Best of the Blogs: March/April 2013

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From Penning Pigs: Bye bye, back bean burgers
The Arlington Heights School District 25 offered students “nutrient-dense” lunches, which included black bean burgers and baked fish. Turns out kids just didn’t like them.

According to an article in The Chicago Tribune, Arlington Heights District 25 lost about $60,000 last year on the failed experiment. Coletta Hines-Newell, the district’s food service director, is disappointed that more children didn’t choose the fish and bean items. The article stated about 15 orders for fish were spread across seven elementary schools and two middle schools, and nearly all of the students who ordered fish would change their minds once they came to the lunch counter.

A nutrient-dense food is one that delivers a complete nutritional package and can be used to sustain life. Common examples of nutrient-dense foods are lean pork and beef, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and grains.

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From Dan Murphy: Killer chicken
Dr. Michael Greger is a physician on staff at the Humane Society of the United States.

Medical credentials aside, that post alone removes him from any semblance of scientific objectivity and puts him squarely into full-on propaganda mode.

A position confirmed by the titles of his recent blog posts and video clips:

  • Estrogenic Cooked Meat Carcinogens
  • Vegan Men: More Testosterone But Less Cancer
  • Cancer-Proofing Your Body (through a vegan diet, ’case you didn’t know)

That last report focused on Nathan Pritikin’s well-publicized approach to preventing heart disease—which, it should be noted, includes healthy doses of exercise, as well as healthy choices in food.

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From David Meisinger: Manure can be the difference between profit and loss
With changes in the cost structure of the pork industry, there is an interesting dynamic in terms of which producers are in the best position to survive. For many years, we’ve seen a real incentive to specialize and grow pork businesses. Small producers became mid-sized, while mid-sized producers followed the signs to become large volume producers. A few even became pork powerhouses. Most in this latter category specialized in some activities. While most “mega producers” chose to control their own feed manufacturing, few remained in crop farming. Changes in feed costs and the value of swine manure have swung the pendulum in the direction of diversified producers.

When corn prices rise, there is a lateral increase in seed, fertilizer and other inputs for crop farming, including energy costs. The price of corn is closely tied to the cost of a barrel of oil. Hence, when energy costs go up, so do corn prices, fertilizer prices, etc., and when corn prices and fertilizer prices increase, the value of swine manure as a replacement to commercial fertilizer increases as well.

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