakers Union forced us to cease operations because we can longer produce or delivery product."

Hold it, the reason that they can't produce or deliver is the Bakers Union?  And they FORCED you to cease operations?  No, that's not what happened, because that's not what Unions do- they're in the business of KEEPING jobs, not making all of their members lose them.  The statement by the company amounts to a sour-grapes assault on their entire corporate structure, and almost a politicization of the situation, a sort of crass jab in the eye on the way out.

When you don't want to be scrutinized, you screw.  As E-bay starts to warm up its engines for selling off all the limited edition Twinkies left, 16,000 people are left without livelihoods, many more without health insurance, and one party involved wants to blame the greed of the other party.  Because that's how it ALWAYS happens- the OTHER party's greed.

Hostess was a public company, and was key to the food chain of the United States at a pivotal time (specifically, the post-war baby boom).  But the mismanagement and hubris of the players involved have earned them a special place in the land I used to call "H, E, double hockey sticks".  And I hope that they only serve Ding-Dongs there.

Peeled Skinny, who SHOULD be covering the 5 Hour Energy Drink, but will save that for next week