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Ali Benjamin's Posts


Shopping for kids aisle-by-aisle: Stocking up without breaking down

Photo by USACE Europe District.

In a previous post, Ali wrote about her journey from meal challenged mom to coauthor of the book that bridges the sustainable food world with that of real families. The following is an excerpt from chapter 2 of The Cleaner Plate Club, the book she co-wrote with Beth Bader (Storey Publishing, 2011).

First, understand that food marketers have a goal that is the opposite of your own.  While you hope to get in and out of the supermarket quickly, with healthful food that didn’t cost very much, food marketers are trying to get you to stay as long as possible and to buy as much as possible, without much regard to whether the items are healthful or not. If you ever hope to get in and out of the supermarket without ruining all hopes for good health, you should understand some of the strategies at work as you shop.

Read more: Food, Sustainable Food


The cleaner plate club: Making sustainable food realistic for parents

Photo by Marco Bernardini.

About a month ago, I heard a story on NPR’s Morning Edition about a study on working mothers and multi-tasking. Moms, the study said, are on overdrive during the hours they’re with kids. Many described the hours between 5 and 8 p.m. as the "arsenic hours." The result? Their pre-frontal cortex was overloaded, their brains frazzled, and their decision-making impaired.

“Yup,” I thought to myself. “Exactly.”

With that study in mind, I’d like to propose a change to how we think about parents and food: that rather than seeing parents’ constant reaching for convenience food as some sort of moral failing, let’s view it instead as a call for help -- a form of crying “uncle” amidst a staggering number of stressors in our not-very-family-friendly society.

Read more: Food