The government has been doing a lot of writing lately (see previous post). The newest composition comes from a 13-member panel of nutrition and health experts known as the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). This elite group drives the direction and content for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, whose 2010 version is expected to arrive later this year.
With about two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the United States overweight or obese, the report expresses “an urgent need to improve the health and well-being of children and adults” through a coordinated approach that includes “individuals, families, educators, communities, physicians and allied health professionals, public health advocates, policy makers, scientists, and small and large businesses (e.g., farmers, agricultural producers, food scientists, food manufacturers, and food retailers of all kinds)” in order to effectively improve the health of our nation. While I agree, I feel this laundry list of entities takes the pressure off the individual; all of the environmental, socioeconomic and policy barriers practically force public French fry consumption, right? As Jill Richardson points out in her La Vida Locavore blog, where are the words “eat less” in the document?
The Executive Summary contains some notable food environment recommendations, such as improving the “availability of affordable fresh produce through greater access to grocery stores, produce trucks, and farmers’ market” and creating “greater financial incentives to purchase, prepare and consume vegetables, fruit, whole grains” while increasing their “environmentally sustainable production.” There are many efforts across the country that already abide by this advice, including several by Philly’s own, The Food Trust. It’s a matter of evaluating, sharing and coordinating all of this information to create sustainable initiatives in all areas of the country — no small task, for sure; this is where that laundry list comes into play. And maybe a little help from Michelle Obama.
One of the dietary recommendations in the report is shifting to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes foods such as vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruit, and whole grains. This is sound advice that’s hard to argue with. So I’m not going to argue. I’m going to take my sugar snap peas from my CSA and make something delicious, healthy and respectful of the DGAC recommendations.
Though sugar snap peas are delicate and crisp, they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins A, C, K, thiamin, iron and magnesium. The original recipe from Rachel Ray originally calls for parsley to complement the peas, but I only had fresh rosemary on hand so I made the substitution and enjoyed the results (although J did not and asked why I put that “stuff” on it).
It will be interesting to see what comes of the DGAC’s report. If you’re interested in reading more about the research and recommendations, check out articles from USA Today or the Wall Street Journal. Or, just grab some fresh produce and call it a day.
Sugar Snap Peas with Rosemary
Adapted from Rachel Ray’s Sugar Snap Peas with Parsley
- About 3 cups sugar snap peas
- Coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- Place peas in pot and add about 1/2 inch water.
- Add a little salt, a teaspoon of sugar and a pats of butter to the pot. Bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook until peas are tender but still bright green, about 6-7 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add chopped rosemary. Transfer peas to a serving dish and enjoy!
Update: I also enjoyed this overview of the USDA Dietary Guidelines throughout the years.