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Socialist Food Replacing Mom’s in California Schools

Socialist Food Replacing Mom’s in California Schools

A student receives a pre-packaged lunch at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles on April 27, 2021. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

John Seiler

John Seiler

9/15/2023

Updated: 9/17/2023

Commentary
A couple years ago I attended a music concert in which a child of some friends performed at a public elementary school in Newport Beach. Afterward, they fed the kids the usual school fare. It was pasty, unnutritious garbage. And that’s one of the most affluent cities in the country.
So I understand the impulse to improve school food for the kids, which is being advanced by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife, Jennifer, who fashions herself “First Partner,” and others. The problem is, this is socialist food that, like all socialism, doesn’t take into account individual needs and desires, in this case especially the separate nutrition needs of each student.
Reported CalMatters, “Thanks to a surge of nearly $15 billion in state and federal funding, school districts are ditching the old standbys—frozen pizza and chicken nuggets—in favor of organic salads, free-range grilled chicken, vegan chana masala, chilaquiles and other treats. Districts are building new kitchens, hiring executive chefs, contracting directly with local organic farmers, and training their staffs to cook the finest cuisine.”
But this doesn’t take into account the science of nutrigenomics. According to an article by the Cleveland Clinic, “Nutrigenomics—or nutritional genomics—is the study of how genes and nutrition interact, [registered dietician Devon] Peart says. Variants (differences) in your genes predict how your body will likely respond to certain nutrients.
“For instance, variants on your FTO gene are related to metabolism, energy expenditure and energy balance; they impact weight management and body composition. Your FTO gene variants reveal how your body metabolizes fat and protein. With guidance from a dietitian, you can use that knowledge to choose an eating plan that works well with your genetic makeup.”
Results include, “You can confidently stick to an eating plan knowing how your body responds to macronutrients like carbohydrates, fat and protein.”
A waiter carries food at The Farmhouse restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif., on Sept. 9, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A waiter carries food at The Farmhouse restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif., on Sept. 9, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Peart himself explained, “Nutrigenomics is a way to zoom in on what will help you reach your goals based on what we know about your genes and how they interact with the food you eat.”
A good way to look at it is what your ancestors ate before industrialization made food cheaper, especially sugar and other carbohydrates. It’s well know the British were beef-eaters. And folks from Greece and Italy ate what’s now called the Mediterranean diet. People from East Asia obviously ate a lot of rice dishes. But one has to be careful, because pre-industrial bread, pasta, and rice were not processed heavily and genetically modified, as today.
By the way, please don’t take nutrition advice from an opinion writer. I’m just reporting some stuff I know, based on a lot of reading because, as the late, great comic Chris Farley put it, “I have what doctors call a little bit of a weight problem.” Always consult with your doctor before making any diet changes.

Diverse Ethnicity in the LAUSD

Now, although language isn’t an exact correlation with ethnicity, it’s pretty close. And the Los Angeles Unified School District now teaches students speaking 102 languages other than English, according to EdSource. The district even offers dual-language immersion programs in six languages: Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, French, Arabic, and Armenian.”
Back in less socialist times, students would eat breakfast at home, and Mom would pack a lunch. The food would be based on the family’s ethnic cuisine, with additions sometimes based on the usual American fare of cheeseburgers, pizza, tacos, and Coke. In any case, it would be the family that decided, not the government school.
Students on their lunch break at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles on April 27, 2021. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Students on their lunch break at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles on April 27, 2021. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

But according to the California Department of Education, “Beginning in School Year (SY) 2022–23, California will become the first state to implement a statewide Universal Meals Program for all school children. California’s Universal Meals Program is designed to build on the foundations of the federal National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). ... California’s State Meal Mandate is expanded to include both a nutritiously adequate breakfast and lunch for all children each school day.”
They offer the free breakfasts and lunches even to kids from rich families so the poor kids won’t feel bad. That’s typical of socialist-style thinking.
But whatever is offered, even if it’s good food, can’t possibly match the nutrigenomics needs of students from up to 102 ethnic and nutrigenetic backgrounds. Aren’t we told we’re supposed to support diversity? How can that possibly be done in this context?

Politicized Nutrition Science

Another problem is nutrition science is highly political. In his book “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” Gary Taubes detailed how the sugar industry influenced nutrition studies in favor of high-carb food, including sugar, and against high-fat food, like steak.
He wrote, “When Science dedicated special issues to obesity research in 1998 and again in 2003, James Hill from the University of Colorado was selected both times to write the review article on diet and lifestyle factors that influence weight gain. In those articles, Hill argued that passive overeating and sedentary behavior were the causes of obesity, and he recommended reducing fat in the diet. Hill had long been a defender of the role of carbohydrates and particularly sugar in weight regulation. He even wrote an article, paid for by the Sugar Association, promoting the use of sugar in weight-loss diets, under the assumption that a high-carbohydrate diet, even if loaded with sugar, would ‘reduce the likelihood of overeating, rather than increasing it, as some popular diet theories purport.’”
Mr. Hill also “received consulting fees from Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Mars (makers of Snickers, M&M’s and Mars Bars), companies that would stand to suffer significant setbacks if the notion of the fattening carbohydrate was institutionalized as a fact of science.”
Snickers and Mars chocolate bars lie on a table in Berlin, Germany, on Feb. 23, 2016. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Snickers and Mars chocolate bars lie on a table in Berlin, Germany, on Feb. 23, 2016. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Other fake research, much of it by Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota, just omitted contradictory data. According to Mr. Taubes, “Studies of Navajo Indians, Irish immigrants to Boston, African nomads, Swiss Alpine farmers, and Benedictine and Trappist monks all suggested that dietary fat seemed unrelated to heart disease. These were explained away or rejected by Keyes.
“The Masai nomads of Kenya in 1962 had blood-cholesterol levels among the lowest ever measured, despite living exclusively on milk, blood, and occasionally meat from the cattle they herded. Their high-cholesterol diets supplied nearly 3,000 calories a day of mostly saturated fat.”
Mr. Taubes also details how the 1970s-era Food Pyramid, still pushed in some places, was advanced by Sen. George McGovern (D-South Dakota), the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and hailing from a grain-producing state. The Food Pyramid emphasized refined grains and de-emphasized fat.
Given the politicized history of something so basic as food, it’s not surprising the COVID “science” was entirely politicized, as reported in Epoch Times articles listed under the tag “Covid Vaccine Side Effects.”

Conclusion: Low-Quality Food for Low-Quality Educations

Which brings us back to what I mentioned above: Humans may require different nutritional needs depending on neutrogenetic backgrounds. The Mediterranean diet is likely great for someone descended from Italian immigrants, but maybe not an immigrant from Kenya who’s a Masai.
If you look at some of the foods mentioned above on the LAUSD menu, it’s manly carbohydrates and lean meats. They’re still living on the disproved hypothesis of Mr. Keyes and Mr. Hill, and promoted by the federal government. Many kids, depending on background, just aren’t getting enough fat and protein, and far too many carbs. That might partly explain the district’s low test scores, in which only 19 percent of 11th graders met grade-level standards in math on spring 2022 Smarter Balanced tests.
The way to solve this would be to go back to kids eating breakfast at home and bringing a lunch. And providing enough economic growth so families could afford to make their own food, such as by large tax cuts for the middle class. But that’s not going to happen, because the schools have taken over family life, with the programs paid for by high taxes. Alternatives include private schools and, ultimately, homeschooling.
This is another example of how socialism doesn’t work. Because nobody can replace Mom.
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John Seiler

John Seiler

Author

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is writejohnseiler@gmail.com

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