Banner
    New York City School Goes Vegetarian - CNN Gushes How Enthusiastic Students Are Over 'Healthy Choices'
    By Hank Campbell | June 19th 2013 01:41 PM | 15 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

    View Hank's Profile
    If anyone still felt CNN was credible before their Boston Bomber coverage two months ago, it was only because they hadn't read their science and health coverage.

    Sure, all mainstream media loves its Miracle Vegetable of the Week stories, alternated with their Scary Chemical of the Week stories, but CNN is positively Huffington Post-ish in their willingness to engage in advocacy. And in New York City, there is always something to advocate.

    Active Learning Elementary School has implemented all-vegetarian meals five days a week.  Like an alarming number of schools in progressive enclaves, data and reason check themselves at the door. The school was founded not on education principles, but rather food lifestyle ones.  Like a fundamental religious school, except based on lunch.

    "We decided on a vision where health and nutrition would be a part of educating the whole child," school principal Bob Groff told CNN's Brittany Brady.

    Maybe instead of food religion fundamentalism we could term it outcome-based education...for vegetarians.

    Is there any merit to food making a difference? Sure. In 100% of cases, students who never eat not only perform poorly as time goes on, they die. But a school based on the idea that food makes the student is a higher order of crackpottery, even in a modern New York City culture dominated by supernatural beliefs, mysticism and anti-science advocacy. Students seem to be sufficiently indoctrinated right now, but if your parent is enrolling you in school based on its food activism (and it has 400 students, so they are) those students are only going to play along until they get to college - because the rationale is subjective, not evidence-based. "When you're healthy, you can do better on tests and you can fight more diseases," student Nick Lin told CNN affiliate NY1.

    No kidding. There is just no evidence being vegetarian is better for you - instead, the evidence shows it is generally worse. There are exceptions, of course. I have a neighbor who is mostly vegan and he looks awesome, but that is more due to his obsession with P90X than his obsession with not eating cheese.

    Food activists may be outright just deceiving the public, write Jeff Stier and Dr. Henry Miller. “Meatless Mondays” and paying for community gardens because they will supposedly fight obesity and even New York City giving “free” farmers market vouchers...to, of course, people in politically connected community groups, aren't helping anyone that we can see. 
    Agricultural economist Jayson Lusk captured the zeitgeist well, observing that some journalists, columnists, celebrity chefs, and cookbook authors have conspired to create a distorted, dystopian picture of modern agriculture by promoting the view that “the prescription for our ailments is local, organic, slow, natural, and unprocessed food, along with a healthy dose of new food taxes, subsidies, and regulation.” evocative prose.

    The campaign to demonize the food industry is at the same time both radical and mainstream, which is a recipe for trouble.
    We can count on CNN to continue to do their part. But, if you don't read them, you can always look to Mark Bittman at the New York Times. There is virtually no outrageous claim about organic food he won't embrace - while believing almost anything that says sugar is evil.

    Comments

    logicman
    Like a fundamental religious school, except based on lunch.

    Great line!

    "We decided on a vision ..."
    Next thing, they'll be hearing voices.  :-)
    Thanks for this article.

    I have become increasingly aware of the oddity that eating has become regimented. For many of the people I am around there is an incessant chatter of "what is good for you" and "what is bad for you". Worse is that it is supported by crackpot ideas of what is (un)healthy. It seems like it is a constant attempt to gain support from others to agree with their restrictive diet choices. I also wonder if it is a modern day penance or atonement.

    I long for the days when going out for lunch was a chance to get to know someone, but now it is an exercise in finding a place that will allow people to address their 'needs'. In a way, it is getting to know them.

    logicman
    It seems like it is a constant attempt to gain support from others to agree with their restrictive diet choices.

    That is a very astute observation.  You may well 'have something'.
    Perhaps the school will be offering organic water bottles and school uniforms will be glutten free

    The funny thing about this is that that jounalists themselves - I know my colleagues too well- are overwelmingly no vegetarians. To the contrary, they would rather eat blood sausage for breakfeast - and, by the way, they drink excessively much alcohol. But they want "the people out there" to be vegetarians (and leave little CO2 footprint), and do all the liberal stuff they are too weak or too lazy to do themsewlves.

    Hank
    Hi Rolf,

    Yes, during the Copenhagen climate meetings in 2009 I ridiculed all of the climate journalists saying how important it was for businesspeople to use online videoconferencing (rather than travel) who then traveled to Copenhagen because their relationships were 'important'. It is often the case that the hardest sacrifices must be made by The Other.
    "There is just no evidence being vegetarian is better for you"

    You sound like the people who said "There is just no evidence smoking tobacco is bad for you" for many decades, even to the point of having doctors promote their brands in the 50's and 60's.

    Truth is, we need a Surgeon General Warning on all meat products today.

    Hank
    You sound like the people who said "There is just no evidence smoking tobacco is bad for you" for many decades,
    In a late edit, I took out the part that read 'vegetarians tend to use hyperbole and exaggeration to rationalize what is solely a lifestyle choice with no benefit outside self-satisfaction and moral elitism'... thanks for reminding me why I should have left it in.
    "no benefit outside self-satisfaction and moral elitism"

    Umm, what 'self-satisfaction' am I having for going 36 years of self sacrifice? I didn't give up eating meat because it tasted bad, and certainly not for my health. It's certainly not convenient. Moral elitism? If I was a moral elitist I wouldn't be pro-choice. Pro-choice means just that. You have the choice to eat animals if you want. I have the choice not to. But pretending to have science on your side of the argument when you clearly do not is hilarious beyond belief!

    Hank
    So why did you give up meat?
    I gave up meat for the same reasons this little three year old boy did: http://goo.gl/wO3at

    The youtube link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hpcf3Zf5VI

    And for the science for plant based diet I recommend: http://nutritionfacts.org

    peace

    Hank
    Well, I do understand why a three-year-old would have a flawed grasp of basic nutrition. Adults engaging in crazy confirmation bias nonsense is a little sadder. 
    Looks like orthorexia is becoming mainstream.

    The interesting thing is that, while it is preliminary, it is likely the case that vegetarianism significantly lowers IQ due to creatine depletion in the brain. If this ends up being correct, we may see these schools seriously underperforming.

    logicman
    we may see these schools seriously underperforming.

    It all depends how you measure performance.  I foresee a significant number of students gaining enough skill to become members of the Breatharian Institute of America.   ;-)