Michelle Obama Brings Healthy Eating to the White House

by | Mar 13, 2009

Michelle ObamaYou can agree or disagree with Barack Obama’s stimulus package, but despite our nation’s economic troubles Michelle Obama is doing everything right.

Quick question: When you voters stepped into the booth on November 4, 2008, how many of you considered the impact of the White House kitchen on American eating values? (Please vote in our sidebar)

* chirp * chirp *

That is what I figured.

I know it was a concern to me, but I am painfully aware of the status food gets on the American political scene and did not expect much to come of it. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind I maintained a hope that Michael Pollan’s landmark letter to the future president elect, Farmer In Chief, would become a campaign trail talking point. I was not surprised that it didn’t, however.

Unimaginably strong powers are involved in supporting the American “standard of living” that for some reason involves consuming twice as many calories as we should (that’s a conservative estimate of how much we are overeating). If you are curious, ask yourself why dairy (light blue) gets nearly 25% of the USDA pyramid calorie allowance when most of the data suggests we should be largely avoiding milk in our diets.

Wishful thinking aside, there was not much talk of food during the campaign. Maybe one or two articles I came across mentioned something about Michelle Obama being interested in organic food (or that folks from Iowa have a distaste for arugula), but nothing ever led me to believe there was any commitment by the Obamas to change the eating habits of Americans.

I could never have imagined that within weeks of being in the White House, the First Lady would openly assert herself as an advocate of healthy, fresh and local foods. According to this inspiring article published recently in the New York Times,

“[Mrs. Obama] has praised community vegetable gardens, opened up her own kitchen to show off the White House chefs’ prowess with vegetables and told stories about feeding less fattening foods to her daughters.”

What better way to encourage Americans to adopt healthy eating patterns than holding the First Family up as a shining example?

Even more amazing is that she directly addresses the common misconception that fresh, healthy foods are a privilege only available to the wealthy. She has praised community vegetable gardens and helped organize efforts to get fresh food donations into homeless shelters.

She has also taken this opportunity to show parents it is critical for children to get proper nutrition through healthy foods. She explains how important it is to make vegetables appealing to kids, so that they are more likely to eat them.

“And when you’re dealing with kids, for example, you want to get them to try that carrot. Well, if it tastes like a real carrot and it’s really sweet, they’re going to think that it’s a piece of candy. So my kids are more inclined to try different vegetables if they’re fresh and local and delicious.”

The wonderful thing is, there is no question that the Obama’s eating habits are attainable by all families. They are not making sacrifices when it comes to foods they enjoy. Though she spends a good amount of time praising the talents of the White House chefs to make healthy meals she proudly says,

“They can also make a mean batch of French fries when you want it done.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Michelle. If you need any more evidence that she is on to something, just take a look at her!

What do you think of the First Lady’s approach to food and health?

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10 Responses to “Michelle Obama Brings Healthy Eating to the White House”

  1. Travis Saunders, MSc says:

    Great post, and thanks for pointing out the Michael Pollan letter!

  2. MB says:

    I love your links! It makes reading your articles more interesting and readable when I can just click a link and see the original. I agree that Michelle Obama appears to be living a healthy lifestyle.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting choice of pictures you used for Michelle Obama.

  4. Matt Shook says:

    I think I would have preferred to see what Elizabeth Kucinich could have brought to the White House dinner table. 😉

  5. Make Money Online says:

    I did not even think once that Michelle Obama would step in the kitchen to have a look. Great going by the first lady.

  6. Dinneen - Eat Without Guilt says:

    I read the NYT article the other day and loved it. I generally stay out of expressing my political views, but couldn't help but Tweet about it (on Twitter).So I'm glad you too are bringing light to it.I agree w/everything you (and the First Lady) said about food. Our kids, the homeless, the poor, etc. I love that she's bringing light & attention to this. I'm glad SOMEBODY is listening. I too loved Michael Pollan's letter to our last President, and no surprise the White House at the time did nothing.It's so great that the new First Lady and President are doing something about this. Truly a very important issue.Thanks Darya for posting this. Thank you!

  7. Scott says:

    Funny how she said such great things about eating healthy, eating organic, eating from the earth, but the picture that the NYtimes happened to post had the desserts in the foreground! Cognitive Dissonance a little?

  8. Darya Pino says:

    @MB Glad you enjoy them! I like putting them in, I don’t trust people who can’t site their references ;)—–@Anon1 @ScottThe First Lady can have her cake :)—–@MattLOL, she definitely seems more your type. I’ll take what I can get!—–@Dinneen,Thanks for your input, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I actually think Pollan’s letter was intended for the future president elect (Obama or McCain), not Mr. Bush.To me this isn’t so much a political issue as a public health issue, that is why I feel it has a place on this blog.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “…she directly addresses the common misconception that fresh, healthy foods are a privilege only available to the wealthy…”When will people stop fighting this fact? My guess is that if you could get poor people to realize this, they would probably be able to make other changes in their lives so they would not longer be poor.

  10. Healthyliving says:

    Wow, I try to ignore politics, but Michelle looks great in that dress! I wonder if she’ll be able to make a difference in food policy; I guess just making more people aware of healthy eating habits is one of the first places to start.

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