The week I got fired, David Kessler the author of The End Of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite ( was interviewed on the The Daily Show. That week I also saw Food Inc. (http://www.foodincmovie.com/). I felt I was left with no choice but to start weaning myself and my family off any and all processed food and meat. I got some vegetarian and vegan cook books from the library. Brought the food processor up from the basement and bought one of those Asian rice steamers. I made the most delicious curry veggie burgers -- with ingredients I could only find at the health food store in Clifton. I spent A LOT of time chopping. I also committed to buying local and cutting back on dairy. I bought organic. Not only was I chopping for what seemed like hours a day; I was driving all over the freakin' city to buy produce, meat, dairy and bread. Sometimes I was baking my own bread. It was a huge time commitment. And a little bit crazy. Channeling all that unemployed energy. Not a life style change I could sustain. Especially not when I'm in school six days a week. Months later, we've managed to hang on to the soy "dairy" products and the local meat and eggs. So I feel good about that.
But the food at school is an entirely different story. The food culture is probably the single thing that is the most radically different from my "old life." These ladies eat JUNK ----- ALL - DAY - LONG. A typical breakfast is chips and pop. Mountain Dew and potato chips! For Breakfast! Mid-morning snack is Doritos. Lunch is KFC, McDonald's, Chili Cheese Fries, Rallys or Taco Bell. And not just once in a while. Every - single - day. In advertising you might see a bunch of people go out to say, Chipotle or a wings place once in a while. It's an indulgence; a treat. People's breakfast would be a boiled egg and coffee, or a yogurt. Oatmeal was very popular. Lunch was salads or soup or a Lean Cuisine, maybe a sandwich from somewhere. (And, not all four!) Of course there was always the skinny guy who ate junk all the time and the fat girl who never had anything but baby carrots and rice cakes. But, man... these beauty school chicks just let's it all go. Most of the girls are quite thin, some have great figures, many are overweight and one is pregnant. But with only one exception, they all consume A LOT of junk food. Junk food, junk food, junk food. The girl who's trying to diet has a slim fast shake in addition to her Lean Cuisine and then a donut. Really, I couldn't make this stuff up. I had no idea that people --- young, attractive people -- ate like this. And God knows, that unlike in advertising where people go to the gym five days a week -- these ladies get no exercise whatsoever.
On Friday, a teacher from another class came down to our class room to ask if anyone could claim the lunchbox left in the break-room 'fridge. It was a nice neoprene lunch bag. She held up the bag:
"does anyone belong to this? Anyone? No? It's got to be one of you guys, you're the last class I've asked."
Student "Well what's in it?"
Miss Teacher: "let's see (she opens the bag...) celery, baby carrots, a little thing of low-fat ranch and an apple."
Me: "No one in this class would have that!" Laughter
Other Student: "Fo' Sure!" Much laughter.
We're a bunch of junk food junkies! Fo' Sure!